I’m introducing you to a great new history blog called Mikeaztec, and for starters take a look at this very interesting article on the gender dimensions of the Roman Empire, its military traditions and what it meant to be Roman. I’ve never seen this subject dealt with in quite this way before. MikeAztec has got some really illuminating thoughts, and check out some of the other articles too!
The ancient Romans admired the characteristics that they believed allowed them to establish hegemony over their rivals. It comes as little surprise then that the hyper-masculine qualities of the Roman soldier became the hyper-masculine standard by which many Roman men measured their own manliness. Indeed, like many cultures that rose to prominence primarily through military aggression, images of the soldier’s life and the ideal manly life were often the same. Perusing the literary and visual sources from any period of Roman history draws attention to the importance of this connection, as well as an acceptance of the idea of a common Roman military ethos by which all citizens could bask in the glory of its armies.
In the early years of the fifth century, a Roman or non-Roman man spending any time in one of the many major or minor cities scattered throughout the Western and Eastern halves of the…
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