I was a little skeptical of a Men-at-Arms sub-series dedicated only to the Roman Centurion, but it does make some real sense. Mostly, they’re the lowest rank that is going to regularly come to the attention of prominent people, so we have a few more individuals whose careers are discussed. The introduction points out that as the main bulk of officers, their discipline and example was instrumental in leading Roman armies to victory; I kind of thought that would make a good plug for an Elite series instead of Man-At-Arms, but I assume there’s just not enough content to fill out a longer title.

This first volume covers from founding of Rome through end of the Republic. As usual, there is a good combing of the sources, and lots of pictures of various artifacts and art (in black and white) depicting centurions. The color plates are quite good, and interestingly, while three of plates are traditional no-background military figure art, but the other five are full pieces, and among the best I’ve seen out of the MAA line lately (not that I’ve seen a lot of the more recent books). I think that makes for a good mix, and presumably keeps the art budget under control.

Overall, it’s about as limited a book as I supposed. Within its limits, it is very good however. If you want to get into some of the details of the Roman army, this is a worthwhile addendum, but if you want how it fought… there’s a few interesting tales in here (especially for the earlier period), but this isn’t where to go.