I’ve generally been liking Osprey’s turn towards specialized subjects in their Elite line, and this is no exception. The book takes a look at what is known of Roman sieges from the fall of Carthage to the siege of Cremna (no, I hadn’t heard of it either). The bulk of the book is taken up with recounting what sieges we know something of, and points out the large number of cases where the Romans simply stormed the town as fast as possible (as opposed to the usual impression that every Roman siege was a big, lengthy production such as at Alesia). Along the way, there is some reconsideration of the archaeology at Numantia and Dura Europos.

There’s no strong theme to the book, but it makes a good survey of the subject. I wish more attention had been given to Dura Europos, as only a couple parts of the fortifications are shown in diagrams and illustrations. On the other hand, apparently there’s no good theories as to just what happened (and in what order) there, and it is a large site, so presumably a detailed look could take up most of the book without saying anything conclusive. There’s also reproductions of some older (18th and 19th century) diagrams of some of the sites with short critiques.