The Military of the Roman Empire

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 305
  • Published : May 20, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
Military of the Roman Empire

The military of the Roman Empire formed the group that held Rome together. They fought with steadfast courage, love for their country, and honor for their people. They overcame some of the deadliest battles, even when they were outnumbered tremendously. There were several ranks and types of soldiers in the Roman Empire. There were around thirty-five to forty different types of soldiers in the Roman Military, all of which I have listed at the end of my paper. When Rome was at its highest point it is estimated that there were around 120 million people living there. At its peak the Roman army contained around 20 million soldiers. There has even been evidence that suggest that there were women in the roman military. Women were never admitted into core units such as the legions, but there is archaeological evidence that suggest some women did serve in the federated troops used later in the Empire. For the majority of its history, the Roman army was open to male soldiers only, and only those classified as Roman citizens were able to join the military. At first all men who were physically able, had to enlist in the Roman army. This was considered part of their duty to their country, and most men were happy to do so. This only lasted for a short period of time though, because there were too many men enlisting and Rome did not have enough recourses or money to fund such a large army. Soon the Roman government began to force Roman solders to provide most of their own equipment. Roman soldiers were not even paid for their service to their country, so soon the state had very little expenses to pay for their army. As Rome grew however, the state began to provide more material for its army and eventually the states biggest expense became its army. During the expansion in the Republic and early Empire, Roman armies had acted as a source of income for the Roman state, by conquered territories, and when they returned they would literally fuel the economy. Some historians believe that the Roman economy was a plunder economy. However, after the Empire had stopped expanding in the second century, this source of income stopped as well; so the state began to raise taxes. High powered government leaders easily took advantage of the Tax income during the Crisis of the Third Century, and military expenses began to become a burden once again. By 440, an imperial law stated that the Rome had insufficient tax income to fund an army of such a large size. The head of the military before the Roman Republic was the king, although not much else is known about the military command structure during this period. After the Republic, the Senate became the head of the military, but the senate soon became obedient to the wishes of their leading citizens, who became known as Emperors. Julius Caesar was an Emperor, and was named imperator and "Father of the Country" and for whatever reasons "could do as he liked". As the Empire developed, the Emperor became the head of the Roman military. The command structure became more and more complex throughout the Republic and Empire.

In the legions of the Roman army, discipline was fierce and training was harsh. Training and practice was developed to bind the men together into effective fighting units. Unlike opponents such as the Gauls or the Japanese, who were great individual warriors, Roman military training concentrated on teamwork. Soldiers with higher ranks were often treated the same as solider with lowers ones. This was to show that in Rome all men were equal. Every solider was loyal to the Roman state, but soldiers worked hard to get into higher ranked units. Successful units were awarded with honor from all people throughout Rome. Not much is known about the culture of less elite units such as sailors, and light infantry but it is thought that their training was not as intense as strong as the training in the legions. The military capability of Ancient Rome was always based...
tracking img