Ancient Roman Army Facts
For centuries the ancient Roman army dominated the battlefield. Every kid who has ever opened a history book knows about the mighty Roman Empire and its amazing army. The army was
well organized and the soldiers were highly disciplined and very well trained. Their incredible military enabled the ancient Romans to conquer numerous enemies and spread their
empire to the ends of what was then the known world.
Like ancient Rome itself the Roman army went through many changes during the centuries that it existed. Starting with the Republic and then the Roman Empire and eventually
the Byzantine Empire ancient Rome lasted approximately two thousand years; with its army going through changes in tactics, training, weapons, and organization. On this page you
will find a list of interesting facts about the ancient Roman army. Some of the information supplied may just be applicable to certain time periods of ancient Rome.
Within this section of Ancient Rome History Facts you will find specific information about the Roman Army including information about their tactics, formations, soldiers, ranks and about their great generals.
Interesting Ancient Roman Army Facts
- It is believed that at one point the Roman army had over one million soldiers.
- The citizens of ancient Rome realized that both their protection and the expansion of their civilization depended on a strong army; therefore the army was supplied with state of
the art weapons and equipment.
- The Roman general and statesman Gaius Marius (157 BC - 86 BC) was largely responsible for turning the ancient Roman army into the amazing military force it became. He reorganized
the structure of the army and updated its tactics.
- The ancient Roman military camps, even quickly assembled short term ones, were very organized and set up according to a set pattern with 2 intersecting roads all ending at a gate.
These camps were well protected with ditches and walls.
- As with any army speed is often crucial during combat. The ancient Romans built an excellent system of roads which the army utilized to quickly maneuver where and when necessary.
- Each army division (legion, cohort, and century) had a tall pole called a standard with symbols on top identifying the division. The main purpose was so that the soldiers could
see where they belonged and stay together during battle and maneuvers.
Ancient Roman Army Organization
- Every military campaign was led by a general who commanded several legions.
- The army consisted of several Legions each with several thousand foot-soldiers called legionaries. All the legionaries were Roman citizens.
- Legions were led by a commander called a Legate.
- The number of legions making up the Roman army varied throughout their history. For example when Augustus, who was the first Emperor of Rome, took power in 31 BC he disbanded many
of the over fifty legions leaving only 28.
- Each legion was identified by a number and a title. For example III Augusta was used to identify a legion.
- Legions were divided into ten groups called cohorts consisting of around 480 soldiers.
- Cohorts were broken down into a group called centuries consisting of around eighty soldiers.
- Each Cohort was led by a centurion.
- The smallest unit of soldiers was called a tent group (contubernium); it consisted of eight soldiers who shared a tent.