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Lucius Verus and the Roman Defence of the East

by M. C. Bishop

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In this monograph, M. C. Bishop has set himself an ambitious goal: to rehabilitate the reputation of Lucius Verus, who has long lingered in the shadow of his adoptive brother and co-emperor, Marcus Aurelius. In particular, Bishop wishes to challenge the accepted view, based largely on the Life of Verus within the Historia Augusta (HA), that Verus was a dissolute playboy who made little or no material contribution to Roman military success in the East prior to his untimely death. What has resulted from Bishop’s inquiries could perhaps best be described as two books which have been somewhat uncomfortably combined into one. The first is an examination of Roman military activity in the Eastern Empire and the Roman-Parthian wars; this is superb. The second is a biographical/historical study of Verus himself, and while it is certainly not without its merits, it is rather more problematic.
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