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Die Romeinse leër: die mag wat 'n ryk gebou het

Die Romeinse leër: die mag wat 'n ryk gebou het

Rome was amper 'n stad wat rondom 'n leër gebou is. In die legende van die stad se stigter, Romulus, is een van sy eerste dade die skep van regimente wat legioene genoem word.

Romeine was nie dapperder as hul vyande nie, en hoewel hul toerusting goed was, is baie daarvan by hul vyande aangepas. As hul weermag een beslissende voorsprong gehad het, was dit sy dissipline, gebou op 'n rigiede struktuur wat beteken dat elkeen sy plek en sy plig ken, selfs in die chaos van hand-tot-hand gevegte.

Dan hou gereeld kennis met Simon Elliott oor alles wat Roman is. Waarom was die legioenen so suksesvol, en hoe het hulle hierdie sukses etlike eeue lank behou?

Luister nou

Die oorsprong van die keiserlike leër

Die fondamente van die keiserlike leër van 100 nC is gelê deur die eerste keiser, Augustus (regeer 30 vC - 14 nC).

Hy het die weermag eers van sy onvolhoubare burgeroorlog van 50 legioene tot ongeveer 25 verminder.

Augustus wou professionele soldate hê, nie die gewapende burgerlikes van die Republikeinse era nie. Vrywilligers het dienspligtiges vervang, maar met langer diensvoorwaardes. Om in 'n legioen te dien, moes 'n man nog 'n Romeinse burger wees.

Hy hervorm ook die bevelsketting en stel die rang van legatus, 'n enkele langtermyn-bevelvoerder vir elke legioen. Die tradisionele aristokratiese bevelvoerders was verminder in status, en a praefectur castrorum (prefek van die kamp) is aangestel om toesig te hou oor logistiek.

'N Weermag van burgers en onderdane

Wanneer die Romeinse legioene opgeruk het, het hierdie elite -burgereenhede gewoonlik vergesel van 'n gelyke aantal hulp, as onderwerp eerder as burgersoldate genoem. Die 25-jarige hulp termyn was 'n weg na burgerskap wat deur opvallende dapperheid verkort kon word.

Auxilia is georganiseer in groepe van 500 man in infanterie, kavallerie en gemengde formasies. Die mans kom gewoonlik uit dieselfde streek of stam, en het moontlik 'n rukkie hul eie wapens gedra. Hulle is baie minder betaal as die legioene en minder aandag is aan hul organisasie gegee.

Die anatomie van 'n legioen

Krediet: Luc Viatour / Commons.

Baie van die Marian Hervormings van Gaius Marius in die 2nd eeu v.C. bly in plek tot in die derde eeu nC, insluitend die legioenstruktuur wat gedefinieer is deur die man wat Rome gered het van die invallende Duitse stamme.

'N Legioen het bestaan ​​uit ongeveer 5,200 vegtende mans, onderverdeel in 'n opeenvolging van kleiner eenhede.

Agt legioenen vorm 'n contuberium, gelei deur a decanus. Hulle het 'n tent, muil, maalsteen en kookpot gedeel.

Tien van hierdie eenhede het 'n senturia, gelei deur 'n hoofman oor honderd en sy gekose tweede-in-bevel, 'n optio.

Ses senturia het 'n groep saamgestel en die oudste hoofman oor honderd het die eenheid gelei.

'N Eerste groep bestaan ​​uit vyf dubbelgroottes senturia. Die oudste hoofman oor honderd in die legioen het die eenheid gelei as Primus Pilus. Dit was die elite -eenheid van die legioen.

Centuria of groepe daarvan kan vir 'n spesiale doel losgemaak word toe hulle 'n vexillatio met hul eie bevelvoerder.

Te perd en oor die see

Neil Oliver besoek die muur - 'n massiewe verklaring van die mag van die Romeinse Ryk. Neil kyk na onlangse ontdekkings wat die lewens van die mense wat langs die muur gebou en gewoon het, blootlê.

Kyk nou

Die Romeinse leër van 100 nC was hoofsaaklik 'n infanteriemag.

Beamptes sou gery het, en Augustus het waarskynlik 'n 120-sterk gemonteerde mag by elke legioen gevestig, grootliks gebruik vir verkenning. Kavaleriegevegte is grootliks oorgelaat hulp, wie se berede troepe moontlik meer betaal is as standaardlegionaries, volgens Arrian (86 - 160 nC), 'n soldaat en skrywer.

Geen natuurlike seevaarders nie, die Romeine is in vlootoorlog gedryf, omdat hulle noodsaaklik was en dikwels met gesteelde skepe.

Augustus beskou die vloot van 700 skepe wat hy uit die burgeroorloë geërf het, as sy private eiendom en stuur slawe en vrymanne om sy spane te trek en sy seile op te lig. Verdere eskaders skepe is gevorm toe die Ryk oorsee uitgebrei het en langs groot riviere soos die Donau. Rome het ook staatgemaak op graan wat uit Afrika ingevoer is en die Middellandse See vir handel vry moes hou.

Beheer oor 'n vloot as 'n praefecti was slegs oop vir Romeinse ruiters (een van die drie geledere van die Romeinse adel). Onder hulle was nawerke in beheer van eskaders van (waarskynlik) 10 skepe, elk onder leiding van a trierarg. Die bemanning van die skip is ook gelei deur 'n hoofman oor honderd en optio span - die Romeine het nooit regtig aan hul skepe gedink as meer as drywende platforms vir infanterie nie.


Die Romeinse Ryk het sy verowerings bereik deur brutaliteit en dood

Kernpunt: Glorie is gebou op gruwel.

'Augustus het Rome baksteen gevind en dit laat marmer', is 'n uitdrukking wat gekoppel is aan die eerste van die Romeinse keisers. En inderdaad het Rome in die tyd van Christus floreer en pragtige boë en kolomme, paleise en openbare geboue, tempels en baddens, kolosseums en akwadukte opgerig. Die wêreld het nog nooit so 'n plek gesien nie.

Rome was 'n wenner. Dit was die res van die Mediterreense wêreld wat die prys betaal het. Die minerale van Spanje en die plase van Sicilië en Noord -Afrika het die rykdom opgelewer wat sy weg gevind het na die groot argitektuur van die Italiaanse stad.

Verower altyd die doel

Wat veral aan Rome herinner word, is hierdie bydrae van verstommende konstruksie, saam met die bestuur van 'n uitgestrekte ryk. Minder onthou is hoe dit daar gekom het: Brutaal.

Om die vlak van meesters van die Middellandse See te bereik, het die Romeine hul legioene met verstommende meedoënloosheid gehanteer. Oorwinning was die doel, en let op die middele. Teen ongeveer 150 v.C. het Rome Kartago in die eerste twee Puniese oorloë twee keer verneder.

Kartago is daarna aangeval deur Masinissa van die nabygeleë Numidia, en ongehoorsaam aan die verdrag wat die Tweede Puniese Oorlog beëindig het, het Kartago teruggeveg. Rome, wat ontsteld is oor die ekonomiese herstel van sy mededinger tydens die vrede na die Tweede Puniese Oorlog in 202 v.C., en wellustig na Noord -Afrikaanse velde wat deur nuwe slawe bewerk word, verklaar oorlog teen Kartago.

Skepe, wapens en 300 kinders

Teen hierdie tyd het Rome Spanje, Sicilië, Sardinië en die seebane beheer, wat dit die oorhand gekry het in enige wedstryd. Karthago het dit ook uit die binnekant van Masinissa en deur die Romeinse vloot uit die see geblokkeer. Toe Rome Kartago belowe het dat die vryheid van die Afrika -stad verseker sou wees, sou die vryheid van die Afrika -stad verseker word as die 300 kinders van sy edelste gesinne na Rome stuur, tot die groot klaaglied van sy eerste gesinne.

Toe eis Rome dat Kartago sy skepe, wapens en oorlogswapens moet afstaan, weer dat die stad homself kan red. Dit het die Kartagers ook gedoen en hulself weerloos gelaat. Maar vir die Romeine was dit alles 'n oorsaak. Hulle het 'n vloot en weermag na die omgewing gestuur en geëis dat die Kartagoërs hul stad ontruim na 'n plek 10 kilometer daarvandaan, om die stad self gelyk te stel.

Hier het die Kartagoërs gestrem. Hulle het besluit om te veg en hul stad te verdedig. Hulle het standbeelde van hul gode gesmelt om nuwe swaarde te maak en openbare geboue gesloop om katapulte te bou. Die vroue sny hul hare om toue te maak. Drie jaar lank het die Kartagoërs teen die Romeinse beleg aangehou. Hongersnood het die meeste van die geraamde kwart- of halfmiljoen inwoners doodgemaak.

Die dood van Kartago

Romeinse legioene het uiteindelik 'n houvas in die stad behaal, maar die Kartagers het straat vir straat hardnekkig baklei. Die Romeine het enige stadsblok binne bereik aangesteek om individuele verdedigers uit die weg te ruim.

Die meeste Kartagers het die dood gekies eerder as om aan die Romeine oor te gee. Die koningin het haar seuns en haarself in die vlamme gegooi. Uiteindelik het die oorblywende 50 000 Kartagers oorgegee. Die Romeine het hulle as slawerny verkoop. Toe het die Senaat in Rome die plaaslike bevelvoerder opdrag gegee om die stad te vernietig en die grond met sout te saai. Die stad het inderdaad 17 dae lank gebrand totdat niks oorgebly het nie. Die Kartagiese ras en glorie is uitgewis.

Sy gruwels en sy heerlikhede

In sy lofrede van Neville Chamberlain in November 1940, het Winston Churchill gesê: "Die geskiedenis met sy flikkerende lamp strompel langs die spoor van die verlede en probeer om sy tonele te rekonstrueer." 'n breking van die hele waarheid.

Dit is maklik om slegs die heerlikheid van Rome te sien. Maar dit is net so belangrik om die gruwels in ag te neem ter wille van hulle. Die flikkerende lamp van die geskiedenis moet ook die verrotting onder die glans verlig. Dit herinner ons daaraan dat militêre mag slegs uitgeoefen moet word ter verdediging van regverdiges

Hierdie artikel verskyn oorspronklik op die Warfare History Network. Hierdie stuk is oorspronklik in Februarie 2019 vertoon en word gepubliseer vanweë die belangstelling van die leser.


Doeltreffendheid van die Romeinse leër

Die redes waarom die weermag besonder doeltreffend was om vreemde lande onder die Romeinse juk te bring, word hieronder toegelig:

Dissipline

Streng en uniform dissipline is in die weermag gehandhaaf . Nuwe rekrute het streng opleiding en dissiplinêre lesse ondergaan. Daar is streng strawwe vir alle oortredings met betrekking tot orde in die weermag.

Organisasie en struktuur

Baie geld en moeite is bestee aan die bevel en beheer van die troepe. Spesiale aandag is ook gegee aan die vervanging van uittredende troepe en werwing. Doeltreffende leiers wat in die geveg bewys is, is gekies om manne te beveel. Hierdie leiers was oorlogshelde, en daarom het hulle hul troepe met voorbeeld gewen, nie net volgens titel nie.

Verowerings

'N Dors na verowerings was gewild onder die republiek en die ryk. Die keiser sou verowerings vir persoonlike eer beveel, en die konsuls sou met behulp van die senaat bestel om verowerings om rykdom na Rome te bring . Volharding in lang verowerings en ambisie om nog meer grond te bring, het 'n rol gespeel in die opgradering van die weermag en oorlogsgereedheid.

Konstante leer en opgraderings

Die Romeinse leër het voortdurend geleer. Hulle het taktiek geleen by beter leërs en dit geïmplementeer, wat hul eie leër baie doeltreffender gemaak het. Romeinse ingenieurswese was ook ongeëwenaard in die hele Europa. Armors, beleg wapens, lemme, en selfs die manier waarop die houtas van 'n pilum tydens stoot en kontak sou breek, is doeltreffend ondersoek en ontwerp.


Die Romeinse leër: die mag wat 'n ryk gebou het - geskiedenis

Die Romeinse leër was die ruggraat van die Romeinse Ryk en een van die suksesvolste leërs in die wêreldgeskiedenis. Dit was goed opgelei, goed toegerus en goed georganiseer. Om so 'n groot ryk te bewaak, het die leër gebruik gemaak van goed geboude Romeinse paaie om vinnig oor die ryk te beweeg.

Wie was die soldate?

Die soldate in die Romeinse legioenêr was almal Romeinse burgers. Hulle het 20 jaar lank aangesluit om te veg. Aan die einde van die 20 jaar het hulle oor die algemeen grond en/of 'n groot som geld gekry. Op hierdie manier bestaan ​​die leër uit opgeleide en ervare soldate. Dit het ook grond in die hande van lojale soldate gelê.

Daar was ook nie-burgerlike soldate wat hulpe genoem is. Hulle het 25 jaar lank aangesluit en aan die einde van die 25 jaar het hulle Romeinse burgerskap gekry. Romeinse burgerskap was 'n groot probleem en het baie voorregte gehad.

Hoe was die Romeinse leër georganiseer?

Die weermag was verdeel in Legioene van ongeveer 5400 soldate. Legioene is gelei deur 'n legaat wat gewoonlik 'n senator of 'n goewerneur was. Legioene bestaan ​​uit tien groepe soldate wat kohorte genoem word. Kohorte is daarna verder verdeel in groepe van 80 mans wat eeue genoem word. Die offisiere, of leiers, van elke eeu is hoofmanne genoem.

Die regering het die belangrikheid van die Romeinse leër geken en het hulle van goeie wapens en wapens voorsien. Romeinse soldate het wapens gemaak van stroke yster. Die yster het die pantser sterk gemaak en die stroke het dit buigsaam gemaak. Hulle het ook ysterhelms gehad wat hul koppe en nek beskerm het, maar hulle het steeds 'n goeie visie gehad om te veg. Al hierdie ysterwapens was swaar, daarom moes hulle sterk en in goeie vorm wees. Hulle het ook in sommige gevalle lang skilde gedra.


Roman Gladius deur Juan Cabre Aguilo
  • Beamptes, soos hoofmanne, het groot helmteken op hul helms gedra. Dit het die soldate in staat gestel om hulle beter in die geveg te sien.
  • Die gemiddelde legioen het 'n gewig van minstens 90 kilogram gedra en moes dikwels 20 myl per dag optrek.
  • Op sy grootste bestaan ​​die Romeinse leër uit 30 legioene, of meer as 150 000 soldate. Volgens sommige van die hulpsoldate was daar meer as 1 miljoen soldate in die Romeinse leër.
  • Gaius Marius, die Romeinse konsul en generaal, word grootliks erken dat hy die Romeinse leër verander het in die magtige groep wat 'n groot deel van die beskaafde wêreld verower het.
  • Die Romeine het katapulte gebruik om groot klippe te gooi wat mure kon neerslaan. Hulle het ook groot kruisboë, ballistas, gebruik om pyle af te vuur wat groter was as die spiese.

Romeinse ballista katapult deur Unknown

Contubernium van soldate in die Romeinse leër

Daar was 'n leer slaaptent om 'n groep van agt legioenen te bedek. Daar word na hierdie kleinste militêre groep verwys as 'n contubernium en die agt mans was kontubernale. Elkeen contubernium het 'n muil gehad om die tent te dra en twee ondersteunende troepe. Tien sulke groepe bestaan ​​uit 'n eeu. Elke soldaat het twee stokke en graafwerktuie gedra sodat hulle elke aand kon kamp opslaan. Daar sou ook slawe van elke groep wees. Die militêre historikus Jonathan Roth het beraam dat daar twee was kalones of slawe wat met elkeen verband hou contubernium.


Romeinse leër

Die Romeinse leër, beroemd om sy dissipline, organisasie en innovasie in wapens en taktiek, het Rome in staat gestel om 'n groot ryk te bou en te verdedig wat eeue lank die Mediterreense wêreld en daarna sou oorheers.

Oorsig

Die Romeinse leër, waarskynlik een van die langste oorlewende en doeltreffendste strydmagte in die militêre geskiedenis, het 'n taamlik onduidelike begin. Die Griekse biograaf Plutarchus skryf die legendariese grondlegger van Rome, Romulus, toe dat hy die legionêre magte geskep het (soos dit in die Republiek en die keiserlike tydperk bekend sou staan), maar die Romeinse historikus Livy sê dat die vroeë Romeinse leër meer geveg het soos Grieks hopliete in 'n falanks, waarskynlik as 'n vorm van burgerlike burgermag, met werwing wat afhanklik is van 'n burger se sosiale status. Koning Servius Tullius (ongeveer 580- 530 vC) het ses klasse van rykdom aan die burgers van Rome voorgestel, die laagste groep het geen eiendom nie en is uitgesluit van die weermag, terwyl die hoogste groep, die gelyk stel, het die kavallerie gevorm.

Advertensie

Die vroegste kontemporêre weergawe van 'n Romeinse legioen is deur Polybius, en dit dateer uit ongeveer 150-120 vC. Daar word vermoed dat die manipulerende legioen, wat gebaseer was op kleiner eenhede van 120-160 man, gebel het manipuleer (Latyn vir 'handvol'), is ontwikkel om aan te pas by die losser formasies waarin Rome se vyande geveg het en die falanksformasies sou kon uitmanoeuvreer. Die voordeel van so 'n verandering kan gesien word toe Rome in die stryd teen Masedonië se falanks Polybius 18.29-30 kom, beskryf die verdienste van die Romeinse manipuleer om hul vyand uit te bestuur.

Livy dateer hierdie vordering deur te sê dat Rome vanaf 362 vC twee legioene en vier legioene van 311 vC gehad het. Die manipulerende weermag was in hierdie tyd bloot 'n burger, en dit sou die mag gewees het wat Hannibal in die Tweede Puniese Oorlog (218-202 vC) afgesny het, maar daar was toe meer as vier legioene. Namate die aard van die Romeinse leër verander het van beperkte seisoenale veldtogte, en 'n provinsiale ryk begin ontstaan ​​het vanweë die sukses van gevegte soos Cynoscephalae (197 v.G.J.) en Pydna (168 v.G.J.), het die legioene begin om meer permanente basisse te ontwikkel , wat op sy beurt 'n tekort aan mannekrag veroorsaak.

Advertensie

Toe Gaius Marius in 107 VHJ tot konsul verkies word, het hy vrywilligers begin werf van burgers sonder eiendom en hulle toegerus met wapens en wapens ten koste van die staat. Die ontwikkeling van die manipel tot die kohort word ook toegeskryf aan Marius, hoewel hierdie verandering moontlik deur Marius afgehandel is, eerder as om heeltemal deur hom geïmplementeer te word. Die sosiale oorlog van 91-87 v.G.J. (uit Latyn socii bondgenote) beklemtoon dat mannekrag steeds 'n probleem vir die Romeinse leër was, aangesien burgerskap aan die geallieerde Italianers aan die einde van die oorlog verleen is, wat 'n groter aantal manne vir die weermag verleen het.

Aan die beurt van die Republiek en aan die begin van die keiserlike Rome, het Augustus die Romeinse leër herorganiseer, onder meer die dienslengte vergroot en 'n militêre skatkamer geskep. Die weermag het verder ontwikkel, insluitend verskillende taktieke en formasies wat meer effektief was teen die nuwe vyande van Rome. Teen die 2de eeu nC ontplooi Rome gepantserde kavallerie-eenhede, en hoewel dit voorheen beleëringswapens gebruik het, met behulp van pyl- en klipgooi-enjins, het Rome in die 3de eeu nC die gebruik van artillerie begin agterkom, met die byvoeging van die onager, 'n groot klipgooier.

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Bronne

Daar is baie klassieke skrywers wat nuttig is om te raadpleeg wanneer hulle na die Romeinse leër kyk, beide Grieks en Romeins. Polybius is baie nuttig om die Romeinse leër te beoordeel, inligting te verskaf oor hul wapens (6.23), dissipline (6.38) en belonings vir moed (6.39.1-3 5-11), sowel as om dit in die geveg te beskryf. Die Joodse historikus Josephus (ongeveer 34-100 nC), terwyl hy Polybius moontlik hergebruik het, dek die opleiding en dissipline van die Romeinse leër (3.71-6 85-8 102-7). Frontius (ongeveer 40-103 nC) skryf 'n werk met die titel Stratagems Die dissipline van Scipio, Corbulo, Piso en M. Antonius (4.1.1 4.1.21 4.1.26 4.1.37) word daarin gedek. Vegetius (ongeveer 5de eeu nC) skryf 'n Toonbeeld van militêre wetenskap Dit dek die keuse van geskikte rekrute, wapenopleiding, opleiding in gevegsmaneuvers en ander praktiese kwessies wat verband hou met die Romeinse leër.

Werwing

Die burgersoldate van die manipulerende weermag sou vir 'n spesifieke tyd ingeskryf wees, eerder as om vir jare diens aan te meld, soos in die keiserlike tydperk. Dit het beteken dat die legioene van die Romeinse Republiek nie 'n langdurige bestaan ​​het nie, omdat hulle ontbind is nadat die veldtog waarop hulle gedien het, afgehandel is. Die gevolg van die Mariaanse hervormings was 'n professionele staande leër vir die Romeinse staat, of in die komende jare, individuele generaals wat die lojaliteit van hul legioene verkry het.

Advertensie

Die meerderheid Romeinse soldate sou ongeveer 18-20 jaar gewerf gewees het, en in die 1ste eeu nC neem die Italiaanse rekrute af namate rekrute uit die provinsies toeneem. Diensplig in die weermag het waarskynlik deur die stede gebeur, aangesien daar nie altyd vrywilligers was nie. Teen hierdie tyd het dit nie saak gemaak of u 'n Romeinse burger was nie, solank u net gebore was. Dit is ernstig opgeneem, en as sodanig is 'n eed afgelê oor u vryheid:

Trajanus aan Plinius: "['n Beampte het ontdek dat twee nuut ingeskrewe soldate slawe was]. Dit moet ondersoek word of hulle doodstraf verdien. Dit hang af of hulle vrywilligers of dienspligtiges is of as plaasvervangers is. As hulle dienspligtiges is, is die werwingsbeampte was die skuld as plaasvervangers, die wat dit gegee het, is die skuld as hulle hulself ten volle bewus maak van hul eie status, wat teen hulle gehou moet word. wat hulle eers goedgekeur het en die eed afgelê het, het die waarheid van hul oorsprong van hulle vereis. ” Plinius Briewe, (10.30), c. 112 nC.

Die weermag het min sosiale mobiliteit gebied, en dit het baie lank geneem om u diens verder te voltooi, maar u sou waarskynlik in die buiteland dien, en hoewel die betaling nie sleg was nie, was dit niks besonders nie, en daar is baie aftrekkings gemaak vir voedsel en klere (RMR, 68, papirus, Egipte, CE 81 toon dit aan) en daar was baie streng dissiplinêre bevele. Terselfdertyd het die weermag egter 'n gewaarborgde voedselvoorsiening, dokters en betaling verskaf, en dit het ook stabiliteit gebied. Alhoewel die betaling nie skitterend was nie, kon dit aangevul word deur persoonlike oorlogsbuit, betaling van keisers (gewoonlik in hul testament), maar daar was ook die moontlikheid om deur die geledere te gaan wat duidelike geldelike voordele inhou.

Die gemiddelde hoofman oor honderd het 18 keer die salaris van die standaard soldaat, 13 500 denarii, gekry, en die hoofhoofde van die eerste groep het 27 000 gekry, terwyl die primi ordines het 54 000 gekry. Teen die 2de eeu nC sou daar ook nie veel aktiewe diens gewees het nie, en dus minder bedreiging van die dood, aangesien dit 'n redelik vreedsame tyd in die geskiedenis van Rome was. As gevolg van hierdie latere stabiliteit en vestiging, het baie weermagbasisse baddens en amfiteaters ingesluit, sodat die weermag duidelik sy voordele gehad het. Dit was egter eers in Septimius Severus dat standaard soldate wettiglik tydens diens kon trou (nie dat dit nie -amptelike huwelike vooraf gestop het nie, en voorts mag hoofmanne vooraf trou). Net so kon soldate ook slawe besit. Tacitus (Hist. 2.80.5) gee 'n goeie voorbeeld van weermag se lewensomstandighede.

Advertensie

Organisasie

Terwyl Dionysus en Plutarchus nie die bekendstelling van manipulasies noem nie op sigself, hulle praat wel van taktiese en toerustingveranderinge wat in pas sou wees met veranderinge wat 'n verandering in manipulasie sou vereis. Livy beskryf hoe 'n manipulerende formasie in die geveg aangebied is:

... wat voorheen 'n falanks was, net soos die Masedoniese falanks, was daarna 'n gevegslyn wat deur manipulasies gevorm is, met die agterste troepe saamgestel in 'n aantal kompanie. Die eerste lyn, of hastati, bestaan ​​uit vyftien manipulasies, 'n entjie van mekaar af geleë. Die manipel het twintig liggewapende soldate; die res van hul getal het langwerpige skilde gedra, en dit word ook 'liggewapend' genoem wat slegs 'n spies en spies gedra het. Hierdie voorste linie in die geveg bevat die blom van die jong mans wat ryp geword het vir diens. Daaragter kom 'n reeks van dieselfde aantal manipulasies, wat bestaan ​​uit mans van 'n meer onwankelbare ouderdom, dit is die beginsels genoem wat hulle langwerpige skilde gedra het en die opvallendste gewapend van almal was. Hierdie liggaam van dertig manipulasies het hulle antepilani genoem, want agter die standaarde was daar weer ander vyftien maatskappye, wat elk drie afdelings gehad het, waarvan die eerste afdeling in elke onderneming as pilus bekend gestaan ​​het. Die geselskap het bestaan ​​uit drie vexilla of 'baniere', 'n enkele vexillum het sestig soldate, twee hoofmanne, een vexillarius of kleurdraer, en die geselskap tel honderd en tagtig - ses man. Die eerste vaandel het die triarii gelei, veterane met bewese dapperheid, die tweede vaandel die rorarii, jonger en minder vooraanstaande manne die derde vaandel van die accensi, wat die minste betroubaar was en om die rede aan die agterste linie toegewys was ...

(Livy, Ab urbe condita, 8.8)

Die standaardmag van die Romeinse keiserlike leër was die legioene, 'n swaar infanterie, aanvanklik saamgestel uit Romeinse burgers, maar dit was baie anders georganiseer as die manipulêre weermag. Die aantal legioene wat op 'n keer bestaan ​​het, het dikwels gewissel, maar 'n rowwe gemiddelde is 28. Die samestelling van elke legioen was soos volg:

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Die Legioene is later aangevul deur die hulpverleners, wat normaalweg nie-burgers was, en het kavallerie en infanterie gekombineer. Daar was vier hoofvorme van hulpkrag:

1. Alae quingenariae een ala van 16 turma een turma van 30 mans 480 man

2. Infanteriekohort een groep van ses eeue een eeu van 80 man 480 mans

3. Kohorte stel gelyk gemengde infanterie en kavallerie. Die hulpverleners was onder bevel van prefekte van die ruiterrang. Namate die hulpverleners ontwikkel het, is 'n vierde soort troep egter bekendgestel, dit weerspieël die feit dat die hulpdienste ontwikkel het tot 'n status wat baie soortgelyk is aan dié van die legioene.

4. Numeri vanaf die 2de eeu nC, wat bestaan ​​uit plaaslike stamme, ongeveer 500 man, hoef hulle nie Latyn te praat nie en het hulle gereeld geveg in ooreenstemming met hul plaaslike tradisie.

Toe 'n soldaat van die hulpdienste ontslaan word, ontvang hy 'n militêre diploma, wat hom en sy kinders Romeinse burgerskap verleen en vir baie mense 'n huwelik wettiglik aanvaar, was dit 'n baie aantreklike beloning vir diens (en oorlewing) by die hulpdienste.

Die Praetoriaanse wag was in werklikheid die persoonlike lyfwag van die Romeinse keiser en het uit nege kohorte bestaan. Hulle was onder bevel van twee Praetoriaanse prefekte van perderuiters, hierdie manne was baie magtig. Aangesien hulle naby die keiser was, het hulle 'n unieke posisie vir moordpogings. Die Praetoriane is hoofsaaklik uit Italië gewerf, en dit lyk waarskynlik dat hulle nooit ingeroep is nie weens die vele voordele wat hulle met gewone legioene gehad het. Hulle diens was slegs 16 jaar, en hulle het beter betaal as die standaard legioensoldaat, wat aan die einde van Augustus se bewind 225 denarii per jaar beloop het (Tac. Annale, 1.17), het Domitianus dit daarna verhoog tot 300, Septimus Severus tot 450 en Caracalla tot 675.

Daarbenewens was daar die Romeinse vloot (classis), die Urban Cohort (3-4 kohorte gestasioneer in Rome wat as 'n polisiemag opgetree het om die burgerlike orde te handhaaf, onder bevel van die Urban Prefect), en die Equites Singulares, die kavallerie vir die Praetorian Guard, wat wissel in sterkte van 500-1000 man. In totaal het Rome vir die grootste deel van die keiserlike tydperk 'n militêre mag van ongeveer 350 000 gehad, met inagneming dat daar 28 legioene van ongeveer 5500 was, en dan 160,00 onder die hulp, die troepe in Rome en die vloot.

Ranks

Daar was verskillende bevelvlakke binne die legioen. Die vernaamste bevelvoerder was die Legatus legionis, wat dikwels 'n oud-praetor was. Onder hom kom die ses militêre tribunes, wat uit een bestaan tribunus laticlavius wat die legaat en was tweede in bevel en sou van senatoriale rang gewees het, en vyf tribuni augusticlavii van ruiterrang. Toe kom die praefectus castorum, wat met kamplogistiek te doen gehad het en beheer oorgeneem het as die Legatus legionis en tribunus laticlavius afwesig was. En dan was daar die 60 eeue. Die hoofmanne het hul eie ranglys gehad, waarvan die titels waarskynlik gebaseer is op die organisasie van die manipulerende weermag. Vir die 2de-10de groepe van 'n legioen was die hoofmanne in rangorde, die hoogste na die laagste: pilus vooraf, princeps vooraf, hastatus vooraf, pilus posterior, princeps posterior, en die hastatus posterior. Vir die eerste groep was daar vyf hoofmanne, genaamd die primi ordines, en hulle was ingedeel (weer die hoogste na die laagste), primus pilus, princeps voorafgaande, hastatus vooraf, princeps posterior, en hastatus posterior.

Toerusting, wapens, wapens en beleg wapens

Ons belangrikste bronne oor Romeinse militêre toerusting kom uit artistieke voorstellings, militêre dokumente, ander literatuur en oorlewende argeologiese artefakte. Die keiserlike tydperk bied ons die grootste hoeveelheid oorlewende materiaal. Die standaardwapens van die Romeinse keiserlike leër was baie soortgelyk aan die wapens wat in die Republiek gebruik is.

Die pilum was 'n swaar spies wat voor hand-tot-hand gevegte gegooi is. Caesar, Galliese Oorlog, 1.25 toon hoe hulle in diens was, en Polybius 6.23. 9-11 hoe dit gebou is. Die pilum is gegooi om die vyand dood te maak, maar is so ontwerp dat dit 'n maksimum oorlas sou wees as dit in die vyand se skild vassteek.

Die Republikein gladius hispaniensis (Spaanse swaard) was die ander standaardwapen van die Romeinse infanterie en is op die regterheup gedra, wat ontwerp is om te steek en te stoot. Dit kan egter ook sny met skerp kante. Livy (31.34.4.) Beskryf die verskrikking van die Masedoniese weermag nadat hy die skade gesien het wat die swaard kan oprig. Die keiserlike swaard word die Mainz-tipe swaard genoem (na die plek waar voorbeelde gevind is) en is soortgelyk. Die swaard sou hoofsaaklik vir steekwerk gebruik gewees het. Die Mainz-tipe het toe ontwikkel tot die Pompeii-tipe (voorbeelde gevind by Pompeii en Herculaneum), wat 'n korter punt gehad het en wat dit moontlik gemaak het om dit as 'n snywapen sowel as 'n steekwapen te gebruik. Albei hierdie swaarde sou aan die regterkant van die liggaam gedra gewees het.

Polybius gee 'n uitgebreide oorsig van die Republiek scutum skild (6.23.2-5), wat sirkelvormig was. Vegetius 2.18 stel voor dat elke groep verskillende embleme op hul skilde gehad het en dat elke soldaat sy naam, groep en eeu agterop sou skryf (baie soos 'n hedendaagse 'hondetiket'). Dit blyk egter dat daar geen onbetwisbare materiaal is om Vegetius te ondersteun nie, en as hy sy latere datum in ag neem, kan hy hedendaagse praktyke na vroeër tye oordra. Die keiser scutum het verskil van die Republikeinse deurdat dit reghoekig van voor was (dit is die stereotipiese 'Romeinse skild'), met 'n baas in die middel, gemaak van yster of 'n bronslegering wat waarskynlik gebruik is om die opponent te bash. Polybius 6.23.14 beskryf die verskillende tipes borsplaat of cuirass waarmee die Replubic-troepe hulle kan toerus.

Daar was drie hooftipes wapenrusting wat deur die keiserlike leër gebruik is lorica hamateysterpos-tuniekskaalpantser, wat bestaan ​​uit metaalskale wat op 'n doekbasis geweef is en die bekende lorica segmentata, wat bestaan ​​het uit ysterstroke wat deur leerbande verbind is.

Die ander groot deel van 'n legioenêre toerusting was sy helm, waarvan daar baie variante was, veral vroeg in die geskiedenis van Rome toe soldate hul eie wapens moes voorsien. Die mees tipiese is gemaak van 'n enkele ysterplaat in 'n bakvorm met 'n nekbeschermer aan die agterkant, 'n uitgesproke wenkbrou en skarnierskuite wat almal ontwerp is om skade te verminder en weerhoue te weerkaats wat in die gesig van die draer gemaak is. Die helm in Monterfortino -styl (vernoem na die graf van Montefortino in Ancona waar 'n aantal voorbeelde gevind is) was die standaardhelm van die 2de eeu vC. Polybius 6.23.12 beskryf die beroemde geveerde kuif van hierdie helm.

Romeinse beleëringswapens was geneig om variasies of afskrifte van Hellenistiese weergawes te wees; dit was in verskillende groottes, vorms en funksies. Die meeste van hulle word deur Vitruvius X beskryf. Daar was katapulte en ballistae (beide variasies van klipgooiers) die kleiner Skerpioene, (soortgelyk in vorm as dit nie ontwerp is nie ballistae) wat 'n artillerie -stuk was, en verder sou die Romeine vuurramme en belegstorings gebruik. Vitruvius gaan oor die meer voor die hand liggend om te bou beleëringsladers. Alhoewel dit nie 'n werklike 'wapen' is nie op sigself, mure kan ondermyn word deur sappers. Josephus, Die Joodse Oorlog 3. 245-6- beskryf die doeltreffendheid van klipgooiers in baie detail. Beleggingswapens is egter ook soms (maar selde) in oop oorlogvoering ingespan: Tacitus, (Geskiedenisse 3.23) vertel hoe tydens die tweede geveg van Bedriacum in 69 nC, waar ''n buitengewoon groot katapult ... bloedbad wyd en syd sou veroorsaak het' 'as dit nie was vir twee soldate wat daarteen ingesluip het en sy toue en ratte gesny het nie.

Weermagkampe

Dit is belangrik om te onthou wat die weermag sou doen as hulle nie in die veld geveg het nie, meestal was dit opleiding. Roetemars kan drie keer per maand plaasvind, en soms word maneuvers in die veld uitgevoer. Daar was egter ook burgerlike pligte. Infrastrukture is verbeter met brug- en padbou. Hospitals had to be manned, kilns worked, fuel fetched, and bread baked, to name just a few camp activities. The Vindolanda writing tablets act as a brilliant insight into life at a Roman camp and contain personal letters and camp accounts. Likewise, Josephus, Jewish War, 3. 76- 93, whilst possibly based on Polybius (and therefore not reflecting an overly accurate account for the time in which he was writing), shows the very ordered nature of the Roman army at camp. However, the whole legion need not be based in camp at the same time. Vindolanda Inventory No. 154, of the 1st Tungrian Cohort, shows how the troops were divided across the province, acting as provincial policemen or guards to the governor, to name just two duties outside of the Roman fort that soldiers might be sent to do. The army was a key part of the Roman Empire, and the emperors relied on the army's allegiance this can be seen by the coin of Vitellus which reads, that he is in power in “agreement with the army”, and by the fact that the emperor was seen as a soldier, and how this was one of the reasons for Nero's failings Dio Cassius, 69.9, tells of the vital role of the Praetorian guard in Claudius' ascension to power.

Tactics & Formations

Of the maniples, the standard formation of the maniples was triplex acies, with troops drawn up three lines deep, the hastati at the front, the principes in the middle, and the triarii at the back. Each soldier would take up a space around 6 foot square, enabling him to throw his pilum and effectively wield his sword (Pol.18.30.8). The multiple maniples were often spaced a distance equal to their own width away from the next maniple, in a staggered chess board like formation, which has been termed quincunx. Once battles had started it was often up to junior commanders, rather than the general himself, to oversee the motivation of the troops Plutarch records a unique situation:

The Romans, when they attacked the Macedonian phalanx, were unable to force a passage, and Salvius, the commander of the Pelignians, snatched the standard of his company and hurled it in among the enemy. Then the Pelignians, since among the Italians it is an unnatural and flagrant thing to abandon a standard, rushed on towards the place where it was, and dreadful losses were inflicted and suffered on both sides.

(Plut.Vit.Aem. Paul.1.20)

The Romans also developed many military tactics and methods which would be used for centuries to come, as well as tactics unique to a given situation. When Brutus was besieged by Mark Antony in Mutina, in 43 BCE, the siege was lifted when word got to Brutus about the enemy's plans and actions. Letters were attached to pigeons' necks and they, “longing for light and food, made for the highest buildings and were caught by Brutus.” (Frontinus, Stratagems, 3.13.8). When Quintus Sertorius, an eques of notable military distinction, was outmatched by the enemy cavalry, so “during the night he dug trenches and drew up his forces in front of them. When the cavalry squadrons arrived… he withdrew his line of battle. The cavalry pursued him closely, fell into the ditches, and in this way were defeated.” (Frontinus, 2.12.2). There were also formations against cavalry, Cassius Dio (Roman History, 71.7) describes a defensive formation particularly useful against cavalry: “The Romans… formed into a compact mass so that they faced the enemy at once, and most of them placed their shields on the ground and put one foot on them so that they did not slip so much.” If completely surrounded, this would form a hollow square.

Glorious Victories

Lake Regillus, c. 496 BCE

This semi-legendary battle took place at Lake Regillius between Tusculum and Rome and happened at the very beginning of the Roman Republic. It was fought between Rome and the Latins. The Latins were led by Rome's last and exiled king, Tarquinius Superbus. and this was the king's last attempt to regain power in Rome. The Romans were led by the Dictator Postumius. After much uncertainty on the battlefield, there were three measures which Postumius had to put in place to ensure his victory. Firstly, he ordered his own cohort to treat any fleeing Romans as they would the enemy in order to rally them then he had to order the cavalry to fight on foot since the infantry were so exhausted thirdly he provided further incentive to his troops by promising rewards to those who entered the enemy camp first and second. This resulted in such a rush of Roman troops that Tarquinius and the Latins fled the field of battle, and Postumius returned to Rome to celebrate a triumph. Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 2.19-20, provides a full account of the battle.

Zama, 202 BCE

Zama was the last battle in the Second Punic War and ended 17 years of war between the two states of Rome and Carthage. The Roman legionaries and Italian cavalry (with a supporting body of Numidian cavalry) were led by Publius Cornelius Scipio. The Carthaginians were led by Hannibal, who fielded an army of mercenaries, local citizens, veterans from his battles in Italy, and war elephants. The Roman victory saw an end to Carthaginian resistance, with the Carthaginian senate pressing for peace again. The Romans granted peace, but only at a high price for Carthage.

Infamous Defeats

Lake Trasimine & Cannae, 217 and 216 BCE

The battles of Lake Trasimine and Cannae were two shocking defeats in the Second Punic War at the beginning of Hannibal's entry to Italian lands. Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.4-7 deals with Trasimine and 22.47-8 with Cannae. Cannae was the greatest defeat that the Roman army ever suffered, despite the Romans greatly outnumbering Hannibal's forces (by what exact figure is debated), and the Romans were eventually overcome by what was a pincer movement that entrapped the Romans in the surrounding Carthaginian assembly. Both of these battles saw incredibly fierce fighting. At Lake Trasimene the Romans had been ambushed by Hannibal, and this led to such fierce fighting:

…that an earthquake, violent enough to overthrow large portions of many of the towns of Italy, turn swift streams from their courses, carry the sea up into rivers, and bring down mountains with great landslides, was not even felt by any of the combatants.

(Livy, Ab Urbe Condita, 22.5)

Teutoburg, 9 CE

At the battle of Teutoburg Forest three legions were ambushed and slaughtered by a gathering of Germanic tribes, commanded by Arminius, chief of the Cherusci. The Romans were led by Publius Quinctilius Varus. Tacitus (Annale,1.55-71) describes the scenario and battle in detail but Suetonius, best sums up the effect of this defeat:

“[the defeat] of Varus threatened the security of the empire itself three legions, with the commander, his lieutenants, and all the auxiliaries, being cut off. Upon receiving intelligence of this disaster, he gave orders for keeping a strict watch over the city, to prevent any public disturbance, and prolonged the appointments of the prefects in the provinces, that the allies might be kept in order by experience of persons to whom they were used. He made a vow to celebrate the great games in honour of Jupiter, Optimus, Maximus, "if he would be pleased to restore the state to more prosperous circumstances." This had formerly been resorted to in the Cimbrian and Marsian wars. In short, we are informed that he was in such consternation at this event, that he let the hair of his head and beard grow for several months, and sometimes knocked his head against the door-post, crying out, " Varus! Give me back my legions!" And ever after he observed the anniversary of this calamity, as a day of sorrow and mourning.

(Suetonius, Augustus, 2)

For the best part of half a millennium, the Roman army acted as the long arm of Roman imperialism over an area of land that encompassed the lands touched and influenced by the Mediterranean. It united Italy, divided Roman allegiances, acting both as the State's enforcer and the enforcer of individuals of power it was able to subdue German tribes, Carthaginians, Greeks, Macedonians, and many other peoples. It was a force to be reckoned with, and it still is because to understand how the Roman army operated is no easy task, and this definition has only brushed the topsoil off the vast wealth of details on the Roman army that has been buried in time.


Byzantine Army: Organization, Units, and Evolution

Popular notions tend to group the later Eastern Roman realm, or more specifically the Byzantine Empire, as a strictly medieval entity that encompassed Greece, the surrounding Balkans, and the Anatolian landmass. But if we take the impartial route that is ‘bereft’ of prejudiced medieval European politics and chronicling, the Byzantine Empire was the continuation (and even represented endurance) of the Roman legacy, so much so that most of its citizens called their realm Basileia tôn Rhōmaiōn – the Roman Empire.

To that end, the very term ‘Byzantine’ in spite of its popularity, is a misleading word. So without further ado, let us delve into the history, organization, and evolution of the early medieval (Eastern Roman) Byzantine army, from circa 7th to 11th century.

Note* – In spite of its slightly fallacious nature, we will continue to use the term ‘Byzantine’ instead of ‘Eastern Roman’ in the following article, for the sake of clarity (for most readers).

Introduction – The Overshadowing of Military by Politics

Leo Phokas defeats Sayf ud-Dawla at Adrassos. Source: Wikimedia Commons

As we mentioned before, the term ‘Byzantine’, as opposed to Eastern Roman, is rather a medieval invention that sort of takes an uncomplimentary route – partially based on the prejudices of medieval chroniclers. In fact, to that end, the word ‘Byzantine’ is rather deprecatory even in our modern world, with its association often made to “deviousness or underhand procedure” (Oxford Dictionary). In essence, such biased views were often concocted by the contemporaries of the Eastern Roman Empire, who perceived the political scope and ploys favored by the Romans as being overly complicated and labyrinthine.

However, as historian Ian Heath wrote (in Byzantine Armies 886-1118 AD) – in spite of such misunderstood labeling and anachronistic slanders, the Byzantine army of 10th century AD was possibly the “best-organized, best-trained, best-equipped and highest-paid in the known world”. Simply put, the Byzantine army from this particular epoch was the closest to a professional force that served any known medieval realm. And this scope of professionalism was rather reinforced by the favorable economic might of the empire, strengthened by an organized military system (that was different from their ancient Roman predecessors) and well-defined logistical support.

Organization of the Byzantine Army –

Bandon – The Basic Unit of the Eastern Roman Army

Byzantine Themata cavalry, circa 7th-8th century AD. Source: Pinterest

The military manual of Strategicon (Greek: Στρατηγικόν) written by Eastern Roman Emperor Maurice in the late 6th century dealt with the general military strategies, and the renowned Tactica military treatise written by or on behalf of Byzantine Emperor Leo VI the Wise (circa early 10th century AD), drew heavily from this handbook. And both of these manuals talked about the basic military unit of bandon (of tagmata as mentioned in Strategicon), a word itself derived from the Germanic ‘banner’, thus alluding to the foreign influence in Byzantine army during the early medieval period.

Now it should be noted that the number of troops within each bandon varied in accordance with the available manpower, which took into account the injured and the invalidated. In any case, on the theoretical level, by Emperor Leo’s time, a bandon possibly accounted for 256 men for infantrymen (comprising sixteen lochaghiai) and 300 men for cavalry (comprising six allaghia of 50 men each) – and each one was commanded by a komes or count.

Interestingly enough, the Byzantine army did make use of ‘mixed’ divisions of soldiers within each bandon, with ratios of 3:1 to 7:3 when it came to spearmen (skutatoi) and archers, thus suggesting advanced tactical deployments on the battlefields. Die banda (plural of bandon) was also used as the standard for determining bigger divisions, like moirai en turmai. To that end, a moira often contained variable numbers of banda, oscillating between 2 to 5 – possibly accounting for around 1,000 troops in the 10th century AD (as opposed to the norm of 2,000 men for each moirai in the 6th century AD). Die turma, on the hand, comprised around three moirai, thus amounting to around 3,000 men.

Die Themata or Provincial Armies –

Source: Short History

The Byzantine military from the 7th century to early 11th century AD was dependent on the Themata (or Themes) system, an administrative network of provincial armies that ironically preserved the Eastern Roman realm (more-or-less across Anatolia) and yet mirrored ‘on the defensive’ state of affairs. Partly inspired by the provincial system set in place by Constantine the Great, the Themata – as we know today, was possibly established during the reign of Constans II, as opposed to the popular notion associated with Emperor Heraclius. In any case, the rise of this defensive force, initially based on the provinces of Anatolia, was probably fueled by the incursions of the Arabs on the eastern frontiers of the Empire.

Now each of these theme armies was commanded by a military governor known as the strategos (or general), who also boasted his personal retinue of heavily armed swordsmen known as the spatharioi (spatha or sword ‘bearers’). And on occasions, some of these retinues rose to hundreds of men, as was in the case of the Thema Thrakēsiōn, whose strategos had a retinue of two banda – approximately 600 men.

The military governor was additionally assisted by other high-ranking officials who took the responsibilities of the province’s revenues, taxations, and most importantly payments for the provincial army. However, the core member of the Themata pertained to the regular provincial troop, who usually belonged to the farmer-soldier background. These freemen were offered plots of agricultural land (often hereditary) in return for their mounted (in theory) military service, which sort of mirrored the feudal system followed in contemporary Europe.

But the size of such plots tended to be smaller than the knightly holdings of western Europe – thus resulting in a greater number of Themata troops albeit with relatively lower quality equipment and training. At the same time, it should be noted that not all such provincial troops of the Byzantine army were uniformly ‘poor’. In fact, as mentioned in Tactica, some of the Thema armies comprised rich landowners who could afford superior armor and weapons – and as such, they were considered as the first line of defense by the Emperor himself.

Furthermore, in spite of the non-uniformity of equipment showcased by different provincial troops, there was a minimum threshold of requirement expected from each farmer-soldier who held land. For example, in the 9th century AD, the Byzantine administration passed a law that allowed poor Themata soldiers to band together to pay for a properly equipped mounted warrior. In rare cases (as legislated by Emperor Nikephoros II), some of the richer troops were obligated to furnish better equipment for their poorer military brethren. And during extreme situations, if the soldier couldn’t afford his arms and armaments – even after being offered aid from others, his land was promptly taken away. Consequently, he was drafted into the irregular divisions who were derogatorily called the ‘cattle-lifters’.

So in essence, as opposed to 10th century feudal Europe’s wide gap between the early knightly class and the ‘rag-tag’ peasant infantry, the Byzantine army boasted a fairly consistent provincial military institution that was inclusive of variant soldier types – and the entire system was rather strengthened by an administrative network (though the scenario took a downturn by the second half of the 11th century).

Strength of the Provincial Army –

Akritai frontier soldiers on the left and center, accompanied by a heavy ‘Cataphract’ style cavalryman on the right. Illustration by Angus McBride.

The basic unit of each Thema army possibly harked back to the aforementioned banda (each bandon ranging from 200 to 400 men), though in terms of practicality the provincial soldiers were occasionally organized into the bigger turmai. Suffice it to say, the strength of each provincial army varied, dictated by the population of the said province. For example, the Anatolikon province could possibly furnish around 10,000 soldiers, while the Armeniakon province could account for 9,000 troops. The smaller provinces, like Thrace, could approximately provide 5,000 provincial soldiers. And the overall strength of the Byzantine Themata army possibly numbered between 70,000 to 90,000 men, in circa early 10th century AD.

Now as historian Ian Heath noted that some of the themes were further divided or even expanded, based on the political and military scenario of the period – which, in turn, had an effect on the manpower of the province. Moreover, the Byzantine realm also had the strategic frontier themes, known as kleisourai (or ‘mountain passes’) that were mostly created from the border districts. These particular provinces tended to maintain a more autonomous army linked by forts and castles, and the battle-hardened soldiers were commanded by the border nobles known as the akritai. On occasions, even the younger sons of the ‘interior’ Thema landowners joined the ranks of border armies, thus militarily reinforcing many strategic locations of the Eastern Roman Empire.

Payment and Rations of Ordinary Byzantine Soldiers –

Themata infantrymen. Illustration by Angus McBride.

As we fleetingly mentioned before in the article, the Byzantine army was relatively well paid, especially when compared to the European realms of the contemporary time period. In terms of actual figures, a regular Thema soldier was possibly paid one (or one-and-a-half) gold coin, known as the nomismata, per month. Elkeen nomismata weighed around 1/72th of a pound, which equates to 1/6 to 1/4th of a pound of gold for the individual soldier per year. This increased to 3 pounds of gold per year for a ‘fifth-class’ strategos and 40 pounds of gold per year for a ‘first-class’ strategos. It should also be noted that additionally, these farmer-soldiers held their grants of land, which theoretically were valued over 4 pounds of gold.

Now of course, much like their ancient Roman predecessors, that payment system must have had its limitation. For example, Emperor Constantine VII (or Porphyrogenitus – ‘the Purple-born’), the son of Leo VI the Wise, talked about how the Byzantine army at the provincial level was paid once in four years in the ‘old times’. This could have meant that the provincial troops served in a cyclic manner, thus alluding to the rota system that possibly came into force every three years, which in turn might have provided a fresh batch of permanent soldiers for each year.

However, on the other hand, Arabic sources mention how most of the Byzantine forces (circa 9th century AD) were only paid once in four or five years, thus suggesting how the comprehensive payment scale occasionally put a strain on the treasury of the Empire. In any case, the payment was also complemented by a rationing system, with dedicated rations being provided to the Thema soldier during his active duty. And like in many contemporary military cultures, the provisions were often bolstered by spoils and plunders gathered during both quick raids and extensive campaigns.

And interestingly enough, once again in stark comparison to early medieval European armies, disabled soldiers were expected to be endowed with pensions, while the widows of those who were killed in action were given a considerable sum of 5 pounds of gold (at least during the peak of the Byzantine army in circa 9th century AD).

Die Tagmata or the Elite Guard Regiments of the Byzantine Empire –

Byzantine Imperial cavalry guardsmen (circa 10th century AD) running down Fatimid soldiers. Illustration by Guiseppe Rava.

Till now we have talked about the Themata army of the Byzantine Empire (circa 8th – 10th century AD). But the provincial troops were supported by the better-equipped and highly-trained Tagmata, the permanent guard regiments based in and around the capital of Constantinople. In essence, these elite units took the role of the nucleus of the early medieval Byzantine army and were possibly formed by Emperor Constantine V.

Pertaining to the latter part, the Tagmata were thus perceived as the Eastern Roman Emperor’s own regiments who took the field only when their ruler set out to a campaign. But reverting to practical circumstances, during such military scenarios, some of the elite Tagma units must have also stayed back at Constantinople to guard the capital, while a few others were probably even committed to garrison duties in the proximate provinces like Macedonia and Thrace.

Scholai, Exkoubitoi, and Other Elite Regiments –

Scholai (standing one and the cavalryman) and Noumeroi (leaning one) guardsmen, along with the seated Emperor. Illustration by Guiseppe Rava.

Die Scholai (Σχολαί, ‘the Schools’), probably the senior-most unit in the Tagmata, were the direct successors of the Imperial Guards established by none other than Constantine the Great. The other three principal regiments that were considered among the Tagmata ‘proper’ are as follows – the Exkoubitoi of Exkoubitores (‘Sentinels’), the Arithmos (‘Number’) or Vigla (‘Watch’), and the Hikanatoi (‘the Able Ones’) who were established by Emperor Nikephoros I in early 9th century AD.

There were also some other regiments that were occasionally counted in the imperial Tagmata roster, including the Noumeroi, who were possibly tasked with manning the walls of Constantinople the Optimatoi (‘the best’), who, in spite of their name, were relegated to a support unit that maintained the baggage train and garrisoned the nearby areas outside the capital and the Hetaereia Basilike (“the Emperor’s companions”), who probably comprised a mercenary regiment composed of foreigners. During certain scenarios, men of the Imperial Fleet were also inducted into the Tagmata units.

Now when it comes to the number of soldiers of the Byzantine Tagmata, there is a lot of debate in the academic world. Early medieval sources rather mirror this state of confusion, with Procopius writing in the 5th century on how the Scholai was made up of 3,500 men. 10th-century Arab author Qudamah talked about how this number possibly rose to 4,000 per Tagma regiment in the 9th century.

However, yet another Arab author, Ibn Khordadbah mentioned how the total strength of the Tagmata army was 6,000 (which makes it 1,500 men per regiment), and they were supported by 6,000 servants. And finally, another historical source of the 10th century described how the Emperor in the campaign should be supported by at least 8,200 horsemen (all of these figures are mentioned in ‘Byzantine Armies 886–1118′ by Ian Heath). Presuming these horsemen to be from the Tagmata, we can surmise that in normal scenarios, the Emperor possibly boasted over 12,000 elite troops – and the number possibly even crossed 25,000 in the latter decades of the 10th century.

The Renowned Military Units of the Byzantine Army –

The Cataphracts –

Illustration by Christos Giannopoulos. Source: Pinterest

The very term ‘Cataphract’ (derived from Greek Kataphraktos – meaning ‘completely enclosed’ or ‘armored’) is historically used to denote a type of armored heavy cavalry that was originally used by ancient Iranian tribes, along with their nomadic and Eurasian brethren. To that end, the Eastern Romans adopted the cataphract-based mounted warfare from their eastern neighbors – the Parthians (and later Sassanid Persians), with the first units of the heavy cavalry being inducted into the Roman Empire army as mercenaries (probably raised from mounted Sarmatian auxiliaries). And interestingly enough, the subsequent Byzantine army maintained its elite units of cataphracts from antiquity till the early middle ages, thus ironically carrying on the tradition of eastern equestrianism.

In any case, the Eastern Roman Cataphract of the Byzantine army fielded till the 10th century, was known for its super-heavy armor and weapons (that included maces, bows, and rarely even javelins). Typical contemporary descriptions of the cavalrymen mention the use of klibanion, a type of Byzantine lamellar cuirass that was crafted of metal bits sewn on leather or cloth pieces. This klibanion was often worn over a mail corselet, thus resulting in a heavy ‘composite’ armor, which was further reinforced by a padded armor worn under (or over) the corselet. This tremendously well-protected scope was complemented by other armor pieces, like vambraces, greaves, leather gauntlets and even mail hoods that were attached to the helmet.

Now in terms of military history, the Kataphraktoi or their brethren Klibanophoroi (a super-heavy cavalry unit revived by Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas) certainly required costly equipment and armaments, which could have possibly limited these units only to the Tagmata weermag. It is also interesting to note that Emperor John I Tzimiskes raised another unit of heavily armored shock cavalry – known as the Athanatoi (or ‘Immortals’). According to contemporary sources, these cavalrymen were draped in exquisite armor, described as “armed horsemen adorned with gold”.

The Mercenaries – From Pechenegs, Normans, to Norsemen

Various Byzantine mercenaries. Illustration by Angus McBride.

By the end of the 10th century, the manpower derived from most Themes in Anatolia began to dwindle while by the end of the 11th century the quality of native Byzantine troops declined – so much so that their land-owning positions were gradually taken over by Armenians (and related Cappadocians), Varangians, Slavs, and even Franks. Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas, who was also a brilliant military leader, perceived this ‘slackening’ trend, and already took steps that would allow the employment (and even recruitment) of mercenaries in the Themata weermag. In fact, according to credible estimates made by historians, by the end of the 10th century (and early 11th century), possibly more than half of the fighting men in the Byzantine army were mercenaries who came from different ethnic backgrounds.

Now if we proceed to a century later, Frankish sources talked about the variant mercenary elements found in Emperor Alexios I Komnenos’ army, including the Patzinaks, Alans, Kipchaks (Cumans), Bulgars – and these groups possibly formed the core of the missile cavalry. To that end, Nikephoros II’s light cavalry divisions were mostly composed of the Patzinaks (or Pechenegs), semi-nomadic Turkic people who originally hailed from Central Asia.

These light cavalrymen were complemented by their ‘heavier’ brethren, along with the infantrymen and marines – derived from the Anglo-Saxons, Rus (early Varangians), Franks, Italians, Dacians, and even Normans. And quite intriguingly, this system of employing mercenaries even took an administrative route (possibly as an alternative to the depreciating Themata army) that streamlined the foreign troops into self-contained contingents known as the symmachoi (‘allies’) that were commanded by their own officers and leaders.

The Varangian Guard –

Illustration by Christos Giannopoulos. Source: Pinterest

We discussed at length about the Varangian Guards, probably the most renowned of all Byzantine army units, in one of our articles dedicated to the mercenary regiment. Pertaining to the latter part, the Varangians Guards were indeed employed as mercenaries as opposed to guard units like the Scholai en Exkoubitores. Now employing mercenaries was a trademark of Byzantine military stratagem even in the earlier centuries (as we discussed in the last entry). But the recruitment of the Varangians (by Emperor Basil II in 988 AD) was certainly different in scope, simply because of the loyalty factor. In essence, the Varangians were specifically employed to be directly loyal to their paymaster – the Emperor.

In that regard, unlike most other mercenaries, they were dedicated, incredibly well trained, furnished with the best of armors, and most importantly devoted to their lord. And unlike other imperial guard regiments, the Varangian Guard was (mostly) not subject to political and courtly intrigues nor were they influenced by the provincial elites and the common citizens. Furthermore, given their direct command under the Emperor, the ‘mercenary’ Varangians actively took part in various encounters around the empire – thus making them an effective crack military unit, in contrast to just serving ceremonial offices of the royal guards.

In any case, the popular imagery of a Varangian guardsman generally reverts to a tall, heavily armored man bearing a huge ax rested on his shoulder. This imposing ax in question entailed the so-called Pelekys, a deadly two-handed weapon with a long shaft that was akin to the famed Danish ax. To that end, the Varangians were often referred to as the pelekyphoroi in medieval Greek.

Now interestingly enough, while the earlier Pelekys tended to have crescent-shaped heads, the shape varied in later designs, thus alluding to the more ‘personalized’ styles preferred by the guard members. As for its size, the sturdy battle-ax often reached to an impressive length of 140 cm (55-inch) – with a heavy head of 18 cm (7-inch) length and blade-width of 17 cm (6.7-inch). And lastly, it should also be noted that the Varangians mostly played their crucial roles after the military peak of the Byzantine army (post 11th century) – an epoch that is not the focus of our article.

The Evolution of the Byzantine Army – Visual Presentation

YouTuber foojer has aptly furnished a flourishing visual scope to this millennium-long military tradition of the Eastern Roman Empire accompanied by short information snippets that mention the evolution of armor and soldier panoply for the Byzantine infantrymen. As the creator of the time-lapse video makes it clear –

I’ve chosen to call them Byzantines instead of Eastern Romans for the sake of convention, and I’ve chosen to focus on native heavy infantry, excluding mercenary and guards units (sorry, Varangian fans).

By order of appearance: three infantrymen from the Byzantine ‘Dark Ages’ (

7th to 9th centuries) five infantrymen from the Macedonian dynasty (10th to 11th centuries) two infantrymen from Komnenid dynasty (11th to 12th centuries) three infantrymen from the Laskarid dynasty (13th century) four infantrymen from the Palaiologian dynasty (13th to 15th centuries) one warrior from the Trapezuntine Empire (which survived until 1461)

The armor and weapons are mostly stylised though I’ve tried to include as much detail as possible. One point to note: my portrayal of the 1453 household trooper as heavily orientalised is controversial, but given the direction Byzantine costume was headed (check out the medallion of Emperor John VIII, and note how Trapezuntine warriors in 1461 were almost indistinguishable from their Turkish opponents), I think it makes a lot of sense.

*The article was updated on March 18, 2020.

Book References: Byzantine Armies 886–1118 (By Ian Heath) / Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081 (By Warren Treadgold)

And in case we have not attributed or misattributed any image, artwork or photograph, we apologize in advance. Please let us know via the ‘Contact Us’ link, provided both above the top bar and at the bottom bar of the page.


The Roman Army: Organization and Battle Tactics

The Roman army was the backbone of the empire’s power, and the Romans managed to conquer so many tribes, clans, confederations, and empires because of their military superiority. It was also the source of the empire’s economic and political strength, ensuring domestic peace so that trade could flourish. However, this peace was often coterminous with subjugation. The Emperor used the army to protect Rome and to control the people it had conquered.

The Roman army was also a tool of cultural assimilation. Some soldiers were away from their families for long periods of time, loosening their clan loyalties and replacing them with loyalty to Rome. The Roman army was a means by which a barbarian could become a citizen, but the process was not fast. Only when a soldier had served in the army for 25 years he could become a citizen of Rome.

Organization of the Roman Army

The army was organised in a very simple way:

5000 Legionaries (Roman Citizens who were in the army) would form a Legion.

The Legion would be split into centuries (80 men) controlled by a Centurion.

The centuries would then be divided into smaller groups with different jobs to perform.

A Roman Soldier

Roman soldiers had to be physically vigorous. They were expected to march up to 20 miles per day in line, wearing all their armor and carrying their food and tents.

Roman soldiers were trained to fight well and to defend themselves. If the enemy shot arrows at them they would use their shields to surround their bodies and protect themselves. This formation was know as ‘the turtle’.

They fought with short swords, daggers for stabbing and a long spear for throwing. They also carried a shield for protection as well as wearing armor.

The tactics were simple but versatile enough to face different enemies in multiple terrains: From the forests of Germania to the rocky planes of the Greek peninsula. For these and many other reasons the Roman army was the reason for the Empire’s existence for several centuries.

This article is part of our larger resource on the Romans culture, society, economics, and warfare. Click here for our comprehensive article on the Romans.


The Roman Army

The Roman Army was extremely important in explaining the success of the Romans and the expansion of the Roman Empire. The Roman Army, at the peak of its power, conquered what we now call England/Wales, Spain, France, most of Germany, the northern coast of Africa, the Middle East and Greece. The Ancient Roman equivalent would be:

Britannia England/Wales
Gallia or Gaul Frankryk
Germania Duitsland
Hispania Spanje
Aegyptus Egipte
Achaea Griekeland
Italia Italië

The Roman Army is recognised by historians as an extremely effective fighting machine. Ironically, its success also led to its downfall. The lowest level of soldier in the Roman Army was the legionnaire. Between 5000 and 6000 legionaries made up a legion that was commanded by a legatus. Legionnaires were trained to fight in a disciplined and co-ordinated manner. A whole legion could be punished for failing to fight well in battle – even if the Romans did win the battle itself! Training was brutal and tough but it paid huge dividends for the Romans.

A legionnaire went into battle equipped with three main weapons.

The Pilum This was similar to a javelin today. The legionaries would throw it at the enemy as they ran at them. It was not for hand-to-hand fighting. The main purpose of the pilum was to disrupt the defence of the enemy. They would be too concerned worrying about avoiding the incoming weapons to focus on what the legionnaires themselves were doing. By the time the enemy had re-organised itself, the Romans were upon them. If a pilum did hit you, it could do serious damage as the thinner top section would crumple into you on impact and removing it would be very painful. The wooden stock of the pilum was also re-useable as the Romans only had to add another spear head to it.
The Gladius The gladius was the main weapon for the Roman soldier when he got into close quarter fighting. This was a sword which was kept razor sharp. Anyone on the receiving end of a blow from a gladius would suffer severe injuries.
The Pugio The pugio was a small dagger used in combat if all else had been lost.

Along with these weapons, the legionnaire carried a curved shield called a scutum. This gave the Roman soldier a great deal of protection as it curved around his body. It was also used by the Romans when they used what was known as a tortoise formation to move forward to a target that was well defended. A ‘tortoise’ was when the soldiers lifted the scutums flat above their heads so that they effectively interlocked and protected them from any missiles thrown at them from on high.


Need to put some warheads on foreheads? There’s an app for that

Posted On November 01, 2018 20:45:46

I’m sure you are sick of hearing the phrase, “There’s an app for that!” Well, the Marines how have an app for calling in fire support – part of the new suite of gear for forward observers.

According to a Marine Corps release, the service soon will be issuing the Target Handoff System Version 2, or “THS V.2.”

Now weighing in at about 20 pounds, the THS V.2 will cut that burden in half. When the combat load of troops can reach close to 100 pounds, this is a significant relief to Marines on the move.

The THS V.2 gets this light weight by using commercial smart phones to replace the more conventional radio systems in the original THS. An app on the smart phone then allows Marines to call in fire support much more easily, and that will help minimize collateral damage.

The system even comes with a pre-installed “Start Guide” with a variety of tutorials for users.

This fiscal year Marines will receive smart phones that make calling for fire support easier, quicker and more accurate. The Target Handoff System Version 2, or THS V.2, is a portable system designed for use by dismounted Marines to locate targets, pinpoint global positioning coordinates and call for close air, artillery and naval fire support using secure digital communications. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws/Released)

“With the new version, Marines will obtain a lightweight device equipped to provide immediate situational awareness on where friendly and enemy locations are, and the ability to hand off target data to fire support to get quick effects on the battlefield,” Capt. Jesse Hume of Marine Corps Systems Command said. Hume serves as the THS V.2 project officer.

“THS V.2 provides embedded, real-time tactical information with ground combat element units down to the squad or platoon level,” Gunnery Sgt. Nicholas Tock added. “If we are on patrol and we take contact from machine guns in a tree line, a satellite that passes over once every few hours is not going to help an infantry unit kill that target. THS V.2 is for that close combat.”

U.S. Soldiers with Battery C, 4th Battalion, 1st Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Task Force Al Taqaddum, fire an M109A6 Paladin howitzer during a fire mission at Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq, June 27, 2016. The strikes were conducted in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation aimed at eliminating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, and the wider international community. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Donald Holbert)

The system also includes a laser-rangefinder, combat net radio, and video downlink — but there’s another benefit. In addition to cutting the weight in half, the use of off-the-shelf technology cuts the price of the system in half.

Even the bean-counters seem to win with this.

Anyone picking a firefight with Marines, though, looks to be a sure loser. And that’s a good thing.


Kyk die video: Het Romeinse Rijk (Desember 2021).