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Save for Later. From J. Brown Sacramento, CA, U. About this Item Clean, tight. No markings. Bookseller Inventory Ask Seller a Question. About this title Synopsis: Rome's desert frontier was one where the Empire faced few dangers, for here relations were generally based on a mutual interest in trade across the frontier. More Information. Shipping Terms: Shipping costs are based on books weighing 2. Add to Wants. The Parthians were a warrior people. Though possessing no regular army they were superb horsemen and archers, and in time of war the nobility provided heavily armoured knights mounted on weight-carrying chargers.

At Carrhae, it is believed that 20, Roman troops out of a force of about 36, died at the hands of the Parthians. In the third of four volumes covering Rome's enemies, this fascinating text by Peter Wilcox examines the armies and campaigns of the Parthians and Sassanid Persians.

Hannibal versus Rome

This worthy addition to Osprey's Men-at-Arms series contains a wealth of illustrations, including eight full page colour plates by popular artist Angus McBride. Biographical Note. Peter Wilcox has written numerous articles on Ancient civiliszations, and has also authored numerous Osprey Ancient Warfare titles. Angus McBride is one of the world's most respected historical illustrators, and has contributed to more than 70 Osprey titles in the past three decades.

As such, it transcends the basic military significance of the find and, like so much else of the Roman army around which the Roman system revolved , sheds light upon the everyday lives of those who lived and worked in and around the camp.

The Desert Frontier

The Vindolanda tablets provide a unique insight into what it must have been like to be a Roman representative in a foreign land. There are very many cavalry. The cavalry do not use swords, nor do the wretched Britons [Brittunculi] mount in order to throw javelins.

It graphically portrays the frustrations of the regular soldier when faced with a guerrilla army that will not stand and fight, rather like the experience of American soldiers in Vietnam.


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In approximately A. Towards the end of the second century and into the third century there was further expansion with a number of shops, workshops and domestic buildings added to the fort and settlement.

Osprey: Rome`s Enemies (5) - The Desert Frontier

Originally a turf rampart, probably erected in the time of Agricola, by the late 80s A. Attached to the west of this Hadrianic fort was a small civilian settlement, called a vicus, within the remains of the old rampart and which incorporated a fine bathhouse and a mansio, a guesthouse with space for up to six residents travelling along the Stanegate on official business.

All of this was enlarged and rebuilt in stone during the early third century AD, and it is this ground plan that we see today.

The famous Vindolanda tablets date to the pre-Hadrianic fort, though they are typical of Roman military life in any period. Bede writes about the Wall in the seventh century as being eight feet 2. The Wall was undoubtedly a handy source of stone for a number of new buildings, including new monasteries at Jarrow, Monkwearmouth and Lindisfarne.

These were auxiliary units, made up of non-citizen recruits who served for a period of up to 25 years in return for Roman citizenship. None of them were Britons. This is because of a policy prompted by the revolt of these very units in A. In the wake of the infamous Year of the Four Emperors, the Dutch Batavian auxiliaries had mutinied against the emperor Vespasian, joined by their neighbours the Tungrians on the River Meuse. It had taken five Roman legions to subdue them, commanded by the veteran general Q.

Petilius Cerialis. He had taken the subdued auxiliaries with him on his next tour of duty, to Britain, where they stayed. From then on, Rome followed a policy of not allowing native troops to serve within their province of origin. The units were commanded by their own tribal chieftains, but were gradually diluted by recruits from other areas. The names on the Vindolanda tablets suggest origins from Gaul, Germany, Pannonia, Dacia and Greece probably Greek slaves as well as the upper Rhine homelands of the original units.

It is significant that the vast majority of the troops were not even stationed in their own home base, but were elsewhere. Corbridge was the big granary fort at the eastern end of the Stanegate and this is the only evidence we have of I Tungrorum occupying it, at almost quingenary strength. It is also interesting to see how far afield some of the troops were, for whatever reason.


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  8. God alone knows what the men in Gaul were doing there though bear in mind that I Tungrorum was technically a Gallo-Belgic unit ; but the six men with a centurion were probably garrisoning an outpost or on patrol. I like to think that the single man below the pay detachment was away on leave, and we have at least a dozen formulaic leave requests written by soldiers in the fort to lend weight to this: 'I, [so-and-so], ask that you consider me a worthy person to grant leave at [such-a-place]'. The centurion in London was probably carrying official correspondence to the governor's office.

    Once again, we have evidence of centurions acting as couriers like this. There was even garum, a fermented fish concoction that was the Roman version of Worcestershire sauce. Homesick soldiers received care packages too. Within the Vindolanda tablets, 46 different types of foodstuff are mentioned. Whilst the more exotic of these, such as roe deer, venison, spices, olives, wine and honey, appear in the letters and accounts of the slaves attached to the commander's house; it is clear that the soldiers and ordinary people around the fort did not eat badly.

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    Roman military frontiers and fortifications - Wikipedia

    We have already seen the grain accounts of the brothers Octavius and Candidus, demonstrating that a wide variety of people in and around the fort were supplied with wheat. Added to that are a couple of interesting accounts and letters which show that the ordinary soldiers could get hold of such luxuries as pepper and oysters, and that the local butcher was doing a roaring trade in bacon. The tablet contains a list of men arranged by century, from the centuries of Ucenius and Tullio son of Carpentarius, who have been provided with various goods such as overcoats, towels, a flask, a cloak, thongs, tallow and in the case of Gambax son of Tappo, pepper.

    There are check marks to the left of several of these entries, as if they have been ticked off once they have paid, and we are able to ascertain from the fuller entries what the cost of certain commodities were. For instance, a towel cost 2 denarii, Gambax had 2 d worth of pepper, and Lucius the shieldmaker paid 5 d 3 asses for a cloak Tab. Tetricus and all your messmates with whom I pray that you live in the greatest good fortune.

    Please, my lord, give instructions on what you want us to do tomorrow. Are we all to return with the standard, or just half of us? My fellow soldiers have no beer. Please order some to be sent. Alan K.

    Rome’s border walls were the beginning of its end.

    If he was lonely, he could take leave and find a friend in Corbridge, or perhaps even go home to Tungria. But it would be optimistic to suppose that even the Roman army could stop the rain pattering out of the sky in a climate notorious for its tempestates molestae. Of men present, 12 were making shoes, 18 were building the bath-house, others were out collecting lead, clay and rubble for the bath-house? Other accounts indicate that the completed bath-house had a balniator, a bath-house keeper called Vitalis.

    The remains of the third-century bath-house on the site give a very good idea of what Vitalis' bath-house must have been like. Most of these must have been soldiers, though we shall see later that civilians also played their part within fort life. Atrectus the brewer owed money to the local pork butcher for iron and pork-fat, which smacks of a little economic diversification on the butcher's part. It is not at all clear whether the butcher was a civilian or a soldier.

    He is likely to have been a civilian, if two other documents are anything to go by. It is a long account, so I have excerpted only the clearest entries. To Lucco, in charge of the pigs To Primus, slave of Lucius To Lucco for his own use In the century of Voturius To father, in charge of the oxen Likewise to myself, for bread, modii?

    Dura-Europos was a fortified city on the frontier between Rome and Persia, its greatest rival. Today Dura sits about 25 miles from the Syrian border with Iraq, an eight-hour bus ride through the desert from Damascus. It first came to light in , when British troops fighting Arab insurgents accidentally uncovered the painted wall of a Roman temple. A team from Yale University and the French Academy put hundreds of Bedouin tribesmen to work with shovels and picks, moving tens of thousands of tons of sand with the help of railcars and mine carts.

    Its tall, thick walls and perch above the Euphrates made it a perfect frontier outpost. One of the outposts was staffed by just three soldiers; another lay nearly a hundred miles downstream. We sat amid the ruins and watched orange gas flares from Iraqi oil wells flicker on the horizon.

    Beginning in , war between the rivals raged across Mesopotamia. It was soon clear the frontier strategy that had served Rome for more than a century was no match for a determined, sizable foe. He says the Romans must have known an attack was imminent. They had time to reinforce the massive western wall, burying part of the city—including the church and a magnificently decorated synagogue—to form a sloping rampart. As catapults lobbed stones at the Romans, the Persians built an assault ramp and dug beneath the city, hoping to collapse its defenses.

    A cloud of poison gas, pumped into the underground chamber, suffocated them almost instantly. Their remains are some of the oldest archaeological evidence of chemical warfare. James believes the bodies, found 1, years later, stacked in a tight tunnel, were used to block the tunnel while the Persians set it on fire. Surviving defenders were slain or enslaved. The Persian king, Shapur, reportedly used Valerian as a footstool for a while, then had him flayed and nailed his skin to a wall.

    Around the time Dura fell, the careful balance of offense, defense, and sheer intimidation along the frontier fell apart. For nearly years the border had helped Rome ignore a painful reality: The world beyond the walls was catching up, in part thanks to the Romans themselves. Shortly after the soldiers left the fort in about A.