The Roman Military Supremacy Essay

Submitted By drewsta23
Words: 2185
Pages: 9

Since the beginning of humanity, humans have fought wars between each other. As humans evolved and progressed so did the wars. As armour was made, and metals replaced stone, the battles became more sophisticated and brutal. One civilization to master the art of war was the Romans. The Roman army was the epitome of military supremacy during the Republic. With their military tactics as well as advanced weaponry and strict discipline, the Roman army dominated the battlefield allowing them to conquer most of the known world.
The Romans advanced weaponry gave them a huge advantage during battle. Each soldier had two devastating weapons, the gladius and the pilum. The gladius was a steel short sword, weighing approximately two pounds. The length was anywhere from 64-81cm with the blade being 60-68 cm. It’s tip made a sharp v, due to the fact that the sword was primarily for thrusting. This was used in pair with the Scutum, a huge shield, that ranged in height from 37" to 42", and width of 24" to 33". It’s core was wood and the face would be covered in hide, it was also curved so that it would protect the flanks of the wielder. It’s centre was a boss of iron or bronze allowing it to be used offensively if needed. The solidity and formation of this shield allowed for soldiers to create powerful formations. Many formations had soldiers forming together shield by shield and fighting as one. In addition to this pair was the pilum. The pilum was a roman javelin that was approximately 2m long with an iron shank 60 cm long. The purpose of this javelin was to render shields useless. The shank was soft and would bend after impact while the pyramidal head was able to easily pierce shields. These two factors allowed the pilum to either stick into a shield making it impractical to wield or simply bend on contact making it useless for the enemy to use. For armour the Roman army had lorica segmentata, which consisted of strips of iron laid horizontally and overlapping to protect the sternum, chest and shoulders. This was the equipment of an everyday soldier. But the Romans didn’t rule by just conquering armies in hand to hand combat.
To take over castles that were fortified with walls that no sword could pierce, they brought in their siege weaponry, mainly the ram, catapult, and scorpio. The scorpio was an anti infantry weapon, almost like a sniper. It was operated by one man, and was a primitive large crossbow. Its effective range varied from 100m to 400m for parabolic shooting. In an army the norm was for 60 scorpios to accompany each legion. During battle their formation was similar to artillery in WWII. They would be stationed on top of a hill and reign bolts onto the enemy from there. They could fire all together up to 240 bolts per minute that could pierce shields or outright kill. The ram was a heavy iron head in the shape of a ram's head fixed to a massive beam which was constantly slung against a wall or a gate until it was breached. There was also a beam with an iron hook which was inserted into a hole in the wall made by the ram and with which stones would be dragged out. Further there was a smaller iron point used for dislodging individual stones. The beam and frame from which it was swung were enclosed in a very strong shed covered with hides or iron plates, mounted on wheels. This was called a tortoise , since it resembled this creature with its heavy shell and head that moved in and out. The main weapon used for demolishing castle walls was the catapult. The catapult was able to hurl projectiles great distances without the aid of explosives. A common roman catapult used a torsional force, generally from twisted rope, to store energy for the shot. To fire, an arm was pulled down against the force of the rope then let go, allowing the projectile to be fired forward. Commonly projectiles were huge rocks that could be covered with a combustible substance to be set alight.
The equipment itself did not just win…