With its succinct analysis of the overriding issues and detailed case-studies based on the latest archaeological research, this social and economic study of Roman Imperial frontiers is essential reading.
Too often the frontier has been represented as a simple linear boundary. The reality, argues Dr Elton, was rather a fuzzy set of interlocking zones - political, military, judicial and financial.
After discussion of frontier theory and types of frontier, the author analyses the acquisition of an empire and the ways in which it was ruled. He addresses the vexed question of how to define the edges of provinces, and covers the relationship with allied kingdoms. Regional variation and different rates of change are seen as significant - as is illustrated by Civilis' revolt on the Rhine in AD 69. He uses another case-study - Dura-Europos - to exemplify the role of the army on the frontier, especially its relations with the population on both sides of the border. The central importance of trade is highlighted by special consideration of Palmyra.
Having taken his D. Phil at Oxford, Hugh Elton is currently at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut. He is co-editor of Fifth-Century Gaul: a Crisis of Identity and the author of Warfare in Roman Europe.
"Prof. Elton make a valuable contribution to the unusual field of Roman frontier studies by reminding us that unlike a modern border, that is a sharply delineated line separating two states, the Roman frontier was a fuzzy zone between what was clearly Roman and what was clearly 'other.'" - Albert Nofi, The NYMAS Review