With The Emperor and the Army in the Later Roman Empire, AD 235–395 Mark Hebblewhite offers the first study solely dedicated to examining the nature of the relationship between the emperor and his army in the politically and militarily volatile later Roman Empire. Bringing together a wide range of available literary, epigraphic and numismatic evidence he demonstrates that emperors of the period considered the army to be the key institution they had to mollify in order to retain power and consequently employed a range of strategies to keep the troops loyal to their cause. Key to these efforts were imperial attempts to project the emperor as a worthy general (imperator) and a generous provider of military pay and benefits. Also important were the honorific and symbolic gestures each emperor made to the army in order to convince them that they and the empire could only prosper under his rule.
"Hebblewhite does an admirable job of presenting the ofttimes contradictory literary, epigraphic, and numismatic evidence (both inscriptional and iconographic), confronting the issues it raises, and coming to conclusions […] The book is clearly written and well organized."
- R. T. Ingoglia, Saint Thomas Aquinas College, USA, CHOICE Reviews
"This is a stimulating work that provides an easy-to-use catalogue of the coinage and legal sources showing the relationship between the Emperor and the Roman army […] If they’d read Hebblewhite’s book, many late Roman emperors might have been more successful."
- Hugh Elton, Trent University, Canada, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2017
"Au total, nous pensons que ce livre aura sa place dans toutes les bibliothèques bien composées."
-Yann Le Bohec, Paris-Sorbonne University, France, Sehepunkte Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften 2017
"Hebblewhite made a masterful study, being able to bring together a wide range of literary, epigraphic, as well as numismatic evidence, and present us with a convincing and concise analysis of nature of the relationship between the emperor and the army in what was politically and militarily turbulent period for the Later Roman empire […] Hebblewhite’s book is a valuable contribution to the field that nicely complements Campbell’s earlier work and provides us with a badly needed insight into the emperor’s relationship with the military in the late antiquity. As such, it should be a mandatory addition to every university library"
- Vedran Bileta, De Re Militari, The Society for Medieval Military History
"….Hebblewhite’s study is filled with new materials and original viewpoints, especially in the economic, monetary and numismatic spheres relating to the Roman army. It will surely be of value and importance to scholars and students of the period for many years to come."
- Haggai Olshanetsky, Scripta Classica Israelica
"As such, his book provides a useful introduction to this specific historiographical problem, a thought-provoking reading, and a good starting point for more nuanced and comprehensive analyses."
- Luisa Andriollo, Bamberg
"In this learned, clearly written, and visually pleasing monograph, Mark Hebblewhite explores the fraught relationship between the emperor and the soldiers he led."
– Byzantina Symmeitkta 28 (2018)
"This book offers a compact and source-oriented access to the relationship of emperor and army in the 3rd and 4th centuries."
- Christoph Begass, Univeristat Mannheim, Germany, Historische Zeitschrift vol. 308/1, 2019
List of Figures
Preface and Acknowledgements
Selected Roman Emperors and Usurpers
Fides, the Army and the Emperor
The Ancient Sources
Chapter 1 – Dawn of the Warrior Emperor
Dynastic Rule Redefined?
A Dynastic Resurgence?
The Emperor as Commilito?
Chapter 2 –Advertising Military Success
Coinage and the Projection of Military Power
Virtus, Victoria and an empire in crisis
Virtus: The courage to lead
Victoria: An emperor’s duty
Emperors Armed for battle
Diocletian to Theodosius the Great: new messages for a new age
Portraits of Power
The Titulature of Military Success
Projecting success in crisis
Tetrarchs and dynasts: the titulature of shared military success
Chapter 3 – Praemia Militiae
Praemia Militiae of the Republic and Early Empire
A Severan Mercenary Army?
Praemia Militiae 235-395
Ceremony and the donativum
Stipendium: A Dying Praemium?
The Annona Militaris: Dona
The Economics of Praemia Militiae
Chapter 4 - The Emperor, The Law and Disciplina Militaris
The later empire
Soldiers and their families
Barbarians in a citizen army
Chapter 5 – Rituals of Identity
Acclamatio: The First Act of Fidelity?
Acclamatio in the age of the soldier emperors
Adlocutio: Presence and Power
The ceremony of adlocutio
The impact of adlocutio
Sacramentum Militiae: The Military Oath of Fidelity
Empty words in an age of chaos
The imperial perspective
An oath honoured?
Chapter 6 – Symbols of Power
Signa Militaria and Imagines
Signa Militaria: Heart of the Unit?
Imperial Co-option of the signa militaria
Images of Identity, Images of Power
Epithets of Identity
Emperors of the Third Century Crisis: Caracalla’s Heirs?
Diocletian, Constantine and the honorific epithets of the Notitia Dignitatum
Concordia, Fides and Crisis
Virtus, Gloria and the Fourth Century Army