Raflaub's Frequency Of War

Great Essays
After conquering an area, the soldiers obtained many spoils, such as sacking the area for precious goods, and enslaving the people. The goods gained from war were intrinsically important to the Roman system, for the survival of the Republic almost seemed to depend on gaining new resources from war. Therefore, Raaflaub highlights that while political and social gains were important, there did exist the question of being able to obtain wealth, resources, and survival through warfare, which would increase the frequency of war. Even more central to Raaflaub’s argument is his insistence that the ancient Romans engaged in a type of preemptive warfare out of fear of being conquered. The ancient Romans remembered well the fear of tyranny after the …show more content…
In all, Raaflaub would agree in part with Harris about the Romans engaging in numerous wars, yet others would take a very differing stance to these two authors. In contrast to Harris is historian Arthur Eckstein, who directly rebuts Harris’s claim that the Romans were pathological murderers. Eckstein states the Romans were not extraordinarily belligerent; in fact, they were just as aggressive as other polities. Eckstein’s main argument asserts that there existed a type of “interstate anarchy” in the ancient world, where almost all nations, such as Carthage, Greece, etc., engaged in aggressive battles and wars. Thus, Eckstein acknowledges that the Romans were violent in their warfare; yet, he concludes all other nations were just as aggressive in this system of international warfare. In addition, Eckstein notes the Romans did “profit economically from success in war,” yet he does not place a high intrinsic value upon the plunder as seen with Raaflaub. As evidence of his international …show more content…
Champion asserts that the Romans gained their empire by essential “invitation” from other polities. Foremost, Champion would agree with Eckstein that Romans were not mass murderers as Harris proclaims. However, Rome was “invited” by other entities into their homeland to lend assistance when other powers were seen as threatening to their security. For example, in the aftermath of the second Punic War, Macedonia and the Seleucids made a pact to conquer Egypt. Greek city-states, such as Rhodes and Pergamum, saw this as an alarming venture, for this new alliance could potentially come for their land. In consequence, the Greek city-states appealed to Rome for assistance. Thus, as Champion analyzes, Rome would help their allies and come to their aid as reluctant mediators. Overall, the Romans were not looking to directly conquer, but they were able to extend their hegemony through requests from other nations for aid. Lastly, Champion would concur with the other authors that there existed political reasons for Roman engagement in war. The Republic was unique in that officials were elected to their positions. Other nations, such as Greece, had unelected Hellenistic monarchs who would be in office based on being born into the right family. Thus, these nations may have not seen constant engagement in warfare as being necessary to their society. In contrast, the Roman

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