Roman Army : What Made this Army Great.

Romans: Great or Not Great?

  • Ive Seen Better Soldiers in my Toy Box!

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Mark Conley

Active member
We seem to be stuck in the 20th century...and I know that there was more to military history than WW I and WW II.

The new subject to talk about is the Roman Army. Just what was it about the Roman army that enabled it to take over just about all of the known world, and hold it for almost 400 Years?

Get them brains working in another direction folks. Oh yes...

My slant on the Romans? They had an organized salary system for the soldiers, with an actual retirement with pay for their loyal service! Non-eroding benefits! Thats what made em great!

Mark Conley said:
They had an organized salary system for the soldiers, with an actual retirement with pay for their loyal service! Non-eroding benefits! Thats what made em great!
That's part of it. I think discipline and professionalism were the keys. They had better tactics then anyone around at that time. That's another ting you need to be great, no one that's greater then you are....
Which Roman army? Pre or post the Marius reforms? The post Marius reforms was an excellent army, uniformly equipped with armour, weapons, etc.

Must have been an impressive, and fearsome, sight for most oponents where perhaps only chieftains had that kind of gear, to face an army where everyone carry sutch kit.
another factor that made them great - training - the only army of that time that I know in which the recruits were trained to fight before they get into battle - also the legions carried out trainings in the camps.
also the organized command during battles - romans won mostly due to the organized conduct of battle IMO - the most other armies they met were the kind to which tactics were unknown concept and whose commanders just throw their men into the fight and hoped they'll win by bigger numbers.

the fact they had good armour, they used all there service arms in harmony with each other.
and they would take in good fighters from previous enemys to use as axuillary troops.
also they were well trained.
They were greatly organized when it came to battle. Other than the typical way nations use to fight, just charge at each other in large groups and hope for the best, they invented regiments and fought orderly. This is what made them so great. Also how they held nothing back, you dare speak against Rome, they used everything in their power to kill you.
yeah, quality equipment added great to what was the roman army - their standard heavy infantry was what the german heavy panzers were during WW2 :tank:
P.S> my most liked piece of equipmwent of the roman legioner is the spear ( or was it javelin?!) after throwing them the enemy lines had to continue fighting mostly without shields :twisted:
I think we have hit all the big ones (at least for the post Marius Army - these guys were professional, full time soldiers, not militia):

Discipline - absolute control by the centurions over their troops
Organization - flexible system of cohorts was much better than the old maniple system.
Combined Arms - infantry, cavalry, archers, engineers and artillery.
Tactics - much better than anyone else's.
Equipment - superior gear (arms and armor) thoughout the Late Republic and Imperial period until late in the Army's history. xopxe1, the weapon you refer to is the Pilum, which was more of a javelin than a spear. The Roman Army did make use of spears on more than one occasion, which is the Hasta or thrusting spear.

The Romans just did it better than anyone else. :)
Tell me something, if the Romans had all of that, BUT LOST ever single battle they fought in would they still be great?

The only reason they're great is because they WON. To all the spoils go the victor.
Tell me something, if the Romans had all of that, BUT LOST ever single battle they fought in would they still be great?

Of course not! If that had been the case, then the Roman Republic would never have gotten very far and the Empire would not have existed - what a strange question. :?
Its not a strange question; it just has an obviously blatant answer. The whole point of this thread is about what made the romans great is it not? Yes, well then i just answered your question (and my own as well). ;)
OK, sorry. I tend to be a bit slow when I'm not feeling very rested and the training this past weekend (it was our IDT) was a bit tiring.
Apology accepted. To any obcessive complusive, perfectionist insomiacs, I know this is hard for u, but GET SOME SLEEP.

Back on topic. i donno, the romans were great for alot of reasons.
man I'm a history major, and I just took a whole class on the rise of the western civilization, from the greeks to the romans and on, and honestly, I don't think we ever discussed WHY the Romans were so good... :shock:
You know, it might be worth the time to ask your professor/instructor/teacher why that is ;)

I more rested now thank you - can you tell?
This requires a very long answer, to make a long answer shotish, it was discipline and technology, at the beginning of the Roman Empire they had the most advanced weapons in the world, by the end the rest of the world had caught up. Their troops were very well disciplined too, and they were very heavily armed, but that was used against them by the Visigoths, they encircled the Romans and pushed their flanks together, the Romans hod no room to manuever, no room to fight, they were trying to kill the enemy but they were so close they couldn't even take a full swing or they would have caught their own troops with the tips of their sword.

I think discipline was the deciding factor, they were very well disciplined and that was something few other nations in the world had at the time, maybe the Persains and later the Huns followed by the Visigoths. I foget the name of this thing, but I think it was Cassius who after losing a series of crushing defeats to Spartacus had one in 10 men beat to death by his fellow soldiers, they now knew what would happen if they fled from battle. See, discipline.
The term i think you are looking for is decimate. 1 in 10: one tenth gets the ax, the other 9/10 get the idea... :D