Essay about Why The Roman Military Evolved And The Military System

Essay about Why The Roman Military Evolved And The Military System

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The ancient Roman Empire began when Romulus founded the city of Rome in approximately 753 B.C. and lasted until about 1453 A.D. when the German invasion occurred. Throughout this era, specifically 250 BC until 200 AD, historians including Theodor Mommsen and Sara Phang have debated and interpreted several aspects of how and why the Roman military evolved and the military system itself. These authors used several ancient Roman historians, including Livy and Publius, public records, war accounts and many other sources to investigate and theorize different conclusions about why the Roman military was so powerful and how they were able to conquer the vast majority of the European Continent and the known world.
In his book, The History of Rome, Theodor Mommsen focuses on wars and specifically how politics influenced the outcome of each war. He details how both the governmental system and military system were organized for a purely Italian policy, thus conflicting with other countries’ policies, leading to solely tactical continental wars. He references the War of Carthage and Sicily, which took place from 149 BC-146 BC, and how at first, the Roman military lacked both a naval force and competent generals. He claims that if the government had not stepped in, the changes in military equilibrium would have never been made, which could have lead to a major loss for the army and government. He forcefully argues that “...the new system of war demanded the employment of generals who had military training and a military eye…” (Mommsen 60). Mommsen also uses philological arguments and references from Livy and Polybius to argue that the greater mass of foot-soldiers of the early Roman military was made up of only archers and javelin thro...


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...istorians like Polybius, and troop records to defend how effective the armies actually were. He argues that since many of the troops were middle class males who were drafted, they were not as courageous. He quotes Polybius, who stated that through “...training in the individual use of weapons; in the care of weapons and armour; then in the manoeuvre of men as a small unit...finally training in the manoeuvre of several or numerous units…” would easily solve this problem. Eckstein maintains this notion throughout his book, admitting that although it would take a long time, would have made the Roman army an unstoppable force. In a similar manner to both John Rich and Pat Southern, Eckstein focuses on the two main points of weaponry and size being the key factors in the ancient Roman success, while barely acknowledging the ideas of the discipline and reward of troops.

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