Legions of Rome Boxed Set – Punic Wars, Gallic Wars, Roman Invasions of Britain

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These informative and entertaining programs provide a factual record of the mighty Legions of the Roman Empire. From the three wars fought and won against the African city of Carthage, through the brutal campaigns against the Celtic tribes of Gaul, to the bloody conquest of the mysterious island of Britain, this is the story of one of history’s most remarkable fighting machines. Featuring: Spectacular filmed re-creations, Location footage, Superb battle reconstructions, E… More >>

Legions of Rome Boxed Set – Punic Wars, Gallic Wars, Roman Invasions of Britain

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  1. One of the worst pieces of rubbish I have ever had the misfortune to own.

    Each episode is centred around the most pathetic re-enaction that I have ever seen. Imagine a junior high school production and you will have a sense of how bad.

    The talking heads have nothing to say.

    Shameful – but I suppose it opens up an opportunity – for someone like Tom Holland to make a real series on the Legions
    Rating: 1 / 5

  2. This is a disappointing product. The history is superficial and the descriptions of battles and campaigns are sketchy. Only the battles of Alesia and the Medway are covered well, the battle of Tunes is passable, but the battle of Cannae, perhaps the most significant Roman defeat of all, is vapid. The reenactments are choreographed poorly, showing lethargic, troops in tiny irregular groups crossing swords in almost gingerly and delicate fashion, deployed so as to scarcely resemble the tight formations Romans and Carthaginian troops actually used. The reenactments are low budgeted affairs using the same footage over again throughout each film. Indeed the Invasion of Britain uses the same reenactment footage as depicted in the Gallic wars.

    Roman soldiers, who were actually clean-shaven and organized into units embodying men of similar height, are depicted as motley, bearded, long haired and poorly conditioned individuals of radically varying heights. The Gallic wars video depicts Romans wearing coolus helmets not the montefortino helmets actually used, and the Invasion of Britain depicts Romans drilling in correct Imperial Gallic armor, but using outmoded montefortino and coolus helmets and mailed corselets in battle scenes. Carthaginian helmets look more Attic-Samnite in style, rather than the Hellenistic Thracian or Hellenized Phoenician helmets actually used.

    The instruction on Roman military tactics is very basic while coverage of the Carthaginians and Gauls is even more vapid.

    There is not much drama either. The gallic wars constantly shows Caesar eating grapes in his tent, as though the director could find no better way of depicting his activities.

    The films are useful for those who know little of Roman military history, but are a flop for anyone familiar with Livy, caesar’s commentaries or tacitus.

    Rating: 2 / 5

  3. Since childhood, I have been a fanatic of Roman history and hold several advanced degrees in classical history, philosophy and theology. I have also worked in video production and photography, so when I saw this title on the market, I was naturally drawn to it on a number of levels. Someone said don’t judge a package by its wrapping, and unfortunately, this is true with this production. While there is a description above of the various historians who are interviewed in this production, there is nothing of the sort on the boxed set or in the production itself. The actual content of what the interviewees share is little more than what one can gleam from any encyclopedia. On the production level overall it is disappointing. On occasion, a map is briefly inserted for only a few seconds to establish the viewer’s attention to the narrator. However, most of the productions center around rank amateur actors “reinacting” the various battles. Yet the fighting reinacting scenes are less than convincing as dozens of actors appear careful to not actually make any body contact with their obviously plastic swords and spears. In addition, the camera shots are most often shakey with zooms in, and out, of the subjects, which I find terribly annoying. It’s like having your sister invite you over for a Friday night of watching home videos of the kids running around in the backyard. In short, one could take all of the narration of the Punic Wars, Gallic Wars, and the Invasion of Britain, and switch the scenes around with the narration and come up with virtually the same things. Because the reinacting was filmed somewhere in an open field, it can easily lend itself to any narration. This is not true with serious documentaries such as virtually anything produced by the History Channel. For example, “Julius Caesar’s Rome” is actually filmed on location using real-time shots of Rome with Roman historians walking around the actual locations as they are sharing interesting information. They also use B-role of paintings, mosaics, frescos, stella and other objects in an interesting manner to draw the viewer into the story. In this case, the narration matches the visuals, i.e., when the games in the Collesium are described, live video of the Collesium is provided. In a word, “The Legions of Rome” seem exploitative, i.e., anyone with a video camera, an encyclopedia, a some friends with left over Halloween costumes could make a production like this, save the several historians who are not notables, in my view. In addition, the production is poor quality analog (1996) transfer to DVD, and the reinacting scenes, which take up entirely too much of the production, actually detract from the overall presentation and make it, well, actually humorous and difficult to take seriously. Well, this show definitely goes on the block for a few bucks; save your money and purchase the History Channel’s “Julius Caesar’s Rome” for quality production, cinematography, directing, music, and yes…good acting! I give this production a Mercy One Star. Stephen Gruber, Ph.D. Prof. History and Philosophy
    Rating: 1 / 5

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