Roman Miltary Essay, Research Paper
The Roman army was one of the greatest forces of all times.
The Roman army ,at its finest point, was nearly inconquerable. This was
due to the discipline of the soldiers, the hard and effective training of
the soldiers, the speed at wich new tactics were learned, and to the
organization of the soldiers.
From early times right down to the 3rd century A.D, the Roman army
was based on its legions. A legion varied in strength from
four-thousand to six-thousand men, and was subdivided onto ten cohorts.
Its leader used the title of legatus. His staff officers were called
tribuni. Senior non-commissioned officers were called centurions, who
varied greatly in rank. The soldiers of the legion were picked men: They
were all Roman citizens and received a higher pay than the auxillary
troops ,that is, foreigners who serve with the Roman army.
A legion consisited of heavily armoured infantry foot soldiers.
The Roman infantry became a feared force, well disciplined and well
trained. Their weapons were two javelins each and a short thrusting
sword. Cavalry was supplied by the auxilaries ,second line troops, and
was organised mainly in units of 500 men.
When it was on campaigns the army was accompanied by a number of
specialists. One was the camp commandant, who was responsible for the
organisation of the camp. The Romans were very careful about their camps.
No Roman army halted for a single night without digging a trenches and
fortifying its camp. Each soldier took his share in establishing the camp
and striking the camp the next day. Another specialist was the quaestor,
whose duty was to look after all the money matter. then there
were the engineers and all kinds of craftsmen and artisans. They were
responsible for siege operations and for the rather primative
Roman “artillery”, which consisted of big catapults and complicated
machines a little like crossbows. These were mainly used for hurling big
rocks and stones at the walls of a defence place. The engineers also had
to build the moveable towers that were used in sieges. The Roman
soldiers went up inside these towers so that they could see over the
walls of a fortified place and shoot their stones and arrows into it.
The engineers also made the scaling ladders that were used for getting
The Roman soldiers won their battles just as much from their
power as by their courage. They had to be strong and fit, for
in addition to his weapons each soldier had to carry provisions for two
weeks and tools for pitching camp.
When the soldiers went into line of battle to fight, the formation
was called acies. When they were marching in column it was called agmen.
If during a battle the legion were hard pressed the soldiers formed an
orbis, which was very like the square that the British army formed in the
18th and 19th centuries if it was in difficulties. The standard of a
legion was the aquila ,or eagle, made of silver or bronze and showing
the bird with outstretched wings. It was the greatest disgrace if the
eagle was captured.
In Conclusion, the Roman military was an advanced force for its
time. The Roman soldiers were also highly trained and disciplined. The
Romans also had very effective tactics. This is why at the prime of the
Roman Empire the military was nearly invincible.