Monthly Archives: September 2012

Roma Victrix :

Item Description

Roma Victrix

The Roma Victrix Beaker is made of solid pewter, the mould has been engraved by the finest artisans in Europe and made exclusively for Calix Imperium.. This is a high quality product, and took over one year to produce. It is not only an ornament of exact historical detail, but also the perfect drinking vessel. The beaker was designed for enthusiasts of the Roman epoch, whether it be readers of Roman history, war gamers, or military modellers.

Inside the arch, as if looking through a window in time, first and foremost is the Centurion, the backbone of the Legion. He is depicted wearing the Imperial Gallic helmet (Cassis) surmounted with the insignia of his rank, the transverse crest.

His body armour is mail (Lorica Hamata) with strips of leather (pteruges) protecting his upper arms and groin.

Over his mail he wears a harness, on which are attached his various medals (phalarae).

The large shield (Scutum) with a central boss is adorned with the Legion emblems, the CAPRICORN and the edge of the PEGASUS. These shield emblems where found on the Arch of Orange in France and deemed to be associated with Legio II Augusta.

The Centurion is seen wielding his principal weapon, the short sword (Gladius); his secondary weapon, the dagger (Pugio) is shown on his right side.

To complete his body armour he is wearing greaves (Ocrea), in this case with decorative embossed Lion heads.

Immediately behind the Centurion and to either side are three legionaries wearing laminated armour (Lorica Segmentata).

The foremost figure in this panel is the AQUILIFER, a single position within the Legion. The Aquilifer was the Legion’s Standard or Eagle bearer; it was an enormously important and prestigious position. He was ranked immediately below the Centurions, receiving twice the pay of an ordinary Legionary. He wears a Lion skin pelt over his helmet, and scale armour (Lorica Squamata) the rest of his equipment is more or less of the same pattern as a Legionary.

In his right hand he carries the Imperial Legion Eagle standard (AQUILA). This fearsome and elegant bird of prey was a perfect symbol of the legion’s fighting prowess; more so, it was the sacred Sign of Jupiter, God of war, King of the Gods and patron of the Roman State.

The Legion felt that the Aquila embodied their spirit and dignity. The standards were utilized in various festivals and ceremonies, in particular the anniversary of a Legion’s founding. To lose the Aquila was the ultimate disgrace.

The Legionary honour guard behind the Aquilifer are shown armed (in addition to the Gladius and Pugio), with a heavy javelin (Pilum). Normally they were armed with two javelins, one light and one heavy. Their shield emblems are taken from Trajan’s column in Rome

The prime figure in this panel is last but not least, the Legionary, the basic element in the formidable Roman war machine, extremely fit and highly trained. The Legionaries armour consists of the Imperial Gallic helmet and laminated body armour (Lorica Segmentata). Attached to his belt (the Balteus, a prized possession which is highly decorated with brass silver or tin plates) is the Gladius sheath (on the right side) and Pugio (not shown, left side) also a protective groin apron consisting of strips of studded leather.

He is seen here in the front rank engaging the enemy in a classical fighting stance. Behind him in the second rank, his comrades are about to launch their second Pilum into the rear ranks of the enemy, before drawing the Gladius


Height: 140mm = 5.5 inches
Weight: 400 gr. = 14ozs
Volume: 33 cl. = Imperial = 0.6 pint = US pint = 0.7


The general design of the Beaker is based on the Ancient Roman Calathus (from the Greek word Kalathos, meaning basket). This type of drinking vessel was used by the Romans to serve wine. It is now becoming more apparent, that the Romans especially the Equestrian class, used pewter table ware and drinking vessels on a far grander scale than is previously thought


The Calathus is dedicated to the II Legion, LEGIO II AUGUSTA in the mid first century AD and its most notable Commander VESPASIAN (the future Emperor, ruled AD69-AD79) at the time of the Invasion of Britain in 43 AD

There are three subject panels depicting: in panel I a Centurion, in panel II an Aquilifer and in Panel III a Legionary (miles).

In the spandrels two winged victories can be seen carrying the laurel wreath Crown. The laurel wreath was a symbol of power and victory. In the centre of the arches, placed within a corbel, is the head of VESPASIAN. The arches are supported by two columns with the Roman version of a Corinthian capital.

The base is in the form of a Triumphal laurel wreath. Beneath panel I and embedded in the wreath, there is a plaque with the title ROMA VICTRIX.


I’m very fussy about putting any ornaments on my shelf, because anything on there blocks sight of my books. This beaker is an obvious exception to that rule. Nicely weighted, a pleasure to hold. It really is a beautiful item at approx six inches tall impressively sculpted it really stands out from anything else i have seen on any museum visit or gift shop item. There are three very detailed images, one depicting a Roman centurion charging , the second a legionary advancing and finally a standard bearer in front of a formation of legionaries. Each one of the images is bordered by columns capped with high arches, with a keystone bearing the likeness of Vespasian finally it stand on a base decorated to look like a triumphal wreath detailed with a plate with the inscription Roma Victix. So when i look at the beaker i no longer need to question the price, i have paid much more for much less in the past. This is an item that would grace then shelf of any reader or collector of historical fiction.
Highly recommended


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Simon Scarrow: Sword and Scimitar

Simon Scarrow

is a UK-based author, born in Nigeria and now based in Norfolk. He completed a master’s degree at the University of East Anglia after working at the Inland Revenue, and then went into teaching as a lecturer, firstly at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, then at City College Norwich.

He is best known for his Eagle Series of Roman Military fiction set in the territories of the Roman Empire, covering the second invasion of Britain and the subsequent prolonged campaign undertaken by the rump of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. To date there are eleven books in the series, with the 11th released in November 2011, Praetorian.

He has also written another series, Revolution, focusing on Wellington and Napoleon, whose first title, Young Bloods, was published in 2006. The second volume, The Generals, was released on the 31 May 2007 and the third volume Fire and Sword was released in January 2009. The fourth and final novel of the series was released in Jun 2010 and is called The Fields of Death. He has also branched out into writing a new series titled Gladiator for Young Adults. 1. Fight for Freedom (2011) 2. Street Fighter (2012)
3. Son of Spartacus (2013)

His Latest book due out October 25th:

Book Description

1565; In its hour of greatest need, Malta must rely upon the ancient Knights of the Order of St John for survival. Bound by the strongest ties: of valour, of courage and of passion, the Knights must defend their island against ferocious and deadly Ottoman attack. For Sir Thomas Barrett, summoned by the Order and compelled by loyalty – to the Knights, to his honour and to his Queen – returning to the besieged island means revisiting a past he had long since lain to rest. As the beleaguered Knights grapple to retain control, decade-old feuds will be reawakened, intense passions rekindled and deadly secrets revealed.


This book covers and amazingly complex time in history, and a particularly thorny issue in modern times. In nearly 450 years we really have not come that far in terms of religion. What amazes me is how little I knew about the siege of Malta and the total change it would have had on the face of europe if the Knights of the Order of St John had lost.

I have been to Malta a few times and have seen so many of the places, stood on some of the streets and monuments written about in this book, and yet I still didn’t truly comprehend the momentous battle that took place. To have lost would have probably meant the sweep of Islam into western Europe, changing the entire face of history. There are very few times in history when the world and its current order have been balanced on a knife-edge.

Other moments in time that spring to mind (with great books attached) The Mongols sweeping into Europe, if not for the death of Ogedai they would have carried on unstoppable all the way to the English Channel and beyond (read Conn Igguldens Conqueror series)  also the battle at Marathon, where a Greek loss would have meant Greece falling under the dominion of Persia, there would have been no classical period, there may possibly have been no Rome or at best a greatly altered Rome. So much art and culture lost and changed, the whole mediterranean dynamic would have changed, (Read the Long War series by Christian Cameron).

When you understand the above it makes the writing of this books seem so ambitious to border on nuts. Yet Simon Scarrow in his own unique style provides the perfect narrator in the form of Sir Thomas Barrett. As usual the lead character engages the reader from the start, you sympathise with his situation in life and root for his underdog situation, and sympathise with the way life has treated him, the book makes you feel the characters. Then you add in his vivid description of the places, the battles, both sides of the fight. He brings to life the roar of the cannon, the desperation of the siege and the courage of both the defenders and the fanatical courage of the attackers.

The bravest part of this book though, has to be the perfect balancing act between Christianity and Islam. At no point does Simon denigrate either religion, he doesn’t push an agenda for either religion, he just tells you what happened and leaves you to think for yourself about the insanity religion brought, brings and will keep bringing to this world. Killing in the name of doctrine differences is wrong, but that is my conclusion, not Simons, he provided me the history and the framework to make that decision, and he did it with an amazingly engaging read.

This is Simons best work to date and well worth £10 of anyones money

Highly recommended


Other Books

Cato 1. Under the Eagle (2000) 2. The Eagle’s Conquest (2001) 3. When the Eagle Hunts (2002) 4. The Eagle and the Wolves (2003) 5. The Eagle’s Prey (2004) 6. The Eagle’s Prophecy (2005) 7. The Eagle in the Sand (2006) 8. Centurion (2007) 9. The Gladiator (2009) 10. The Legion (2010) 11. Praetorian (2011)
Under the EagleThe Eagle's ConquestWhen the Eagle HuntsThe Eagle and the Wolves The Eagle's PreyThe Eagle's ProphecyThe Eagle in the SandCenturion The GladiatorThe LegionPraetorian
Revolution 1. Young Bloods (2006) 2. The Generals (2007) 3. Fire and Sword (2009) 4. The Fields of Death (2010)
Young BloodsThe GeneralsFire and SwordThe Fields of Death

Gladiator1. Fight for Freedom (2011) 2. Street Fighter (2012) 3. Son of Spartacus (2013)

Fight for FreedomStreet FighterSon of Spartacus
Also coming soon
Arena: Barbarian (2012) 25th October


Filed under Historical Fiction

JT Brannan: Origin (Debut Thriller)

Who is JT Brannan

JT Brannan trained as a British Army officer at Sandhurst, before deciding to pursue a writing career. A former national Karate champion, he now teaches martial arts in Harrogate, where he lives with his wife and two young children.

Origin is his first novel

 Author Web site :


For millennia it has lain there undiscovered. Now the time has come…
Research scientist Evelyn Edwards always knew the Antarctic held deep secrets but the discovery of a 40,000 year old body buried under the ice caps surpasses even her wildest expectations. But just as her team begins extracting the body the dream turns into a horrific nightmare as they are targeted for death by someone who wants to keep this secret buried. Evelyn barely escapes with her life…
On the run, alone and desperate, she turns to her ex-husband Matt Adams, a former member of an elite government unit, for help. Soon, they find themselves caught up in a frantic race against time, which takes them from Area 51 to the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, as they try to uncover the biggest conspiracy of all time before it’s too late for everyone…
If mankind thought it knew its origins, the time has come to think again because its every belief is about to be challenged…


This was a tough review to write, on the one had this is a debut novel and i tend to lean towards being easy on an authors first book. I really do think that a good author grows with every book they write. So the first is part of that learning process. On the other hand i need to be fair to those spending their cash.

This, in scope is by far the most ambitiously scoped story i have every read. To tell you the true scope would give too much away. Imagine all your conspiracy theories, myths, religions everything in one book. Yes it is that good. I was immensely impressed with the balls on this author covering this scope in his first book, and in a single book.

Did I have any issues?

Yes Matt Adams is too good for me, too fast, too tough, almost superhuman and this i think is intentional, I can live with that. I have read so many thrillers of this type, but I’m still a person who likes his kick ass hero to be a bit rougher around the edges and to show the bumps he picks up along the way. To show a level of  reality /humanity. A great example is Andy McDermott’s Nina Wilde and Eddie Chase, a pair who have lived through amazing levels of abuse and come out the other end. But Eddie wears his scars on his sleeve and keeps going despite them. Matt Adams is just indestructible.

So the big questions: Do I recommend it? & Should you buy it?

 If you love a thriller, especially one that takes you to the edge of reality. Then yes i do recommend it and you should click the link and buy it, Same can be said if you love a well constructed story that covers myth after myth and enigma after enigma. At £4.33 less than a fiver for hours of fun, that’s great value for anyone.


Amazon UK:

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Filed under Action/ Adventure Thrillers, Thrillers