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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 combined military 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 to include specialised ranged Navy and Land Attillery. 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, absorbing massive losses.

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 and saw Roman armies campaigning as far East as Parthia, as far south as Africa and as far north as Britannia.

The makeup of the Roman military changed substantially over its history, from its early history as an unsalaried citizen militia to a later professional force. The equipment used by the military altered greatly in type over time, though there were very few technological improvements in weapons manufacture, in common with the rest of the classical world. For much of its history, the vast majority of Rome's forces were maintained at or beyond the limits of its territory, in order to either expand Rome's domain, or protect its existing borders.

Selected article

Italia and surrounding territory, 218 BC
The Third Servile War, also called the Gladiator War and The War of Spartacus by Plutarch, was the last of a series of unrelated and unsuccessful slave rebellions against the Roman Republic, known collectively as the Servile Wars. The Third Servile War was the only one to directly threaten the Roman heartland of Italia and was doubly alarming to the Roman people due to the repeated successes of the rapidly growing band of rebel slaves against the Roman army between 73 and 71 BC. The rebellion was finally crushed through the concentrated military effort of a single commander, Marcus Licinius Crassus, although the rebellion continued to have indirect effects on Roman politics for years to come.Between 73 and 71 BC, a band of escaped slaves — originally a small cadre of about 70 escaped gladiators which grew into a band of over 120,000 men, women and children — wandered throughout and raided Italy with relative impunity under the guidance of several leaders, including the famous gladiator-general Spartacus. The able-bodied adults of this band were a surprisingly effective armed force that repeatedly showed they could withstand the Roman military, from the local Campanian patrols, to the Roman militia, and to trained Roman legions under consular command.

Selected biography

Statue picturing Emperor Trajan.
Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus, commonly called Trajan, lived from September 18, 53 to August 9, 117. He was a Roman Emperor from 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.

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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 brick, I left it marble., Caesar Augustus

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Military history of ancient GreecePsiloiFirst Battle of LamiaSecond Battle of LamiaPublius Licinius CrassusBattle of Corbione
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To transclude this list, use {{WPMILHIST Announcements/Classical warfare}}

A lot of the announcements in the Classic Warfare task force of the Wikipedia Military History Project (see box to right) will relate directly to the Roman military - please help out with any of these tasks where you can. In addition you can:

  • See a list of the status of every article on this topic, from stub class to featured articles - please help expand and improve any stub or start class articles.
  • Categorise articles on the topic of Roman military
  • Improve the general quality of existing Wikipedia articles that cover aspects of "Roman military" (through better organization, citations, references, illustrations, maps, etc.).
  • Expand the coverage of the Roman military in Wikipedia by the creation of new articles and new categories.
  • Create more consistent presentation of articles through the incorporation of standard templates, infoboxes, and layouts in articles about the Roman military
  • Add quotes relating to the Military of ancient Rome to a new Wikiquote page.
  • Add things here!

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