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Blood of the ProvincesThe Roman Auxilia and the Making of Provincial Society from Augustus to the Severans$
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Ian Haynes

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199655342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199655342.001.0001

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Between Roman and Barbarian

Between Roman and Barbarian

Auxiliary Soldiers on the Battlefield

(p.271) Chapter 17 Between Roman and Barbarian
Blood of the Provinces

Ian Haynes

Oxford University Press

The literature of the Principate reflects an ambiguity as to the identity of professional auxiliary soldiers. They were Romans, when it suited a writer, but their lack of Roman blood may equally be highlighted when it allowed a nicely turned phrase. The cohortales and equites stood in the gap between Roman self and barbarian other. Their battlefield role and dress reflect how they negotiated this shifting ground. As the realities of service life changed, as more citizens joined the ranks of the auxilia, as the cohorts and alae undertook innovative fighting roles, and as new irregular units joined the army, the divisions between legionaries and auxiliaries may have seemed increasingly anachronistic. This chapter considers how, where, and when differences between these troop types were displayed. It concludes by noting that many of the tactics and equipment types first used by auxiliaries became more widely adopted across Rome’s armies over time.

Keywords:   De Vita Agricolae, Acies Contra Alanos, lorica segmentata, scutum, tactics, legionaries, auxiliaries

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