Standing by the standards: military rank and social status in the Roman west from Augustus to Diocletian

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Manklow, Charles 

This thesis broadly conceived is about the relationship between military and civil society in the time of the Roman Principate. It is about making sense of the tensions experienced by the soldiers and veterans of the Roman army between their lives as milites and as cives. This thesis weaves soldiers and veterans back into the wider social fabric of the Roman world – the social environments from which they commenced their military service, and into which they would settle upon their discharge. The problem is approached from three distinct angles, primarily through the lens of the centurionate: 1) variation in the legal privileges and restrictions upon the social lives of military personnel according to their rank; 2) the tensions and benefits resulting from the social heterogeneity of those accorded the same military rank; 3) the importance, or perceived importance, of the military factor in the status and reception of the soldier or veteran within their hometowns. The first and second case-studies are approached by contrasting the representation of the social position of centurions in a variety of documents: literary and legal, epigraphical and papyrological. The third case-study utilises a combination of statistical and prosopographical approaches to epigraphy to build up a general picture of soldier and veteran participation in local elite life. These case-studies restore agency to soldiers and veterans by contrasting their self-representation with the ways in which they are represented by others: by the equestrians and senators who commanded them; by the literary and senatorial elites who wrote about them; by the towns they called home and whose local offices they held. This thesis argues that soldiers and veterans were actively engaged with, and responding to, the construction and deconstruction of their identities by various external groups, ultimately positioning themselves as the crucial link between army, town and emperor.

Patterson, John
Roman History, Roman Army, Roman Veterans, Epigraphy, Social History, Roman Towns, Roman Principate, Roman marriage law, Centurions, Civic life, Praefecti, Roman emperors
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Awarding Institution
University of Cambridge
AHRC (1804160)