Ancient Warfare Vol X, Issue 6: Ancient Rome in Turmoil - The Year of the Four Emperors.

Ancient Warfare Vol X, Issue 6: Ancient Rome in Turmoil - The Year of the Four Emperors

Ancient Warfare Vol X, Issue 6: Ancient Rome in Turmoil - The Year of the Four Emperors

The Year of the Four Emperors is one of the more familiar topics of Roman history, marking the turmoil that ended the reign of Nero and with it the Julio-Claudian dynasty, the civil wars that followed, and the eventual victory of Vespasian.

We start with an overview of the 'year', from the first revolts against Nero to the eventual victory of Vespasian. This nicely sets the rested of the themed articles in context, most of avoid the central events of the year and focus instead on some interesting sidelines.

First is an examination of Suetonius, one of the most interesting sources for this period, who wrote a history of the first twelve Emperors which appears to focus on gossip, but is perhaps rather deeper than it first appears, with the anecdotes used to give a message about the characters involved and the correct way to govern.

Next is a look at the fate of the Legions during these civil wars, a period which saw an unusually high turn over of legions, with disloyal legions disbanded and new legions formed by whoever was on top.

Two articles look at the Batavian Revolt - one covers the revolt itself, which was probably triggered by the way the Batavians were treated during the civil wars, and the second at the life of Julius Sabinus, a Gallic claimant to the Roman throne whose brief career demonstrates that provincials were already ready to try and fight for the throne.

One article does look at the central events of the year, covering the two battles on the Via Postuma near Cremona, each of which saw power move to a new claimant.

Finally there is a look at a meeting held by Vespasian before he began his bid for the throne, suggesting that many more plans were put in place here than is usually accepted.

Away from the main theme there is an examination of the evidence for the idea that the First Cohort of the Legion had five double sized centuries, perhaps unsurprisingly discovering that the evidence in favour of the theory is rather weak.

Finally we finish with a totally different topic - a look at the battle of Chang-Ping, a key moment in the rise of Chin. This is an interesting article, although the author does take the vast troop numbers given in the Ancient sources at face value.

Historical Introduction: The Year of the Four Emperors
Managing the Crisis - Suetonius on the Emperors
Legions come, legions go - Military turmoil
Casus belli! - The Batavian Revolt, AD 69-70
Contender from the East - The Jewish Revolt and the Crisis
Man who would be Caesar - The story of Julius Sabinus
The road to hell - Two battles on the Via Postuma
Putting the Pieces in Place - Vespasian's (re)-organisation
Graphic history - Purple Thread
Roman army in detail - Problem of the First Cohort
Massacre at Chang-Ping - Greatest Military disaster

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