The mutiny of the Roman legions in Panonia and Germania. Guilt and forgiveness

Antonio Hermosa Andújar

Abstract


This article explores the mutiny of the Roman legions in Panonia and Germania, not from a historiographical point of view but psychological, ethical and political. In the course from the rise of the rebellion to its final suffocation we find individuals who, in a deliberate, rational, and organized way, claim their rights with increasing violence. When the Roman authorities try to put an end to the rebellion they soon provoke a sense of guilt in the rebels that leads many of them to abandon the revolt and to reaccept the authority previously contested. The feeling of guilt, however, does not end there and the rebels’ need for forgiveness leads to a process of repentance, punishment, and revenge against their former comrades and against themselves until their final expiation on the battlefield, that is, until they compromise their honour. Honour allows politics to achieve what ethics could not: to bring peace to the conscience of the old rebels. However, the new situation puts a price: innocence is not possible in the world of men, but the moral tearing, even perverse and truculent at times, is part of their identity.

Keywords


Rome; Rebellion; Conscience; Guilt; Repentance; Revenge; Honour; Politics

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/10681

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