Book Review: Romans at War: Soldiers, Citizens, and Society in the Roman Republic


by Jeremy Armstrong and Michael P. Fronda, editors

New York: Routledge, 2020. Pp. xxvi, 348. Maps, tables, notes, biblio., index. $155.00. ISBN: 1138480193

The Making of the Roman Army

Editors Armstrong and Fronda have collected seventeen papers by fifteen scholars examining the various aspects of war and military service in the Roman Republic.

The book opens with an essay by Armstrong on why the Roman Army still requires more study, and includes papers on such matters as the inter-relationship among agriculture, debt, and military service, how the generous expansion of citizenship fueled the Republic’s military might, the various ways that “friends and allies” could serve in the army, the role of the goddess Bellona and women in the military culture of the Republic, the impact of the Hannibalic War on the Senate, and even a discussion of how and why the lore surrounding King Servius Tullius helped serve a social and military purpose.

There are several surprises here. For example, one paper discusses how, despite Livy and others, until the Fourth Century B.C., the “Roman Army” essentially comprised various clan and condottiero war bands rather than a properly regulated state institution, and another essay addresses the rather impressive frequency of indiscipline and even mutiny in the army during the last years of the Republic.

A volume in the excellent Routledge series “Monographs in Classical Studies”, Romans At War is an important read for anyone with an interest in the army of the Republic or the origins of the Imperial Army.



Note: Romans At War is also available in several e-editions.


StrategyPage reviews are published in cooperation with The New York Military Affairs Symposium

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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