Portal:Military of ancient Rome

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The Military of ancient Rome Portal

Animation of the growth and decline of Rome throughout its history.

The Military of ancient Rome relates to the Armed Forces of Ancient Rome from the founding of the city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD. Originally The Roman military consisted entirely of the Roman army, but a small navy was first added during the Samnite Wars and later significantly expanded. The Roman military was intertwined with the Roman state much more closely than in a modern Western nation. Josephus describes the Roman people as "as if born ready armed." and the Romans were for long periods prepared to engage in almost continuous warfare.

For a large part of Rome's history, the Roman state existed as an entity almost solely to support and finance the Roman military. The military's campaign history stretched over 1300 years

Selected article

The Roman Empire at its greatest extent under Trajan in 117 AD
The history of ancient Rome—originally a city-state of Italy, and later an empire covering much of Eurasia and North Africa from the ninth century BC to the fifth century AD—was often closely entwined with its military history. The core of the campaign history of the Roman military is the account of the Roman military's land battles, from its initial defence against and subsequent conquest of the city's hilltop neighbours in the Italian peninsula, to the ultimate struggle of the Western Roman Empire for its existence against invading Huns, Vandals and Germanic tribes after the empire's split into East and West. Despite the later Empire's encompassing of lands around the periphery of the Mediterranean sea, naval battles were typically less significant than land battles to the military history of Rome, due to its largely unchallenged dominance of the sea following fierce naval fighting during the First Punic War. The Roman army battled first against its tribal neighbours and Etruscan towns within Italy, and later came to dominate much of the Mediterranean and further afield, including the provinces of Britannia and Asia Minor at the Empire's height. As with most ancient civilisations, Rome's military served the triple purposes of securing its borders, exploiting peripheral areas through measures such as imposing tribute on conquered peoples, and maintaining internal order.


Selected biography

Statue picturing Emperor Trajan.
Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus, commonly called Trajan, lived from September 18, AD 53 to August 9, 117. He was a Roman Emperor from AD 98117. He was the second of the "Five Good Emperors of the Roman Empire". From 101-102, and then from 105-106 he launched the Dacian Wars, ending with Dacia being added to the Roman Empire as yet another province. From 113-116, he led the successful invasions of Armenia, Persia, and Mesopotamia, bringing the Empire to its greatest territorial extent. He died soon after the invasions in 117, and his adopted son Hadrian took the throne. Soon after Hadrian took the throne, he lost most of the eastern territory, yet Dacia remained a Roman province.

Did you know...

Did you know...

  • that there was a Roman saying 'It has come to the triarii' which described a desperate situation?
  • that the Colosseum's construction was funded by treasure taken from the temple of Jerusalem after the Romans sacked the city in AD 70?
  • that Hannibal Barca swore as a young child that he would never be an ally to Rome,and he upheld that oath until he committed suicide in 183 BC?
  • that the word "palace" came from the Palatine Hill in Rome? On that hill was built the palace of the Roman Emperors.
  • that the year AD 69 was a year in which Rome had four emperors, ending with Vespasian who then ruled for ten years?
  • that on the night July 18 to July 19, 64, the city of Rome suffered from a great fire? The emperor Nero blamed Christians for the fire, but some suspect that it was he who was the arsonist.
  • The Romans sufferred one of their greatest defeats in the Battle of Cannae.

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Quotes

  • Roman, remember that you shall rule the nations by your authority, for this is to be your skill, to make peace the custom, to spare the conquered, and to wage war until the haughty are brought low., Virgil, Aeneid
  • Alea iacta est (The die is cast), reportedly said by Gaius Julius Caesar before crossing the Rubicon
  • Silent enim leges inter arma (Laws are silent in times of war), Cicero
  • War gives the right of the conquerors to impose any conditions they please upon the vanquished. , Gaius Julius Caesar
  • The outcome corresponds less to expectations in war than in any other case whatsoever, Livy
  • A bad peace is even worse than war. , Tacitus
  • Veni, Vidi, Vici (I came, I saw, I conquered), Gaius Julius Caesar
  • I found Rome made of brick, I leave her clad in marble., Caesar Augustus

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