Parlitalia Lecture – David Kennedy (University of Western Australia)- “The Roman Army in Arabia”

The Roman province of Arabia – roughly modern Jordan – was part of the Roman Empire for five centuries. During that time a substantial garrison policed the province and provided external security from the routine difficulties that all states have with nomadic peoples along their margins. A legion of about 5000 men was based in the province along with approximately the same number of auxiliary troops, and a sophisticated network of fortresses, forts and towers was developed. Because of the slow development of the region in modern times, these archaeological remains are often in a stunning state of preservation, amongst the very best preserved anywhere in the Roman Empire. This talk will showcase these military fortifications, living witness to Rome’s huge investment in controlling her eastern frontier.


Professor David Kennedy holds degrees from the Universities of Manchester and Oxford. He has taught at the University of Sheffield and Boston University, and is now Winthrop Professor of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Western Australia. He has specialized in the archaeology and history of the Roman Near East for almost 40 years, and has conducted a programme of aerial archaeology in Jordan since 1997. Recent major publications include The Roman Army in Jordan (2004), Ancient Jordan from the Air (with R. Bewley) and Gerasa and the Decapolis (2007). He is currently researching a book on the Hinterland of Philadelphia (modern Amman).