Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

The Development of the Roman Army

Similar presentations

Presentation on theme: "The Development of the Roman Army"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Development of the Roman Army
The Most important Stages of development 1 the Monarchy 2 The Republic

2 The Earliest Infantry and Cavalry The Regal Period
traditions about origins vary among ancient authors; we have little information about origins of the infantry; Sources suggest that structure of early Roman army linked to the original three tribes founded by Romulus Multiples of three in later Roman military formation points to this original division

3 The earliest regal army
“[They are called] soldiers [milites] because at first the legion was composed of 3,000 men, the individual tribes of the Titenses, Ramnes and Luceres each contributing 1,000 soldiers.” (Varro, on the Latin Language )

4 “After Romulus had founded the city, he divided up those capable of bearing arms into military units. Each unit consisted of 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry. The unit is called a legion because the men selected were chosen for their warlike character from the entire population.” (Plutarch, Romulus 13.1)

5 The early Roman cavalry
We have more information in our sources on the cavalry than for the infantry; Association of horses in battle with the elite in the Mediterranean world; wealth and property required to raise horses Not clear when Romans began to fight from horseback; Most likely this began around 600 BCE in Etruria as consequence of Greek influence In accounts of early Roman battles the cavalry dismounts to engage in fighting

6 The origins of the Roman cavalry according to Livy
At the same time [when the wars against the Sabines were concluded], [Romulus] enrolled three centuries of horses. One was named Ramnenses after Romulus, the second was called Titienses after Titus Tatius and the last was known as the Luceres. However, the origin and name of the last is uncertain.” (Livy )

7 The Origins of the Roman cavalry according to Dionysius of Halicarnassus’
“ After Romulus had established the Senate from one hundred men, he saw that he had need of a formation as a guard for his own person and for service in pressing matters. He chose 300 men from the most distinguished families who were the most physically fit. The curiae selected them as they had done the senators; each curia chose ten men and Romulus constantly kept them around his person. They were called celeres, a name given them according to the majority of writers because of their speed in carrying out their tasks. However, Valerius Antias claims that they were so called because that was the name of their commander. This leader (Celer) was an extremely distinguished man, who had three centurions under him. In the city they followed Romulus about and executed his orders, and on campaigns they were in the vanguard and the king’s companion in arms. They fought on horseback in suitable terrain and on foot where the ground was rough and unfit for cavalry.” (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities 2.13)

8 The Servian Reform (6th century BCE)
Reform linked to adoption of Greek phalanx Greek Hoplite soldier

9 The Greek hoplite phalanx
Reflected social organization (at democratic Athens – equality) Benefits: close formation served as powerful force on flat terrain – worked like a tank Main striking power dependent on heavy thrusting spear and momentum of charge to defeat enemy Shortcomings: too inflexible on rough terrain Spartans and Macedonian Phalanx more flexible: had units fighting with different armor and different ways Sources do not tell us what formation the Romans adopted, but division into classes suggests that Roman phalanx was perhaps more flexible than the Greek

10 The 6th century warrior Sources limited about equipment
Chest protector = kardiophylax (a disk of bronze cm in diameter attached by straps or metal band over shoulder attached to back plate Shield, probably wood or hide (non survived) Spearheads of iron’ Evidence of thrusting spears and javelins Sword of iron, like Greek hoplite swords (short – widened towards its point) Italian sword – two-sided blade

11 Greek Phalanx formation Chigi Vase


13 Hoplite phalanx

14 Alexander and Darius

15 Polybius on the Greek Phalanx Histories 18.28-32
Many considerations may easily convince us that, if only the phalanx has its proper formation and strength, nothing can resist it face to face or withstand its charge. For as a man in close order of battle occupies a space of three feet; and as the length of the sarissae are sixteen cubits according to the original design, which has been reduced in practice to fourteen; and as of these fourteen four must be deducted, to allow for the weight in front; it follows clearly that each hoplite will have ten cubits of his sarissa projecting beyond his body, when he lowers it with both hands, as he advances against the enemy: hence, too, though the men of the second, third, and fourth rank will have their sarissae projecting farther beyond the front rank than the men of the fifth, yet even these last will have two cubits of their sarissae beyond the front rank; if only the phalanx is properly formed and the men close up properly both flank and rear, like the description in Homer: So buckler pressed on buckler; helm on helm; And man on man; and waving horse-hair plumes In polished head-piece mingled, as they swayed In order: in such serried rank they stood. [Iliad, ]

16 Organization of the Early Roman Army (after Servian Reform)
Drawn from 5 (property) classes below the equestrians Armor and equipment according to what they could afford: Class 1 round shield, cuirass, greaves, spear, sword Class 2 no cuirass Class 3 no cuirass, no greaves Class 4 only spear and shield Class 5 sling shots Below Class 5: capite censi (no wealth) not eligible for military service except in certain emergency

17 Servian Reform Further division into centuries of 1. seniores (over age 46) for defense of city 2. juniores (age 17-45) went to war Voted in assembly – Comitia Curiata by century

18 Changes in the Roman Republic

19 Change to Maniples Change to Maniples in 4th century BCE
Perhaps in response to fighting with Cisalpine Celts/Gauls, but not clear; Romans defeated in 387 by Gauls, probably raiding bands of warriors, interested in loot Gauls fought in flexible open units Development took place over long period, stages of development already obscure to Romans by 200 BCE By 400 BCE Romans fought at various fronts; much more bellicose and expansive than in earlier periods

20 Maniple: etymology “Their standards were of hay, but there was as deep a reverence as the eagles now possess. They carried these suspended in bundles [manipulos] on a long pole and it is for this reason that the soldier is called a manipularis. Ovid, Fasti Maniples are the smallest military units that follow a single military standard. Varro, On the Latin Language 5.88

21 Surpassing the enemy at their own game
The Romans as pupils always surpassed their teachers. In ancient times they used rectangular shields. The Etruscans who fought in a phalanx with round bronze shields forced the Romans to adopt their equipment and as a consequence were defeated by them. Later again, peoples using the same shields as the Romans now do and fighting in maniples were conquered by those same Romans who had imitated these excellent methods of fighting and of arming themselves. Diodorus Siculus,

22 The Maniple The single phalanx formation replaced by number of small phalanx-like units – maniples Arranged in 3 lines; in each line spaces separate each unit which allowed for independence Romans now fought by deploying lines successively instead of all at once Resulted in much greater flexibility; Accompanied by new equipment: short sword, large oval/rectangular shield – replacing heavy thrusting spear and round hoplite shield

23 The Fourth Century Army
Increased from 1 to 2 Legions Each legion in 3 battle lines 1. Line: 15 maniples of hastati (heavy infantry of juniores, plus 20 light-armed soldiers (leves) with spear and light javelin 2. Line: 15 maniples of principes (older and more experienced) 3. Line: 1. veterans (triarii) 2 less experienced rorarii, 3 accensi Later added? velites- the youngest of the recruits


25 The Republican Soldiers
1. Roman citizens: cives qui arma ferre possunt = citizens who are able to bear arms; based on census qualifications; Length of service 16 seasons, not necessarily consecutive; between ages 17-46 BCE – often not enough men available for levy - due to pestilence

26 Republican changes Changes in levy Changes in conditions of service
Introduction of pay (not a wage but a compensation for the service) Tributum – military tax – changed views of how to pay for military expenses State provided military equipment as property requirements reduced to increase available soldiers Shift of levy away from Servian census qualifications became based on tribes citizens were enrolled in Important bond that had bound the military century (original division) in its political aspect to its military Contributed to social and political unrest and changes

27 The Republican Levy according to Livy 6.19.5-21
When the consuls in office wish to hold a levy they announce to the people that day on which all men of military age must assemble. His is done each year. On the appointed day, when those fit for service have arrived in Rome and after they have assembled on the Capitoline, the more junior tribunes divide themselves up in the order in which they were elected or appointed by the consuls into four groups, because the primary division of their force is into four parts. They assign the four tribunes elected first to the first legion, the next three to the second, the following four to the third and the last three to the fourth legion. The first two senior tribunes are assigned to the first legion, the next three to the second. Then two are assigned to the third and the last three to the fourth. Such is the division and assignment of the tribunes that each legion has the same number of tribunes

28 Livy continued After this, the tribunes have separated and been grouped according to the legion to which they are assigned. They summon the tribes one by one according to lot. From the first tribe they select four young men as like each other as possible in age and physical condition. The four are brought forward and the tribunes of the first legion select one of them, then those of the second legion choose the next, …etc. So with this rotation of choice it results that the men in each legion are approximately the same. They continue until they reach the required number of men, that is 4,200, sometimes 5,000, when the situation is especially serious. They used to choose the cavalry last; now they do it first, and the selection is now done by the censor on the basis of wealth, with 300 assigned to each legion.

29 The allied Soldiers Alae Sociorum (troops of the allies) Latins and Italians; Usually same numbers as the Roman legions; allied cavalry three times larger Allied troops commanded by Roman praefecti sociorum

30 The First Century CE changes by Gaius Marius; Marius’ Mules
First to recruit capite censi (landless not eligible for military service) for his African Campaign in 106 BCE Opened option of semi-professional army Became standard after this (census levy continued at least to the 40s BCE) Capite censi only recruited previously during emergencies Changed formation from manipular to cohorts Previously used in 2nd Punic War (made up of 3 maniples) on temporary basis Characteristic of cohort: uniform equipment and training Simplified command structure Only 10 cohorts (10 officers) carried equipment and rations for several days; increased mobility, self-sufficiency, We do not know the exact details of new formation and command structure Marius responsible for cultivating strong identity of individual legions

31 The cohort [Scipio] taking the three leading turmae of cavalry, and placing in front of them the usual number of velites and three maniples – the Romans call this a cohort – from his right wing, while Marcius and Junius took the same units from the left, he advanced straight against the enemy, wheeling his men to the left while Marcius and Junius wheeled their troops to the right. The units immediately follwin gthem wheeled in turn. (Polybius, Histories )

32 Marius’ volunteers “[Marius] enrolled soldiers, not according to the classes in the manner of our forefathers, but allowing anyone to volunteer, for the most part of the proletariat. Some say that he did this through lack of good men, others because of a desire to curry favor, since that class had given him honor and rank. As a matter of fact, to one who aspires to power the poorest man is the most helpful, since he has no regard for his property, having none, and considers anything honorable for which he receives pay.” (Sallus, The War with Jugurtha )

33 Consequences of the Civil Wars example of the Fimbrians
Tendency of armies to changed loyalty from state to individual successful generals; disintegration of armies i.e. consul Quintus Pompeius when instructed by Senate to take command of army, was murdered by a group of hostile soldiers the moment he began to take over his duties (Plutarch, Life of Sulla) i.e. The so-called Fimbriani: men commanded by L. Valerius Flaccus in 86 BC switched allegiance to Gaius Flavius Fimbria after Fimbria murdered their commander.Fimbria had been sent from Rome as Flaccus’ legate, but Fimbria had conflict with him, since he was unwilling to use any means to defeat cities loyal to Mithridates and did not allow the indiscriminate pillage of the Greek city states. When Sulla, the enemy of Fimbria emerged as winner against Mithridates marched against Fimbria, legions abandoned their commander in his tent and swore allegiance to Sulla. Frimbria committed suicide In the 70s the Fimbriani under commander Lucius Lucullus – they abandoned him in 67 BC for Pompeius Magnus – very treacherous. Goal of soldiers began to be twofold: associated with winner, receive highest economic benefits: Plunder, loot, pillaging When 10,000 of Marius men did in a clash, 6,000 survivors deserted, rest of army disintegrated - loyalty was cheap

34 The impact of the Social War
Grant of citizenship to Italian allies; Alae Sociorum disappeared troops recruited from native people at the frontiers and in provinces Germans, Numidians, Gauls – cavalry Archers from Crete Slingers from the Balkans Caesar used Gauls who fought under their own leaders Allied troops not organized in standard units; that followed under the principate …

Download ppt "The Development of the Roman Army"

Similar presentations

Ads by Google