Bret Devereaux

  • Fellowship year:2017-2018
  • University: University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: Ancient
  • Dissertation Title: The Sinews of War: The Social and Economic Roots of Roman Victory, 264-101 B.C.E
  • My dissertation takes a new approach to the long-debated question of Rome's early success in expanding outside of Italy in the third and second centuries B.C.E. I argue that, while the tendency of recent scholarship has been to see Roman success as rooted in Italian manpower, this represents only part of a solution which must also include the Roman ability to efficiently mobilize the resources to arm and equip that manpower for war. Through an examination of battlefield equipment, utilizing both archaeologically recovered material as well as modern scholarly reconstructions, I investigate the cost of Roman military materiel, as well as the materiel cost of Rome's major rivals. This approach reveals that, quite contrary to expectations, Roman armies were expensive, rather than expendable. Finally, I argue that the ability of the Roman Republic to marshal such vast reserves was due to the translation of the social institution of clientela into a blueprint for the inter-communal system of alliances in Italy, which in turn enabled Rome to harness the economic and demographic power of Italy, leading to a decisive Roman advantage.