Citizenship in ancient Rome was a privileged political and legal status afforded to free individuals with respect to laws and governance. A male Roman citizen enjoyed a wide range of privileges and protections defined in detail by the Roman state. A citizen could, under certain exceptional circumstances, be deprived of his citizenship. Roman women had a limited form of citizenship. Though held in high regard they were not allowed to stand for civil or public office; the rich might participate in public life by funding building projects or sponsoring religious ceremonies and other events. Women had the right to own property, to engage in business, to obtain a divorce, but their legal rights varied over time. Marriages were an important form of political alliance during the Republic. Client state citizens and allies of Rome could receive a limited form of Roman citizenship such as the Latin Right; such citizens could not be elected in Roman elections. Slaves lacked legal personhood. Over time, they acquired a few protections under Roman law.
Some slaves were freed by manumission for services rendered, or through a testamentary provision when their master died. Once free, they faced few barriers, beyond normal social snobbery, to participating in Roman society; the principle that a person could become a citizen by law rather than birth was enshrined in Roman mythology. Freedmen were former slaves, they were not automatically given citizenship and lacked some privileges such as running for executive magistracies. The children of freedmen and women were born as free citizens. Ius suffragiorum: The right to vote in the Roman assemblies. Ius honorum: The right to stand for civil or public office. Ius commercii: The right to make legal contracts and to hold property as a Roman citizen. Ius gentium: The legal recognition, developed in the 3rd century BC, of the growing international scope of Roman affairs, the need for Roman law to deal with situations between Roman citizens and foreign persons; the ius gentium was therefore a Roman legal codification of the accepted international law of the time, was based on the developed commercial law of the Greek city-states and of other maritime powers.
The rights afforded by the ius gentium were considered to be held by all persons. Ius conubii: The right to have a lawful marriage with a Roman citizen according to Roman principles, to have the legal rights of the paterfamilias over the family, for the children of any such marriage to be counted as Roman citizens. Ius migrationis: The right to preserve one's level of citizenship upon relocation to a polis of comparable status. For example, members of the cives Romani maintained their full civitas when they migrated to a Roman colony with full rights under the law: a colonia civium Romanorum. Latins had this right, maintained their ius Latii if they relocated to a different Latin state or Latin colony; this right did not preserve one's level of citizenship should one relocate to a colony of lesser legal status. The right of immunity from some taxes and other legal obligations local rules and regulations; the right to sue in the right to be sued. The right to have a legal trial; the right to appeal the lower court decisions.
Following the early 2nd-century BC Porcian Laws, a Roman citizen could not be tortured or whipped and could commute sentences of death to voluntary exile, unless he was found guilty of treason. If accused of treason, a Roman citizen had the right to be tried in Rome, if sentenced to death, no Roman citizen could be sentenced to die on the cross. Roman citizenship was required in order to enlist in the Roman legions, but this was sometimes ignored. Citizen soldiers could be beaten by the centurions and senior officers for reasons related to discipline. Non-citizens gained citizenship through service; the legal classes varied over time, however the following classes of legal status existed at various times within the Roman state: The cives Romani were full Roman citizens, who enjoyed full legal protection under Roman law. Cives Romani were sub-divided into two classes: The non optimo iure who held the ius commercii and ius conubii The optimo iure, who held these rights as well as the ius suffragiorum and ius honorum.
The Latini were a class of citizens who held the Latin Right, or the rights of ius commercii and ius migrationis, but not the ius conubii. The term Latini referred to the Latins, citizens of the Latin League who came under Roman control at the close of the Latin War, but became a legal description rather than a national or ethnic one. Freedmen slaves, those of the cives Romani convicted of crimes, or citizens settling Latin colonies could be given this status under the law. Socii or foederati were citizens of states which had treaty obligations with Rome, under which certain legal rights of the state's citizens under Roman law were exchanged for agreed levels of military service, i.e. the Roman magistrates had the right to levy soldiers for the Roman legions from those states. However, foederat
Roman roads were physical infrastructure vital to the maintenance and development of the Roman state, were built from about 300 BC through the expansion and consolidation of the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire. They provided efficient means for the overland movement of armies and civilians, the inland carriage of official communications and trade goods. Roman roads were of several kinds, ranging from small local roads to broad, long-distance highways built to connect cities, major towns and military bases; these major roads were stone-paved and metaled, cambered for drainage, were flanked by footpaths and drainage ditches. They were laid along surveyed courses, some were cut through hills, or conducted over rivers and ravines on bridgework. Sections could be supported over marshy ground on piled foundations. At the peak of Rome's development, no fewer than 29 great military highways radiated from the capital, the late Empire's 113 provinces were interconnected by 372 great roads; the whole comprised more than 400,000 kilometres of roads, of which over 80,500 kilometres were stone-paved.
In Gaul alone, no less than 21,000 kilometres of roadways are said to have been improved, in Britain at least 4,000 kilometres. The courses of many Roman roads survived for millennia. Livy mentions some of the most familiar roads near Rome, the milestones on them, at times long before the first paved road—the Appian Way. Unless these allusions are just simple anachronisms, the roads referred to were at the time little more than levelled earthen tracks. Thus, the Via Gabina is mentioned in about 500 BC. In the Itinerary of Antoninus, the description of the road system, after the death of Julius Caesar and during the tenure of Augustus, is as follows: "With the exception of some outlying portions, such as Britain north of the Wall and certain provinces east of the Euphrates, the whole Empire was penetrated by these itinera. There is hardly a district to which we might expect a Roman official to be sent, on service either civil or military, where we do not find roads, they reach the Wall in Britain.
A road map of the empire reveals that it was laced with a dense network of prepared viae. Beyond its borders there were no paved roads. There were, for instance, some pre-Roman ancient trackways in Britain, such as the Ridgeway and the Icknield Way. For specific roads, see Roman road locations below; the Laws of the Twelve Tables, dated to about 450 BC, required that any public road be 8 Roman feet wide where straight and twice that width where curved. These were the minimum widths for a via. Actual practices varied from this standard; the Tables command Romans to build public roads and give wayfarers the right to pass over private land where the road is in disrepair. Building roads that would not need frequent repair therefore became an ideological objective, as well as building them as straight as possible in order to build the narrowest roads possible, thus save on material. Roman law defined the right to use a road as liability; the ius eundi established a claim to use an footpath, across private land.
A via combined both types of servitutes, provided it was of the proper width, determined by an arbiter. The default width was the latitudo legitima of 8 feet. Roman law and tradition forbade the use of vehicles except in certain cases. Married women and government officials on business could ride; the Lex Iulia Municipalis restricted commercial carts to night-time access in the city within the walls and within a mile outside the walls. Roman roads varied from simple corduroy roads to paved roads using deep roadbeds of tamped rubble as an underlying layer to ensure that they kept dry, as the water would flow out from between the stones and fragments of rubble, instead of becoming mud in clay soils. According to Ulpian, there were three types of roads: Viae publicae, praetoriae or militares Viae privatae, glareae or agrariae Viae vicinales The first type of road included public high or main roads and maintained at the public expense, with their soil vested in the state; such roads led either to a town, or to a public river, or to another public road.
Siculus Flaccus, who lived under Trajan, calls them viae publicae regalesque, describes their characteristics as follows: They are placed under curatores, repaired by redemptores at the public expense. These roads bear the names of their constructors. Roman roads were named after the censor who had ordered their reconstruction; the same person served afterwards as c
Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes
The Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, or ORL, is a 550-kilometre-long section of the former external frontier of the Roman Empire between the rivers Rhine and Danube. It runs from Rheinbrohl to Eining on the Danube; the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes is an archaeological site and, since 2005, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together with the Lower Germanic Limes it forms part of the Limes Germanicus; the term limes meant "border path" or "swathe" in Latin. In Germany, "Limes" refers to the Rhaetian Limes and Upper Germanic Limes, collectively referred to as the Limes Germanicus. Both sections of limes are named after the adjacent Roman provinces of Germania Superior. In the Roman limites we have, for the first time in history defined territorial borders of a sovereign state that were visible on the ground to friend and foe alike. Most of the Upper German-Rhaetian Limes did not follow rivers or mountain ranges, which would have formed natural boundaries for the Roman Empire, it includes the longest land border in the European section of the limes, interrupted for only a few kilometres, by a section that follows the River Main between Großkrotzenburg and Miltenberg.
By contrast, elsewhere in Europe, the limes is defined by the rivers Rhine and Danube. The function of the Roman military frontiers has been discussed for some time; the latest research tends to view at least the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes not as a military demarcation line, but rather a monitored economic boundary for the non-Roman lands. The limes, it is argued, was not suitable for fending off systematic external attacks. Thanks to a skillful economic policy, the Roman Empire extended its influence far to the northeast, beyond the frontier. Evidence of this are the many border crossings which, although guarded by Roman soldiers, would have enabled a brisk trade, the numerous Roman finds in "Free Germania". Attempts were also made, to settle Roman legions beyond the limes or, more to recruit auxiliaries; as a result, the Romanization of the population extended beyond the limes. Interest in the limes as the remains of a site dating to the Roman period was rekindled in Germany at the time of the Renaissance and Renaissance humanism.
This was bolstered by the rediscovery of the Germania and Annales of Tacitus in monastic libraries in the 15th and early 16th centuries. Scholars like Simon Studion researched discovered forts. Studion led archaeological excavations of the Roman camp of Benningen on the Neckar section of the Neckar-Odenwald Limes. Local limes commissions were established but were confined to small areas, for example, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse or Grand Duchy of Baden, due to the political situation. Johann Alexander Döderlein was the first person to record the course of the limes in the Eichstätt region. In 1723, he was the first to interpret the meaning of the limes and published the first scholarly treatise about it in 1731. Only after the foundation of the German Empire could archaeologists begin to study more the route of the limes, about which there had only been a rudimentary knowledge; as a result, they were able to make the first systematic excavations in the second half of the 19th century. In 1892, the Imperial Limes Commission was established for this purpose in Berlin, under the direction of the ancient historian, Theodor Mommsen.
The work of this commission is considered pioneering for reworking of Roman provincial history. Productive were the first ten years of research, which worked out the course of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes and named the camps along the border; the research reports on the excavations were published from 1894 to the dissolution of the Commission in 1937. The individual reports went under the title of The Upper Rhaetian Limes of the Roman Empire, published in fifteen volumes, of which seven cover the route of the limes and eight cover the various camps and forts; the documents of the Imperial Limes Commission are now in the custody of the Roman-Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute. The RLK numbered the sections of the route, the forts and the watchtowers on the individual sections. In the course of this work the 550-kilometre-long route of the limes was surveyed, divided into sections and described; this division followed the administrative boundaries in 19th-century Germany and not that of ancient Rome: Section 1: Rheinbrohl – Bad Ems Section 2: Bad Ems – Adolfseck near Bad Schwalbach Section 3: Adolfseck near Bad Schwalbach – Taunus – Köpperner Tal Section 4: Köpperner Tal – Wetterau – Marköbel Section 5: Marköbel – Großkrotzenburg am Main Section 6a: Hainstadt – Wörth am Main Section 6b: Trennfurt – Miltenberg Section 7: Miltenberg – Walldürn – Buchen-Hettingen Section 8: Buchen-Hettingen – Osterburken – Jagsthausen Section 9: Jagsthausen – Öhringen – Mainhardt – Welzheim – Alfdorf-Pfahlbronn Section 10: Wörth am Main – Bad Wimpfen Section 11: Bad Wimpfen – Köngen Section 12: Alfdorf-Pfahlbronn – Lorch – Rotenbachtal near Schwäbisch Gmünd – Aalen – Stödtlen Section 13: Mönchsroth – Weiltingen-Ruffenhofen - Gunzenhausen Section 14: Gunzenhausen – Weißenburg – Kipfenberg Section 15: Kipfenberg – Eining Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes in general Dietwulf Baatz: Der römische Limes.
Archäologische Ausflüge zwischen Rhein und Donau. 4th edn. Gebrüder Mann, Berlin, 2000, ISBN 3-7861-1701-2. Thomas Becker
The Antonine Wall, known to the Romans as Vallum Antonini, was a turf fortification on stone foundations, built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. Representing the northernmost frontier barrier of the Roman Empire, it spanned 63 kilometres and was about 3 metres high and 5 metres wide. Lidar scans have been carried out to establish the length of the wall and the Roman distance units used. Security was bolstered by a deep ditch on the northern side, it is thought. The barrier was the second of two "great walls" created by the Romans in what the English once called Northern Britain, its ruins are less evident than the better-known Hadrian's Wall to the south because the turf and wood wall has weathered away, unlike its stone-built southern predecessor. Construction began in AD 142 at the order of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius, took about 12 years to complete. Antoninus Pius never visited Britain. Pressure from the Caledonians may have led Antoninus to send the empire's troops further north.
The Antonine Wall was protected by 16 forts with small fortlets between them. The soldiers who built the wall commemorated the construction and their struggles with the Caledonians in decorative slabs, twenty of which survive; the wall was abandoned only eight years after completion, the garrisons relocated back to Hadrian's Wall. In 208 Emperor Septimius ordered repairs; the occupation ended a few years and the wall was never fortified again. Most of the wall and its associated fortifications have been destroyed over time, but some remains are visible. Many of these have come under the care of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius ordered the construction of the Antonine Wall around 142. Quintus Lollius Urbicus, governor of Roman Britain at the time supervised the effort, which took about twelve years to complete; the wall stretches 63 kilometres from Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire on the Firth of Clyde to Carriden near Bo'ness on the Firth of Forth. The wall was intended to extend Roman territory and dominance by replacing Hadrian's Wall 160 kilometres to the south, as the frontier of Britannia.
But while the Romans did establish many forts and temporary camps further north of the Antonine Wall in order to protect their routes to the north of Scotland, they did not conquer the Caledonians, the Antonine Wall suffered many attacks. The Romans called the land north of the wall Caledonia, though in some contexts the term may refer to the whole area north of Hadrian's Wall; the Antonine Wall was shorter than Hadrian's Wall and built of turf on a stone foundation, but it was still an impressive achievement. It was a simpler fortification than Hadrian's Wall insofar as it did not have a subsidiary ditch system behind it to the south, as Hadrian's Wall did with its Vallum; the stone foundations and wing walls of the original forts on the Antonine Wall demonstrate that the original plan was to build a stone wall similar to Hadrian's Wall, but this was amended. As built, the wall was a bank, about four metres high, made of layered turves and earth with a wide ditch on the north side, a military way on the south.
The Romans planned to build forts every 10 kilometres, but this was soon revised to every 3.3 kilometres, resulting in a total of nineteen forts along the wall. The best preserved but one of the smallest forts is Rough Castle Fort. In addition to the forts, there are at least 9 smaller fortlets likely on Roman mile spacings, which formed part of the original scheme, some of which were replaced by forts; the most visible fortlet is Kinneil, at the eastern end of the Wall, near Bo'ness. There was once a remarkable Roman structure within sight of the Antonine Wall at Stenhousemuir; this was Arthur's O'on, a circular stone domed monument or rotunda, which may have been a temple, or a tropaeum, a victory monument. It was demolished for its stone in 1743. In addition to the line of the Wall itself there are a number of coastal forts both in the East and West, which should be considered as outposts and/or supply bases to the Wall itself. In addition a number of forts farther north were brought back into service in the Gask Ridge area, including Ardoch, Strageath and Dalginross and Cargill.
Recent research by Glasgow University has shown that the distance stones, stone sculptures unique to the Antonine Wall which were embedded in the wall to mark the lengths built by each legion, were brightly painted unlike their present bare appearance. These stones are preserved in the University's museum and are said to be the best-preserved examples of statuary from any Roman frontier. Several of the slabs have been analysed by various techniques including portable X-ray fluorescence. Tiny remnants of paint have been detected by surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy. Several of the distance slabs have been scanned and 3-D videos produced. There are plans to reproduce the slabs, both digitally and in real physical copies, with their authentic colours. A copy of the Bridgeness Slab has been made and can be found in Bo'ness, it is expected that lottery funding will allow replicas of distance markers to be placed along the length of the wall. The wall was abandoned onl
Fall of the Western Roman Empire
The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process of decline in the Western Roman Empire in which the Empire failed to enforce its rule, its vast territory was divided into several successor polities. The Roman Empire lost the strengths that had allowed it to exercise effective control over its Western provinces. Increasing pressure from invading barbarians outside Roman culture contributed to the collapse; the reasons for the collapse are major subjects of the historiography of the ancient world and they inform much modern discourse on state failure. Relevant dates include 117 CE, when the Empire was at its greatest territorial extent, the accession of Diocletian in 284. Irreversible major territorial loss, began in 376 with a large-scale irruption of Goths and others. In 395, after winning two destructive civil wars, Theodosius I died, leaving a collapsing field army and the Empire, still plagued by Goths, divided between the warring ministers of his two incapable sons. Further barbarian groups crossed the Rhine and other frontiers, like the Goths were not exterminated, expelled or subjugated.
The armed forces of the Western Empire became few and ineffective, despite brief recoveries under able leaders, central rule was never consolidated. By 476 when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus, the Western Roman Emperor wielded negligible military, political, or financial power and had no effective control over the scattered Western domains that could still be described as Roman. Barbarian kingdoms had established their own power in much of the area of the Western Empire. While its legitimacy lasted for centuries longer and its cultural influence remains today, the Western Empire never had the strength to rise again; the Eastern Empire survived, though lessened in strength remained for centuries an effective power of the Eastern Mediterranean. While the loss of political unity and military control is universally acknowledged, the Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. Since 1776, when Edward Gibbon published the first volume of his The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Fall has been the theme around which much of the history of the Roman Empire has been structured.
"From the eighteenth century onward," historian Glen Bowersock wrote, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." The Fall is not the only unifying concept for these events. The Fall of the Western Roman Empire was the process; the loss of centralized political control over the West, the lessened power of the East, are universally agreed, but the theme of decline has been taken to cover a much wider time span than the hundred years from 376. For Cassius Dio, the accession of the emperor Commodus in 180 CE marked the descent "from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron", while Gibbon began his narrative of decline from the reign of Commodus, after a number of introductory chapters. Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke argue that the entire Imperial era was one of steady decay of institutions founded in republican times, while Theodor Mommsen excluded the imperial period from his Nobel Prize-winning History of Rome.
As one convenient marker for the end, 476 has been used since Gibbon, but other key dates for the fall of the Roman Empire in the West include the Crisis of the Third Century, the Crossing of the Rhine in 406, the sack of Rome in 410, the death of Julius Nepos in 480. Gibbon gave a classic formulation of reasons, he began an ongoing controversy by attributing a significant role to Christianity in the Western Roman Empire's fall, no longer accepted by modern Roman historians. However, he did give great weight to other causes of internal decline as well and to the attacks from outside the Empire; the story of its ruin is obvious. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, afterwards violated the majesty of the purple; the emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy.
Alexander Demandt enumerated 210 different theories on why Rome fell, new ideas have emerged since. Historians still try to analyze the reasons for loss of political control over a vast territory. Comparison has been made with China after the end of the Han dynasty, which re-established unity under the Sui dynasty while the Mediterranean world remained politically disunited. From at least the time of Henri Pirenne scholars have described a continuity of Roman culture and political legitimacy long aft
The Limes Germanicus was a line of frontier fortifications that bounded the ancient Roman provinces of Germania Inferior, Germania Superior and Raetia, dividing the Roman Empire and the unsubdued Germanic tribes from the years 83 to about 260 AD. At its height, the limes stretched from the North Sea outlet of the Rhine to near Regensburg on the Danube; those two major rivers afforded natural protection from mass incursions into imperial territory, with the exception of a gap stretching from Mogontiacum on the Rhine to Castra Regina. The Limes Germanicus was divided into: The Lower Germanic Limes, which extended from the North Sea at Katwijk in the Netherlands along the main Lower Rhine branches The Upper Germanic Limes started from the Rhine at Rheinbrohl across the Taunus mountains to the river Main along the Main to Miltenberg, from Osterburken south to Lorch in a nearly perfect straight line of more than 70 km; the total length was 568 km. It included 900 watchtowers; the weakest, hence most guarded, part of the Limes was the aforementioned gap between the westward bend of the Rhine at modern-day Mainz and the main flow of the Danube at Regensburg.
This 300-km wide land corridor between the two great rivers permitted movement of large groups of people without the need for water transport, hence the heavy concentration of forts and towers there, arranged in depth and in multiple layers along waterways, fords and hilltops. Roman border defences have become much better known through systematic excavations financed by Germany and through other research connected to them. In 2005, the remnants of the Upper Germanic & Rhaetian Limes were inscribed on the List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites as Frontiers of the Roman Empire, with lower Limes being placed on the tentative list in 2011, aiming to extend the world heritage site to the whole limes; the Saalburg is a reconstructed museum of the Limes near Frankfurt. The first emperor who began to build fortifications along the border was Augustus, shortly after the devastating Roman defeat at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD. There were numerous Limes walls, which were connected to form the Upper Germanic Limes along the Rhine and the Rhaetian Limes along the Danube.
These two walls were linked to form a common borderline. From the death of Augustus until after 70 AD, Rome accepted as her Germanic frontier the water-boundary of the Rhine and upper Danube. Beyond these rivers she held only the fertile plain of Frankfurt, opposite the Roman border fortress of Moguntiacum, the southernmost slopes of the Black Forest and a few scattered bridge-heads; the northern section of this frontier, where the Rhine is deep and broad, remained the Roman boundary until the empire fell. The southern part was different; the upper Rhine and upper Danube are crossed. The frontier which they form is inconveniently long, enclosing an acute-angled wedge of foreign territory between the modern Baden and Württemberg; the Germanic populations of these lands seem in Roman times to have been scanty, Roman subjects from the modern Alsace-Lorraine had drifted across the river eastwards. The motives alike of geographical convenience and of the advantages to be gained by recognising these movements of Roman subjects combined to urge a forward policy at Rome, when the vigorous Vespasian had succeeded Nero, a series of advances began which closed up the acute angle, or at least rendered it obtuse.
The first advance came about 74 AD, when what is now Baden was invaded and annexed and a road carried from the Roman base on the upper Rhine, Straßburg, to the Danube just above Ulm. The point of the angle was broken off; the second advance was made by Domitian about 83 AD. He pushed out from Moguntiacum, extended the Roman territory east of it and enclosed the whole within a systematically delimited and defended frontier with numerous blockhouses along it and larger forts in the rear. Among the blockhouses was one which by various enlargements and refoundations grew into the well-known Saalburg fort on the Taunus near Bad Homburg; this advance necessitated a third movement, the construction of a frontier connecting the annexations of AD 74 and AD 83. We know the line of this frontier which ran from the Main across the upland Odenwald to the upper waters of the Neckar and was defended by a chain of forts. We do not, know its date, save that, if not Domitian's work, it was carried out soon after his death, the whole frontier thus constituted was reorganised by Hadrian, with a continuous wooden palisade reaching from Rhine to Danube.
The angle between the rivers was now full. But there remained further fortification. Either Hadrian or, more his successor Antoninus Pius pushed out from the Odenwald and the Danube, marked out a new frontier parallel to, but in advance of these two lines, though sometimes, as on the Taunus, coinciding with the older line; this is the frontier, now visible and visited by the curious. It consists, as we see it today, of two distinct frontier works, known as the Pfahlgraben, is a palisade of stakes with a ditch and earthen mound behind it, best seen in the neighbourhood of the Saalburg but once extending from the Rhine southwards into southern Germany; the other, which begins where the earthwork stops, is a wall, though not a formidable wall, of stone, the Teufelsmauer.
Roman infantry tactics
Roman infantry tactics refers to the theoretical and historical deployment and maneuvers of the Roman infantry from the start of the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The article first presents a short overview of Roman training. Roman performance against different types of enemies is analyzed. A summation of what made the Roman tactics and strategy militarily effective through their long history is given below, as is a discussion of how and why this effectiveness disappeared; the focus below is on Roman tactics - the "how" of their approach to battle, how it stacked up against a variety of opponents over time. It does not attempt detailed coverage of things like army equipment. Various battles are summarized to illustrate Roman methods with links to detailed articles on individual encounters. For in depth background on the historical structure of the infantry relevant to this article, see Structure of the Roman military. For a history of Rome's military campaigns see Campaign history of the Roman military.
For detail on equipment, daily life and specific legions see Roman legion and Roman military personal equipment. Roman military tactics and strategy evolved from that typical of a small tribal host seeking local hegemony, to massive operations encompassing a world empire; this advance was affected by changing trends in Roman political and economic life, that of the larger Mediterranean world, but it was undergirded by a distinctive "Roman way" of war. This approach included a tendency towards standardization and systematization, practical borrowing and adapting from outsiders, flexibility in tactics and methods, a strong sense of discipline, a ruthless persistence that sought comprehensive victory, a cohesion brought about by the ideal of Roman citizenship under arms - embodied in the legion; these elements waxed and waned over time. Some key phases of this evolution throughout Rome's military history include: Military forces based on heavy citizen infantry with tribal beginnings and early use of phalanx-type elements Growing sophistication as Roman hegemony expanded outside Italy into North Africa and the Middle East Continued refinement and streamlining in the period associated with Gaius Marius including a broader based incorporation of more citizenry into the army, more professionalism and permanence in army service Continued expansion and sophistication from the end of the republic into the time of the Caesars Growing barbarization and weakening of the heavy infantry units in favour of cavalry and lighter troops Demise of the Western Empire and fragmentation into smaller, weaker local forces.
This included the reversal of status of infantry in the Eastern Empire. Cataphract forces formed an elite, with infantry being reduced to auxiliaries. 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, stay in the field and replace losses after suffering setbacks. One historian of the Second Punic War states: "According to Polybius, the total number of Roman and allied men capable of bearing arms in 225BC 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. Brunt estimates that Rome mobilized 108,000 men for service in the legions between 218BC and 215BC, while at the height of the war effort Rome was able to mobilize 230,000 men.
Against these mighty resources Hannibal led from Spain an army of 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 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." See Roman military personal equipment and Roman legion for more information on equipment, individual legions and structure A legionary carried around 27 kilograms of armour and equipment. This load consisted of armour, a sword, called a gladius, a shield, two pila and 15 days' food rations.
There were tools for digging and constructing a castra, the legions' fortified base camp. One writer recreates the following as to Caesar's army in Gaul: 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 and utensil. Personal items might include a dyed horsehair crest for the helmet, a semi-water resistant oiled woolen cloak and breeches for cold weather and a blanke