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Combattre de loin chez les Romains et leurs adversaires : des réalités du combat aux représentations culturelles (Ier siècle av. J.-C. - IIIe siècle apr. J.-C.)

Abstract : It’s a commonplace to say that Romans valued hand-to-hand fighting and despised long range fighting. However, throwing weapons (arrows, slingshots, javelins, hand-thrown stones), played a key role in Ancient warfare.Military history has been interesting in other topics for several decades : fighting bodies, combat experience and relationships between war and culture. This interest raises numerous questions and opens new fields of research. That’s why we apply theses topics to a study of throwing weapons in ancient warfare in Roman times (1st century BC - AD 3rd century).However, Romans fought different enemies with long range weapons in several circumstances and more frequently than we usually thought. Roman armies’ power was partially based on their ability of borrowing tactics and weapons from different peoples. This progressive integration led to an evolution of the Roman art of war and the Roman discourses on it.Our analysis partially focuses on a cultural approach to the history of warfare and relationships between military practices and cultural representations. To some extent, representations could affect military practices (for example, tactics and fighting ways) but the opposite was true. Studying these relationships helps us to understand all the complexity of Roman warfare.These researchs aim at challenging some common misconceptions. Firstly, the ‘face’ of Roman battle, weapons and equipment of units and soldiers were far more varied than we thought. Sources prove especially that the use of throwing weapons during our period spreads among Roman armies. Secondly, the representations Romans had of these weapons and their users are not limited to a negative discourse borrowed from the Greeks. Indeed, Romans many times valued throwing weapons, and bowmen, slingers and javelin throwers could find their place in Roman warfare and more generally in Ancient warfare.
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Benoît Lefebvre. Combattre de loin chez les Romains et leurs adversaires : des réalités du combat aux représentations culturelles (Ier siècle av. J.-C. - IIIe siècle apr. J.-C.). Histoire. Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier III, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019MON30014⟩. ⟨tel-02490515⟩

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