The article by Hope describes the perception of death during the era of the Roman battles, as well as controversial nuances in relation to this issue. According to the author, the concept of dichotomy may be applied when soldiers and civilians followed two types of behavior regarding funeral ceremonies and honors for those who fell in battle (Hope 35). Honoring dead soldiers is the feature of most nations, but when exploring the history of the Roman Empire, Hope concludes that soldiers’ burial sites are either absent or extremely small (Hope 37). This note means that the periodic destruction of these areas was performed, which, in turn, raises even more questions. Despite the success of the Roman army during the era of conquest and its soldiers’ relatively low mortality rate, battle casualties were inevitable. The alleged principle of the burial duty was the mass cremation of the dead, followed by placing the remains in large graves. At the same time, there are no absolutely reliable data confirming or refuting this hypothesis, and one of the explanations is the principle of honoring victory, which was higher than defeat and any victims.
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The anonymity of burials was also one of the peculiarities of that era. As Hope argues, exceptions were rare and concerned only the most prominent battles, for instance, the fighting against Mark Anthony (41). One of the concepts that explain the rare evidence of Roman soldiers’ honors may be social since difficult times caused by civil unrest and frequent military conflicts changed value priorities. According to Hope, the Romans knew the concept of honorable death; however, the degree of respect for this phenomenon is difficult to assess in view of little evidence (43). As a result, the ambiguity of opinions regarding the traditions of burials during that era is due to the lack of sufficient evidence.
Hope, Valerie Margaret. “’Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori:’ The Practical and Symbolic Treatment of the Roman War Dead.” Mortality, vol. 23, no. 1, 2018, pp. 35-49.