Frontiers of the Roman Empire
A Social and Economic Study
Although the Roman empire was one of the longest lasting in history, it was never ideologically conceived by its rulers or inhabitants as a territory within fixed limits. Yet Roman armies clearly reached certain points—which today we call frontiers—where they simply stopped advancing and annexing new territories. In Frontiers of the Roman Empire, C. R. Whittaker examines the Roman frontiers both in terms of what they meant to the Romans and in their military, economic, and social function.
Observing that frontiers are rarely, if ever, static, Whittaker argues that the very success of the Roman frontiers as permeable border zones sowed the seeds of their eventual destruction. As the frontiers of the late empire ceased to function, the ideological distinctions between Romans and barbarians became blurred. Yet the very permeability of the frontiers, Whittaker contends, also permitted a transformation of Roman society, breathing new life into the empire rather than causing its complete extinction.
About the Author
C. R. Whittaker was university lecturer in classics and fellow of Churchill College at Cambridge University.
Whittaker has made the first systematic attempt to integrate the study of the Roman frontiers and imperial policy with that of the frontier economy and society. All those interested in Roman frontier studies and imperialism will be grateful for a book which discusses old questions along new lines and which raises new questions of general importance.
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