The Roman Sheer Forces

Essay by kanonefodder August 2009

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Superior, colossal, strong, and mighty, those are the Roman army combatant. They fought mercilessly without carrying any burden on his back and without fear they crush down every bits of enemy who oppose them. Those are the basic characteristic of the Roman Empire's army which they're famous of their brutality in fighting and most likely like professional killing machines.

SoldiersMost of the Roman military forces are foot soldiers that originated and come from the Roman citizens itself. They pick the best and the very fit one to be one of the Roman soldier. Because they had to march 32 km a day with carrying about 30 kg of equipment full of gear and two posts for making fence to keep the camp safe at night and a spade for digging. These Roman soldiers were destined to fight for their country, they were just paid a wage but the salary that they get was taken out for the cost of their food and gears making them receive only a little bit of their money.

These soldiers must also be loyal to the Roman Empire and follow the order of the emperor. And if they disobey or didn't do as they were told, they will get kick out of the army and get several of harsh punishment or be killed.

The Romans had a very decisive and concern way to choose their soldier. An age of about 17 to 22 years old is required in order to join the army. Their height and body must be proportional also of at least 1.72m. This supported with a muscular body with a big chest, strong arms, shoulders, and physically powerful feet. And they also must sign a contract to serve the Roman empire of at least 20 years. The Romans are very serious at choosing its soldier because these armies had a very important duty and role to the Roman Society. This army has help Rome in gaining power and form the Roman Empire, it's also one of the factor which make Rome undefeatable in most battle.

Becoming one of the Roman army is a very awful option for our life because they must also do some several hard training everyday to keep their body fit all the time. The list of training are such as swimming, running, jumping, and marching of about 7-8 km per day with a lot of gear and if they didn't do it or keep up they will got less portion of food. They also learn some combat skill and fighting tactics like marching squares, fighting with cane shields, throwing spears, and other much more. The Roman Empire had a very brilliant way of thinking, they were different from other army, they didn't wait and relax waiting for the enemy to attack but they prefer on drilling themselves on training making them more superior and less vulnerable to enemies attack.

UnitsThe Roman army is a very well-organized fighting force, they were broken in units called legions which consist of about 4800-6000 men. This legion is the biggest army group placed by the Roman army, which officially made up of many structures and groups. The usage of this army groups is to make them equally strong, so that the strong and the weak would be mixed together throughout the formation. Below are the following lists of groups in legions:-Contubernium: (tent group) consist of 8 men.

-Century: a group with a total of 80 men or 10 contubernium commanded by one centurion.

-Cohort: One cohort would make up for 6 centuria(century) with a total of 480 men. And a legion would make up from at least 10 cohorts.

WeaponsEquipment:The Roman soldiers have 7 basic equipment which they used and carry daily.

These equipments are:-Pilum-Boots-Helmet-Tunic-Sword-Shield-Body ArmourThe pilum is a heavy javelin, used by legionaries to penetrate and breaking through both a wooden shield and body armor which make this weapon impossible to be blocked.

These boots are made of leather making it comfort and enabling it to be used in most battle ground.

The Roman's iron helmets have many main features to the wearer such as the bowl (a neck guard), cheek pieces (to protect the sides of the face), and a brow guard (defending against direct blows to the face).

The military tunic was worn above the knee, it's have been like a baggy cloth in form which worn under the armour. This tunic made of wool and linen is used to keep their body warm and protect them from cold.

The Romans used sword renown as the 'Spanish sword', it is a long-pointed, double edged Iberian weapon. Usually the ordinary infantrymen and cavalrymen wear their swords on the right side while the centurions wear them on the left. But as time goes by, the Romans starting to use the gladius as their basic sword, it's much shorter which is good for close attacks.

The Roman soldier's frontal protection is the shield. It is a shield that stood 40 inches tall, and 30 inches wide. This shield was used to ward off attack in close battle and the curved side is to give protection from the side as well.

The Romans used three main types of body armour, it consisted of many armor layers covering it, and those layers are: mail, scale, and segmental. Mail is normally made of iron rings with each riveted one interlinked with four other welded rings. The second is scale armour, it is made up of small plates of iron copper alloy wired to their neighbors horizontally and sewn to a fabric or leather backing. While segmental armour consisted of overlapping curved bands or iron fastened to internal leather.

Artillery:The Roman's armies also have some several mechanical weapons used to kill enemy from hundred yards away, which they called it artillery. There are four main types of artillery used by the Romans, those are:-Ballista-Catapult-Onager-ScorpioThe ballista was a highly accurate range weapon, it fired ammunitions loaded by sharp bolt heads made of stone by pulling the bowstring back to the armed firing position. This ballista could deliver attack to a maximum 500 yards.

The Catapult is a siege engine which uses an arm to hurl a projectile through a great distance. Usually it is loaded by rock or even animal or human disease to infect the enemy.

The Scorpio was a smaller weapon compare to others, it's more likely a giant crossbow loaded by bolts being operated by only one person. This weapon used a system of springs with torsion, making it possible to obtain very great power and high speed of ejection for the bolts.

The last is the onager, it's more likely like a ballista with only a smaller size.

The Roman NavyBecause of the decisive Punic war and a threatening naval forces coming toward them, the Roman navy was formed. This armada of Rome was constructed out of triremes and a few quinqueremes. These navy powers were continuing to grow up over time from 330 ships to up to 700 units. But as time goes by and they suffer heavy losses in each of their battle, these numerous numbers of ships is once again dropped. And soon the navy of Rome is no longer being maintained or sustained again, right now the only operational ships they have is just those who bound by treaty from Rhodes and Pergamum.

TacticsThe Rome generally followed the same basic methods in battle; it has both the defensive tactics and the offensive tactics. Defensive tactics:TestudoCavalry DefenseOrbisOne of the most famous Roman defensive tactics is the testudo formation, it's the most effective and common form of Roman defense. At first the soldiers would form a rectangle with their shields on guard position fitting perfectly with one another. This kind of formation would be less vulnerable to most assault and protecting them from all side of attacks.

The cavalry defense is used in fighting against the cavalry, it has two main defense lines, the first front line and the back line. First in the front line defense, they would make up a solid wall of shields with their spear leveled. The second line would then stab over through the opponent over the top of the first line's heads by using their spears.

The Orbis was the last option a Roman general would take, it's only used in critical situation or in situation where they're cornered or surrounded by heavy numbers. The formation is basically a group of soldiers performing a circle shape, it has some several advantages on it such as there was no front or rear and a solid wall of shields plus an archers or officers in the center giving support to the formation.

Offensive tactics:WedgeChargeThe wedge is a tactical offensive formation favored by many Roman generals. The formation took the appearance of a row of teeth facing the enemy, which would enable the Roman legion to separate the opposing force and break the enemy's formation.

Same as it name 'charge', this tactic consisted of running as fast as possible towards the enemy's position and directly crushing them.

We can conclude that the Romans are very strong and victorious in most battlegrounds because they were very decisive in arranging their tactics and men. It's proven also that they have both the heart of a lion and faithfulness to the empire which they carry every time within their heart. Their unity and loyalty also are the one which make the Romans superior and tough to beat.