Empiricism and the Roman Army
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Categories: Ancient

Empiricism and the Roman Army

There is a case of a man who conscripted recruits. A man came to conscript someone’s son. He said: look at my son, what a fellow, what a hero, how tall he is. His mother too said: look at our son, how tall he is. The other answered: in your eyes he is a hero and he is tall. I do not know. Let us see whether he is tall. They measured and he proved to be too small and was rejected.

Aggedat Genesis xl 4 (written somewhere during the period that the Romans controlled the lands from Alexandria to the Euphrates, probably later rather than earlier), ed. Buber, p. 82 in Benjamin Isaac, The Limits of Empire: The Roman Army in the East. Revised edition. (Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1992) pp. 302, 303. A minimum height for recruits is mentioned by some Latin sources such as Vegetius.

Edit 2022-12-26: fixed formatting broken when WordPress introduced the block editor

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