1. Making the System Work: Incorporating Cultural Values in the formation of Roman Auxiliary Cavalry/ 2. “Not only in Judaea”: Josephus on Roman civil war in the Jewish War/ 3. Conscription and Marriage in the Army of Joseph II
—-Making the System Work: Incorporating Cultural Values in the formation of Roman Auxiliary Cavalry—-
This paper deals with the early stages of the formation of the Roman auxiliary cavalry, specifically those regiments drawn from the northwestern provinces: to what degree did the Roman auxiliary cavalry develop from existing northwestern Iron Age tribal contingents of mounted warriors, and how did the Roman authorities manage the incorporation of these groups into the Roman military system? I will discuss the importance of existing societal circumstances in the process of merging different martial cultures into the Roman system.
My main argument is the theory that the comitatus or Gefolgeschaft culture – loyalty to an individual based on martial merit and a fluidity of tribal affiliation – played an important part in Rome’s ability to integrate ethnic units into the Roman military. I illustrate this with a brief study of the Julio-Claudian German bodyguard (referencing both literary sources and epigraphic examples) and the various early alae named after individual commanders, depicting a certain level of personal loyalty (again referencing both literary sources and inscriptions, e.g. ala Indiana, ala Sebosiana, and ala Atectorigiana).
This paper’s major aim is to investigate the progression of relations between Rome and specific areas which were important cavalry recruiting grounds, with a focus on the cultural import of equestrian status and the fluidity of martial values and loyalties. This will offer a new perspective on how Rome was able to incorporate varied groups into the military structure, making full use of their potential in combat while still maintaining control over potentially dangerous concentrations of volatile peoples.
—-“Not only in Judaea”: Josephus on Roman civil war in the Jewish War—-
When the emperor Nero committed suicide in 68 CE, he left Rome on the brink of civil war. Over the next year, three successors rose and fell. Finally the general Vespasian, who had been charged with suppressing the Judaean revolt, made his own bid, sending allies to Italy while he took control of the grain supplies in Alexandria. At the end of 69, his opponent was dead, and Vespasian started the journey to Rome, sending his son Titus to finish off the rebels in Judaea. A year later, the temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed, and Titus was on his way back as well, bringing with him a former prisoner, the one-time Jewish general Yosef ben-Matthias, whom we now know as Flavius Josephus, a name displaying his attachment to the Flavian dynasty that began with Vespasian.
Over the next decade, Josephus wrote a detailed account of the Jewish revolt, known today as his Jewish War. The importance of the Roman context for Josephus’ writing has been well-recognised; the importance of the post-civil war context less so. This paper aims to bridge the gap, particularly by focusing on the way in which Josephus brings Roman civil war into his narrative of Judaean history, not only in his description of 69, when the fracture of Rome mirrors the violent divisions in the rebel-held city of Jerusalem, but also in the first book, when famous Romans such as Antony and Octavian do battle not only over Rome, but over the affections of the Jewish king Herod. Throughout the Jewish War, Josephus blurs the definitions given to conflict situations – civil war, rebellion, banditry, insurrection, and foreign conquest. This blurring reflects his world, where Roman epic poetry of the period reveals an elite concern with internal conflict, and where an emperor who had won his position through open civil war on Italian soil, was celebrating the crushing of a rebellion in Judaea as though it were a foreign conquest.
—-Conscription and Marriage in the Army of Joseph II—-
Although it is typically associated with the armies of Revolutionary France, conscription was also an important feature in old-regime Europe. Yet there is a tendency to underestimate its significance.
Firstly, its stated aim was always limited to that of ancillary system intended to supplement temporary shortfalls in voluntary enlistment of professional soldiers. Furthermore, old-regime conscription was implemented selectively, exempting individuals and even entire groups considered to be socially or economically useful. As a result, orphans, unemployed, vagrants, and petty criminals made much likelier candidates for conscription than the sons of well-off peasants, trained artisans, or established heads of families. What would happen, though, when the manpower requirements of the army outstripped the locally-available pool of individuals seen as expendable?
In this paper, we will consider the army of the Habsburg Monarchy, whose expansion under Joseph II forced it to exploit new sources of manpower, even before the disastrous war against the Turks (1788-91).
To gauge the origin of its rank and file during that period, we would put together what are normally considered as two separate elements – annual conscription rates and overall marriage statistics among Austrian common soldiers.
—- 69 CE: The Year of the Four Emperors [Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian] —-
Vespasian: appointed by Nero in 66 to suppress the revolt in Judaea
Upon accession of Vitellius, headed to Alexandria, sending supporters with army to defeat Vitellius; after success, returned as emperor to Rome
His son Titus was sent to capture Jerusalem, city and temple destroyed 70 CE
Triumph at Rome: ‘inaugural’ celebration for dynasty, presenting Judaea as foreign conquest, grounding claims to imperial power in military prowess (Judaea capta coins)
—- Josephus’ Jewish War —-
T. Flavius Josephus/ Joseph Ben-Matityahu (c. 37-100 CE) fought as rebel general in revolt; captured at Jotopata; gained freedom and Flavian patronage via prophecy about Vespasian’s future as emperor; accompanied Titus and witnessed fall of Jerusalem; afterwards lived in Rome as a Flavian client
Seven book account of the revolt, written (apparently) for a predominantly non-Jewish audience in Rome; in literary Greek
Broad aims: Blaming revolt on small group of radicals (not the average Jew); demonstrating long relationship between Rome and Judaea; defence of ethnos
—- Parallel civil wars: Jewish War 4 —-
Vespasian in Galilee, suppressing pockets of resistance; about to march on Jerusalem
In Jerusalem: factionalism and civil war – terrorisation of populace by rebel ‘tyrants’
Roman civil war breaks in (news of death of Nero, then Galba, then Otho)
Careful parallelism constructed between the two cities, esp. with Vitellius corresponding to the rebel ‘tyrants’
Yet once Vespasian has started his bid for power, similarities are suppressed
—- Concern with Roman civil war not limited to account of 69 – found in earlier periods as well —-
—- Civil War that wasn’t: Jewish War 2 —-
After assassination of Gaius Caligula (41 CE), his uncle Claudius faces off with the Senate – important role played by soon-to-be Jewish king, Agrippa I
Josephus’ is the earliest account of this historical moment
Intention of senate, after Caligula’s death, to ‘restore the republic’ (or at least choose their own leader) conflicts with choice of soldiers – Claudius
Josephus uses the episode to foreshadow the coming civil war, esp. in terms of the way it is always the will of the military that prevails over the Roman elite.
—- The end of civil war – or was it? Jewish War 1—-
Battle of Actium (31 BCE): Octavian defeated Antony who fled to Alexandria
Role of Jewish king Herod: ally of Antony, defects to Octavian after his victory
Josephus: had Herod remained on Antony’s side and provided the promised military aid, civil war would have continued (and perhaps ended differently?)
Suggesting a counterfactual version of the turning point in Roman history
—- An anxiety with civil war pervades Josephus’ account of Roman history in the BJ – the result of contemporary concerns, which he shares with the Latin epic poets of the period —-
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8 February 2017, 17:15 (Wednesday, 4th week, Hilary 2017)
All Souls College, High Street OX1 4AL
Haley Flagg (St Andrews),
Ursula Westwood (University of Oxford),
Ilya Berkovich (Ludwig Maximilians Universität Munich)
All Souls College
Peter Wilson (History Faculty),
Adrian Gregory (History Faculty),
Erica Charters (History Faculty)
History of War Seminar Series