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Title: Ethnicity, identity and the development of the Roman frontier in Central Europe
Author: Frith, Andrew J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 5328
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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The purpose of this thesis is to identify and examine the degree to which ethnicity, specifically the etic Roman ethnicity of Gallic and Germanic tribes, affected the development of the Roman frontier in Central Europe from around the 1st century BC through to the 1st century AD. Of primary concern is the etic ethnic identities Roman society created around the Gallic and Germanic tribal groups. Analysis of textual and archaeological evidence from the period shows that there was a consistent discourse surrounding these tribal groups; and that this discourse, while fluctuating and changing in response to changing political and military events, presented a number of recurring ethnic traits. Taking these key Gallic and Germanic etic ethnic traits, the thesis discusses the influence such identities had on the development of the Rhine Frontier. Firstly, through a consideration of the Roman conceptualization of their empire and frontier and its evolution between the 1st century BC through to the 1st century AD. Followed by an assessment of the Roman state's ability to gather objective information regarding the frontier zone and then its capability in translating this information into effective strategic decision making concerning Frontier policy. Thirdly, their ability to choose strategic frontier positions with a particular focus on the causes and justifications given by Julius Caesar for the establishment of the Rhine as the frontier in Central Europe. The thesis includes a consideration of the interactions across the frontier between Roman and native groups, which directly affected the development of the frontier over time. In particular, economic and diplomatic interactions, and the role such interactions played in mitigating some of the ethnic traits, identified earlier in the thesis. The discussion also addresses the nature of the social and culture changes experienced by tribal groups as a result of these interactions, and how the ethnic perceptions of the Roman state directly influenced these changes, and therefore the development of the frontier as a whole. This thesis demonstrates that the etic Roman ethnic identity of Gallic and Germanic tribal groups was a significant factor in the nature and development of the frontier in Central Europe. Direct influence from ideas regarding ethnicity can be identified in the Roman concepts of empire and frontier, how frontier locations were chosen and established, and the nature and consequences of interaction between the Roman state and native communities. The importance of ethnicity to the understanding of the Roman frontier in Central Europe should therefore be considered a foundational issue for future study.
Supervisor: Freeman, Philip Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral