Rome & the Sword (Hardcover)
How Warriors & Weapons Shaped Roman History
Thames & Hudson, 9780500251829, 328pp.
Publication Date: October 24, 2011
Simon James provides a striking new perspective on Roman history by focusing on the soldiers and their actions. Rome's soldiers were less sentinels of civilization than enforcers for aristocrats and autocrats against foreign foes and internal dissent. They were brutal and unruly, prone to mutiny and rebellion. How, then, to account for their sustained success and their eventual failure Rome's dominion was achieved through soldiers' ferocity and excellent weaponry, but to maintain it the conquered were integrated, as diplomacy accompanied the threat of the sword. Millions of allies and subjects became Romans themselves through military service. Nevertheless, the aggression of Rome's soldiers precipitated the creation of a new Sasanian superpower in Iran and great barbarian confederations in the North.