Nero's Killing Machine: The True Story of Rome's Remarkable 14th Legion

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The 14th Gemina Martia Victrix Legion was the most celebrated unit of the early Roman Empire–a force that had been wiped out under Julius Caesar, reformed, and almost wiped out again. After participating in the a.d. 43 invasion of Britain, the 14th Legion achieved its greatest glory when it put down the famous rebellion of the Britons under Boudicca. Numbering less than 10,000 men, the disciplined Roman killing machine defeated 230,000 rampaging rebels, slaughtering 80,000 with only 400 Roman losses–an accomplishment that led the emperor Nero to honor the legion with the title "Conqueror of Britain." In this gripping book, second in the author’s definitive histories of the legions of ancient Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins brings the 14th Legion to life, offering military history aficionados a unique soldier’s-eye view of their tactics, campaigns, and battles.

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The 14th Gemina Martia Victrix Legion was the most celebrated military unit of the early Roman Empire. After participating in the A.D. 43 invasion of Britain, the legion achieved its greatest glory when it put down the famous rebellion led by Britain's Queen Boudicca. Numbering less than 10,000 men, the disciplined Roman soldiers defeated 230,000 rampaging British rebels, slaughtering 80,000 while incurring only 400 losses—an accomplishment that led the emperor Nero to honor the legion with the title "Conqueror of Britain."

In this gripping book, second in the author's definitive histories of the legions of ancient Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins brings the 14th Legion to life, offering a unique soldier's-eye view of their tactics, campaigns, and battles and exploring the gruesome realities of war in the Classical Age. Based on his thirty-two years of painstaking research into the Roman military, Nero's Killing Machine paints a striking portrait of daily life in the legion as it traces its storied history—beginning with the disastrous day in 54 B.C. when, led into a trap while serving under Julius Caesar, the legion was wiped from the face of the earth.

You'll see how, for decades, the legion struggled to regain its lost status, treading a blood-soaked path and slowly climbing back to glory by fighting first under Germanicus Caesar against Hermann the German, then under Gaius Suetonius Paulinus against Queen Boudicca—vastly outnumbered but determined to preserve honor if not life as it went down fighting. You'll also gain new insights into the lives of the legionnaires—men who, hardened by years of rigorous training and rigid Roman military discipline enforced by often brutal centurions, merged into a close-knit, chillingly efficient killing machine.

Filled with previously unknown details about Roman military practices, Nero's Killing Machine is a riveting, eye-opening history of the men who made Rome great.

From the Back Cover:

The glorious saga of the most celebrated legion of the early Roman Empire

In Nero's Killing Machine, the second in the author's definitive histories of the legions of ancient Rome, Stephen Dando-Collins brings the 14th Legion to vivid life. Drawing upon thirty-two years of research, he traces the legion's steps as they were wiped out while in the army of Julius Caesar, then reformed only to be savaged again. For decades the men of the 14th would struggle to regain their lost status, slowly climbing back to glory and eventually making a legendary stand against Britain's Queen Boudicca, vastly outnumbered but determined to go down fighting with honor. Uncovering new information about the legionnaires' lives and Roman military practices, Nero's Killing Machine is military history at its finest.

Praise for Caesar's Legion

"A unique and splendidly researched story, following the trials and triumphs of Julius Caesar's Legio X—arguably the most famous legion of its day—from its activation to the slogging battle of Munda and from Thapsus, Caesar's tactical masterpiece, to the grim siege of the Jewish fortress of Masada. More than a mere unit account, it incorporates the history of Rome and the Roman army at the height of their power and gory glory. Many military historians consider Caesar's legions the world's most efficient infantry before the arrival of gunpowder. This book shows why. Written in readable, popular style, Caesar's Legion is a must for military buffs and anyone interested in Roman history at a critical point in European civilization."
—T. R. Fehrenbach, author of This Kind of War, Lone Star, and Comanches

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