This week, as an addendum to our series on Roman civic governance (I, II, IIIa, IIIb, IIIc, IV, V), we’re going to take a look at how Rome handles those parts of Italy it controls but which it does not inhabit. These are Rome’s ‘allies’ (socii), a euphemistic label for the Italian communities the Romans have subordinated – sometimes diplomatically, frequently militarily. Rome’s governance – or one might say, lack of governance – of these communities is one of the most unusual elements of the Roman Republic, a remarkable break with how other Mediterranean states attempted to handle their conquests.
This is no unimportant topic. I tend to think – and indeed argued in my dissertation and will argue in my first book (when it appears) – that the Roman alliance system in Italy was the single most crucial institution for the Roman Republic’s military success (though many other elements of the Roman ‘system’ matter quite a lot). At any given time during the third and second centuries, more than half of the deployed strength of Roman armies – not just the men, but their equipment (which they bought), their pay (provided by their home communities), their junior officers (also from home) and their fighting ability (never meaningfully less than that of the Romans) – was not Roman, but drawn from the many non-Roman communities of Italy.
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Beginning of the System
The earliest indicator we have of what is going to be Rome’s socii-system is the Foedus Cassianum (‘Cassius’ Treaty’) concluded with the communities of Latium – the Latins – in 493. That is, of course, quite an early date and while we have narratives of these events from both Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, we have to be quite cautious as they are operating at great chronological remove (both writing in the first century B.C.) and with limited sources (something both actually more or less admit). According to Livy (2.18) the issue had begun with thirty Latin towns conspiring in a league against Rome (which does not yet have any imperial holdings), to which Rome responded by going to war. The timing, just a few years after the expulsion of Rome’s kings and the formation of the res publica may be suggestive that the Latins had formed this league to take advantage of the political crisis in Rome, which was the largest town in Latium, in order to throw off whatever Roman influence they may have been under during the period of the kings.
In any case, the Romans win the war and impose a peace treaty the terms of which, according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus went thusly:1
Let there be peace between the Romans and all the Latin cities as long as the heavens and the earth shall remain where they are. Let them neither make war upon another themselves nor bring in foreign enemies nor grant a safe passage to those who shall make war upon either. Let them assist one another, when warred upon, with all their forces, and let each have an equal share of the spoils and booty taken in their common wars. Let suits relating to private contracts be determined within ten days, and in the nation where the contract was made. And let it not be permitted to add anything to, or take anything away from these treaties except by the consent both of the Romans and of all the Latins
This is the origin point for Rome’s use of what I’ve termed the ‘Goku Model of Imperialism’ – “I beat you, therefore we are friends.” Having soundly defeated – at least according to our sources – the Latins, Rome doesn’t annex or destroy them, nor does it impose tribute, but rather imposes a treaty of alliance on them (in practice I suspect we might want to understand that Rome’s position was not so dominant as our sources suggest, thus the relatively good terms the Latins get). The treaty sounds like an equal relationship, until one remembers that it is the entire Latin league – thirty or more communities – as one party and then just Rome as the other party.
Rome proceeds, in the century or so that follows, to use this alliance to defeat their other neighbors, both the nearest major Etruscan centers as well as the Aequi and Sabines who lived in the hills to the north-east of Rome and the Volsci who lived to the south of Latium. Roman relations with the Latins seem to fray in the early 300s, presumably because the greatest threat to their communities was increasingly not the Volsci, but Rome’s emerging regional power. That leads to a collapse of the Foedus Cassianum in 341 and another war between Rome and the Latin League. Once again our sources are much later, so we might be somewhat skeptical of the details they provide, but the upshot is that at the end the Romans won by 338.
Rome’s expansion into most areas follows a familiar pattern: Rome enters a region by concluding an alliance with some weaker power in a region and then rushing to the aid of that weaker power; in some cases this was a long-term relationship that had been around for some time (like the long Roman friendship with Etruscan Caere) and in some cases it was a very new and opportunistic friendship (as with Capua’s appeal to the Romans for aid in 343). In either case, Rome formed a treaty with the community it was ‘protecting’ and then moved against its local enemies. Once defeated, it imposed treaties on them, too. Rome might also seize land in these wars from the defeated party (before it imposed that treaty); if these were far away, Rome might settle a colony on that land rather than annexing it into Rome’s core territory (the ager Romanus). These new communities – the Latin colonies – were created with treaty obligations towards Rome.
Note the change: what was initially an alliance between one party (Rome) and another party (the Latin League) has instead become an alliance system, a series of bilateral treaties between Rome and a slew of smaller communities. And they were smaller, because Rome often took land in these wars, so that by the third century, the Roman citizen body represented roughly 40% of the total, making Rome much bigger than any other allied community. This shift was probably gradual, rather than there being some dramatic policy change at any point. Rome accrued its Italian empire the same way it would accrue its Mediterranean one: as a result of a series of localized, ad hoc decisions which collectively added up to the result without ever being intended to constitute a single, unified policy.
The Romans called all of these allied communities and their people socii, ‘allies’ – a bit of a euphemism, because these were no longer equal alliances. We’ll get into the terms in a moment, but it seems clear that by 338 that these ‘allies’ are promising to have no foreign policy save for their alliance with Rome and to contribute soldiers to Roman armies. So Rome is in the driver’s seat determining where the alliance will go; Rome does not have to consult the allies when it goes to war and indeed does not do so. The socii cannot take Rome to war (but Rome will go to war immediately if a community of socii is attacked). This is no longer an equal arrangement, but it is useful for the Romans to pretend it is.
The next major series of Roman conflicts are with the Samnites. Rome is, according to Livy, at least, drawn into fighting the Samnites because of its suddenly concluded alliance with Capua and the Campanians (though Rome had been more loosely allied to the Samnites shortly before). In practice, the first two Samnite Wars (343-341, 326-304) were fought to determine control over Campania and the Bay of Naples, with Rome fighting to expand its influence there (by making those communities allies or protecting those who were) while the Samnites pushed back.
The Third Samnite War (298-290) becomes something rather different: a containment war. Rome’s growing power – through its ‘alliance’ system – was clearly on a course to dominate the peninsula, so a large coalition of opponents, essentially every meaningful Italian power not already in Rome’s alliance system, banded together in a coalition to try to stop it (except for the Greeks). What started as another war between Rome and the Samnites soon pulled in the remaining independent Etruscan powers and then even a Gallic tribe (the Senones) in an effort to contain Rome. The Romans manage to pull out a victory (though it was a close run thing) and in the process managed to pull yet more communities into the growing alliance system. It seems – the sources here are confused – that the decade that followed, the Romans lock down much of Etruria as well.
The Greek cities in southern Italy now at last recognize their peril and call in Pyrrhus of Epirus to try to beat back Rome, leading to the Pyrrhic War (280-275). Pyrrhus wins some initial battles but – famously – at such cost that he is unable to win the war. Pyrrhus withdraws in 275 and Rome is then able over the next few years to mop up the Greek cities in Southern Italy, with the ringleader, Tarentum, falling to Rome in 272. Rome imposed treaties on them, too, pulling them into the alliance system. Thus, by 264 Rome’s alliance system covered essentially the whole of Italy South of the Po River. It had emerged as an ad hoc system and admittedly our sources don’t give us a good sense of how and when the terms of the alliance change; in many cases it seems our sources, writing much later, may not know. They have the foedus Cassianum, with its rather more equal terms, and knowledge of the system as it seems to have existed in the late third century and the dates and wars by which this or that community was voluntarily or forcibly integrated, but not the details of by what terms and so on.
It is not even clear that all of these allies were bound to Rome by a written treaty with spelled out terms. I tend to think that they were, simply because that’s how Rome tends to do diplomacy in the periods we can more clearly observe and because our sources seem to think that the very early foedus Cassianum was a written treaty, evidently with a text that survived to them.2 In either case, the Romans had a fairly clear set of expectations for the socii. Now I am going to discuss this as a single system, but it is important to note that this is, in fact, a massive set of several dozen bilateral treaties, not a single system. Since we have the text of none of them, we can’t really talk about differences among them, but it seems almost certain there were some.
Still, we can outline the basic structure relatively well.
Socii kept their own internal systems of government and laws. We can’t always view these systems very clearly, but what we can see – often through inscriptions rather than our literary sources – suggests systems of government broadly similar to Rome’s, with powerful elected magistrates, often some kind of deliberative senate or council and voting assemblies. These internal systems continued to function and we find Italian elites among the socii quickly enmeshed in networks of patronage and hospitality with Roman elites.3 It seems likely to suppose that this would have produced some degree of convergence in the types of governing institutions, albeit that smaller Italian communities wouldn’t have needed quite so an extensive structure as Rome.
As a result, Rome maintained no officials, nor garrisons among the socii, with only rare exceptions. The socii are not quartering Roman armies, they do not have local Roman officials interfering in their business and the Romans don’t have to maintain such officials.
Rome guaranteed the safety and territory of the socii. In the Roman thought, the socii entered into the fides (‘faith, trust’) of Rome; indeed, defeated enemies that became socii will have done so through a surrender known as deditio in fidem, “giving [one’s self] over into the fides [of Rome].” Such trust was a two-way street: the socii incurred obligations to Rome but Rome also had responsibilities to them. Chief among them was that Rome had to keep them from harm. While there’s a temptation to view this obligation very cynically, the Romans clearly didn’t. Rome may not always win, but by the end of the third century, no socius could doubt that the Romans would throw away whole citizen armies before letting the socii be plundered. The Romans had, after all, engaged Pyrrhus outside of socii territory in 280, been beaten badly and then done it again in 279. They had also tried to keep Hannibal out of socii territory to disasterous losses in 218 and 217 and 216. Roman diplomats were forever “harping on about fides” (e.g. Diod. Sic. 23.1.4) as Heiro II of Syracuse complained, but this mattered to them.
Crucially, this security guarantee was as much directed against other socii as it was against external threats. Remember that Rome moves into regions by intervening in existing conflicts in those regions and when it wins, incorporates both parties into the system. That means the smaller regional states are made socii and are being protected against the larger regional states, who are also made socii. Indeed, as Michael Fronda argues4 this provides a measure of resilience to the system. If, say, Capua revolts from Rome (as it does during the Second Punic War), a whole mess of other Campanian states, concerned about Capua’s strength as the strongest Campanian community, might hew closer to Rome for safety. Thus the revolt of some communities locked in the loyalty of others who looked to Rome for protection, which in turn meant that Rome could retain the upper-hand against efforts to break up the system.
The socii in turn had to supply troops for Rome’s wars. We’ll talk about the mechanics of this in a moment. Crucially, this came with a second component, Rome imposed no tribute on the socii. That is profoundly unusual for imperial systems in antiquity, which nearly always impose some kind of tribute or tax, in either money, precious metals or bulk agricultural goods (like grain) upon the conquered. Rome’s ‘tribute,’ such as it was, was only collected in soldiers – albeit soldiers with their pay, equipment and officers (so not simple manpower).
Socii shared in the spoils of successful military activity. This is also profoundly unusual. Livy has a standard formula when reporting Roman triumphs which includes the share of the loot given out to each rank of soldier and as part of that very standard formula, he nearly always includes that the socii got the same amount per soldier (e.g. Livy 40.43.6-7, 45.43.7, note also Polyb. 10.16 which seems clear that the socii participate fully in both the gathering and division of loot). Indeed, the one time this does not happen it produces outrage; when Gaius Claudius gives the socii only half of what the citizens got, they respond by marching in silence in his triumph rather than singing the traditional bawdy victory songs in protest (Livy 41.13.8); this is the only time we hear of this and they protest not at getting no loot, but merely at getting less loot. When the loot was land, the socii seem to have had at least some access to it too; there’s a general consensus that at least some socii settled in Roman colonies placed on captured land and its also clear that the socii could rent the land that became ager publicus, public land rented out by the Roman state, generally at favorable rates.
As Tim Cornell put it,5 the Roman alliance system was, “a criminal operation which compensates its victims by enrolling them in the gang and inviting them to share to proceeds of future robberies.” In the rough neighborhood that was pre-Roman Italy and the ancient Mediterranean in general, where the consequences of losing a war could be so dire, that kind of deal isn’t such a bad one. That said, in the third and second centuries at least, most of the allies – the Latin colonies composed significantly of transplanted Romans excepted – didn’t stick with Rome out of any sense of national unity (there wasn’t any) or great affection. Rather, this seems to have been a pretty hard-nosed calculation of interests: for the elites that ran these communities, Rome protected them from outside threats, backstopped their power internally to some degree and was less bad than whatever their traditional local rival would have been.
Nuts and Bolts
That structure in turn means that there isn’t very much ‘system’ to look at. Rome maintains no bureaucrats among the socii, no magistrate whose job it is to run their affairs, no council or board to keep tabs on them. The vast tax collection apparatus of the great Hellenistic monarchies (the successors of Alexander) may have consumed fully ten percent (or more!) of the revenue they generated;6 the direct cost to Rome of this system was…almost nothing.
Instead we see two normal interactions between Rome and the socii. The first, of course, was the dilectus. We’ve discussed that before, so I’ll just offer a brief recap of the role of the socii in this process. During the first phase of the dilectus, when the military tribunes are determining which of the Roman iuniores will be called up, the consuls meet on the Capitoline with the representatives of the socii; probably local magistrates, but we’re not told this. The consuls have the formula togatorum, a document the exact nature of which is obscure – we’ve already discussed the question before – but which evidently spells out the liability each community has for recruitment, possibly as a ratio or a sliding scale of some sort or maybe an absolute count of men liable for military service in each community. In any case, the consuls inform the representatives how many men their community is expected to send and where the army will eventually form up.
And here our sources…lose interest. Polybius and Livy, upon whom we are primarily reliant here, are interested in political events in Rome, but not among the socii. Still, a few things are mentioned and others seem likely. The representatives would fan out to their communities knowing how many men they needed to send. Polybius then suggests (6.21.5), in a brief comment that each of the communities of the socii would hold their own miniature version of the Roman dilectus and that’s quite plausible. There’s a fair bit of evidence suggesting that the fourth and third century are a period of convergeance in military norms in Italy (the most visible of this is in arms and armor), so by the time the Roman system is visible to us in the third century, chances are most of the socii have military institutions that look at lot like Rome’s, just smaller, because they are much smaller. And a rapid dilectus for the allies should be possible too, because they are smaller in population and forming up much smaller units.
The socii thus take up most of the planning here. We know they appoint a junior officer and a paymaster for the unit (Polyb. 6.21.4-5). That in turn implies some system of electing officers in each of the communities of the socii; these posts would have certainly gone to local notables likely looking to rise in the politics of their own cities. And note the symmetry: the Romans elect a consul to command each army and a quaestor who handles pay; the socii also elect a commander of their detachment and a paymaster to match the role of the quaestor. That of course means the socii will have had to set aside the money to pay these soldiers, though as with recruitment, how they do that is up to them. Since they have no taxes levied on them by the Romans, they are free to raise whatever taxes they can in whatever way they wish; a tax on landed wealth, similar to Rome’s tributum is the most likely.
This also means that it is up to the socii on how to equip their troops. Italian military equipment seems to be converging, so by the second century if not earlier, the equipment of the socii seems little different than that of the Romans and units of socii are effectively interchangeable with Roman legions. Once again, the most plausible solution is that the socii do what the Romans do: restrict recruitment to me of means who are expected to purchase their own equipment. If there are ‘grades’ of equipment sets – like the velites and three ranks of the Roman heavy infantry – within the socii (entirely plausible!) we do not near about them. Likewise, elites among the socii presumably serve in the cavalry and provide their own horses; Rome tends to have more socii than citizen cavalry, though Polybius’ suggestion (6.26.7) of a fixed ratio is clearly a simplification of a general rule.
The one thing Rome administers in the logistics is the food supply: the socii receive their rations as a ‘free gift’ from the Roman people (Polyb. 6.39.14). I doubt this is generosity, but rather a desire for logistical simplification, as doing things this way lets the army keep a single stock of food supplies. If the quaestor wanted to charge the socii for the food, they’d have to coordinate with a dozen different socii paymasters to do it; far easier to just call it a free gift and move on (whereas since the quaestor handles the pay of Roman soldiers directly it is easy enough just to deduct the cost of their rations from their pay, which is what was done). Indeed, it is hard not to note that the entire system maximizes simplicity for the quaestor: pay deductions in camp for Romans keeps the movement of money entirely notional, reducing the amount of raw specie the army has to carry to make out pay, while the entire administrative burden of keeping track of the socii is offloaded on to their own leaders.
For any other kind of problem, well the socii are technically independent allies communities, so they communicate with Rome the same way any other would: they send ambassadors with messages. This is, presumably, what is technically happening every year at the dilectus. So that would follow the standard sequence: ambassadors are received by the consuls, who then bring them to speak before the Senate, which hears what they have to say and then makes recommendations – that is, a senatus consultum – to Roman magistrates. We can see this process play out in 177, reported by Livy (41.8.5-41.9.1): representatives of the socii have a problem (their people are migrating into other communities, but their recruitment burden has not changed) so they send ambassadors to Rome who have to wait until the new consuls come into office so that the consuls can convene the Senate to hear their petition, at which point they lay out their petition and, in this case, the Senate grants their request.7
Finally among the allies there were gradations of legal status. Of course you have the Romans themselves who legally full Roman citizens (cives optimo iure), but you also have Roman colonies settled with Roman citizens in new communities in Italy which often are cives sine suffragio, “citizens without the vote.” They have all of the legal protections of Roman citizens, but can’t vote or hold office in Rome, instead voting and holding office in their own communities. Rome also sometimes incorporates existing communities as cives sine suffragio, but this is sometimes a privilege and sometimes a punishment: in Campania it seems to have been a recognition of closeness in Rome, whereas in other cases Rome used the status as a mean to annex states that had been particularly hostile.8 After this came socii under the ius Latinum – the Latin Right: these were non-citizen allies but who had some part of a package of particular extra rights in the system, namely to contract lawful marriages with Roman citizens, to do business in Rome under the ius civile rather than the ius gentium (that is, to have the same commercial protections as Romans), to be able to migrate freely into Roman territory and in so doing become Roman citizens. Initially unique to the status of the actual Latins in Latium, Rome applies this status to the Latin colonies (thus their name) and so it quickly becomes disconnected with any actual Latin ethnic identity. And then finally socii with no particular special status except their alliance with Rome.
The layers of potential status gave Rome carrots and sticks to use in some of their interactions with the socii: improved status was sometimes offered, though fairly rarely, for loyal service. On the other hand, privileges might be revoked for communities which proved unreliable or disloyal. I should stress that this isn’t necessarily a regular occurrence – we have fairly few reports of status ‘upgrades’ though they do happen (Vell. Pat. 1.14.2-4; Livy 23.5; 38.36); it’s unclear if these are more frequent and just not as remarked upon by our sources.
For the third and second century, the clear significance of this system was what it meant for Roman military power. Polybius preserves the figures from an extraordinary Roman census of all of the allies in 225 (as opposed to the normal Roman census, which only counted citizens), which recorded all of the military-aged men in Italy liable for conscription (so, rich enough to serve). The numbers he gives have been tinkered at by modern historians at the edges, but only on the edges; the raw figures are as follows:9
|Socii in the army||60,000||4,000||64,000|
|Veneti and Cenomani||20,000||20,000|
Which is to say that the socii, collectively, represented something like 60% of Rome’s military capacity. That’s not just manpower either, because the socii pay, organize and equip these soldiers; indeed they do everything except feeding them. The number of socii that accompanied a Roman army was somewhat variable, but they generally represented a majority of the force; from 195 to 169, where we have decent information (though not for every deployment),10 for every Roman legion (normal size of 4,200 infantry and 300 cavalry) there were on average around 6,750 socii infantry and 350 socii cavalry. By the third century, these units of socii fought in the same way and with the same weapons, in so far as we can tell, as the Romans did and were effectively interchangeable with their Roman equivalents.
And these are staggeringly vast numbers. The comparison I use for my students is that Alexander the Great invaded the Persian Empire with a force of 43,000 infantry and 5,500 cavalry, with perhaps as many troops left behind to secure Greece. Rome has seven hundred thousand men liable for conscription. During the worst days of the Second Punic War, having lost more than 80,000 men in its opening years, Roman armies will approach two-hundred thousand men under arms (185,000 in 212 and 211, following Taylor, op. cit.; other scholars suggest figures as high as 225,000). This is only possible because of this system.
In battle, Roman generals typically placed the infantry components of the two Roman legions in the center, with the alae (‘wings’) of the socii on either side, such that a regular consular army (2 legions strong) presented what was effectively a four-legion wide line of battle. Then the cavalry, both Roman and socii, was normally posted to the flanks. While the junior officers – the socii equivalent of centurions – were provided by the socii, Roman generals appointed Roman officers called praefecti sociorum to help them command the alae of the socii. There were six of these fellows per legion, just like the military tribunes and we ought to understand them as functioning in much the same way.
This was a remarkably efficient and powerful system compared to the typical way empires raised military capacity from their peripheries. The normal structure was a military-tributary complex11 where the imperial center imposed taxes or tribute on the periphery and then used that money to pay soldiers. A slight variation on the system was to cut out the middle-man and simply promise soldiers land and non-free farmers (slaves or serfs) on land cut out of those subordinated communities. Such systems could grow to be very, very large, but the efficiency was low: you have to garrison these communities to keep the taxes flowing and you need a veritable army of bureaucrats to collect it.
By contrast, the socii recruit themselves, equip themselves and organize themselves. And they fight hard, because they’re fighting for their home communities, to show their bravery to their own neighbors and family (who are there with them) and for an equal share in the proceeds of victory. While the troops provided by subordinated peoples were often the weak link in Achaemenid or Seleucid armies, the Romans felt perfectly free to use socii as they would use the legions. Polybius makes almost no distinction between them, whereas Livy in his battle narratives often stresses the valor of the socii.12
At the same time, because the ‘deal’ the ROmans offered was good and avoided gross insult to the honor of the socii (unlike many military-tributary complexes, which could be quite blunt about how ‘under the boot’ their subordinated people were), the system was remarkably durable. The socii revolt en masse just twice. In 216, when Hannibal has defeated three Roman armies and is in Italy, about a third of the socii join him; Rome with the remaining two thirds (including all of the Latin colonies) is able to overcome Hannibal and put down the rebellious communities. Then in 91, about half of the socii rise up in the Social War. Their motives are complex: some of the socii clearly ‘want in’ – they want full Roman citizenship, which for reasons beyond the scope of this post, has become a lot more valuable to have by this point. Some of the socii clearly ‘want out’ – they want to break Roman domination over Italy. In any case, Rome is able to peel away the majority of the revolters by promising citizenship and subdue the rest.
For a system of imperial domination that contributed tens of thousands of soldiers to Rome’s armies annually, that is a remarkably stable system. Rome’s great victories would have been impossible without it.
The system also likely facilitated the slow but steady cultural coagulation of Italy. This process ought not be rushed in our minds; even in the second century it seems few of the socii thought of themselves as part of some ‘Italian’ polity. They were Capuans or Marsi or what have you first, socii second and ‘Italians’ never. But the system facilitated the spread of Roman and allied patronage networks across Italy, it encouraged cultural exchange, particularly the spread of Latin which begins to displace local languages by the first century. As a result, when citizenship for the socii comes at the end of the Social War (91-87), the groundwork for what is essentially a national core to the Roman Empire has been laid. By the 30s BC, Octavian’s propaganda can lean on ‘Italia‘ as a concept to rally behind (as with the oath of tota Italia recorded on the Res Gestae).
- trans. Earnest Clay (1940)
- Most scholars assume, as I do, that there were formal written treaties, but against this, note J.W. Rich, “Treaties, Allies and the Roman Conquest of Italy” in War and Peace in Ancient and Medieval History, edited by P. de Souza, and J. France (2008).
- Indeed, Terrenato argues this was a crucial component of Roman expansion, see N. Terrenato, The Early Roman Expansion into Italy (2019), though Terrenato’s view that elite relations were more central and conquest less so is a heterodox one.
- In Between Rome and Carthage (2010)
- In Beginnings of Rome (1995), paraphrasing Bickerman and Smith (1976)
- Estimates in Aperghis, The Seleukid Royal Economy (2004)
- In particular that the Senate block the migration of their people into Roman territory and also to close a loophole where by free socii were evidently using Roman manumission as a legal fiction to obtain Roman citizenship. The episode as a whole seems to me plausible, but this latter effort to obtain Roman citizenship by trickery is curious, coming this early; one wonders if Livy is filling out the details of the complaint with bits that would make more sense around 50 years later. Though on the other hand, Livy may well have the record of the senatus consultum that resulted from this, so perhaps he is right.
- Notably the Campanians retained a lot of self-government and still get referred to as socii by the sources, whereas Satricum (Livy 9.16.10) and Anagnia (Livy 9.43.24) lost most or all of their self-government when admitted as cives sine suffragio.
- Borrowing a chart from Taylor, Soldiers and Silver (2020), 31 who discusses these figures and the various modern scholarly takes on them in much more depth.
- for the raw figures, see Taylor, op. cit., 27.
- Not my term originally, but Carlos Noreña’s from “Urban Systems in the Han and Roman Empires” in State Power in Ancient China and Rome, ed. W. Scheidel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015).
- There are complications with both of those sources, of course. On those complications, see Erdkamp, “Polybius and Livy on the Allies in the Roman Army,” in The Impact of the Roman Army (200 BC – AD 476), ed. L. de Blois and E. Lo Cascio. (2007).