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The Military Of The Roman Empire

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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 upon the idea that roman soldiers would be able to get where they needed to be quickly. The Roman military focused on getting soldiers out of Rome into battle as fast as possible. This meant that the army had to have quick means travel. The Empire's built an extensive and well-maintained road network, and had absolute command of the Mediterranean for most of its history. This enabled the Roman army to travel quickly and effectively. There was no specialized branch of the military devoted to transportation, although this was most likely taken care of by the Roman Navy, because it was much easier and cheaper to transport soldiers and goods though the seas and rivers than it was to transport them over land, although this was sometimes necessary due to the locations of battles. The Roman Military hardly focused on defense surprisingly, whenever they were in battle they would send almost all of their soldiers out to fight leaving very little soldiers back in case of a counter-attack. However, border troops were usually capable of handling enemies before they could penetrate far into the Roman land. Once solders were where they needed to be the army would remove foreign rulers by force or intimidation and replace them with puppets. This helped the Roman Empire expand even more, but also caused them to have a lot of enemies.

Roman cities had a civil guard used to keep peace inside Rome. The Roman Government strongly feared rebellions, because of the amount of people living in Rome and because of this regular Roman citizens were forbidden to be armed. Keeping the peace inside Rome was split between the civil guard for low-level affairs and the Roman legions for higher-level rioting and rebellions.

Military engineering was only evident during the peak of Roman military during the mid-Republic to the mid-Empire. Before the mid-Republic period there is very little evidence of military engineering, and in the late Empire it is the same. Only during the central period was engineering a major part of the Roman Military. Military engineering took the form of the regular construction of fortified camps, in road-building, in the construction of siege engines, to the building of roadways for travel of the roman military. Engineering practice led to the invention of siege equipment such as the ballistae. This was a large crossbow that could be used to take down stone walls with just a few blows. Also to the creation of siege towers, as well as allowing the troops to construct roads, bridges and fortified camps. All of these led to the ability for Roman troops to, assault settlements easier, move more rapidly to wherever they were needed, cross rivers to reduce march times, surprise enemies, and to camp in relative secure areas, even in enemy territory.

Rome used its military aggressively. The Roman army had started from mainly

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