Success of the Ancient Roman Empire

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Between approximately 509 BCE and the third century CE the Roman empire continually expanded and became one of the largest in history. While this expansion was due to many reasons, not the least of which was greed, to a great extent it was made possible because of Rome's overwhelming military and its combination of a democratic and republic government. (Lee) (Ferril) Many of Rome's successes were due to its highly trained and disciplined army. Rome's army became the best in the known world. The Roman army was organized into divisions of soldiers according to their social class. The ranks of the army could be divided into five classes. The first class were those who were the most well-off, they were equipped with the best weapons, helmets, round shields, greaves and breastplates, all of bronze, while also carrying a spear and sword. Those who were of the less fortunate, carried less weapons, and had less power, the fifth class carrying no armor at all and were armed simply with slings. Veteran Roman soldiers were professional and highly paid. When conquering hostile regions they were able to plunder and steal in order to increase their personal wealth. During this time the Roman army was able to improve its equipment substantially. Early helmets were bronze and failed to protect soldiers adequately against the long swords of their enemies. Flavius Camillus was credited in supplying the Roman army with iron helmets with a smoothed texture to fend off the swords. Camillus also introduced the rectangular shield called the scutum. Centuries later equipment and uniforms changed to include large feathers on top of their helmets in order to intimidate their enemies. Larger wooden swords were made and iron points were added. (Cavazzi... ... middle of paper ... ...with the sword. Augustus sent out governors to all of these conquered territories along with armies to help maintain peace. (Cacazzi) The Roman armies however also built larger means of transportation, marketplaces, libraries and other necessary infrastructure. Successful economically, the Romans easily traded important imports such as spices, and goods. This period of time where Augustus was in overall control guided a new Golden Age. On account of Rome's successful social government, many citizens desired to become Romanized and be under the peaceful and stable rule. (Benton, DiYanni 144-148) In conclusion the Roman army or Roman legions as they were also called were the primary instruments in expanding the empire. This outstanding military force was aided by an efficient and stable government allowing the empire to rule an ever increasing domain for many years.

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