Roman legions drill; any info?




 
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November 1st, 2008  
Del Boy
 

Topic: Roman legions drill; any info?


Rome ; some ancient military manuals in Latin refer to some sort of close drill.

This may be what Frederick the Great was thinking when he introduced marching in step to Europe in the 18th century.

Before that there apparently was only the natural tendency of groups of walkers to fall into step in an informal way.

Can anyone throw any light on this subject; did the Romans march to sinister, dexter - sinister, dexter or to songs?

I understand that there is no clear evidence that they marched in step at all.
November 3rd, 2008  
A Can of Man
 
 
Hmmm I have a hard time believing that they couldn't figure out that if you march in step, you can march formations tighter and keep the rows and columns even so the commander can always know how many people there are in a given formation.
November 3rd, 2008  
LeEnfield
 
 
I may old but not quite that old
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November 3rd, 2008  
Del Boy
 
Le- I don't believe it. And the City of London is the site of the Roman Garrison! Some of the cockneys are descendants.
November 9th, 2008  
mmarsh
 
 
They did Drill.

One example is the Testudo (Tortoise) formation. This was a very difficult formation a master. I have read histories that it took a Roman Cohort (a modern day company) a full year to train on the maneuver before they could master it, as it is nowhere near as easy as it looks.
November 13th, 2008  
Del Boy
 
Thank you kindly MM. I was sure that must be so.
December 9th, 2008  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmarsh
They did Drill.

One example is the Testudo (Tortoise) formation. This was a very difficult formation a master. I have read histories that it took a Roman Cohort (a modern day company) a full year to train on the maneuver before they could master it, as it is nowhere near as easy as it looks.
The Testudo was a formation which a company of men, which was actually a century of men which was 80 men not 100 as many people believe. The Testudo used 12 man columns to bring their shields over the top in case arrows or spears were directed in that direction. the other legionaries brought there shields up around the sides, back and front to cover those points. The testudo could move in any direction, its commander wanted to advance towards. But please realize, there were a good 20 to 30 other formations they used. They were the originators of modern warfare. Their discipline was exemplary and no one on earth could come close to it at the time.
December 9th, 2008  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Del Boy
Rome ; some ancient military manuals in Latin refer to some sort of close drill.

This may be what Frederick the Great was thinking when he introduced marching in step to Europe in the 18th century.

Before that there apparently was only the natural tendency of groups of walkers to fall into step in an informal way.

Can anyone throw any light on this subject; did the Romans march to sinister, dexter - sinister, dexter or to songs?

I understand that there is no clear evidence that they marched in step at all.
I believe the Romans drilled a lot more in the Post Maurian Roman army. Del, I'm not sure if they kept in step such as a modern army would but I have gut feeling they did. But it is something I am quite interested in and I will try and find out. All it takes, is some good Research. They did use their infantry in lines, usually four to eight, depending on the size of the enemy army. They would fight at the front until exhaustion problems. Then the second line moved to the front. Then the third, fourth and so on, and this proccess kept each fighting line in relatively good shape. They also used a medium sized spear and a rectangular shield. In spite of what the movies show, the gladius was used only when you lost your spear, which was looked down upon.
January 2nd, 2009  
mocco
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by papasha40
In spite of what the movies show, the gladius was used only when you lost your spear, which was looked down upon.
I always laugh when the movies, (mainly Hollywood), show the gladius being used as a slashing weapon as opposed to its historic use as a close-quarter stabbing weapon..............
January 2nd, 2009  
papasha40
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mocco
I always laugh when the movies, (mainly Hollywood), show the gladius being used as a slashing weapon as opposed to its historic use as a close-quarter stabbing weapon..............
Yes it was predominatly a close quarter stabbing weapon. Though I'm sure some soldiers hacked away with it. Especially those who had panicked.
 


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