The Western Frontiers of Imperial Rome

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

X FINAL THOUGHTS

Almost from its very inception, the Roman imperial administration realized that its economic and human resources were insufficient to support continued Roman expansion and barely adequate to defend the frontiers of those lands that had already been acquired. Moreover, the Italian heartland of the empire had been exhausted by civil wars that had accompanied the fall of the republic and never recovered its earlier vigor and vitality. The traditional Roman sources of manpower, money, and material continued to dwindle during the early imperial period. One last effort at expansion was conducted under the emperor Augustus and had to be abandoned in the face of determined resistance. It was clear to Augustus and most of his immediate successors that the empire no longer possessed the power to conquer and subdue more hostile territory. The immediate task became that of finding and manning defensible boundaries. By the middle of the first century A.D., Roman legions had taken up positions in Britain and along the Rhine and Danube rivers, and were industriously constructing a fortified and fixed defensive frontier. Except for some relatively minor and temporary adjustments, this line was held until the final crumbling of the Roman Empire in the West during the course of the fifth century.


The Frontier Process

The conquest and occupation of these border provinces and frontier districts caused dramatic changes, altering the physical aspect of the land and transforming the economic, social, and political structure of

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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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