Full Version: Roman Militay Tombstones as evidence for Soldiers
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just following a recent argument with a friend I was seeking some informed... or at least opinionated views of all you lovely fourm people on how good roman military tombstones can be as evidence for soldiering

saller and shaw (1984, JRS vol.74) argue first that there are around 250,000 Latin epitaphs, with tombstones representing nearly 3/4 of the Latin inscription record, with most commemorations coming from the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

what does the rest of the world think???
Quote:... how good roman military tombstones can be as evidence for soldiering
I'm not sure what you're actually asking.

Are you questioning the accuracy of tombstone evidence? Or the quantity? Or its relevance to a study of "soldiering"?
not accuracy. what information can be gained from such
career within the army. Period of service.

But we also take a look at tombstones for impressions of military clothing. As it gives a more complete picture as a loose archeological finds.

Just work your way through the RAT image file. Every time I work through the images, I can usually pick up on some detail that I had missed before.

Granted there is always the issue of artistic license, and only a fraction of these grave stones have survived.....but as stated, you can find the individuals unit, awards, details of equipment, and family life. Sometimes these are listed as erected by a freedman, a son , or family. to me it makes the facts and dates and the other information that we deal with more personal, more alive.

Regards from a cold and snowy Balkans, Arminius Primus aka Al
Well a lot of information can actually be derived from military tombstones. At least I hope so, since my research will exclusively focus on what information about the Roman army can be found when collecting such funerary inscriptions. My research is still in an early stage but it's already clear to me that you can discover quite a lot of information. So definitely valuable! Also I recently read the article and it certainly contains some interesting notes.



Sofie Waebens
Legio II Traiana Fortis
Hey Traiana, please add your real name to your signature. Welcome to RAT!
It may be worth bearing in mind that the majority of Roman funerary stelae do not feature images and so are rarely reproduced as images in books. They are entirely absent from the imagebase, because we are more interested in the details that the images show. However a proper study of funerary sculpture and inscriptions would have to include the wealth of stones which do not feature images or feature images only of military decorations, which is not uncommon, alongside the better known figural types.