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Roman Military Strategy and Tactics

Roman Military Strategy
and Tactics
“War can only end in eventual victory”
Hastati- younger soldier, early form of the
Velites- light infantry, missile thrower
Triarii- Veteran soldier, wealthier and more
heavily armed
Ferentarii- young, poor soldier
Trireme- a ship with rectangular or
triangular sails wide enough for three
rowers at each oar, often equipped with a
ram and ‘siege’ weapons
Quinquereme- similar to a trireme, but five
rowers could be stationed at each oar,
making the ship much larger
Phalanx- rectangular military formation
consisting almost entirely of heavily armored
spearmen (though after Alexander the
amount of armor became less important in
labeling a division a phalanx)
Scutum- large rectangular shield
carried by Roman legionnaires
Legionnaire- a member of an army
(legion), usually used to describe the
standard heavy infantry of the Imperial
Roman Army
Pilum- heavy spear, could be thrown
as a javelin with an effective range of
20 meters
Contubernium- squad of eight men
Maniple- subdivision of a legion
consisting of either 60 or 120 men.
Cohort- division of legion made up of
480 men
Century- division of cohort consisting
of 80 men (originally 100)
Rome Under the Etruscan Kings
Prior to the republic the
Roman Army resembled
a Macedonian phalanx.
Cavalry used defensively
Equipment and rank
based on wealth
Rome Adapts…
Completely reorganizes army.
Tactics during battle still not
seen as important part of
Cavalry still not seen as an
offensive unit… and will not
be for a while.
It has come to the triarii!
New Helmets!
New Shields!
Rome Still Missing Something…
Up until the Second Punic War Rome had no
generals that stood out from the crowd…
The Shield and Sword of Rome
Quintus Fabius Maximus
Marcus Claudius Marcellus
More Importantly Though…
Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus
Major Reformations Under Scipio
Tactics during battle
Knew that numbers meant
nothing without tactics
Effective use of religion in
Made Roman Army selfsufficient, distrusted allies
Destroyed other Carthaginian
forces before engaging
Took advantage of outdated
enemy tactics
Could attack better than
Marcellus, and defend better
than Fabius
Changed basics of Roman
Unknowingly set precedent by
popularizing gladius
The ‘Classic’ Roman Legion
Came into being largely due
to reforms of Caius Marius
Any citizen could be a
soldier now, so long as he
was fit and willing to fight
Soldiers prepared for any
Marius’ Mules
Way the ‘Classic’ Legion Operated
With many wars under
its belt the Roman
Empire held dominance
on the battlefield
Rome had tactics that
only it had the
resources to pull off
In Order to Gauge the Enemy’s
Skirmishing Formation
Uh oh… Light Cavalry
Repel Cavalry
Standard Formations
Ace in the Hole
The Wedge (Pig’s Head)
If Things Take A Turn for the
The Orb
The Roman Standards
Standards of a Legion and a
To reach the gates…
The Tortoise
Siege Weapons
The Siege of New Carthage
Scipio once again takes
advantage of tactics of the
Mirage created by Romans
crossing the lagoon
Combined with naval attack
Roman Ingenuity
Siege Tower
Battle of Pydna
Naval Warfare
Slow Development of Naval Tactics
Wars with Carthage gave
Romans a reason to
develop a navy.
Objectives: Ram or Board
Marcus Vispanius Agrippa
showed Antony the
importance of tactics at
How Could Rome Lose?
Even an army of
400,000 could not
keep these borders
safe forever.
Remember cavalry?
The last competent
general was Belsarius
under Justinain.
An Empire Split, An Army Reformed
Diocletian splits the empire,
reforms defense plan
Comitatenses, limitanei
Theodosius and Constantine
further reform army…
Magister Peditum, Magister
Roman Tactics Used Today