It is said that the Romans owed the conquest of the world to no other cause than continual military training, exact observance of discipline in their camps and unwearied cultivation of the arts of war. The historical references of their battles will prove time and again that this statement has validity. How could such an Army rise to the power that was Rome in all its glory while being outnumbered on almost every battlefield? In an attempt to explore this question, one must delve into the foundation of the early Roman army and follow it through the five hundred year reign of power as the city-state rose to an empire (Preston. pg. 29) The process by which Rome developed from a small military outpost on a river-crossing to become the dominant power of the Italian Peninsula was by no means swift or continuous.
It took the better part of five centuries and during that time Rome itself was twice occupied by foreign powers (Warry. Pg. 108).
As the strength of Etruria diminished, Rome asserted its authority over both the Etruscans and the Latins, but at the beginning of the fourth century B. C.
the city was overwhelmed, after the disastrous battle of the Alli a, by a vast horde of Gallic raiders (Contamine. pg. 9).
The Romans retreated into their citadel on the Capitoline Mount where they eventually fought off the Gauls, whose immediate interest was in pillaging for anything of worth and not in the land (Dersin. pg.
... fight. As a result, no additional money was entering the Roman treasury. Rome then declared a second war on Carthage, who had ... the entire Praetorian cohort into the city, establishing a large power base for himself should any scheming politician's compromise his ... contention for emperor hood. Sejanus' rise to power continued unchecked until the year 31. He had been ...
Roman history records that the great Camillus, Rome’s exiled war leader, was recalled to speed the parting Gauls with military action, but this tries to hide the fact that the Gauls departed of their own accord, having obtained what they wanted. Roman military history is checkered by catastrophes that few great empires could have sustained during the period of their growth. Nobody would deny that the Romans were a formidable military nation; yet the genius which enabled them eventually to dominate the ancient world was as much political as military. Their great political instrument of choice was the concept of citizenship. Citizenship was not simply a status which one did or did not possess.
It was and aggregate of right, duties, and honors, which could be acquired separately and conferred by installments (Boatwright. pg. 25).
Such were the rights of making legal contracts and marriages. From both of these the right to a political vote was not separable; nor did the right to vote necessarily imply the right to hold office. Conquered enemies were thus often reconciled by a grant of partial citizenship, with the possibility of more to come if behavior justified it.
Some cities enjoyed Roman citizenship with the vote, being autonomous except in matters of foreign policy (Warry. Pg. 108).
Citizenship of course, implied both a military and a political status although the duties it imposed were most often, military (Roberts. pg.
The Latin and other Italian allies, who enjoyed some intermediate degree of citizenship, were in principle required to supply an aggregate of fighting men equal to that levied by the Romans themselves, in practice the Romans relied on their Italian Allies particularly for cavalry. The Greek cities did not normally contribute the military contingents, but supplied ships and rowers. They were known as “naval allies” (Warry. Pg. 109).
The Roman army’s technical resources were comprised of hand arms; amour and horses and in its early development reflected an underlying social order. Combatants who could afford horses and armor were naturally be drawn from their aristocracy. Others who had little armor and less sophistication, if not fewer weapons. This was true of the early Greek armies as well. At Rome the militarily class differentiation was defined with unusual care and with great attention to detail. The resulting classification was associated with the military and administrative reorganization of Servius Tullius, traditionally the sixth King of Rome (Warry.
"Will the United States Fall like the Roman Empire?" What makes a country or empire so powerful? Is it a leader, the military, or even the people? These all do. They make a certain connection due to the success of an empire. You can they " re the "Three Musketeers" of one. The old Roman Empire and the United States have that connection. Both were in great power, had prosperity, and were strong in ...
The Servian infantry was divided into five property classes, the wealthiest of which was armed with swords and spears and protected by helmets, round shields, greaves and breast plates. All protective amour was of bronze.
In the second class, no breast plate was worn, but a long shield was substituted for the round buckler. The third class was at the second, but wore no greaves. The fourth class was equipped with only spears and javelins. The fifth was composed of slingers. There is no reference to archers. The poorest were not expected to serve except on times of emergency, when they were equipped by the state.
However, they normally supplied artisans to maintain siege engines and perform similar duties. The army was also divided into centuries. However, a century soon came to contain, sixty and not one hundred men. The first property class comprised 80 centuries; the second, third, and fourth class had twenty centuries apiece; the fifth class had thirty. The Calvary was recruited from the wealthiest families to form eighteen centuries. A Calvary century received a grant for the purchase of its horse and one fifth of this amount yearly for their upkeep.
The yearly grant was apparently provided by a levy of spinsters (Warry. pg. 109).
The early Servian Roman army fought as a hoplite phalanx, in a compact mass, several ranks deep, using their weight behind their shields as well as their long thrusting spears. The light troops afforded by the fourth and fifth infantry classes were provided a skirmishing arm, and the cavalry held the wings on their side of the phalanx.
There were also two centuries of artificers attached to the centuries of the first class, and two musicians made up of horn blowers and trumpeters (Warry. pg. 111).
... Roman Army, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1996 5. Webster, Graham.The Roman Imperial Army of the First and Second Centuries ... their are four different combat positions for a battle. The first two groups were the Hastati ... and of course Italy. The government of Rome had to first conquer these lands then ... the legions.They made up the first two lines of defense and therefore were heavily armed ...
The first major battle of record for the Roman Army was a clash with Greece in the early third century B. C. In this battle the Romans encountered the Greek Phalanx when General Pyrrhus invaded northern Italy.
The battle of Heraclea, although considered a standoff in historical perspective, gave the Roman Legions confidence and struck a major blow to the invading Greek Army (Nardo. pg. 78) As Camillus took power the Roman army underwent changes. In the Servian Army the smallest unit had been the century.
It was an administrative rather than a technical unit, based on political and economic rather than on the military considerations. The largest unit was legion of about four thousand infantrymen. There were sixty centuries in a legion and from the times of Camillus, these centuries were combined in couples, each couple being known as a maniple, the maniple was a technical unit. Under the new system, the Roman army was drawn up for the battle in three lines, one behind the other the maniple’s of each line were stationed were stationed at intervals. If the front line was forced to retreat, or if its maniple’s were threatened with encirclement, they could fall back into the intervals in the line immediately to their rear.
In the same way, the rear lines could easily advance, when necessary, to support those in front. The positions of the middle line maniple’s corresponded to intervals in the front and rear lines, thus producing a series of quincunx formations. The two constituent centuries of a maniple were each commanded by a centurion, known respectively as the forward and rear centurion. These titles may have been dictated by later tactical developments or they may have simply marked a difference of rank between the two officers. The three battle lines of Camillus’ army were turned, in order from front to rear. The third liners were not armed with spears and the principles were not the leading rank, since the third liners were in front of them.
In the fourth century the two front ranks carried heavy javelins, which they discharged at the enemy on joining the battle. After this, fighting was carried on with swords. The Triarii alone retained the old thrusting spear (Warry. pg. 112).
First Punic War (264-241 BCE) Since the beginning of time, man has waged war on his neighbors, his friends and his enemies. In many cases these wars were caused by power-hungry nations that were in the process of expanding their empire and ended up stepping on the toes of another superpower or ally of a superpower. In the case of the first Punic War between Rome and Carthage, Carthage was ...
The perfecting of the legion as an instrument of war was a gradual process which took place over the next few centuries but even in its semi developed state it was vastly superior to the crude tactics of Rome’s neighbors and by the middle of the third century B.
C. it controlled almost al the Italian peninsula (Preston pg. 33).
However in the 265 B. C. Rome had its first clash with a nation of equal power.
During this period it seemed if Rome had reached the boundaries of her natural frontiers. However, Carthage ruled the Mediterranean and threatened the trade routes in southern Italy (Harris. pg. 14).
Demands on the Roman manpower forced the senate to make concessions to the plebeians who then forced the Senate into conflict with Carthage in 265 B.
C (Grant. pg. 2).
At first, because of lack of naval experience in naval tactics and the mishandling of ships in bad weather, Roman losses were enormous, as many as five hundred ships and two hundred thousand men. These losses, however, were made up by drawing upon the plentiful resources of Italian in men and materials; and naval shortcomings were surmounted by turning battles at sea into boarding encounters through the use of grappling hooks and swinging gangplanks. The first Punic war in 265 BC.
brought Rome its first offshore possession of Sicily (Preston. Pg. 33).
Carthage, who had a great leader in Hannibal was the instrument of many victories against Rome. The Romans had a terrible defeat against Hannibal in the battle of Cannae in 216 B. C.
In three separate battles, Rome lost well over 100 thousand men and the fact they did not collapse was a tribute to its toughness and resilience. In Scipio Africanus, Rome finally produced a general capable of defeating Hannibal. He used the Maniple formation and trained his army in a series of campaigns in Spain. Rome appointed him the head of the Army not for a short period of time but until Carthage was defeated. He then took the war to Carthage and forced Hannibal to return home and defend the nation. Scipio eventfully defeated him in the battle of Zama in 202 B.
C (Wise. Pg. 31) A considerable amount of historical writings focuses on the weapons and tactics of the Romans as well as the military formations and battle plans of both Rome and her adversaries. The confrontation between the legion and the phalanx raises questions as to the comparative effectiveness of the sword and pike. The pike, of course had the longer reach, but the sword was a more manageable and less cumbersome weapon, giving greater opportunity for skill in its use.
When Hannibal was nine he went with his father on the to conquer Spain. Before starting, the kid swore to hate Rome. In two years he conquered all Spain between the Tagus and Iber us rivers. The Romans branded this attack a violation of the existing treaty between Rome and Carthage and demanded that Carthage surrender Hannibal to them. On the refusal of the Carthaginians to do so, the Romans ...
At the battle Pydna, in 158 B. C. , the Italian allies serving under Aem illus Paullus hurled themselves with reckless heroism at the enemy pikes, trying to beat them down or hew off the their points. But they sacrificed themselves in vain; the pike points pierced their shields and armour, causing terrible carnage. The phalanx was eventually shattered as the result of cool tactical judgment. Paullus divided his force into small units with orders to look for gaps on the pike line and the exploit the gaps that appeared as a result of the rough ground, which prevented the from moving with uniformity and keeping abreast.
Forced at last by the infiltrating legionaries to abandon their pikes and fight at close quarters, the Macedonians found that their small swords and shields were no match for the corresponding Roman arms (Warry. pg. 125).
During the next Century the Romans had no formidable enemy like Carthage and were free to expand the empire over the next 100 years. The ancient city-state and later the sprawling empire of Rome changed the face of Italy, Europe and the Mediterranean world forever.
Before the Romans began their momentous rise to power, no single people dominated all or even most of that world. Military force and tactics that adapted over time and between enemies were large factors in Rome’s eventual dominance over the entire region, and credit must be given to the resiliency of the Romans in the face of victories and defeats along the way. Works Cited Preston, Richard; Roland, Alex; Wise Sydney. Men In Arms. (Ohio: Thompson Wadsworth, 2005) Warry, John. Warfare in the Classical World.
(London: Oklahoma University and Salamander Books Ltd, 1995) Boatwright, Mary; Garg ola, Daniel; Talbert, Richard. The Romans From Village to Empire. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) Grant, Michael. The Fall Of The Roman Empire. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1990) Nardo, Don. The Rise Of the Roman Empire.
(California: Green haven Press, 2002) Contamine, Phillip. War in the Middle Ages. (Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 1999) Dersin, Denise. What Life Was Like When Rome Ruled the World. (Virginia: Time Life Books, 1997) Harris, Nathaniel.
The Greeks, after their country had been reduced into a province, imputed the triumphs of Rome, not to the merit, but to the FORTUNE, of the republic. The inconstant goddess, who so blindly distributes and resumes her favours, had now consented (such was the language of envious flattery) to resign her wings, to descend from her globe, and to fix her firm and immutable throne on the banks of the ...
History of Ancient Rome. (London: Octopus Publishing, 2000) Roberts, Timothy. Ancient Rome. (New York: Friedman/Fairfax.