Boots on the Ground

[Image: a former military warehouse, Rome, ©2016]

The most important item of kit for any infantryman has and always will be his boots.”

The fundamental aim of this project is to follow analogous scholarly and artistic work which compares ancient with modern warfare. At present, I am collating extracts from Roman historiographic sources for direct comparison with accounts from the modern conflict in Afghanistan.

I am inspired by artistic as well as academic texts, such as Harry Parker’s Anatomy of Soldier and Owen Sheers’ Pink Mist. The aim is to eventually ‘display’ these extracts alongside each other (in some format), to expose the parallels in an accessible way and with the greatest impact.

The term, Boots on the Ground, is for me evocative of the nickname for Roman soldiers, caligati, after their marching boots (caligae). This simple epithet therefore stretches across two millennia of military history.