Peopling the Past, Video #15: Conor Whately talks about Soldiers & Civilians in the Eastern Roman Empire

Photo of Dr. Conor Whately sitting in a chair.
Dr. Conor Whately

In the fifteenth instalment of the Peopling the Past Video Series, Dr. Conor Whately discusses soldiers and civilians in the eastern Roman empire, including settlement and military sites, non-military activities and economic exchange, and the family and community relationships of soldiers in the region.

Conor Whately is an associate professor of Classics at the University of Winnipeg (Canada).  He completed his BA and MA at McMaster University (Canada), and his PhD at the University of Warwick (UK), and has been in Winnipeg since 2009.  Whately has written and co-edited books on the sixth-century (CE) historian Procopius, on the Roman military in ancient Bulgaria, and military handbooks.  Two books are aimed at a general audience:  An Introduction to the Roman Military (Wiley, 2020), which provides an overview of the army in part from the perspective of three Roman soldiers between 100 BCE and 450 CE; and A Sensory History of Ancient Warfare (Pen & Sword, 2021), a short book which looks at what a consideration of the five senses can tell us about the experience of warfare in the ancient Mediterranean world.  Currently he’s in the early stages of a 5-year project (2021-2026) on the relationship between soldiers and civilians in Roman Jordan and parts of Israel/Palestine, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Interested in learning more? Check out these relevant publications from Dr. Whately.

Procopius on Soldiers and Military Institutions in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire, Leiden:  Brill (2021)  (the book has a chapter devoted to frontier soldiers)

“War and the Transformation of Society in Early Byzantine Arabia,” in Bennett, E., Berndt, G., Esders, S., and L. Sarti (eds.), Early Medieval Militarisation, Manchester:  Manchester University Press (2021), pp. 99-114.

“Soldiers and Their Families on the Late Roman Frontier in Central Jordan”, in G. Wrightson (ed.), The Many Faces of War in the Ancient World, Newcastle:  Cambridge Scholars Publishing (2015), pp. 283-301.

“el-Lejjūn:  Logistics and Localisation on Rome’s East Frontier in the 6th c.”, in Sarantis A. and N. Christie (2010-11) (eds.), War and Warfare in Late Antiquity: Current Perspectives, Leiden:  Brill (2013), pp. 893-924.

Further Reading

Allison, P. 2013.  People and Spaces in Roman Military Bases. Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press.

Esler, P. 2017. Babatha’s Orchard. Oxford:  Oxford University Press.

Helms, K. 2021. “Pompeii’s Safaitic Graffiti.” JRS 111: 1–12.

Polllard, N. 2000. Soldiers, Cities, and Civilians in Roman Syria. Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press.

Ruffini, G. 2011. “Village Life and Family Power in Late Antique Nessana.” TAPA 141:  201–225

Whately, C. 2016. “Camels, Soldiers, and Pilgrims in Sixth Century Nessana.” Scripta Classica Israelica 35: 121–135.

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