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The Roman Army Major Changes Augustus and the Principate.

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Presentation on theme: "The Roman Army Major Changes Augustus and the Principate."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The Roman Army Major Changes Augustus and the Principate

3 The Emperor’s Army Beginning with Augustus, the army was no longer the army of the Roman people (populi Romani exercitus) but the army of the princeps (the first citizen), later of the Emperor Beginning with Augustus, the army was no longer the army of the Roman people (populi Romani exercitus) but the army of the princeps (the first citizen), later of the Emperor The language of Augustus’ Res Gestae : milites mei (my soldiers); exercitus meus (my army); classis mea (my fleet) etc. The language of Augustus’ Res Gestae : milites mei (my soldiers); exercitus meus (my army); classis mea (my fleet) etc.

4 Res Gestae Divi Augusti The accomplishments of the divine Augustus Table 3:”I waged many wars throughout the whole world by land and by sea, both civil and foreign, and when victorious I spared all citizens who sought pardon. Foreign peoples who could safely be pardoned I preferred to spare rather than to extirpate. About 500,000 Roman citizens were under military oath to me. Of these, when their terms of service were ended, I settled in colonies or sent back to their own municipalities a little more than 300,000, and to all of these I allotted lands or granted money as rewards for military service. …” Table 3:”I waged many wars throughout the whole world by land and by sea, both civil and foreign, and when victorious I spared all citizens who sought pardon. Foreign peoples who could safely be pardoned I preferred to spare rather than to extirpate. About 500,000 Roman citizens were under military oath to me. Of these, when their terms of service were ended, I settled in colonies or sent back to their own municipalities a little more than 300,000, and to all of these I allotted lands or granted money as rewards for military service. …”

5 RG Table 25 “I brought peace to the sea by suppressing the pirates (naval war against Sextus Pomepey 36 BCE). In that war I turned over to their masters for punishment nearly 30,000 slaves who had run away from their owners and taken up arms against the state. The whole of Italy voluntarily took an oath of allegiance to me and demanded me as its leader in the war in which I was victorious at Actium (against Antony and Cleopatra). The same oath was taken by the provinces of the Gauls, the Spains, Africa, Sicily, and Sardina...” “I brought peace to the sea by suppressing the pirates (naval war against Sextus Pomepey 36 BCE). In that war I turned over to their masters for punishment nearly 30,000 slaves who had run away from their owners and taken up arms against the state. The whole of Italy voluntarily took an oath of allegiance to me and demanded me as its leader in the war in which I was victorious at Actium (against Antony and Cleopatra). The same oath was taken by the provinces of the Gauls, the Spains, Africa, Sicily, and Sardina...”

6 A new professional army “After the civil wars he (Augustus) did not address any of the soldiers as ‘comrades’ in either speeches or edicts, but always ‘soldiers’, and indeed did not permit any other form of address to be used even by his sons or stepsons who held military commands. For he thought that the former term was too flattering for the demands of military discipline, the peaceful nature of the times, and his own majesty and that of his house.” “After the civil wars he (Augustus) did not address any of the soldiers as ‘comrades’ in either speeches or edicts, but always ‘soldiers’, and indeed did not permit any other form of address to be used even by his sons or stepsons who held military commands. For he thought that the former term was too flattering for the demands of military discipline, the peaceful nature of the times, and his own majesty and that of his house.” Suetonius, Augustus 25.1 (Campbell # 119) Suetonius, Augustus 25.1 (Campbell # 119)

7 Augustus’ legions At the time of the battle at Actium at least 51 legions (possibly 60) in Roman Empire. At the time of the battle at Actium at least 51 legions (possibly 60) in Roman Empire. Augustus reduced them to 28, probably in order to reduce financial burden and establish climate of peace (pax) Augustus reduced them to 28, probably in order to reduce financial burden and establish climate of peace (pax) Number of legions varied throughout the imperial period: i.e. under Claudius (41-54 CE) 30; UNDER Septimius Severus (193-211 CE) 33. Number of legions varied throughout the imperial period: i.e. under Claudius (41-54 CE) 30; UNDER Septimius Severus (193-211 CE) 33. Legion 5,000 – 6,000 ? Legion 5,000 – 6,000 ? Footmen divided into 10 cohorts of 6 centuries each Footmen divided into 10 cohorts of 6 centuries each Each cohort = 480 men Each cohort = 480 men C. mid 1 st century CE, first cohort reorganized into 5 large centuries for total of 960 men = double strength of other cohorts C. mid 1 st century CE, first cohort reorganized into 5 large centuries for total of 960 men = double strength of other cohorts Smallest union the contubernium – 8 men sharing tent/quarters in barracks; Smallest union the contubernium – 8 men sharing tent/quarters in barracks; 10 contubernia = 1 century = 80 men 10 contubernia = 1 century = 80 men Turned into standing professional army deployed at frontiers and most dangerous regions of Empire Turned into standing professional army deployed at frontiers and most dangerous regions of Empire

8 Augustus’ structural changes To prevent successful generals from using their armies for their own ambitions against the Roman state To prevent successful generals from using their armies for their own ambitions against the Roman state Key was to remain in control over the provinces and their economic and military resources Key was to remain in control over the provinces and their economic and military resources Augustus’ dilemma: he had to be the recipient of imperial resources in order to curb ambitious aristocrats, but also had to make sure that Roman aristocracy was not humiliated and maintained their dignity Augustus’ dilemma: he had to be the recipient of imperial resources in order to curb ambitious aristocrats, but also had to make sure that Roman aristocracy was not humiliated and maintained their dignity Senate restructured, from 1000 to 600 members; hereditary; career in service of state; kept several administrative functions; Senate restructured, from 1000 to 600 members; hereditary; career in service of state; kept several administrative functions; Augustus assumed control of army (as supreme commander), paymaster – even used own money to pay them if required; finances, foreign policy Augustus assumed control of army (as supreme commander), paymaster – even used own money to pay them if required; finances, foreign policy Imperial provinces (wealthiest i.e. Egypt; those with armies, etc., Imperial provinces (wealthiest i.e. Egypt; those with armies, etc., Senatorial provinces (peaceful) Senatorial provinces (peaceful)

9 Paying the army Augustus also in control of paying for the legions Augustus also in control of paying for the legions Established military treasury (aerarium militare); Established military treasury (aerarium militare); Ensured constant flow of money to the treasury by adding an annual gift from his personal wealth, later revenue of 5% inheritance tax, 1% sales tax Ensured constant flow of money to the treasury by adding an annual gift from his personal wealth, later revenue of 5% inheritance tax, 1% sales tax See Campbell # 18 and 19 See Campbell # 18 and 19

10 Recruitment “The recruiting officer should diligently ensure that through a careful examination of their face, eye, and physical constitution, he chooses men who are likely to prove good soldiers. For the qualities not only of a man but also of horses and dogs are revealed by many indications…The potential young recruit therefore ought to have alert eyes, should carry is head erect, have a broad chest, muscular shoulders, strong arms, long fingers, small waist, slim buttocks, and legs and feet which are not fleshy but sinewy and strong. When you find all these indications in a recruit, you need not pay much attention to his height, for brave soldiers are more valuable that tall ones.(Vegetius (4 th century CE), Epitome of Military Matters 1.6) Campbell # 4 “The recruiting officer should diligently ensure that through a careful examination of their face, eye, and physical constitution, he chooses men who are likely to prove good soldiers. For the qualities not only of a man but also of horses and dogs are revealed by many indications…The potential young recruit therefore ought to have alert eyes, should carry is head erect, have a broad chest, muscular shoulders, strong arms, long fingers, small waist, slim buttocks, and legs and feet which are not fleshy but sinewy and strong. When you find all these indications in a recruit, you need not pay much attention to his height, for brave soldiers are more valuable that tall ones.(Vegetius (4 th century CE), Epitome of Military Matters 1.6) Campbell # 4

11 Recruits According to Vegetius: According to Vegetius: cavalrymen – height between 1.68 m (5 Roman feet, 8 inches) and 1.73 (5 Roman feet, 10 inches) - which is rather tall for the period. cavalrymen – height between 1.68 m (5 Roman feet, 8 inches) and 1.73 (5 Roman feet, 10 inches) - which is rather tall for the period. Cavalrymen drawn from Celts and Germans who were taller Cavalrymen drawn from Celts and Germans who were taller Another sources claims 160 m (5 Roman feet, 5 inches) = more realistic Another sources claims 160 m (5 Roman feet, 5 inches) = more realistic

12 Becoming a soldier 1. Recruit (tiro) for four month; status of neither civilian nor soldier 1. Recruit (tiro) for four month; status of neither civilian nor soldier 2. Name included in special list (numeros referri) identifying his origin and class 2. Name included in special list (numeros referri) identifying his origin and class received metal tablet: signaculum, carried around neck identifying him as member of the army received metal tablet: signaculum, carried around neck identifying him as member of the army 3. the oath to gods and emperor (iusiurandum or sacramentum) 3. the oath to gods and emperor (iusiurandum or sacramentum)

13 Training 1 “We see that the Roman people conquered the world by no other means than training in the military arts, discipline in the camp, and practice in warfare…But against all these (peoples) we triumphed by selecting recruits carefully, by teaching them, as I have pointed out, the principles of war, by toughening them by daily exercise, by teaching them in advance through manoeuvres in the field everhting which can happen on the march and in battle, and by punishing severely the lazy. For knowledge of military science fosters courage in battle. No one is afraid to perform what he is confident he has learned well…9 Right at the start of their training, therefore, recruits should be taught the military step. For on the march and in the battle line nothing should be safeguarded more carefully than that all the troops should keep in step. This can be achieved only if through repeated practice they learn to march quickly and in formation. An army which is split up and in disorder is always in grave danger from the enemy. So, 20 miles should be completed with the military step in five hours, but only in summer. With the fuller step, which is quicker, 24 miles should be completed in the same time.. 1 “We see that the Roman people conquered the world by no other means than training in the military arts, discipline in the camp, and practice in warfare…But against all these (peoples) we triumphed by selecting recruits carefully, by teaching them, as I have pointed out, the principles of war, by toughening them by daily exercise, by teaching them in advance through manoeuvres in the field everhting which can happen on the march and in battle, and by punishing severely the lazy. For knowledge of military science fosters courage in battle. No one is afraid to perform what he is confident he has learned well…9 Right at the start of their training, therefore, recruits should be taught the military step. For on the march and in the battle line nothing should be safeguarded more carefully than that all the troops should keep in step. This can be achieved only if through repeated practice they learn to march quickly and in formation. An army which is split up and in disorder is always in grave danger from the enemy. So, 20 miles should be completed with the military step in five hours, but only in summer. With the fuller step, which is quicker, 24 miles should be completed in the same time..

14 Training..continued The soldiers should also be trained jumping so that they can leap over ditches and surmount any height blocking the way, and consequently when difficulties of this kind appear, they can cross them without trouble.. 10 All recruits without exception should during the summer months learn how to swim. For they cannot always cross rivers or bridges, but during a retreat or pursuit an army is frequently forced to swim…19 Recruits should be compelled frequently to carry a burden of up to sixty points and to march with the military step, since on tough campaigns they face the necessity of carrying their provisions as well as their weapons. The soldiers should also be trained jumping so that they can leap over ditches and surmount any height blocking the way, and consequently when difficulties of this kind appear, they can cross them without trouble.. 10 All recruits without exception should during the summer months learn how to swim. For they cannot always cross rivers or bridges, but during a retreat or pursuit an army is frequently forced to swim…19 Recruits should be compelled frequently to carry a burden of up to sixty points and to march with the military step, since on tough campaigns they face the necessity of carrying their provisions as well as their weapons.

15 Training continued 3 Book 2.2 The younger soldiers and recruits normally were trained in the morning and afternoon with every kind of weapon. Veterans and experienced troops had one uninterrupted arms drill session every day ….It is excellent to train them at a fencing post using wooden sticks, since they learn how to attack the sides or legs or head with the point and edge (of the sword). They should also learn how to strike a blow while simultaneously leaping up, to spring up with a bound and crouch down behind the shield again, to charge forward with one rush and then give way and charge back to the rear. They should also practice hurling their javelins at the posts from a distance in order to develop their accuracy and the strength of their throwing arm. Book 2.2 The younger soldiers and recruits normally were trained in the morning and afternoon with every kind of weapon. Veterans and experienced troops had one uninterrupted arms drill session every day ….It is excellent to train them at a fencing post using wooden sticks, since they learn how to attack the sides or legs or head with the point and edge (of the sword). They should also learn how to strike a blow while simultaneously leaping up, to spring up with a bound and crouch down behind the shield again, to charge forward with one rush and then give way and charge back to the rear. They should also practice hurling their javelins at the posts from a distance in order to develop their accuracy and the strength of their throwing arm. Vegetius (Campbell # 13) Vegetius (Campbell # 13) See also # 14 See also # 14


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