The Roman army is one of the most famous fighting forces in history. Through its power and prowess, a once obscure Italian city forged an empire that encircled the Mediterranean and covered half of Europe. The physical remains of its presence can be traced from the mountainous borders of Scotland to the arid deserts of Egypt, but its legacy is far greater and more enduring, as Rome's influence continues to shape the political, legal, and cultural landscape of Europe to this very day.
While the Roman army is rightly famed as an institution, the image of the individual legionary is also an iconic one. The uniformed, disciplined soldier of the late Republic and early Empire is one of the first things many people imagine when they think of Rome. They are the ultimate image of the ancient soldier, their arms and armor instantly recognizable. Their abilities, not only as warriors but also as engineers and administrators, have made them role models for other soldiers through the centuries. In the same vein, their commanders are still celebrated and studied, and generals the world over have tried to emulate the likes of Julius Caesar.
Of course, recruiting and equipping the Roman army were hardly easy tasks. Gathering new recruits wasn’t difficult since service in the military was a requirement for social advancement, but new soldiers had to be trained to fight as heavy infantry and work together. For these men to be trained properly, however, they needed to have equipment, including swords, shields, javelins, helmets, and assorted armor. In addition to this, the new recruits had to be clothed, fed, and paid, while commanders had to be found.
Moreover, one of the key ingredients to Rome’s success was the military’s complete willingness to incorporate discovered technologies. If a different weapon, type of armor, or basic equipment or artillery worked better than what they were using, the Romans were not afraid to adopt that piece of military hardware for their own uses. Thus, the Romans were almost always using the finest military equipment in the world, all of which had long since proven effective on the field of battle.
The Roman Army: The History and Legacy of the Military ?That Revolutionized Ancient Warfare and Made Rome a Global Empire examines the history of one of the most famous fighting forces in the world.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors