This is a narrative military history of the emperors Lucius Domitius Aurelianus (‘Aurelian’, reigned 270-275) and Marcus Aurelius Probus (276-282) which also includes the other reigns between the years 268 and 285. It shows how these two remarkable emperors were chiefly responsible for the Empire surviving and emerging largely intact from a period of intense crisis. It was Aurelian who first united the breakaway regions, including Zenobia’s Palmyra, and it was Probus who then secured his achievements.
The reigns of Aurelian and Probus have been subjected to many studies, but none of these have approached the extant material purely from the point of view of military analysis. Most importantly, the previous historians have not exploited the analytical opportunities provided by the military treatises that describe the strategy and tactics of the period Roman army. It is thanks to this new methodology that Ilkka Syvänne has been able to reconstruct the military campaigns of these two soldier emperors and their other contemporaries in far greater detail than has been possible before.
“A critical work… Aurelian and Probus is a very good look at a very confusing period in Roman history.” ~The NYMAS Review
"[A]n excellent [book] and a worthy addition to the library of any enthusiast of the subject. I recommend it to anyone with an interest in warfare in antiquity, and particularly in Roman military history, especially as the 3rd century has received too little attention." ~De Re Militari
"The author has already written a number of fine books about the later period of the Roman Empire and this is a worthy addition to his portfolio. The later years of Roman history are the least known and understood, historians concentrating on the Republic and the early years of Empire. – Very Highly Recommended" ~Firetrench
"A curious and interesting documentary book/manual of two men who changed the story." (trans.) ~Miniaturas JM
"Syvänne is ably assisted by the inclusion of many coloured plates, photographs, and illustrations, which taken with the detailed narrative produces a valuable book for students of the Roman Empire and military history in general." ~Beating Tsundoku
"The book is very well put together and I can highly recommend it much beyond simply the title of the book, the details around late roman military strategies and combat make it well worth reading." ~Medieval Sword School
"There have been other studies of the reigns of Aurelian and Probus, but until now none has approached the subject from the point of view of military analysis. Yet plenty of material has survived to permit this. The author, Dr Syvanne, has made use of the military treatises that describe the tactics and strategy used by Roman army commanders at this period. He has been able to reconstruct the military campaigns of the two soldier-Emperors and their contemporaries in far greater detail than has ever been done before." ~Army Rumour Service
"As with books by Dr Syvanne, this follows the pattern of detailed narrative coupled with good images and maps, not least the colour plates. Recommended." ~Michael McCarthy, author of Battlefield Guide