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Armed Batavians

Armed Batavians: Use and Significance of Weaponry and Horse Gear from Non-military Contexts in the Rhine Delta (50 BC to AD 450)

Johan Nicolay
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    Armed Batavians
    Book Description:

    This study explores the use and significance of Roman weaponry and horse gear from non-military contexts in the eastern Rhine delta - the territory of the Batavians. Using a life-cycle model for Roman soldiers, the author interprets the large quantity of 1st-century finds as personal memorabilia brought home by ex-soldiers as a reminder of their 25 years of service, symbolising their newly-acquired veteran status. Underpinning the research is an extensive inventory of militaria from urban centres, rural settlements, cult places, rivers and graves, presented in 96 plates. The study not only presents a considerable body of unpublished data, but also offers an intriguing perspective on daily life in the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, with its closely interwoven military and civilian values.Amsterdam Archaeological Studies is a series devoted to the study of past human societies from the prehistory up into modern times, primarily based on the study of archaeological remains. The series will include excavation reports of modern fieldwork; studies of categories of material culture; and synthesising studies with broader images of past societies, thereby contributing to the theoretical and methodological debates in archaeology.This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1579-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    Johan Nicolay
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Finds of Roman weaponry and horse gear in rural and especially urban settlements have long been associated with the presence of military guard posts or fortifications.¹ In recent years, however, objects of a military nature have been found in these and other non-military contexts in large numbers, thus opening the way for alternative interpretations. The Roman Military Equipment Conference in Windisch-Vindonissa (2001) was entirely taken up with the subject of Roman soldiers and militaria in the civilian domain.² The conference proceedings present an interesting picture of the current state of research. What stands out is the focus on finds from...

  5. 2 Military equipment and horse gear: a survey
    (pp. 13-64)

    Finds of military equipment and horse gear from the period between Caesar’s conquests (c. 50 BC) and the fall of the empire’s northern frontier (early 5thcentury AD) lie at the heart of the research presented here. The purpose of this chapter is to introduce a functional and chronological classification into both categories of finds so that the material can be analysed further. Firstly, the finds are divided into functional categories (appendix 2).¹ Within each category, they are then arranged typochronologically and – where possible – attributed tolegionariiorauxiliarii.² Finally, within each category I identify the finds that...

  6. 3 An analysis of the finds at the regional and site level
    (pp. 65-128)

    Although finds of weapons, belts/baldrics and horse gear are generally viewed as characteristic of military sites, the material from the eastern Rhine delta shows that these categories of finds also occur frequently outside army camps and guard posts. The majority of the c. 2,700 objects in the inventory come from rural settlements, ranging from simple hamlets to larger settlements with villa-like structures (fig. 3.1, appendix 1). In addition, a sizeable quantity of material is documented from rivers, the urban centres in Nijmegen and cult places. Only occasionally do objects occur in graves. Thanks to the extensive data set from the...

  7. 4 Production and symbolic imagery
    (pp. 129-156)

    Chapter 3 presented an overview of the chronological, geographical and site-level spatial patterns evident in weaponry and horse gear finds from non-military contexts in the eastern Rhine delta. Before proceeding in subsequent chapters to link these patterns with specific types of use and significance, I shall first examine how weaponry and horse gear production was organised during the Roman period and discuss the symbolic significance of the decorative elements. These two aspects are important because production underpinned possibilities for use, while symbolic imagery enhanced the significance that soldiers and other users attached to weaponry and horse gear. They also help...

  8. 5 Military equipment and the life cycle of a Roman soldier
    (pp. 157-206)

    Chapter 3 showed that significant changes took place in the composition of ‘military’ finds from non-military contexts in the eastern Rhine delta during the Roman period. The early material (c. 50 BC – AD 120) is characterised by relatively large quantities of helmets, armour and shields, all of them militaria associated with soldiers. Judging by the organisation of production and the imagery used, this was also the period in which weapons and horse gear were intended for military users.¹ From the 2ndto the 5thcenturies, specifically military items largely gave way to items that could have belonged to soldiers...

  9. 6 Non-military use of weaponry and horse gear in urban and rural settlements
    (pp. 207-236)

    I argued in the previous chapter that part of the finds from non-military contexts were the property of Roman soldiers. After completing their term of service, they would take their equipment home to keep as personal memorabilia or make a ritual deposition to mark the end of their soldiering days. The key pointer here is the frequent occurrence of what are clearly military items (including helmets, armour and shields) in settlements and ritual contexts, especially during the 1stcentury AD. In the following period, we see marked changes in the composition of the material.¹ Specific types of offensive weapons, belts...

  10. 7 Warriors, soldiers and civilians. Use and significance of weaponry and horse gear in a changing socio-political context
    (pp. 237-258)

    Thecivitas Batavorumwas of great military significance throughout the Roman period, initially as a base of operations for the conquest of Germania and, from the mid-1stto the early 5thcenturies AD, as part of the Romanlimes. The Rhineland’s military significance was not only strategic in nature. It appears to have been determined in part by the importance of warriorship in pre-Roman tribal societies and the way in which Rome capitalised on this in the frontier zones of the empire. The aim of this chapter is to explain the use and significance of weaponry and horse gear from...

  11. Abbreviations
    (pp. 259-260)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 260-286)
  13. Appendices 1-4
    (pp. 287-310)
  14. About the plates and the catalogue
    (pp. 311-311)
  15. Plates 1-96
    (pp. 312-408)