Beware of Bandits!

Banditry and Land Travel in the Roman Empire

in Journeys
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This paper considers the perils of travel by focusing on banditry, a conspicuous, yet oft-neglected, feature of the Roman Empire. Appearing at different times and at various locations it was thoroughly entrenched in Roman society and affected both the rich and poor alike. But the primary victim of banditry and the one to whom it posed the greatest threat was the ancient traveller since brigands tended to operate mostly along roads and rural highways in search of prey. The very real danger brigands posed to the ancient traveller can be detected from a number of diverse sources including tombstones on which was inscribed 'killed by bandits'. While the government took some measures to curb and even stamp out banditry, given the administrative and policing handicaps inherent in the Empire it remained fairly widespread.


The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing


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