Greece and Rome at War

Roman Warfare
March 8, 2015 – 10:51 am
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Roman Victory (CA)Over many centuries and across many territories the Romans were able to win an astonishing number of military victories and their success was due to several important factors. Italy was a peninsula not easily attacked, there was a huge pool of fighting men to draw upon, a disciplined and innovative army, a centralised command and line of supply, expert engineers, effective diplomacy through a network of allies, and an inclusive approach to conquered peoples which allowed for the strengthening and broadening of the Roman power and logistical bases. Further, her allies not only supplied, equipped and paid for additional men but they also supplied vital materials such as grain and ships. On top of all this Rome was more or less in a continuous state of war or readiness for it and believed absolutely in the necessity of defending and imposing on others what she firmly believed was her cultural superiority.

Ready For War

In Roman culture martial values were highly regarded and war was a source of prestige for the ruling class where career progression came from successful military endeavour. Indeed, conflict in Roman culture went right back to the origins of Rome and the mythical battle between Romulus and Remus. This thirst for war combined with what Polybius stated as 'inexhaustible resources in supplies and men' meant that Rome would become a terrible and formidable foe for the peoples of the Mediterranean and beyond. However, there were also times when Romans more than met their match - such as against Carthage, Parthia and the Germanic tribes - or when Romans fought Romans such as the civil wars between Julius Caesar and Pompey or Vitellius against Otho, and then the carnage of ancient warfare reached even greater proportions.

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