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The article deals with images of the Roman Emperors who were natives of the Balkan provinces in narrative sources. The author concludes that a stereotyped image of the Danubian military men was formed by the Roman writers in the 3rd century AD. They are often seen as rude, vulgar and cruel people. It is important to note that such representations had a real basis. The coarseness of the habits of the Pannonian, Moesian, and Thracian soldiers and commanders is to a large extent explained by their origin: most of them came from the peasant environment or the hereditary military families. At the same time, such qualities led to a high degree of combat effectiveness of the Illyrian and Thracian military units. The warlords who commanded these troops often became Roman Emperors in the 3rd–4th centuries. As a result, late antique authors sought to fi nd positive aspects in the traits of the warriors from the Danubian provinces.


Roman Empire, Roman army, Illyricum, Pannonia, Moesia, Thrace

Andrey D. Nazarov

Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

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