Mass rape as part of the military ethos of Rome

(ORDO NEWS) — Sexual assault has always been part of the war. This terrible phenomenon has migrated from the fields of ancient battles into our reality, where in the course of frequent military conflicts the weak and defenseless suffer most of all.

The Roman army was no exception to the rule, and during armed conflicts its soldiers regularly raped women and young boys.

According to Roman law, the possibility of a rape charge depended directly on the social status of the victim. For example, forced intercourse with female slaves , prostitutes and foreign women was not considered rape.

Roman army and mass rape during the wars

For the Romans, war was a period when everything was allowed. If the soldiers captured an enemy city, the commanders gave them time to rape and loot freely.

Forced sexual intercourse allowed the Romans not only to have pleasure, but also to relieve neuropsychic stress. In addition, the Roman soldiers believed that rape was an opportunity to take revenge on the defeated men and totally subjugate the conquered people.

It is worth noting that beautiful women who could be profitably sold into slavery were raped least of all.

“Everyone is dragging, stealing, beating, maiming, killing, dishonoring women, girls, noble youths, pulling them out of their parental embraces,” wrote the ancient Roman historian Titus Livy in the XXIX book of his“History of Rome from the founding of the city” about the capture of the city of Locri by the Romans, which was under the control of the Carthaginians.

Mass rape as part of the military ethos of Rome 2

Most of the rapes took place during wartime, since in peacetime they could provoke an uprising of the local population. For example, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote that the rape of Batavian boys by Roman officers led to a Batavian revolt in 69 CE. e.

To avoid possible problems, Roman soldiers were placed in camps outside the city walls, in which civilians lived.


  • The most common venereal disease among Roman soldiers was gonorrhea. Proof of this is the outbreak of gonorrhea in the army of Julius Caesar during his Gallic wars (58-50 BC);
  • Some soldiers, especially officers, had concubines who were virtually deprived of all rights and were in the absolute power of their masters;
  • In the Roman army, same-sex sexual relations with the defeated were permissible, but only if the soldiers played an active (dominant) role.


Contact us: [email protected]

Our Standards, Terms of Use: Standard Terms And Conditions.