This introductory chapter examines the difficulties of charting an accurate history of the Roman Republic and its origins, due to certain constraints historians faced at the time, such as the flexible chains of command that characterized the military of a people that placed great emphasis upon their prowess in battle. The first ancient historians to write about Rome’s early history had little more than lists of consuls, campaigns, and triumphs at their disposal, which they fleshed out with folklore and family traditions that celebrated the military glory won by their ancestors. When the Romans of the later republic set about reconstructing and writing down their history, they understandably used contemporary values and practices to describe events in their past, creating anachronisms that imposed a false image of continuity and consistency upon the military practices of early Rome.
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