Security in Roman Times: Rome, Italy and the Emperors, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Security in Roman Times

Rome, Italy and the Emperors, 1st Edition

By Cecilia Ricci


300 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-12-04
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Using literary, epigraphic, numismatic and iconographic sources this book investigates the safety devices that were in place for the protection of the emperor and the city of Rome in the imperial age. In the aftermath of the civil wars Augustus continued to provide for his physical safety in the same way as in the old Republic while, at the same time, overturning the taboo of armed men in the city. During the Augustan age, the division of the city into 14 regions and 265 vici was designed to establish control over the urban space. Augustus’ successors consolidated his policy but the specific roles of the various military or paramilitary forces remain a matter for debate. Drawing on the testimony of ancient authors such as Tacitus and Suetonius and on material evidence, the volume examines both the circumstances in which these forces intervened and the strategies that they adopted. It also examines the pre-Augustan, Augustan and post-Augustan sense of ‘securitas’, both as a philosophical and a political concept. The final section expands the focus from the city of Rome to the Italian peninsula where the security of the emperor as he travelled to his country residences required advance planning and implementation.


'Overall, Ricci has provided an interesting look at the topic of security in Roman times. The book is at its best when looking at the evidence for the various military and paramilitary units created by Augustus and his successors. The discussion of securitas in the Roman mind is very useful' - Bryn Mawr Classical Review.

Table of Contents

A Preamble

Part I.From public order to Security

1. Studies on military forces and public order in Rome and Italy from Republic to Principate: points of view

2. Between Pax, Disciplina and Securitas: Moving the focus

3.The Security of Rome and the security of the Emperor. The slow development of a discourse and its transformation into a communicative instrument

Part II. The Birth of a Dispositive

Part II Introduction.Persistence and innovation in Augustan criminal legislation; the relationship with the soldiers and the dawn of a Security plan

4.The Security of the Princeps in Rome: Military escorts and body guards

5. The Security of the Urban area and its inhabitants: Civilian, paramilitary and military personnel


Part III Introduction.The Security of the Princeps and of Urban Spaces in Rome from Tiberius to the Severans

6. A Topography of Security anddangerous places. With an episode

7.The Urban Soldiers and the City

Part IV. Policing and Security in imperial Italy

Part IV Introduction.Security in Italy and the role of the central government between Augustus and the Severans

8. Praesidia Urbis et Italiae. Grumentum and its territory: A case study

9. Praetoria and Praetorians: The Emperor’s travels and the Security (Latium Vetus)

10. Emperors on the move: Security in the Campanian cities and in the Albanum Domitiani


An Epilogue: Securitati Caesaris totiusque Urbis


About the Author

Cecilia Ricci is Professor at the University of Molise. Her main research concerns urban troops in the first two centuries of the empire and the relationship between the military and civilians, the 'memory of Rome' and the funeral rites of the Roman world and the presence of foreigners in the city in imperial times. She is author of a number of books, including Orbis in urbe: Fenomeni migratori nella Roma imperiale (2005), Qui non riposa. Cenotafi antichi e moderni fra memoria e rappresentazione (2006), Soldati, ex soldati e vita cittadina: l’Italia romana (2010) and Venafro città di Augusto (2015).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General