For who is so worthless or indolent as not to wish to know by what means and under what system of polity the Romans . . . succeeded in subjecting nearly the whole inhabited world to their sole government-a thing unique in history? -Polybius The year 146 BC marked the brutal end to the Roman Republic's 118-year struggle for the western Mediterranean. Breaching the walls of their great enemy, Carthage, Roman troops slaughtered countless citizens, enslaved those who survived, and leveled the 700-year-old city. That same year in the east, Rome destroyed Corinth and subdued Greece. Over little more than a century, Rome's triumphant armies of citizen-soldiers had shocked the world by conquering all of its neighbors.
How did armies made up of citizen-soldiers manage to pull off such a major triumph? And what made the republic so powerful? In Killing for the Republic, Steele Brand explains how Rome transformed average farmers into ambitious killers capable of conquering the entire Mediterranean. Rome instilled something violent and vicious in its soldiers, making them more effective than other empire builders. Unlike the Assyrians, Persians, and Macedonians, it fought with part-timers. Examining the relationship between the republican spirit and the citizen-soldier, Brand argues that Roman republican values and institutions prepared common men for the rigors and horrors of war.
Brand reconstructs five separate battles-representative moments in Rome's constitutional and cultural evolution that saw its citizen-soldiers encounter the best warriors of the day, from marauding Gauls and the Alps-crossing Hannibal to the heirs of Alexander the Great. A sweeping political and cultural history, Killing for the Republic closes with a compelling argument in favor of resurrecting the citizen-soldier ideal in modern America.
Johns Hopkins University Press
Country of Publication:
15 October 2019
From 18 years
Professional and scholarly
Preface. Why Care about Long-Dead Fighting Farmers?Prologue. The Roman and American RepublicsPart 1. Farmers, Citizens, and SoldiersChapter 1. The Soldier's Farm Chapter 2. The Citizen's Republic Part 2. The Making of Rome's Citizen-SoldiersChapter 3. Origins: Kingly Armies of the Roman Hills Chapter 4. Proving Ground: Surviving in Central Italy Part 3. The Triumph of Rome's Citizen-SoldiersChapter 5. Breakout: Competition and Discipline at Sentinum Chapter 6. The Greatest Trial: Beating Your Betters at New CarthageChapter 7. Triumph: Phalanx Killers at PydnaPart 4. The Death of Rome's Citizen-SoldiersChapter 8. Questionable Legitimacy: The Ideal Statesman's Battle at MutinaChapter 9. Suicidal Finish: Last Stand of the Citizen-Soldier at Philippi Epilogue. War Stories for the Emperor Acknowledgments Notes Index
Steele Brand is an assistant professor of history at The King's College and a former US Army tactical intelligence officer.
Reviews for Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War
Brand's book should be read with care by Americans as our republic enters its twilight... Readers of many tastes will receive great enjoyment from Brand's book. --William S. Smith The American Conservative