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Gallic Wars  

Kate Gilliver

Gallic Wars is the term given to the campaigns by which Julius Caesar brought large parts of Gaul under direct Roman control (58–51bce). The survival of Caesar’s own account of this conquest (his Commentaries) makes us uniquely well-informed about these campaigns and provides us with one of the most detailed eyewitness accounts of large-scale campaigning from the ancient world. However, the work must be read with a highly critical eye as the year-by-year narrative of his campaigns was produced for political capital and to advertise his achievements to a wide audience. Inevitably they present a positive spin on events.1 Other authors, including Cicero, Plutarch, Arrian, and Cassius Dio, provide us with more critical perspectives on the conquests and how they were received in Rome. Caesar’s presentation of Gauls and Germans was determined by deep-rooted cultural prejudices, as was his treatment of them politically and militarily. The campaigns in Gaul by Caesar should be seen in the context of centuries of sometimes violent relations between Rome and her Gallic and Germanic neighbours as Rome gradually encroached north of the Alps.

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Vegetius Renatus  

Michael B. Charles

Vegetius Renatus was a Latin author writing in the Late Empire. He wrote the Epitoma rei militaris, which deals with ways to improve Rome’s flagging military prowess—including revival of the antiqua legio (“old-fashioned legion”) and reduction of reliance on barbarian mercenaries—and the Digesta artis mulomedicinae, which deals with animal husbandry and the care of horses in particular. Vegetius appears to have been a Christian and likely occupied a senior post in the Roman imperial bureaucracy. It is uncertain when Vegetius was active. Vegetius dedicated the Epitoma to an unnamed emperor. Traditionally, this has been assumed to have been Theodosius I (reign, 379–395 ce) because of presumably later manuscript dedications, but the context of the text arguably suits a fifth-century date better (especially one after 425 ce). Valentinian III (425–455 ce) or Theodosius II (408–450 ce) have emerged as the most likely candidates. Given that a certain Eutropius amended the manuscript of the Epitoma in 450 ce, it is clear that Vegetius must have written before that year.

Article

Jerusalem  

Avner Ecker

After the Babylonian exile, Jews returned to their city under Cyrus I and rebuilt their temple in Jerusalem in 539 bce. Jerusalem eventually became the only monotheistic centre within the Greco-Roman world. Most Jews regarded their temple as the only temple to Yahweh. Three annual pilgrimages from the entire Mediterranean basin marked the city’s life cycle. The temple grew rich through donations, tithes, and a voluntary tax given by Jews. The city of the Second Temple Period was run according to a set of Jewish religious laws. Antiochus IV attempted to mould it into a Greek-style polis and instigated the Maccabean revolt (167–160 bce). The riches of the temple allured Hellenistic and Roman rulers alike, whereas the unique religious character of Jewish Jerusalem posed continuous political challenges. Indeed, the city was besieged, and the temple occasionally plundered by a succession of Hellenistic and Roman conquerors. Jerusalem and the temple flourished under Herod and his dynasts (Plin. HN 5.

Article

papyrology, Latin  

J. David Thomas

In comparison with Greek papyri, Latin papyri are uncommon, even when “papyri” is understood in a wide sense so as to include *ostraca and parchment scraps. This is so because the vast majority of papyri come from the eastern Mediterranean, where the language of administration was Greek even under the Roman empire. Latin was in regular use in this area until c. 300ce only in the military sphere; and although *Diocletian made an effort to encourage the use of Latin in the eastern provinces, this did not have any great effect.Since the turn of the 20th century, some 600 Latin papyri have been published, less than a quarter of which are literary. Most come from Egypt, but finds have also been made at Dura-*Europus, Nessana, and *Masada, as well as in the west. Two literary papyri dating from the reign of *Augustus are known: the much discussed elegiac verses from Qasr Ibrim attributed to *Cornelius Gallus1 and a fragment of *Cicero, In Verrem (CPL 20).