By the late 4th century the pressures on the frontiers of the Roman Empire had transformed the nature of the army which defended it. With the western half of the empire in ecomic decline and chronic manpower shortages the army had proved incapable of defending the line of the frontier. Necessity forced the induction of large numbers of German federate allies and the transformation of the army into a mobile fire-brigade which could move from crisis-point to crisis-point, dealing with major barbarian incursions. This need for mobility was reinforced by Roman experiences against the Sassanid Persians increasing the quantity of armoured cavalry within the army. This book details the rise of the army and its evolution, after the collapse of the west, into the army of the Byzantine Empire.
David Nicolle was born in 1944, the son of the illustrator Pat Nicolle. He worked in the BBC Arabic service for a number of years, before going 'back to school', gaining an MA from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and a doctorate from Edinburgh University. He later taught world and Islamic art and architectural history at Yarmuk University, Jordan. He has written many books and articles on medieval and Islamic warfare, and has been a prolific author of Osprey titles for many years. David lives and works in Leicestershire, UK.