Riding for the Powerful
Towards the end of the fourth century they emerge in the entourage of Roman officers, civil servants, and private persons——buccellarii. Historians consider these personal guardsmen to be one of the factors contributing to the disintegration of the Western Roman Empire. Oliver Berck examines this view, concluding that it was not the concentration of buccellarians that vested the generals with power but the function they fulfilled in their armies. In order to provide a comprehensive picture of these men, Berck deals with numerous further questions such as what does the name buccellarii stand for? How were they recruited? How were they equipped? Furthermore, he addresses his attention to their origins as well as to the time beyond so as to provide a history of this type of warrior. Thus, in a broader sense, Riding for the Powerful is about retinues and the archetypical attribute that distinguishes them——fidelity.