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Policing the Roman Empire: Soldiers, Administration, and Public Order 1st Edition

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199737840
ISBN-10: 0199737843
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Editorial Reviews


"Fuhrmann's book is a very well documented and convenient synthesis on the contribution of the Roman army to law enforcement in peacetime during the imperial period."--Cedric Brelaz, Bryn Mawr Classical Review

"This is a stimulating investigation into a subject hitherto treated insufficiently. Always attentive to regional and local distinctions in Rome and the provinces, in the western and eastern provinces, and even within eastern provinces themselves, Fuhrmann argues convincingly for an overall growth of state policing from Augustus to Constantine, for the gradual intermingling of civilian and military policing, and for policing as a metaphor for the evolution of the Roman Empire. His broad scope results in a richly textured and fascinating rendering of daily life for the usually undifferentiated millions within Rome's Empire, and for the soldiers and others who interacted with them to maintain order." --Mary T. Boatwright, Duke University

"Anyone who studies ancient Rome knows that there were no police. And yet, the same individual also knows that there were, here and there, chasers of bandits, night watchmen, stationarii, and in fact a host of other groups of men recruited by one governmental official or another in hopes of keeping the peace. Put more accurately, then, what has been lacking are not police-like formations among the ancient Romans, but rather, anything like a systematic account of these. Now we have it. This book will immediately become a crucial component in our ever-sharpening comprehension of the ancient Roman cosmos." --Michael Peachin, New York University

"A thoroughly documented, well-argued treatise...considerably enhances understanding of how law was enforced throughout the Roman Empire."--CHOICE

About the Author

Christopher J. Fuhrmann is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Texas.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 13, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199737843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199737840
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,513,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a well-researched and carefully written book derived from the author’s doctoral dissertation and dealing with a somewhat original and mostly little known topic: the policing of the Roman Empire, and how it evolved over time.

Although this is a piece of scholarship, the book reads rather well despite the fact that it is preferable to have already some knowledge of the Roman Empire to fully benefit from its qualities.

The first of these is a well-documented presentation of the multiple levels at which policing took place, these included self-help, the local city level (civilian police), the provinces’ governor level and the military levels, to which the Emperor’s level (or State security level) is to be added.

Another is to show the key role played by Augustus, the Empire’s “founding father” and setter of precedents in this area as is so many others, is establishing the initial arrangements and defining their broad objectives, that is ensuring the Emperor’s safety and making Rome’s inhabitants feel more secure.

As the author shows rather well, one of the main aspects of this security was the extensive cooperation between all levels in the recovery of runaway slaves. Another was the role of the Emperor and of his representatives in the provinces. A key aspect of the Emperor’s legitimacy from Augustus onwards was to be the bringer “of peace in the provinces” and to hold the monopoly of public violence within them. This went alongside with, and was an essential ingredient of the rule of law (whether local or Roman law) and the exercise of justice at all levels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shain E. Thomas on November 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For ages, many have been in agreement that the police are an institution of contemporary evolution. Despite historical evidence suggesting many societies had no such establishments, Policing the Roman Empire offers a stimulating investigation with compelling and convincing arguments on state policing from Augustus to Constantine. In the book, Dr. Christopher Fuhrmann, a University of North Texas history professor with several publications to his name seeks to offer a unique assessment on the involvement of the Roman state in law enforcement, the military tools provided to fulfill this task, the relationship between civilian and military police and a peek into the daily lives of those whose task was to maintain order and enforce laws. More: [...]
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was not what I was expecting. If you are seeking more information about the role of the imperial army in policing the Empire then this book would be helpful. It was a very broad discussion and offered some interesting avenues for further study. But for the most part, I was left wanting more.
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