Book Recommendation - In The Name Of Rome

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Posted on : 1/14/2013 07:00:00 AM | By : Dann | In :

Adrian Goldworthy wrote "In The Name Of Rome" in 2003.  This tome presents the history of Roman military leaders that built and maintained the Roman Empire.

He tells the stories of political intrigue surrounding the selection of consuls that led the Roman army.  He presents the movement, battle skills and maneuvers they developed on their way to victory.

From a military history as well as a general military perspective, the book was a pleasant read.  The details were not so fascinating as to remain glued in my mind, so we are all lucky to be spared a longer recitation of those details.

However, the book did present one overarching narrative that I think is relevant to modern America.

At the beginning of the Roman Empire, serving in the army was considered to be a duty of every Roman citizen.  It was considered to be a near qualifying duty for those that wanted to hold power back in Rome.

This perspective changed over the course of the Empire.  Eventually, the military was formed with significant numbers from the outlying provinces.  Rome's leading citizens were too busy generating and consuming wealth to spend any significant portion of their lives defending the source of their relative liberty.

That sort of thing was farmed out to lesser men and foreigners.

This condition was one of the factors that led to the eventual demise of the Roman Empire.

When a nation can no longer persuade not only her citizens, but specifically her leading citizens to invest of themselves in that nation's defense, then that nation will shortly cease to exist.  Or at least it will cease to have the power and influence that it once enjoyed.

Robert Heinlein has suggested that there is a link between rights and responsibility as well as a link between responsibility and authority.  Each cannot exist unless it is in balance with the other.  Before one assumes political authority over others, one must submit completely to that same authority.  Where else can such complete submission occur but in the military?


In modern America, the trend for service in our military is for people from the central and southern states to serve.  Those from the seats of power....New York, LA, the New England areas...serve at a far lower rate.  Those that seek civilian and corporate leadership rarely send their children to serve as well.  We also routinely recruit from pools of immigrants as well as foreigners that apply to serve at our embassies around the world.

What will our future be if we cannot inspire future generations to see our nation as being worthy of the sacrifice of military service?  History does not suggest a positive outcome.

For those with an appreciation of military history, western civilization, and military tactics, "In The Name Of Rome" is a splendid book.


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