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Was There a Military Revolution at the End of Antiquity?

Was There a Military Revolution at the End of Antiquity? AbstractIn a book on Justinian’s wars of conquest, Peter Heather has argued that Rome’s ability to wage war in the sixth century CE was helped, to a large degree, by the military revolution that took place in Late Antiquity, which consisted of two principal parts: an increased deployment of Roman soldiers to the eastern frontier, and a shift towards Hunnic tactics. In this essay, however, I argue that these claims are misguided, and using five criteria set out by Lee Brice in an article on military revolution during the reigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great of Macedon, I show that the changes which Heather argues in favour of had begun long before Late Antiquity. Instead, what we see is the continued gradual evolution of Rome’s military, with the Roman state shifting troops to the east from the beginning of the imperial era, and the first documented implementation of steppe-inspired changes dating to the second century. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

Was There a Military Revolution at the End of Antiquity?

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 9 (1): 18 – Jun 26, 2021

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
2324-8114
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2020-0029
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn a book on Justinian’s wars of conquest, Peter Heather has argued that Rome’s ability to wage war in the sixth century CE was helped, to a large degree, by the military revolution that took place in Late Antiquity, which consisted of two principal parts: an increased deployment of Roman soldiers to the eastern frontier, and a shift towards Hunnic tactics. In this essay, however, I argue that these claims are misguided, and using five criteria set out by Lee Brice in an article on military revolution during the reigns of Philip II and Alexander the Great of Macedon, I show that the changes which Heather argues in favour of had begun long before Late Antiquity. Instead, what we see is the continued gradual evolution of Rome’s military, with the Roman state shifting troops to the east from the beginning of the imperial era, and the first documented implementation of steppe-inspired changes dating to the second century.

Journal

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Jun 26, 2021

Keywords: Roman Army; Justinian; Huns; Late Antiquity; Revolution in Military Affairs

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