Review – Ad Vallum: Papers on the Roman Army and Frontiers in Celebration of Dr Brian Dobson

1 min read
Edited by Adam Parker
BAR Publishing, £30.00
ISBN 978-1407315867
Review Edward Biddulph

Dr Brian Dobson, who died in 2012, was a colossus in the world of Roman frontier studies. His legacy is evident not only in his extensive bibliography of seminal works, particularly those relating to Hadrian’s Wall, but also in the work of the researchers he taught or influenced. Some of those he inspired, all members of the Hadrianic Society, which supported this publication, have contributed papers on aspects of Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman army in celebration of Brian Dobson’s work.

As is typical in a volume of multiple authored papers, the book is a mixed bag, and readers may want to flick through before settling on a paper that especially interests them. They are, however, unlikely to get very far because, from first to last, each paper is well worth stopping for. There are, for instance, chapters comparing Roman and modern bureaucracies (not so very different); an explanation of that mysterious musical instrument, the buccina; and an examination of the locations and purpose of phallic carvings. A fascinating read.

This review was published in CA 332.

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