Fred K. Drogula is a historian of the ancient world, specializing in the study of ancient Greece and Rome. He received a BA in Classics from Kenyon College, MA degrees in Classics and History respectively from Boston University and the University of Virginia, and a Ph.D in History from the University of Virginia. His research focuses on the Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire, and in particular on the cultural and intellectual structures that created and changed Rome’s political and military systems. He teaches courses in ancient Greek, Latin, Greek and Roman history, and in the College’s Development of Western Civilization Program.
About Commanders and Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire
Beginning in the earliest years of the republic, Drogula argues, provincial command was not a uniform concept fixed in positive law but rather a dynamic set of ideas shaped by traditional practice. Therefore, as the Roman state grew, concepts of authority, control over territory, and military power underwent continual transformation. This adaptability was a tremendous resource for the Romans since it enabled them to respond to new military challenges in effective ways. But it was also a source of conflict over the roles and definitions of power. The rise of popular politics in the late republic enabled men like Pompey and Caesar to use their considerable influence to manipulate the flexible traditions of military command for their own advantage. Later, Augustus used nominal provincial commands to appease the senate even as he concentrated military and governing power under his own control by claiming supreme rule. In doing so, he laid the groundwork for the early empire’s rules of command.