There have been many books on Britain's Roman roads, but none have considered in any depth their long-term strategic impact. Mike Bishop shows how the road network was vital not only in the Roman strategy of conquest and occupation, but influenced the course of British military history during subsequent ages. ??The author starts with the pre-Roman origins of the network (many Roman roads being built over prehistoric routes) before describing how the Roman army built, developed, maintained and used it. Then, uniquely, he moves on to the post-Roman history of the roads. He shows how they were crucial to medieval military history (try to find a medieval battle that is not near one) and the governance of the realm, fixing the itinerary of the royal progresses. Their legacy is still clear in the building of 18th century military roads and even in the development of the modern road network. Why have some parts of the network remained in use throughout??The text is supported with clear maps and photographs. ??Most books on Roman roads are concerned with cataloguing or tracing them, or just dealing with aspects like surveying. This one makes them part of military landscape archaeology.
This volume aims to present the current state of research on Roman roads and their foundations in a combined historical and archaeological perspective. The focus is on the diverse local histories and the varying degrees of significance of individual roads and regional networks, which are treated here for the most important regions of the empire and beyond. The assembled contributions will be of interest to historians, archaeologists and epigraphers, since they tackle matters as diverse as the technical modalities of road-building, the choice of route, but also the functionality and the motives behind the creation of roads. Roman roads are further intimately related to various important aspects of Roman history, politics and culture. After all, such logistical arteries form the basis of all communication and exchange processes, enabling not only military conquest and security but also facilitating the creation of an organized state as well as trade, food supply and cultural exchange. The study of Roman roads must always be based on a combination of written and archaeological sources in order to take into account both their concrete geographical location and their respective spatial, cultural, and historical context.
Legio IX Hispana had a long and active history, later founding York from where it guarded the northern frontiers in Britain. But the last evidence for its existence in Britain comes from AD 108. The mystery of their disappearance has inspired debate and imagination for decades. The most popular theory, immortalized in Rosemary Sutcliffe’s novel The Eagle of the Ninth, is that the legion was sent to fight the Caledonians in Scotland and wiped out there. But more recent archaeology (including evidence that London was burnt to the ground and dozens of decapitated heads) suggests a crisis, not on the border but in the heart of the province, previously thought to have been peaceful at this time. What if IX Hispana took part in a rebellion, leading to their punishment, disbandment and damnatio memoriae (official erasure from the records)? This proposed ‘Hadrianic War’ would then be the real context for Hadrian’s ‘visit’ in 122 with a whole legion, VI Victrix, which replaced the ‘vanished’ IX as the garrison at York. Other theories are that it was lost on the Rhine or Danube, or in the East. Simon Elliott considers the evidence for these four theories, and other possibilities.
Lucius Verus is one of the least regarded Roman emperors, despite the fact that he was co-ruler with his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius for nine years until his untimely death. The later sources were strangely hostile to him and modern writers tend to dismiss him, but contemporary writings shine a more favourable light on his accomplishments. His handling of military affairs, particularly the conflict with Parthia after their invasions of Armenia and Syria, deserves a new consideration in the light of a careful reassessment of all the available source material. This volume looks at the upbringing of the boy who lost two fathers, acquired a brother, had his name changed twice, became a general overnight, and commanded the army that defeated one of Romes greatest foes in the 2nd century AD. His rise to power is placed in the context of Romes campaigns in the East and the part played by all from the ordinary soldiers up to the aristocracy who commanded them in making Lucius Verus Parthian Wars a success.