Sunday 1 January 2017

Another Parthian Shot at NV225

Oh yes,, something I missed from my critique of D'Amato's Repblican Roman Warship Osprey NV225.

The only modern research work dedicated to the navy of the Roman Republic is Christa Steinby's

The Roman Republican Navy: From the Sixth Century to 167 B.C. Commentationes humanarum litterarum, 123. Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 2007. Pp. 236. ISBN 9789516533509.

This became the Pen and Sword book 'Rome versus Carthage-The War at Sea, (2014).

The bibliography for NV225 does not include this work in either form. How in the world could someone researching this topic not find these reference works. They pop up on a simple web-search. How could a 'professional researcher' not find them and not treat them as a priority for research on this subject. Steinby's work is the only dedicated research on the Republican navy IN 50 YEARS!

D'Amato may have used these works. If so, he ain't telling.

But the bibliography gets more interesting.

Under 'Modern Works' are listed...

Roman Legionary
Imperial Roman Naval Forces
Republican Roman Army

These are all listed as being published in Oxford. No publisher is given.

The Modern Language Association format for a bibliography is

Author's last name, first name. Book title. Additional information. City of publication: Publishing company, publication date.

The Harvard Reference List format is as follows..

Last name, First initial. (Year published). Title. Edition. (Only include the edition if it is not the first edition) City published: Publisher, Page(s).

To go far off these tracks in a commercial, supposedly academic, work is poor practice. It would cost an undergraduate marks on a dissertation. WTF is a a professional writer/academic doing here ?

As you may have guessed, the works referenced above are all OSPREYs. This also means they are also not given their correct titles.For example, the first would be a Warrior series book.

D'Amato's idiosyncratic format for his bibliography omits the publisher.

It may not be a big deal, but if I pick another Osprey off the shelf, by another author, the bibliography format is conventional and complete.

Is anything to be gained by adopting this odd format ?

Well. the monumental work by Morrison and Coates - Greek and Roman Oared Warships, is also listed as originating from Oxford. But there the similarity ends. Morrison and Coates' work is a Monograph published by Oxbow Books., a highly reputable academic publisher.

Is anything to be gained by putting that work on a par with Osprey titles ?
Unfortunate for those who try harder.


  1. Glad I saw this - I was remarking on Facebook about the Artist G.Rava and his peculiar illustration of a Byzantine Dromon so high out of the water that its oars were near vertical and he went ballistic telling me to contact D'Amato if I had a problem he was also pretty insulting about my life drawings which is funny because I doubt from his stilted style he ever does any. Nice to find a good blog because of this dreary little book which I shall not be buying.

  2. I sympathise with this view having criticised a ridiculously high freeboard Dromon painted in Lurid Technicolor by the artist of this series Rava on his facebook site only to have him being insulting about my life drawings. At least I do some - I see no evidence he ever does.

  3. Thanks for your comments Ernesto. Yes Sr Rava is a little thin skinned. He has laughingly been compared to McBride or Connolly but I think on ebig difference from them , apart from a poorer syle and skill, is that they were immersed in eaach subject. Rava does not seem to understand what he is illustrating. I have never sen any black and white sketches by him. i also agree about his colour choices. Wher did yo see this dromon ? An Osprey book ?

  4. Interesting that D\Amato references his own Osprey book "Imperial Roman Naval Forces"
    I also have noticed how thin-skinned Rava is when anyone questions the veracity of his illustrations.

    1. That the quality of the illustrations in these books were so much under the general standard of Osprey Vanguard series was one of the main reasons I decided to blog about the failings I saw in them.