Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire

By Fred K. Drogula

432 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-6868-0
    Published: November 2021
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-2126-5
    Published: April 2015
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-2127-2
    Published: April 2015

Studies in the History of Greece and Rome

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In this work, Fred Drogula studies the development of Roman provincial command using the terms and concepts of the Romans themselves as reference points. Beginning in the earliest years of the republic, Drogula argues, provincial command was not a uniform concept fixed in positive law but rather a dynamic set of ideas shaped by traditional practice. Therefore, as the Roman state grew, concepts of authority, control over territory, and military power underwent continual transformation. This adaptability was a tremendous resource for the Romans since it enabled them to respond to new military challenges in effective ways. But it was also a source of conflict over the roles and definitions of power. The rise of popular politics in the late republic enabled men like Pompey and Caesar to use their considerable influence to manipulate the flexible traditions of military command for their own advantage. Later, Augustus used nominal provincial commands to appease the senate even as he concentrated military and governing power under his own control by claiming supreme rule. In doing so, he laid the groundwork for the early empire's rules of command.

About the Author

Fred K. Drogula is Charles J. Ping Professor of Humanities and Professor of Classics at Ohio University.
For more information about Fred K. Drogula, visit the Author Page.


“[A] well-researched and fascinating study.”--CHOICE

“Leads to a bold rethinking of the early Republican period.”--American Historical Review

“Present[s] a balanced and innovative argument. The scale and detail of his analyses are impressive, and the conclusions he reaches will repay careful reflection.”--Michigan War Studies Review

“Drogula has mastered a vast array of ancient and modern literature and his overarching vision of provincial command as a fluid and complex concept that developed over time is refreshing.”--Bryn Mawr Classical Review

“A lucid and well-argued examination of Roman commanders and their authority.... [Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire] also presents strong and welcome challenges to several basic assumptions about Roman magistrates and the concepts upon which their authority was grounded.”--H-Net Reviews

“Drogula’s erudite study constitutes an important and stimulating contribution on a major aspect of Roman Republican history which has long provoked debate.”--Journal of Roman Sudies