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 Saxon Shore was a military command of the late Roman Empire, consisting of a series of fortifications on both sides of the English Channel. It was established in the late 3rd century and was led by the "Count of the Saxon Shore". In the late 4th century, his functions were limited to Britain, while the fortifications in Gaul were established as separate commands. Several Saxon Shore forts survive in south-east England. During the latter half of the 3rd century, the Roman Empire faced a grave crisis. Internally, it was weakened by civil wars, the violent succession of brief emperors, secession in the provinces, while externally it faced a new wave of attacks by "barbarian" tribes. Most of Britain had been part of the empire since the mid-1st century, it was protected from raids in the north by the Hadrianic and Antonine Walls, while a fleet of some size was available. However, as the frontiers came under increasing external pressure, fortifications were built throughout the Empire in order to protect cities and guard strategically important locations.
It is in this context. In the 230s, under Severus Alexander, several units had been withdrawn from the northern frontier and garrisoned at locations in the south, had built new forts at Brancaster and Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk and Reculver in Kent. Dover was fortified in the early 2nd century, the other forts in this group were constructed in the period between the 270s and 290s; the only contemporary reference we possess that mentions the name "Saxon Shore" comes in the late 4th century Notitia Dignitatum, which lists its commander, the Comes Litoris Saxonici per Britanniam, gives the names of the sites under his command and their respective complements of military personnel. However, due to the absence of further evidence, theories have varied between scholars as to the exact meaning of the name, the nature and purpose of the chain of forts it refers to. Two interpretations were put forward as to the meaning of the adjective "Saxon": either a shore attacked by Saxons, or a shore settled by Saxons.
Some argue that the latter hypothesis, less valid, is supported by Eutropius, who states that during the 280s the sea along the coasts of Belgica and Armorica was "infested with Franks and Saxons", that this was why Carausius was first put in charge of the fleet there. However, Eutropius refers to Saxons as seaborne invaders, it receives at least partial support from archaeological finds, as artefacts of a Germanic style have been found in burials, while there is evidence of the presence of Saxons in some numbers in SE England and the northern coasts of Gaul around Boulogne-sur-Mer and Bayeux from the middle of the 5th century onwards. This, in turn, mirrors a well documented practice of deliberately settling Germanic tribes to strengthen Roman defences; the other interpretation, supported by Stephen Johnson, holds that the forts fulfilled a coastal defence role against seaborne invaders Saxons and Franks, acted as bases for the naval units operating against them. This view is reinforced by the parallel chain of fortifications across the Channel on the northern coasts of Gaul, which complemented the British forts, suggesting a unified defensive system.
Other scholars like John Cotterill however consider the threat posed by Germanic raiders, at least in the 3rd and early 4th centuries, to be exaggerated. They interpret the construction of the forts at Brancaster, Caister-on-Sea and Reculver in the early 3rd century and their location at the estuaries of navigable rivers as pointing to a different role: fortified points for transport and supply between Britain and Gaul, without any relation to countering seaborne piracy; this view is supported by contemporary references to the supplying of the army of Julian by Caesar with grain from Britain during his campaign in Gaul in 359, their use as secure landing places by Count Theodosius during the suppression of the Great Conspiracy a few years later. Another theory, proposed by D. A. White, was that the extended system of large stone forts was disproportionate to any threat by seaborne Germanic raiders, that it was conceived and constructed during the secession of Carausius and Allectus in 289-296, with an different enemy in mind: they were to guard against an attempt at reconquest by the Empire.
This view, although disputed, has found recent support from archaeological evidence at Pevensey, which dates the fort's construction to the early 290s. Whatever their original purpose, it is certain that in the late 4th century the forts and their garrisons were employed in operations against Frankish and Saxon pirates. Britain was abandoned by Rome with Armorica following soon after; the forts on both sides continued to be inhabited in the following centuries, in Britain in particular several continued in use well into the Anglo-Saxon period. The nine forts mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum for Britain are listed here, from north to south, with their garrisons. Branodunum. One of the earliest forts, dated to the 230s, it is of a typical rectangular castrum layout. It was garrisoned by the Equites Dalmatae Brandodunenses, although evidence exists suggesting that its original garrison was the cohors I Aquitanorum. Gariannonum. Established between 260 and the mid-270s to guard the River Yare, it was garrisoned by the Equites Stablesiani Gariannoneses.
Although there is some discussion as to whet
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
The Danube–Iller–Rhine Limes or DIRL was a large-scale defensive system of the Roman Empire, built after the project for the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes in the late 3rd century AD. In a narrower sense the term refers only to the fortifications between Lake Constance and the River Danube; the Alamannic raids around the middle of the 3rd century AD, necessitated a new military security plan for the northwestern borders of the Roman Empire. The Upper German-Rhaetian Limes had never been thought of as a military defensive system and was therefore abandoned after 260; the frontier troops were withdrawn to positions behind the more controlled rivers of the Rhine and Iller. Around 290, the systematic expansion of the new military border defences began; the defensive facilities there, as illustrated by the large number of small fortresses, were not intended to ward off major attacks, but to ensure an unobstructed surveillance of the limes and deter plundering. Up to 378, the Romans invariably invaded the settlements of the Germanii living beyond the limes to punish the tribes living there and intimidate them so that they refrained from attacks on the Empire.
So late-Roman frontier defence was based, on the one hand, on the fortified belt of the Danube–Iller–Rhine Limes and, on the other hand, on offensive operations and preventive strikes in the tribal areas, as well as on alliances with Germanic princes. When around 400, these punitive expeditions were discontinued, the security situation deteriorated rapidly. Limes Burns, Thomas S. Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome: A Study of Roman Military Policy and the Barbarians, ca. 375-425 AD, Bloomington: IUP, 1994. Jochen Garbsch: Der spätrömische Donau-Iller-Rhein-Limes. Stuttgart, 1970. Norbert Hasler, Jörg Heiligmann, Markus Höneisen, Urs Leutzinger, Helmut Swozilek: Im Schutze mächtiger Mauern. Spätrömische Kastelle im Bodenseeraum. Publ. by the Archäologisches Landesmuseum Baden-Württemberg, Frauenfeld, 2005, ISBN 3-9522941-1-X. Michael Mackensen: Raetia: late Roman fortifications and building programmes. In: J. D. Creighton und R. J. A. Wilson: Roman Germany. Studies in Cultural Interaction, Portsmouth, 1999, pp. 199–244.
Walter Drack, Rudolf Fellmann: Die Römer in der Schweiz, Stuttgart, 1988, pp. 64–71, ISBN 3-8062-0420-9. Erwin Kellner: Die Germanenpolitik Roms im bayerischen Anteil der Raetia secunda während des 4. Und 5. Jahrhunderts. In: E. Zacherl: Die Römer in den Alpen. Historikertagung in Salzburg, Convegno Storico di Salisburgo, 13–15 November 1986, Bozen, 1989, pp. 205–211, ISBN 88-7014-511-5 Michaela Konrad, Christian Witschel: Spätantike Legionslager in den Rhein- und Donauprovinzen des Imperium Romanum. In: M. Konrad, C. Witschel: Römische Legionslager in den Rhein- und Donauprovinzen, Munich, 2011, pp. 3–44. Sebastian Matz: Die ›Barbarenfurcht‹ und die Grenzsicherung des spätrömischen Reiches. Eine vergleichende Studie zu den limites an Rhein, Iller und Donau, in Syrien und Tripolitanien mit einem Fundstellenkatalog zum spätrömischen Rhein-Iller-Donau-Limes, Jena, 2014. Jördis Fuchs: Spätantike militärische horrea an Rhein und Donau. Eine Untersuchung der römischen Militäranlagen in den Provinzen Maxima Sequanorum, Raetia I, Raetia II, Noricum Ripense und Valeria.
Diplomarbeit, Vienna, 2011. Antikefan - Donau-Iller-Rhein-Limes
The Main Limes called the Nasser Limes, was built around 90 A. D. and, as part of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, formed the frontier of the Roman Empire in the area between the present day villages of Großkrotzenburg and Bürgstadt. In this section the limes adjoined the River Main, which forms a natural boundary for about 50 kilometres here, so "Main" refers to the river. In order to secure the riverbank, it was sufficient to erect free-standing towers backed up by the forts of the units stationed nearby. However, of the many watchtowers that stood along the Main, to date only one south of Obernburg am Main has been identified. On the other bank of the Main was the uninhabited Spessart, a wooded hill range which, like the Odenwald which borders it to the south-west, was interesting for the Romans because of its timber. In inscriptions, there are reports of the logging vexillationes of the 22nd Legion, which were stationed in Obernburg and Trennfurt. In the majority of forts, settlement activity continued after the fall of the limes, why, as in Obernburg Niedernberg and Großkrotzenburg, they are now located below the medieval village centres.
In Grosskrotzenburg, Hainstadt and Obernburg, Alamannic artefacts were discovered. North of the Main the limes runs through the marshy terrain of the Schifflache and Bulau before linking up with the Wetterau Limes. At the crossing of the Main at Großkrotzenburg a Roman bridge has been identified from post sockets. In the south it extended in its early period to Wörth; the exact start point of the Odenwald Limes has still not been identified. When the Odenwald Limes was abandoned in the 2nd century A. D. by Antoninus Pius and the establishment of the newer limes in the Bauland, the Main Limes was extended, because the forts in Trennfurt and Miltenberg were added. Because little remains of the forts, Roman artefacts are displayed in local museums such as Obernburg Romand Museum, Miltenberg Municipal Museum, Aschaffenburg Diocesan Museum and Großkrotzenburg Museum. Several fort sites such as Obernburg and Stockstadt have a rich collection of stone monuments. Dietwulf Baatz, Fritz-Rudolf Herrmann: Die Römer in Hessen.
Lizenzausgabe der 3rd edition, 1989, Hamburg, 2002, ISBN 3-933203-58-9. Bernhard Beckmann: Neuere Untersuchungen zum römischen Limeskastell Miltenberg-Altstadt. Verlag Michael Lassleben. Kallmünz, 2004, ISBN 3-7847-5085-0. Bernd Steidl: Welterbe Limes – Roms Grenze am Main. Begleitband zur Ausstellung in der Archäologischen Staatssammlung Munich, 2008. Logo, Obernburg, 2008, ISBN 3-939462-06-3. Kurt Stade: Die Mainlinie von Seligenstadt bis Miltenberg mit einem Nachtrage zur Abt. B Nr. 33 Kastell Stockstadt. In: Ernst Fabricius, Felix Hettner, Oscar von Sarwey: Der obergermanisch-raetische Limes des Roemerreiches. Abt. A, Strecke 6, pp. 3–70. Britta Rabold, Egon Schallmayer, Andreas Thiel: Der Limes. Die Deutsche Limes-Straße vom Rhein bis zur Donau. Verein Deutsche Limes-Straße, K. Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart, 2000, ISBN 3-8062-1461-1
The Latin noun līmes had a number of different meanings: a path or balk delimiting fields, a boundary line or marker, any road or path, any channel, such as a stream channel, or any distinction or difference. The term was commonly used after the 3rd century AD to denote a military district under the command of a dux limitis. Limes has sometimes been adopted in modern times for a border defence or delimiting system of Ancient Rome marking the boundaries and provinces of the Roman Empire, but it was not used by the Romans for the imperial frontier, fortified or not; some experts suggested that the so-called limes may have been called Munimentum Traiani, Trajan's Bulwark, referring to a passage by Ammianus Marcellinus, according to which emperor Julian had reoccupied this fortification in 360 AD. The limites represented the border line of the Roman Empire at its greatest extent in the 2nd century AD, it stretched more than 5,000 km from the Atlantic coast of northern Britain, through Europe to the Black Sea, from there to the Red Sea and across North Africa to the Atlantic coast.
The remains of the limites today consist of vestiges of walls, forts and civilian settlements. Certain elements of the line have been excavated, some reconstructed, a few destroyed; the two sections of the limes in Germany cover a length of 550 km from the north-west of the country to the Danube in the south-east. The 118 km long Hadrian's Wall was built on the orders of the Emperor Hadrian c. AD 122 at the northernmost limits of the Roman province of Britannia, it is a striking example of the organization of a military zone and illustrates the defensive techniques and geopolitical strategies of ancient Rome. The Antonine Wall, a 60 km-long fortification in Scotland, was started by Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 142 as a defense against the "Barbarians" of the north, it constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes. The most notable examples of Roman limites are: Hadrian's Wall – Limes Britannicus Antonine Wall – in Scotland Saxon Shore, late Roman limes in South-East England Limes Germanicus, with the Upper Germanic & Rhaetian Limes Limes Arabicus, the frontier of the Roman province of Arabia Petraea facing the desert Limes Tripolitanus, the frontier in modern Libya facing the Sahara Limes Alutanus, the eastern border of the Roman province of Dacia Limes Transalutanus, the frontier in the lower Danube Limes Moesiae, the frontier of the Roman province Moesia, from Singidunum Serbia along the Danube to Moldavia.
Limes Norici, the frontier of the Roman province Noricum, from the River Inn along the Danube to Cannabiaca in Austria. Limes Pannonicus, the frontier of the Roman province Pannonia, along the Danube from Klosterneuburg Austria to Taurunum in Serbia. Fossatum Africae, the southern frontier of the Roman Empire, extending south of the Roman province of Africa in North-Africa. A mediaeval limes is the Limes Saxoniae in Holstein; the stem of limes, limit-, which can be seen in the genitive case, marks it as the ancestor of an entire group of important words in many languages, for example, English limit. Modern languages have multiplied its abstract formulations. For example, from limit comes the abbreviation lim, used in mathematics to designate the limit of a sequence or a function: see limit. In metaphysics, material objects are limited by matter and therefore are delimited from each other. In ethics, men are wise if they do. An etymology was given in some detail by Indogermanisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch.
According to him, it comes from Indo-European el-, elei-, lei-, "to bow", "to bend", "elbow". The Latin meaning was discussed in detail by W. Gebert; the sense is. The limes was a cross-path or a cross-wall, which the Romans meant to throw across the path of invaders to hinder them, it is a defensive strategy. The Romans never built limites; as the emperor had ordered the army to stay within the limites, except for punitive expeditions, these were as much a mental barrier as material. The groups of Germanic warriors harrying the limes during summer used the concept to full advantage, knowing that they could concentrate and supply themselves outside the limes without fear of preemptive strikes. In a few cases, they were wrong; the limit concept engendered a sentiment among the soldiers that they were being provoked by the Germanic raiders and were held back from just retaliation by a weak and incompetent administration: they were being sold out. So they mutinied; the best remedy for a mutiny was an expedition across the limes against the enemy.
Toward the empire, the soldiers assassinated emperors who preferred diplomacy and put their own most popular officers into the vacant office. Roman writers and subsequent authors who depended on them presented the limes as some sort of sacred border beyond which human beings did not transgress, if they did, it was evidence that they had passed the bounds of reason and civilization. To cross the border was the mark of a savage, they wrote of the Alemanni failing to respect the limes as if they had passed the final limitation of character and had committed themselves to perdition. The Alemanni, on the other hand, never regarded the border as legitimate in the first place, they viewed the Romans as foreigners, who changed native place names and intruded on native homes and families. They were only to be tolerated because they were willing to pay cash for the privilege and offered the blandishments of civilized life. According to Pokorny, Latin limen, "threshold"
The Marian reforms of 107 BC were a group of military reforms initiated by Gaius Marius, a statesman and general of the Roman Republic. Until the last decade of the 2nd century BC, the eligibility requirements to become a Roman soldier in the service of the Republic were strict: He had to be a member of the fifth census class or higher, he had to own property worth 3500 sesterces in value. He had to supply his own armaments. In particular, that produced a division among Roman census classes in which four standardized unit types composed each legion: Velites - The poorest and the youngest citizens, who could not afford a shield, a helmet or armor, sometimes a gladius, they were unarmored javelin-throwing skirmishers, who ran forward at the head of the Roman line of battle, expended their missiles to distract the enemy while the hastati advanced and quickly retreated through the lines to the rear. They were not equipped to hold any portion of the battle line. Hastati - 4th class citizens who could afford basic armor, a small shield and a gladius.
The first rank of heavy infantry in the pre-Marian legion, the hastati were expected to hold the front of the line in the center of the battle and were young and aggressive men of middle to lower-middle class. Their lighter armour and position in the front ranks caused them to suffer the highest casualties in any battle, but good performance meant promotion to the principes and upward social mobility in peace. Principes - 3rd class citizens, who could afford a full set of high-quality armor, a large shield and a bronze helmet in addition to their sword. Considered the core of the pre-Marian legion, the principes were the pre-Marian unit that most resembled the standardized legionary that the Marian reforms would produce, they stood directly behind the hastati and relieved them in the front line if they were unable to break the enemy formation by themselves, common. Allowing the enemy to wear themselves out on the lighter hastati before facing the principes proved to be a decisively successful strategy.
Triarii - The final infantry unit, the triarii, was restricted to experienced veterans of the principes and anchored the entire Roman battle line. Fighting in the manner of the hoplites at the rear of the formation, the triarii were considered the elite infantry of the pre-Marian legion and were not needed but were used as a last resort if the hastati and principes could not break the enemy line and were forced to retreat; the Roman idiom ad triarios redisse was used to refer to a final, mighty attempt to salvage a desperate situation. Equites - rich citizens of the equestrian order who could afford a horse, the equites were light cavalry who carried a one-handed light spear, they advanced along the flanks of the infantry line and were intended to break up enemy skirmisher and missile units and pursue forces, routed by the infantry. They were the legion's primary reconnaissance force; when war threatened, the consuls of the day would be charged with the duty of recruiting an army from the eligible citizenry of the Republic.
As a rule, one of the consuls would lead this volunteer army into battle. As it can be imagined, not all elected consuls were adept at leading an army. For example, in 113 BC, the consul Gnaeus Papirius Carbo was defeated at the Battle of Noreia by invading tribes of the Cimbri and the Teutons; that was followed by a protracted war in Africa against King Jugurtha of Numidia. Consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus was sent to defeat Jugurtha. Metellus never lost any armies and won some battles but after two years, he had not achieved total victory. Gaius Marius, one of his legates, requested Metellus to release him from his duties so he could return to Rome and run for consul at the end of 108 BC; when Marius became junior consul in 107 BC and was appointed the task of concluding the war with Jugurtha, he had no army. The army Metellus had commanded in Africa was assigned to the senior consul, Lucius Cassius Longinus, to expel the Cimbri, who were once again encroaching on the Roman province of Transalpine Gaul.
Marius had no troops with which to conduct the war in Africa, as the eligible citizenry from whom he could recruit an army was depleted by previous military disasters and the expansion of the latifundia at the expense of small landowners. To overcome that problem, he introduced a number of reforms; the foremost of the Marian reforms was the inclusion of the Roman landless masses, the capite censi, men who had no property to be assessed in the census. Instead, they were "counted by the head"; the men were now among the ranks of those who could be recruited though they owned no significant property. Because the poor citizens could not afford to purchase their own weapons and armor, Marius arranged for the state to supply them with arms, he thus offered the disenfranchised masses permanent employment for pay as professional soldiers and the opportunity to gain spoils on campaign. With little hope of gaining status in other ways, the masses flocked to join Marius in his new army; the professional soldiers were recruited for an enlistment term of 16 years to rise to 20 years' full service and 5 years as evocati under the reforms of Augustus.
The second important reform implemented by Marius was the formation of a standing army. Marius was able to standardize equipment throughout the Roman legions. Drilling and training took place all year round in times of peace, not just when war threate