Roman Army


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Some troops and a chariot pulled by oxen

The Roman army was very powerful and so it helped a lot in conquering the lands and provinces. The Army had different ranking soldiers commanded by the Emperor. The emperor gave the orders to centurions who passed them on to decurions, who then passed them down to the soldiers. The army had soldiers from all over the empire. Some soldiers from Gaul were sent to Greece and the Greeks to the Gaelic part of the empire. The army was the most efficient in the world as the soldiers were very obedient and highly motivated. A legion is 5 thousand soldiers. The Praetor was helped by a legatus to direct the legion. The legatus was helped by a senator and 6 nobles. When a battle was going on or was going to start they guided their troops and they told them which formation to form. The formations were the Turtle the phalanx and a few others. The turtle was used when they were defending themselves or attacking forts. To do this formation the legionnaires put shields on their heads and they put shields on the side to protect themselves even more . When they did this they could attack forts and when the enemy threw boulders on them it bounced of the shield.
There were groups of 100 soldiers called century commanded by a centurion which was of higher rank. They were divided into groups of 8 called Contubernia. The contubernia had 8 legionnaires a milestone and a mule and they shared a tent.

Each year they called up all the people that owned land from 17 to 45 to the capitoline hills which overlooked Rome. At that time all the battles were on a field and then the attacker attacked the defender and whoever won kept the land and the one that lost left his terrain and walked away. The reason the roman army was so powerful is that they could win objects for different things. If you were the first one to enter a town you got a golden crown. If an infantry man killed an enemy in as fight then they got a drinking bowl.

When they attacked an enemy group they were in lines that were supported behind by other ones. The front row would throw the javelins on the enemy and then they would sword fight with the swords and when the front row were dead the second row started to attack and that is how it was. With these fighting tactics it is not surprising that the Romans won every battle as they were so well organised. They also had people behind with bows which shot the arrows and then knelt down while they recharge in order for the others to protect them.
The army took soldiers from some provinces and put them in others to fight against an enemy. They mixed primary troops which were the well trained ones and the Auxiliaries which had a position which was cavalry or they were not as well armed or trained as they were usually prisoners of war.

The tactics employed by the Romans

The tactics employed by the Romans varied between battles and for what type of enemy it was. The turtle was a position where the soldiers all grouped up and used to hold the shields over there heads and some to the side while others at the outside held spears and weapons to protect each other from the enemy. The main use for this was to penetrate into forts and other enemy strong points.

The war machines
catapult image

The Roman Catapult

The Catapult gave the Romans a great advantage over there enemies as they could hold a siege at a fortification and place the catapults for maximum efficiency and destroy the enemy which did not surrender. The Catapult was taken from the Greeks and so they got some Greek workers to build them.

The Roman catapult was a structure made of wood manned by soldiers. The ropes they used were made of horse hair and sinew.

The battering ram

This was a log with a special hard head which could break down fortifications. It was made of a wooden structure which had skins put over it so that it protected the soldiers inside. There were ropes hanging down from the frame which held the ram. When it was used the soldiers pulled some ropes which had been tied to the ram so that when the people inside used it they could let go and then it used the momentum it gained from the ropes to smash down the wall.


A bridge built to quickly cross a river

When they wanted to cross a river they took wood and built the bridges by putting poles into the ground and then attaching ropes to get it to be wide enough for it to be used to transport things over. They made them strong by taking rafts and attaching them together and then using trunks which they pushed into the river by dropping a metal weight which pushed it down into the ground. When this was down they put beams across to strengthen the structure before finally putting the ropes logs over them to form a path over it.

Building wooden fortifications

The Romans built temporary fortifications such as camps inside a wall. They had tents that were set up in a special way so that the command tent was in the centre of the other tents. It was all set up so that everything was in a certain position for an easier access. They had a pole which had all the insignias and the Roman eagle over it outside the command tent. There was a wooden wall around was built of trunks pushed into the ground so that it could be aligned in a line. They then put a walkway so that the centuries could look out of the fortifications. The outside had a moat and also there was a gate where there were sentries which let no one except the people which had to go in. There were also watch towers at the gates. When the roman army travelled they always had to build roads which were as straight as possible so that everyone could travel fast in case of need.

They separated the empire into provinces so that it was easier to control as tribunes controlled different parts and collected which were then brought to Rome where they were put in the treasury before they used it in some parts of the empire.

Means of transportation of the Roman army

The strength did not only come from the training it also came from transportation. The roads were well built so it was easy to travel from one part of the empire to an other as was needed. They could get people from anywhere in the empire just by going along the roads so it gained more authority this way. If there was some unrest in a part of the empire they could quickly send reinforcements to that region so that they could keep it under control. The method of transport which was the fastest was horses as they could travel easily along the well built roads. Soldiers also travelled by boat or by walking but as the roads were straight even that was fast. This was a great feet in those days especially as they were nearly as advanced as civilisations are today but without power.

Legion strcuture

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