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 Auxilia constituted the standing non-citizen corps of the Imperial Roman army during the Principate era, alongside the citizen legions. By the 2nd century, the Auxilia contained the same number of infantry as the legions and, in addition, provided all of the Roman army's cavalry and more specialised troops; the auxilia thus represented three-fifths of Rome's regular land forces at that time. Like their legionary counterparts, auxiliary recruits were volunteers, not conscripts; the Auxilia were recruited from the peregrini, free provincial subjects who did not hold Roman citizenship and constituted the vast majority of the population in the 1st and 2nd centuries. In contrast to the legions, which only admitted Roman citizens, members of the Auxilia could be recruited from territories outside of Roman control. Reliance on the various contingents of non-Italic troops cavalry, increased when the Roman Republic employed them in increasing numbers to support its legions after 200 BC; the Julio-Claudian period saw the transformation of the Auxilia from motley levies to a standing corps with standardised structure and conditions of service.
By the end of the period, there were no significant differences between legionaries and auxiliaries in terms of training, thus, combat capability. Auxiliary regiments were stationed in provinces other than that in which they were raised, for reasons of security and to foster the process of Romanisation in the provinces; the regimental names of many auxiliary units persisted into the 4th century, but by the units in question were different in size and quality from their predecessors. The mainstay of the Roman republic's war machine was the manipular legion, a heavy infantry unit suitable for close-quarter engagements on more or less any terrain, adopted sometime during the Samnite Wars. Despite its formidable strength, the legion had a number of deficiencies a lack of cavalry. Around 200 BC, a legion of 4,200 infantry had a cavalry arm of only 300 horse; this was because the class of citizens who could afford to pay for their own horse and equipment – the equestrian order, the second rank in Roman society, after the senatorial order – was small.
In addition, the legion lacked missile forces such as archers. Until 200 BC, the bulk of a Roman army's cavalry was provided by Rome's regular Italian allies known as the "Latin" allies, which made up the Roman military confederation; this was Rome's defence system until the Social War of 91–88 BC. The Italian forces were organised into alae. An allied ala, commanded by 3 Roman praefecti sociorum, was similar or larger in infantry size to a legion, but contained a more substantial cavalry contingent: 900 horse, three times the legionary contingent. Since a pre-Social War consular army always contained an equal number of legions and alae, 75% of its cavalry was provided by the Latin allies; the overall cavalry element, c. 12% of the total force, was greater than in most peninsular Italian forces, but well below the overall 21% cavalry component, typical of the Principate army. The Roman/Latin cavalry was sufficient while Rome was in conflict with other states in the mountainous Italian peninsula, which disposed of limited cavalry resources.
But, as Rome was confronted by external enemies that deployed far more powerful cavalry elements, such as the Gauls and the Carthaginians, the Roman deficiency in cavalry numbers could be a serious liability, which in the Second Punic War resulted in crushing defeats. Hannibal's major victories at the Trebia and at Cannae, were owed to his Spanish and Gallic heavy cavalry, which far outnumbered the Roman and Latin levies, to his Numidians, fast cavalry which the Romans wholly lacked; the decisive Roman victory at Zama in 202 BC, which ended the war, owed much to the Numidian cavalry provided by king Massinissa, which outnumbered the Roman/Latin cavalry fielded by 2 to 1. From Roman armies were always accompanied by large numbers of non-Italian cavalry: Numidian light cavalry and Gallic heavy cavalry. For example, Caesar relied on Gallic and German cavalry for his Conquest of Gaul; as the role of native cavalry grew, that of Roman/Latin cavalry diminished. In the early 1st century BC, Roman cavalry was phased out altogether.
After the Social War, the socii were all granted Roman citizenship, the Latin alae abolished, the socii recruited into the legions. Furthermore, Roman equestrians were no longer required to perform cavalry service after this time; the late Republican legion was thus bereft of cavalry. By the outbreak of the Second Punic War, the Romans were remedying the legions' other deficiencies by using non-Italian specialised troops. Livy reports Hiero of Syracuse offering to supply Rome with archers and slingers in 217 BC. From 200 BC onwards, specialist troops were hired as mercenaries on a regular basis: sagittarii from Crete, funditores from the Balearic Isles always accompanied Roman legions in campaigns all over the Mediterranean; the other main sources of non-Italian troops in the late Republic were subject provincials, allied cities and Rome's amici. During the
Light infantry is a designation applied to certain types of foot soldiers throughout history having lighter equipment or armament or a more mobile or fluid function than other types of infantry, such as heavy infantry or line infantry. Light infantry fought as scouts and skirmishers—soldiers who fight in a loose formation ahead of the main army to harass, disrupt supply lines, "soften up" an enemy before the main battle. After World War II, the term "light infantry" evolved, now refers to rapid-deployment units that emphasize speed and mobility over armor and firepower; some units or battalions that held a skirmishing role have kept their designation "light infantry" for the sake of tradition. The concept of a skirmishing screen is a old one and was well-established in Ancient Greece and Roman times in the form, for example, of the Greek peltast and psiloi, the Roman velites; as with so called "light infantry" of periods, the term more adequately describes the role of such infantry rather than the actual weight of their equipment.
Peltast equipment, for example, grew heavier at the same time as hoplite equipment grew lighter. It was the fact that peltasts fought in open order as skirmishers that made them light infantry and that hoplites fought in the battle line in a phalanx formation that made them heavy infantry. Early regular armies of the modern era relied on irregulars to perform the duties of light infantry skirmishers. In the 17th century, dragoons were the light infantry skirmishers of their day – armed mounted infantrymen who rode into battle but dismounted to fight, giving them a mobility lacking to regular foot soldiers. In the 18th and 19th centuries most infantry regiments or battalions had a light company as an integral part of its composition, its members were smaller, more agile men with high shooting ability and capability of using initiative. They did not fight in disciplined ranks as did the ordinary infantry but in dispersed groups, necessitating an understanding of skirmish warfare, they were expected to avoid melee engagements unless necessary, would fight ahead of the main line to harass the enemy before falling back to the main position.
During the period 1777–1781, the Continental Army of the United States adopted the British Army practice of seasonally drafting light infantry regiments as temporary units during active field operations, by combining existing light infantry companies detached from their parent regiments. Light infantry sometimes carried lighter muskets than ordinary infantrymen while others carried rifles and wore rifle green uniforms; these became designated as rifle regiments in Britain and Jäger and Schützen regiments in German-speaking Europe. In France, during the Napoleonic Wars, light infantry were called voltigeurs and chasseurs and the sharpshooters tirailleurs; the Austrian army had Grenzer regiments from the middle of the 18th century, who served as irregular militia skirmishers recruited from mountainous frontier areas. They were absorbed into the line infantry becoming a hybrid type that proved successful against the French, to the extent that Napoleon recruited several units of Austrian army Grenzer to his own army after victory over Austria in 1809 compelled the Austrians to cede territories from which they were traditionally recruited.
In Portugal, 1797, companies of Caçadores were created in the Portuguese Army, in 1808 led to the formation of independent "Caçador" battalions that became known for their ability to perform precision shooting at long distances. Light infantry officers sometimes carried muskets or rifles, rather than pistols, their swords were light curved sabres. Orders were sent by whistle instead of drum; some armies, including the British and French, recruited whole regiments of light infantry. These were considered elite units, since they required specialised training with emphasis on self-discipline and initiative to carry out the roles of light infantry as well as those of ordinary infantry. By the late 19th century the concept of fighting in formation was on the wane due to advancements in weaponry and the distinctions between light and heavy infantry began to disappear. All infantry became light infantry in operational practice; some regiments retained the name and customs, but there was in effect little difference between them and other infantry regiments.
On the eve of World War I the British Army included seven light infantry regiments. These differed from other infantry only in maintaining such traditional distinctions as badges that included a bugle horn, dark green home service helmets for full dress, a fast-stepping parade ground march. Light infantries were trained better than the regular line infantry. For instance, in Britain during the Napoleonic period, riflemen fired 60 rounds of balls and another 60 of blanks, light infantry fired 50 each, but the line infantry regiments only allowed the soldiers to be trained by 30 rounds each. For Prussia, allowed their fusiliers to fire 30 rounds of balls and blanks during 1806. However, the line infantry regiments were trained with 10 rounds each. Though in this time period, when firing for training was considered to various countries lightly, for light infantries
The Wetterau Limes is the name given in the field of historical research to that part of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes which enclosed the region that became known as the Wetterau in the German state of Hesse. During the two campaigns of the Roman Emperor Domitian against the Chatti, the Romans began to cut swathes of open ground through the dense forests of today's Hesse, in order to prevent their columns from being ambushed. On the crest of the Taunus mountain range, such a swathe served as a surveillance route. After the end of the Chatti Wars, the Romans began to secure these conquered regions east of the Rhine with a limes - a line of forts, fortlets and palisades; the forest road was guarded by wooden watchtowers to ensure continuous observation. This ensured that the southern slopes of the Taunus mountains and the fertile and strategically important Wetterau became part of the Roman Empire. In addition to the establishment of this frontier, Domitian turned the two Germanic military territories of Upper and Lower Germanian into Roman provinces.
In spite of this rather modest conquest, he was subsequently celebrated in Rome with great pomp as a triumphator and coins were minted with the ambitious claim Germania capta. The propaganda nature of this policy is evinced by the fact that in the narrow province of Upper Germania there were hardly any Germanii, the area was populated entirely by Celts; the long-held conviction that the Neckar-Odenwald Limes was erected at the same time as the Wetterau Limes after the Chatti wars, is now regarded as having been rejected. Although there were Roman military outposts on the eastern side of the Rhine from the seventies, the border running along the Odenwald-Neckar Line to Donnstetten is now dated by most sources as having not been erected before 98 AD; the state of preservation of the limes is poor due to the heavy agricultural use of the Wetterau. Only a few sections on the foothills of the Taunus, at Echzell and east of Hanau are visible above ground. In the early days of limes research, this situation meant that the eastern Wetterau section remained undiscovered.
This was not disproved until the 1880s by excavations of the Hanauer Geschichtsverein under Albert Duncker and Georg Wolff. Like the other sections of the Upper German-Raetian Limes, the Wetterau Limes was reinforced and expanded. In the eastern Wetterau the dates when the individual forts were first built are not uniform, it is clear that there was a defensive line from Oberflorstadt via Heldenbergen and Hanau-Mittelbuchen to Hanau-Salisberg The forts on the line further east from Marköbel via Rückingen to Großkrotzenburg were not built until the time of Trajan. The neighbouring Taunus line was reinforced in the second half of the second century by the numerus forts of Holzhausen, Kleiner Feldberg and Kapersburg; the further expansion of the limes defences to the north of the Wetterau was in order to protect its fertile soils on the one hand and to meet the high demand for the supply of the troops stationed on the limes and legion camps in Mainz. Archaeobotanical studies have calculated that an annual requirement of 3,034 tons of grain and 10,371 tons of hay were required to supply for the north-facing bulge of the limes in the Wetterau.
The end of the Wetterau Limes came in the year 259-260 AD, when Rome abandoned all areas to the east of the Rhine. Thus, for example, the pottery trade, once flourishing in the Wetterau came to a standstill. Imports of pottery from the Rhineland dominate archaeological collections from the second third of the 3rd century. Bricks found in the area do not seem to have been fired as they used to be. More and more older building material was used instead. Hypocaust heating was replaced by much simpler heating pipe systems. From the border area, there are other interesting finds which shed further light on the period of the limes; this includes the treasure of Ober-Florstadt, concealed during the course of Germanic invasions in AD 233. In 1603, the inscription of a collegium iuventutis was discovered in the area around Altenstadt Roman Fort; this may have been a unit set up to act as a local militia. Kapersburg Roman Fort was reduced during its last days. There is evidence of a local unit, a numberus nidensium, raised in the civitas capital of Nida-Heddernheim.
Lochmühle Fortlet Kapersburg Roman Fort Ockstädter Wald Fortlet Kaisergrube Fortlet Am Eichkopf Fortlet Langenhain Roman Fort Hunnenkirchhof Fortlet Butzbach Roman Fort Degerfeld Fortlet Dicker Wald Fortlet Holzheimer Unterwald Fortlet Hainhaus Fortlet Arnsburg Roman Fort Langsdorf Fortlet Feldheimer Wald Fortlet Inheiden Roman Fort Auf dem Wingertsberg Fortlet Massohl Fortlet Auf der Burg Fortlet Haselheck Fortlet Echzell Roman Fort Lochberg Fortlet Staden Fortlet Ober-Florstadt Roman Fort Stammheim Fortlet Altenstadt Roman Fort Auf dem Buchkopf Fortlet Marköbel Roman Fort Langendiebach Fortlet Rückingen Roman Fort Neuwirtshaus Fortlet Großkrotzenburg Roman Fort The following museums have a permanent exhibition on the Wetterau Limes or individual sites along it: Saalburg Museum, Bad Homburg Wetterau Museum, Friedberg Butzbach Municipal Museum Limes Information Centre at Hof Graß Echzell Local History Museum Heuson Museum, Büdingen Erlensee-Rückingen Local History Museum Schloss Steinheim Museum Großkrotzenburg Museum Limes Dietwulf Baatz and Fritz-Rudolf
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
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
Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes
The Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes, or ORL, is a 550-kilometre-long section of the former external frontier of the Roman Empire between the rivers Rhine and Danube. It runs from Rheinbrohl to Eining on the Danube; the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes is an archaeological site and, since 2005, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Together with the Lower Germanic Limes it forms part of the Limes Germanicus; the term limes meant "border path" or "swathe" in Latin. In Germany, "Limes" refers to the Rhaetian Limes and Upper Germanic Limes, collectively referred to as the Limes Germanicus. Both sections of limes are named after the adjacent Roman provinces of Germania Superior. In the Roman limites we have, for the first time in history defined territorial borders of a sovereign state that were visible on the ground to friend and foe alike. Most of the Upper German-Rhaetian Limes did not follow rivers or mountain ranges, which would have formed natural boundaries for the Roman Empire, it includes the longest land border in the European section of the limes, interrupted for only a few kilometres, by a section that follows the River Main between Großkrotzenburg and Miltenberg.
By contrast, elsewhere in Europe, the limes is defined by the rivers Rhine and Danube. The function of the Roman military frontiers has been discussed for some time; the latest research tends to view at least the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes not as a military demarcation line, but rather a monitored economic boundary for the non-Roman lands. The limes, it is argued, was not suitable for fending off systematic external attacks. Thanks to a skillful economic policy, the Roman Empire extended its influence far to the northeast, beyond the frontier. Evidence of this are the many border crossings which, although guarded by Roman soldiers, would have enabled a brisk trade, the numerous Roman finds in "Free Germania". Attempts were also made, to settle Roman legions beyond the limes or, more to recruit auxiliaries; as a result, the Romanization of the population extended beyond the limes. Interest in the limes as the remains of a site dating to the Roman period was rekindled in Germany at the time of the Renaissance and Renaissance humanism.
This was bolstered by the rediscovery of the Germania and Annales of Tacitus in monastic libraries in the 15th and early 16th centuries. Scholars like Simon Studion researched discovered forts. Studion led archaeological excavations of the Roman camp of Benningen on the Neckar section of the Neckar-Odenwald Limes. Local limes commissions were established but were confined to small areas, for example, in the Grand Duchy of Hesse or Grand Duchy of Baden, due to the political situation. Johann Alexander Döderlein was the first person to record the course of the limes in the Eichstätt region. In 1723, he was the first to interpret the meaning of the limes and published the first scholarly treatise about it in 1731. Only after the foundation of the German Empire could archaeologists begin to study more the route of the limes, about which there had only been a rudimentary knowledge; as a result, they were able to make the first systematic excavations in the second half of the 19th century. In 1892, the Imperial Limes Commission was established for this purpose in Berlin, under the direction of the ancient historian, Theodor Mommsen.
The work of this commission is considered pioneering for reworking of Roman provincial history. Productive were the first ten years of research, which worked out the course of the Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes and named the camps along the border; the research reports on the excavations were published from 1894 to the dissolution of the Commission in 1937. The individual reports went under the title of The Upper Rhaetian Limes of the Roman Empire, published in fifteen volumes, of which seven cover the route of the limes and eight cover the various camps and forts; the documents of the Imperial Limes Commission are now in the custody of the Roman-Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute. The RLK numbered the sections of the route, the forts and the watchtowers on the individual sections. In the course of this work the 550-kilometre-long route of the limes was surveyed, divided into sections and described; this division followed the administrative boundaries in 19th-century Germany and not that of ancient Rome: Section 1: Rheinbrohl – Bad Ems Section 2: Bad Ems – Adolfseck near Bad Schwalbach Section 3: Adolfseck near Bad Schwalbach – Taunus – Köpperner Tal Section 4: Köpperner Tal – Wetterau – Marköbel Section 5: Marköbel – Großkrotzenburg am Main Section 6a: Hainstadt – Wörth am Main Section 6b: Trennfurt – Miltenberg Section 7: Miltenberg – Walldürn – Buchen-Hettingen Section 8: Buchen-Hettingen – Osterburken – Jagsthausen Section 9: Jagsthausen – Öhringen – Mainhardt – Welzheim – Alfdorf-Pfahlbronn Section 10: Wörth am Main – Bad Wimpfen Section 11: Bad Wimpfen – Köngen Section 12: Alfdorf-Pfahlbronn – Lorch – Rotenbachtal near Schwäbisch Gmünd – Aalen – Stödtlen Section 13: Mönchsroth – Weiltingen-Ruffenhofen - Gunzenhausen Section 14: Gunzenhausen – Weißenburg – Kipfenberg Section 15: Kipfenberg – Eining Upper Germanic-Rhaetian Limes in general Dietwulf Baatz: Der römische Limes.
Archäologische Ausflüge zwischen Rhein und Donau. 4th edn. Gebrüder Mann, Berlin, 2000, ISBN 3-7861-1701-2. Thomas Becker