Essay on Greek and Roman Warfare

Essay on Greek and Roman Warfare

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Roman soldiers stood out as particularly great fighters in the ancient world. Although a lot can be said about the value of virtus and the expectation of dying a hero rather than fleeing a coward, the Roman soldier, and how they performed in battle, was in many ways completely dependent upon the actions of their commanders. Generals and emperors of the time had a huge influence on the morale and obedience of their troops. Some generals chose to try and emulate the ways of Julius Caesar, Fabius Valens, for example, new the importance of his presence to his troops, others created their own battlefield persona, of which some were successful, and some not. A great example of these different characters presents itself during the Year of Four Emperors. Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian all had unique traits that either aided or hindered their success commanding their troops. The same could be said about the generals below them who more frequently interacted with the troops. From examining these men, one could quickly establish that having a strong willed leader was just as important as a well-trained force.
The first man to take hold of the throne was Otho. His rise to power was set off by a burning jealousy he had for Piso, the man selected to become emperor of Rome. Although he was at times a slave to his own emotions, he was shrewd in manipulating the feelings of others. He was characterized by a blend of different traits, some of which were surprisingly compelling. Above all however, Otho prioritized loyalty in his men. Otho would act the part of a common man, despite being the most powerful person in Rome, to sway people’s opinions and ensure their loyalty to him. He would make himself out to be relatable, even subservient if need b...

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...rom the generals and leaders before them were not forgotten. Fabius Valens and his plan of abandoning his troops to help return to them their obedience. Emperor Otho and his use of money and speeches to inspire and motivate his men and to most of all ensure their loyalty to him. Antonius as well, a man of great bravery and determination. He never gave up on his troops, and in turn, they never gave up on him. All these men in some way resembled Julius Caesar. And more importantly, alongside what similarities they had with the first great emperor, they all had something unique to them. Each of them had some defining characteristic or trait which, when combined with those things they shared with Caesar, enabled them to command and lead their troops into battle, and to fight on their side, even if death was their final destination.

Works Cited

Tacticus: The Histories

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