IMC 2013: Sessions

Session 204: In Praise of Late Antique and Early Medieval Military Men, II: Coercive Factors to Interpersonal Bonds between Military Men

Monday 1 July 2013, 14.15-15.45

Organisers:Guido M. Berndt, Lehrstuhl für Alte Geschichte, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Laury Sarti, Geschichte der Spätantike und des frühen Mittelalters, Friedrich-Meinecke-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin
Roland Steinacher, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Moderator/Chair:Rachel Stone, Fitzwilliam Museum, University of Cambridge / Department of History, King's College London
Paper 204-aThe Company of God: The Model Christian Military Unit?
(Language: English)
David Woods, Department of Classics, University College Cork
Index terms: Hagiography, Military History, Political Thought
Paper 204-bImpulse Manslaughter: Obligation, Necessity, or Pleasure?
(Language: English)
Guido M. Berndt, Lehrstuhl für Alte Geschichte, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Index terms: Mentalities, Military History, Political Thought, Social History
Paper 204-cSoldiers, Taxes, and Lands: Means to Finance the Armies of Italy, 450-550
(Language: English)
Paolo Tedesco, Institut für Mittelalterforschung, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien
Index terms: Military History, Political Thought, Social History
Paper 204-dLanguage of Command: When (Not) to Obey an Order
(Language: English)
Kai Grundmann, Sonderforschungsbereich 700 'Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood', Freie Universität Berlin
Index terms: Mentalities, Military History, Political Thought, Social History
Abstract

Late Roman and Early Medieval history are characterized to a significant extent by military activities. This is one of three sessions aiming at presenting the outcome of the works of researchers recently focussing on this and related subjects, including questions of shifting identities and requirements, the functionalisms of armed hosts, the significance of violence, and the repercussions of a gradually increasing military presence in the context of the formation of post-Roman societies.

Paper -a:
This model intends to survey the depiction of units of Christian soldiers in the hagiographic literature composed between the 4th and 7th centuries, from treatments of the alleged martyrdom of the so-called Theban legion under Herculius Maximianus in the late 3rd-century West to the treatment of the martyrdom of the 60 martyrs of Gaza in 639, in order to assess what sort of model of group-behaviour was being presented to soldiers as the Christian ideal throughout this period

Paper -b:
One of the most repelling aspects of Late Antique and Early Medieval history is the apparent ease with which its societies resorted to murder For the leaders of barbarian warrior groups staged violence when killing an antagonist was a means to show his personal cold-bloodedness, his skill in using deadly violence and to demonstrate his absolute authority over his followers. The paper asks whether the impulse to kill is to be understood as an obligation, a necessity, or even a pleasure for the committer.

Paper -c:
The present paper considers the development of Italian military society in the imperial and post-imperial period, approximately the mid-5th century to the mid-6th century. In late antique Italy the Roman army was perhaps not Roman at all: imperial soldiers, barbarian foederati and later Gothic militaries stuck together, lived together and fought together. Once the barbarians embraced the Roman army, there was no longer a ‘them and us’ attitude. The various armies were sustained by alternative, but complementary economic means. The difference between tax and rent did not imply a modal difference, and it did not affect the importance of the direct and primary role of the state in the process of the surplus appropriation. This article aims to investigate the impact on the military structures derived by the transition from usually waged soldiers to a basically landed army.

Paper -d:
Coercion alone is a poor instrument of command, and commanding by consent only is impossible. Military law merely defines the parameters of interaction between superiors and subordinates, but ultimately how to give and receive orders is a most meticulous act of balance on both sides – especially under conditions of limited statehood in late antiquity. The language of command ideally reflects this by perfectly balancing coercion with consensual appeals when addressing soldiers, instead of relying on simple top-down hierarchies.