The Western Frontiers of Imperial Rome

By Steven K. Drummond; Lynn H. Nelson | Go to book overview

The intensified exploitation of local resources gave rise to trading, pastoral, and agricultural economies that satisfied military, civilian, and external markets alike. The profits generated by this relatively rapid expansion not only promoted native development along the frontier, but attracted immigrants interested in similar gains from other areas of economic endeavor. The subsequent development of new ventures in manufacturing and mining, combined with the expansion of existing areas of production, eventually created a series of economically developed districts along the frontier. Each of these districts possessed a complex economy. The basic function of production was to fill the needs of the local military units. Beyond this was the possibility of the development of a particularly abundant local resource for shipment along the great water route that united both the units comprising the army of the frontier and the local economies of the districts in which they were stationed. Even beyond this was the possibility of developing local trade goods to use in tapping the rich resources beyond the frontier. The establishment of the frontier and the arrival of great numbers of foreign troops taking up permanent stations in their midst suddenly placed incredible burdens on the frontier populations, but also opened great opportunities to them. In time, the opportunities came to outweigh the burdens, and a dynamic and distinctive frontier society began to emerge.


Notes
1.
William Shakespeare, King Henry V, Act 4, Scene 1.
2.
Legions with the cognomen of Gemina were those formed by consolidating the troops of two previous legions. Among other nicknames were "Devourers," "Lightning Hurlers," and "Iron Clads." It is interesting to note that León is a short and corrupted from of civitas legionis, "city of the legion," just as Caerleon in Wales is derived from castrum legionis, "camp of the legion." The names of other cities and towns of Europe also recall their military origins.
3.
The Latin terms for these officers were optio, signifer, tesserarius, and custos armorum, respectively.
4.
See Ramsay MacMullen, "The Legion as a Society," Historia 33 ( 1984): 440-456.
5.
H. Parker M. D., The Roman Legions, p. 90, claims that the early imperial army comprised a rather small fighting force. Twenty-five legions remained of the twenty-eight retained by Augustus after the annihilation of Varus and the three legions under his command in Germany in A.D. 9. Tiberius maintained the number at twenty-five, but eight new legions were formed between A.D. 37 and 70. The emperor Vespasian ( 69-79) discharged four after quelling the revolt of

-35-

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The Western Frontiers of Imperial Rome
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps vii
  • Preface ix
  • I- The Edge of Empire 3
  • II- The Frontier Takes Shape 13
  • Notes 35
  • III- Feeding the Army- The Agrarian Settlement 42
  • Notes 70
  • IV- Pastoral Pursuits- Ranching and Grazing on the Frontier 77
  • Notes 96
  • V- Trading on and beyond the Frontier 101
  • Notes 122
  • VI- The Towns and Cities of the Frontier 127
  • Notes 147
  • VII- The Growth of Industry 152
  • Notes 169
  • VIII- The "Romanization" of the Frontier 172
  • Notes 191
  • IX- The Gods and Goddesses of the Frontier 196
  • Notes 212
  • X- Final Thoughts 216
  • Notes 224
  • Chronology of the Roman Frontier 225
  • Glossary 235
  • Selected Bibliography 249
  • Index 267
  • About the Authors 277
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