Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0415920254
ISBN-10: 0415920256
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Trade in your item
Get a $3.82
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$31.47 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$45.95 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
24 New from $33.34 17 Used from $31.47 1 Collectible from $39.00
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Prime Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Best Books of the Month
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
$45.95 FREE Shipping. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier
  • +
  • The Making of the Roman Army: From Republic to Empire
  • +
  • Agricola and Germany (Oxford World's Classics)
Total price: $72.54
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Octavius to his brother Candidus, greetings. The hundred pounds of sinew from Marinus -- I will settle up. From the time when you wrote about this matter, he has not even mentioned it to me. I have several times written to you that I have bought about five thousand modii of ears of grain, on account of which I need cash . . .."
-Roman soldier stationed on the wild northern-frontier of England around 100 AD.

About the Author

Alan K. Bowman is a Lecturer in Ancient History at the University of Oxford.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (January 18, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415920256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415920254
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you want to have a feel for the thoughts, needs, and everyday interaction of the Roman soldier and family on the frontier, step into a time machine and go there, or, get this book and read the writings of the Camp commander's wife, the soldiers request for leave, and lists of purchases! You can't get a time machine, so this is the next best thing. The author helps you put the writings in the proper context, how they were found and about when they were written, but this book lets you look over the shoulder of the ancient Roman on the British frontier. Get it! You will read it because you are just as interested in the gossip as the commander's wife!
1 Comment 18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
"Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier" is a fascinating analysis of a collection of wooden writing tablets found in the ruins of an old Roman fort in northern Britain. The tablets reveal much about the life of Roman soldiers on the British frontier, of whom most seem to have come from other peoples conquered by Rome. Through the tablets we are able to get a glimpse at the organization of the Roman army at that time and in that region, as well as at the domestic life in the Praetorium.The book also includes the Latin text of the most important tablets as well as photographs of the tablets and of other articles found at the site from that period (such as a leather sandal and a textile sock).
The book also shows that the Roman army depended on written correspondence and therefore had a surprisingly high level of literacy, surprising at least to the modern person who assumes that all, or most, who lived in past ages were thoroughly ignorant. In fact, the higher-ups seemed to enjoy a higher lifestyle than one would expect from the frontier, being able to import such luxuries as vintage wine and pepper.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and recommend it to anyone with an interest in Roman society in general or Roman military life on the frontier in particular.
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This book was solid. It appears to be meant for people doing research for their own books, or academic work. So there is no real flow or story. It may just be me, but I did not catch the logic behind the arrangement of the chapters. That being said, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in knowing what it was like to be a man on the frontline in the Imperial Roman world. Ever wonder how Rome was able maintain dominance over the world for so long with so few people? This provides great insight. Although the reading was not so exciting, I am very glad to have read this, book as it provides huge amounts of food for thought. I would have preferred to give this book 3.5 stars, but no such option.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A military strength report, a grocery list, a birthday invitation - the Vindolanda wooden tablets - a mix of personal and bureacratic documents excavated in one of the Roman forts in Britain, are a small glimpse into life of the Roman provincial garrison. For an untrained eye it's a interesting source, but no more. In "Life and Letters" Alan Bowman expands this small glimpse into an open window, not only in Roman life, but also into how archaeological and textual analysis of ancient sources is done. It is almost fascinating to see how every word, name and place gets picked apart, to extract every bit of information possible: for example a name could state the origin and social background of the soldier, the time of his family enfranchisement (gaining of citizenship), be cross-referenced against known literal sources, headstones, military movements etc. Handwriting, diet, social interactions, romanization of provinces, military movements during peace, military and civil society interactions, logistics - almost everything that could be tied to information in the tablets gets reflected in this book."Life and Letters" is by no means a comprehensive account of Roman life, Roman military or even life in the Vindolanda fort, yet, it is surprisingly informative, and illuminates a lot of aspects that never make it to more generally written books. As a lot of narrow academic books it has a high price for a mere 167 pages, but I can safely recommend it to lovers of Roman Empire history
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
When Rome reached a certain point in its conquest of Britain -- around the end of the governorship of Agricola in AD 85 -- a policy decision was reached that the Picts in the far north of the island (against whom Agricola had led several expeditions without much effect) simply weren't worth the trouble. Eventually, the result was Hadrian's Wall, begun about AD 122, but before the construction of that permanent boundary, the Roman army established a string of forts of assorted sizes somewhat farther south and stretching across Britain from the River Tyne to the Solway Firth. These constituted Roman Britain's northern defenses for thirty-odd years -- which, in historical terms, is a pretty thin slice of time. The best preserved of the forts is Vindolanda, about thirty miles east of Carlisle, which has attracted antiquaries and archaeologists since the late 16th century.

But then, in the early 1970s, a systematic and well-founded program of excavation was begun and a discovery was made that turned our understanding and appreciation of that period of British history (and Roman military history) on its head: The recovery of several hundred very thin wooden shingle-like tablets with texts written in ink. Before this, it was assumed that the reports and accounts of the Roman army in Britain -- something that every army in human history has produced in quantity -- would have been written on papyrus, as they were in the eastern part of the empire, and which could not be expected to have survived. But any papyrus in Britain would have been imported, and at considerable expense, so a substitute made from local timber makes perfect sense.

Bowman is a paleographer and the man responsible for the translation and explication of most of the tablets.
Read more ›
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Life and Letters on the Roman Frontier