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The Roman army was responsible for the expansion and the maintenance of the Empire. It was extremely organised, disciplined and professional; this methodical approach to war made it an elite fighting force throughout the ancient world. The Roman military consisted of many legions; each legion would consist of around 5000 to 6000 men. After a man had served 25 years in the military they would be granted Roman citizenship and a plot of land in one of the Empire's provinces.

Training

Roman soldiers would be constantly training in order to keep sharp and ready for battle. As part of their routine soldiers would undergo an 18 mile march which had to be completed within five hours, they would then build a fort before taking it down the next day and repeating the process. On top of this they would also complete rigorous drills in order to perfect formations and tactics on a daily basis.

Weapons

A pilum was a javelin used by leigonaries. A gladius was a short sword used in close combat and a pugio was a dagger used as a back-up weapon.

The Roman military would have used artillery to destroy enemy battlements; they had a very long range, and could do large amounts of damage. There are records of the Romans flinging dead animals into towns in an attempt to cause a plague!

Roman Navy

The Roman navy was used to transport the army around the Mediterranean and to protect trade routes from pirates. The main weapon of a ship was its ram; it would be used to drive through other enemy ships. Roman ships would be named after Roman Gods and other mythological creatures.

The crew on these ships would mainly consist of foreign rowers, as it was considered not roman to be involved in the navy. It would enlist men from the nations of Greece, Syria and Egypt etc. After a minimum service of twenty-six years a naval crewman would receive Roman citizenship and a plot of land in one of the Empire's provinces.

Early Roman Army - 550BC to 300BC

The Roman navy was used to transport the army around the Mediterranean and to protect trade routes from pirates. The main weapon of a ship was its ram; it would be used to drive through other enemy ships. Roman ships would be named after Roman Gods and other mythological creatures.

The crew on these ships would mainly consist of foreign rowers, as it was considered not roman to be involved in the navy. It would enlist men from the nations of Greece, Syria and Egypt etc. After a minimum service of twenty-six years a naval crewman would receive Roman citizenship and a plot of land in one of the Empire's provinces.

Roman Army During Mid Roman Republic - 300BC to 107BC

The main development of military strategy during this period was the organization of its battle-line. Instead of a large single line or mass of soldiers the Romans now presented in three lines in a chequered formation. This gave them greater tactical mobility and flexibility as they could now deploy men where it was thought necessary. Rome's largest source of soldiers during this period still consisted of men from nearby civilisations who had previously signed a peace treaty in return for supplying Rome with soldiers whenever demanded.

The Second Punic War was of great significance in relation to the structure of the Roman army. It saw the introduction of non-Italian mercenaries with specialist skills, for example; Numidian light cavalry, Cretan archers, and slingers from the Balearic Islands. This war also resulted in soldiers becoming more permanent fixtures in the legions with 6 years of continuous service, this was to accommodate longer far reaching wars. It also saw a change in who could serve in the army. Up until this point there was a minimum property requirement in order to qualify for military service, this law was lifted in order to increase the size of the potential soldier pool.

Imperial Roman Army - 30BC to 284AD

The imperial army was formed under the first emperor of Rome, Augustus. Roman legions now consisted of 5,000 men who were all heavily armoured, trained infantry. These legions consisted of only Roman citizens who would now serve a standard conscription of 25 years.

The auxilia was also created by Augustus, these would accompany the legions, and these consisted of non-Romans. The auxilia also provided a majority of the Roman cavalry and projectile support. Auxiliaries would serve a minimum of 25 years in the Roman army, however, many would serve for longer periods. Following this service they would be granted Roman citizenship and other benefits.

At the end of Augustus' sovereignty the army maintained 250,000 men, which was equally split between both legionaries and auxiliaries. At the peak of the Roman Empire numbers grew to a peak of 450,000 men, however, at this point the auxilia outnumbered the legions by a significant amount.

Legionaries were well paid and would receive large bonuses on special occasions. For example; when a new emperor came to power and on the completion of their 25 year service soldiers would be given a bonus believed to be equal of around 13 years salary. Auxiliaries were however paid much less in the early days of the Roman Empire. Senior commanders in the Roman military were paid the greatest sums which were at least 50 times the basic salary of a legionary.

Roman soldiers at this point spent a surprisingly small amount of time campaigning. They would spend a majority of their time completing training drills, patrolling and performing maintenance on equipment and buildings. They would also be used as a police force and to control the mob when required. Outside of Rome they were responsible for the construction of forts, roads, bridges, ports and many other buildings.

Soldiers during this period were given a choice to practice whichever religion they wished to, this was mainly because the army was made up of men from across Europe with dozens of different religions. The only religions which were forbidden as they were too dissimilar with the official religion of Rome were Druidism and Christianity.

Early Roman Army - 550BC to 300BC

During this period the Roman Empire started to deteriorate and became unsustainable. The Empire will be split into two over the next century; this will have a great effect on how the army operates. The third century was chaotic and consequently it caused multiple problems. Firstly, there was a strong dependence on conscriptions and the army was made up of mostly barbarians.

During the fourth century AD it is believed that the Roman army consisted of around 390,000 men which is a similar number to previous centuries. However, the army was deployed in a different manner, rather than the legions being situated on the frontiers they were based inland in order to prevent civil disobedience. During this period legionary armour and weaponry were deserted in place of auxiliary lighter equipment. As more and more troops were withdrawn from the frontiers the Romans decided to upgrade and create more forts which had much better defensive specifications. However, due to a lack of support on these frontiers barbarian incursions became much more common.