The article first presents a short overview of Roman training. Roman performance against different types of enemies is then analyzed. Finally a summation of what made the Roman tactics and strategy militarily effective through their long history is hail caesar army lists late antiquity to early medieval pdf below, as is a discussion of how and why this effectiveness eventually disappeared.
The focus below is primarily on Roman tactics – the “how” of their approach to battle, and how it stacked up against a variety of opponents over time. It does not attempt detailed coverage of things like army structure or equipment. Various battles are summarized to illustrate Roman methods with links to detailed articles on individual encounters. This advance was affected by changing trends in Roman political, social and economic life, and that of the larger Mediterranean world, but it was also undergirded by a distinctive “Roman way” of war. These elements waxed and waned over time, but they form a distinct basis underlying Rome’s rise. Numerous scholarly histories of the Roman military machine note the huge numbers of men that could be mobilized, more than any other Mediterranean power.
This bounty of military resources enabled Rome to apply crushing pressure to its enemies, and stay in the field and replace losses, even after suffering setbacks. Roman and allied men capable of bearing arms in 225 exceeded 700,000 infantry and 70,000 cavalry. Brunt adjusted Polybius’ figures and estimated that the population of Italy, not including Greeks and Bruttians, exceeded 875,000 free adult males, from whom the Romans could levy troops. Rome not only had the potential to levy vast numbers of troops, but did in fact field large armies in the opening stages of the war.
Rome was able to mobilize approximately 230,000 men. Against these mighty resources Hannibal led from Spain an army of approximately 50,000 infantry and 9,000 cavalry Rome’s manpower reserves allowed it to absorb staggering losses yet still continue to field large armies. For example, according to Brunt, as many as 50,000 men were lost between 218BC and 215BC, but Rome continued to place between 14 and 25 legions in the field for the duration of the war. Moreover, as will be discussed below, Roman manpower allowed for the adoption of the so-called “Fabian strategy”, which proved to be an effective response to Hannibal’s apparent battlefield superiority. Put simply, the relative disparity in the number of available troops at the outset of the conflict meant that Hannibal had a much narrower margin for error than the Romans.
Each soldier arranged his heavy pack on a T or Y-shaped rod, borne on his left shoulder. Shields were protected on the march with a hide cover. Each legionary carried about 5 days worth of wheat, pulses or chickpeas, a flask of oil and a mess kit with a dish, cup, and utensil. Personal items might include a dyed horsehair crest for the helmet, a semi-water resistant oiled woolen cloak, socks and breeches for cold weather and a blanket.
All these were arranged in the marching pack toted by each infantryman. Fighters travelled in groups of eight, and each octet was sometimes assigned a mule. The mule carried a variety of equipment and supplies, including a mill for grinding grain, a small clay oven for baking bread, cooking pots, spare weapons, waterskins, and tents. A Roman century had a complement of 10 mules, each attended by two non-combatants who handled foraging and water supply. A century might be supported by wagons in the rear, each drawn by six mules, and carrying tools, nails, water barrels, extra food and the tent and possessions of the centurion- commanding officer of the unit. The legion also carried an artillery detachment with 30 pieces of artillery.