Roman Concepts Of Military Leadership Essay

2537 words - 10 pages

Leadership can be defined as “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improving the organization.” While the wording comes from the United States Army’s Leadership manual, the same principles applied to the men who served in the Roman army, both the Republic and the Empire. From 508 BC to 1453 the Roman’s would be a considered a “superpower” in the world with “all roads” leading to Rome as the old proverb explains. A superpower is maintained with a strong military and Rome was no exception. During her reign, Rome saw a vast number of generals and leaders that would stand out over time. Three of these leaders would be Trajan, Marius and Scipio Africanus. These three generals would have great impact on the Roman army and its establishment of their power.
Marcus Ulpius Trajanus “was not a Roman aristocrat but a Spaniard from far off Italica (now Seville). Trajan dreamed of leading soldiers as his father before him, but “could scarcely have dreamed of sitting upon the throne of Caesar himself.” Trajan took power in 98 AD, and unlike some of his predecessors, he “dreamed of military fame in the service of Rome.” Trajan saw Dacia as “the greatest threat to the Roman Empire aside the kingdom of Parthia” The Dacians (ancient Romania) were defying Roman power in the region under King Decebalus and “previous treaties had proved unsatisfactory”. Trajan personally traveled to the Danube region to conduct reconnaissance before committing troops to the task; he realized that the infrastructure in the region and the staging areas would make his soldiers vulnerable to attack. Trajan picked sites that could handle bridges and had twelve miles of road cut and proceeded to march into the heart of the Dacian Empire. It was during this period that the famous bridge was built to span across the Danube, which not only severed the purpose of getting his troops across the river, but also “communicated the awesome might of Rome” to his opponents. Trajan would continue to move across towards Decealus and his armies, building roads, bridges and forts to engage his enemy. Trajan’s forces did not have a grand victory initially. The Dacian’s resisted his efforts and the weather played into the enemy hands as Trajan and his forces took heavy casualties. Cassius Dio reported that Trajan used his own robes to help make bandages for his wounded, and had an altar and funeral rites in honor of his fallen. While Decebalus may have claimed victory in the first Battle of Tapae, the second Battle of Tapae would belong to Trajan, pushing Decebalus and his forces back. Decebalus would have some success with hit and run type tactics, as “he knew better than to attack the heavily fortified Roman camps” and attempted a winter campaign to try and relieve some of the pressure that Trajan’s forces had put on his. The true Roman tenacity would again come to the forefront, as Decebalus retreated to...

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