The Limes Britannicus is a modern collective name sometimes used for those fortifications and defensive ramparts that were built to protect the north, the coasts, major transport routes of Roman Britain. These defences existed from the 1st to the 5th centuries AD and ran through the territory of present-day England and Wales. Britain was one of the most troubled regions in the European part of the Roman Empire and could only be secured by the Roman Army at considerable effort. Despite a rapid victory over the tribes in the south, which Claudius' field commander, Aulus Plautius, achieved in 43 AD for Rome, the resistance of the British was not broken for a long time afterwards; the Romans succeeded in further consolidating their rule in the period that followed, although the troops stationed there were overburdened by having to defend Britain on three fronts. The incursions of barbarians from the north of the island caused serious problems. To the west and south, the Britannic provinces had to be defended against Hibernian and Germanic attacks.
Against all odds, Britain was held for three centuries by the Roman Empire. In retrospect, the Roman domination of Britain is considered to be positive. For a long time there was prosperity on the island. Behind the protection of Hadrian's Wall and that formed by the natural coastal boundaries to the east and west, the region we now know as England was influenced by the achievements of Roman civilization. Hadrian's Wall and the castra on the Saxon Shore are still the most prominent symbols of Roman rule over Britain; the conquest of Britain was ordered in 43 AD by Emperor Claudius. Claudius had a low reputation among his troops and was forced - according to the tradition of emperors - to acquire glory on the battlefield in order to secure his rule permanently. Britannia had large deposits of precious metals, fertile soil and vast forests, which made it economically attractive to the Romans. Most of Great Britain was conquered in the first year of the invasion. However, this campaign sparked a long-running resistance by the native Britons against their occupiers that lasted for decades.
Following the Boudica Uprising, they succeeded in expelling the Roman Army from the island. It may have been that Claudius planned to occupy only the lowland regions of Britain. In the 1st century, the Romans had no clear idea. Roman influence was therefore continually extended as the borders of their conquered territory shifted several times. Time and again fighting broke out with the indigenous Celtic tribes in the border zones of the new province, compelling Roman troops to move into new areas in the west and north, in order to ensure the permanence of Roman rule and to secure their borders. In 80 AD, the army of Agricola penetrated well into Caledonian territory after his victory in the Battle of Mons Graupius. After attempts to permanently occupy the Highlands failed, the Romans fell back in 120 AD to the Stanegate line; the majority of troops in Britain had to continue to be stationed in the north. As protection against raids by pirates from Ireland, a powerful protection force was needed on the west coast.
In particular, the regions of Cumbria and Lancashire suffered time and again from the plundering of the Irish. During the reign of Hadrian, Britain was still not an peaceful province. Coin missions dating to this time indicate that Britain was in a "permanent state of defence" and pre-Roman tribal societies continued to occupy the outer regions of the island; the greatest danger was always posed by the Picts from who lived on the far side of the Scottish rivers, the Forth and the Clyde. Moreover, in the lands between these rivers and Hadrian’s Wall, the Central Lowlands, there were still four other Celtic tribes - the Votadini, Selgovae and Novantae - which Rome sought to incorporate in order to be able to neutralise their fighting power and make use of their farmland. To that end, road forts were built to protect Rome’s territorial claims. From 122, the northern border was secured by Hadrian's Wall; the fortifications on the coast of Cumbria, which were erected were intended to prevent the Wall being circumvented in the West.
Under Hadrian, the three legion camps were rebuilt in stone. In 140 AD, Roman troops advanced again against the Caledonians and built the Antonine Wall further to the north but, by 160, it had been abandoned. In the period 155-158 AD there was a revolt in Britain which led to heavy losses being inflicted on the local legions; these losses had to be made up by reinforcements from the Germanic Rhine provinces. At the end of the 2nd century seafaring Germanic peoples – the Angles and Franks - began to threaten the Gallic and British coasts with the first raids from the continent. During the course of the civil war that followed the election of Septimius Severus as emperor, his rival, Clodius Albinus, set forth for the continent in 197 with the Britannic army, but suffered a crushing defeat against Severus’ troops in the Battle of Lugdunum. In the 3rd century, Roman Britain underwent profound changes. With the return of soldiers to the island, their first task was to drive back the Picts, who had taken advantage of the absence of Roman troops to raid and plunder extensively.
As a result, Septimius Severus ordered a large-scale punitive expedition against the tribes north of Hadrian's Wall and reoccupied the Antonine Wall for a short time. Unlike the other provinces, Britain appeared stable and calm; the short-term separation of the island from the rest of the Empire under the usurper Carausius showed that this was an illusion and that the power of Ro
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
Structural history of the Roman military
The structural history of the Roman military concerns the major transformations in the organization and constitution of ancient Rome's armed forces, "the most effective and long-lived military institution known to history." From its origins around 800 BC to its final dissolution in AD 476 with the demise of the Western Roman Empire, Rome's military organization underwent substantial structural change. At the highest level of structure, the forces were split into the Roman army and the Roman navy, although these two branches were less distinct than in many modern national defense forces. Within the top levels of both army and navy, structural changes occurred as a result of both positive military reform and organic structural evolution; these changes can be divided into four distinct phases. Phase I The army was derived from obligatory annual military service levied on the citizenry, as part of their duty to the state. During this period, the Roman army would wage seasonal campaigns against local adversaries.
Phase II As the extent of the territories falling under Roman control expanded and the size of the forces increased, the soldiery became salaried professionals. 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 as auxilia. The latter were most called upon to provide light infantry, logistical, or cavalry support. Phase III At the height of the Roman Empire's power, forces were tasked with manning and securing the borders of the vast provinces, brought under Roman control. Serious strategic threats were less common in this period and emphasis was placed on preserving gained territory; the army underwent changes in response to these new needs and became more dependent on fixed garrisons than on march-camps and continuous field operations. Phase IV As Rome began to struggle to keep control over its sprawling territories, military service continued to be salaried and professional for Rome's regular troops.
However, the trend of employing allied or mercenary elements was expanded to such an extent that these troops came to represent a substantial proportion of the armed forces. At the same time, the uniformity of structure found in Rome's earlier military disappeared. Soldiery of the era ranged from armed mounted archers to heavy infantry, in regiments of varying size and quality; this was accompanied by a trend in the late empire of an increasing predominance of cavalry rather than infantry troops, as well as a requirement for more mobile operations. In this period there was more focus on smaller units of independently-operating troops, engaging less in set-piece battles and more in low-intensity, guerilla actions. According to the historians Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, writing at a far date, the earliest Roman army existed in the 8th century BC. During this period Rome itself was little more than a fortified hilltop settlement and its army a small force, whose activities were limited "mainly raiding and cattle rustling with the occasional skirmish-like battle".
Historian Theodor Mommsen referred to it as Rome's curiate army, named for its presumed subdivision along the boundaries of Rome's three founding tribes, the Ramnians and Luceres. This army's exact structure is not known, but it is probable that it loosely resembled a warrior band or group of bodyguards led by a chieftain or king. Mommsen believes that Roman military organization of this period was regimented by the "Laws of King Italus" but these laws, though referred to by Aristotle, have been lost; the army consisted, according to Livy, of 3,000 infantry and 300 horsemen, one third from each of Rome's three founding tribes. Warriors served under six "leaders of division" who in turn served under a general in the person of the reigning King. Mommsen uses philological arguments and references from Livy and others to suggest that the greater mass of foot-soldiers consisted of pilumni, with a smaller number serving as arquites; the cavalry was far smaller in number and consisted of the town's richest citizens.
The army may have contained the earliest form of chariots, hinted at by references to the flexuntes. By the beginning of the 7th century BC, the Iron-Age Etruscan civilization was dominant in the region. Like most of the other peoples in the region, the Romans warred against the Etruscans. By the close of the century, the Romans had lost their struggle for independence, the Etruscans had conquered Rome, establishing a military dictatorship, or kingdom, in the city. Although several Roman sources including Livy and Polybius talk extensively about the Roman army of the Roman Kingdom period that followed the Etruscan capture of the city, no contemporary accounts survive. Polybius, for example, was writing some 300 years after the events in question, Livy some 500 years later. Additionally, what records were kept by the Romans at this time were destroyed when the city was sacked; the sources for this period cannot therefore be seen as reliable, as they can be for military history, e.g. from the First Punic War onwards.
According to our surviving narratives, the three kings of Rome during the Etruscan occupation were Tarquinius Priscus, Servius Tullius, Tarquinius Superbus. During this period the army underwent a reformation into a centurial army based on socio-economic class; this reformation is traditionally attributed to Servius Tullius
Hadrian's Wall called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, was the northern limit of the Roman Empire north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts, it had a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds, it is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry. In addition to the wall's defensive military role, its gates may have been customs posts. A significant portion of the wall still stands and can be followed on foot along the adjoining Hadrian's Wall Path; the largest Roman archaeological feature anywhere, it runs a total of 73 miles in northern England.
Regarded as a British cultural icon, Hadrian's Wall is one of Britain's major ancient tourist attractions. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. In comparison, the Antonine wall, thought by some to be based on Hadrian's wall, was not declared a World Heritage site until 2008, it is a common misconception that Hadrian's Wall marks the boundary between Scotland. In fact Hadrian's Wall lies within England and has never formed the Anglo-Scottish border. While it is less than 0.6 mi south of the border with Scotland in the west at Bowness-on-Solway, in the east at Wallsend it is as much as 68 miles away. Hadrian's Wall was 117.5 km long. East of the River Irthing, the wall was made from squared stone and measured 3 metres wide and 5 to 6 metres high, while west of the river the wall was made from turf and measured 6 metres wide and 3.5 metres high. These dimensions do not include the wall's ditches and forts; the central section measured eight Roman feet wide on a 3 m base. Some parts of this section of the wall survive to a height of 3 m.
South of the wall, a large ditch was dug, with adjoining parallel mounds, one on either side. This is known today as the Vallum though the word vallum in Latin is the origin of the English word wall, does not refer to a ditch. In many places – for example Limestone Corner – the Vallum is better preserved than the wall, robbed of much of its stone. Hadrian's Wall extended west from Segedunum at Wallsend on the River Tyne, via Carlisle and Kirkandrews-on-Eden, to the shore of the Solway Firth, ending a short but unknown distance west of the village of Bowness-on-Solway; the A69 and B6318 roads follow the course of the wall from Newcastle upon Tyne to Carlisle along the northern coast of Cumbria. Although the curtain wall ends near Bowness-on-Solway, this does not mark the end of the line of defensive structures; the system of milecastles and turrets is known to have continued along the Cumbria coast as far as Risehow, south of Maryport. For classification purposes, the milecastles west of Bowness-on-Solway are referred to as Milefortlets.
Hadrian's Wall was planned before Hadrian's visit to Britain in 122. According to restored sandstone fragments found in Jarrow which date from 118 or 119, it was Hadrian's wish to keep "intact the empire", imposed on him via "divine instruction". Although Hadrian's biographer wrote " was the first to build a wall 80 miles long to separate the Romans from the barbarians", reasons for the construction of the wall vary, no recording of an exact explanation survives. Theories have been presented by historians of an expression of Roman power and Hadrian's policy of defence before expansion. On his accession to the throne in 117, there was unrest and rebellion in Roman Britain and from the peoples of various conquered lands across the Empire, including Egypt, Judea and Mauritania; these troubles may have influenced Hadrian's plan to construct the wall as well as his construction of limites in other areas of the Empire, but to what extent is unknown. Scholars disagree over how much of a threat the inhabitants of northern Britain presented and whether there was any economic advantage in defending and garrisoning a fixed line of defences like the Wall, rather than conquering and annexing what has become the Scottish Lowlands and defending the territory with a loose arrangement of forts.
The limites of Rome were never expected to stop tribes from migrating or armies from invading, while a frontier protected by a palisade or stone wall would help curb cattle-raiders and the incursions of other small groups, the economic viability of constructing and keeping guarded a wall 72 miles long along a sparsely populated border to stop small-scale raiding is dubious. Another possible explanation for the wall is the degree of control it would have provided over immigration and customs. Limites did not mark the boundaries of the empire: Roman power and influence extended beyond the walls. People within and beyond the limites travelled through it each day when conducting business, organised check-points like those offered by Hadrian's Wall provided good opportunities for taxation. With watch towers only a short distance from gateways in the limites, patrolling legionaries could have kept track of
Founding of Rome
The tale of the Founding of Rome is recounted in traditional stories handed down by the ancient Romans themselves as the earliest history of their city in terms of legend and myth. The most familiar of these myths, the most famous of all Roman myths, is the story of Romulus and Remus, twins who were suckled by a she-wolf as infants in the 8th century BC. Another account, set earlier in time, claims that the Roman people are descended from Trojan War hero Aeneas, who escaped to Italy after the war, whose son, was the ancestor of the family of Julius Caesar; the archaeological evidence of human occupation of the area of modern-day Rome, Italy dates from about 14,000 years ago. The national epic of mythical Rome, the Aeneid of Virgil, tells the story of how Trojan prince Aeneas came to Italy; the Aeneid was written under Augustus, who claimed ancestry through Julius Caesar and his mother Venus. According to the Aeneid, the survivors from the fallen city of Troy banded together under Aeneas and underwent a series of adventures around the Mediterranean Sea, including a stop at newly founded Carthage under the rule of Queen Dido reaching the Italian coast.
The Trojans were thought to have landed in an area between modern Anzio and Fiumicino, southwest of Rome at Laurentum or, in other versions, at Lavinium, a place named for Lavinia, the daughter of King Latinus whom Aeneas married. This started a series of armed conflicts with Turnus over the marriage of Lavinia. Before the arrival of Aeneas, Turnus was betrothed to Lavinia, who married Aeneas, starting the war. Aeneas killed Turnus; the Trojans won the right to assimilate with the local peoples. The young son of Aeneas, Ascanius known as Iulus, went on to found Alba Longa and the line of Alban kings who filled the chronological gap between the Trojan saga and the traditional founding of Rome in the 8th century BC. Toward the end of this line, King Procas was the father of Amulius. At Procas' death, Numitor became king of Alba Longa, but Amulius captured him and sent him to prison. Forests have a prominent role in the founding myth-when Aeneas arrives at the site that would become Rome it is still forest: Evander goes on to explain that from that "first time" the god Saturn brings these scattered people laws and bestows upon them the name Latium.
The myth of Aeneas was of Greek origin and had to be reconciled with the Italian myth of Romulus and Remus, who would have been born around 771 BC if taken as historical figures. They were purported to be sons of Rhea Silvia and either Mars, the god of war, or the demi-god hero Hercules, they were abandoned at birth, in the manner of many mythological heroes, because of a prophecy that they would overthrow their great-uncle Amulius, who had overthrown Silvia's father Numitor. The twins were abandoned on the river Tiber by servants who took pity on the infants, despite their orders; the twins were nurtured by a she-wolf until a shepherd named Faustulus found the boys and took them as his sons. Faustulus and his wife Acca Larentia raised the children; when Remus and Romulus became adults, they killed restored Numitor. They decided to establish a city. Thus, Rome began with a fratricide, a story, taken to represent the city's history of internecine political strife and bloodshed. Strabo writes that there is an older story, about the founding of Rome, than the previous legends that he had mentioned.
The city was founded by Evander. Strabo writes that Lucius Coelius Antipater believed that Rome was founded by Greeks. Dionysius of Halicarnassus writes that the people who came to the lands that became the city of Rome were first, the Aborigines, who drove the Sicels out of these lands, were from the Arcadia the Pelasgians, who came from Thessaly, third those who came into Italy with Evander from the city of Pallantium in Arcadia, after them the Epeans from Elis and Pheneats from Pheneus, who were part of the army commanded by Heracles who decided to stay there while they were returning from the expedition at the Erytheia, with whom a Trojan element was commingled and last of all, the Trojans who had escaped with Aeneas from Ilium and the other Trojan cities. Dionysius mentions that the Trojans, were Greek people who were from the Peloponnesus, he adds that Romans say that the Pallantium was founded by Greeks from Pallantium of Arcadia, about sixty years before the Trojan war and the leader was Evander.
At the sixteenth generation after the Trojan war the Albans united these places into one settlement, surrounding them with a wall and a ditch. The Albans were a mixed nation composed of all the above people. Dionysius adds that it is that a barbarian element from among the neighboring people or a remnant of the ancient inhabitants of the place were mixed with the Greek, but all these people, having lost their national identity came to be called by one common name, after Latinus, the king of the country. The leaders of the colony were the twin brothers Remus. Another story told how a son of Odysseus and Circe, was the one who founded Rome. Martin P. Nilsson speculates that this older story was becoming a bit embarrassing as Rome became more powerful and tensions with the Greeks grew. Being descendants of the Greeks was no longer preferable, so the Romans settled on the Trojan foundation myth instead. Nilsson further speculates that the name of Romos was changed by the Romans to the native name Romulus, but the name Romos was never forgotten by the people
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
Roman siege engines
Roman siege engines were, for the most part, adapted from Hellenistic siege technology. Small efforts were made to develop the technology. Up to the first century BC, the Romans utilized siege weapons only as required and relied for the most part on ladders and rams to assault a fortified town. Ballistae were employed, but held no permanent place within a legion's roster, until in the republic, were used sparingly. Julius Caesar took great interest in the integration of advanced siege engines, organizing their use for optimal battlefield efficiency. To facilitate this organization and the army’s self-sufficiency, 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 who were responsible for the construction of war machines who would assure that all artillery constructions in the field were level.
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 artillery was efficient at that time, during a siege the Romans would attack the weakest area of their enemy's defenses and attempt to breach the walls at that point. To support this effort, artillery fire would commence, with three main objectives: to cause damage to defenses, casualties among the opposing army, loss of enemy morale, it would provide cover fire for troops building siege ramps or those in siege towers. There were machines called tormenta, which would launch projectiles such as javelins, rocks, or beams; these devices were on wheeled platforms to follow the line’s advance. All were "predicated on a principle of physics: a lever was inserted into a skein of twisted horsehair to increase torsion, when the arm was released, a considerable amount of energy was thus freed".
It was stated that sinew, instead of twisted hair, provided a better “spring.” These weapons were high-maintenance devices and vulnerable to having their leather, sinew, or hemp skeins affected by wet or damp, which would cause them to slacken and lose tension, rendering the engine useless. It is somewhat difficult to define and describe Roman artillery, as names are confused and historians still do not agree on all definitions. Best known are the ballista, the onager, the scorpio. After the absorption of the ancient Greek city states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, some advanced Greek technologies began to spread across many areas of Roman influence; this included the hugely advantageous military advances the Greeks had made, as well as all the scientific, mathematical and artistic developments. The Romans'inherited' the torsion powered ballistae which had by now spread to several cities around the Mediterranean, all of which became Roman spoils of war in time, including one from Pergamum, depicted among a pile of'trophy' weapons in relief on a balustrade.
The torsion ballista, developed by Alexander, was a far more complicated weapon than its predecessor, the Romans developed it further. Vitruvius, in his De Architectura book X, describes the tuning of ballistae; every century in the Roman army had a ballista by the 1st century AD. It was the command of the chief of the ballistae, under whom were the artillery experts, or doctores ballistarum and the artillerymen, or ballistarii. Ballistae were heavy missile weapons, they resembled large crossbows, rather than catapults. They were powered by two horizontal like arms, which were inserted into two vertical and wound "skein" springs contained in a rectangular frame structure making up the head or principal part of the weapon; the arms were drawn rearward with a winch lever to further twist the skeins and thus gain the torsion power to cast a projectile. It has been said that the whirring sound of a ballista-fired stone struck fear and dread into the hearts of those inside the walls of besieged cities.
The stones chosen to be used in the ballista had to be a particular sort. According to Vegetius, river stones were best, since they are round and dense. Ballista stones found at the site of Masada were chiseled to make them as round as possible; the early Roman ballistae were made of wood, held together with iron plates around the frames and iron nails in the stand. The main stand had a slider on the top, into which were loaded the bolts or stone'shot'. Attached to this, at the back, was a pair of winches and a claw, used to ratchet the bowstring back to the armed firing position. A slider passed through the field frames of the weapon, in which were located the torsion springs, which were twisted around the bow arms, which in turn were attached to the bowstring. Drawing the bowstring back with the winches twisted the taut springs, storing the energy to fire the projectiles; the ballista was a accurate weapon, but some design aspects meant it could compromise its accuracy for range. The lightweight bolts could not gain the high momentum of the stones over the same distance as those th