The second volume of Osprey’s survey of Roman Centurions is a bit better than the first. Most likely, there’s just more source material to draw from. There is less of the individual career profiles, so if you thought that was a nice touch, you’ll miss it here. However, I’m sure those were just there to provide examples when the evidence was otherwise sparse, so the lack here only points up the overall better knowledge of the period.

The art and photographs continue to live up Osprey standards, though with only three full pieces this time. The photography concentrates more on depictions of particular gear, instead of needing to find anyone who was a centurion at all, again pointing up the better sources for the period.

There is a very good outline of centurion positions inside a legion, and the gradings between them. Things get less certain for detached appointments (assigned to non-legionary units, on a governors staff, etc), but there’s good discussion there too. The selection of centurions is also gone into, along with other general details. The last section is the typical (for Osprey) dive into equipment. Naturally, there’s a lot go over, which is done at Osprey’s usual level of detail, so it’s quite long.

Overall, this is a notably better book than the first one, mostly because everything said is much less nebulous and uncertain. I have a feeling that it gives a greater impression of stability than is deserved, but that comes down to the nature of the sources again.