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Encyclopedia > Technological history of the Roman military

This article is part of the series on: Image File history File links Rmn-military-header. ...

Military of ancient Rome (Portal)
800 BC–AD 476 The Military of ancient Rome (known to the Romans as the militia) relates to the combined military forces of Ancient Rome from the founding of the city of Rome to the end of the Western Roman Empire. ...

Structural history
Roman army (unit types and ranks,
legions, generals)
Roman navy (fleets, admirals)
Campaign history
Lists of Wars and Battles
Decorations and Punishments
Technological history
Military engineering (castra,
siege engines, arches, roads)
Personal equipment
Political history
Strategy and tactics
Infantry tactics
Frontiers and fortifications (Limes,
Hadrian's Wall)

The technology history of the Roman military covers the development of and application of technologies for use in the armies and navies of Rome from the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The rise of Hellenism and the Roman Republic are generally seen as signalling the end of the Iron Age in the mediterranean. However, if one follows the definition used in archaeology of the Iron Age is the stage in the development of any people where the use of iron implements as tools and weapons is prominent, then Roman technology, including that of the Roman military, can still be seen as largely Iron Age in technology. Although their iron-working was enhanced by a process known as carburization, the Romans are not thought to have developed wide steel use, and broadly speaking the 1300 years of Roman military technology did not see radical change in technological level, but technological change ocurred and roman armies of the early empire were much better equiped than early republican armies. Metals used for arms and armour included primarily iron and brass. For construction, the army would use wood, earth and stone. The later use of concrete in architecture was not widely mirrored in Roman military technology, except in the application of a military workforce to civilian construction projects. [1] The branches of the Roman military at the highest level were the Roman army and the Roman navy. ... The Roman army is the set of land-based military forces employed by the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and later Roman Empire as part of the Roman military. ... This is a list of both unit types and ranks of the Roman army from the Roman Republic to the fall of the Roman Empire. ... This is a list of Roman legions. ... // Manius Acilius Glabrio -- Manius Acilius Glabrio (consul 191 BC) -- Manius Acilius Glabrio (consul 91) -- Titus Aebutius Helva -- Aegidius -- Lucius Aemilius Barbula -- Marcus Aemilius Lepidus (triumvir) -- Lucius Aemilius Paulus Macedonicus -- Marcus Aemilius Scaurus (praetor 56 BC) -- Flavius Aëtius -- Lucius Afranius (consul) -- Sextus Calpurnius Agricola -- Gnaeus Julius Agricola -- Flavius Antoninus -- Marcus... Roman trireme, a warship, 31 BC. Note the bank of oars (two on the hidden side), the square-rigged sails, the steering oars, the tower on deck, the ram at the prow, the ballistae and the Greek fire. ... Roman trireme, a warship, 31 BC. Note the bank of oars (two on the hidden side), the square-rigged sails, the steering oars, the tower on deck, the ram at the prow, the ballistae and the Greek fire. ... 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 following is a List of Roman wars fought by the ancient Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire, organized by date. ... The following is a List of Roman battles (fought by the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic, and the Roman Empire), organized by date. ... As with most other military forces the Roman military adopted a carrot and stick approach to military, with an extensive list of decorations for military gallantry and likewise a range of punishments for the punishment of military transgressions. ... Roman military engineering is that Roman engineering carried out by the Roman Army - almost exclusively by the Roman legions for the furthering of military objectives. ... Basic ideal plan of a Roman castrum. ... Roman siege engines were, for the most part, adapted from Hellenistic siege technology. ... List of ancient Roman triumphal arches (By modern country) // France Orange Reims: Porte de Mars Saint Rémy de Provence: Roman site of Glanum Saintes: Arch of Germanicus Greece Arch of Galerius, Thessaloniki Hadrians Arch, Athens Italy It has been suggested that List of Roman arches in Rome be... For the one-off TV Drama, see Roman Road (TV Drama) A Roman road in Pompeii. ... Roman military personal equipment was produced in large numbers to established patterns and used in an established way. ... Root directory at Military history of ancient Rome Romes military was always tightly keyed to its political system. ... The strategy of the Roman military encompasses its grand strategy (the arrangements made by the state to implement its political goals through a selection of military goals, a process of diplomacy backed by threat of military action, and a dedication to the military of part of its production and resources... robert galusha is mad ass fucking hot Root directory at Strategy of the Roman military Roman infantry tactics refers to the theoretical and historical deployment, formation and maneuvers of the Roman infantry from the start of the Roman Republic to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. ... Map of all the territories once occupied by the Roman Empire, along with locations of limes Roman military borders and fortifications were part of a grand strategy of territorial defense in the Roman Empire. ... The limes Germanicus, 2nd century. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Carburization (often referred to as carburizing) is the name of the process by which carbon is introduced into a metal. ...


Origins and development

Much of what is described as typically Roman technology, as opposed to that of the Greeks, comes directly from the Etruscan civilization, which was thriving to the North when Rome was just a small kingdom. The Etruscans had perfected the stone arch, and used it in bridges as well as buildings. A great part of later Roman technologies were taken directly from Greek civilization.

After the absorption of the ancient Greek city states into the Roman Republic in 146 BC, the highly advanced Greek technology began to spread across many areas of Roman influence and supplement the Empire. This included the hugely advantageous military advances the Greeks had made (most notably by Dionysus of Syracuse), as well as all the scientific, mathematical, political and artistic developments.

However, the Romans failed to make many significant technological advances. Roman science was virtually non-existent, especially compared with Hellenistic science. Romans knew enough history to be aware that widespread technological change had occurred in the past and brought benefits, and military innovation was always valued, but ongoing research and development was not native to the Roman culture. Romans thought of themselves as practical, so small-scale innovation was common (such as the development of the ballista into the repeating ballista) but the Romans as a people apparently lacked the drive for or practice of abstract thought necessary to make profound new developments. A reliance on a plentiful slave labour force and a lack of a patent or copyright system have both been cited as reasons that there was little social or financial pressure to automate or reduce manual tasks.

The apparent period in which technological progress was fastest and greatest was during the 2nd century and 1st century BC, which was the period in which Roman political and economic power greatly increased. By the 2nd century, Roman technology appears to have peaked.

Roman implementation of technology

Whilst the Romans did not advance military technology significantly, they did adopt and implement it on a massive scale. From a few early models of ballista from Greek city-states the Romans adopted and improved the design, eventually issuing one to every century in the legions. It has been suggested that Catapulta be merged into this article or section. ...

To facilitate this organisation, an engineering corps was developed. An officer of engineers, or praefectus fabrum , is referenced in armies of the Late Republic , but this post is not verifiable in all accounts and may have simply been a military advisor on the personal staff of a commanding officer [2]. There were legion architects (whose rank is yet unknown) who were responsible for the construction of war machines who would also assure that all artillery constructions in the field were level. Ensuring that constructions were level was the job of the libratores , who would also launch missiles and other projectiles (on occasion) during battle [3]. The engineering corps was in charge of massive production, frequently prefabricating artillery and siege equipment to facilitate its transportation [4]


  1. ^ John W. Humphrey, John P. Oleson and Andrew N. Sherwood; Greek and Roman Technology: A sourcebook
  2. ^ Keppie 1984: 99
  3. ^ Le Bohec, p. 52
  4. ^ Goldsworthy, p. 144

External links

  • Roman Swords in the Republic and After, [1]



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