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Killing for the Republic

Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

Steele Brand

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How Rome's citizen-soldiers conquered the world—and why this militaristic ideal still has a place in America today.

"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…

How Rome's citizen-soldiers conquered the world—and why this militaristic ideal still has a place in America today.

"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.

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Killing for the Republic

Steele Brand

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Reviews

Reviews

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.

[Recommended] for general readers and students interested in the armies of the Roman Republic, and more specifically on the role that the citizen-soldiers played in shaping the history of Rome.

Steele Brand has done a service with this book... [He] has produced a novel examination of violence and virtue with undeniable contemporary relevance. An engaging and accessible work, Killing for the Republic warrants reading by all republicans.

With elegance, insight, and wit, Steele Brand has composed a compelling inquiry into citizenship, service, soldiering, and republicanism. In the process, he offers a refreshing new interpretation of Republican Rome and reintroduces to our modern era the singular character that so captivated America's founding generation: the farmer-citizen-soldier.

A lively appreciation of the efficacy of citizen-soldiers both on and off the battlefield. Steele Brand offers a scholarly and empathetic appraisal of why Roman Republican legionaries were such lethal fighters but also of why these mostly agrarian foot soldiers became reflections of the enduring values of consensual governments for the next two millennia.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
392
ISBN
9781421429861
Illustration Description
13 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface. Why Care about Long-Dead Fighting Farmers?
Prologue. The Roman and American Republics
Part 1. Farmers, Citizens, and Soldiers
Chapter 1. The Soldier's Farm
Chapter 2. The Citizen's Republic
Part

Preface. Why Care about Long-Dead Fighting Farmers?
Prologue. The Roman and American Republics
Part 1. Farmers, Citizens, and Soldiers
Chapter 1. The Soldier's Farm
Chapter 2. The Citizen's Republic
Part 2. The Making of Rome's Citizen-Soldiers
Chapter 3. Origins: Kingly Armies of the Roman Hills
Chapter 4. Proving Ground: Surviving in Central Italy
Part 3. The Triumph of Rome's Citizen-Soldiers
Chapter 5. Breakout: Competition and Discipline at Sentinum
Chapter 6. The Greatest Trial: Beating Your Betters at New Carthage
Chapter 7. Triumph: Phalanx Killers at Pydna
Part 4. The Death of Rome's Citizen-Soldiers
Chapter 8. Questionable Legitimacy: The Ideal Statesman's Battle at Mutina
Chapter 9. Suicidal Finish: Last Stand of the Citizen-Soldier at Philippi
Epilogue. War Stories for the Emperor
Acknowledgments
Notes
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Steele Brand

Steele Brand is an assistant professor of history at The King's College and a former US Army tactical intelligence officer.