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Cover image of The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire
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The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire

From the First Century CE to the Third

Edward N. Luttwak

revised and updated edition
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A newly updated edition of this classic, hugely influential account of how the Romans defended their vast empire.

At the height of its power, the Roman Empire encompassed the entire Mediterranean basin, extending much beyond it from Britain to Mesopotamia, from the Rhine to the Black Sea. Rome prospered for centuries while successfully resisting attack, fending off everything from overnight robbery raids to full-scale invasion attempts by entire nations on the move. How were troops able to defend the Empire’s vast territories from constant attacks? And how did they do so at such moderate cost…

A newly updated edition of this classic, hugely influential account of how the Romans defended their vast empire.

At the height of its power, the Roman Empire encompassed the entire Mediterranean basin, extending much beyond it from Britain to Mesopotamia, from the Rhine to the Black Sea. Rome prospered for centuries while successfully resisting attack, fending off everything from overnight robbery raids to full-scale invasion attempts by entire nations on the move. How were troops able to defend the Empire’s vast territories from constant attacks? And how did they do so at such moderate cost that their treasury could pay for an immensity of highways, aqueducts, amphitheaters, city baths, and magnificent temples?

In The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire, seasoned defense analyst Edward N. Luttwak reveals how the Romans were able to combine military strength, diplomacy, and fortifications to effectively respond to changing threats. Rome’s secret was not ceaseless fighting, but comprehensive strategies that unified force, diplomacy, and an immense infrastructure of roads, forts, walls, and barriers. Initially relying on client states to buffer attacks, Rome moved to a permanent frontier defense around 117 CE. Finally, as barbarians began to penetrate the empire, Rome filed large armies in a strategy of "defense-in-depth," allowing invaders to pierce Rome’s borders.

This updated edition has been extensively revised to incorporate recent scholarship and archeological findings. A new preface explores Roman imperial statecraft. This illuminating book remains essential to both ancient historians and students of modern strategy.

Reviews

Reviews

Avec un retentissement exceptionnel pour un ouvrage écrit par quelqu’un qui n’était ni historien professionnel, ni spécialiste de l’Antiquité, le livre d’Edward Luttwak sur la grande stratégie de l’empire romain occupe une place à part dans l’historiographie depuis sa publication en 1976. À le relire on reste impressionné par l’ampleur des questions abordées, la concision, la clarté et l’audace de la synthèse, mais aussi par nombre d’observations. Au lendemain de la défaite du Vietnam,

Lucidly and vigorously written. It is a long time since I have read so important a contribution to Roman history.

Luttwak has done scholarship an immense service. Every page brings detailed insights into the working of Roman military organization, in strategy and tactics.

A fascinating book, well written and forcefully argued.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
296
ISBN
9781421419459
Illustration Description
10 line drawings, 15 maps
Table of Contents

List of Maps, Figures, and Tables
Preface to the 2016 Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Acknowledgment
Introduction
1. The Julio-Claudian System
The System in Outline
The Client States
The Management of

List of Maps, Figures, and Tables
Preface to the 2016 Edition
Preface to the First Edition
Acknowledgment
Introduction
1. The Julio-Claudian System
The System in Outline
The Client States
The Management of the Clients
The Tactical Organization of the Army
The Strategic Deployment of Forces
Conclusion
2. From the Flavians to the Severi
The System in Outline
Border Defense
Border Defense
The Decline of the Client System
The Army and the System
Conclusion
3. Defense-in-Depth
The System in Outline
The Changing Threat
The New Borders of the Empire
Walled Towns and Hard-Point Defenses
Border Troops
Provincial Forces
Central Field Armies
Conclusion
Epilogue. The Three Systems
Appendix. Power and Force
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Edward N. Luttwak

Edward N. Luttwak is a senior associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. A longtime strategic and security consultant to US government departments, the armed services, and friendly governments, he is the author of The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, among other books.