Thomas Grunewald's Bandits in the Roman Empire: Myth and Reality PDF

By Thomas Grunewald

ISBN-10: 041532744X

ISBN-13: 9780415327442

This wide-ranging and informative survey of 'outsider' teams within the Roman Empire will give a contribution tremendously to our knowing of Roman social historical past. studying males equivalent to as Viriatus, Tacfarinus, Maternus and Bulla Felix, who have been known as latrones after clashing with the imperial professionals, precise cognizance is given to maybe the best-known 'bandit' of all, Spartacus, and to people who impersonated the emperor Nero after his loss of life. themes coated contain: * Whom did the Romans see as bandits (latrones)? * What did they comprehend as theft (lactrocinium)?* How urgent was once the chance that the bandits posed?* How did their contemporaries understand the risk? we're proven that the time period latrones used to be not only used to consult criminals yet used to be metaphorically and disparagingly utilized to failed political rebels, opponents and avengers. The notice additionally got here to symbolize the 'noble brigands', idealising the underdog as a method of criticising the successful part. the writer as a result offers 'the bandit' as a literary build instead of a social sort.

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In all cases where Roman writers paid especial attention to bandits, they accorded the latter a particular function according to their historiographical preconceptions. Viriatus was specifically selected as the embodiment of early Roman virtues, to be contrasted with Roman commanders regarded as self-seeking and untrustworthy representatives of the decadent senatorial oligarchy. 10 The two most important sources for Viriatus, the accounts of Polybius and Posidonius, are lost, but scholars are sure that the essentials of the picture given of Viriatus and the events in which he took part by writers of later periods derive from these two authors, who were near contemporaries.

59 However, travel does not appear to have become much safer as a result. 60 Among official countermeasures were, in the first place, the police. 61 He delegated particular duties to different authorities, above all to the municipal police. We know of security personnel from regions of the Empire under various titles. The districts of Egypt appear to have had the most highly developed provincial police service; this will be discussed further below. In this respect, the towns and villages of the Roman West seem to have been very backward.

A war of liberation against corrupt Roman generals could, looking back from the imperial period, be very much pointed up as a ‘good example’ (exemplum bonum). By contrast, even by the time of Florus, leadership of a slave revolt could not be forgiven. But Florus was not the only Roman writer who was reminded of Spartacus by Viriatus. Ammianus Marcellinus made the same connection, and this demonstrates the constancy of such chains of thought over time. 32 4 Viriatus as barbarian and leader of a guerrilla war That the majority of ancient authors believed that they did justice to the personality of Viriatus by terming him, without prejudice, latro or leistarchos (‘bandit leader’)33 followed from the coincidence of several distinguishing qualities, of which his pastoral origin was but one.

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Bandits in the Roman Empire: Myth and Reality by Thomas Grunewald


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