A Hero’s Return: Public attitudes towards wounded and scarred veterans in Roman Society

About this talk

How were wounded veterans viewed following their return from war in Roman Society? What is the relationship between being wounded and receiving societal praise? Alexander Moore considers the hierarchy of veterans and new recruits in Roman Society, and whether we can really claim that those who returns from battles wounded receive more praise and admiration from society than those new recruits. This talk also discusses whether the main historical views are accurate descriptions of the portrayal of these wounds at the time, or if stories of veterans showing off their honourable scars, is indeed just historical gossip. This talk may be particularly interesting for those considering studying Classics, History, Ancient History, English Literature or Politics.

Watch Alexander Moore’s intriguing talk by following the link below, as well as the links some further resources if you enjoyed this talk and want to learn more about this topic

Further Resources

Van Lommel’s article ‘Stoicism and War Wounds: Mucius Scaevola. Sergius Silus and Quintus Sertorius’ discusses how ancient authors took a stoic approach to discussion of war wounds in holding an indifferent attitude to battle wounds, and that this approach was powerful and influential in terms of moral attitudes for all aspects of life.  You can access the article here:

If you want to challenge yourself with more academic articles, Van Lommel also wrote a similar article on how integrated wounded soldiers were in Roman society from the late Republic to the early Imperial era. You can access this article here.

Although soldiers may return from war and be praised for their wounds, the mental impact of war was still highly damaging. This article by Wayne Shipp discusses how soldiers in Ancient Rome and across the world dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), as well as how they actually viewed it as being about ghosts rather than mental health. You can find a link to the article by clicking here.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore

Alexander Moore is a 2nd Year DPhil student in Ancient History at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Alexander Moore now specialises in Caesar’s veteran during the Late Roman Republic (49-30 BCE), and the influence that these veterans had on political affairs and societal perceptions of battle wounds and new recruits. Prior to beginning his studies at University, Alexander Moore had never studied a subject relating to Ancient History or Classics, yet through completing a BA in History and Ancient History at the University of Liverpool, he then chose to carry on studying Ancient History and undertook a MA in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Birmingham, and now his DPhil. 
You can find out more about Alexander Moore’s interests and specialities here:

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