Journal article

‘A fanatical yet rational devotion’ Augustus and the Legions

Ronald T Ridley

Antichthon | Cambridge University Press (CUP) | Published : 2005


There is surely no one any more who requires convincing that the basis of the Augustan principate was the control of the legions. Augustus may have paraded his tribunician power and played down his potestas as a magistrate, but the Res Gestae is above all else the record of the generalissimo in control of the entire military resources of the empire. That control remained almost unchallenged for forty-four years.William Harris brilliantly demonstrated that under the Republic military glory was the preeminent virtue of Roman politicians. The state was now in the control of one man, but nothing had changed, except that the stakes were higher. Edward Gibbon, of course, detected the truth. He had..

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