History UsefulNotes / TheGloryThatWasRome

22nd Apr '16 11:20:51 AM nabu-san
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Alexander the Great is known to have turned an island into a peninsula because the inhabitants made him angry. Not be topped by some pansy Greek, the Legion built a mountain. Why? Because on another mountain there were some [[BadassIsraeli rebellious Israelites]], and Rome doesn't like rebels. More accurately, the rebels hid on top of a mountain--the famous Masada--creating for themselves an incredibly secure fortification. In order to root them out, the Legion built a ramp from ground level all the way to the top of the mountain. Then they killed the rebels (or would have, if they didn't [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled all commit suicide]]). If the mountain came to Mohammed, it may be because Rome brought it to him.

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Alexander the Great is known to have turned an island into a peninsula because the inhabitants made him angry. Not be topped by some pansy Greek, Macedonian, the Legion built a mountain. Why? Because on another mountain there were some [[BadassIsraeli rebellious Israelites]], and Rome doesn't like rebels. More accurately, the rebels hid on top of a mountain--the famous Masada--creating for themselves an incredibly secure fortification. In order to root them out, the Legion built a ramp from ground level all the way to the top of the mountain. Then they killed the rebels (or would have, if they didn't [[BetterToDieThanBeKilled all commit suicide]]). If the mountain came to Mohammed, it may be because Rome brought it to him.
11th Feb '16 2:41:54 PM 940131
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The Roman army was the [[BadassArmy Mother of All Badass Armies]]. Quite literally, in fact. The classic modern organization with hierarchies of standardized units and subunits was based on organization structures developed by Latinophile sixteenth and seventeenth century commanders who were consciously attempting to make a copycat. Thus, in fact, the curious sense of recognition a modern person might get on contemplating the Roman army is by no means accidental.

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The Roman army was the [[BadassArmy Mother of All Badass Armies]]. Quite literally, in fact. The classic modern organization with hierarchies of standardized units and subunits was based on organization structures developed by Latinophile Italophile sixteenth and seventeenth century commanders who were consciously attempting to make a copycat. Thus, in fact, the curious sense of recognition a modern person might get on contemplating the Roman army is by no means accidental.
4th Aug '15 7:04:54 PM phoenix
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!!In Exercitu Romano Troporum:

* AttackPatternAlpha: Romans set great store in careful formations.
* BadassArmy
** DoubleSubverted by the citizen cavalry ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the units of cavalry raised among Roman citizens]]): while Roman cavalry is [[OvershadowedByAwesome overshadowed by the fame of the infantry]] and often thought it was done away with because it wasn't up to task, back in the day it was the most prestigious branch because ''it was just that dangerous''. Its true moments of glory came with the Pyrrhic Wars, where they caught Pyrrhus (possibly the best commander of its time) by surprise and forced him in [[TropeNamer his]] [[PyrrhicVictory Pyrrhic Victories]] by regularly ''crushing'' his Thessalian cavalry (considered the ''best non-cataphract heavy cavalry in the world'' until then), and in the Roman-Syrian War, where they faced cataphracts (heavy cavalrymen equipped with lances and scale armour that covers the whole knight ''and'' the horse, with a clear advantage on non-cataphract heavy cavalry) and ''won''. The only one who could consistently defeat the Roman cavalry, [[GenreKiller and in fact was the cause for its decline and eventual disappearance]], was [[UsefulNotes/PunicWars Hannibal Barca]], who had the habit of facing it with larger numbers of Numidian cavalry (extremely skilled light cavalry equipped with javelins and long-running horses), that would avoid meelee while throwing javelins, thus causing so much losses to the ''equites'' (the social class Roman cavalry units were raised from) that eventually they were unable to replenish their numbers.
** ''[[{{Subverted}} Triple]]'' {{Subverted}} with ''late'' Roman cavalry (as the Late Roman Empire was eventually forced to raise cavalry units of its own). On one side, it has the fame of being the main arm of the Late Roman Army, and capable it was. On the other it has the fame of being formidable only in comparison to infantry that is (allegedly) inferior to its predecessor. On the third, the cavalry of the late Roman army, divided between light cavalry equipped with javelins and/or bows and arrows and heavy cataphracts (because it was a good idea, after all: medieval knights are nothing more that cataphracts made more effective by stirrups), was as dangerous to their opponents as the original citizen cavalry was to theirs, and the main trouble of the barbarians when facing the Romans was to find a way to not be simply trampled by a cavalry charge. On the fourth, more than once Roman cavalry was defeated due the barbarians finding an effective counter or just they themselves pulled something stupid, making the eventual victory more difficult than it should have been (as at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Strasbourg Argentoratum]], where the Romans had to fight a relatively difficult battle before [[CurbStompBattle ultimately triumphing]] instead of bitchslapping the Alamanni) or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Adrianople even causing crushing defeats]].
** BadassDecay: {{Subverted}}: while there's a widely-held belief the Late Roman Army was inferior to its predecessor due having been transformed into multiple bands of barbarians with no loyalty to Rome, the truth is that the Germanic soldiers in the army never went over the 21-23% of the total and, unless they were fighting against the specific clan of a soldier, loyal as any Roman if not more, and even the army of the Western Roman Empire, that had grown much weaker than its Eastern counterpart, remained a force to reckon with even [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Catalaunian_Plains just twenty years before the fall of the Western Empire]]. The only reason the Germanic peoples broke through was that a combination of economic crisis, civil wars, and [[ExecutiveMeddling emperors sabotaging potential rivals]] depleted the numbers of the army (already stretched thin by the wars against the Parthians first and the Sasanid Persians later), allowing some of them to break through (mostly for brief incursions, but near the end actually settling in Roman lands) forcing the Romans to ''allow'' them to cross the border, settle in and serve ''alongside'' the imperial army until a civil war too much only left the Germans to fight for the Western Empire.
* BootCampEpisode : The Romans didn't invent boot camp but they might as well have.
* {{Determinator}}: The entire point of the Cohort Legion was that it just 'kept going'. You could throw elephants, chariots, raging berserkers at it, but the front line would keep shoving forward, no matter what happened.
* DrillSergeantNasty: Your typical centurion. In particular, a centurion would carry a stick called a ''vitis'', as a sign of seniority, that he would use to beat his legionaries with regularly. The ''true'' DrillSergeantNasty, however, was the centurion known only as ''Cedo Alteram'', which means "Give me another," named so because when he'd beaten a soldier so hard his ''vitis'' broke, he'd ask for another ''vitis'' in order to continue the beating ([[spoiler:and not quite unlike [[Film/FullMetalJacket Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's]] eventual fate, his soldiers partook in a mutiny and killed him]]).
* TheEngineer: The Roman Army was noted for its skill in engineering. When it wasn't busy fighting it spent a lot of its time as a work crew.
** The famed Roman road network was, in fact, built expressly by and for the legions.
** A number of towns and cities in Italy and around the Mediterranean were originally built by and for the legions: when conquering a particularly rebellious area, the Romans would choose a site, kick out any previous inhabitant still alive, burn their homes and build a fortress on the model of the fortified camps they built and dismantled ''once per day'' during marches, replace the wooden palisade and tents with stone walls and homes as soon as possible, and use the place as base until pacification ensued, at which point they'd leave the place to civilians (or the legionaires themselves once discharged). Among the cities with this origin we have Belgrade (built as Singidunum on the site of a previous Celtic settlement), London (originally the Roman-built civilian settlement of Londinium, but still by the legions ''twice'', the second time after the original was burned down in Boudica's uprising) and ''Jerusalem'' (the Romans had razed the city in 70 AD during the repression of the Great Revolt, and emperor Hadrian had the city rebuilt as the fortress of Aelia Capitolina, banned to all Jews after the Bar Kokhba Revolt).
** They also ''built a mountain'' to serve as a ramp to reach an enemy fortress.
* GenreKiller: Confrontation with Rome brought to an end the use of WarElephants (after the first two encounters the Romans became ''very'' good at slaughtering them) and combat chariots ([[SpikedWheels scythed]] or otherwise) in the Western world. The scythed chariot had it particularly bad, as one battle saw them ''[[NoSell bounce away upon impact on the Roman shield wall]]'' ([[RefugeInAudacity the Romans had advanced so close to the chariots' rallying point they couldn't build up speed]]) and the legionaires slaughter their drivers before ''asking for more''.
* GloryHound: Command in the Roman Army grew to become very politicized. Many Generals used military service as a way to secure steps towards leadership in the Senate (both during the Republic and the Empire); to that end, there was often an emphasis put on making grandiose military achievements. Typically after a great military success a 'Triumph' (a big parade for the commanding general) was held in the capitol to celebrate it. Politicization of the military was eventually one of the major factors that led to the Empire's downfall as civil wars between generals wrestling for power weakened the Roman Legion.
* [[ILikeSwords I Like Gladii]]
* LostRomanLegion: For all their glory and prowess, the Roman legions weren't invincible, and their losses tended to be disastrous. The most famous lost legions are probably the three destroyed in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Teutoburg_Forest the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest]].
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Roman Legions emphasized the use of shields with its infantry to form shield walls that could easily hold off poorly equip barbarian hordes. They're particularly famous for the 'Testudo' (latin for Tortoise) formation, where legionnaires would form a roof of shields over the formation to protect it from arrows.
* MillionMookMarch: The Roman love flaunting their armies across the empire. Which is their way of showing off that their strength and to make citizens feel safe knowing that the army is there to protect them.
* PowerCopying: The Romans had an habit of adopting everything useful they encountered, even (and especially) if originally used by the enemy. Some of the things they copied from outside sources are the Manipular Legion (originally employed by the Samnites and adopted specifically to fight them on their own lands), the ''pilum'' (originally invented either by the Etruscans or the Gauls), the ''gladius'' (a modification of Celtic swords), the ''spatha'' (originally a Celtic cavalry sword, only made with the superior Roman steel), most types of torso armours except for the 'classic' ''lorica segmentata'' (various sources), the Imperial Gallic helmet (derived from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Gallic]] helmets), the late ridge helmet (originally Persian), the ricurve composite bow (found in the Middle East), mounted archers and cataphract cavalry (first met with the Seleucids but not adopted until the wars with Parthians and Sasanid Persians).
* ProudWarriorRace
* [[RainOfArrows Rain of Projectiles]]: Since the adoption of the Manipular Legion, the Romans ''loved'' raining pointy and blunt death on their enemies, in multiple ways depending on the period:
** The most famous implement is the ''pilum'', a shield-piercing javelin originally invented by the Gauls or the Etruscans and perfected by the Romans to bend on impact, thus making it impossible to extract in the heat of the battle and leaving the enemy with an unbalanced shield (assuming he wasn't killed outright or had a wounded arm when the javelin pierced the shield). In the early days it was used only by skirmishers, but with time was adopted also by the regular legions, who would throw a short but incredibly intense barrage of two ''pila'' on the enemy right before meelee, disorganizing the victims' formation, causing sudden losses and weakening the survivors mere seconds before the Romans entered shortsword distance. In spite of it lethality it wasn't ''that'' decisive, as the enemy first had to survive long enough to enter range and, as you'll see, that was a difficult proposition at best;
** Allied skirmishers were also equipped with bows and slings. Particularly prized were the ''Baleares'', slingers from the Balearic Islands so capable their name effectively became synonimous with ''funditores'' (the proper Latin term for slingers), and archers from Crete (especially between 218 BC to the late Republic), Anatolia, Thrace and, above all, Syria, all equipped with powerful composite recurve bows;
** In the late period the ''pila'' had been abandoned by the legion in favor of spears, but the Roman heavy infantry had not renounced to throw projectiles on the enemy. Instead, they would carry a number of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumbata plumbatae]]'', lead-weighted darts to throw in the enemy's face before meelee;
** The Late Roman Army also employed skirmishers. They kept the ''pilum'' in service before replacing it with the ''spiculum'' (a similar javelin with a shorter head) and the more traditional ''lancea'', but their main weapon was the recurve composite bow;
** Reserved for sieges, the Romans had the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheiroballistra manuballista]], a hand-held version of the ''ballista'' (see below). That is, a large siege crossbow;
** Throwing arrows and javelins at the enemy was not exclusive to the infantry: light auxiliary cavalry (based on the Numidian model) was rightly famous for their ability to overcome heavy cavalry with well-aimed javelins (as long as they remembered to keep distance: when not under Hannibal or Roman commanders, they had the bad habit of letting heavy cavalry close into meelee), and the Late Roman Army adopted mounted archers on the Parthian and Persian model;
** Finally (because Romans really ''loved'' lobbing things at the enemy, they also had the ''ballista'' (a catapult similar to a giant crossbow, capable of lobbying stones against the walls of enemy cities and giant arrows against enemy troops), the onager (a small but powerful catapult for sieges only) and the extremely feared ''scorpio'' (a smaller arrow-only ballista, capable of either a faster rate of fire of 4 arrows per minute to a distance of up to 400 meters or devastating sniping shots to up to 100 meters). The latter was the main reason coming into ''pilum'' range was such a difficult proposition: during the Roman Republic and the early Empire, a legion had ''60'' of them (one per ''centuria''), and not many enemies had the courage (or insanity) necessary to not break and run when the Romans started shooting so many giant arrows or suddenly impaled their leaders...
* RapePillageAndBurn: The Romans were usually generous [[ValuesDissonance for the standards of their time]], but if your city was a former ally or in rebellion then they became positively genocidal, with JuliusCaesar earning himsel fame of graceful winner when he ''cut the right hand of any and all able-bodied men of a Gaulish town'' before letting them go with their families and sacking the place. To put that in perspective, Roman standard procedure was to: if the city surrendered, leave it intact save for a number of hostages and a fine, with amounts of hostages and fine increasing for how much it took them to surrender from the start of the siege; if the city was stormed, the city was sacked and most elders killed, while the rest of the population was enslaved; if the city was a former ally or in rebellion, the elders and ''all able-bodied men'' were put to death and their women and children sold as slaves and the city was sacked and completely destroyed (this was the fate of Jerusalem, with the Romans leaving ''a single wall'' standing because they were feeling ''generous'' and wanted to leave the Jews at least a piece of their only temple where they could pray), and, if they felt particularly spiteful, they would consacrate the place to the Infernal Gods and [[SaltTheEarth sow salt on the site]] to signal that nobody was to rebuild the place. Then there was Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who, in the [[UsefulNotes/PunicWars Second Punic War]], [[UpToEleven went so overboard with the Sicilians]] that when he was named military governor of Sicily the locals sent envoys and ''begged'' the Senate to send him somewhere else, [[EvenEvilHasStandards and the Senate admitted they had a point and posted him in Apulia]].
* SergeantRock: The centurions were largely responsible for the Roman army's effectiveness, being responsible for training and discipline, and also providing leadership in battle.
* [[TheSpartanWay The Roman Way]]: Always present in some form, but emphasized after the Marian reforms (c. 107 BC). One particular example is that the gear Roman soldiers trained with was actually heavier than what they would use in combat so that their reaction times would be much quicker in the heat of battle.
* WeHaveReserves: During the republic, the Roman army's advantage was its huge manpower pool due to near-universal service and incorporation of allied troops. While Roman soldiers were the equal of any troops in the Mediterranean, Rome won many of its wars through sheer tenacity. The famous harsh discipline and tough training was more of a feature of the Marian and especially the Imperial army.
** Case in point: after the [[CurbstompBattle Battle of Cannae]], the ''entire'' Roman field army was wiped out and the Carthaginians under Hannibal were approaching the city. The Romans not only raised ''another army two or three times its size'' from the civilian population to fight on all the possible fronts at the same time (the newly-raised army was divided in six forces, one to defend Rome, one to harass Hannibal, one sent to ''Spain'' to open a second front and cut Hannibal's only way to receive reinforcements, one sent to Northern Italy to fight Hannibal's Gaulish allies, one sent to Southern Italy to bring back in the fold the Samnites and the Greek cities that had rebelled and joined Hannibal and one to Greece to fight the Macedons who had declared war when Rome was apparently about to collapse), ''and'' sent the survivors of Cannae into Sicily with orders to bring the rebellious cities of the island back into fold and to not return to Italy until Hannibal had left. And when the Carthaginians of Spain destroyed the forces deployed against them the survivors of Cannae (that had completed their job, as the Sicilians had surrendered after the destruction of Siracuse) were ''reinforced'' and sent to finish the job in Spain.
*** ''[[UpToEleven Then]]'' [[UpToEleven the Romans raised new troops to reinforce the survivors of Cannae and attack Carthage itself]]. And this ''without help from the other forces'': the army of Greece had won its war, but its forces had been split between the northern and southern armies to finish Hannibal's allies...
** In battle as well. Legion formations emphasized two things, flexible maneuvering and rotating combat. Maniples and cohorts would rotate men to the front as the front-liners got tired, eventually the second line would move up (thus the gaps) and start the whole thing over again. Fighting a legion was like being attacked by a giant food-processor (and that's without [[RainOfArrows all the pointy death they would rain on the victim as they came close). Most battles in ancient times were one-sidedly bloody (someone ran, you chased them and killed them), Roman civil war battles were notoriously bloody for both sides.
* YouDontLookLikeYou: When thinking to Roman soldiers, most people invariably imagine them like [[http://romanmilitary.net/images/guard4.jpg these reenactors]], no matter the period. In truth, Roman soldiers had different gear depending on the era, and, for a while, depending on how rich the soldier was (until the Marian reform, the soldiers were supposed to buy their own gear):
** Early Roman soldiers fought in an hoplitic phalanx, mutuated from the Etruscans. As such they were originally equipped like Greek hoplites, the only variations being the helmets (richer soldiers favored Greek models, but most would use [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Museo_guarnacci,_tomba_del_guerriero_di_poggio_alle_croci,_elmo_crestato_01.JPG this Etruscan model]], more often than not without the expensive crest) and the poorer soldiers using the traditional Italian chestplates as [[http://www.roma-victrix.com/armamentarium/img/loricae_pectoralis17b.jpg the ones in this image]], supported by mostly unarmored skirmishers equipped with bows and javelins;
** The first variation, going to the richest soldiers, was the introduction of alternative armors like the Gaulish chainmail (aquired through the Etruscans) and the Greek [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linothorax linothorax]];
** With the Sannitic Wars and the abandonement of the traditional phalanx, the legionaries replaced most of their spears with the famed ''pilae'' and adopted early models of the ''scutum''-except the ''scutum'' was originally oval. In the meantime, the Greek models of helmet had been mostly replaced by the Italic [[http://kultofathena.com/images/AH6050N.jpg Montefortino-type helmet]], and earlier swords had been replaced by the Greek [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopis kopis]];
** the UsefulNotes/PunicWars saw two changes: first, Scipio's legions aquired the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcata falcata]] (met in their Spain expedition), and later the Romans aquired their famed ''gladius'';
** With the Marian reform, the equipment is standardized: skirmishers disappear from the legion (the remaining ones are auxiliaries provided by allies and vassals), and all soldiers wear chainmail and the Montefortino helmet, and carry the oval ''scutum'', two ''pilae'' and the ''gladius'' (with the model depending on the period). This is Caesar's legionary;
** Late in the first century BC, the legionaries start adopting the tower ''scutum'', segmented armour and the Imperial Gallic helmet. This is the 'classic' legionary, with the segmented armour coexisting with mail (mostly used by centurions and those auxiliaries who fought the Roman way) and scale (centurions and officers) and the ''scutum'' with the round (or oval) ''clipeus'' (used by auxiliaries);
** In the third century, the segmented armour has disappeared due the high fabrication cost, the constant maintenance the soldiers had to provide and the great fatigue caused by wearing it not matching the benefits of increased arrow protection;
** By the fourth century the Romans have changed their tactics for a return to a phalanx-like formation, and the equipment has changed with them: scale armour has disappeared from infantry, javelins have returned to specialized skirmishers (who also carry a composite recurve bow) while standard infantry has resumed carrying spears, the ''gladius'' has been replaced by the longer ''spatha'' previously exclusive to the cavalry, the ''scutum'' has been replaced by the ''clipeus'', and the Imperial Gallic helmet has been phased out in favor of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Roman_ridge_helmet ridge helmets]];
** Officers were mostly constant, wearing the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_cuirass muscle cuirass]] (flanked by the scale armour from the first century CE) and the best helmet they could buy or the standard model depending on the period. They would either carry the standard infantry sword or the ''spatha'' depending on their branch;
** Cavalry too became constant from the introduction of chainmail, as they would wear it and the standard cavalry helmet and carry a ''spatha''. In the late period (and the Byzantine army), light cavalry would also be equipped with bow and arrows or javelins, while heavy cavalry would be equipped as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataphract cataphracts]].

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!!In Exercitu Romano Troporum:

* AttackPatternAlpha: Romans set great store
!!Tropes as portrayed in careful formations.
* BadassArmy
** DoubleSubverted by the citizen cavalry ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin the units of cavalry raised among Roman citizens]]): while Roman cavalry is [[OvershadowedByAwesome overshadowed by the fame of the infantry]] and often thought it was done away with because it wasn't up to task, back in the day it was the most prestigious branch because ''it was just that dangerous''. Its true moments of glory came with the Pyrrhic Wars, where they caught Pyrrhus (possibly the best commander of its time) by surprise and forced him in [[TropeNamer his]] [[PyrrhicVictory Pyrrhic Victories]] by regularly ''crushing'' his Thessalian cavalry (considered the ''best non-cataphract heavy cavalry in the world'' until then), and in the Roman-Syrian War, where they faced cataphracts (heavy cavalrymen equipped with lances and scale armour that covers the whole knight ''and'' the horse, with a clear advantage on non-cataphract heavy cavalry) and ''won''. The only one who could consistently defeat the Roman cavalry, [[GenreKiller and in fact was the cause for its decline and eventual disappearance]], was [[UsefulNotes/PunicWars Hannibal Barca]], who had the habit of facing it with larger numbers of Numidian cavalry (extremely skilled light cavalry equipped with javelins and long-running horses), that would avoid meelee while throwing javelins, thus causing so much losses to the ''equites'' (the social class Roman cavalry units were raised from) that eventually they were unable to replenish their numbers.
** ''[[{{Subverted}} Triple]]'' {{Subverted}} with ''late'' Roman cavalry (as the Late Roman Empire was eventually forced to raise cavalry units of its own). On one side, it has the fame of being the main arm of the Late Roman Army, and capable it was. On the other it has the fame of being formidable only in comparison to infantry that is (allegedly) inferior to its predecessor. On the third, the cavalry of the late Roman army, divided between light cavalry equipped with javelins and/or bows and arrows and heavy cataphracts (because it was a good idea, after all: medieval knights are nothing more that cataphracts made more effective by stirrups), was as dangerous to their opponents as the original citizen cavalry was to theirs, and the main trouble of the barbarians when facing the Romans was to find a way to not be simply trampled by a cavalry charge. On the fourth, more than once Roman cavalry was defeated due the barbarians finding an effective counter or just they themselves pulled something stupid, making the eventual victory more difficult than it should have been (as at [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Strasbourg Argentoratum]], where the Romans had to fight a relatively difficult battle before [[CurbStompBattle ultimately triumphing]] instead of bitchslapping the Alamanni) or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Adrianople even causing crushing defeats]].
** BadassDecay: {{Subverted}}: while there's a widely-held belief the Late Roman Army was inferior to its predecessor due having been transformed into multiple bands of barbarians with no loyalty to Rome, the truth is that the Germanic soldiers in the army never went over the 21-23% of the total and, unless they were fighting against the specific clan of a soldier, loyal as any Roman if not more, and even the army of the Western Roman Empire, that had grown much weaker than its Eastern counterpart, remained a force to reckon with even [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Catalaunian_Plains just twenty years before the fall of the Western Empire]]. The only reason the Germanic peoples broke through was that a combination of economic crisis, civil wars, and [[ExecutiveMeddling emperors sabotaging potential rivals]] depleted the numbers of the army (already stretched thin by the wars against the Parthians first and the Sasanid Persians later), allowing some of them to break through (mostly for brief incursions, but near the end actually settling in Roman lands) forcing the Romans to ''allow'' them to cross the border, settle in and serve ''alongside'' the imperial army until a civil war too much only left the Germans to fight for the Western Empire.
* BootCampEpisode : The Romans didn't invent boot camp but they might as well have.
* {{Determinator}}: The entire point of the Cohort Legion was that it just 'kept going'. You could throw elephants, chariots, raging berserkers at it, but the front line would keep shoving forward, no matter what happened.
* DrillSergeantNasty: Your typical centurion. In particular, a centurion would carry a stick called a ''vitis'', as a sign of seniority, that he would use to beat his legionaries with regularly. The ''true'' DrillSergeantNasty, however, was the centurion known only as ''Cedo Alteram'', which means "Give me another," named so because when he'd beaten a soldier so hard his ''vitis'' broke, he'd ask for another ''vitis'' in order to continue the beating ([[spoiler:and not quite unlike [[Film/FullMetalJacket Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's]] eventual fate, his soldiers partook in a mutiny and killed him]]).
* TheEngineer: The Roman Army was noted for its skill in engineering. When it wasn't busy fighting it spent a lot of its time as a work crew.
** The famed Roman road network was, in fact, built expressly by and for the legions.
** A number of towns and cities in Italy and around the Mediterranean were originally built by and for the legions: when conquering a particularly rebellious area, the Romans would choose a site, kick out any previous inhabitant still alive, burn their homes and build a fortress on the model of the fortified camps they built and dismantled ''once per day'' during marches, replace the wooden palisade and tents with stone walls and homes as soon as possible, and use the place as base until pacification ensued, at which point they'd leave the place to civilians (or the legionaires themselves once discharged). Among the cities with this origin we have Belgrade (built as Singidunum on the site of a previous Celtic settlement), London (originally the Roman-built civilian settlement of Londinium, but still by the legions ''twice'', the second time after the original was burned down in Boudica's uprising) and ''Jerusalem'' (the Romans had razed the city in 70 AD during the repression of the Great Revolt, and emperor Hadrian had the city rebuilt as the fortress of Aelia Capitolina, banned to all Jews after the Bar Kokhba Revolt).
** They also ''built a mountain'' to serve as a ramp to reach an enemy fortress.
* GenreKiller: Confrontation with Rome brought to an end the use of WarElephants (after the first two encounters the Romans became ''very'' good at slaughtering them) and combat chariots ([[SpikedWheels scythed]] or otherwise) in the Western world. The scythed chariot had it particularly bad, as one battle saw them ''[[NoSell bounce away upon impact on the Roman shield wall]]'' ([[RefugeInAudacity the Romans had advanced so close to the chariots' rallying point they couldn't build up speed]]) and the legionaires slaughter their drivers before ''asking for more''.
* GloryHound: Command in the Roman Army grew to become very politicized. Many Generals used military service as a way to secure steps towards leadership in the Senate (both during the Republic and the Empire); to that end, there was often an emphasis put on making grandiose military achievements. Typically after a great military success a 'Triumph' (a big parade for the commanding general) was held in the capitol to celebrate it. Politicization of the military was eventually one of the major factors that led to the Empire's downfall as civil wars between generals wrestling for power weakened the Roman Legion.
* [[ILikeSwords I Like Gladii]]
* LostRomanLegion: For all their glory and prowess, the Roman legions weren't invincible, and their losses tended to be disastrous. The most famous lost legions are probably the three destroyed in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Teutoburg_Forest the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest]].
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Roman Legions emphasized the use of shields with its infantry to form shield walls that could easily hold off poorly equip barbarian hordes. They're particularly famous for the 'Testudo' (latin for Tortoise) formation, where legionnaires would form a roof of shields over the formation to protect it from arrows.
* MillionMookMarch: The Roman love flaunting their armies across the empire. Which is their way of showing off that their strength and to make citizens feel safe knowing that the army is there to protect them.
* PowerCopying: The Romans had an habit of adopting everything useful they encountered, even (and especially) if originally used by the enemy. Some of the things they copied from outside sources are the Manipular Legion (originally employed by the Samnites and adopted specifically to fight them on their own lands), the ''pilum'' (originally invented either by the Etruscans or the Gauls), the ''gladius'' (a modification of Celtic swords), the ''spatha'' (originally a Celtic cavalry sword, only made with the superior Roman steel), most types of torso armours except for the 'classic' ''lorica segmentata'' (various sources), the Imperial Gallic helmet (derived from [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Gallic]] helmets), the late ridge helmet (originally Persian), the ricurve composite bow (found in the Middle East), mounted archers and cataphract cavalry (first met with the Seleucids but not adopted until the wars with Parthians and Sasanid Persians).
* ProudWarriorRace
* [[RainOfArrows Rain of Projectiles]]: Since the adoption of the Manipular Legion, the Romans ''loved'' raining pointy and blunt death on their enemies, in multiple ways depending on the period:
** The most famous implement is the ''pilum'', a shield-piercing javelin originally invented by the Gauls or the Etruscans and perfected by the Romans to bend on impact, thus making it impossible to extract in the heat of the battle and leaving the enemy with an unbalanced shield (assuming he wasn't killed outright or had a wounded arm when the javelin pierced the shield). In the early days it was used only by skirmishers, but with time was adopted also by the regular legions, who would throw a short but incredibly intense barrage of two ''pila'' on the enemy right before meelee, disorganizing the victims' formation, causing sudden losses and weakening the survivors mere seconds before the Romans entered shortsword distance. In spite of it lethality it wasn't ''that'' decisive, as the enemy first had to survive long enough to enter range and, as you'll see, that was a difficult proposition at best;
** Allied skirmishers were also equipped with bows and slings. Particularly prized were the ''Baleares'', slingers from the Balearic Islands so capable their name effectively became synonimous with ''funditores'' (the proper Latin term for slingers), and archers from Crete (especially between 218 BC to the late Republic), Anatolia, Thrace and, above all, Syria, all equipped with powerful composite recurve bows;
** In the late period the ''pila'' had been abandoned by the legion in favor of spears, but the Roman heavy infantry had not renounced to throw projectiles on the enemy. Instead, they would carry a number of ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plumbata plumbatae]]'', lead-weighted darts to throw in the enemy's face before meelee;
** The Late Roman Army also employed skirmishers. They kept the ''pilum'' in service before replacing it with the ''spiculum'' (a similar javelin with a shorter head) and the more traditional ''lancea'', but their main weapon was the recurve composite bow;
** Reserved for sieges, the Romans had the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheiroballistra manuballista]], a hand-held version of the ''ballista'' (see below). That is, a large siege crossbow;
** Throwing arrows and javelins at the enemy was not exclusive to the infantry: light auxiliary cavalry (based on the Numidian model) was rightly famous for their ability to overcome heavy cavalry with well-aimed javelins (as long as they remembered to keep distance: when not under Hannibal or Roman commanders, they had the bad habit of letting heavy cavalry close into meelee), and the Late Roman Army adopted mounted archers on the Parthian and Persian model;
** Finally (because Romans really ''loved'' lobbing things at the enemy, they also had the ''ballista'' (a catapult similar to a giant crossbow, capable of lobbying stones against the walls of enemy cities and giant arrows against enemy troops), the onager (a small but powerful catapult for sieges only) and the extremely feared ''scorpio'' (a smaller arrow-only ballista, capable of either a faster rate of fire of 4 arrows per minute to a distance of up to 400 meters or devastating sniping shots to up to 100 meters). The latter was the main reason coming into ''pilum'' range was such a difficult proposition: during the Roman Republic and the early Empire, a legion had ''60'' of them (one per ''centuria''), and not many enemies had the courage (or insanity) necessary to not break and run when the Romans started shooting so many giant arrows or suddenly impaled their leaders...
* RapePillageAndBurn: The Romans were usually generous [[ValuesDissonance for the standards of their time]], but if your city was a former ally or in rebellion then they became positively genocidal, with JuliusCaesar earning himsel fame of graceful winner when he ''cut the right hand of any and all able-bodied men of a Gaulish town'' before letting them go with their families and sacking the place. To put that in perspective, Roman standard procedure was to: if the city surrendered, leave it intact save for a number of hostages and a fine, with amounts of hostages and fine increasing for how much it took them to surrender from the start of the siege; if the city was stormed, the city was sacked and most elders killed, while the rest of the population was enslaved; if the city was a former ally or in rebellion, the elders and ''all able-bodied men'' were put to death and their women and children sold as slaves and the city was sacked and completely destroyed (this was the fate of Jerusalem, with the Romans leaving ''a single wall'' standing because they were feeling ''generous'' and wanted to leave the Jews at least a piece of their only temple where they could pray), and, if they felt particularly spiteful, they would consacrate the place to the Infernal Gods and [[SaltTheEarth sow salt on the site]] to signal that nobody was to rebuild the place. Then there was Marcus Claudius Marcellus, who, in the [[UsefulNotes/PunicWars Second Punic War]], [[UpToEleven went so overboard with the Sicilians]] that when he was named military governor of Sicily the locals sent envoys and ''begged'' the Senate to send him somewhere else, [[EvenEvilHasStandards and the Senate admitted they had a point and posted him in Apulia]].
* SergeantRock: The centurions were largely responsible for the Roman army's effectiveness, being responsible for training and discipline, and also providing leadership in battle.
* [[TheSpartanWay The Roman Way]]: Always present in some form, but emphasized after the Marian reforms (c. 107 BC). One particular example is that the gear Roman soldiers trained with was actually heavier than what they would use in combat so that their reaction times would be much quicker in the heat of battle.
* WeHaveReserves: During the republic, the Roman army's advantage was its huge manpower pool due to near-universal service and incorporation of allied troops. While Roman soldiers were the equal of any troops in the Mediterranean, Rome won many of its wars through sheer tenacity. The famous harsh discipline and tough training was more of a feature of the Marian and especially the Imperial army.
** Case in point: after the [[CurbstompBattle Battle of Cannae]], the ''entire'' Roman field army was wiped out and the Carthaginians under Hannibal were approaching the city. The Romans not only raised ''another army two or three times its size'' from the civilian population to fight on all the possible fronts at the same time (the newly-raised army was divided in six forces, one to defend Rome, one to harass Hannibal, one sent to ''Spain'' to open a second front and cut Hannibal's only way to receive reinforcements, one sent to Northern Italy to fight Hannibal's Gaulish allies, one sent to Southern Italy to bring back in the fold the Samnites and the Greek cities that had rebelled and joined Hannibal and one to Greece to fight the Macedons who had declared war when Rome was apparently about to collapse), ''and'' sent the survivors of Cannae into Sicily with orders to bring the rebellious cities of the island back into fold and to not return to Italy until Hannibal had left. And when the Carthaginians of Spain destroyed the forces deployed against them the survivors of Cannae (that had completed their job, as the Sicilians had surrendered after the destruction of Siracuse) were ''reinforced'' and sent to finish the job in Spain.
*** ''[[UpToEleven Then]]'' [[UpToEleven the Romans raised new troops to reinforce the survivors of Cannae and attack Carthage itself]]. And this ''without help from the other forces'': the army of Greece had won its war, but its forces had been split between the northern and southern armies to finish Hannibal's allies...
** In battle as well. Legion formations emphasized two things, flexible maneuvering and rotating combat. Maniples and cohorts would rotate men to the front as the front-liners got tired, eventually the second line would move up (thus the gaps) and start the whole thing over again. Fighting a legion was like being attacked by a giant food-processor (and that's without [[RainOfArrows all the pointy death they would rain on the victim as they came close). Most battles in ancient times were one-sidedly bloody (someone ran, you chased them and killed them), Roman civil war battles were notoriously bloody for both sides.
fiction:

* YouDontLookLikeYou: When thinking to of Roman soldiers, most people invariably imagine them like [[http://romanmilitary.net/images/guard4.jpg these reenactors]], no matter the period. In truth, Roman soldiers had different gear depending on the era, and, for a while, depending on how rich the soldier was (until the Marian reform, the soldiers were supposed to buy their own gear):
** Early Roman soldiers fought in an hoplitic phalanx, mutuated from the Etruscans. As such they were originally equipped like Greek hoplites, the only variations being the helmets (richer soldiers favored Greek models, but most would use [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/85/Museo_guarnacci,_tomba_del_guerriero_di_poggio_alle_croci,_elmo_crestato_01.JPG this Etruscan model]], more often than not without the expensive crest) and the poorer soldiers using the traditional Italian chestplates as [[http://www.roma-victrix.com/armamentarium/img/loricae_pectoralis17b.jpg the ones in this image]], supported by mostly unarmored skirmishers equipped with bows and javelins;
** The first variation, going to the richest soldiers, was the introduction of alternative armors like the Gaulish chainmail (aquired through the Etruscans) and the Greek [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linothorax linothorax]];
** With the Sannitic Wars and the abandonement of the traditional phalanx, the legionaries replaced most of their spears with the famed ''pilae'' and adopted early models of the ''scutum''-except the ''scutum'' was originally oval. In the meantime, the Greek models of helmet had been mostly replaced by the Italic [[http://kultofathena.com/images/AH6050N.jpg Montefortino-type helmet]], and earlier swords had been replaced by the Greek [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopis kopis]];
** the UsefulNotes/PunicWars saw two changes: first, Scipio's legions aquired the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcata falcata]] (met in their Spain expedition), and later the Romans aquired their famed ''gladius'';
** With the Marian reform, the equipment is standardized: skirmishers disappear from the legion (the remaining ones are auxiliaries provided by allies and vassals), and all soldiers wear chainmail and the Montefortino helmet, and carry the oval ''scutum'', two ''pilae'' and the ''gladius'' (with the model depending on the period). This is Caesar's legionary;
** Late in the first century BC, the legionaries start adopting the tower ''scutum'', segmented armour and the Imperial Gallic helmet. This is the 'classic' legionary, with the segmented armour coexisting with mail (mostly used by centurions and those auxiliaries who fought the Roman way) and scale (centurions and officers) and the ''scutum'' with the round (or oval) ''clipeus'' (used by auxiliaries);
** In the third century, the segmented armour has disappeared due the high fabrication cost, the constant maintenance the soldiers had to provide and the great fatigue caused by wearing it not matching the benefits of increased arrow protection;
** By the fourth century the Romans have changed their tactics for a return to a phalanx-like formation, and the equipment has changed with them: scale armour has disappeared from infantry, javelins have returned to specialized skirmishers (who also carry a composite recurve bow) while standard infantry has resumed carrying spears, the ''gladius'' has been replaced by the longer ''spatha'' previously exclusive to the cavalry, the ''scutum'' has been replaced by the ''clipeus'', and the Imperial Gallic helmet has been phased out in favor of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Roman_ridge_helmet ridge helmets]];
** Officers were mostly constant, wearing the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_cuirass muscle cuirass]] (flanked by the scale armour from the first century CE) and the best helmet they could buy or the standard model depending on the period. They would either carry the standard infantry sword or the ''spatha'' depending on their branch;
** Cavalry too became constant from the introduction of chainmail, as they would wear it and the standard cavalry helmet and carry a ''spatha''. In the late period (and the Byzantine army), light cavalry would also be equipped with bow and arrows or javelins, while heavy cavalry would be equipped as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cataphract cataphracts]].
10th Jul '15 12:50:56 AM direguy
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10th Jul '15 12:50:38 AM direguy
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* MillionMookMarch: The Roman love flaunting their armies across the empire. Which isvtheir way of showing off that their strength and to makw citizens feel safe knowing that the army is there to protect them.

to:

* MillionMookMarch: The Roman love flaunting their armies across the empire. Which isvtheir is their way of showing off that their strength and to makw make citizens feel safe knowing that the army is there to protect them.
31st May '15 2:19:44 AM direguy
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* MillionMookMarch

to:

* MillionMookMarchMillionMookMarch: The Roman love flaunting their armies across the empire. Which isvtheir way of showing off that their strength and to makw citizens feel safe knowing that the army is there to protect them.
20th May '15 12:11:18 PM erforce
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* DrillSergeantNasty: Your typical centurion. In particular, a centurion would carry a stick called a ''vitis'', as a sign of seniority, that he would use to beat his legionaries with regularly. The ''true'' DrillSergeantNasty, however, was the centurion known only as ''Cedo Alteram'', which means "Give me another," named so because when he'd beaten a soldier so hard his ''vitis'' broke, he'd ask for another ''vitis'' in order to continue the beating ([[spoiler:and not quite unlike [[FullMetalJacket Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's]] eventual fate, his soldiers partook in a mutiny and killed him]]).

to:

* DrillSergeantNasty: Your typical centurion. In particular, a centurion would carry a stick called a ''vitis'', as a sign of seniority, that he would use to beat his legionaries with regularly. The ''true'' DrillSergeantNasty, however, was the centurion known only as ''Cedo Alteram'', which means "Give me another," named so because when he'd beaten a soldier so hard his ''vitis'' broke, he'd ask for another ''vitis'' in order to continue the beating ([[spoiler:and not quite unlike [[FullMetalJacket [[Film/FullMetalJacket Gunnery Sergeant Hartman's]] eventual fate, his soldiers partook in a mutiny and killed him]]).
10th Apr '15 6:52:25 AM LordOfTheSword
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->''Lays of Ancient Rome'' by Sir Thomas Maculay.

to:

->''Lays -->''Lays of Ancient Rome'' by Sir Thomas Maculay.
6th Mar '15 2:22:36 PM EDP
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** In battle as well. Legion formations emphasized two things, flexible maneuvering and rotating combat. Cohorts would rotate men to the front as the front-liners got tired, eventually the second line would move up (thus the gaps) and start the whole thing over again. Fighting a Legion was like being attacked by a giant food-processor. Most battles in ancient times were one-sidedly bloody (someone ran, you chased them and killed them), Roman civil war battles were notoriously bloody for both sides.

to:

** In battle as well. Legion formations emphasized two things, flexible maneuvering and rotating combat. Cohorts Maniples and cohorts would rotate men to the front as the front-liners got tired, eventually the second line would move up (thus the gaps) and start the whole thing over again. Fighting a Legion legion was like being attacked by a giant food-processor.food-processor (and that's without [[RainOfArrows all the pointy death they would rain on the victim as they came close). Most battles in ancient times were one-sidedly bloody (someone ran, you chased them and killed them), Roman civil war battles were notoriously bloody for both sides.
6th Mar '15 2:20:02 PM EDP
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** Finally (because Romans really ''loved'' lobbing things at the enemy, they also had the ''ballista'' (a catapult similar to a giant crossbow, capable of lobbying stones against the walls of enemy cities and giant arrows against enemy troops), the onager (a small but powerful catapult for sieges only) and the extremely feared ''scorpio'' (a smaller arrow-only ballista, capable of either a faster rate of fire to up to 400 meters or devastating sniping shots to up to 100 meters. During the Roman Republic and the early Empire, a legion had ''60'' of them, one per ''centuria'').

to:

** Finally (because Romans really ''loved'' lobbing things at the enemy, they also had the ''ballista'' (a catapult similar to a giant crossbow, capable of lobbying stones against the walls of enemy cities and giant arrows against enemy troops), the onager (a small but powerful catapult for sieges only) and the extremely feared ''scorpio'' (a smaller arrow-only ballista, capable of either a faster rate of fire of 4 arrows per minute to a distance of up to 400 meters or devastating sniping shots to up to 100 meters. During meters). The latter was the main reason coming into ''pilum'' range was such a difficult proposition: during the Roman Republic and the early Empire, a legion had ''60'' of them, one them (one per ''centuria'').''centuria''), and not many enemies had the courage (or insanity) necessary to not break and run when the Romans started shooting so many giant arrows or suddenly impaled their leaders...
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