Rome and the Enemy: Imperial Strategy in the Principate
How did the Romans build and maintain one of the most powerful and stable empires in the history of the world? This illuminating book draws on the literature, especially the historiography, composed by the members of the elite who conducted Roman foreign affairs. From this evidence, Susan P. Mattern reevaluates the roots, motivations, and goals of Roman imperial foreign policy especially as that policy related to warfare. In a major reinterpretation of the sources, Rome and the Enemy shows that concepts of national honor, fierce competition for status, and revenge drove Roman foreign policy, and though different from the highly rationalizing strategies often attributed to the Romans, dictated patterns of response that remained consistent over centuries.
Mattern reconstructs the world view of the Roman decision-makers, the emperors, and the elite from which they drew their advisers. She discusses Roman conceptions of geography, strategy, economics, and the influence of traditional Roman values on the conduct of military campaigns. She shows that these leaders were more strongly influenced by a traditional, stereotyped perception of the enemy and a drive to avenge insults to their national honor than by concepts of defensible borders. In fact, the desire to enforce an image of Roman power was a major policy goal behind many of their most brutal and aggressive campaigns.
Rome and the Enemy provides a fascinating look into the Roman mind in addition to a compelling reexamination of Roman conceptions of warfare and national honor. The resulting picture creates a new understanding of Rome's long mastery of the Mediterranean world.
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A. R. Birley Africa Agrippa ancient sources Arabia argues Armenia attested Augustus barbarians Britain Brunt Caesar campaigns Caracalla Caspian Cass Cassius Dio century B.C. chap Claudius coins command commentary Commodus conquered conquest Corbulo Crassus Dacian Danube Decebalus defeat described discussion Domitian Duncan-Jones embassies emperor empire empire's enemy especially example expedition famous force foreign frontier Gaius Gallus garrison Gaul geographical Germanicus Germans governor Greek Hadrian Herodian Hist honor hostages ibid imperial important invasion Isaac king land legates legionaries legions literary Lucan MacMullen Marcomanni Marcus Aurelius miles military Millar Moesia Nero Nero's Nicolet ocean Parthian peace perceived Pliny HN Polybius praetorian provinces Ptolemy Quadi reign Republic revolt RGDA Rhine Rome Rome's Scythians senate sesterces Severus Alexander soldiers status Strabo Suet Suetonius Tacfarinas Tacitus territory Tiberius traditional Trajan treaty tribes tribute triumph troops Verus Vespasian victory victory titles wars Whittaker writes