chapter  7
9 Pages


Shortly before Augustus’ death in ad 14 he had allegedly instructed his successor not to engage in imperialist adventures but to retain the empire within its existing frontiers. Some regarded this as the words of a princeps jealous of his own reputation being surpassed; in reality, the recent Varus disaster had highlighted the delicate balance which existed between the size of the army and the fulfilment of current garrison duties. In short, without an enlargement of the army, which would have been politically and economically risky, the possibility of imperial expansion was minimal. The trauma of the Varus disaster had left a healthy respect for those who faced the legions across the frontiers.