Talk:Political history of the Roman military

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initial setup of article[edit]

Setting up a stub to prevent red links, will be working on this article this week. Could do with help :-) - PocklingtonDan 16:50, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

What exactly do you envision this article being about, exactly? What constitutes a "political history"? I added a link to the Marian Reforms as I think many historians view the reforms as those changes which made the politicization of the legions possible - Vedexent (talk) - 08:51, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi, I have already written articles on the structural and campaign histories of the roman military but it was suggested by several editors that articles focusing on political and technological history would be necessary also. With regards to the political history, I would envisage any political impact of the roman military would need to be discussed - their use in usurpations, as a political threat camped outside Rome, their election of emperors in the late Empire etc. To be honest I am committed to quite a few articles at the moment that I'm either writing from scratch or working to expand, so this article might not expand as quickly as I would like. Any help (suggestions for material to include, or actual editing of the article) would be greatly appreciated. - PocklingtonDan 11:13, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Ok. I think the article will have a larger concentration on the Empire period then, when the Legions were Imperial power. However, post-Marian reform legions start to be politicized: e.g. Marius' legions themselves v.s. Sulla's Legions, the legions of Caesar, etc. Even though Pompey and Crassus used their legions for political gain following the Third Servile War. - Vedexent (talk) - 14:38, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I would start the politicization with the privatization of the legions, starting with Crassus during the Third Servile War. Wandalstouring 14:54, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Hmm... that's right. Didn't Crassus pay for his additional legions out of his own pocket? I didn't add that to the Third Servile War article. Do you have a reference for that? I'm not sure if I read that, or just remember (possible erroneously). I also seem to recall that Pompey outfit "private" legions out of his own fortune to aid Sulla, no? - Vedexent (talk) - 15:01, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm going to write the article with the interaction of politics and military starting far earlier and having roots in military status matching political and social status in the kingdom etc, but everything you both mention shold obviously be included also. There's quite a lot of angles to this topic when I start to look at it. Any help tat you both (and any others) can give with this article is appreciated. Its obviously stubby at the moment but I iwll be working to develop it - PocklingtonDan 15:32, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Crassus*.html chapter 18 indirectly mentions the possibility of Crassus arming a whole army. Earlier it is stated he fielded 250 men in his younger years and rearmed his troops during the servile war.
  1. Allen Mason Ward: Marcus Crassus and the late Roman Republic, Columbia/Miss. 1977, ISBN 0-8262-0216-0. Is perhaps more helpful. Wandalstouring 22:20, 17 November 2006 (UTC)
Lacking the text myself, perhaps you might add that snippet to the Third Servile War, including the reference, of course? I would greatly appreciate that. I only mentioned that he was "...assigned six new legions..." - but it would be of note if he bought six new legions - and it might explain how a former praetor with a modest political career (but lots of money) could be appointed to such a large military command. (sorry for hi-jacking the talk page, we now return you to the proper topic...). - Vedexent (talk) - 23:10, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

In the terms of politication I found out something new, army clientel. The traditional clientel relationsship applied to army personnel after the Marian reforms and this way strengthened the bonds between commander and troops, even after active duty. It played a crucial role for the civil wars. Wandalstouring 22:23, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Its not someting I'm familiar with but it sounds like ideal content for the article - PocklingtonDan 10:51, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

ideas and comments for expansion?[edit]

OK, I've got the main framework in place for the main themes, even if the text itself could be expanded a lot further with more details. Does anyone have any other important themes on the political history of the military that they feel that should be worked in? Cheers - PocklingtonDan 20:40, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Ideas: You might consider starting the article with the early Republican period, noting that the Roman army in 500 BCE was organized in five classes in parallel to the comitia centuriata, the citizen body organized politically. This theme in early Rome could be expanded. See the first paragraph (and cited references) under the section "Military" in the article "Ancient Rome," which reflects research and writing I've just done for another purpose. The cited article by Potter spends some time discussing the influence of the patrician/plebian conflicts and their resolution on the effectiveness and aggressiveness of the army in the period 400-300 BCE. Beyond this, it's worth pointing out that in the Republic and to some extent in the Empire as well, there was no real distinction between a political career and a military career -- the cursus honorum was a succession of posts that involved both types of duties, sometimes simultaneously (eg., the consuls). I think there's a lot of potential in this article as a way to highlight part of the essence of ancient Rome. I'd like to put in some work but won't be able to until a few other commitments are taken care of. Simmaren 20:32, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

In criticism of my own article...[edit]

... I think the focus on subjugation of the military to indivdual politicians is too narrow an interpretation of the political history of the military. I think I need to add tot he article greatly discussing the use of the army for political goals. Note that this is not the same as a campaign history but a discussion of its use as a political tool - when it was employed in force, when it was used as a threat, when it wasn't employed at all etc, all in subjugation of political goals. I willt ry and work on this article in this vein this week - PocklingtonDan 16:56, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

I suggest merging the campaigns and the use of military power for interior conflicts into one article (even it gets overlong) there wasn't that much difference to it. Wandalstouring 17:51, 19 November 2006 (UTC)