Cover Page


A Companion to the Roman Army


This series provides sophisticated and authoritative overviews of periods of ancient history, genres of classical literature, and the most important themes in ancient culture. Each volume comprises between twenty-five and forty concise essays written by individual scholars within their area of specialization. The essays are written in a clear, provocative, and lively manner, designed for an international audience of scholars, students, and general readers.



A Companion to the Roman Army

Edited by Paul Erdkamp

A Companion to the Roman Republic

Edited by Nathan Rosenstein and Robert Morstein-Marx

A Companion to the Roman Empire

Edited by David S. Potter

A Companion to the Classical Greek World

Edited by Konrad H. Kinzl

A Companion to the Ancient Near East

Edited by Daniel C. Snell

A Companion to the Hellenistic World

Edited by Andrew Erskine

A Companion to Late Antiquity

Edited by Philip Rousseau

In preparation

A Companion to the Punic Wars

Edited by Dexter Hoyos



A Companion to Classical Receptions

Edited by Lorna Hardwick and Christopher Stray

A Companion to Greek and Roman Historiography

Edited by John Marincola

A Companion to Catullus

Edited by Marilyn B. Skinner

A Companion to Roman Religion

Edited by Jörg Rüpke

A Companion to Greek Religion

Edited by Daniel Ogden

A Companion to the Classical Tradition

Edited by Craig W. Kattendorf

A Companion to Roman Rhetoric

Edited by William Dominik and Jon Hall

A Companion to Greek Rhetoric

Edited by Ian Worthington

A Companion to Ancient Epic

Edited by John Miles Foley

In preparation

A Companion to the Latin Language

Edited by James Clackson

A Companion to Greek Mythology

Edited by Ken Dowden and Niall Livingstone

A Companion to Sophocles

Edited by Kirk Ormand

A Companion to Aeschylus

Edited by Peter Burian

A Companion to Archaic Greece

Edited by Kurt A. Raaflaub and Hans van Wees

A Companion to Julius Caesar

Edited by Miriam Griffin

A Companion to Ancient History

Edited by Andrew Erskine

A Companion to Byzantium

Edited by Liz James

A Companion to Ancient Egypt

Edited by Alan B. Lloyd

A Companion to Ancient Macedonia

Edited by Joseph Roisman and Ian Worthington

A Companion to Sparta

Edited by Anton Powell

A Companion to Greek Tragedy

Edited by Justina Gregory

A Companion to Latin Literature

Edited by Stephen Harrison

A Companion to Ovid

Edited by Peter E. Knox

A Companion to Greek and Roman Political Thought

Edited by Ryan K. Balot

A Companion to the Ancient Greek Language

Edited by Egbert Bakker

A Companion to Hellenistic Literature

Edited by Martine Cuypers and James J. Clauss

A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and its Tradition

Edited by Joseph Farrell and Michael C. J. Putnam

A Companion to Horace

Edited by Gregson Davis

A Companion to Greek Art

Edited by Tyler Jo Smith and Dimitris Plantzos

A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman World

Edited by Beryl Rawson

A Companion to Tacitus

Edited by Victoria Pagán

A Companion to the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East

Edited by Daniel Potts

Title Page

This book is dedicated with great respect and gratitude to Lukas de Blois on the occasion of his retirement






Notes on Contributors

Clifford Ando is Professor of Classics and the College at the University of Chicago. He writes on the history of law, religion, and culture in the Roman world. He is author of Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire (2000) and editor of Roman Religion (2003).

Anthony R. Birley was Professor of Ancient History at the universities of Manchester from 1974 to 1990 and Düsseldorf from 1990 to 2002. His publications include biographies of the emperors Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, and Septimius Severus. He is Chair of the Trustees of the Vindolanda Trust.

Lukas de Blois is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Nijmegen. He has published on the history of the Roman Empire in the third century AD, the Late Roman Republic, historiography (Sallust, Tacitus, Cassius Dio), Plutarch’s biographies, and Greek Sicily in the fourth century BC. He also published (with R. J. van der Spek) Introduction to the Ancient World (1997).

Will Broadhead is Assistant Professor of History at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research is mainly on the history of Roman Italy, with a particular interest in geographical mobility and in the epigraphy of the Sabellic languages.

Pierre Cagniart has earned his doctorate in 1986 at the University of Texas. He is currently Associate Professor at the Department of History at Southwest Texas State University. He has published various articles on late republican warfare and his research interests also include Roman law and cultural history of the Roman principate.

Hugh Elton is currently associate professor in the Department of Ancient History and Classics at Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario. Previously he was Director of the British Institute at Ankara. He writes on Roman military history in the late empire, and on southern Anatolia (especially Cilicia). He is author of Warfare in Roman Europe, AD 350–425 (1996) and Frontiers of the Roman Empire (1996).

Paul Erdkamp is Research Fellow in Ancient History at Leiden University. He is the author of Hunger and the Sword. Warfare and Food Supply in Roman Republican Wars (264–30 BC) (1998) and The Grain Market in the Roman Empire (2005). He is the editor of The Roman Army and the Economy (2002).

Gary Forsythe received his Ph.D. in ancient history at the University of Pennsylvania; and after teaching at the University of Pennsylvania, Swarthmore College, Bryn Mawr College, and the University of Chicago, he now is Professor in the Department of History at Texas Tech University (Lubbock, Texas). He is the author of four books, the most recent of which is A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War (2005).

Kate Gilliver is a lecturer in ancient history at Cardiff University and is a Roman military historian. She has particular interests in military reform in the republic and early empire, atrocities in ancient warfare, and in the relationship between ancient military theory and practice, on which she has published a book, The Roman Art of War (1999).

Norbert Hanel teaches archaeology of the Roman provinces at the universities of Cologne and Bochum (Ruhr-Universität) and has published Vetera I (1995). He has excavated in Germany and other European countries, particularly the Germanic and Hispanic provinces, and studied the naval base of the Classis Germanica KölnMarienburg (Alteburg). His main research interests are the military and cultural history of the provinces especially of the western empire.

Olivier Hekster is Van der Leeuw Professor of Ancient History at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His research focuses on Roman ideology and ancient spectacle. He is author of Commodus: An Emperor at the Crossroads (2002), and co-editor of Representation and Perception of Roman Imperial Power (2003) and Imaginary Kings: Royal Images in The Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome (2005).

Peter Herz studied history, classics, and archaeology at the universities of Mainz and Oxford. He received both his D.Phil. and habilitation in ancient history at the University of Mainz. In 1994 he was appointed Professor of Ancient History at the University of Regensburg. His research interests include social and economic history, epigraphy, the ruler cult, and the history of the Roman provinces.

Dexter Hoyos was born and educated in Barbados. After taking a D.Phil. at Oxford in Roman history, he joined Sydney University where he is Associate Professor in Latin. His academic interests include Roman-Carthaginian relations, Roman expansionism and the problem of sources, the principate, and developing direct-reading and comprehension skills in Latin. His many publications include Hannibal’s Dynasty: Power and Politics in the Western Mediterranean, 247–183 BC (2003).

Peter Kehne studied history, philosophy, classical philology, law of nations, and Roman law at the universities of Kiel, Hanover, and Göttingen. He received his D.Phil. in ancient history and is now Assistant Professor of Ancient History at the Leibniz University, Hanover. He has published on ancient history and historians, foreignpolicy, international relations, and “Völkerrecht” in antiquity, as well as on Greek and Roman military history, especially the Greek-Persian and Roman-German wars.

Wolf Liebeschuetz is Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at the University of Nottingham. He has published on various aspects of ancient history and late antiquity is a central interest of his. His most recent books are The Decline and Fall of the Roman City (2001) and Ambrose of Milan: Political Letters and Speeches (2005).

Luuk de Ligt is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Leiden. His research interests include the social and economic history, demography, legal history and epigraphy of the Roman Republic and Empire. His major publications include Fairs and Markets in the Roman Empire (1993) and numerous articles, most recently “Poverty and demography: The case of the Gracchan land reforms,” Mnemosyne 57 (2004): 725–57.

Sara Elise Phang received a doctorate in Roman history from Columbia University in 2000. She has held a postdoctoral fellowship in Classics at the University of Southern California. She performs research at the Library of Congress and the Center for Hellenic Studies. Her first book, The Marriage of Roman Soldiers, 13 BC-AD 235, won the 2002 Gustave O. Arlt Award in the Humanities for Classical Studies. She is currently conducting research into Roman military discipline.

Louis Rawlings is a lecturer in ancient history at Cardiff University. His research interests include Italian, Greek, Punic, and Gallic warfare, especially the military interaction between states, such as Rome and Carthage, and tribal societies, and the roles warriors have in state-formation. He is the author of The Ancient Greeks at War (2006).

John Rich is Reader in Roman History at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of Declaring War in the Roman Republic in the Period of Transmarine Expansion (1976), Cassius Dio: The Augustan Settlement (Roman History 53–55.9) (1990), and articles on various aspects of Roman history, especially warfare and imperialism, historiography, and the reign of Augustus. He has also edited various collections of papers, including (with G. Shipley) War and Society in the Roman World (1993).

Nathan Rosenstein is Professor of History at The Ohio State University. He is the author of a number of works on the effects of war on Roman political culture and society, most recently Rome at War, Farms, Families, and Death in the Middle Republic (2004). He is also the editor, with Robert Morstein-Marx, of the Blackwell Companion to the Roman Republic (2006).

Denis Saddington studied English and classics at the University of the Witwatersrand, before being awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He has taught in the universities of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Witwatersrand, and Zimbabwe, and has written a book on The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces (1982). His main research interests are the early church, Josephus, Roman auxiliaries, and Roman provincial administration.

Walter Scheidel is Professor of Classics at Stanford University. His research focuses on ancient social and economic history, pre-modern historical demography, and comparative and interdisciplinary world history. His publications include Measuring Sex, Age and Death in the Roman Empire (1996) and Death on the Nile: Disease and the Demography of Roman Egypt (2001).

Timo Stickler is Akademischer Rat in Ancient History at the Heinrich-HeineUniversity, Düsseldorf. His research interests include the political and social history of late antiquity, especially in the western part of the Mediterranean. He is the author of Aetius: Gestaltungsspielräume eines Heermeisters im ausgehenden Weströmischen Reich (2002).

Oliver Stoll teaches ancient history at the University of Mainz and is research fellow at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz (RGZM). His research focuses on the Roman army, archaeology, and history of the Roman provinces. Various articles are included in his Römisches Heer und Gesellschaft. Gesammelte Beiträge 1991–1999 (2001). He is the author of Zwischen Integration und Abgrenzung: Die Religion des Römischen Heeres im Nahen Osten (2001).

Karl Strobel is Professor of Ancient History and Archaeology at the University of Klagenfurt. His research is concentrated on the history of the Roman Empire, but also on the Hellenistic period, on the economic history of antiquity, and on the history and archaeology of ancient Anatolia. He has written numerous publications on the history of the Roman army, for example Untersuchungen zu den Dakerkriegen Trajans (1984) and Die Donaukriege Domitians (1989).

James Thorne studied archaeology at University College London before joining the British army in 1995, subsequently serving with the Royal Tank Regiment. His Ph.D. thesis (Manchester 2005) was entitled Caesar and the Gauls: Imperialism and Regional Conflict. His current teaching at the University of Manchester includes a course on “Roman Imperialism 264 BC-AD 69”; his other interests include warfare in classical Greece, on which he has published, ancient logistics, and a planned book on the transformation of empires into states.

Gabriele Wesch-Klein teaches ancient history at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. She is author of several articles concerning the Roman army during the principate. She has also published Soziale Aspekte des römischen Heerwesens in der Kaiserzeit (1998).

Everett L. Wheeler (Ph.D., Duke University) has taught history and classical studies at University of Missouri/Columbia, University of Louisville, Duke University, and North Carolina State University. Besides publishing numerous papers on ancient military history, the Hellenistic and Roman East, and the history of military theory, he translated (with Peter Krentz) Polyaenus’ Stratagems of War (1994). His Stratagem and the Vocabulary of Military Trickery appeared in 1988. An edited volume, The Armies of Classical Greece, is forthcoming.

Michael Whitby is Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Warwick. He is author of several articles on the late Roman army and has recently been responsible for editing the late Roman section of the Cambridge History of Ancient Warfare (2006). His many publications include Warfare in the Late Roman World, 280–640 (1999).

Abbreviations of Reference Works and Journals

AE Année épigraphique
AJAH American Journal of Ancient History
AJP American Journal of Philology
AncSoc Ancient Society
ANRW Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt
BASP Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists
BGU Aegyptische Urkunden aus den staatlichen Museen zu Berlin; Griechische Urkunden
BICS Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies of the University of London
BJ Bonner Jahrbücher
BMCRR H. Mattingly and R. A. G. Carson, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, 1923-
CAH Cambridge Ancient History
CBFIR E. Schallmayer et al., Corpus der griechischen und lateinischen Beneficiarier-Inschriften des römischen Reiches, Stuttgart 1990
ChLA A. Bruckner and R. Marichal (eds.), Chartae Latinae antiquiores, Basel 1954-
CIL Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum
CP Classical Philology
CPL R. Cavenaile, ed. Corpus Papyrorum Latinarum, Wiesbaden 1958
CQ Classical Quarterly
CRAI Comptes rendus de l’académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres
Daris S. Daris, Documenti per la storia dell’esercito romano in Egitto, Milan 1964
EA Epigraphica Anatolica
FIRA S. Riccobono et al., Fontes iuris romani anteiustiniani, 1940–3
FO L. Vidman (ed.), Fasti Ostienses, Prague 1982
GRBS Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies
IGBulg G. Mikailov, Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria repertae, Sofia 1956–1987
IGLSyr Inscriptions grecques et latines de la Syrie
IGR(R) R. Cagnat et al., Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes, Paris 1901–27
ILAlg Inscriptions latines de l’Algerie, 3 vols., Paris 1922, 1957, 1976
ILS H. Dessau (ed.), Inscriptiones Latinae selectae, Berlin 1954
InscrAq J. B. Brusin (ed.), Inscriptiones Aquileiae, 3 vols., Udine 1991–3
JDAI Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts
JHS Journal of Hellenic Studies
JÖB Jahrbuch der österreichischen Byzantinistik
JRA Journal of Roman Archaeology
JRGZ Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz
JRMES Journal of Roman Military Equipment Studies
JRS Journal of Roman Studies
LA Liber Annuus (Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Jerusalem)
LCL Loeb Classical Library
Lib. Hist.
Franc. Liber Historia Francorum
LTUR Eva Margareta Steinby (ed.), Lexicon Topographicum Urbis Romae, 6 vols., Rome 1993–2000.
MAAR Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome
Mitteis, Chr. L. Mitteis und U. Wilcken, Grundzüge und Chrestomatie der Papyruskunde, Leipzig 1912
MRR T. R. S. Broughton, The Magistrates of the Roman Republic, 3 vols. (1951, 1952, 1986)
Not.Dig.Occ. Notitia Dignitatum Occidentis
O. Amst. R. S. Bagnall, P. J. Sijpesteijn, and K. A. Worp, Ostraka in Amsterdam Collections, Zutphen 1976
O. Bu Djem R. Marichal (ed.), Les Ostraca de Bu Djem, Tripoli 1992
O. Claud. J. Bingen et al., Mons Claudianus. Ostraca Graeca et Latina, Cairo 1992, 1997, 2000
O. Florida R. S. Bagnall (ed.), The Florida Ostraka. Documents from the Roman Army in Upper Egypt, Durham, NC 1976
OJA Oxford Journal of Archaeology
OLD P. W. G. Glare (ed.), Oxford Latin Dictionary, Oxford 1968–82
P. Abinn. H. I. Bell et al. (eds.), The Abinnaeus Archive: Papers of a Roman Officer in the Reign of Constantius II, Oxford 1962
P. Berol. G. Ioannidou (ed.), Catalogue of Greek and Latin Literary Papyri in Berlin (P.Berol.inv. 21101–21299, 21911), Mainz 1996
P. Brooklyn J. C. Shelton (ed.), Greek and Latin Papyri, Ostraca, and Wooden Tablets in the Collection of the Brooklyn Museum, Florence 1992
P. Columb. Columbia Papyri. Vol. I (1929)-XI (1998)
P. Dura C. Bradford-Welles et al., The Excavations at Dura-Europos. Final Report V1. The Parchments and Papyri, 1959
P. Fay. Fayum Towns and their Papyri, B. P. Grenfell, A. S. Hunt, and D. G. Hogarth (eds.). London 1900
P. Fouad A. Bataille et al. (eds.), Les papyrus Fouad, Cairo 1939
P. Grenf. 1 B. P. Grenfell, An Alexandrian Erotic Fragment and Other Greek Papyri, Chiefly Ptolemaic, Oxford 1896
P. Grenf. 2 B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt, New Classical Fragments and Other Greek and Latin Papyri, Oxford 1897
P. Hamb. P. M. Meyer (ed.), Griechische Papyrusurkunden der hamburger Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, Leipzig/Berlin 1911–24
P. Mich. Michigan Papyri. Vol. I (1931)-XIX (1999)
P. Osl. Papyri Osloenses. Oslo. Vol. I, S. Eitrem (ed.), Magical Papyri, 1925. Vol. II, S. Eitrem and L. Amundsen (eds.), 1931. Vol. III, S. Eitrem and L. Amundsen (eds.) 1936
P. Oxy. B. P. Grenfell and A. S. Hunt et al., The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, London 1898-
P. Panop. T. C. Skeat, Papyri from Panopolis in the Chester Beatty Library,
Beatty Dublin, Dublin 1964
P. Petaus U. Hagedorn et al. (eds.), Das Archiv des Petaus, Cologne 1969
P. Strasb. Griechische Papyrus der kaiserlichen Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg
P. Yale Yale Papyri in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
PBSR Papers of the British School at Rome
PG J.-P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, Paris 1857–66
P.Gen.Lat. J. Nicole and C. Morel (eds.), Archives militaires du 1er siècle (Texte inédit du Papyrus Latin de Genève No. 1). Geneva 1900
PIR E. Klebs et al. (eds.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani, Berlin 1897–8
PIR2 E. Groag et al., Prosopographia Imperii Romani, Berlin 1933-
PLRE J. Morris et al. (ed.), Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge 1971–92
PSI G. Vitelli et al. (eds.), Papiri greci e latini, Florence 1912-
RAC Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, Stuttgart 1950-
REB Revue des études byzantines
REMA Revue des études militaires anciennes
RIB R. G. Collingwood and R. P. Wright, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain. Vol. 1. Inscriptions on Stone, Oxford 1965
RIC The Roman Imperial Coinage. Vols. I-X, London 1923–94
RIU Die römischen Inschriften Ungarns, Budapest, 5 vols., Amsterdam 1972–91
RMD M. M. Roxan, Roman Military Diplomas, 1 (1954–77), 2 (1978–84), 3 (1985–93), London 1978, 1985, 1994
RMR R. O. Fink, Roman Military Documents on Papyrus, Cleveland 1971
RPC A. Burnett et al., Roman Provincial Coinage, London 1992-
RRC M. H. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage, Cambridge 1974
SB F. Preisigke et al., Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Ägypten, Strassburg/Berlin/Leipzig 1913-
SEG Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum
Sel. Pap. A. S. Hunt and C. C. Edgar (eds. and trans.), Select Papyri Vol. I: Non-Literary Papyri Private Affairs, Cambridge, MA: 1932, repr. 1988; and Vol. II: Official Documents, Cambridge, MA 1934, repr. 1995
Sylloge W. Dittenberger, Sylloge Inscriptionum Graecarum
Tab. Vindol. 1 A. K. Bowman and J. D. Thomas, Vindolanda. The Latin Writing Tablets, Gloucester 1983
Tab. Vindol. 2 A. K. Bowman and J. D. Thomas, The Vindolanda Writing Tablets, London 1994
Tab. Vindol. 3 A. K. Bowman and J. D. Thomas, with contributions by John Pearce, The Vindolanda Writing Tablets, London 2003
TAPhS Transactions of the American Philosophical Society
Waddington W. H. Waddington, “Inscriptiones grecques et latines de la Syrie recueilles et expliquees,” Paris 1870
W.Chr. U. Wilcken, Chrestomathie, Leipzig 1912
YCS Yale Classical Studies
ZPE Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik
ZRG Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung für Rechtsgeschichte (Romanistische Abteilung)

Abbreviations of Works of Classical Literature

Aen. Tact. Aeneas Tacticus
Appian, B. Civ. Bella civilia
Appian, Iber. Iberike
Appian, Mithr. Mithridateius
Appian, Pun. Libyke
Appian, Syr. Syriake
Apuleius, Met. Lucius Apuleius, Metamorpheses [= The golden ass]
Augustine, Epist. Aurelius Augustinus (= St. Augustine), Epistulae
Aurelius Victor, Caes. Sextus Aurelius Victor, Caesares
[Caesar], B. Afr. [Trad. ascribed to C. Iulius Caesar], De bello Africano
[Caesar], B. Alex. [Trad. ascribed to C. Iulius Caesar], De bello Alexandrino
Caesar, B. Gal. C. Iulius Caesar, De bello Gallico
Caesar, B. Civ. De bello civili
Calpurnius Piso, Ann. L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, Annales
Cic., Brutus M. Tullius Cicero, Brutus
Cicero, Agr. De lege agraria
Cicero, Att. Epistulae ad Atticum
Cicero, Fin. De finibus bonum et malorum
Cicero, Flacc. Pro Flacco
Cicero, Har. De haruspicum responso
Cicero, Leg. Man. Pro lege Manilia
Cicero, Nat. Deo. De natura deorum
Cicero, Off. De officiis
Cicero, pro Font. Pro Fonteio
Cicero, Rep. De republica
Cicero, Sen. De senectute
Cicero, Sull. Pro Sulla
Cicero, Tusc. Tusculanae disputationes
Claudianus, B. Get. Claudius Claudianus, Bellum Geticum
Claudianus, III Cons. Hon. De tertio consulatu Honorii augusti
Claudianus, In Eutr. In Eutropium
Cod. Just. Codex Iustiniani
Cod. Theod. Codex Theodosiani
Corippus, Laud. Iust. Flavius Cresconius Corippus, In laudem Iustini
De vir. ill. De viri illustribus
Dig. Digesta
Ennius, Ann. Q. Ennius, Annales
Epictetus, Disc. Diatribae
Epiphanius of Salamis,
Adv. haeres. Adversus haereses
Epit. de Caes. Epitome de Caesaribus
Eugippius, Vit. Sev. Vita Sancti Severini
Eusebius, Vit. Const. Vita Constantini
Festus, Brev Breviarium
Frontinus, Strat. Sextus Iulius Frontinus, Strategemata
Fronto, Ad M Caes, M. Cornelius Fronto
A. Gellius, NA Aulus Gellius, Noctes Atticae [Attic nights]
Gregory of Tours, HF Gregorius, Bishop of Tours, Historiae Francorum
HA, Ant. Pius Historia Augusta, Antoninus Pius
HA, Aurel. Aurelianus
HA, Avid. Avidius
HA, Caracalla Caracalla
HA, Comm. Commodus
HA, Gall. Gallienus
HA, Hadr. Hadrianus
HA, Marc. Marcus Aurelius
HA, Pert. Pertinax
HA, Sev. Septimius Severus
HA, Sev. Alex. Severus Alexander
HA, Tyr. Trig. Tyranni Triginta
Heliodoros, Aith. Heliodoros, Aethiopica
Hieronymus, Chron. Chronica
Hieronymus, Epist. Epistulae
Hilarius, Epist. Epistula ad Eucherium
Johannes Lydos, Mens. De mensibus
Josephus, Ant. Jud. Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Iudaicae
Josephus, B. Jud. Bellum Judaicum
Lactantius, Mort. Pers. Lucius Caecilius Firmianus, De mortibus persecutorum
Libanius, Orat. Orationes
Livy T. Livius, Ab urbe condita
Livy, Per. Periochae
Mauricius, Strat. Strategikon
Mon. Anc. Monumentum Ancyranum = Res Gestae Divi Augusti
ND Notitia Dignitatum
Nov. Iust. Novellae Iustiniani
Novellae Val. Novellae Valeriani
Onasander Strategicus
Pan. Lat. Panegyrici Latini
Paulus, Epit. Fest. Paulus Diaconus, Epitoma Festi
Petrus Patricius, Exc. Vat. Petrus Patricius
Philo, Flacc. In Flaccum
Philo, Leg. Legatio ad Gaium
Philostratus, VS Vitae sophistarum
Pliny, Epist. C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus, Epistulae
Pliny, NH C. Plinius Secundus, Naturalis historiae
Pliny, Pan. [= C. Plinius Caecilius Secundus], Panegyricus
Plutarch, Aem. Plutarchus, Aemilius Paulus
Plutarch, Ant. Antonius
Plutarch, C. Gracc. C. Gracchus
Plutarch, Cam. Camillus
Plutarch, Cato Mai. Cato Maior
Plutarch, Crass. Crassus
Plutarch, Def. Or. de defectu oraculorum
Plutarch, Galba Galba
Plutarch, Luc. Lucullus
Plutarch, Marc. Marcellus
Plutarch, Otho Otho
Plutarch, Pomp. Pompeius
Plutarch, Pyrrh. Pyrrhus
Plutarch, T. Gracc. T. Gracchus
Plutarch, Tim. Timoleon
Porphyr., De Caer. Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Caeremoniis
Procopius, Aedificia Aedificia
Procopius, Bella Bella
Ps.-Fredegar, Chron. [ascribed to] Fredegar, Chronica
Ps.-Hyginus, Mun. Castr. Ps.-Hyginus [ascribed to Hyginus], De munitionibus
Rutilius Namatianus, Red. Rutilius Claudius Namatianus, de reditu
Sallust, Cat. C. Sallustius Crispus, Catilina
Sallust, Jug. Iugurtha
Seneca, Nat. L. Annaeus Seneca, Naturales quaestiones
Socrates, Hist. Eccl. Historia Ecclesiastica
Sozomen, Hist. Eccl. Sozomenos, Historia Ecclesiastica
Stat. Silv. Publius Papinius Statius, Silvae
Suetonius, Aug. C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Augustus
Suetonius, Cal. Caligula
Suetonius, Claud. Claudius
Suetonius, Dom. Domitianus
Suetonius, Jul. Iulius Caesar
Suetonius, Nero Nero
Suetonius, Tib. Tiberius
Symmachus, Epist. Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, Epistulae
Symmachus, Relat. Relationes
Synesius, Regn. De Regno
Tacitus, Agric. Cornelius Tacitus, Agricola
Tacitus, Ann. Annales
Tacitus, Hist. Historia
Tertullianus, Ad nat. Q. Septimius Florens Tertullianus, Ad nationes
Tertullianus, Apol. Apologeticum
Tertullianus, Cor. De Corona
Tertullianus, Idol. De idololatria
Theophanes, Chron. Theophanes Confessor, Chronographia
Ulpian, Edict Domitius Ulpianus, Ad edictum
Varro, L.L. M. Terentius Varro, de lingua Latina
Vegetius, Epit. Flavius Renatus Vegetius, Epitoma rei militaris
Vell. C. Velleius Paterculus
Vergilius, Ecl. P. Vergilius Maro, Eclogae
Vergilius, Georg. Georgica
Victor of Vita Victor of Vita, Historia persecutionis Africanae provinciae
temporum Geiserici et Hunerici regis Vandalorum
Xenophon, Anab. Anabasis
Xenophon, Cyr. Cyropaideia
Zacharias of Mytilene,
Hist. Eccl. Historia Ecclesia


Paul Erdkamp

The guiding principle behind this companion to the Roman army is the belief that the Roman army cannot adequately be described only as an instrument of combat, but must be viewed also as an essential component of Roman society, economy, and politics. Of course, the prime purpose of the Roman army was to defeat the enemy in battle. Whether the army succeeded depended not only on its weapons and equipment, but also its training and discipline, and on the experience of its soldiers, all of which combined to allow the most effective deployment of its manpower. Moreover, every army is backed by a more or less developed organization that is needed to mobilize and sustain it. Changes in Roman society significantly affected the Roman army. However, the army was also itself an agent of change, determining in large part developments in politics and government, economy and society. Four themes recur throughout the volume: (1) the army as a fighting force; (2) the mobilization of human and material resources; (3) the relationship between army, politics, and empire; and (4) the relationship between the armies and the civilian population. Even in a sizeable volume such as this choices have had to be made regarding the topics to be discussed, but the focus in this volume on the army in politics, economy, and society reflects the direction of recent research.

Modern authors often claim that ancient Rome was a militaristic society, and that warfare dominated the lives of the Roman people. Interestingly, the first outsider in Rome to paint an extensive picture of Roman society and whose account has largely survived essentially says the same thing. Polybius was in a position to know, since he was brought to Rome as a hostage after the Third Macedonian War (171–168 BC) and was befriended by one of the leading families. The main task he set himself in his Histories was to explain Rome’s incredible military success during the past decades. To Polybius, the stability of her constitution was one important element, but Rome’s military success is explained by two other elements: manpower and ethos. At the eve of the Hannibalic War, Polybius informs us, Rome was able to mobilize 700,000 men in the infantry and 70,000 horsemen. To be sure, Rome never assembled an armyof such size – even in imperial times her soldiers did not number as many as 700,000. But such a number of men was available to take up arms and fight Rome’s opponents in Italy or overseas. In other words, almost all male, able-bodied citizens of Rome and her allies could be expected to serve in the army at one point or another. Military service was indeed the main duty of a Roman citizen, and military experience was widespread. The empires that Rome had defeated in the past decades – Carthage, Macedon, the Seleucid Empire – had lost the connection between citizenship and military service, instead relying largely on mercenaries. Polybius was also struck by the military ethos that Roman traditions instilled in the Roman elite and common people alike. Citizens and allies were awarded in front of the entire army for bravery in combat. Decorations were worn on public occasions during the rest of the soldiers’ lives. Trophies were hung in the most conspicuous places in their homes.

So when we consider this people’s almost obsessive concern with military rewards and punishments, and the immense importance which they attach to both, it is not surprising that they emerge with brilliant success from every war in which they engage. (Polybius 6.39)

At the time that Polybius witnessed Roman society, the army and military ethos played important roles in the lives of almost all male Roman citizens. In that sense, Rome’s was a militaristic society.

Although war and the army remained important aspects of the Roman Empire, it would be difficult to characterize Roman society at the time of Augustus (31 BC–14 AD) or Trajan (98–117 AD) as militaristic to the same degree. Just as the term “Roman” applied to ever widening circles, more and more recruits enlisting in the legions came from Spain, Gaul, and other provinces, while the people of the capital city did not serve in the armies anymore. Moreover, military service had become a lifetime profession for a minority of the empire’s inhabitants. Recruits signed up to serve for up to 25 years. Many would die while serving in the army, though more of natural causes than due to military action. Many veterans from the legions became prominent members of local society, while those who had served in the auxiliary forces earned Roman citizenship at discharge. However, only a few percent of the empire’s population served in the armies or fleets. Large sections of the empire hardly saw Roman armies at all during the next centuries, while many soldiers never saw combat. The army still held an important place in society, mostly so in the border regions where the majority of troops were concentrated, but this role had changed significantly.

Waging war remained the largest task undertaken by the state, and the army was the largest institution that the state created. It certainly was the most expensive, taking up about three quarters of the annual imperial budget. Mobilizing, equipping, and feeding the several hundred thousand men that were stationed between Brittannia’s northern border and the Arabian desert was an undertaking that could not be sustained by the market alone, and required the direct intervention of the central and local authorities. On the other hand, the presence of Roman legions and auxiliary forces was the engine that drove crucial developments in the economy and society of the border regions. And it was through the army that many members of local aristocracies were integrated into the Roman Empire.

The army retained a central role in the power structures within the empire. Addressing the Roman Senate, Augustus used the phrase “I and the army are well,” leaving no doubt about who ruled the empire and with what backing. Hence the close connection between emperor and armies was an important message to convey not only to the senators in Italy and peoples throughout the empire, but – most crucially – to the armies as well. While the Praetorian Guard, which was stationed near Rome, played an important role on the accession to the throne of Claudius in 41 AD, in the civil wars of 68–69 AD the armies of the Rhine, Danube, and the East decided who would be put on the throne. While the nature of the relationship between the emperors and the senatorial class (to which belonged many of the authors on whose historical narrative we nowadays rely) colors – and possibly distorts – our picture of individual emperors, the most important development in the position of the emperor during the next centuries may be said to have been the changing relationship between army and emperor. Whatever their qualities and intentions, emperors could not function without maintaining close relations with the troops. One of the problems was that many units were almost permanently stationed in the same region, and drew recruits from their locality. Troops developed regional ties that proved stronger in times of crisis than the ties with Rome or the emperor. In the mid-third century AD the position of emperor became the prize in a struggle between the various armies stationed in Britain, along the Rhine and Danube, and in the East. Diocletian (284–305) and Constantine (312–337) managed to restore control of the armies. In the meantime, however, Rome and Italy had lost their centrality, while internal threats played as much a role in the development of the army as did external wars.

The traditional view of the late Roman Empire held that, as the nature of the opponents along the borders changed and their strength became ever greater, the empire threatened to collapse under the stress, leading on the one hand to more state control of society in order to maintain military strength, on the other hand to a weakening army, consisting more and more of barbaric peoples or farmer-soldiers of dubious military value. This picture now seems largely untrue: the central authorities did not suffocate civil society in order to maintain the war effort, nor were the Roman armies of the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries AD less capable of striking forceful blows at their opponents. In the fourth century, many Germanic peoples served in the Roman armies. The landowners paid money to hire men, and kept their own people on the land. The western half of the Roman Empire did indeed collapse, as after the battle of Adrianople large tracts of land came under the control of migrating Germanic peoples – in particular Vandals, Visigoths, and Ostrogoths – who were eventually allowed to settle under their own rule, but who increasingly made it impossible for the central Roman authorities to gather the resources necessary to sustain a sizeable army of their own. The armies of the emperor Justinian (527–565), which were backed by a populous eastern empire and reconquered Italy, northern Africa, and southern Spain from their Germanic kings, may be seen as the last Roman armies.


Early Rome