Blood of the Provinces
This introductory chapter begins with an assessment of the Empire’s dependence on the auxilia and distinguishes them from the better known legions. It reviews the history of research and addresses the difficulty of combining historical and archaeological material to analyse military communities in the Roman Empire. In so doing, it underscores the importance of understanding change within these communities in relation to the incorporation of diverse peoples into Roman provincial society. The chapter argues that the regimental communities that formed the auxilia offer a fascinating insight into changing conditions within the empire. These groups go from being non-citizen formations consisting almost exclusively of non-citizens at the beginning of this period to units made entirely of citizens at the end. Crucially, however, the change in their character is not simply concerned with the legal status of their soldiers; it is something that can be observed in their evolving cultural identity. The auxilia are presented as an important case study in the incorporation of both communities and individuals into imperial society.
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