Roman Frontier Studies 2009
N Hodgson, P Bidwell, and J Schachtmann (eds)
Review by: Matthew Symonds
Every three years students and scholars of Roman frontiers gather to discuss the latest discoveries and thoughts. A lasting memento of these meetings is usually issued a few years later in the form of a hefty tome containing papers presented at the event. One gap that was beginning to make itself felt was the volume covering the 2009 congress, held in Britain at Newcastle. Its arrival is therefore most welcome, and presents an opportunity to digest at leisure papers that range as widely as the frontiers themselves.
Although the volume contains contributions in German and French, the vast majority are in English. The coverage tackles aspects of discrete geographical regions, such as ‘The Eastern and North African Frontiers’, and themes like ‘Camps’ and that perennial favourite ‘Roman roads’. As is to be expected from zones characterised by the presence of copious quantities of soldiers, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in military hardware. A wider perspective is taken by sections examining ‘Women and Families in the Roman Army’, ‘Death and Commemoration’, and that vast expanse beyond the Roman world: ‘Barbaricum’. The result is a highly satisfying compendium. An introduction explains the reason for the delay in publication, while a selection of photographs faithfully captures the convivial nature of the congress.