The Western Frontiers of Imperial Rome

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

minded of the various societies of Mark Twain Huckleberry Finn. As Huck and Jim drifted down the Mississippi River, they came to know various groups of people, each possessing different social organizations, attitudes, customs, and turns of speech, but all united in the common experience of living on the river.


Notes
1.
The processes by which the presence of Roman garrisons influenced local economies are complex and varied. The general issue is considered by Lothar Wierschowski , Heer und Wirtschaft: das römische Heer der Prinzipatszeit als Wirtschaftsfaktor, while particular cases are considered by N. J. Higham and G. D. B. Jones , "Frontier, Forts, and Farmers," Archaeological Journal 132 ( 1975): 16-28; and P. A. G. Clack, "The Northern Frontier: Farmers in the Military Zone," in The Romano-British Countryside: Studies in Rural Settlement and Economy, ed. D. Miles ( Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982), pp. 377-402.
2.
It is unlikely, however, that there was anything like a Roman colonization of the countryside. In the North of England, Belgium, and northern France, where rural archaeology and aerial photography has been most intense, it would appear that the development of large estates and small farms was equally the work of natives, although immigrants from the interior provinces may well have provided the immediate stimulus. See J. Mertens, "The Military Origins of Some Roman Settlements in Belgium," in Rome and Her Northern Provinces, ed. Brian Hartley and John Wacher, p. 116, for Belgium and northeastern France, and p. 127 for the North of England; and Edith Wightman, "The Pattern of Rural Settlement in Roman Gaul," in Aufsteig und Niedergang der römischen Welt, ed. Hildegard Temporini and Wolfgang Haase, vol. 2, part 4: 584-657.
3.
Since many of the goods shipped were bulk items such as hides, grain, timber, and metals, water routes were preferable to the slower and much less efficient land routes.
4.
This could include bulk shipment over considerable distances. It should be remembered that large transfers of goods between Britain and the lower Rhine were common throughout the frontier period.
5.
The basic unit of Roman government was the civitas, or city, and its surrounding pagus, or countryside. Administration, public works, maintenance of law and order, and the administration of justice were the responsibilities of the leading citizens of such a district and were concentrated in the civitas. The civitas was thus somewhat similar to the American county, although some were of considerably greater area.

One might also note that the population of the civitates in the heartland of the empire was frequently a combination of Roman, Romanized, and native people. In this regard, the social structure of the frontier civitas did not differ significantly from that of the interior of the empire.

6.
This characterization is true only of the short run. The long-term situation of frontier settlements was, of course, much more complex. The history of the frontier is filled with local revolts, army mutinies, "barbarian" raids and invasions, and the permanent transfer of military units.

-70-

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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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