Unseemly Professions and Recruitment in Late Antiquity: Piscatores and Vegetius Epitoma 1.7.1-2


Vegetius' Epitoma rei militaris, in its discussion of Roman military recruitment in the Late Empire, provides a list of professions deemed unsuitable for military service. Among those groups associated with a lack of manly virtus are piscatores. This article aims to provide a rationale for Vegetius' ostensibly puzzling rejection of men involved in fishing activity by analyzing the antiquarian sources that colored his perception of Roman morality. The treatment of the piscatores thus reinforces the notion of Vegetius as a continuator of reactionary discourse on traditional Roman mores, even though late antique attitudes towards masculinity were clearly changing.