Thoughts about the Roman Empire

The Principate was the monarchy created by the first Roman emperor, Augustus. Although he presented it to the Senate and People of Rome as a restoration of the Roman Republic, Augustus and his successors held positions of supreme power, ultimately based on control of the army. I have discussed this…

Continue reading

Roman cavalry

I have heard and read it time and time again: Roman cavalry was terrible. It was only good at riding down enemy troops that had already routed. The Romans neglected their cavalry and therefore lost important battles. And because of this neglect, they were ultimately unable to fight off foreign…

Continue reading

Book review: Antony and Cleopatra

Adrian Goldsworthy (1969) is primarily known for his authoritative publications on the Roman army. A few years ago, he switched to Roman history in general, with a special interest in political history. Since then, Goldsworthy has written a superb biography of Gaius Julius Caesar, Caesar: The Life of a Colossus…

Continue reading

The Imperial Roman army

Although the Roman army had already been transformed from a conscript army into a professional fighting force during the Late Republic, we must credit Augustus with the creation of a professional standing army. In the year 6, he established the aerarium militare, the military treasury from which the soldiers were…

Continue reading

Augustus and the Republic

The Principate After emerging triumphant from the Civil War, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus created a system of government known as the Principate. It was based on the well-known Republican offices and institutions. The younger Caesar did not become dictator for life (dictator perpetuo), like his adoptive father – the Divine…

Continue reading