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The essays in War and Society in the Roman World collectively offer an innovative investigation into this area of classical studies, a field which has long been in need of different critical perspectives. This collection avoids rehashing the minutiae of warfare, viewing it instead as a species of social action, affected by social conditions and ideologies, and having social, economic and cultural consequences.
The central theme of this volume is the shifting relationship between warfare and the Roman citizen body. The dominant role of war in Roman life under the Republic is examined, together with the related themes of Roman expansion and its consequences both for the Romans and for those they conquered. Under the principate, expansion largely ended, and the inhabitants of the empire enjoyed the Roman peace, protected by a professional army. A number of chapters focus on these changes, explaining how they came about, analyzing their effect on attitudes to war and probing the extent to which peace was a reality. The final chapters study the Late Empire in terms of the rise of warlords and, in the West, the final disappearance of the Roman army.