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Grand Strategy
"The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire from the First Century AD to the Third"<br>
Luttwak, Edward N.<br>
The Johns Hopkins University Press 1976<br>
ISBN 0-8018-2158-4<br>
This work, is as the title states, an analysis of the overall strategic considerations of Imperial Rome over a period of three centuries. As a specialist in strategic analysis and international relations, Luttwak has applied a comprehensive approach covering the whole of the empire during a period when fundamental changes in the empire's<br>
direction took place.<br>
It is not a "sword and armor" book even though the topic focuses on the application of military force. It addresses<br>
an evolving civilization and the two main requirements needed to preserve itself, a sound material base and adequate security. Luttwak has identified three systems of<br>
imperial security over the period covered by his work. Each system was intended to deal with a set of priorities. Luttwak uses these priorities to show the changing concept of empire. The first, hegemonic expansionism; the second,<br>
territorial security; the third, survival.<br>
Luttwak goes into great detail concerning the Julio-Claudian client states and mobile armies (chapter 1), the<br>
Flavians to the Severi and what Luttwak calls "scientific"<br>
frontiers,as well as preclusive defense (chapter 2), and covers the crisis of the third century with defense in depth (chapter 3).<br>
What I got from this book was a clearer sense of the "big picture". We know where many of the legions were posted and when. We know the tactical reasons for their postings and perhaps in a general sense the strategic reasons. Luttwak shows the specific strategic reasons and examines the overall "why". The examination of the various elements that<br>
constitute a strategic analysis, integrated diplomacy, military forces, road networks, and fortifications, helped me to see the complexity of the problem of empire faced by<br>
the Romans.<br>
This work is heavily footnoted and I suspect many of these references will be familiar ones. Others may not be...<br>
Luttwak also includes usefull maps and illustrations.<br>
An excellent essay on the deffinitions/implications of power and force is included in the appendix. Luttwak does<br>
mention the navy and seapower but as usual the navy gets<br>
"short shrift".<br>
I would recommend reading this work if you have not already done so.<br>
Bene vale,<br>
Some additional reading matter for Roman strategy:<br>
Austin, N.J.E. and N.B. Rankov, <i> Exploratio. Military intelligence in the Roman world from the second Punic war to the battle of Adrianople</i> (London 1995) 292p.<br>
Campbell, B., <i> The emperor and the Roman army 31BC-AD235</i> (Oxford 1984) 468p.<br>
Mann, J.C., 'Power, force and the frontiers of the empire' in: <i> JRS</i> 69 (1979), 175-183.<br>
Mattern, S.P., <i> Rome and the enemy. Imperial strategy in the principate</i> (Berkeley 1999) 259p. A review is available at:<br>
Millar, F., 'Emperors, frontiers and foreign relations, 31 BC to AD 378' in: <i> Britannia</i> 13 (1982), 1-23.<br>
The model provided by Luttwak is very useful, but has come under some criticism from ancient scholars. In some respects the author's background as a theorist in the cold war left some marks (eg the idea of escalation dominance of legions over auxiliaries was based on the parallel between the Soviet army and it's WP allies) and some have thought his picture of the Roman empire against the Parthians/Sassanians was too akin to the NATO position versus the USSR. It did however frame the subject of Roman strategy in a clear manner and stimulated further thought on the subjects of strategy, intelligence and nature of the Roman senior command. It should be considered required reading.<br>
Sander van Dorst<br>
Dilke, O.A.W., <i> Greek and Roman maps</i> (London 1985) 224p.<br>
Sherk, R.K., 'Roman geographical exploration and military maps' in: <i> ANRW</i> II-1<br>
(1974), 534-562. <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Sander van Dorst</A> at: 4/6/01 8:36:59 am<br></i>
picked up a second hand copy today! <p></p><i></i>
To this list and to this topic I'll add "The Reach Of Rome" by Derek Williams, St. Martin's Press. I'll cite the back cover; "The author does more than show where Rome fortified it's boundaries; his story is how the hubristic paranoia of emperors, from Augustus to Valentian, both created Rome's frontiers and opened them to decline and fall. Williams gives a persuasive account of how Hadrian's Wall was built with imperious disregard of defensive requirements but spectacular potential for showing where Hadrian's British interest ended." -The Times (London) <p>...or not.</p><i></i>
I will look for a copy...I like the idea of exploring<br>
"hubristic paranoia" in the emperors...<br>
Allectus <p></p><i></i>
Display is a form of defense and it would not be correct to consider the building of a long wall an obvious disregard of defensive requirements. The perception of one's power is as important as the actual power itself. The purely intimidating effect of defensive works should not be underestimated. Just by constructing a massive line like Hadrian's wall the Romans would show the northern barbarians what will power and resources they had at their disposal. Keeping the barbarians away through intimidation was as useful as actually keeping them out by building an impenetrable wall.<br>
In other areas the Romans adapted themselves to a display of power that fitted in with native views of power. Along the Rhine the Romans required the Germanic tribes to vacate certain parts along the frontier in a similar manner as was done among the tribes themselves. Keeping an empty space free of settlement along one's territory was regarded as a sign of a tribe's power and the Roman empire defined its power in a manner readily understandable to the barbarians. Such an empty space was not useful in a direct defensive manner since the indications of regular active patrolling across the river frontier are lacking in the source material and so did not directly aid in giving early warning of an attack or raid. It had a preventive use however in functioning as a warning sign to would-be raiders of nearing a powerful enemy's territory.<br>
Potter, D., 'Empty areas and Roman frontier policy' in: <i> AJPh</i> 113 (1992), 269-274.<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i></i>
Luttwak did an exceptional job of explaining why the frontiers became more and more rigid as the empire aged. He further explained why this became such a detriment to the expansion of the empire as walls were built and the Romans could no longer rely on camps and allied auxillary forces to defend the frontiers.<br>
I loved this book, and the historical backdrop at the beginning of each section helped put the timeline into perspective. <p><br><i>SI HOC LEGERE POTES, OPERIS BONI IN REBVS LATINIS FRVCTVOSIS POTIRI POTES.</i></p><i></i>
The latest posting in this thread appears to be five years old... does anyone know an addition the literature mentioned above?
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
Brunt, 'Review of Die Aussenpolitik des Augustus und die Augusteische Dichtung', JRS 53 (1963), 170-176. Older, but still important.

Jasper Oorthuys
Webmaster & Editor, Ancient Warfare magazine
It may not matter, but I thought I would note that Mattern is now available on line: ... nd=ucpress
Felix Wang
Quote:It may not matter, but I thought I would note that Mattern is now available on line: ... nd=ucpress

Curious concept they have. Can one download the ebook as pdf?
Stefan (Literary references to the discussed topics are always appreciated.)

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