• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  12. 12
    12

The Roman Army: Why were the Romans able to conquer and maintain such a large empire?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Latin GCSE Coursework The Roman Army: Why were the Romans able to conquer and maintain such a large empire? Introduction In this coursework I shall try to explain why the Romans were able to conquer and maintain such a large empire. To do this, I will examine the Roman Army in depth, explaining its format, chain of command, tactics, weapons and technology, which are still key factors in the success of an army today. I will also look at the Roman navy's role in this success. I chose to study this particular area because I think that there are many misconceptions about the Roman army in the world today - such as it being 'unbeatable'. The Legion Legions evolved from the Roman citizen militia which armed itself in times of crisis for the defence of the state. During the Second Punic War, Scipio reorganized the Roman army's divisions and improved its tactics. Under Marius 'men of no property' were recruited into the armed forces and a professional army appeared and new training methods were introduced. Ten cohortes with standards formed a named and numbered legion with an eagle standard. The cohortes, divided into six centuriae commanded by a centurio, became the main tactical unit of the army. Cavalry and auxiliaries supported each legion. Augustus established a standing army to man the frontiers of the empire. There appears to have been twenty-eight permanent legions, each having a number and an honorific title. Severus added three legions; Constantine increased the number but also severely limited the number of men to allow flexibility and avoid mutiny. Furthermore, he placed them under equestrian prefects instead of the traditional senatorial legates and replaced the eagle on their standards with a Christian symbol. On retirement, a veteran in the early days earned a land grant in a 'colony' where he continued to act as a Romanizing and pacifying influence and as an example of 'pietas' throughout the empire. ...read more.

Middle

The design of the fortress was based on a standard pattern. The main buildings, grouped in the centre, were the headquarters (principis), the living-quarters of the legatus (praetorium), the hospital (valetudinarium) and the granaries (horrea). The fortress was surrounded by a ditch, rampart and battlements with towers at the corners and at regular intervals along the sides. Each side had a fortified gateway. The principia was the heart of the legionary fortress and was therefore large, complex and impressive. It had a stone-flagged courtyard which was surrounded by a colonnade and storerooms. The basilica was the great hall where the commander worked with his officers, interviewed important locals and administered military justice. It was very large, being about 75m long and 24m wide. Its central nave, bounded by tall columns supporting the vaulted roof, was about 12m wide and the aisles on either side were about 6m wide. If each man stood shoulder to shoulder, it would have been possible to squeeze the whole legion into it. All this helped to impress the local rulers. In the centre of the far wall of the basilica was the most sacred place in the fortress: the saecellum or chapel. This housed the legion's standard, the aquila, an image of an eagle perched with outspread wings on the top of the pole. It was made of gold and in its talons it clutched a bundle of golden darts, representing Jupiter's thunderbolts. The aquila represented the 'spirit of the legion' and aroused feelings of intense loyalty and almost religious respect. Too lose it in battle was the worst possible disgrace and misfortune - it rarely happened. The soldier who looked after the aquila was always from the first cohort and carried it into battle. On either side of the saecellum were the rooms where the clerks kept the payrolls and attended to all the paperwork that was needed to run the legion. ...read more.

Conclusion

They were also the nearest Rome had to an official police force. Augustus established nine cohortes of about 500 each of these veterans, in and around Rome, later putting two prefects in command. This was expanded to twelve cohortes by Caligula and then to sixteen by Vitellius until the number of cohortes was fixed at ten towards the end of the 1st Century. It was consolidated as an elite corps: they were better paid than legionaries, served shorter engagements and had many privileges. Its prefects were often influential in political intrigue and imperial succession (at least four prefects became emperor). However, it was disbanded by Constantine in 312 AD. Conclusion The success of the Roman army was largely due to its discipline, its tactics and above all its versatility. The Roman legions were based on a clearly defined chain of command and a squad-based system. If isolated, a legionary would be vulnerable and dependant on his immediate surroundings for food. However, each legion (or even cohors) was relatively mobile, heavily protected and able to produce its own food, weapons and armour. A legion was very versatile, being able to build roads, forts, artillery and defences. This was one of the first instances where the army was used for activities other than fighting, occupying or controlling. This meant experienced troops could be retained, and soldiers could be given more training without it being uneconomical. The Roman army was dependant on discipline, technology and training, as are the leading armed forces today. This shows us that though the roman legion wouldn't be practical today, many of its ideals would be. Evaluation In this coursework I have explained how the Roman army became to be so successful. Most of my research on the auxiliaries, siege engines and the praetorian guard was knew to me, so I found these topics especially interesting. I am also quite surprised at the similarities in military ideology between then and now. I was unable to go on to the navy (though I did research this and found it interesting) due to lack of space. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. child development coursework visit 1

    "A child aged 2 can kick a large ball that is not moving" I used this milestone to see whether Harris is on target and is achieving what is expected of him. I noticed that Harris did not have very good hand-eye coordination as he kept missing the ball this could have been because the ball was too small.

  2. Alexander the Great: Battle of Gaugamela

    Alexander put a lot of trust in to Parmenio and he obviously believed he could deal with the pressure or he would not have placed him in the situation. Darius was still intent on using his cavalry on his left wing to attempt to get through Alexander's right wing to

  1. Science case study

    * Smokers have more colds and flu than non-smokers and find it harder to recover from minor illnesses. * Smoking can cause impotence in men, while women who smoke are less fertile than non-smokers. * People who smoke tend to have facial wrinkles appearing much earlier and, in general, look older than non-smokers of the same age.

  2. Assess the role of Themistocles in the Greek defeat of the Persians in 480 ...

    force proved a key factor in the defeat of the Persian forces in 480 - 479 BC. The Serpent Column indicates Spartan leadership of the Panhellenic League and, according to Dennett, "took the form of a golden tripod of three intertwined serpents on top of a bronze column", constructed at Delphi after the Greek victory at Platea.

  1. The forum is the most important part of Pompeii for Historians to understand what ...

    a lot of guests which would've been a normal occurrence, especially in the rich houses. In the House of the Faun, the owners were proud of their history, we know this by the mosaic of Alexander the Great, they also weren't shy about their sexual life, also due to the mosaics that they had.

  2. what was the purpose of hadrians wall.

    of the ditch, which ran centrally between the two banks and was separated from them by a thirty foot wide space or berm. The overall dimensions of the entire construct was 120 feet. Section Through The Vallum The vallum followed close behind the Wall for almost its entire length, being

  1. A day at the amphitheatre

    The murmillo was steadily moving backwards with Marcimus taking strike after strike on him until the murmillo fell over covered in blood from wounds. Marcimus kicked his sword and shield away and put his foot on his stomach raising his sword in the air screaming.

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    Thucydides wrote: ?The reason for this was that Pericles, because of his position, his intelligence, and his known integrity, could respect the liberty of the people and at the same time hold them in check. It was he who led them, rather than they who led him........? (Thucydides 2. 65)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work