Trajan's Wall is the name used for several linear earthen fortifications found across Eastern Europe, in Moldova and Ukraine. Contrary to the name and popular belief, the ramparts were not built by Romans during Trajan's reign, but during other imperial periods. Furthermore, the association with the Roman Emperor may be a recent scholarly invention, only entering the imagination of the locals with the national awakening of the 19th century. Medieval Moldavian documents referred to the earthworks as Troian in reference to a mythological hero in the Romanian and Slavic folklore; the other major earthen fortification in Romania, Brazda lui Novac, is named after a mythological hero. There are three valla in Romania, in south-central Dobruja, extending from the Danube to the Black Sea coast. While the relative chronology of the complex is accepted, the exact dating of each fortification is under dispute. Scholars place their erection at different dates in the Early Mediaeval period, in the second half of the first millennium.
In what regards the builders, two theories have gained acceptance, with supporters split, to a large degree, along national lines. Thus, Bulgarian historiography considers the fortifications were built by the First Bulgarian Empire as a defence against the various nomad groups roaming the North-Pontic steppes. On the other hand, several Romanian historians have tried to attribute at least part of the walls to the Byzantine Empire under emperors John I Tzimisces and Basil II, which controlled the region in the second part of the 10th century and throughout the 11th; the oldest and smallest vallum, the Small Earthen Dyke, is 61 km in length, extending from Cetatea Pătulului on the Danube to Constanţa on the sea coast. Made of earth, it has no defensive constructions built on it, but has a moat on its southern side; this feature has been interpreted as indicating construction by a population living to the north of the earthwork, in order to protect itself from an enemy in the South. The second vallum, the Large Earthen Dyke, 54 km in length, overlaps the smaller one on some sections.
It follows the Carasu Valley and ends at Palas, west of Constanţa. Its average height is 3.5 m, it has moats on both sides. On it are built 63 fortifications: 35 larger, 28 smaller; the average distance between fortifications is 1 km. The vallum shows signs of reconstruction; the last vallum to be built, the Stone Dyke, is made of earth, but has a stone wall on its crest. It is 59 km in length, extending from south of Axiopolis to the Black Sea coast, at a point 75 m south of the little earth wall; the agger is about 1.5 m in height. It has a moat on its northern side and 26 fortifications, the distance between them varying from 1 to 4 km; the commune Valu lui Traian is named after the vallum. In the Northern part of Dobrogea, on South bank of Danube there was a wall built by Trajan; the wall was constructed between today ancient town of Halmyris on the East. The wall was discovered by means of aerial photographs The remnants in Moldova comprise earthen walls and palisades. There are two major fragments preserved in Moldova: Southern Trajan's Wall.
The Southern Trajan's Wall in Moldova is thought to be dated by the 3rd century, built by Athanaric and stretches from Romania: Buciumeni-Tiganesti-Tapu-Stoicani and in after that another 126 km from the village of Vadul in Cahul district by the Prut River stretches into Ukraine and ends at Lake Sasyk by Tatarbunar. The Coat of Arms of Cahul district of Bessarabia, Russian Empire, incorporated Trajan's Wall; some academics like Dorel Bondoc and Costin Croitoru think that it was done by the Romans, because -to be done- it required plenty of knowledge and workforce that barbarians like Athanaric did not have. The Upper Trajan's Wall is thought to be constructed in the 4th century by Greuthungi Goths in order to defend the border against the Huns, it stretches 120 km from Dniester River by Chiţcani in Teleneşti district to Prut River and exetend till Tiganesti Sendreni in Romania. Fragments of Trajan's Wall are found by Leova; the rampart known as Trajan's Wall in Podolia and stretches through the modern districts of Kamianets-Podilskyi, Nova Ushytsia and Khmelnytskyi.
A part of the Moldavian Lower Trojan's Wall ends in Ukraine. See Serpent's Wall; the historian Alexandru V. Boldur regards this "Trajan's Wall" as the western limit of the territories of the 13th-century Bolokhoveni. Upper Trajan's Wall Southern Trajan's Wall Limes Moesiae Limes Romanus Limes Transalutanus Pietroasele Rădulescu Adrian, Bitoleanu Ion, Istoria românilor dintre Dunăre şi Mare: Dobrogea, Editura Ştiinţifică şi Enciclopedică, Bucureşti, 1979
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
Technological history of the Roman military
The technology history of the Roman military covers the development of and application of technologies for use in the armies and navies of Rome from the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The rise of Hellenism and the Roman Republic are seen as signalling the end of the Iron Age in the Mediterranean. Roman iron-working was enhanced by a process known as carburization; the Romans used the better properties in their armaments, the 1,300 years of Roman military technology saw radical changes. The Roman armies of the early empire were much better equipped than early republican armies. Metals used for arms and armor included iron and brass. For construction, the army used wood and stone; the use of concrete in architecture was mirrored in Roman military technology in the application of a military workforce to civilian construction projects. Much of what is described as Roman technology, as opposed to that of the Greeks, comes directly from the Etruscan civilization, thriving to the North when Rome was just a small kingdom.
The Etruscans had invented the stone arch, used it in bridges as well as buildings. Some Roman technologies were taken directly from Greek civilization. After the absorption of the ancient Greek city states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, the advanced Greek technology began to spread across many areas of Roman influence and supplement the Empire; this included the military advances that the Greeks had made, as well as all the scientific, mathematical and artistic developments. However, the Romans made many significant technological advances, such as the invention of hydraulic cement and concrete, they used such new materials to great advantage in their structures, many of which survive to this day, like their masonry aqueducts, such as the Pont du Gard, buildings, such as the Pantheon and Baths of Diocletian in Rome. Their methods were recorded by such luminaries as Vitruvius and Frontinus for example, who wrote handbooks to advise fellow engineers and architects. Romans knew enough history to be aware that widespread technological change had occurred in the past and brought benefits, as shown for example by Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia.
That tradition continued as the empire absorbed new ideas. Romans thought of themselves as practical, so small-scale innovation was common; the traditional view is that their reliance on a plentiful slave labour force and a lack of a patent or copyright system have both been cited as reasons that there was little social or financial pressure to automate or reduce manual tasks. However, this view is being challenged by new research that shows they did indeed innovate, on a wide scale, thus the watermill had been known to the Greeks, but it was the Romans who developed their efficient utilisation. The set of mills at Barbegal in southern France were worked by a single aqueduct, which drove no fewer than 16 overshot mills built into the side of a hill, they were built by the army and supplied flour to a wide region. Floating mills were used to exploit fast flowing rivers; the Romans used water power in an unexpected way during mining operations. It's known from the writings of Pliny the Elder that they exploited the alluvial gold deposits of north-west Spain soon after the conquest of the region in 25 BC using large-scale hydraulic mining methods.
The spectacular gold mine at Las Medulas was worked by no fewer than seven long aqueducts cut into the surrounding mountains, the water being played directly onto the soft auriferous ore. The outflow was channelled into sluice boxes, the heavier gold collected on rough pavements, they developed many deep mines, such as those for copper at Rio Tinto, where Victorian mining developments exposed the much earlier workings. Dewatering machines, such as Archimedean screws and reverse overshot water wheels, were found in situ, one of, on show at the British Museum. Another fragmentary example was recovered from the Roman gold mine at Dolaucothi in west Wales, is preserved at the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff; the army were at the forefront of development of gold mines, since the metal was imperial property, developed the Dolaucothi mines from the outset by establishing a fort there, known as Luentinum. They had the expertise to build the infrastructure of aqueducts and reservoirs, as well as control production.
The period in which technological progress was fastest and greatest was during the 2nd century and 1st century BC, the period in which Roman political and economic power increased. By the 2nd century, Roman technology appears to have peaked; the Romans advanced military technology and implemented it on a massive scale. From a few early models of ballista from Greek city-states the Romans adopted and improved the design issuing one to every century in the legions. To facilitate this organization, an engineering corps was developed. An officer of engineers, or praefectus fabrum, is referenced in armies of the Late Republic, but this post is not verifiable in all accounts and may have been a military advisor on the personal staff of a commanding officer. There were legion architects. Ensuring that constructions were level was the job of the libratores, who would launch missiles and other projectiles during battle; the engineering corps was in charge of massive production prefabricating artillery and siege equipment to facilitate its transportation Roman military engineering Roman aqueducts Roman technology Sanitation in ancient R
The Limes Tripolitanus was a frontier zone of defence of the Roman Empire, built in the south of what is now Tunisia and the northwest of Libya. It was intended as a protection for the tripolitanian cities of Leptis Magna and Oea in Roman Libya; the Limes Tripolitanus was built after Augustus. It was related to the Garamantes menace. Septimius Flaccus in 50 AD did a military expedition that reached the actual Fezzan and further south; the Romans did not conquer the Garamantes so much as they seduced them with the benefits of trade and discouraged them with the threat of war. The last Garamantes foray to the coast was in AD 69, when they joined with the people of Oea in battle against Leptis Magna; the Romans, in order to defend the main Roman cities of Tripolitania and marched south. According to Edward Bovill, author of the book "The Golden Trade of the Moors", this campaign marked the Romans’ first use of camels in the Sahara, which convinced the Garamantes that their advantage in desert warfare no longer held.
After that the Garamantes started to become a client state of the Roman Empire, but nomads always endangered the fertile area of coastal Tripolitania. Because of this Romans created the Limes Tripolitanus The first fort on the limes was built at Thiges, to protect from nomad attacks in 75 AD; the limes was expanded under emperors Hadrian and Septimius Severus, in particular under the legatus Quintus Anicius Faustus in 197-201 AD. Indeed, Anicius Faustus was appointed legatus of the Legio III Augusta and built several defensive forts of the Limes Tripolitanus in Tripolitania, among which Garbia and Golaia in order to protect the province from the raids of nomadic tribes, he fulfilled his task and successfully. As a consequence the Roman city of Gaerisa, situated away from the coast and south of Leptis Magna, developed in a rich agricultural area Ghirza became a "boom town" after 200 CE, when the Roman emperor Septimius Severus had organized the Limes Tripolitanus. Former soldiers were settled in this area, the arid land was developed.
Dams and cisterns were built in the Wadi Ghirza to regulate the flash floods. These structures are still visible: there it is among the ruins of Gaerisa a temple, which may have been dedicated to the Berber semi-god "Gurzil", the name of the town itself may be related to his name; the farmers produced cereals, vines, pulses, almonds and melons. Ghirza consisted including six fortified farms. Two of them were large, it was abandoned in the Middle Ages. With Diocletian the limes was abandoned and the defence of the area was delegated to the Limitanei, the local soldier-farmers; the Limes survived as an effective protection until Byzantine times. Nomad warriors of the Banu Hillal tribe captured the centenaria/castra of the Limes in the 11th century and the agricultural production fell to nearly nothing within a few decades: Leptis Magna and Sabratha were abandoned and only Oea survived, from now on known as Tripoli. In Libya today substantial remains survive, e.g. the limes castles at Abu Nujaym and Al Qaryah al Gharbīyah, the frontier village Gaerisa, about 2,000 fortified farms like Qaryat.
Tunisia has several sites attached to the limes. In 2012, some of these sites were presented to UNESCO. Ghadames Mizda Bani Waled Abu Nujaym Qaryat Bacchielli,L. La Tripolitania in "Storia Einaudi dei Greci e dei Romani". Einaudi Ed. Milano, 2008. Graeme Barker e.a. Farming the desert; the UNESCO Libyan Valleys Archaeological Survey Margot Klee, Grenzen des Imperiums. Leben am römischen Limes Jona Lendering,'Sherds from the Desert; the Bu Njem Ostraca' in: Ancient Warfare 1/2 David Mattingly, Roman Tripolitania Erwin Ruprechtsberger, Die römische Limeszone in Tripolitanien und der Kyrenaika, Tunesien - Libyen Jona Lendering. "Limes Tripolitanus". Livius. Retrieved October 3, 2011. Jona Lendering. "Wadi Buzra / Suq al-Awty". Livius. Retrieved October 3, 2011. Jona Lendering. "Photos from Libya". Livius. Archived from the original on April 5, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2011. "Detailed map showing the Limes Tripolitanus at Tunisia-Libya border". Georgetown University. Retrieved October 3, 2011. Limes Centenarium Limes Arabicus Roman Libya Garamantes Limitanei Roman expeditions to Sub-Saharan Africa
Military of ancient Rome
The military of ancient Rome, according to Titus Livius, one of the more illustrious historians of Rome over the centuries, was a key element in the rise of Rome over “above seven hundred years” from a small settlement in Latium to the capital of an empire governing a wide region around the shores of the Mediterranean, or, as the Romans themselves said, ‘’mare nostrum’’, “our sea.” Livy asserts ”... if any people ought to be allowed to consecrate their origins and refer them to a divine source, so great is the military glory of the Roman People that when they profess that their Father and the Father of their Founder was none other than Mars, the nations of the earth may well submit to this with as good a grace as they submit to Rome's dominion.”Titus Flavius Josephus, a contemporary historian, sometime high-ranking officer in the Roman army, commander of the rebels in the Jewish revolt, describes the Roman people as if they were "born ready armed." At the time of the two historians, Roman society had evolved an effective military and had used it to defend itself against the Etruscans, the Italics, the Greeks, the Gauls, the maritime empire of Carthage, the Macedonian kingdoms.
In each war it acquired more territory until, when civil war ended the Roman Republic, nothing was left for the first emperor, Augustus, to do except declare it an empire and defend it. The role and structure of the military was altered during the empire, it became less Roman, the duties of border protection and territorial administration being more and more taken by foreign mercenaries officered by Romans. When they divided at last into warring factions the empire fell." ’’ - an agency designated by'SPQR' on public inscriptions. Its main body was the senate, its decrees were handed off to the two chief officers of the consuls. They could levy from the citizens whatever military force they judged was necessary to execute such decree; this conscription was executed through a draft of male citizens assembled by age class. The officers of the legion were tasked with selecting men for the ranks; the will of the SPQR was binding on the consuls and the men, with the death penalty assigned for disobedience or failure.
The men were under a rigorous code, known now for its punitive crucifixion. The consular duties were of any type whatever: military defense, police work, public hygiene, assistance in civil disaster, health work and construction of public roads, aqueducts and the maintenance of such; the soldiers were kept busy doing whatever service needed to be done: soldiering, manning vessels, blacksmithing, etc. They were trained as required, but previous skills, such as a trade, were exploited, they were protected by the authority of the state. The military's campaign history stretched over 1300 years and saw Roman armies campaigning as far east as Parthia, as far south as Africa and Aegyptus and as far north as Britannia; the makeup of the Roman military changed over its history, from its early history as an unsalaried citizen militia to a professional force, the Imperial Roman army. The equipment used by the military altered in type over time, though there were few technological improvements in weapons manufacture, in common with the rest of the classical world.
For much of its history, the vast majority of Rome's forces were maintained at or beyond the limits of its territory, in order to either expand Rome's domain, or protect its existing borders. Expansions were infrequent, as the emperors, adopting a strategy of fixed lines of defense, had determined to maintain existing borders. For that purpose they created permanent stations that became cities. At its territorial height, the Roman Empire may have contained between 45 million and 120 million people. Historian Edward Gibbon estimated that the size of the Roman army "most formed a standing force of three hundred and seventy-five thousand men" at the Empire's territorial peak in the time of the Roman Emperor Hadrian; this estimate included only legionary and auxiliary troops of the Roman army. However, Gibbon states that it is "not... easy to define the size of the Roman military with any tolerable accuracy." In the late Imperial period, when vast numbers of foederati were employed by the Romans, Antonio Santosuosso estimated the combined number of men in arms of the two Roman empires numbered closer to 700,000 in total, drawing on data from the Notitia Dignitatum.
However, he notes that these figures were subject to inflation due to the practice of leaving dead soldiers "on the books" in order to continue to draw their wage and ration. Furthermore, it is irrespective of whether the troops were raised by the Romans or hired by them to fight on their behalf. Rome's military consisted of an annual citizen levy performing military service as part of their duty to the state. During this period, the Roman army would prosecute seasonal campaigns against local adversaries; as the extent of the territories falling under Roman suzerainty expanded, the size of the city's forces increased, the soldiery of ancient Rome became professional and salaried. As a consequence, military service at the lower levels became progressively longer-term. Roman military units of the period were homogeneous and regulated; the army consisted of units of citizen infantry known as legions as well as non-legionary allied troops known
The Roman army was the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Kingdom to the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, its medieval continuation the Eastern Roman Empire. It is thus a term that may span 2,206 years, during which the Roman armed forces underwent numerous permutations in composition, organisation and tactics, while conserving a core of lasting traditions.. The Early Roman army was the armed force of the Roman Kingdom and of the early Republic. During this period, when warfare chiefly consisted of small-scale plundering raids, it has been suggested that the army followed Etruscan or Greek models of organisation and equipment; the early Roman army was based on an annual levy. The infantry ranks were filled with the lower classes while the cavalry were left to the patricians, because the wealthier could afford horses. Moreover, the commanding authority during the regal period was the high king; until the establishment of the Republic and the office of consul, the king assumed the role of commander-in-chief.
However, from about 508 BC Rome no longer had a king. The commanding position of the army was given to the consuls, "who were charged both singly and jointly to take care to preserve the Republic from danger"; the term legion is derived from the Latin word legio. At first there were only four legions; these legions were numbered "I" to "IIII", with the fourth being written as such and not "IV". The first legion was seen as the most prestigious; the bulk of the army was made up of citizens. These citizens could not choose the legion. Any man "from ages 16–46 were selected by ballot" and assigned to a legion; until the Roman military disaster of 390 BC at the Battle of the Allia, Rome's army was organised to the Greek phalanx. This was due to Greek influence in Italy "by way of their colonies". Patricia Southern quotes ancient historians Livy and Dionysius in saying that the "phalanx consisted of 3,000 infantry and 300 cavalry"; each man had to provide his equipment in battle. Politically they shared the same ranking system in the Comitia Centuriata.
The Roman army of the mid-Republic was known as the "manipular army" or the "Polybian army" after the Greek historian Polybius, who provides the most detailed extant description of this phase. The Roman army started to have a full-time strength of 150,000 at all times and 3/4 of the rest were levied. During this period, the Romans, while maintaining the levy system, adopted the Samnite manipular organisation for their legions and bound all the other peninsular Italian states into a permanent military alliance; the latter were required to supply the same number of troops to joint forces as the Romans to serve under Roman command. Legions in this phase were always accompanied on campaign by the same number of allied alae, units of the same size as legions. After the 2nd Punic War, the Romans acquired an overseas empire, which necessitated standing forces to fight lengthy wars of conquest and to garrison the newly gained provinces, thus the army's character mutated from a temporary force based on short-term conscription to a standing army in which the conscripts were supplemented by a large number of volunteers willing to serve for much longer than the legal six-year limit.
These volunteers were from the poorest social class, who did not have plots to tend at home and were attracted by the modest military pay and the prospect of a share of war booty. The minimum property requirement for service in the legions, suspended during the 2nd Punic War, was ignored from 201 BC onward in order to recruit sufficient volunteers. Between 150-100 BC, the manipular structure was phased out, the much larger cohort became the main tactical unit. In addition, from the 2nd Punic War onward, Roman armies were always accompanied by units of non-Italian mercenaries, such as Numidian light cavalry, Cretan archers, Balearic slingers, who provided specialist functions that Roman armies had lacked; the Roman army of the late Republic marks the continued transition between the conscription-based citizen-levy of the mid-Republic and the volunteer, professional standing forces of the imperial era. The main literary sources for the army's organisation and tactics in this phase are the works of Julius Caesar, the most notable of a series of warlords who contested for power in this period.
As a result of the Social War, all Italians were granted Roman citizenship, the old allied alae were abolished and their members integrated into the legions. Regular annual conscription remained in force and continued to provide the core of legionary recruitment, but an ever-increasing proportion of recruits were volunteers, who signed up for 16-year terms as opposed to the maximum 6 years for conscripts; the loss of ala cavalry reduced Roman/Italian cavalry by 75%, legions became dependent on allied native horse for cavalry cover. This period saw the large-scale expansion of native forces employed to complement the legions, made up of numeri recruited from tribes within Rome's overseas empire and neighbouring allied tribes. Large numbers of heavy infantry and cavalry were recruited in Spain and Thrace, archers in Thrace and Syria. However, these native units were not integrated with the legions, but retained th
The Roman navy comprised the naval forces of the ancient Roman state. The navy was instrumental in the Roman conquest of the Mediterranean Basin, but it never enjoyed the prestige of the Roman legions. Throughout their history, the Romans remained a land-based people and relied on their more nautically inclined subjects, such as the Greeks and the Egyptians, to build their ships; because of that, the navy was never embraced by the Roman state, deemed somewhat "un-Roman". In antiquity and trading fleets did not have the logistical autonomy that modern ships and fleets possess. Unlike modern naval forces, the Roman navy at its height never existed as an autonomous service but operated as an adjunct to the Roman army. During the course of the First Punic War, the Roman navy was massively expanded and played a vital role in the Roman victory and the Roman Republic's eventual ascension to hegemony in the Mediterranean Sea. In the course of the first half of the 2nd century BC, Rome went on to destroy Carthage and subdue the Hellenistic kingdoms of the eastern Mediterranean, achieving complete mastery of the inland sea, which they called Mare Nostrum.
The Roman fleets were again prominent in the 1st century BC in the wars against the pirates, in the civil wars that brought down the Republic, whose campaigns ranged across the Mediterranean. In 31 BC, the great naval Battle of Actium ended the civil wars culminating in the final victory of Augustus and the establishment of the Roman Empire. During the Imperial period, the Mediterranean became a peaceful "Roman lake". In the absence of a maritime enemy, the navy was reduced to patrol, anti-piracy and transport duties; the navy manned and maintained craft on major frontier rivers such as the Rhine and the Danube for supplying the army. On the fringes of the Empire, in new conquests or in defense against barbarian invasions, the Roman fleets were still engaged in open warfare; the decline of the Empire in the 3rd century took a heavy toll on the navy, reduced to a shadow of its former self, both in size and in combat ability. As successive waves of the Völkerwanderung crashed on the land frontiers of the battered Empire, the navy could only play a secondary role.
In the early 5th century, the Roman frontiers were breached, barbarian kingdoms appeared on the shores of the western Mediterranean. One of them, the Vandal Kingdom, raised a navy of its own and raided the shores of the Mediterranean sacking Rome, while the diminished Roman fleets were incapable of offering any resistance; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century. The navy of the surviving eastern Roman Empire is known as the Byzantine navy; the exact origins of the Roman fleet are obscure. A traditionally agricultural and land-based society, the Romans ventured out to sea, unlike their Etruscan neighbours. There is evidence of Roman warships in the early 4th century BC, such as mention of a warship that carried an embassy to Delphi in 394 BC, but at any rate, the Roman fleet, if it existed, was negligible; the traditional birth date of the Roman navy is set at ca. 311 BC, after the conquest of Campania, two new officials, the duumviri navales classis ornandae reficiendaeque causa, were tasked with the maintenance of a fleet.
As a result, the Republic acquired its first fleet, consisting of 20 ships, most triremes, with each duumvir commanding a squadron of 10 ships. However, the Republic continued to rely on her legions for expansion in Italy; this situation continued until the First Punic War: the main task of the Roman fleet was patrolling along the Italian coast and rivers, protecting seaborne trade from piracy. Whenever larger tasks had to be undertaken, such as the naval blockade of a besieged city, the Romans called on the allied Greek cities of southern Italy, the socii navales, to provide ships and crews, it is possible that the supervision of these maritime allies was one of the duties of the four new praetores classici, who were established in 267 BC. The first Roman expedition outside mainland Italy was against the island of Sicily in 265 BC; this led to the outbreak of hostilities with Carthage, which would last until 241 BC. At the time, the Punic city was the unchallenged master of the western Mediterranean, possessing a long maritime and naval experience and a large fleet.
Although Rome had relied on her legions for the conquest of Italy, operations in Sicily had to be supported by a fleet, the ships available by Rome's allies were insufficient. Thus in 261 BC, the Roman Senate set out to construct a fleet of 20 triremes. According to Polybius, the Romans seized a shipwrecked Carthaginian quinquereme, used it as a blueprint for their own ships; the new fleets were commanded by the annually elected Roman magistrates, but naval expertise was provided by the lower officers, who continued to be provided by the socii Greeks. This practice was continued until well into the Empire, something attested by the direct adoption of numerous Greek naval terms. Despite the massive buildup, the Roman crews remained inferior in naval experience to the Carthaginians, could not hope to match them in naval tactics, which required great maneuverability and experience, they therefore employed a novel weapon. They equipped their ships with the corvus developed earlier by the Syracusans against the Athenians.
This was a long plank with a spike for hooking onto enemy ships. Using it as a boarding bridge, marines were able to board an enemy ship, transforming sea combat in