Image and Reality of Roman Imperial Power in the Third Century AD: The Impact of War, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Image and Reality of Roman Imperial Power in the Third Century AD

The Impact of War, 1st Edition

By Lukas de Blois


312 pages | 6 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9780815353737
pub: 2018-08-17
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781351135597
pub: 2018-09-03
from $28.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


Image and Reality of Roman Imperial Power in the Third Century AD focuses on the wide range of available sources of Roman imperial power in the period AD 193-284, ranging from literary and economic texts, to coins and other artefacts. This volume examines the impact of war on the foundations of the economic, political, military, and ideological power of third-century Roman emperors, and the lasting effects of this. This detailed study offers insight into this complex and transformative period in Roman history and will be a valuable resource to any student of Roman imperial power.


"Professor De Blois, long recognized as a leader in the area of Roman History, has produced an admirably clear analysis of the complex third century AD. The argument is clear and original, the study of how a new, professional administrative class saved a state that had lost direction and imagination will resonate with readers whose interests range well beyond the history of Ancient Rome."

- David Potter, University of Michigan, USA

"Whether in legal, military, political, or economic matters, there can hardly be a scholar more qualified to venture an opinion, let alone produce a definitive statement, on the situation in the third century CE than Lukas de Blois … De Blois has crafted a fascinating approach to the third century that makes the most of his undeniable expertise. The book will be of interest to any who wish to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the period, have an interest in imperial power, or to specialists in the period’s political, military, economic, or ideological history."

- Jane Sancinito, Oberlin College, USA, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2019

Table of Contents

List of maps




CHAPTER I : Introduction

    1. The Roman Empire about AD 200
    2. Power, ancient and modern
    3. Available sources

  • Literary texts
  • Juridical texts
  • Inscriptions, coins, and papyrus texts
  • Archaeological evidence

1.4 Status quaestionis


2.1 Escalation, crisis, and recovery

2.2 The Severan era from AD 193 to 230

2.3 Escalation: the years 231-249

2.4 Crisis: the years 249-268

2.5 Recovery: the years 268-284

2.6 Conclusions

CHAPTER III: Economic sources of imperial power, AD 193-284

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Tax territories

3.3 Mining

3.4 Imperial domains

3.5 Debasement of the imperial coinage

3.6 Conclusions

CHAPTER IV: Sources of military and political imperial power, AD 193-284

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Sources of military power

4.3 Networks and administrative personnel

- Changing appointment policies

- The local level

- The emperor’s bureaucracy

4.4 Conclusions

CHAPTER V: Ideological sources of imperial power

5.1 Introduction

5.2 Good imperial behavior and general goodwill

5.3 A permanent potential for victory

5.4 Dynastic claims

5.5 Infant emperors

5.6 Divine associations

CHAPTER VI: Conclusions



About the Author

Lukas de Blois is Emeritus Professor of Ancient History at Radboud University at Nijmegen in The Netherlands. He published books and articles on the history of the Roman Empire in the third century AD, the history of the Late Roman Republic, ancient historiography (Sallust, Tacitus, Cassius Dio), Plutarch’s biographies, and Greek Sicily in the fourth century BC. He also published a manual, together with Bert van der Spek (L. de Blois & R.J. van der Spek, Introduction to the Ancient World 3rd edition, Routledge, forthcoming).

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Ancient History

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies