The challenging work of preventing internal disorder in the Roman Empire involved a variety of forces and measures, including policing. Previous scholarship has not fully grasped the extent and significance of institutional police, partly because difficulties in terminology, definitions, and sources make understanding Roman policing difficult. The fundamental division in institutional policing is between civilian policing and military policing (this book focuses on the latter, aside from Chapter 3). Military policing operated on three different levels: imperial, gubernatorial, and quasi-independent military policing by soldiers temporarily detached from their legions and out-posted among civilians as police. This introductory chapter further discusses the historiography of Roman policing, sources and methodology, the use of ancient literature as historical sources, and the peculiarities of Roman Egypt.
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