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Why Was The Roman Legion So Powerful?

1616 words - 6 pages

Throughout the years the armies of ancient Rome have invaded and conquered most of Europe. For quite a long time other civilizations feared them because of their massive, well trained legions of soldiers. Some people might have read about their feats in battle elsewhere. Often research focuses solely on the strategies and technology employed by Rome in times of battle, but what about the soldiers themselves? People usually think of the Roman military as a well oiled machine that acted precisely and consistently, but there have been multiple documented mutinies throughout the Roman army over time. What kind of training did they go through after they were drafted into the Roman military? Was their training both physical and mental to try to stop such mutinies from happening? What kind of people were drafted into the military? How were the lives of soldiers in ancient Rome? What conditions were they forced into that made them feel the need to mutiny? More importantly, how do these things affect the world today?
In the early Roman Republic, all male citizens were required to perform military duty at some point in their life. Their service normally started during their youth. Citizens that did not show up for the draft were thought of as traitors and they were commonly sold into slavery, as they were not a true patriot. Training in the Roman Republic normally took place throughout a child’s life as they were growing up, however the training came in the form of sports and education instead of going through rigorous training sessions. The lack of formal war training was balanced by mixing young recruits in with veterans of the military. The reason they did not have a strict training regiment was because the armies of the early Roman Republic were often short lived. Not in the sense that they were easily defeated, but normally they only banded together for a short period of time, often disbanding after a single battle. There was no such thing as continuous service in the Roman army until later on, after many small local battles and much expansion of the Roman territory.
Eventually the Romans had spread their civilization much further outwards, causing them to need a much larger, permanent force to stay in control of the lands they had conquered. The increased need for soldiers led to the end of the short term armies used in the early Roman Republic and resulted in the implementation of salaried and continuous service in the military. As the Rome and it's military changed and evolved, so did the training required to perform well. Previously when the army was essentially a well trained citizen militia, soldiers were organized into groups known as legions and then immediately marched to battle. Later, once Rome had become an empire, there was a much more strict training regiment for all citizens that were called into the army. In fact, before anyone could be fully accepted into the military, they had to serve a brief probationary period that tested their...

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