The date of Vegetius’ Epitoma Rei Militaris, addressed to an unnamed emperor, has been the subject of vigorous debate. Although this military text is most often assigned to Theodosius the Great, this volume questions the likelihood of this belief and concludes that a fifth-century date might be preferable.
Vegetius in Context examines the polemical nature of the Epitoma, the role of the emperor in late antiquity, the way in which emperors were addressed, attitudes to barbarization and religion, the use of propaganda, the changing political nature of the Empire, and, of course, pertinent military issues. In particular, the volume looks at the works and ideology of numerous authors from late antiquity, including historians, ecclesiastical writers, poets and panegyrists.
A firm tenet of the research methodology is that it is necessary to establish an accurate picture of late-antique military, religious and political discourse in order to divine the most likely milieu into which the Epitoma should be placed – thus ‘Vegetius in context’, as the title suggests.