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Assess the Value of the Various Kinds of Information

Assess the value of the various kinds of information we possess to reconstruct Roman military strategy in Britain between AD 43 and AD 70.

The following essay will argue that secondary or written sources of information offer the best opportunity to reconstruct Roman strategy in Britain between AD 43 and AD 70. It will out line the general Roman effort in Britain and will then set out to analyze the value of the various sources of information available. It will conclude that secondary or written accounts of the period give the most vital insight into Roman strategy because Roman military efforts were intertwined with political offensives. Only an effective awareness of the political landscape of Britain at the time can, therefore, lead to an effective reconstruction of Roman military strategy.

Roman military strategy during the period under question is complex and diverse. The general strategy of the Roman Empire is debatable, but it clearly involved the expansion and strengthening of the Empire. Luttwak (1979) makes the argument that general Roman strategy was a complex mixture of military and political maneuvers designed to secure Rome against external aggression whilst preserving her economic interests. Luttwak argues that Roman strategy was to "provide security for the civilization without prejudicing the validity of its economic base" Luttwak (79:1).

However, although it can be argued that secondary accounts offer the best opportunity to reconstruct Roman strategy, it must be stated that a combination of both primary and secondary information is necessary to gain a complete picture of events. Todd's (04) reconstruction of the Welsh campaigns shows the value of combining secondary source information with primary archaeological exploration. Any serious study of Roman Britain should address both sources.

To conclude, the Roman conquest of Britain has been outlined along with ideas of general Roman strategy, including the notion that the Romans practiced a kind of hybrid political/military doctrine. Additionally, this essay has argued that two principal areas of information can be established that provide a picture of Roman military strategy. It has been argued that primary or archaeological information provides a large amount of information, which informs us about Roman military strategy. However, it has also been argued that secondary sources, such as the writings of Tacitus (89) give the most effective account of Roman strategy. Finally, the essay has argued that whilst primary sources are extremely useful, the written accounts of the period are the most valuable source of information because they enable historians to reconstruct the British political structure of the time, which was central to the Roman hybrid political/military strategy.

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