The armies and enemies of Imperial Rome: organisation, tactics, dress and weapons, 150 BC to 600 AD

Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome
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Hardback; boards dented, pages yellowed and lightly foxed otherwise good in faded, yellowed and price-clipped dustjacket. By: Featherstone, D. Hardback; foxing to edge of pages otherwise good in faded and yellowed dustjacket. With suggestions on their reconstruction for war games.

Roman Warfare - Ancient History Encyclopedia

Publisher: Wargames Research Group: Revised Third Edition. Paperback; yellowing to edge of pages, a few marks and creases, otherwise good in creased, chipped, and yellowed card covers.

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Paperback; tape to corners of covers, previous owner's name and sticker to interior of cover, blemish to edge of pages otherwise good in yellowed and creased card covers. New paperback copies. A simple guide to the forces involved, army organization, tactics and equipment. Advice on choosing your rules. With a range of scenarios. Card-driven system requires no dice. Publisher: Rapid Fire Publications: New paperback copies; For use with 'Rapid Fire! By: Charlton, C. Publisher: Great Escape Games: Publisher: Osprey Games: New hardback copies at a reduced price.

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Alongside these were a mass of irregular non-Italian allied units whose command, size and equipment varied greatly. Some allied units came from provinces within the empire, others from beyond the imperial borders. The first priority was to reduce the number of legions to a sustainable level. The Emperor retained just over half his legions, disbanding the rest and settling their veterans in no less than 28 new Roman colonies.

Unlike the Republican legions, which were, in theory at least, temporary citizen-levies for the duration of particular wars, Augustus and his right-hand man Agrippa clearly envisioned their legions as permanent units composed of career professionals. Under the late Republic, a Roman citizen iunior i. The average number of years served was about ten. In 13 BC, Augustus decreed sixteen years as the standard term of service for legionary recruits, with a further four years as reservists evocati.

In AD 5, the standard term was increased to twenty years plus five years in the reserves. On Augustus' death in AD 14, the legions stationed on the rivers Rhine and Danube staged major mutinies, and demanded, among other things, reinstatement of a sixteen-year term. This could lead to disaffection if they left families behind. But from about AD onwards, when most legions were based long-term in the same frontier-province and recruitment was primarily local, the prohibition of marriage became a legal encumbrance that was largely ignored.

Many legionaries formed stable relationships and brought up families. Their sons, although illegitimate in Roman law and thus unable to inherit their fathers' citizenship, were nevertheless frequently admitted to legions. At the same time, the traditional grant of land to retiring veterans was made replaceable by a cash discharge bonus, as there was no longer sufficient state-owned land ager publicus in Italy to distribute.

Unlike the Republic, which had relied primarily on conscription i. In AD 5, the discharge bonus was set at 3, denarii. Augustus modified the command structure of the legion to reflect its new permanent, professional nature.

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London: British Museum Press. However, this advantage was when their opponents retired for a breather. Lorica segmentata : Modern tests have shown that this lorica provided better protection to weapon-blows and missile-strikes than the other types of metal armour commonly used by Roman troops, chain-mail hamata or scale squamata , being virtually impenetrable by ancient weapons. Keeley, L. Most primipilares would thus be in their 50's when elevated to the Order of Knights, and already eligible for retirement, having completed 25 years' service.

In Republican tradition but ever less in practice , each legion was under six equestrian military tribunes who took turns to command it pairs. But in the late Republic, military tribunes were eclipsed by higher-ranking officers of senatorial rank called legati "literally "envoys".

Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome

A proconsul Republican governor might ask the senate to appoint a number of legati to serve under him e. Julius Caesar, Augustus' grand-uncle and adoptive father, had 5, and later 10, legati attached to his staff when he was governor of Cisalpine Gaul BC. These commanded detachments of one or more legions at the governor's behest and played a critical role in the conquest of Gaul. But legions still lacked a single, permanent commander. The ranking senatorial military tribune tribunus militum laticlavius was designated deputy commander, while the remaining five equestrian tribunes served as the legatus' staff officers.

In addition, Augustus established a new post of praefectus castrorum literally "prefect of the camp" , to be filled by a Roman knight often an outgoing centurio primus pilus , a legion's chief centurion, who was usually elevated to equestrian rank on completion of his single-year term of office. It has been suggested that Augustus was responsible for establishing the tiny cavalry contingent of horse attached to each legion. The Augustan era also saw the introduction of some items of more sophisticated and protective equipment for legionaries, primarily to improve their survival rate.

The lorica segmentata normally called simply "the lorica " by the Romans , was a special laminated-strip body-armour, was probably developed under Augustus. Augustus' ambitious expansion plans for the Empire which included advancing the European border to the lines of the Elbe and Danube rivers soon proved that 28 legions were not sufficient. Starting with the Cantabrian Wars , which aimed to annex the mineral-rich mountains of north-western Spain, Augustus' year sole rule saw an almost uninterrupted series of major wars that frequently stretched the army's manpower to the limit.

Augustus retained the services of numerous units of irregular allied native troops. These could only be drawn from the Empire's vast pool of non-citizen subjects, known as peregrini. The peregrini were now recruited into regular units of cohort -strength c. By AD 23, Tacitus reports that the auxilia numbered roughly as many as the legionaries i.

Roman cavalry

It appears that at this early stage, auxiliary recruitment was ethnically based, with most men originating from the same tribe or province. Hence regiments carried an ethnic name e. It has been suggested that the equipment of auxiliary regiments was not standardised until after AD 50, and that until then, auxiliaries were armed with the traditional weaponry of their tribe.

Auxiliary regiments were designed to operate as a complement to the legions. That is, they performed exactly the same role as the Republic's alae of Italian allies socii before the Social War BC , an equal number of which always accompanied legions on campaign. Under the late Republic, a proconsul on campaign often formed a small personal guard, selected from the troops under his command, known as a cohors praetoria "commander's cohort" , from praetorium meaning the commander's tent at the centre of a Roman marching-camp or commander's residence in a legionary fortress.

After the battle, he retained them in being as a permanent brigade in and around Rome, known as the praetoriani "soldiers of the imperial palace". Inscription evidence suggests that Augustus increased the Praetorian establishment to nine cohorts, each under the command of a tribunus militum military tribune.

Augustus stationed three cohorts in the City itself, each housed in separate barracks, and the rest in neighbouring cities of Latium.

MILITARY HISTORY : Roman and Barbarian Weapons

Originally, each cohort was independent, but in 2 BC, Augustus appointed two overall commanders praefecti praetorio of equestrian rank, one for the cohorts based in the City, the other for those outside. Augustus envisaged the Praetorians as an elite force, whose duties included guarding the imperial palace on the Palatine hill , protecting the Emperor's person and those of his family, defending the imperial government, and accompanying the emperor when he left the City on long journeys or to lead military campaigns in person.

They also served as ceremonial troops on state occasions. Recruits to the ranks were, during the Julio-Claudian era, exclusively Italian-born.

They were accorded much better pay and conditions than ordinary legionaries.