The Hero Of Aeneas And The Roman Army Essay

The Hero Of Aeneas And The Roman Army Essay

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From the ashes of Troy, the light of Rome was born through an act by a man who would be deemed both courageous and cowardly by those who once protected it. The early Roman army was one of the most feared and capable armies in ancient times in part due to their strict code of loyalty and punishment of those who betray said code. One of the most reviled crimes was the act of cowardice and the Roman Empire enforced loyalty among its ranks. To betray Rome was to essentially betray the gods. The hero of Aeneas is a rare character in Ancient Roman history that both forsake the gods he serves but also abides to their will. In defying the code of the Roman soldier, Aeneas would help found a city that would outlive the fallen city of Troy.
During the early Roman Empire, the Roman army consisted of young volunteers, and while mostly untrained, they were feared warriors on the battlefield. The army was heavily influenced by the Greeks military, whom ironically were the ones to destroy the Roman homeland of Troy. Both the Greek and Roman armies used similar armor styles and battle tactics, such as using smaller groups of soldiers, known as maniples, to break up opposing phalanxs of soldiers (Mcmanus 1999). The weapons used were the sword, spear and shield, though it mostly came down to what the soldier could afford since each soldier had to buy their own gear. While similar in fighting gear, the Roman army fought with an emotional ferocity that almost rivaled barbarians (AncientMilitary 2010). Roman soldiers were taught that a war shall never end unless it is in a Roman victory. They must never relent, and never yield to defeat even if it means cataclysmic loss of life. The code of no-retreat was part of the Roman Soldier’s oa...


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...ry through his involvement in the creation of Rome decades later (Virgil 29 BC).
The irony of the Ancient Romans was how the character of Aeneas both betrayed his home city of Troy by abandoning it during war, but also saved it at the same time. The strict sense of morality and duty that the soldiers of the ancient Roman times held would have labeled Aeneas a coward by their standard. Had he obeyed them, he would die with the city and Rome would have never been formed. Had the city not fallen and Aeneas still attempted to fled, he would have been executed and likely caused the executions of other soldiers by Decimation. By either luck or fate, Aeneas’ decision to abandon the city would prove wise and he would escape the punishment that would have been inevitable. It was of Aeneas’s betrayal and servitude of the military code that would allow for Rome to exist

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