Colloque – The Roman Army and the Dawn of Europe. Conceptual models and social experimentations: languages, institutions, law (4th – 8th centuries)

The importance of the army in Roman political and social history is a well-known and widely studied matter. It is equally known the role of the army as a vehicle for ‘Romanization’ of the Empire’s provincial people. Less known is the impact that the organizational models carried by the army (administration, hierarchies, institutions, justice, fiscal revenue …) had on the rising Barbarian and Romano-Barbarian societies, which progressively replaced the great construction of the Western Empire during the centuries between the passage from Late Antiquity to Early Middle Ages.

Increasingly open to the recruitment of non-Roman manpower, for centuries the Imperial army was also the meeting place of different cultures. Continuously forced to adapt to different situations and environments, the Roman army had to develop multiple and innovative solutions that allowed it to keep Roman control over very large territories with diminished troops, thus using the effective use of force as little as possible. Sometimes Roman officers imposed on the occupied territories models from Latin tradition (the use of language and writing, ownership structures, the separation between administration and religion, etc.). In other cases, they realized that it would be more useful and effective to adapt solutions already used by the local populations (simplified negotiating practices, formalism, reliance on divine judgment, gift economy, military and paramilitary clientele). Very often the groups of barbarians that penetrated the borders dealt with these very models, and they eventually adopted them in the moment of settling within the Empire, replacing their model of governance with the Roman one. The great flexibility and adaptability of these solutions (that allowed them to continue for a long time and to spread across the early-European spaces) today represent the greatest reason of interest for this kind of investigation.

From this basis – analyzing the defining moment when the Antiquity was concluded and a new age begun, that in some ways still lasts – some scholars, who belong to different disciplinary experiences and to different countries, gathered for the first time in Cagliari in October 2012. Their perspective ranged from political, social and economic history to law, anthropology, religion and iconography. The purpose of that first meeting was to reconstruct the status quaestionis in different areas: the result is the volume Civitas, Iura, Arma. Organizzazioni militari, istituzioni giuridiche e strutture sociali all’origine dell’Europa (secc. III-VIII), F. Botta and L. Loschiavo (eds.), Il Grifo ed., Lecce 2015.

During the next spring, the group – in the meantime enriched with new specialists – will meet again to continue the research and to share knowledge. The conference, which will be held in Rome at the Department of Law of Roma Tre University, will pay close attention to cultural and specifically lexical aspects. Among the main purposes of the meeting, in fact, there is the one to avoid that the use of the same terms – which are recurrent along a temporal spectrum of various centuries and yet assume different meanings in different contexts – can generate confusion and misunderstanding among scholars from different disciplines, hindering (as in fact happened in the past) the necessary dialogue. At the center of many contributions there will also be the legal profiles with the greatest social impact: marriage, succession, personal status, personal bonds, dispute resolution.

Affiche - The Romand Army

Programme :

Thursday, 9th May – h. 15.00
Department of Law
via Ostiense 163 – Sala del Consiglio

Opening and welcome: Giovanni Serges (Director of the Department)

Chair: Stefano Gasparri (Venezia)


Ian Wood (Leeds) – The transformation ofthe military in the Late Antique West


Elvira Migliario (Trento) – Significati di ‘foedus’ e ‘foedera’ in età imperiale
Pierfrancesco Porena (Roma) – ‘Hospitalitas’ Wolfgang Haubrichs (Saarland) – Il linguaggio della guerra presso i popoli germanici occidentali
Carla Falluomini (Perugia) – I Goti e i termini militareschi

Friday, 10th May – h. 9.00
Department of Humanities
via Ostiense, 234 – Sala della Presidenza

Chair: Walter Pohl (Wien)


Jean-Pierre Poly (Paris Ouest-Nanterre) – Comptez, comptez vos hommes … Les unités de l’armée romaine à la fin de l’Empire (394-437)
Francesco Borri (Venezia) – Ibi omnis nobilitas periit Foroiulanorum. ‘Warband’ e ‘Traditionskern’ tra sale dell’idromele e accademia
Andrea Verardi (Roma) – Cingulum mili-tiae Esperanza Osaba García (Bilbao) – Acudir o non acudir a la llamada de las armas
Saverio Lomartire (Alessandria) – Il potere militare e il linguaggio delle immagini IV-VIII sec.

Friday, 10th May – h. 15.00
Department of Humanties
Via Ostiense, 234 – Sala della Presidenza

Chair: Wolfgang Haubrichs (Saarland)


Andrea Trisciuoglio (Torino) – I limiti del munus hospitalitatis. Come conciliare esigenze socio- economiche e militari nel Tardoantico
Stefan Esders (Berlin) – About Castrum, centena, hundred
Stefano Gasparri (Venezia) – Fare, arimannie, arimanni: l’esercito longobardo fra mito e realtà
Francesco Castagnino (Milano) – Creare una famiglia. Il ius connubii e i figli dei soldati prima e dopo la caduta dell’impero
Iolanda Ruggiero (Roma) – Disporre dei beni dopo la morte. I privilegi dei militari in tema di successioni dalle costituzioni imperiali alle leges barbarorum

Saturday, 11th May – h. 9.00
via Ostiense 163 – Sala del Consiglio

Chair: Arnaldo Marcone (Roma)


Valerio Marotta (Pavia) – ‘Civitas’ e ‘militia’ fra III e VI secolo
Luca Loschiavo (Teramo/Roma) – Ius speciale o personalità del diritto? Il diritto dei soldati e le legislazioni romano-barbariche
Soazick Kerneis (Paris Ouest-Nanterre) – La justice militaire des populations barbares de l’Empire. Les premières applications de l’ordalie
Fabio Botta (Cagliari) – La responsabilità solidale. La responsabilità penale in solido dal ‘contubernium’ alla faida tra clans
Walter Pohl (Wien) – Dall’esercito agli eserciti: cambi di ordinamento, cambi di identità?

Informations pratiques :

9-11 May 2019

Contact and information :
Luca Loschiavo ( – Stefania Gialdroni (

A propos RMBLF

Réseau des médiévistes belges de langue française
Cet article a été publié dans Conférences. Ajoutez ce permalien à vos favoris.