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The Roman Army Pax Romana Essay

1825 words - 7 pages

History remembers the legendary Roman legions as the one of the most deadly and respected fighting forces in the ancient world. Even today, stories of their great success and invincibility in the face of their enemies echo on. One can only wonder what the key to their extraordinary success was. How were the Romans able to conquer such a vast empire that spanned over three continents at its height and maintain that power for centuries? That key to Rome’s military success during the Pax Romana period (where the Roman Empire rose to its zenith) was the advanced military innovations that the Romans incorporated into its great army that encompassed military bureaucracy, battle tactics and military technology.
The old saying, “Success comes to those who are prepared” was comparable to the Roman army. This was due to the fact that The Romans prepared themselves with a very well developed military bureaucracy that planned everything out such as daily routines, how they marched and most importantly military ranks. This meant the roman army was extremely organized and orders followed through very smoothly down the chain of command which was essential to their success. The surviving duty roster RMR 9 (RMR stands for Robert Fink’s Roman Military Records on Papyrus) from of Legio III stationed at Cyrenaica gave a very good perspective of how the Roman army organized daily duties let alone military campaigns. “The tasks in the RMR 9 [included] ornatus Heli, tending the gear of the centurion Helius; […] various guard stations around the camp; scoparius, “sweeper”; and ad stercus, Cleaning latrines or mucking horses’ stalls (Phang, Companion pg.291)”. This surviving piece of duty roster showed how extremely organized the army was by assigning every man a duty at where ever they were stationed. Likewise to being stationed, the legion on the march was very organized as well. Josephus who accompanied the Roman army as a prisoner of war chronicled his journey in great detail and his observations of the Roman army during Vespasian’s march to Galilee provided a vivid picture of how everything was planned out. The order of the march was that the auxiliaries marched first, “[followed by] the […] Romans who were most completely armed both footmen and horsemen. Next to [them] followed ten out of every hundred, carrying along with them their arms, and what was necessary to measure out a camp withal; […] after these came the commanders of the cohorts” (Josephus 3.116 & 3.122). From Josephus own eyes, he admired the how disciplined and organized the army was which showed how much respect the legions got even from their enemies. Lastly, military ranks played a crucial part in the bureaucracy of the Roman army. The general of the legions was the Legatus Legionis which was chosen from men of the senate class by the Emperor. The Legatus was then followed by 6 tribunes who acted as the second in command. Finally, the most important rank was the centurion who commanded squadrons...

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