The Roman Soldier in the Late Antique Southeast, AD 400-600
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Where most books on military affairs in Late Antiquity focus on wars and generals, this book provides the first detailed examination of the lived experiences of Rome’s low-ranking soldiers. Using a broad array of evidence including, among many other sources, the Codices Theodosianus and Justinianus, the Anastasius edicts, the papyri from Nessana and Syene, the military handbooks (Maurice’s Strategikon), classicizing histories (Procopius, Agathias, and Theophylact Simocatta), and the physical remains of sites like el-Lejjun (Jordan), this book reconstructs the life of a solider in the late antique East. The book’s intention is to unearth the lived experiences of the soldiers: where they came from, what was expected of them, what activities they were engaged in, where they lived, and what they ate. Where possible, soldiers’ mentality, both in combat and with respect to their wider interactions with the civilian communities, their officers and generals, and the state is also explored. Using the rich legal evidence as its foundation and covering a formative period in the Roman Empire’s history (AD 450-600), this book reveals that for all the challenges that a Roman soldier faced the military remained a viable and attractive career choice for many at the end of antiquity.
Conor Whately is an associate professor of Classics at the University of Winnipeg, Canada. He has published widely on Roman imperial war and warfare, as well as on late antique historiography; his published monographs include Battles and Generals (2016) and Exercitus Moesiae (2016). Whately is the holder of an SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada) research grant, and is on the editorial board of Phoenix, the journal of the Classical Association of Canada.