Why Was the Roman Army so Successful?
Why was the Roman Army so Successful? Throughout the years the roman army conquered most of Europe and lands all over the world, making them one of the most successful armies of their time. This essay will explain some of the things that made them so successful such as organization, discipline and weapons. The Roman soldiers were always well equipped for battle. They had a short sword, a dagger, a spear, flexible armour, and a helmet. As well as the weapons the solders carried, there were other weapons such as the catapult used to throw huge rocks at the opponent.
The army fought off all of Rome’s enemies, such as the Persians and the Germans. The Roman army was also a police force. They dealt with rebels, bandits, and gave peace to Rome’s subjects. Rome’s legions were its first-class troops. A legion was a force of 5 000 soldiers on foot. They were commanded by a legate, which was divided into cohorts of about 500 men, and centuries of 80 man. The centurion was the officer in charge of a century. The legions were made up of men from Italy. Not many would be from Rome.
The Romans were highly skilled in battle. The weapons and tactics they used were no different from other armies but the main reason why they were so skilled was because they were very well disciplined. For example, a Roman soldier would never run from a battlefield. Also, before battle the Romans would line up their forces with the legion in the centre and cavalry and auxiliaries on either side. They did this so they could march forward until they were about twenty meters from their enemies, they then threw their javelins at them.
Their plan was that before their oppositions had time to recover from being hit, they charged at them with their swords. With their swords and shields they would try and knock a hole in the enemy’s line-up and work their way outwards from there. Often archers or slingers were used to cause chaos in the enemy ranks before the soldiers would charge. The men in the Roman army were fit and tough as sometimes the Roman soldiers linked shields over their heads to form a testudo, which means tortoise in Latin.
They did this because it protected them from attack from above. The soldiers trained to form a strong testudos by having chariots driven at them. They also trained with armour which was twice as heavy as the ones they actually used in battle. They army was very strong and healthy because they were fed very well, unlike most people of their time. They got a ration of pork fat, barley each day, with extra meat and vegetables if they were lucky. All the men did their own cooking. From time to time, they made bread, but mostly they had a kind of stew.
The Romans were brilliant at fighting on battlefields, but they spent much more of their time attacking the enemy bases which had been fortified. Fortified meant that the enemy bases were made stronger by using walls and ditches making them harder to destroy. The Romans had very effective ways and weapons for attacking fortifications like these. They used weapons like battering rams were used to weaken the walls. Most of the rams they used were just made from tree trunks which were strengthened with a metal head and suspended from ropes inside a shed big enough to hold just about thirty men.
The shed was only there to protect all the soldiers as they attacked the walls. They also used siege towers, which were tall towers pushed up right against the walls of the oppositions fortification. From the top, the soldiers would throw their javelins and attempt to climb over the walls, whereas below the other soldiers would use the battering rams to attack the walls. Roman soldiers had to be builders and engineers as well as fighters. A legion built their own roads and bridges. Its craftsmen repaired its armour and weapons. It even made its own cooking-pots and roof tiles.