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Frontiers of Imperial Rome

Frontiers of Imperial Rome [Kindle Edition]

David John Breeze
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

At its height, the Roman Empire was the greatest empire yet seen, its borders stretching from the rain-swept highlands of Scotland in the north to the sun-scorched Nubian desert in the south. But how were the vast and varied stretches of frontier defined and defended?

Many of Rome's frontier defenses have been the subject of detailed and ongoing study and scholarship. Three frontier zones are now UNESCO World Heritage sites (the Antonine Wall having recently been granted this status - the author led the bid), and there is growing interest in their study. This wide-ranging survey will describe the varying frontier systems, describing the extant remains, methods and materials of construction and highlighting the differences between various frontiers. Professor Breeze considers how the frontiers worked, discussing this in relation to the organization and structure of the Roman army, and also their impact on civilian life along the empire's borders. He then reconsiders the question of whether the frontiers were the product of an overarching Empire-wide grand strategy, questioning Luttwak's seminal hypothesis.

This is a detailed and wide-ranging study of the frontier systems of the Roman Empire by a leading expert. Intended for the general reader, it is sure also to be of great value for academics and students in this field. The appendixes will include a brief guide to visiting the sites today.

About the Author

Professor David Breeze prepared the successful bid for World Heritage Site status for the Antonine Wall and now leads the team implementing its management He was formerly Chief Inspector of Ancient Monuments for Scotland. He has written books on both the Antonine Wall and Hadrian's Wall as well as on Roman Scotland and the Roman army. David Breeze is an honorary professor at the universities of Durham, Edinburgh and Newcastle, and is chairman of the International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies. He lives in Edinburgh.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 7460 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword (27 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007B2T1YG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,452 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Searching for the function of the frontiers 15 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
What was the purpose of the Roman frontiers? It seems a simple enough question and one might think that the answer ought to be equally simple, yet many years of scholarship have failed to reach a consensus. Indeed some more pessimistic investigators feel that we may never be able to arrive at an answer.

David Breeze thinks otherwise. He begins with a survey of the sources available to us, along with historical background. The larger part of the book considers the nature of the frontiers themselves, whether constructed linear barriers, walls, palisades & ditches, or making use of natural boundaries in the form of rivers, deserts, mountains, the sea and even forests, marshes and swamps. Breeze notes that our understanding is variable due to differing levels of archaeological research around the various parts of the frontier, and he furthermore confesses that his coverage of some areas in this book is not complete, such as the later defences of the Julian Alps and the long walls of Thrace, as well as the Great Hungarian Plain and at Galati in Romania. The book nevertheless provides a useful overview of the variety of forms, features and structures employed.

The third and final part discusses the interpretation of the evidence, finally addressing the question of purpose. Was it really to defend against attacks by large armies? Well it's historically clear that this was spectacularly unsuccessful if that was indeed its purposes. Was it to defend against smaller scale raiding? Was it (as seems to be an obligatory reason given for anything by historians these days) a "statement of power", a prestige construction to impress foreigners with the might of Rome? Perhaps a deterrence? Was it part of a
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book - with flaws 19 Mar 2012
David J. Breeze is an Honorary Professor at the universities of Durham, Edinburgh and Newcastle. He is the author of several books about Roman history, including Hadrian's Wall (Penguin History) (with Brian Dobson, 4th edition, 2000) and The Antonine Wall (2006).

His book about the frontiers of imperial Rome is based on ancient literary sources, archaeological objects and modern scholarship. The text is divided into three major parts. Here is a brief overview:

* Part I: Sources - chapters 1-6
* Part II: The Frontiers - chapters 7-13
* Part III: Interpretation - chapters 14- 20

At the end of the book we find the following five items: Conclusions - Further Reading - Sites to See - Notes - Index.

The illustrations are numerous and well-chosen. There are 48 black-and-white illustrations (maps and drawings). In addition, there are 28 plates with photos printed on special paper in the middle of the book. Most photos are in colour.

In the introduction the author explains what his book is about: "The vital questions at the heart of this book are therefore: how did Roman frontiers operate and what were their purpose and role?"

He adds that his book is not about Roman emperors, not about Roman foreign policy, and not about the Roman army: "The focus is firmly on the frontier installations themselves."

He hopes his readers will be encouraged to visit some of the sites mentioned in the book: "The remains of Roman frontiers are best seen and understood in their topographical settings even though these have been modified over the last 2,000 years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book 29 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A book, which as the author suggests, try to generate a synopsis on the Roman frontiers; at my advice it does more than that especially by putting together the archaeological evidence, which until today, has always been considered in "bits", depending on the frontier, without generating an overall picture.

A good book for this who would like to deepen their knowledge on Roman Empire frontiers!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Sep 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Superb detail that I did not think existed
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well researched and comprehensive scholarly study 4 April 2012
By J. Groen - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a well researched and comprehensive scholarly study of the frontiers of the Roman Empire. The author uses both the primary references and archaelogical finds to evaluate the frontiers from Britain through Germany, the Danube river, Syria and Turkey and even Africa. All geographical areas of the Roman Empire are covered and all periods from Augustus through the fifth century.

I was really impressed with both the research and thoroughness of the study. And, the pictures and maps do a good job of depicting what towers, walls, forts and fortlets looked like during all periods of Rome. The book also focuses on the emperors who were the most active at building up the empire's frontiers, starting with Hadrian, for whom the great wall in Britain is named, through Valentinian in the fourth century.

On the negative side, and the reason that I can't give the book the highest rating, the prose rambles and tends to get dry and boring at times (like most scholarly studies of the Roman Empire.) Consequently, I would only recommend this book for those individuals who are truly interested in this period. This is not for the casual reader - it required my attention fully to keep with what the author was writing.

However, I do recommend this book and will keep it as a future reference in my home.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading and a great reference! 8 Mar 2012
By Aristotle S Spencer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Professor David J Breeze set out to study Roman frontiers in detail. He especially wanted to study the activities and movement of people at such borders and the establishment of defence structures;their construction, their purpose and how they worked. By doing so he has been able to detail the role of the soldiers (defence or/and implementation of Roman law), the impact of an emperor's ambition (such as Emperor Hadrian and his creation in Britain), the methods of construction of forts and walls and especially the types of building materials used. Interestingly, he challenges some long held historical views on Roman frontiers.

The book is not boring. It is well written and can be interesting and useful to lay readers or to those doing serious studies in the classics. It can be read as a continuous piece of work or simply used as a reference when required. The colour plates and sketches add depth to the book.

The author is not an armchair writer as he has travelled extensively to study first hand numerous Roman frontiers, he has consulted with the local experts and he has also done a thorough investigation into the literature on this subject and it is extensively detailed in the bibliography.Therefore, this book can be a great addition to one's library on the Roman Empire.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Look at the "Edges" of the Roman Empire 21 July 2013
By A. A. Nofi - Published on
A summary of the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'An overview of current thinking on the nature and role of Rome's frontiers by one of the most distinguished scholars in the field. Prof. Breeze (Chairman, International Congress of Roman Frontier Studies), author of The Antonine Wall and Hadrian's Wall (Penguin History), divides the subject into three parts. He opens with a review ancient literature referring to the frontiers and the evidence from archaeology and other siences. Then he takes a closer look at the frontiers, section by section. But he does this not by picking a starting point and following the frontier around the empire. Rather Breeze takes a thematic approach, comparing and contrasting the ways in which the Romans adapted their notions of frontier security to the nature of the terrain, seas, forests, rivers, swamps, mountains, and more, and how frontier arrangements were influenced by Roman notions of those beyond the limits of the empire, from quasi-Romanized tribesmen to casual bandits, large scale raiders, and so forth right up to potential conquerors. Finally, he draws a series of conclusions, discussing the purpose of the frontier systems, their evolution, variations in military deployments , even strategic planning, and ends with a consideration of the overall effectiveness of the entire concept. This work is indispensable for any student of Roman military institutions and policies, and likely to be the standard work for some time.'

For the full review, see StrategyPage.Com
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but it gets bogged down at times 5 Mar 2013
By Chris - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This shows a little known part of Roman history but it gets bogged down in details at some points and seems to reply on written sources too much..
Still it is about a subject I've never seen discussed anywhere else.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book 26 May 2013
By lynn - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
great book on Roman history. Anyone interested in ancient Rome and military history would love to own this book a must read
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