Virtus et disciplina : an interdisciplinary study of the roman martial values of courage and discipline
This thesis discusses Roman martial values, principally virtus and disciplina, and their literary characterization. This is an interdisciplinary study that employs data and methodologies from anthropology, evolutionary biology, moral philosophy, military history, and analytical psychology to supplement scholarship from classical studies. My aim is to analyze and interpret, as deeply and profoundly as possible, the values that the Romans regarded as essential to their military success. I argue that Greek and Roman authors depict nuanced but relatively consistent representations of Roman martial values, which both derive from actual Roman military practice and project an important component of Roman cultural identity. Virtus was a virtue that primarily denoted martial courage, an ethical quality, while disciplina functioned as a means to virtus, but it was not necessarily a virtue itself. The premises of my argument are as follows: 1) military doctrine reflects culture, which manifests in the projection of Roman values through military narratives; 2) there is significant agreement among classical authors discussing Roman warfare in the abstract; 3) historiography distorts to some extent but is not deliberately mendacious, which derives from the relatively meritocratic hierarchies cultivated by the Roman army; 4) an appreciation of archetypal imagery has utility in interpreting Roman values, given that the primary evidence for these qualities derive from stories imbued with moral instruction.
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