Rimski legionari

Rimski legionari


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Legionari u zapošljavanju ne-rimskih država?

Ideju za ovaj post sam dobio neki dan igrajući & quotRome: Total War & quot. U spomenutoj igri postoje tri frakcije: Seleukidsko Carstvo, Armenija i Numidija, u koje se može regrutirati i citirati legionare & quot. Prikazani su kao da izgledaju potpuno poput rimskih legionara u igri, samo s bojama svojih frakcija, a imaju istu statistiku.

To me navelo na razmišljanje - koliko je suvremenika Rima kopiralo legionarski stil borbe? Općenito je poznato da su helenističke vrste trupa - hopliti, falangiti, tureoforoi i peltasti - kopirane diljem post -Aleksandra svijeta od Španjolske do Indije. No, razmjerno se malo pažnje pridavalo očitim pokušajima rimskih saveznika i neprijatelja da kopiraju organizaciju, taktiku i naoružanje pobjedničkih trupa Carstva.

Numidija
Manja kraljevstva Numidije - današnji Maroko - bila su pretežno poznata po svojoj lakoj konjici i slonu. Sjećam se da sam čitao o numidskom princu koji je izbušio odabranu pješačku četu za borbu poput Rimljana. Afrički pobunjenik Tacfarinas (koji zapravo nije bio Numidijac, ali je potjecao iz sličnog plemena) također je uvježbao svoje sljedbenike da koriste rimsko oružje i oklope te da se bore u legionarskim formacijama.

Armenija
Ne znam ništa o tome da su Armenci koristili trupe zasnovane na rimskim legionarima - poput suvremenih Partijaca, Armenci su bili poznati uglavnom po oklopnoj konjici i konjima. Međutim, od 1. do 3. stoljeća poslije Krista Armenija je bila klijentsko kraljevstvo ili provincija Rim, na i izvan nje, pa je li moguće da su mogle imati pješačke jedinice koje su obučavali rimski časnici?

Seleukidsko carstvo
Gore spomenuta igra ima jedinicu imitacije legionara za svoje Seleukidsko Carstvo, ali nisam našao povijesnu referencu na Seleukide koji su upotrijebili takve trupe. Je li ikome poznato da su Seleukidi zaposlili rimske plaćenike ili trupe koje su bile obučene za borbu poput Rimljana?

Ptolomejski Egipat
Postojao je saveznički kontingent rimskih legionara, kojima je u početku zapovijedao jedan Aulus Gabinius, koji je služio u Egiptu za vrijeme Ptolomeja Auleta. Ti "Gabiniani" još su postojali za vrijeme vladavine njegove kćeri Kleopatre, a sukobili su se s Julijem Cezarom tijekom njegova boravka u Egiptu. U svojoj biografiji slavne kraljice Michael Grant tvrdi da postoje epigrafski dokazi o rimskim vojnicima koji su u Egiptu služili kao plaćenici već sredinom 3. stoljeća prije Krista.

Parthia i Han China
Izvor su neke rasprave jesu li Rimljani zarobljeni u porazima koje su nanijeli Partani ikada našli svoj put u Kini kao plaćenici ili robovi-vojnici. No, vrlo je moguće da su se Rimljani koje su zarobili ili podmitili Partnjani mogli pojaviti, boreći se u svom nacionalnom stilu, u partizanskom bojnom redu.

Sasanidska Perzija i Palmira
Tijekom vladavine Severa Aleksandra (222-235. N. E.), Perzijski car Ardashir I. navodno je podmitio kohortu legionara kako bi ubio Flavija Herakleja, namjesnika rimske Mezopotamije, i pustio Perzijsku vojsku. Ogroman broj rimskih vojnika zarobio je njegov nasljednik Shapur I. tijekom 250 -ih i ranih 260 -ih godina naše ere, ali njihova kasnija sudbina nije poznata. Jesu li poslani na neku udaljenu granicu Perzije kako bi se obranili od nerimskih neprijatelja? Ili su bili zaposleni za obučavanje perzijskog pješaštva za učinkovitiju borbu? Leš perzijskog pješaka koji je poginuo u rudniku u Dura Europosu c. 255. godine naše ere - kao i umjetnička djela sinagoga s nekoliko lokaliteta na Bliskom istoku u 3. stoljeću - ukazuju da su vojnici Perzije i Palmire bili opremljeni isto kao i suvremeni rimski legionari.

Ima li netko mišljenje, kritiku ili dopunu gore navedenim podacima? Ima li izvora o legionarima u armenskoj i seleukidskoj vojsci?

Salah

Okamido

Pa vjerujem da je Seleukid usvojio "legionarsku" opremu i labavu kopiju formacija (nakon Magnezije), međutim, očito ne bi izgledali kao segmentirane legije Carstva.

Suetonius navodi da je Juba imao na raspolaganju 3 (?) & Kvote & quot; dok Tacit govori o numidijanskoj vojsci Tacfarina koja sadrži & amp#8220 odabrane muškarce naoružane po rimskoj modi & amp#8221 (Anali, 2.50).

Ne znam jesu li Jubine legije uopće bile dizajnirane ili opremljene po tadašnjoj rimskoj modi.

Okamido

Iz Appianove rimske povijesti: Mitridatički rat, 87:

Ugabug

Slog1

Ideju za ovaj post sam dobio neki dan igrajući & quotRome: Total War & quot. U spomenutoj igri postoje tri frakcije: Seleukidsko carstvo, Armenija i Numidija, u koje se može regrutirati i citirati legionare & quot. Prikazani su kao da izgledaju potpuno poput rimskih legionara u igri, samo s bojama svojih frakcija, a imaju istu statistiku.

To me navelo na razmišljanje - koliko je suvremenika Rima kopiralo legionarski stil borbe? Općenito je poznato da su helenističke vrste trupa - hopliti, falangiti, tureoforoi i peltasti - kopirane diljem post -Aleksandra svijeta od Španjolske do Indije. No, razmjerno se malo pažnje pridavalo očitim pokušajima rimskih saveznika i neprijatelja da kopiraju organizaciju, taktiku i naoružanje pobjedničkih trupa Carstva.

Numidija
Manja kraljevstva Numidije - današnji Maroko - bila su uglavnom poznata po svojoj lakoj konjici i slonu. Sjećam se da sam čitao o numidskom princu koji je izbušio odabranu pješačku četu za borbu poput Rimljana. Afrički pobunjenik Tacfarinas (koji zapravo nije bio Numidijac, ali je potjecao iz sličnog plemena) također je uvježbao svoje sljedbenike da koriste rimsko oružje i oklope te da se bore u legionarskim formacijama.

Armenija
Ne znam ništa o tome da su Armenci koristili trupe zasnovane na rimskim legionarima - poput suvremenih Partijaca, Armenci su bili poznati uglavnom po oklopnoj konjici i konjima. Međutim, od 1. do 3. stoljeća poslije Krista Armenija je bila klijentsko kraljevstvo ili provincija Rim, na i izvan nje, pa je li moguće da su mogle imati pješačke jedinice koje su obučavali rimski časnici?

Seleukidsko carstvo
Gore spomenuta igra ima jedinicu imitacije legionara za svoje Seleukidsko Carstvo, ali nisam našao povijesnu referencu na Seleukide koji su upotrijebili takve trupe. Je li ikome poznato da su Seleukidi zaposlili rimske plaćenike ili trupe koje su bile obučene za borbu poput Rimljana?

Ptolomejski Egipat
Postojao je saveznički kontingent rimskih legionara, kojima je u početku zapovijedao jedan Aulus Gabinius, koji je služio u Egiptu za vrijeme Ptolomeja Auleta. Ovi "Gabiniani" još su postojali za vrijeme vladavine njegove kćeri Kleopatre, a sukobili su se s Julijem Cezarom tijekom njegova boravka u Egiptu. U svojoj biografiji slavne kraljice Michael Grant tvrdi da postoje epigrafski dokazi o rimskim vojnicima koji su u Egiptu služili kao plaćenici već sredinom 3. stoljeća prije Krista.

Parthia i Han China
Izvor su neke rasprave jesu li Rimljani zarobljeni u porazima koje su nanijeli Partani ikada našli svoj put u Kini kao plaćenici ili robovi-vojnici. No vrlo je izvedivo da su se Rimljani koje su zarobili ili podmitili Parti mogli pojaviti, boreći se u svom nacionalnom stilu, u partizanskom bojnom redu.

Sasanidska Perzija i Palmira
Tijekom vladavine Severa Aleksandra (222.-235. Po Kr.), Perzijski car Ardashir I. navodno je podmitio kohortu legionara kako bi ubio Flavija Herakleja, namjesnika rimske Mezopotamije, i pustio Perzijsku vojsku. Ogroman broj rimskih vojnika zarobio je njegov nasljednik Shapur I. tijekom 250 -ih i ranih 260 -ih godina naše ere, ali njihova kasnija sudbina nije poznata. Jesu li poslani na neku udaljenu granicu Perzije kako bi se obranili od nerimskih neprijatelja? Ili su bili zaposleni za obučavanje perzijskog pješaštva za učinkovitiju borbu? Leš perzijskog pješaka koji je poginuo u rudniku u Dura Europosu c. 255. godine nove ere - kao i umjetnička djela sinagoga s nekoliko lokaliteta na Bliskom istoku u 3. stoljeću - ukazuju na to da su vojnici Perzije i Palmire bili opremljeni isto kao i suvremeni rimski legionari.

Ima li netko mišljenje, kritiku ili dopunu gore navedenim podacima? Ima li izvora o legionarima u armenskoj i seleukidskoj vojsci?


Deset stvari koje niste znali o rimskim legijama

Rimska legija bila je jedna od najstrašnijih vojski antičkog svijeta. Snagom rimske legije utjecaj Rimskog carstva širio se od Škotske do Sjevernog Iraga i do granica Etiopije. Stoljećima su se smatrali gotovo nepobjedivima na bojnom polju, pobjeđujući žestoke neprijatelje poput Kelta i Perzijanaca. Ako bi Rimska legija ikada bila poražena, brzo bi im uzvratili i njihova bi osveta bila brutalna.

Jedan od razloga zašto se Rimska legija toliko bojala bio je taj što se uvijek mijenjala. Legija nikada nije bila zaglavljena u prošlim tradicijama. Da ih je neprijatelj porazio, brzo bi se reorganizirali i učili iz poraza kako bi se deseterostruko vratili. Strategije Rimske legije promijenile su se kako bi odgovarale promjenjivoj tehnologiji i potrebama svake bitke. Bili su uspješni na raznim bojištima bez obzira na teren ili klimu. Čak i danas mnogi vojni zapovjednici i povjesničari gledaju na Rimsku legiju kao na jednu od najmoćnijih borbenih snaga u povijesti s mnogo toga što se od njih još može naučiti. Neki od najvećih vojnih umova dali su priznanje proučavanju taktike rimske legije u sklopu svojih uspjeha.

Evo deset slabo poznatih činjenica o rimskim legijama.


Neposlušni rimski legionar

U ovoj ću temi objaviti dugi esej na kojem sam radio, a koji ispituje vojnu povijest i kulturu rimske vojske u njenoj Republici. Radi lakšeg čitanja i zbog ograničenja broja znakova, ovaj ću esej objaviti u tri posta u ovoj temi, svaki temeljen na sljedećim tematskim odjeljcima. Također ću prvo objaviti svoju bibliografiju kako bi čitatelj mogao pratiti moje citate ako ih zanima. Nadam se da će vam biti poučan i zanimljiv.

Sallust, Bellum Catilinarium

J. E. Lendon, Vojnici i duhovi: Povijest bitke u klasičnoj antici, Yale University Press, 2005

Adrian Goldsworthy, Cezar: Život Kolosa, Weidenfeld & amp Nicholson, 2006

Carlin A. Barton, Rimska čast: Vatra u kostima, University of California Press, 2001

Philip Sabin i dr., Povijest grčkog rata i pojačanja u Cambridgeu, Cambridge University Press, 2008. (zbornik)

Gregory Daly, Cannae: Iskustvo bitke u Drugom punskom ratu, Routledge, 2002

1. dio: Virtus

Želio bih vam postaviti tezu:

Rimski legionari nisu bili baš disciplinirani vojnici. Rimski legionari zapravo su često bili agresivni i individualistički nastrojeni do budalaštine i neposlušnosti. Rimski legionari bili su nestrpljivi, ishitreni i impulzivni vojnici, a njihova velika hrabrost donijela je sa sobom velike šanse za neposlušno ponašanje koje bi graničilo s pobunom među modernim vojnicima. Također nisu trenirali kao formacije ili grupe.

U tome se zapravo nisu jako razlikovali od svojih susjeda u sredozemnoj antici. Gali i Nijemci bili su poznati po svojeglavoj hrabrosti. Slično, vojna povijest Grka i Makedonaca prepuna je primjera svojeglavog, namjernog, neposlušnog ili pobunjeničkog ponašanja helenskih vojnika svih polja i politeija. Rimska agresivnost i nedostatak discipline bili su, zapravo, sasvim u skladu s ponašanjem svih ostalih. Nisu posjedovali velike prednosti discipline, uređenosti ili treninga, a njihova velika agresija bila je na sličan način sasvim normalna za to vrijeme.

Shvaćam da sam mnogima od vas upravo govorio herezu. Za mnoge ljude željezna disciplina i obuka Legija su legendarni. Čini se da je osvajanje ogromnog Rimskog Carstva dokaz tome, a imamo izjave autora poput Vegecija i Josipa Flavija koji to podupiru. Snaga Rima nad barbarskim hordama koje su ga okruživale bila je disciplina i obučenost njezinih legija.

Prije je mnogo bilo napisano o rimskim legijama, njihovoj taktici i ponašanju u bitkama, o tome kako su njihove borbene izvedbe proizlazile iz kulture i društva iz kojeg su ponikle. Danas bih želio ići dalje u pitanje virtusa i discipline i detaljnije ispitati u kojoj su se mjeri rimske legije u svom klasičnom razdoblju zapravo obučavale, u kojoj su mjeri bile poslušne svojim časnicima i zapovjednicima, a koliko su zapravo nalik na ono što bismo mi u modernosti smatrali profesionalnom vojskom.

Ponovno naglašavam da mi je namjera ovdje istražiti odnos rimske vojske prema rimskom društvu i kulturi. Ne želim se zalagati za rimsku izuzetnost u agresiji ili disciplini ili nedostatak discipline. Oni su u to vrijeme bili sasvim vrsta sa svim svojim susjedima. Međutim, želim napraviti usporedbu između ponašanja rimske vojske i onoga što bi moderna profesionalna vojska očekivala od svojih časnika i vojnika. Postoji poseban mit o disciplini i profesionalizmu legija, za koji vjerujem da je izrazito pogrešan.

Pomno čitanje naših najboljih izvora o rimskoj vojsci u njezinom klasičnom razdoblju otkrit će nešto vrlo različito od onoga što očekujete.

Iskreno, u interesu intelektualca, moramo imati na umu da ja nisam profesionalni akademik, niti povjesničar, niti zaposlen kao arheolog. Ja sam samo prvostupnik arheologije i nisam profesionalno zaposlen u svom području. Ovi eseji u biti predstavljaju sintezu daleko većeg izvornog istraživanja koje su proveli drugi na ovom području znanosti, u kombinaciji s nekim mojim vlastitim razmišljanjima i nagađanjima. Posebno moram citirati ogromna djela J. E. Lendona, Philipa Sabina, Adriana Goldsworthyja, Aleksandra Zhmodikova, Gregoryja Dalyja i drugih. Oni su divovi na čijim ramenima možete baciti pogled na daleku prošlost predmodernog ratovanja, a u njihovim se djelima može pronaći mnogo više nego u ovom malom eseju.

U ovom eseju glavni tekstovi primarnog izvora s kojih ćemo raditi su Polibije i Cezar. Drugi će se drevni autori koristiti za potporu izjavama o rimskoj kulturi i društvu, a kad ni Polibije ni Cezar ne mogu za nas detaljno opisati konkretne vojne događaje, upotrijebit ćemo najpouzdanije druge primarne tekstove koje možemo, poput Livija i Plutarha. Ali zašto ćemo se usredotočiti na Polibija i Cezara? Obojica su bili iskusni vojnici, koji su vidjeli rat i koji nam detaljno opisuju ponašanje rimske vojske u njihovo doba. Oni nam daju najjasniju sliku o posebnom i važnom dobu u povijesti rimske vojske.

Razdoblje mog fokusiranja bit će rimska vojska srednje do kasne Republike u rano carstvo. Ja to nazivam klasičnim razdobljem rimske vojske, jer je upravo ta vojska vodila najveće rimske ratove u razdoblju njezina uspona, što joj je osiguralo dominaciju nad suparnicima, i koje je na kraju jamčilo kraj Republike i odredilo tko će vladati Carstvom. Bilo je to gotovo bez presedana dugotrajno razdoblje vojnog uspjeha, protiv zaista strašne opozicije, na koje su se kasniji autori poput Vegecija često osvrtali s nostalgijom. Također ću tvrditi da polibijske i carske rimske legije pokazuju visok stupanj kontinuiteta ponašanja, pa se mogu shvatiti da su jedna s drugom.

Polibije i Cezar također se nalaze s obje strane reformi Gaja Mariusa, i vjerujem da su te reforme i njihov utjecaj na vojsku često doista pogrešno shvaćeni, što ćemo i ispitati.

Počnimo s dva gore navedena pojma: Virtus i disciplina.

Važno je shvatiti da je rimsko društvo bilo emocionalno buran svijet. JE Lendon je napisao da je društvo antičkog Makedonije bilo jedno od „plemenitih drugova i nemirnih gozbi, društvo neobuzdanih emocija, hvalisanja, pijanog ubojstva, društvo koje je podsjećalo na epsko“ (Lendon 2005: 138), no ipak ste mogli jednako primjenjuju isti opis na Rimsku Republiku čak do dana Cezara i Cicerona. U Rimskoj Republici nije bilo središnje sile za provođenje zakona ili očuvanje mira, to je bilo društvo plemenitih kuća, pokrovitelja i klijenata, velikog suparništva, snažnih emocija, a prije svega časti i srama.

Rim je imao zakone, ali češće su to bili zakoni koje je provodila zajednica. Kako biste iznijeli žalbu s drugim Rimljanom na sud, govori nam Dvanaest tablica, vi ste kao tužitelj morali osobno uhvatiti tuženika i dovesti ga pred suca i zajednicu na Forumu. Ovo je bio svijet osvete. Sram je, kaže nam Ciceron, bio glavno oružje cenzora u njegovom moralnom prosuđivanju rimskog društva. (Barton 2001: 18) Mos maiorum, načini predaka, bili su kodeksi ponašanja po kojima su stari Rimljani organizirali svoj svijet. I iznad svega ostalog, muški svijet u Rimu cijenio je virtus.

Rimljanin bi mogao biti homo, ljudsko biće, jednostavnim rođenjem. Ali biti Vir, čovjek, bio je zasluženi status. Vir je posjedovao virtus, što su Rimljani vidjeli kao najbolju kvalitetu koju je čovjek mogao prikazati. Da citiram Plauta:

“Virtus je najbolji dar od svih virtus stoji prije svega, čini, čini! To je ono što održava i čuva našu slobodu, sigurnost, život i naše domove i roditelje, našu zemlju i djecu. Virtus obuhvaća sve: čovjek s virtusom ima svaki blagoslov. ” (Amfitron)

Što je dakle Virtus? Virtus je feroks, žestok je. Često se na engleski prevodi ne kao "vrlina", već kao hrabrost ili hrabrost. U rimskoj književnosti često posjedovati virtus znači ići ruku pod ruku s magnus animusom, velikim duhom. Virtus se također često povezuje s viresima, što znači fizičku muškost, snagu, vitalnost i energiju. To je mladenačka i energična kvaliteta. Rimski virtus je možda najbolji u usporedbi s aretom homerskog grčkog: izvrsnost. Ahilej je bio grktan čovjek prema Grcima, prema Rimljanima imao je nenadmašnog virtusa. Virtus je bio hrabar, snaga i energičan, neograničen duh. Također se može usporediti s francuskim riječima preux ili elan u smislu konotacija.

Poseban je značaj rimske kulture, kako je otkrilo djelo Carlin Barton o Roman Honor, vidjeti virtus kao da zahtijeva prije svega javno izlaganje, a zatim i ispitivanje karaktera. Nadalje, Rimljani su vjerovali da su očajni sat i očajnički test bolji u otkrivanju virtusa nego u bilo čemu drugom. Sam Polibije navodi da se „Rimljana, pojedinačno i u skupinama, najviše treba bojati kada su u stvarnoj opasnosti“ (Barton 2001: 50). Ciceron piše da je "što je veća poteškoća, to je veći sjaj", a Seneka se slaže s njim govoreći "Što su veće muke, veća je slava" (Barton 2001: 47).

Povjesničar Sallust kaže nam da je Republika procvjetala zbog žeđi za slavom u glavama muškaraca:

“Stoga takvim ljudima nijedan rad nije bio nepoznat, nijedna regija nije bila previše gruba ili previše strma, niti je naoružani neprijatelj bio užasna hrabrost. Ne, njihova najteža borba za slavu bila je međusobno, svaki je čovjek nastojao biti prvi koji će srušiti neprijatelja, srušiti zid, biti viđen od svih dok čini takvo djelo. To su smatrali bogatstvom, ovom poštenom slavom i visokim plemstvom. To su bile pohvale koje su žudjeli, ali bili su bogati novcem, njihov cilj je bio neograničena slava, ali samo ono bogatstvo koje se časno moglo steći. "(Bellum Catilinarium)

Imati virtus, dakle, svi su trebali vidjeti kako bi učinili velika djela, a djela u ratu bila su najslavnija od svih. Rat je bio najočajniji sat, najočajniji test, s najvećim ulogom. Vojno se to pokazalo kao jedan od najizrazitijih kulturnih aspekata rimske vojske: Rimljani su uživali u pojedinačnim borbama.

To je često činjenica koju neki ljudi teško shvaćaju, ali Rimljani su se htjeli boriti kao pojedinci, htjeli su se natjecati za gloriju protiv drugih, i htjeli su da ih njihova zajednica vidi kao hrabrije, vrlije od drugih. Sjajan nastup u pojedinačnoj borbi pred vašim vršnjacima bio je najbrži način za ubrzanje vašeg napretka kroz rimsko društvo. Rimsko društvo živjelo je u stanju stalnih sukoba i natjecanja za položaj i status, a napredovanje sebe i svoje obitelji stjecanjem ugleda za virtusa velikim djelima bio je najbrži put naprijed i nagore.

Njihovi vojnički podupiru individualnu borbenu prirodu Rimljana u ratu. Skutum je zakrivljen unatrag, poput polu-bačve u presjeku. Ne možete ga preklapati ili koristiti zajedno sa svojim vršnjacima u štitniku, ali to je snažna individualna obrana od udaraca ili projektila. Njihovo oružje bili su koplji i mačevi, oružje pojedinog borca. Polibije nam čak izravno govori da se Rimljani bore s dovoljno prostora da svaki čovjek djeluje kao pojedinac, da je mač korišten i za rezanje i za potisak, te da svaki čovjek mora imati prostora za kretanje (Polibijeve povijesti, knjiga 18, 30. poglavlje ). Rasprostirali su se do te mjere da se svaki čovjek pojedinačno mogao učinkovito boriti i natjecati sa svojim suparnicima unutar svoje grupe vršnjaka, kako nam kaže Sallust, međusobno se natječući za slavu. To je također razlog zašto su u tradicionalnoj legiji hastati i veliti bili najmlađi i najsiromašniji ljudi u vojsci, drugim riječima oni koji su bili najviše gladni društvenog napretka, s najvećim dobitkom, a najmanje s gubitkom. Njihovo ponašanje u bitci odražava društvo koje nastoji dati jednaku priliku za zaradu slave svakom pojedincu, što pojedinačnog virtusa vidi kao najvažniji vojni faktor.

Rimljani su u svojim mislima držali veliku zalihu priča ili primjera o djelima svojih očeva. Kao i mnoge predmoderne kulture, njihov usmeni zapis priča bio je način na koji su mlađe generacije učile mudrosti iz prošlosti. Rimske priče pune su bezbrojnih primjera muškaraca koji u pojedinačnim borbama, dvobojima, monomahiji i trijumfima prihvaćaju izazove svojih neprijatelja. To bi čovjeka moglo odvesti u političku karijeru do samog konzulata, kao u slučajevima Tita Manlija Torkvata i Marka Valerija Korva. U visoko konkurentnoj i konkurentnoj ekonomiji časti rimskog društva, pobjeda u pojedinačnoj borbi bila je najunosnija prilika za napredak, pa su Rimljani, s žestokom željom, žudjeli za pojedinačnom borbom. Ovo je bilo dobro natjecanje u kojem se rimska kultura najviše cijenila i slavila.

Polibije u knjizi 6 svojih Povijesti komentira: "Mnogi su se Rimljani dobrovoljno uključili u jednu borbu kako bi odlučili bitku", i doista u vrijeme Polibija imamo mnogo izvještaja o Rimljanima, čak i vrlo visokog ranga i statusa, koji su ušli u borbu izvoditi herojska pojedinačna djela i često nastojati uključiti vođe i prvake neprijatelja u navedene pojedinačne borbe.

Već smo spomenuli Torquatusa i Corvusa iz daleke prošlosti Republike. Kasnije u povijesti priča nam se o Marku Klaudiju Marcelu koji je, prema Plutarhu, uvijek prihvaćao svaki izazov neprijatelja za pojedinačnu borbu i uvijek ubijao svog izazivača. Marcellus je također osvojio spolia opima, najveću slavu koju je rimski aristokrat mogao težiti: Kao konzul koji je zapovijedao rimskom vojskom u ratu, u jednoj je borbi angažirao neprijateljskog generala, galskog kralja, i ubio ga vlastitom rukom . Ovo je bio veliki podvig, po kojem je Marcellus bio poznat dugo nakon svog života. Taj isti Marcellus pozvan je u standard da zapovijeda vojskama protiv Hanibala tijekom Drugog punskog rata.

Od Scipiona u Polibijevo doba, Polibije nam govori da je Scipion stariji osobno vodio rimsku konjicu u bitci kod Ticina, gdje je ranjen u žaru akcije. To ukazuje na aktivno sudjelovanje rimskog konzula u žaru konjičke borbe. Rečeno nam je i o njegovom sinu, koji je u povijesti poznat kao Scipio Africanus, koji je u bitci spasio svog oca. Quoth Polybius: „Scipion [Africanus] se prvi put istaknuo prigodom konjičkog angažmana između svog oca i Hanibala u susjedstvu Po. Imao je sedamnaest godina, to mu je bio prvi pohod, a otac ga je postavio za zapovjednika ubrane čete konja kako bi osigurao njegovu sigurnost, ali kad je u bitci ugledao oca, okružen od strane neprijatelja, a uz pratnju samo dva ili tri konjanika i opasno ranjenih, isprva je pokušao potaknuti one s njim da im priskoče u pomoć, ali kad su se neko vrijeme zadržali zbog velikog broja neprijatelja oko njih, kaže se s bezobzirnom smjelošću da je sam napunio silu koja okružuje. " (Polibijeve povijesti, knjiga 10)

Ova odvažna akcija donijela je mlađem Scipionu neupitnu reputaciju virtusa, a Polibije također objašnjava da se u budućim prilikama kao general Scipion Afrički nije stavljao u opasnost bez dovoljnog razloga. To ukazuje da je rimski aristokrat imao potrebu dokazati vlastiti virtus svojim sljedbenicima, što je Afrikan i učinio kao mladić spasivši svog oca u bitci. U tekstu je implicitno da se Africanus razlikovao od ostalih rimskih generala, koji su se često stavljali u opasnost bez potrebe. Zašto su to učinili? Morali su dokazati da njihov virtus ima bilo kakav autoritet pred sunarodnjacima Rimljanima, koji ih neće poštovati kao Vire ako se povuku. Ta potreba da dokažete virtus svojim djelima mogla bi ponekad biti jako opasna, što su dokazali stariji Scipion ranjen u Ticinu, Aemilius Paullus koji je poginuo u Cannaeu, te smrću Marcela i njegovog konzularnog kolege tijekom konjičkog okršaja 209. godine. PRIJE KRISTA.

Izvan redova aristokracije, Polibijevi izvještaji govore nam i o rimskom sustavu počasti i nagrada koje su se dodjeljivale pojedinim običnim vojnicima za djela virtus. Ovaj sustav nagrada posebnu pozornost posvećuje onima koji su pojedinačno ozlijedili ili ubili protivnika, ili koji su prvi srušili zid ili koji su u bitci spasili živote sugrađanina (Polibijeve povijesti, knjiga 6, poglavlje 39). Također se napominje da se ove nagrade posebno dodjeljuju onima koji se dobrovoljno uključe u takve borbe tijekom okršaja i malih akcija, gdje je vojnik imao izbor hoće li se uključiti ili ne, pa se stoga hrabro djelo smatra posebno vrijednim pohvale. Polibije nam govori da su zapovjednici Rimljana javno dodjeljivali takve nagrade, prije okupljenih redova zajednice, te da su oni koji su pohvaljeni za hrabrost bili isto tako počašćeni kod kuće kao u vojsci.

Gledajući Cezarove izvještaje o vlastitim vremenima i ratovima, vidimo sličan etos virtusa na djelu u svim redovima, od Cezara do običnog vojnika. JE Lendon iznosi vjerodostojan argument u Soldiers & amp Ghosts da se kultura Republike pomalo promijenila, centurioni su postali glavni prvaci virtusa u Cezarovo doba, dok se patricijska aristokracija sve više suzdržavala od toga jer više nisu služili u konjici građana Rima, niti je prije obnašanja dužnosti bilo potrebno 10 godina radnog staža. Možda je to donekle i bio slučaj, međutim napomenuo bih da je vojna služba i dalje bila primarni pokretač društvenog napretka, pa čak i čovjek u civilu poput Cicerona morao je služiti u ratu.

Polibije navodi da su u njegovoj rimskoj vojsci centurioni birani radi hladne glave i postojane hrabrosti, a ne zbog vruće krvi:

“Oni žele da stotnici ne budu toliko poduzetni i odvažni koliko su prirodni vođe, postojanog i smirenog duha. Ne žele im toliko da budu muškarci koji će pokrenuti napade i otvoriti bitku, već muškarci koji će ustrajati na svom mjestu kad im je teško i teško pritisnuti i biti spremni umrijeti na svojim položajima. “(Polibijeve povijesti, knjiga 6)

Međutim, spremnost da se umre na nečijem mjestu Rimljani su također smatrali oblikom virtusa, a istraživanje Carlin Barton otkrilo je da je rimska čast uzela posebnu slavu jer je bila nepokolebljiva u duhu čak i u porazu. Također se može dogoditi da se Polibije, kao i sam aristokrat i osobni prijatelj Scipiona, uglavnom usredotočio na djela konjičkih aristokrata u svoje vrijeme, pa nije čuo niti je smatrao prikladnim zabilježiti što više izvještaja o herojima djela stotnika i običnih vojnika kao što je to učinio Cezar. Cezar, budući da je popularisan i da je godinama vodio kampanju s istom vojskom i bez sumnje bio vrlo poznat i blisko povezan sa svojim vojnicima, ispunjava svoje Komentare mnogim pričama o posebno hrabrim ili hrabrim centurionima koji se ponašaju kao herojski pojedinci i međusobno se natječu za slavu . Time je također nesumnjivo pokušavao udovoljiti ukusima rimske javnosti koja je voljela takve priče o hrabrim ljudima i hrabra djela. Cezar je možda propagirao sebe i svoje legije, ali aspekti koje odabere naglasiti sami su po sebi značajni u ukazivanju na njegove stavove i uvjerenja te stavove rimskog društva i vojske.

Možda je najpoznatija od ovih primjera priča o dva centuriona Vorena i Pulla. Njihov logor koji su Nerviji blisko opsjedali, dva su se suparnika međusobno izazvali na natjecanje za hrabrost, te su sami krenuli u neprijateljske redove, od kojih se svaki nastojao pokazati hrabrijim od drugih. Kako nam Cezar kaže: "Kad se borba vodila najžešće prije utvrđenja, Pullo, jedno od njih, kaže:" Zašto oklijevaš, Vorenus? ili koju [bolju] priliku da signalizirate svoju hrabrost tražite? Ovaj dan će odlučiti o našim sporovima. & Quot Kad je izgovorio ove riječi, odlazi dalje od utvrda i juri na onaj dio neprijatelja koji se pokazao najdebljim. Niti Vorenus ostaje unutar bedema, ali uvažavajući visoko mišljenje svih, slijedi izbliza. " (De Bello Gallico, knjiga 5, poglavlje 44).

Ovdje imajte na umu aspekt javnog nastupa neophodan za dokazivanje svoje virtus. Obratite pažnju na Vorenovu osjetljivost prema svojoj zajednici koja ga vidi kao manje hrabrog od drugog čovjeka. Dodatni dokazi o velikoj borbenoj uključenosti i agresivnosti stotnika su njihove stope žrtava. Kad Cezar obračuna gubitke koje je pretrpio u bitci, on uvijek nabraja mnoge desetke stotnika u većini angažmana, što ukazuje na njihovu agresivnu i istaknutu ulogu u žaru borbe. Od sedam stotina Rimljana koji su pali u Gergoviji, prema Cezarovom izvještaju, četrdeset i šest su bili stotnici. Jedan od petnaest rimskih mrtvih u Gergoviji bili su stotnici, klasa vojnika koji su činili samo jedan od osamdeset redova legije.

Niti je rimska aristokracija u potpunosti oslobođena potreba dokazivanja virtusa, jer se čak i sam Cezar borio u bliskoj borbi na vlastite račune. At the Battle of the Sabis, against the Nervii in 57 BC, Caesar accounts of himself seizing a shield from one of his soldiers (He even notes that he had left his own shield behind due to his haste to respond to the Gallic surprise attack) and advancing to the front ranks of the combat to encourage and lead his men when they were closely pressed by their Gallic opponents (Goldsworthy 2006:301-302). Similarly, at the height of the Gallic counter-attacks on his siege lines at Alesia in 52 BC, Caesar tells us of how he took command of the Roman cavalry and “hastens to share in the action” (De Ballo Gallico, Book 7, Chapter 87), and how his arrival was known to both his own troops and the enemy by the colour of his robe (Ibid, Chapter 88), indicating the desire to be visible to his soldiers.

While Lendon may be true when he says that the Roman aristocrats in Caesar’s day concerned themselves mostly with commanding and less with fighting with their own hand (Lendon 2005:218-219), it seems clear to me that the Roman aristocracy still concerned itself greatly with virtus, and from Caesar’s accounts they saw it as a good and admirable thing to enter combat yourself with your own hands. Similarly, stories of Pompey’s campaigns also abound with anecdotes about him fighting in the forefront of battle in the manner of Alexander the Great (Goldsworthy 2006:301). And just as Polybius’s Histories tell us of many Roman consuls who died in action during the war with Hannibal, Caesar’s Civil War is also full of Romans of high rank killed in action, such as Titus Labienus at Munda or Curio at the Bagradas River. The Roman aristocracy may have been on the road to becoming a civilian aristocracy of lawyers, intellectuals, and merchants, but that cultural transformation was not yet complete. The ethos of Virtus still ruled in Caesar’s day.


The Roman 10th Legion of the Strait

The Roman legion stationed in the Judaean Province at the time of Acts was made up of about 5,000 soldiers. They were known as Legio X Fretensis, or the 10th Legion of the Strait. The 10th Legion of the Strait had a long history of success, being led by the likes of Caesar Augustus and Julius Caesar. Artifacts stamped with the name and number of this legion, as well as its icons — the bull, boar, ship, and Neptune – have been found throughout Judea, including Jerusalem itself.

Hearing of a conspiracy to kill Paul, the Roman commander stationed at the Antonia Fortress stepped-in and ordered Paul’s evacuation from Jerusalem to Caesarea, the provincial seat of Roman government. This commander – known as a “tribune” in the 10 th Roman Legion — was named Claudius Lysias. Each regular tribune was responsible for 12 centurions and up to 1,000 soldiers. There were six tribunes that served under the top general in the 10th Roman Legion.

Roman legionary soldiers of the Empire period were typically equipped with armor of metal and leather, a shield, spears, a dagger, and a gladius. The gladius was the famous short sword of the Roman foot soldier. In Roman fashion, the soldiers were usually clean-shaven with short hair. The legionaries endured difficult training and faced harsh penalties for not serving properly. Punishment could be as severe as “decimation,” which was the act of killing 10% of an entire unit as an example to the others. Harsh stuff indeed, but it created a fierce and successful military.

According to Acts, Chapter 23, the tribune Lysias was determined to get Paul out of Jerusalem, away from the mobs, and safely to Caesarea. The first leg of that journey was northwest, through the rough hill country between Jerusalem and Antipatris. To avoid the angry crowds, Lysias rushed Paul off at night with a heavily armed contingent of 200 soldiers, 200 spearmen, and 70 horsemen. Once they made it to Antipatris, the foot soldiers returned to Jerusalem and Paul continued on horseback with the cavalry. When they arrived at Caesarea, the soldiers took Paul before the governor Felix, with a letter from Lysias that explained what was going on.

Claudius Lysias,

To His Excellency, Governor Felix:

Pozdrav.

This man was seized by the Jews and they were about to kill him, but I came with my troops and rescued him, for I had learned that he is a Roman citizen. I wanted to know why they were accusing him, so I brought him to their Sanhedrin. I found that the accusation had to do with questions about their law, but there was no charge against him that deserved death or imprisonment. When I was informed of a plot to be carried out against the man, I sent him to you at once. I also ordered his accusers to present to you their case against him. (Acts 23:26-30)


Soldiers Could Carry More Protein Power in Meat Than Grain

Davies is not saying the Romans were primarily meat-eaters even in the Imperial period, but he is saying that there is reason to question the assumption that Roman soldiers, with their need for high-quality protein and to limit the amount of food they had to carry, avoided meat. The literary passages are ambiguous, but clearly, the Roman soldier, of at least the Imperial period, did eat meat and probably with regularity. It could be argued that the Roman army was increasingly composed of non-Romans/Italians: that the later Roman soldier may have been more likely to be from Gaul or Germania, which may or may not be sufficient explanation for the Imperial soldier's carnivorous diet. This seems to be one more case where there is reason at least to question the conventional (here, meat-shunning) wisdom.


5. Sea Battles Fought on “Land”

A Roman warship employs its Corvus against a Punic adversary. 260 BC.

The Roman Legions themselves were predominantly infantry-based and fought mostly with sword and shield in hand. Archers and cavalry were employed into the ranks as auxiliaries from non-Roman tribes. Archers mostly came from Syria, Scythia (the Black Sea) and Crete, while mounted infantrymen came from tribes that had a good tradition of horsemanship. After a period of 25 years serving in the army, these men would finally be granted Roman citizenship. A similar shortage of skilled soldiers came in the form of sea warfare. As Rome took control of most of the Italian Peninsula, they turned their attention out to sea. Here they met the Carthaginians and in 264 BC the First Punic War had begun. This 23-year-long conflict between the two Mediterranean super powers was fought over control of the strategically-important islands of Sicily and Corsica.

While Carthage boasted a sizable military fleet, Rome did not. Nevertheless, the Romans quickly countered that disadvantage by building their own navy following a design stolen from the Carthaginians themselves. Still lacking any real seafaring experience, and while waiting for the ships to be built, the Legionnaires began practicing rowing in unison while still on dry land. After a few practice runs up and down the Italian coast, they went on the offensive. But unbeknownst to the Carthaginians, they still had an ace up their sleeve.

Since they were expert melee fighters, they came up with an ingenious invention to turn sea battles into land battles. This secret weapon came in the form of the Corvus, a boarding bridge 4 feet wide and 36 feet long, which could be raised or lowered at will. It had small railings on both sides and a metal prong on its backside, which would pierce the deck of the Carthaginian ship and secure it in place. With it the Romans were able to defeat their enemy and win the war. However, the Corvus could only be used on calm waters, and even compromised the ship’s navigability. As the Romans became more experienced seafarers, they abandoned the boarding bridge.


Discipline

The military discipline of the legions was quite harsh. Regulations were strictly enforced, and a broad array of punishments could be inflicted upon a legionary who broke them. Many legionaries became devotees in the cult of the minor goddess Disciplina, whose virtues of frugality, severity and loyalty were central to their code of conduct and way of life.

Minor Punishments

  • Castigatio – being hit by the centurion with his staff or animadversio fustium (Tac. Annals I, 23)
  • Reduction of rations or to be forced to eat barley instead of the usual grain ration
  • Pecuniaria mulcta – Reduction in pay, fines or deductions from the pay allowance
  • Flogging in front of the century, cohort or legion
  • Whipping sa flagrum (flagellum, flagella), or “short whip” – a much more brutal punishment than simple flogging. The “short whip” was used by slave volunteers, volones, who constituted the majority of the army in the later years of the Roman Empire.
  • Gradus deiectio – Reduction in rank
  • Missio ignominiosa – Dishonourable discharge
  • – Loss of time in service prednosti
  • Militiae mutatio – Relegation to inferior service or duties.
  • Munerum indictio – Additional duties

Major Punishments

  • Fustuarium – a sentence for desertion or dereliction of duty. The legionary would be stoned or beaten to death by cudgels, in front of the assembled troops, by his fellow soldiers or those whose lives had been put in danger. Soldiers under sentence of fustuarium who escaped were not pursued but lived under sentence of banishment from Rome. In the event that a group of legionaries are to be subjected to this punishment, the Tribune would make an alteration in order to spare the majority of the accused. The Tribune would first select a handful of the guilty men, and those selected would be condemned to the original penalty under the Fustuarium. The remainder of the accused would then be driven out of the camp and forced to live in an undefended location for a chosen period of time they were also limited to eating only barley. [14]
  • Decimation – According to 17th century belief [15][neuspješna provjera] (possibly folk etymology [potreban je citat] ), the Romans practiced this punishment in which a sentence was carried out against an entire unit that had mutinied, deserted, or shown dereliction of duty. One out of every ten men, chosen by lots, would be beaten to death, usually by the other nine with their bare hands, who would be forced to live outside the camp and in some instances obliged to renew the military oath, the sacramentum.

Soldiers of the Past: Roman Legionaries

As the Roman Empire emerged from the Italian Peninsula, with it came the best fighting force the ancient world had ever seen. Regimented and expertly trained, they swept away the Etruscans and Greeks and then continued into central Europe and North Africa. Even the great Empires of Carthage and Egypt were defeated by the Romans as were the majority of the Gauls and Celts. The greatest aspects of the legionaries were their flexibility and dedication to the job. Never before had the world seen such a well-trained army that was capable of rapid assaults, long pitched battles and sieges. In the main, the barbarian hordes of Europe were no match for the legionaries.The Roman Army was conscripted so a standing army was always available to fight. The logistics of the army were managed by the efficient Roman communication and transport systems. Driven by a harsh training regime, each soldier was tested to the limits but they were handsomely rewarded upon retirement. Just like the Roman civilisation as a whole, the legionaries of the Roman war machine were remarkable and a true one-off.

Most famous battle:
Far too many to mention but the Battle of Pharsalus pitched over 60,000 legionnaires against each other in Civil War. The battle was in Greece and fought between the great rivals Pompey and Caesar. Despite being outnumbered, Caesar’s forces recorded a great victory and his power grew greatly, effectively ending the Republic and beginning the Empire.

Primarno:
-Gladius

Sekundarno:
-Pugio
Attribution Luis García

Armour:
lorica segmentata Iron strips (early)
Chain mail (late)
Rectangle Scutum shield (early)
Round Parma shield (late)
Cassis/coolus/montefortino helmet

Main image is Flickr Creative Commons Licence. Courtesy of yeowatzup

For more on the legionaries of the Empire, check out our huge feature on the Roman war machine in issue 10 of Povijest rata

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A guide to the Roman army, plus 10 facts about life in the legions

The beat of Roman soldiers’ boots echoed throughout every corner of the empire – but what was it like to serve in the legions? Guy de la Bédoyère delves into the vast archive these soldiers left behind and presents 10 snapshots of life in the ancient world’s most powerful military force

Ovo natjecanje je sada zatvoreno

Published: January 29, 2021 at 6:07 am

Today, the Roman army is remembered as the mightiest fighting machine that the ancient world had ever seen. I to s dobrim razlogom. But it took centuries to grow into the ferocious force that would strike fear into peoples spread across a sprawling empire.

In its earliest days, Rome’s army was raised on an as-need basis from the citizenry based on property qualifications. At the top came men who could provide a horse, right down to the ordinary soldiers, or legionaries, who could afford only a sword. It required Rome’s first two Punic Wars against Carthage in the third century BC for the Roman army to develop into the military behemoth that dominated the ancient world.

As the army’s power grew, the number of men who served in it ballooned. In the Republic, numbers had varied according to requirements. They were mainly in the tens of thousands until the Late Republic (c104–
31 BC), when Rome’s warring generals raised vast forces to pursue their political ambitions. Under the emperors (27 BC–AD 337), the numbers rocketed from around 250,000 to 450,000, made up of citizen legionaries in the 5,000-strong legions and provincial auxiliaries in roughly equal numbers.

But the Roman army was about much more than war. It was almost the only means by which the Roman state exercised its power. Soldiers erected forts, built aqueducts, acted as bodyguards, policed civilians, managed quarries and prisons, and collected taxes. They also had families, petitioned the emperor, marched on campaign, committed acts of great valour and atrocities, and worshipped their gods. Some died from disease, enemy action, or accidents. Others lived to sign on again as veterans, or retired to find their way in civilian life.

Yet despite its many roles in Roman society, the army is still best remembered for its military might. So how did the force manage to be so successful? It wasn’t immune to defeat – far from it. But the Romans had a staggering ability to cope with adversity. Coming back from the disasters of Lake Trasimene (217 BC) and Cannae (216 BC) during the Second Punic War (when the Romans were heavily defeated twice by the Carthaginian general Hannibal who was roaming at will in Italy) was a turning point.

The Roman army was based on organisation and flexibility, always adapting to circumstances. Its soldiers were also exceptionally well-equipped, most notably with the gladius Hispaniensis, the ‘Spanish sword’. It was a vicious weapon that reflected the harsh reality of brutal face-to-face fighting. But in the imperial age the soldiers became all too prone to toppling one emperor after another in search of ever bigger handouts and pay rises, destabilising the empire.

Stories of the army endured long after the last soldiers died – chiefly because the Romans left so much information about it. Historians such as Livy, Josephus and Tacitus loved military history and provide us with a huge amount of detail about campaigns and battles. And the soldiers themselves were also more literate than the general population and were more likely to leave records of their lives, be it in tombstones, religious offerings or letters. This has left a vast archive, and there is no parallel for any other ancient or medieval army.

Some soldiers took new Roman names…

In the second century AD a young Egyptian called Apion fulfilled the exacting criteria for eligibility for the Roman military – he was between the ages of 17 and 46, freeborn, and passed a rigorous medical examination – and signed up to join the fleet. He then embarked on a dangerous journey from his village in Egypt to Italy, coming close to being shipwrecked en route. Happily, Apion safely reached the Roman fleet base at Misenum on the northern side of the bay of Naples, where he joined the company of a ship called the Athenonica and promptly set about writing home to his father.

His letter, which has survived, is in Greek, the everyday language in the eastern Roman empire. “I thank the lord Serapis that when I was in danger at sea he immediately saved me,” wrote Apion. He was also delighted on arrival to have “received from Caesar three gold coins for travelling expenses”. This was a considerable sum of money, equivalent to around half a year’s pay for a member of the fleet. Apion had something else to tell his father, Epimachus: “My name is Antonius Maximus” – this was his brand-new Roman name. Although not every auxiliary soldier took a Roman moniker, some did – and it was a common practice in Apion’s fleet. His new name was typically Roman, and for Apion a matter of pride.

There were rivalries for the best jobs

During Julius Caesar’s Gallic campaign (fought in modern-day France), two centurions (commanders of 80 men) called Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus earned undying fame in the heat of a vicious battle. Caesar was so impressed that he even made a special point of telling their story.

The pair were bitter rivals for the best jobs. One day in 54 BC the legion was under attack from the Nervii tribe (a warlike people who lived in the north of Gaul). Pullo goaded Vorenus, accusing him of waiting for a better opportunity to prove his bravery. Pullo then dived into the fight, leaving Vorenus no alternative but to follow him in case he was thought a coward.

Pullo threw his spear and struck one of the Nervii. But other Nervii flung their spears at Pullo, who had no chance of escaping. He had one spear stuck in his shield, another in his belt, and his scabbard had been pushed out of place. Vorenus dashed up to help, diverting the tribesmen’s attention on to him because they thought Pullo was dead. Vorenus killed one and chased off the others, and during the melee Pullo had been able to get away and bring up reinforcements. They escaped back behind the Roman defences, lucky to have their lives.

Caesar said: “It was impossible to decide which should be considered the better man in valour.”

Sleeves had a secret meaning

An early third-century AD tombstone from South Shields fort reads: “Victor, a Moorish tribesman, aged 20, freedman of Numerianus… who most devotedly conducted him to the tomb.” In the tombstone’s engraving, Victor wears a long-sleeved tunic (men who wore this item of clothing were assumed to have a preference for male partners) and robe while he lounges on a couch. Whether he and Numerianus shared a sexual relationship can only be conjecture, but the unusually affectionate nature of the piece suggests that possibility.

Scipio Africanus, the famous general of the Second Punic War over 400 years earlier, disapproved of such relationships. He once described “a young man who with a lover has reclined (at meals) in a long-sleeved tunic on the inside of a couch, and is not only partial to wine, but also to men. Does anyone doubt that he does what sodomites are accustomed to doing?”

Victor’s tombstone amounts to a visual realisation of Scipio’s words, but replacing condemnation with veneration. It suggests that, by Victor’s time and in this frontier fort, his relationship with Numerianus was most likely conducted openly and in safety.

Bullying centurions

Centurions played a key part in the everyday disciplining of soldiers, and it could backfire. During the mutiny among the Pannonian legions in AD 14, one harsh disciplinarian of a centurion called Lucilius was killed. He had earned himself the nickname Cedo Alteram (‘bring me another!’) in reference to his habit of breaking his vine rod symbol of office over the back of one ordinary soldier after another and calling for a fresh stick to be brought. The VIII and XV legions were on the point of coming to blows over another centurion called Sirpicus, as he also bullied common soldiers. Only the intervention of Legio VIIII saved him.

In that same year, a mutiny was stirred up among the Rhine legions over the way pay and conditions had been ignored. The men’s first target was the centurions “who had fuelled the soldiers’ hatred for the longest”. The soldiers all bore the scars of beatings they had endured. They struck each centurion with 60 blows to match the number of centurions in a legion, killing some and severely injuring the rest, and threw them into the rampart or into the Rhine. Only the general Germanicus was able to calm the men down.

In pursuit of pleasure

Some officers spent their spare time composing poetry or writing, but others had less refined hobbies – and for these men, hunting was often top of the list. In around the third century AD, Gaius Tetius Veturius Micianus, the commanding officer of the Gaulish Ala Sebosiana in northern Britain, triumphantly hunted down a boar that had apparently fought off all other attempts to capture it.

The officer commemorated his kill on an altar that he set up on Bollihope Common. Its text brags: “Gaius Tetius Veturius Micianus, prefect commanding the cavalry wing of Sebosians, willingly set this up to the Divinities of the Emperors and Unconquerable Silvanus [in return] for taking a wild boar of remarkable fineness which many of his predecessors had been unable to turn into booty.”

A civil war tragedy

In AD 69 Rome descended into a vicious civil war that involved four rival emperors who battled it out in turn: Galba, Otho, Vitellius and the eventual victor, Vespasian. As violence raged across the empire, one particularly tragic event occurred.

Legio XXI Rapax supported Vitellius. One of its soldiers was a Spaniard called Julius Mansuetus who had left a son behind at home. Not long after this, the boy reached adulthood and joined Legio VII Gemina, formed by Galba, one of the four rival emperors, in AD 68. But by the time of the second battle of Bedriacum, VII Gemina was on Vespasian’s side.

During the fierce fighting, the young soldier unknowingly fatally wounded his own father. Only when he was searching Mansuetus’ barely conscious body did he realise what he had done. Profusely apologising to his father before he died, he then picked up the body and buried it. Other soldiers noticed what was going on, and they all ruminated on the pointless destruction the war had brought. The historian Tacitus, however, told his readers that it made no difference. Nothing stopped the soldiers carrying on “killing and robbing their relatives, kin and brothers”. Calling it a crime, “in the same breath they did it themselves”.

Laying down the law

The job of centurion carried with it great responsibility – not only were they in charge of soldiers, but some were tasked with civilian administration, too. The centurion Gaius Severius Emeritus oversaw the region around the spa at Bath in Britain. He was disgusted to find that one of the sacred places had been wrecked “by insolent hands”, as Emeritus called them. Frustrated by gratuitous vandalism and the oafs responsible, he had the place restored, and set up an altar to commemorate the fact.

It seems to have been a good idea to keep these powerful men on side, and many tried to bribe them. During the reign of Hadrian, Julius Clemens, a centurion of Legio XXII Deiotariana, wrote to Sokration, an Egyptian civilian who had sent Clemens a bribe of olive oil, and implored: “And do you write to me about what you may need, knowing that I gladly do everything for you.”

The potential for centurions in charge of civilian administration to abuse their positions is obvious. But they weren’t alone. The poet Juvenal, who had himself once commanded an auxiliary unit, was deeply critical of how Roman soldiers threw their weight about, beat up members of the public and flouted justice.

Soldiers came from diverse homelands

Although most legionaries came from Italy, Gaul and Spain, the auxiliary forces were raised from all over the Roman empire. Let’s take, for instance, an auxiliary soldier called Sextus Valerius Genialis. He was one of the Frisiavone people and hailed from Gallia Belgica (a region covering modern-day north-eastern France, Belgium and Luxembourg), but he served with a Thracian cavalry unit in Britain and had a completely Roman name.

The ethnic titles the auxiliary units sported – such as Ala I Britannica – are often taken surprisingly literally by military historians and archaeologists, who assume the men in these units must have been of the same ethnicity. However, the records of individual soldiers show that unless very specialised fighting skills were involved (like those of the Syrian archers), the reality was often different. From AD 240–50 the cavalry wing Ala I Britannica had around six Thracian men recruited to its ranks, and these men served with others of Pannonian origin (men from central Europe) – despite the fact that the cavalry wing was supposedly made up of Britons. Similar stories can be found in the fleet, too. A Briton named Veluotigernus joined the Classis Germanica fleet and was honourably discharged on 19 November AD 150 along with veterans from the auxiliary cavalry and infantry units in Germania Inferior.

Forbidden family

Although Roman soldiers were not supposed to marry (the law that prohibited them from taking a wife was only relaxed at the end of the second century AD) the evidence from tombstones and documents is that plenty did. In the late first century – around 100 years before the law was eased – the poet Martial knew a centurion called Aulus Pudens who was married to a woman called Claudia Peregrina (‘Claudia the Provincial’). Martial tells us Claudia was very fertile and that she had “sprung from the woad-stained Britons”. In Egypt, meanwhile, a soldier called Julius Terentianus placed his children and his other private affairs in the hands of his sister, Apollonous, in Karanis. As he refers to the care of his children in letters to her, it is quite possible that this was a case of brother-sister marriage, which was well-known in Egypt. In AD 99 Apollonous wrote to him to say: “Do not worry about the children. They are in good health and are kept busy by a teacher.” More often we know about soldiers’ children only because they died tragically young. For instance, Simplicia Florentina, a child “of the most innocent spirit”, had lived for a scant 10 months before she passed away. Her father, Felicius Simplex, a centurion of Legio VI Victrix, buried her at York. Likewise, Septimius Licinius, who served with Legio II Parthica at Castra Albana in Italy, buried his “dear son Septimius Licinianus” when the boy was only aged three years, four months and 24 days.

Leaving their mark

Just before the battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC Julius Caesar asked Crassinius, one of his centurions, how he thought the battle would go. Crassinius replied: “We shall conquer, O Caesar, and you will thank me, living or dead.” Crassinius was true to his word and covered himself in glory that day, but he lost his life. Caesar gave the centurion’s body full military honours and had a tomb built specially for Crassinius alone, close to the mass burial mound for the rest. Unlike Crassinius, the vast majority of Roman soldiers have no known resting place. However, the tombstones that have survived tell us a great deal about fighters’ individual lives and their mindsets. This is quite unlike other ancient and medieval conflicts, such as the Wars of the Roses, for which there is no equivalent record. For instance, from examining the tombstone of Titus Flaminius, who served with Legio XIIII in the earliest days of the Roman conquest of Britain and died at the legion’s base at Wroxeter aged 45 after 22 years’ service, we can see that he seems to have had no regrets. His tombstone has a poignant message for us: “I served as a soldier, and now here I am. Read this, and be happy – more or less – in your lifetime. [May] the gods keep you from the wine-grape, and water, when you enter Tartarus [the mythical pit beneath the Earth]. Live honourably while your star gives you life.”

Guy de la Bédoyère is a historian and broadcaster. His new book, Gladius: Living, Fighting and Dying in the Roman Army (Little, Brown Book Group, 2020) is available now


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