Talk:Roman infantry tactics

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i would like to say to everyone reading this that this is a shared computer at school and we are doing research on roman/greek history etc... and i have noticed a few reverts on this page do to what has been done through this computer and would like to personally apologize for them... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)


This whole article appears to be a scan of a book, based on style and typos ("common and powerfula pf heavy infantry", etc.). I can't find an online source, but unless someone says otherwise soon, I'm going to blank the whole page to be safe. (Besides, the article title is unencyclopedic.) --A D Monroe III 00:41, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

This article was started as a result of The discussion here. I suggest you read it first. And if you dislike this article, then why don't you help by editing it, so it will be more encyclopedic. The style and typos are proof that it is anything but a copy vio. The original author is Italian, his English is not as adept as ours'. But then again, how is your Italian? Or Latin for that matter...mine is highly wanting. I've agreed to help him with it. You are welcome to help too. But not delete. --R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 01:13, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Hey Ghost, don't get so upset! I am sure he did not mean any harm...have a look at : assume good faith --Msoos 08:13, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Hey D Monroe instead of doing critics on my poor english try to write in italian respecting the consecutio temporum rules that i wrote on wikipedia, then I ll be the one who laughs, you say that the article is a scan of book? I don't think so, those are mine conclusion based on reading Vegetius a roman military historician directly in latin, the source is, DE RE MILITARI, in the hope you have some grasps with vegetian iconcinnitas, and remeber: DOCET NON SAPIENTEM SED HUMILEM Read it first before make any useless comments, instead clean it up.... And thank you R.D.H for your words Philx 11:13, 18 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 11:13, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Geeze, relax, okay? When an anon with no other logged contribution pastes a whole un-wiki, unreferenced article at once without any comment, it's suspicious. You fault me for not following the discussion or noting the references, but no links were given. The text doesn't have English grammar errors, but random spelling errors like those of mis-scans.
Plus, you ask for help yet imply only thoses who know Latin worthy of helping. The article needs a lot of cleanup, and the title is still unencyclopedic. The point is to discuss things before acting, or overreacting. I won't blank the article, or even edit it for now, but I will ask others to look at it. "If you don't want your writing to be edited and redistributed by others, please don't submit it." It's the Wikipedia way. --A D Monroe III 14:03, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

Ok, sorry , i didn't mean no offense, I was a bit rude, well if you mean that I haven't any contributions, look at : Italian grammar and read the tense realtionship in the subordinate sentences or check latin grammar or greek grammar, in both of them I ve posted some add on expanding the grammar side,check Latin sentence rules or Ancient greek subordination rules and verbs meaning, sorry if do not add link to them but I simply don't know how, so again sorry for my tone and, if the title is unencyclopedic,why you don't suggest a new one? And last but not least, I want that my article is edited and expanded, I asked for it, it isn't true that only people who knows latin can help,anyone with some grasp of military tactics can help, this is my first true article and will be discouraging deleting it for me. Philx 19:22, 18 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 19:22, 18 October 2005 (UTC)

First, thank you Monroe, for not blanking this article outright but discussing it with us here first. Second, apologies for our hostility. My friend, Phil is new and I've had my share of run ins with deletionists and the self-appointed copy-vio police. Consequently we took your statement as a threat. The title is a temporary one, since this is clearly a work in progress. You are more than welcome, as we have said, to suggest another or contribute in any way you wish. And no, Latin is not a requirement :>--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 01:20, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm okay with this line of development. --A D Monroe III 22:03, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Shield carried as a bag[edit]

The roman carried the shield in an unsual way,while the greek and the medieval infantry used the shield with the arm inserted in it's hook in a orizontal way,wheter the romans inserted the arm in the hook of the shiled like they were carrying a bag,so the arm was perpendicular to the hhok.i hope someone understands what i ve said and helps to translate it in english.... Thanks a lot Philx 12:20, 19 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 12:20, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi Phil! Sorry I've not replied to you sooner. Yes, I'm having some trouble, along with some small amusement, understanding exactly what you mean by that. Did they carry their shields in bags? Or put bags on their arms to keep them from sliding off? I know the scutums had two handles, or hooks as you say, inside. The legionary would usually put his left forearm through the first one and hold the second with his hand. Sorry, I'm usually able to understand most of what you say pretty well. But this sentence I just don't get. I blame my own daftness more than your command of English.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 09:51, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
Hi friend, I'm pleased that our project is going on pretty well,thanks to all that are helping us.The shield is a problem, they "wore" the shield as a bag,saying that i mean that they put their forearms on the shield as they had to carry a bag,the forearms was so perpendicuòar to the body, not that they carried "scutum" in a bag, i wish had a photograph, or perhaps i can post Vegetious's sentence in latin, I hope that you will now understand and translate it in comprensive english, I'm very sorry of that, wish had chosen linguistic college more than engineer, Thanks a lot for your help, Philx 12:34, 22 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 12:34, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
I'm glad to help out, my friend! Yes, our project is going quite well. I've now finished with the main article and can get to the last section I moved over from the legio where you originally started. I'll carefully remove the parts in it we have already covered so it won't repeat itself too much. I still don't fully get the shield, bag thing. But I do have a better idea of what you are trying to say now. When I read Vegitus, it was an English translation, not original Latin and nearly 20 years ago besides. Maybe I can find an online translation and we can finally put this confusion in a bag :> As for linguistic versus engineering colleges, from the standpoint of finding a good paying job, you made a more practical choice. This is perhaps, a quality you inheirted from your Roman ancestors who were very practical and also great engineers. Ciao Amico--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 13:40, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Hi friend, i ve chosen to be engineer for ,as you say, a more pratical question,and more english, for the pay!:) for the bag thing shield i can post some photos, that can be explicative, and what about if i post more tactics, that are only used in the late empire times, because Vegetius is a late latin writer, this tactics tells about comitanenes and limitanei and the various scholae, and i intended to post some legion's mottos , what you say? Philx 16:02, 24 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 16:02, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi again Phil! Sorry, my friend, I've neglected our work for so long. I've pretty much completed editing the article now. Must boast It is looking good! We seem to make an effective team, amico. We now have far more information, and detailed, quality info at that, than could have been included in the Legio article, which is already large. The scary part is, the Legio still feels incomplete somehow. You make a very good point about Vegetius dealing largely with the late empire (don't forget the pseudo-comitatenses and palatinae :). I wrote a small section dealing briefly with the late empire for the article on Diocletian. I think posting some legion mottos is a great idea! Do you know User:Panairjdde? He also lives in Rome and has done a lot of fine work here on the legions. The two of you would have lots to discuss:> Ciao for now--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 05:17, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

hi friend,this project is almost completed, thanks to you and to all, i will add some legion's mottos , and the life of the roman soldier described by tacitus, I don't konow Panairjdde, i ll try to contact him and dicuss abot the roman infantry, thanks again a lot. Philx 14:09, 6 November 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 14:09, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Reworking needed[edit]

The article needs reformatting and spell checking. Otherwise good, although there is not enough information about battle formations. –Reply to David Latapie 15:31, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

well me and some others friends are trying to do so,we have to change the title and check the spelling,more info on battles tactics will be added as soon as possible, thank you for your hints Philx 18:11, 19 October 2005 (UTC) Philx Philx 18:11, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Hi David! If you would wish to contribute more information on battle formations, please feel free. This is an open project, so BE BOLD :>--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 13:42, 24 October 2005 (UTC)


What reference is used for the mottos section? There is some discussion of the phrase "Strength and Honor" at this page: . One comment on the page seems to think "Vis et honor" is not the most natural translation of the concept. Was "Vis et Honor" really a motto of some Roman Legions, or just a translation of a phrase in the movie Gladiator? -- 01:31, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

The same page seems to indicate that "Strength and Honor" (Latin: Veritate et Virtute) is the motto for the Sydney Boys High School, which Russell Crowe went to, and was his idea to use in the movie, not because it was an actual Legion's motto. Did the Roman Legions even have mottos, other than SPQR? Although "Vis et Honor" sounds great, please let's not fall into the common trap of having movies become historical fact. Without a verifiable source (pref. contemporary), we should remove this section. -- 09:22, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Veritate et Virtute means Truth and Virtue. Not Strength and Honor, which was not a motto of any particular legion, but a battle cry generals would use to rouse their legionaries before going into combat. It was more likely SHOUTED rather than softly spoken as by Crowe's Maximus Decimus Meridius. They had no boom microphones back then afterall:> I have removed the mottos section in view of your criticisms. But Vis et Honor does have an historical basis. So Crowe and Ridley Scott did not completely make it up.

The mottos are found in vegetious de re militari --Philx 21:03, 24 December 2005 (UTC) In fact vegetious said that vis et honor were often said by generals to their troops, so i don't know if their are real mottos.Probalby if i can't finid nothing about these mottos on titus livius and tacitus i'll remove them thanks for your opinion. In fact those aren't said by vegetious to be mottos but words of encoraugement said by some generals.--Philx 21:18, 24 December 2005 (UTC)

There is an online version of De Re Militari here: . I can't seem to find the Latin text online, which would help to see what the original Latin of the phrases was. Which Book and Section does Vegetius talk about what the generals said to the troops? In Book III, there is a section "General Maxims", however these probably were what Vegetius himself felt, and not the official mottos of the Legions themselves. Thanks for looking into this. -- 21:53, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
We might also consider, rather than having a motto section, we could have a "Maxims" section that lists some of the Maxims and references De Re Militari, or link to De Re Militari and add the maxims there (some of the ones found in Book III, "General Maxims"). We could do the same for maxims found in other sources. -- 22:07, 24 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes in the latin text wich i've got the sentences are fond in the third book, i think you re right, perhaps saying generals maxims is more accurate historically than saying mottos, but the problemi is that we can't know if these were really spoken by generals or only in some occasion by a single general, in fact i'm searching over Tacitus and Titus Livius to see if these are reported--Philx 02:25, 25 December 2005 (UTC)
I've checked your link about the english transaltion of vegetious de re militari and i might be wrong but it seems missing of some passes, besides this, i think we should remove some, because i've checked on tacitus and livius and none of the vegetious mentioned mottos are found. --Philx 10:52, 25 December 2005 (UTC)

Great effort guys![edit]


Just wanted to say, that the article has evolved a lot - I remember at the beginning it having a notice on top that it's not encyclopaedic :) [look at for some fun!] Only thing that is now bothering me, is that there seem to be too many images. At the begginning there were none, now there seem to be too many. There are also some, that are not exactly the best (e.g. the soldier in the glass - the idea is good, but the picture itself is not so well done). So I say, remove some images, maybe it will look better! Other than that, go guys, go! :)

Msoos 01:22, 30 December 2005 (UTC)

Couldn't disagree more. There are not too many images; if anything, there still aren't enough images. The problem is not that there's an excess, it's that the ones we have are poorly-organized, with many images bunched up in a single part of the article, leaving many of the other parts of the article barren of images. Organization is what's needed here, more than deletion. Though even then I don't see it as a big issue; I've seen thousands of articles that are much worse-off image-wise than this one (including quite a few Featured Articles). I'll just have to echo the other part of the sentiment: keep up the good work! -Silence 01:50, 30 December 2005 (UTC)
However, I do agree that we could find better images to replace a few of the ones we currently have. We can't rely entirely on modern stuff like reenactment photos, wax models, and reconstructions. The number of images is certainly far from overwhelming, though. But anyway, I'm done with this article; not going to waste any more time editing here if everything I do is just going to be blindly reverted. Toodles. -Silence 20:24, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
One last thing before I go: Am I crazy, or would this article fit perfectly well simply under the name Roman infantry? The current title's remarkably complex and unintuitive—unnecessarily so? -Silence 20:34, 1 January 2006 (UTC)
bout the title, it is the sum of all that is written here, because we talk about all aspects of roman infantry --Philx 22:10, 2 January 2006 (UTC)
If you talk about all aspects of the Roman infantry, then why on earth wouldn't you simply name the article "Roman infantry"? Christianity discusses "all aspects of Christianity", but that doesn't mean that the article should be titled "Christian beliefs, followers, history, practices, and symbols", even though that summarizes all the specific aspects of Christianity that are to be discussed; because a much more effective, brief, and noncounterintuitive title is simply "Christianity". The exact same principle applies to this page: it's ridiculous to mention all that in the article's title whne simply "Roman infantry" would do just as well, if not infinitely better. Mention all that (tactics, strategy, battle formations, etc.) in the intro instead, and leave the title for only the very briefest summary of the article's topic possible: "Roman infantry". -Silence 08:57, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for the compliments and suggestions. The images I added were not frivillous, nor placed without regard to their order. I tried put them so they would illustrate the topics as they were discussed in the text. As for the title, Phil and I have discussed this and since we have already written a "sequel" article, of sorts on Byzantine battle tactics, perhaps Roman Battle Tactics would be more concise and encyclopedic? Again, thanks for your encouragement and ideas.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 08:51, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
Why not just "Roman infantry tactics", then? Byzantine battle tactics is a truly awful name, and would be better as "Byzantine military tactics" or similar, surely, or at least "Byzantine combat tactics".
In any case, you still have not restored my edits, even though my changes to your image placement are, if anything, even less arbitrary, disordered and frivollous than your own original placements; you merely assume that I have no regard for where the images should go in relation to the text, when that is one of many concerns that I have addressed as best can currently be done. I payed very careful attention to all of the article's text, to the image balance, to the layout, how the images interact with each other; I spent hours editing not only the page style and formatting, but also the images to places in the article where they'd look much more professional and balanced, would let the text breathe and flow vastly better, and would still be topical and relevant to their appropriate locations without all being bunched in such an atrocious manner that they seem like a schoolchild's PowerPoint presentation, with no regard for aesthetics or the dynamics of the human eye... and in response you reverted the entire edit without so much as a word on the Talk page. And now I've waited over a week for, finally, a response. I've tried to be patient, though I'm not as patient of a person as I wish, but I'm still close to being quite deeply offended; please restore my edit so this article can continue to move forward, and so we can discuss which aspects of the image moves and resizes, and other major and vital layout, wording, and style changes that I was in the middle of initiating, you feel are inappropriate or poorly-done, and make any necessary compromises, selective reversions, or other changes that are necessary. As the Romans might say it: Sis sic sit. -Silence 09:09, 9 January 2006 (UTC)
First, you need to calm down and get out of "Attack" mode. There is no need to be defensive or offensive here, especially where no offense was originally intended. Secondly, Phil and I did not ask for your help on this article, you volunteered it. We have put a lot of work into this article as well...a fact which you seem to fail to appreciate. I'm sorry if I was slow to reply and explain my reasons. I don't see how, except in your own opinion, your layout of the images is superior to mine. Why, for you have the cornicen ("horn-blower") on Trajan's column, at the start first section instead of further down where cornicifers are actually discussed? Sorry, I see no logic to your layout other than it looks nicer err I mean more "Professional" to you. Apart from your stylisic layout changes, the only other major edits you made were some wording changes to the heading titles. There, I like some of your changes and might just adapt them later. But we can come back to that later after we have finished writing the main text of the article. Currently Phil is combing non-english sources working on a section about the late empire and the decline and fall of the legions. Do you know anything more about that era? This is where we could really use your help. For instance, do you know exactly what Auxilia Paltinae were? Because we don't. We had ideas, but nothing we are confident enough to put in the writing:) If you can help us with matters such as this then you can make all the cosmetic changes you like. I'm not trying to insult or belittle you (unlike some of your above remarks). I would like to have you as part of our little Contubernium here. But if you are just going to insult our efforts while exhaulting your own, then it is perhaps best for you to move on while we move forward. Please keep in mind too, that English is not Phil's native language. He is Italian, but he knoews enough Enlish and I know enough Latin and Italian and we both know enough about Roman military history to work together as an effective team. He came up with the title back when he was a Wiki Newbie. So he has that going against him as well. I showed him a little good faith and the result was a friendship and two very passable if not yet feature qualty articles, where none existed before. Again, I welcome your help if you show you can work with us and have something of substance to contribute. But insulting our work, trying to impose your own stylisic choices and throwing temper tantrums when we disagree with you edits is not getting off to a very promising start. Sapere aude or Póg Mo Thóin--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 11:41, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

Επι ταξεως ; De ordine articulo[edit]

thanks Ghost, i agree with you about the photos and article order,

  • Primum do not slander anyone Silence, or critici what is done.
  • Secundum the disposition you made wasn't, in my opinion is better what there was previously.
  • Tertium explain why, the disposition you made is more professional. Explain it and we may revert the things up, simply because i do not see the advantages of that disposition,If you would so kind to talk about it. Do you know besides all this, something about auxiliae palatinae? Thank you for any of you reply sir . Si veritatem audire non vis nemo tibi dicere potestBTW Sis sic sit? --Philx 12:25, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

Some remarks[edit]

I changed some of the Latin here. "Agmen" is neutral, so "agminem" must be wrong. Also, "De oppido expugnando" doesn't sound like a battle tactic, but rather more like a chapter title ("How to capture a fortified town"). The wording should be changed.--Iblardi 16:41, 4 June 2006 (UTC)

Dubious illustrations[edit]

I understand the feelings of reenactors, but I just hate these pictures. For me it's like placing computer game screenshots in a serious history book.

Asking about individual soldiers rotating the front line[edit]

From the tria section of the wikipedia article on "Rome the TV-series":

"Battle scenes in Rome depict authentic Roman infantry fighting techniques including the tightly-packed "Roman Wall" of shields, gladius thrusting techniques above and below the "shield wall", and the rotation of troops on the front lines every 30–45 seconds. "

The rotation part makes perfect sense. Having a soldier in the first line fight until he dies and his fellows do almost nothing until it is their turn in the first line seems at best to be a waste of human life. Yet, this is how ancient fighting is generally perceived. Taking turn makes much more sense. Close combat will exhaust you quickly and no matter how skilled you are, when you are exhausted you rapidly become much slower. If you are not rotated away by when, you are pretty much dead meat. I read a piece of historical fiction where the legion was described as fighting in this way, but when the author, Vibeke Olsson, kindly referred me to the original source, Livius, it seemed to talk more about the entire centurias rotating from hastati, to princeps, to triarii. Is there anyone who can find us an ancient source that claims indivídual roman soldiers actually took turns being in the front row the way it is depicted in the TV-series Rome? Is there someone who knows of a scholars' debate on the subject? Some SCA try-outs to see if it actually works?


Good question, Sensemaker. However reading anciente texts like the one cited in the article, I found nothing about the rotating men of the centuries, but found something about the cohorts that rotated in order to provide support and fresh men to the battle line.

However if you take a closer look to your question, this, even making good point ,why in fact the romans would lose good soldier for nothing, it is bit strange for how they fought the battle, turning men in the centuriae would make a gap in the roman formation leding to the breaking of the centuria herself, because in a tight close combat fight retirirng men from the front to substitute them would, first require too much time, and second if they tourn back they would be eventually killed by the pressing enemy. --Philx 14:25, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

I'll check Livius to see if I remembered correctly. I have discussed this with friends and often heard the argument that switching individual soldiers causes a disruption in the line. Well, when a man is tired in close combat it is only a matter of time before he dies (and perhaps a matter of how many opponents he can bring down before). So the alternative is to let the man die and the guy behind him is supposed to takes a step forward over his fallen camrade to take his place. Does that cause less of a disruption? (That question was not rhetorical I really don't know.) If it does indeed cause less disruption, is this advantage really worth losing fairly expensive soldiers for? (Once again, I really don't know?) Would not the "first line fights to death" mean that a deployment to the first line would be certain death while the guys further behind would be relatively safe? Wouldn't such an uneven distribution of risk wreak havoc on group loyalty? Taking turns on the other hand would clearly create a sense of shared loyalty. The way the author Vibeke Olsson described it, a column was the guys that shared a tent. So the guys you are taking turns with are the guys you share a tent with. I image that would create a very strong sense of loyalty.
It is indeed true that contubernium men's shared same postions on the battle line, also true that this helped to make cohesion in a group but, would this be really factible in the middle of the fray? Immagine, 2 imperia cohorts are facing the alemannii, the barbars are pushing forth the roman lines, how will be possible to interchange soldier? Wouldn't they eventually be killed? Yes would be demoralizing konwing that the 1st line will die surely,

would be great knowing for a soldier knowing that his comrades will defend him exchanging postition, but they fought in close formation, deep ranks, how they could be free to move? And with order? Maybe a shifting of entire ranks, meaning that if the 1st is to be slayed the second would charge in order to alleviate the pressure or to permitt to reorganize the 1st rank.--Philx 18:42, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

No I really don't know how it would be done. One possibility is that they pass one another by turning sideways. A man turned sideways is less than half as broad as a man facing you. Two people turning sideways can pass one another. I've done this in crowded places many times -though of course I was no more than ordinary civilian clothing and perhaps two bags of groceries. Granted, it probably won't be easy during close combat but remember that the alternative is that the guy in the front just dies and there is a similar disruption in the line when he is replaced anyway. A more exotic version is that the guys in the front lie down and roll or crawl back aided by their camrades. If you can step over a guy because he is dead and has fallen down with little disruption to the line, it should be just as easy to step over him because he has lain down of his own free will. The turning sideways version seems more reasonable though.

Yes, good point but, in a full battle dress, it would require too much time and, the soldier that has to turn sideaway would be uselless in a front line, causing a lossing of ground by the pushing enemy. --Philx 18:35, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

Here is an excellent write-up from a US Army officer on the subject - the space alloted to each legionaire seems to make retirement by an exhausted fron-tline fighter and his replacement by a man in the rear feasible. Unlike the tightly packed phalanx, each Roman infantryman had several square meters to work with. .. Quote:

"After the signal to advance had been given by the bugles (signa inferre), the first line of the three moved forward with even step (certo gradu) until five or six hundred feet from the enemy. Then the bugles blew the signal to attack. The men advanced at double time (concursu), the first two ranks with javelins poised in their right hands (pilis infestis). When within range, these two ranks delivered their deadly volley. The next three ranks hurled their javelins over the heads of those in front. Then as the enemy was met, there followed a series of hand-to-hand individual conflicts, sword duels, repeated again and again since whenever a front-rank man fell, he was pulled back and the man behind replaced him. Men exhausted or slightly wounded would retire and be relieved by fresh men. The five rear ranks then took the place of these fallen or exhausted men, or perhaps increased the number of the attacking troops.

When the first line as a whole had done its best and become weakened and exhausted by losses, it gave way to the relief of fresh men from the second line who, passing through it gradually, pressed forward one by one, or in single file, and worked their way into the fight in the same way. Meanwhile the tired men of the original first line, when sufficiently rested, reformed and re-entered the fight. This continued until all men of the first and second lines had been engaged. This does not presuppose an actual withdrawal of the first line, but rather a merging, a blending or a coalescing of both lines.

Thus the enemy was given no rest and was continually opposed by fresh troops until, exhausted and demoralized, he yielded to repeated attacks. Sometimes the onset of the first ranks was suf1icient to put the enemy to flight. For this reason the, best marksmen with the pila and the best swordsmen were put in the forward positions. The standard-bearers were not in the front ranks, but were kept behind the good men of at least the first two ranks who were perhaps called "antesignani"."

See: "Military Affairs of Rome, by Lt. Col. S.G. Brady, 1947" Enriquecardova 00:43, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

Unfortunately there is no reference I have found in any ancient text about the method used to relieve the front ranks of the line or even the line itself, but this does not mean that there are no indications that such a practice was common in Roman military tactics.

1. As to the rotation of the first rank of the line, the common practice was as described by Greek writers as regards Greek battle practice for the epistat (second in rank) to advance as a lochagos (first in rank) whenever need arised (death, injury, not mentioned but surely exhaustion etc). This advancement was not universal and was employed in each file as necessity had it. This seems to be a common practice even for the Romans. The practice of whole lines to change at a single command is, unfortunately, not attested for but is the most possible explanation as to how the change between the Hastati and the Principes took place. Again, we have absolutely NO description as to how this relief took place, only hints are being given as for example Polybius does for the battle of Zama, where he says that the officers of the Principes run to support the Hastati (no central command order, thus the decision of lower rank officers, a fact that clearly shows that relief was most probably given at the point of need and not to the whole line) and by Vegetius (Book III, Reserves) who talks clearly about support given to points and not to the whole. Actually it makes better sense to assist the line where there is need than it as a whole, thus checking the impetus of any points where the phallanx is conquering the enemy.

2. As to the way this relief took place, my opionion is that it happened during combat line by line, a maneuver easy to perform, since it demands attention only in the last change and even it could be achieved easily by a signal, or a tap on the shoulder, or wit the support and protection of the man who is to come into fight (by for example protruding his unused pilum to harass the enemy while his companion retreats). And do not foret that until the maneuver would be performed, the depth of the cohort (since I support that this would be the length of line that this relief maneuver would be applied on) would be doubled, thus making it even more easy to repair the cohesion of the line.

GK1973 (talk) 17:23, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

The above discussion argues over whether legionaries rotated off the front line during battle or fought until killed. I consider the former almost certainly the true case, and consider the latter so implausible as to be absurd. I offer the following to support my position.

Roman soldier rank was denoted by his battle position within the century or cohort, with the high rank and honor being in the first (front) line. Promotion up the line was earned primarily by valor displayed in prior battles and service. If there were no rotation during battle, how would those in the rear get a chance to display valor and be promoted. More importantly, why would any seek promotion to the front line if there were no rotation system and this position amounted to a death sentence?

It is known from records that gladiators mostly did not fight to the death, and many survived large numbers of fights. Why would these lowly slaves be given better odds than the heroes on the front lines?

Objections about the difficulty of such rotation during battle are minor. Training and drills would have filled up whatever spare time came to the legions. A trained army is one of the advantages of having a standing, professional army. Working out a system of rotation and training to it would have given the legionaries a relative advantage of endurance over their less trained enemies.

An account directly from Julius Caesar Commentaries: Upon the return from the invasion of Britton, one cohort was blown further south than the rest of the fleet. These 400 men returning on foot, were met by Gauls and fighting ensued. Guals continued to gather to the battle from the surrounding countryside, eventually numbering 4000. The Romans held off the Gauls for a 5 hour battle before other cohorts could come rescue them. Caesar reports this occurred without the loss of a single man. Even discounting for Caesar’s exaggerations, it seems total implausible that if a system of rotation did not exist, that the front line fighters could have held out and fought so long. So, if a system of rotation existed that worked to relieve these men in this desperate and panic provoking situation, then how much more effectively this system would have worked under the relatively more controlled and practiced situation of a standard battle line.

At another point in his commentaries, Caesar tells of a camp surrounded by Gauls. The camp was being held by far fewer cohorts than the camp had been built for, the others having marched off for some other mission. Caesar comments on the bad situation and fighting for his men, because they all had to be on the walls at the same time to cover the perimeter of the camp, to fight continuously without the possibility of being relieved. Caesar is famous for his brevity and condensed style of writing. Why would he bother making the above comments, unless it were widely known that soldiers were use to being systematically relieved? Larrysykes (talk) 01:14, 23 June 2008 (UTC) an old Latin student

It doesn't help that you research the subject on your own. We can only quote what reputable scholars say. Wandalstouring (talk) 15:24, 23 June 2008 (UTC)
Adrian Keith Goldsworthy writes in the book "The Roman Army at War 100 BC - 200 AD" Oxford Classical Monographs, Clarendon Paperbacks 1998, ISBN 978-0-19-815090-9 that if the legionaires stood 1,8 meters from each other like Goldsworth claims Polybius says such switching of places is possible. However, if, like Goldsworthy says some other historian claims, the distance was 0,9 meters to the side and two meters depth then such switches would not be possible during combat.


What about a shorter name somebody will eventually find on wiki?

"Roman landwarfare" for example? Wandalstouring 15:01, 6 August 2006 (UTC)

In effect this would be more encyclopedic, and more esay to search any other suggestions? --Philx 19:21, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
"Roman military tactics" The current article does not concern tactics. It would be better off as "Roman military equipment". Wandalstouring 20:40, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
Or how about Roman military system?--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 22:29, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
I think that Roman military system woukld be correct, what do you think guys? --Philx 11:04, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Sounds good, but perhaps you should mention the integration of naval and landwarfare. naval supply was important for the large numbers of troops in enemy territory (like in Germany, Romain ships on the River Elbe during the conquest), so it is part of the system. Wandalstouring 22:49, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
It is a convention in the US and UK to refer to land based warfare as Military and distinguish it from Naval/sea-based. There is already and extensive article on the Roman Navy. Certainly we should make mention of it where appropriate and link to it.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 00:54, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Can someone make use of this?[edit]


Typical Early Republican battle formation[edit]

The Romans used a number of rules when making a formation, based on the 3 main troop types. The Hastati formed the first line of defence (or attack), behind them where the principes. In battle, the principes were meant to counter attack if the hastati happened to fail in the initial engagement. Originally, the principes were organized like the hastati, in centuries of 60 under a Centurion. However, by the late Republican era, they contained 80 men like the triarii. Two centuries comprised a maniple and 10 maniples were used in battle line formation. And finally there were the Triarrii, serving as a final barrier behind which the hastati and principes could rest, regroup or perform a counter attack.

Testudo formation[edit]

A century of Roman legionaires in testudo formation, as portrayed in the Rome: Total War computer game.

In Ancient Roman warfare, the testudo or tortoise formation was a formation utilized commonly by the Roman legions during battles, particularly sieges. (Testudo is the Latin word for "tortoise".) In the testudo, the men would close up all gaps between each other and grab their shields at the sides (rather than by the grip behind the umbo). The first row of men, possibly excluding the men on the flanks, would place their shields in front of them, from about their shins to the middle of their faces, so as to cover the formation's front. Everybody in the middle would place their shields over their head to protect from above, balancing the shields on their helmets and overlapping them. If necessary, the legionaries on the sides and rear of the formation could stand sideways or backwards with shields held as the front row's, so as to protect the formation's sides and rear, but the shape of the shields would mean that these soldiers would only be afforded incomplete protection.

When used correctly, the testudo was an excellent shield against missile troops, and the legions could move with little fear of being slaughtered by arrow fire and javelins. The primary problem with the formation was that it was so tight that the soldiers had great difficulty fighting in hand-to-hand combat—the Battle of Carrhae showed testudo's limitations, as the Parthians shot the Romans with horse archers if they stayed in regular formation, and charged with cataphracts if they tried to form a testudo. Other problems were that the front rank's faces and legs were still exposed; the formation couldn't move very quickly; and more powerful weapons (such as Eastern composite bows) could puncture the scutum and pin the soldiers' hands to their shields under prolonged fire, as occurred at Carrhae.

Errr I believe we've already convered all this. I have no qualms with using the screenshots, however, if the Apparatchiks would allow it.--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 00:58, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Prior coverage is a problem. It would be nice though if any missing details on the Testudo could be worked in, because it is a straight-up infantry method. The article could use a bit more on the tactical battle end, as some commenters have said, although good work has been done on structure, formations and maneuvers.
I will delet the screenshots as soon as they appear in any article. We had a clear decision to ban such material from wikipedia. Wandalstouring 20:55, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Err, Wandalstouring, thats it's not a screenshot from Rome Total War(believe me, I have the game and do know a testudo from the game), that picture is mislabeld, a closer look at the picture shows it to be a group of reenactors and not from a computer screen. Gsmgm (talk) 21:59, 17 February 2009 (UTC)


The move/renamming is now complete. As agreed upon in our discussion above. Damn I'm bold ;>--R.D.H. (Ghost In The Machine) 19:42, 31 August 2006 (UTC)


I have to question the description of first spear centurion as equivalent to the modern rank of regimental sergeant major. From all sources I've seen, a centurion's modern equivalent rank would range from an army captain to an army major. A senior princepales would be closer to a sergeant major. Here is one source: (if you need direct sources, there is a link to the bibliography at the bottom of the page). This is my first contribution to wiki, so please forgive any errors or faux pas I have committed. Ben 02:31, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

A fair point. Since the centurion commanded 80-100 or so men, he functioned as a modern company commander, a function fulfilled by captains in some of today's armies. At the same time his "non com" (non aristocratic back then) rank seems to be comparable to today's sergeants. How about you add a clarifier sentence tacked on to the original like this: "In terms of actual strength in troops led in combat and command powers however, his function may be likened to that of a modern Army captain." Enriquecardova 05:26, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
I strongly disagree. You can not decide the equivalent of rank by the number of mens under ones command. Today tactical infantry units are much smaller than a 100 or a 1000 years ago. So the commander of a smaller unit has basically much more responsibility. While a direct comparison to rank based on the numbers of men iy perhaps no good approach, better use a classification in enlisted, non-commissioned and commissioned officers. And say how high/low each rank was within such a group. This way you are on the save side. Traditionally in many armies commissioned officers were ranks mostly limited to the nobility, while non-commissioned officers were loyal men enforcing the officers control and having limited commanding power of their own. As far as I know the centurio/optio were considered non-commisioned officers in the Roman army. Wandalstouring 18:32, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Propose radical change to article[edit]

This article seems to be a mish-mash at the minute, with sections 1-4 (cocnerning history of reforms and infantry types) being separate from sections 5 onwards covering infantry tactics and evaluation. This article has a redirect from "Roman Infantry tactics". Also, sections 1-4 are covered in much greater detail (and with cites!) in "Roman military history", "Military of Ancient Rome", "Roman legion" and "Roman army".

  • "Roman military system" is too broad an article title for an article that contains no mention of cavalry, let alone navy
  • Need greater differentiation between this article and "Roman military history" and "Military of ancient Rome"
  • This article is also entirely un-cited.

I propose simply cutting out sections 1-4 and moving remaining article to "Roman Infantry Tactics" page or similar, which seems to be the main thrust of the article from section 5 onwards. This article looking at its edit history was in fact previously located at Roman infantry tactics but was moved for some reason - perhaps it made sense at the time but it doesn't given the contents as of today.

A dedicated article on roman infantry tactics would be more helpful than an article trying to cover organisation, history (both covered better in other articles, and uncited here) and tactics all in one and failing to do a great job of any of them.

Can I get some votes on actioning this, as well as on possible replacement titles? My own vote goes to chopping sections 1-4 and renaming article "Roman Infantry Formations and Tactics" or similar Cheers - PocklingtonDan 13:12, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

I'd probably just go back to Roman infantry tactics as a title. Kirill Lokshin 13:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks, how about the contents of sections 1-4, which seem unrelated? - PocklingtonDan 13:58, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
As long as the content winds up somewhere appropriate (we do need a history of the organization, after all), I don't see any problems with not repeating it here. Kirill Lokshin 14:04, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, thanks - I think the history of orgnization is far better covered in Military of ancient Rome in any case - PocklingtonDan 14:11, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

The Roman military system would probably be treated differently than "Roman infantry tactics." The latter is very specific, but the former includes everything from infantry tactics to commanders and logistics. I say keep the title for this article and carry out some major changes. Then create a separate article for Roman infantry tactics.UberCryxic 16:38, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

UberCryxic, I feel that everything that this article addresses besides infantry tactics is covered far more in depth, and with cites, in the Military of ancient Rome article - sections 1-4 of this article are merely a poorer overlap of what is in that article, and are redundant. Sections 5 onwards better meet the original title of the article and provide unique content - PocklingtonDan 17:22, 14 November 2006 (UTC)
OK, I am going to rename to Roman infantry tactics, and move any non-tactical content to other existing articles such as Roman legion andMilitary of ancient Rome. No content will be removed unless exists in duplice or improved form elsewhere - PocklingtonDan 18:52, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

Can't really agree on radical changes. Will partially revert. In fact the details you speak off were asked by posters to be taken OUT of the ROMAN MILITARY HISTORY article. See discussion there. It was felt that the detailed breakdown of tactics and strategy clashed with the what should be a more general historiCal narrative. Roman Military History Article is supposed to be GENERAL HISTORY. They originally wanted the tactical and strategic discussion TAKEN OUT. The details are in here for a purpose, because many of the other articles do not give the details needed for understanding the Roman tactics and strategy.

This article is focused on tactics and strategy. As part of that of course general history, structure and equipment must be mentioned. This is common to all historical articles. You have to add context. I agree that organization and structure is covered better elsewhere but again, the primary focus of this write-up is not nuts and bolts structure and equipment, or general history. For example Roman Military History offers very little in detail on strategy and tactics. That is why this article is here in the first place. As for other articles like Roman Legion, they offer a lot on armor and equipment, amount of rations carried etc, etc but again, the tactical and strategic discussion is missing. This article fills that gap.

The article also is not uncited at all. In fact there are numerous references. I think the title of Roman Infantry Tactics, Strategy and Battle Formations is fine, because that is what it deals with. None of the other articles for example, discuss in depth strategic factors such as the mobile reserve versus the forward policy or barbarization in detail. These are standard issues in numerous scholarly works on the Roman military. To simply cut them out is not a sound approach and does not adequately deal with the subject.

I can see moving out some items on structure for example and history in the early parts of the article, but those add context and I think they too should stay. Rather than just being cut out, I think they can be edited down or condensed down so as not to clash too much with other articles, but this article has a specific focus: tactics and strategy. It is not history of the empire with dates and emperors. It is not equipment and the amount of rations carried. It is not nuts and bolts organization. It is not navy. Of course, all these items must be mentioned to add context, but the main focus is tactics and strategy. None of the other articles provide the in-depth coverage this one does. The acticle that needs more focus is ROMAN MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT which does not provide the aforementioned depth, and overlaps with Roman Legion, etc. That article is very thin for such a broad title. In fact it only deals with the Marian reforms primarily not the broad scope of how tactics and strategy changed. The Roman Military aticles break down into 4 areas: 1) general history (names, dates, emperors) 2) detailed, nuts and bolt equipment and organization 3) detailed tactics and strategy 4) navy

The odd man out is ROMAN MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT not this article. If anything, I think this article can use MORE on formations, such as in the legion article, because formations are an integral part of tactics, and on a bigger scale, formations tie-in to a nation's Order Of battle, thus touching on the strategic aspects. Example: In the later Roman empire cavalry formations overshadowed those of the infantry. I can't see taking out major considerations like these and having a credible article. I thus say restore the article as it was, until a comprehensive overhaul of ALL articles and approaches is designed and agreed on.

You misunderstand the editing I did - I didn't remove any of the tactics information and this is the correct place for it. However an article on tactics is not the correct place for a review of the structural development of the army throughout history. This article IS uncited, since it lacks a single cite for any of its statements. You shouldn't revert an edit decision come to through a consensus of discussion. I have created a new, unambiguous article called Structure of the Roman military which I will link to from here and put all the historical structure information into, it really doesn't belong in this article. - PocklingtonDan 07:55, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Right, I have re-edited. I have entered links to the main article in the history section, and put in the main roman military template too to show how this article relates to others in this area of study. I think the article is worthy in its own right now it concentrated on infantry tactics as per title - the other content I removed is covered in greater depth in the article I have linked to. Please don't revert, the article contents now match the title. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 08:32, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
Fair enough. You have not only reorganized but added new content which is sometimes not done. I am sympathetic to what you are saying. I think the whole series of articles could be overhauled, and yes I agree it is always possible to plug in a piece here, and another there to make a better write-up. I hear what you are saying. It could for example be argued that ROMAN INFANTRY TYPES AND ROMAN MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT should be folded into other articles, but that is a typical problem with Wikipedia. There is no central editor so what would seem a logical restructuring never happens. The four-part structure (1) general history (names, dates, emperors), 2) detailed, nuts and bolts equipment and organization, 3) detailed tactics and strategy, 4) navy), seems to be the best way to avoid major conflict, while still allowing good info to be included.
Looking at your article I think the ROMAN INFANTRY TYPES write-up can be folded into it. Indeed the article page says it needs Cleanup, but I know there are a few guys out there with some good screen shots from various war games looking for some space to add some color to some of these plain write-ups. I think the other odd man- ROMAN MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT could also be folded into your article since it mainly deals with Marian reforms. Your references too are well done, more so than on the typical Wikipedia page. As you develop the info it would be interesting to see what happened towards the twilight of the empire and how the units changed.
Your breakdown of the social stratification in the different units is also good, adding stuff which I never knew. Even the Legion article does not break it down like that. Your article differs from that one and the others in that it combines the naval personnel with the army as part of the discussion- making it much more comprehensive than the others on the types of military forces.
Thanks for your comments. I couldn't agree more that the whole structure is in a mess with a lot of duplication betweena rticles and no clear boundaries of which articles cover what - that is why I have set up the navigation template at the top right on each page and trying to rewrite each page to remove overlap and focus on just one area - I@m currently trying to rewrite Military history of ancient Rome which, again, had the same contents as roman legion, roman military, roman military system etc (more duplication!) and very little history. I am working from a list of battles and campagins to expand it into a full narrative history of the military - PocklingtonDan 09:44, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I guess I have no really big problem with this, but I would hope that we can make the distinction between Roman infantry tactics and the Roman military system. The latter is something far more complex and certainly deserves its own article.UberCryxic 15:23, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

I have made the changes to this article to remove material not related to military tactics and move it to relevant articles, particularly Structure of the Roman military. What would you see as being the contents of "Roman military system"? Do you want "Roman military system" to redirect to Structure of the Roman military or did yo have some other contents in mind? Cheers - PocklingtonDan 15:44, 15 November 2006 (UTC)
I think an article on tactics should talk about tactics, and relate what tactics were used when, and why, and what effect the changes had on the military history of the times in question. There really is a correlation between the tactics, the times, and why the tactics changed, et al. old windy bear 00:48, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
Thanks old windy bear, I couldn't agree more - the focus should be on listing tactics, their use, their effects etc. User Enriquecardova has in fact added more of this content in the last 24 hours to tie all this in. The article still needs a great deal of work but before the current revisions the first half of the article was just a re-hash of the roman military structural changes, followed by and unrelated to the tactical content then listed below. The article is much better now. As long as this article keeps its focus on tactics, there is obviously room for showing its relation to other factors. - PocklingtonDan 07:38, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

Questions on Gallic and Germanic military structure and tactics[edit]

Inline comments removed and relocated to talk to ease editing and writing chores. All the below are legitimate questions but it is a fact that compared to the Romans, the Germanics and Gauls had less elaborated state structures and military organization. This does not mean the Germanics were "backward" or "bad", or that the Roman imperialists were right to conquer them. It is simply a statement of fact. In fact I think the Germanics/Gauls come off rather well in the article showing they were tough opponents that inflicted several severe defeats on supposedly invincible Rome. Reference is made several times to the writings of Hans Delbruck, a respected historian of ancient warfare, who often has been accused of being too PRO German.

Delbrück wrote a long time ago when there existed a totally different concept of the Germanic and Gallic tribes. Partly this concept supported the racial theories of the Nazi era, but I do by no means say Delbrück was an advocate of these ideas (Germanic warriors are so superior they win without thinking about any strategy, just rush the enemy). What I want to point out, the information Delbrück used to draw his conclusions is not always in accordance with the results of modern research or interpretations. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
!--a small state does not mean it is less elaborate, like saying Canadian government is primitive compared to US government, because the US has more inhabitants. Warlordism did essentially influence the Gallic culture (some examples of tribal discussions and decisions by consent are mentioned at Vercingetorix), what was Caesar doing with his private legions and mercenaries?-->,
The smaller state structure was accompanied by less sophiscated and elaborate military forces and organization. This is pretty obvious. The Germanics were not Carthage, or Persia, or the Greeks. This is fact not bias. I happen to actually cheer the Germanics along against the iron boot of Roman empire, particularly their victory at the Teutoberger, but my pro-German sympathies must be left out in favor of the clear historical evidence. Maybe Caesar used mercenaries but that doesn't really tie into the article.
I don't get your argumentation. What I want to point out, the fighting power each political entity commanded was smaller than what the Romans fielded, so the political entities had to form joint forces. The joint forces didn't operate with an equally good organization at the top level as the Romans. So far I totally agree, but this does by no means indicate the small contingents themselves didn't have a sophisticated and elaborate structure. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
--as far as I know the Romans copied lots of their tactics from them, the testudo and the attacking blocks of swordsmen-->
This may very well be but practical, concrete examples should be provided. If the testudo or the attack wedge were Germanic invention then by all means provide suporting evidence. However such elements as ful body civerage with shields appear long before Rome, as in Assyrian siege techniques.
It will take some time to get these sources in English. At least it should have been mentioned in articles on the military defeats and changes of Rome. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
An dieser Stelle noch eine Anmerkung an die sich mit Römer kloppenden Gruppen:
Here a note for all fighting groups fighting(lit. beating each other) with Romans:
Phalanx (eine ununterbrochene, mehrere Glieder tiefe Front. Die Schilde der Soldaten der 1. Reihe lagen dabei schuppenförmig übereinander) oder Testudo (wörtl. Schildkröte; Schutzdach aus den übereinander gelegten Schilden), denn dies ist bei den Kelten ebenso üblich.
Phalanx (a continuous front, several ranks deep. The shields of the soldiers of the first line lay imbricated one upon the other) or testudo (literally turtle; a protective roof of shields lying one upon the other), because this is custom with the Celts.
-------------------- Point noted. However this example appears to refer to a field phalanx formation, with overlapping shields of infantrymen, not the Roman "tortoise" formation used during seiges. In any event, even if it was similar to the Roman testudo, the example shows that the Celts used such tactics. There is no indication that they invented them or that the Romans copied such tactics from the Gauls.
------------------------- Enriquecardova 07:42, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Zitat aus Caesars gallischem Krieg:
Quotation from Caesar's Gallic War:
"Die Belger gehen bei der Belagerung genauso vor wie die Gallier: Sobald sie die Mauern völlig mit einer starken Streitmacht eingeschlossen haben, fangen sie an, von allen Seiten Steine auf die Mauern zu schleudern. Sobald die Mauern von Verteidigern entblößt sind, bilden sie ein Schilddach, rücken gegen die Tore vor und versuchen, die Mauern zum Einsturz zu bringen."
"The Belgian operate during siege the same way as the Gauls: As soon as the walls are completely surrounded by a strong force, from all sides they start to throw stones at the walls.As soon as the walls are bare of defenders, they form a roof of shields, advance towards the gates and try to cave in the walls.
- Jede andere Art der Geschichtsdarstellung ist Volksverdummung -
All other ways of historic reenactment is brainwashing the people.
---------------------- Fair enough, but this example only appears to show standard seige tactics used by many ancient armies, men covering themselves with shields as they approach the walls of the hostile city. This was commonplace in the anciet world. See for example the ancient Egyptians at There is no indication that the Gauls invented such a formation (which is common sense in any case and quite possible independently used elsewhere) and there is no indication that the Romans copied such tactics from the Gauls. You have shown examples of practices used worldwide even before the rise of Rome, but have not established those two points (a) invention by the Gauls, (b) copying by Rome ---------------- Enriquecardova 07:42, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
It should be mentioned somewhere in Caesar's Gallic War that the Belges operated with the same tactics as the Gauls using phalanx (shieldwall) and testudo. Wandalstouring 19:40, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
------------ Same comments as above. Phalanx shieldwall is open field formation, and men covering themselves in a group as they attack a hostile city is typical of seiges in many ancient armies before Rome. Still no evidence of Gallic/Germanic invention or Roman copying. ----------------------Enriquecardova 07:42, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
!--was that the reason why they were able to enter Rome or do you mean afterwards when the Romans adopted Gallic battle tactics?--
this section more contrasts individual fighting with massed conflict rather than a particular Gallic battle. Also you should provide more details on the tactics of the Germanics copied or stolen by Rome.
I never uttered a word about Romans copying Germanic tactics.
-------but in one of your inline comments you said: Quote: ".as far as I know the Romans copied lots of their tactics from them, the testudo and the attacking blocks of swordsmen: --------Enriquecardova 07:42, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Gallic is not Germanic. Although the late Roman army did use spears similar to the frame for example. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

!--show me source they were hordes-->
--Hordes is actually a neutral term, meaning "camp" in Turkish". Commonly used to denote large bodies of tribal warriors. There is no anti-Germanic prejudice. Attila's Turkic/central Asian forces are often called hordes. Could be changed to units.
Naturally, we should avoid POV issues. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
--do not only take a look at Alesia, of course it is difficult to keep a large allied army in the field, but this does not mean a chieftain could not have his own small army in the field for a long feud.
True as to guerrilla type ops, but the topic is the Germanics/Gauls versus Rome in major conflicts, where it can be easily seen that a long field campaign with major forces could not be readily sustained by the tribal peoples, compared to the heavy state structure of Rome.
The Germanic Marbod fielded a standing army. That is questionable, nobles often had personal warbands in Gallic, Germanic culture and others. Caesar is no good argument for the state structure of Rome, he fielded his army on private money and was deep into debts. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
!--needs some statistics to verify this and that anything had changed in the army composition from earlier times-->.
See Arther Ferrill, The Fall of the Roman Empire: The Military Explanation, for a detailed breakdown of army changes as referenced in the article.
What about quoting him in detail?Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
--name these cases and show it were the elaborate Romans who swiftly crushed them-->,
See Caesar's Gallic War Commentaries for a detailed tribal lineup. Also see writings of Hans Delbruck as to the various Germanic campaigns. Delbruck is certainly no anti-German basher, and he lays out the exact same points mentioned in the article. Again, it is not a question of pro-German nationalism, or anti-Roman imperialism here. It is the military comparison at issue. Note: Delbruck is often accused of being TOO PRO GERMAN in his writings, but certain facts he mentions are accurate.
You must be joking. Caesar's personal glorification as a reliable source on the Gallic and Germanic tactics? Wandalstouring 19:01, 27 November 2006 (UTC)
Delbrück is accused of inaccuracy by J.F. Verbruggen for example. I never even bothered about pro and anti something. Besides, if you participate in a teamgame in sports, you have very few players there compared to an army, but you already use tactics. Just to point out that using tactics is not bound to numbers. So we should read carefully what we write here. Wandalstouring 19:00, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

1. Sign your comments.

2.I made the edits in the text so it can be done faster, because these are lots of things to source or remove.Wandalstouring 18:24, 27 November 2006 (UTC)

I beleive all Wandalstouring edits where responces to Enriquecardova's writing, am I correct? As to conversation I'm most tempted to delve into it, but at time am unsure as to the exact context of the discussion. POV vs Fact? Rome vs Gaul/Germanics? Military comparison? and who's talking to who... --Dryzen 16:22, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
There were lots of unsourced claims on the Germanic and Gallic warfare in the text. now we started discussing these points. Wandalstouring 17:38, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I'll post in some of my knowledge when I'll have more time, but for the moment here are some english sources(books) off the top of my head:Osprey Publishng's Rome's Enemies (1-5) series of Men-at-arms, Germanic Warrior AD 236–568 and Celtic Warrior of the Warrior series, Lords of Battle and Rome and her Enemies of the General Histories series. My own knowledge comes from An Encyclopedia of World History, Compiled and Edited by William l. Langer, Houghton-Mifflin Company Boston, 1948 and anotherFrench encyclopedia series wich I cannot conjure the name of it for the likes of me at this moment...--Dryzen 20:42, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
And what do they say. I'm deep into the reenactment scene and they literally say showing them without tactics is brainwashing of the people. Wandalstouring 21:55, 28 November 2006 (UTC)
I'll get back ot this on Mondya, hopefull I will have foudn my books by then (lost in storage as I was redecorating), if not I'll quote from memory. For the moment, yes the Celts and Germanics did have and use tactics, the strategic side of things was weaker and they did operate under a doctrine (to use the terms at Military science task force¼--Dryzen 16:45, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
Context of discussion was that inline comments moved to talk, the need for more references, and whether there was anti-German bias in the article. By all means, if there are more accurate references, they should be worked in. If the Romans copied the Gauls in some cases that is great to include. In fact, just such a point is alluded to in the article- namely the Romans were successful in copying and adapting methods and weapons from their opponents. Some German text given above needs to be translated. Caesar's Commentaries are well known to be slanted by himself, but they still form a valuable reference to scholars as to Gallic and Germanic warfare. That is pretty obvious. As stated above pro German writer Delbruck noted the weakneses of the Germanics, and such weaknesses are common with many tribal peoples facing a large, well resourced empire. Delbruck is quoted in the article, but if the Germanics are not being given their due in the article I agree we should correct. General references like the encyclopedias are fine. Nothing wrong with them at all. The Osprey Series on Rome is also a good reference. Enriquecardova 17:58, 29 November 2006 (UTC)
I had some conversation with reenactors working on Celtic warfare and the use of tactics. There are scientific debattes on the topic and some books were advised as possible sources:
John Warry, Warfare in the classical world, University of Oklahoma Press
J:L:Brunaux, B. Lambot, Guerre et armement chez les gauloises, Editions Errance
So far Wandalstouring 07:12, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Tactical prowess of Gallics/Germanics on some counts[edit]

Good info provided by Wandalstouring. Added new paragraph to take into account such things as Gallic chariot warfare and provide room for additional examples for the Germanics/Gallics. Enriquecardova 08:29, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Perhaps one should restructure this to include the Iberians (to complete their enemies in Western and Central Europe). Polybius gives a good description of their tactics. Wandalstouring 18:02, 1 December 2006 (UTC)
You raise a good point. The Iberians fought a hard guerrilla type warfare against Rome in their mountain regions for over 2 centuries. They at least deserve mention. Will plug in something in draft form, Maybe others can develop. Will keep it brief so we dont overlap too much with other articles. Enriquecardova 02:48, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
A site on Gallic warfare (armour and tactics) Wandalstouring 05:57, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Did the "mobile reserve" strategy weaken combat power?[edit]

Should the above seciton not be moved tot he partner strategy article?? - PocklingtonDan 17:00, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

Nope, it is about the fact they did use some strategy. Otherwise one can read all the time they rushed headlong into the enemy and scared him to death. I'm still searching reliable sources on the Celtic chariots concerning their ability to move heavy infantry to any spot on the battlefield and enforce a decision. So this mobile reserve concept is the same as the Romans keeping half or more of their men as reserves. Whether or not its use was always a good idea is another question. For example Carthaginian battle of Cannae like manoeuvres could easily be accomplished by such a force. Basically they could outmanoeuver any Roman army using the outer lines, while the Roman army was superior in manoeuvring along the inner lines and had by far more heavily armoured (chainmail) troops compared to the Gauls. Among them only the elite mechanized infantry (in the chariots) had such armour. The bulk of infantry was more or less equivalent equiped with leather armor and leather hoods (a kind of helmet) to the Roman auxilliaries if not even worse. So like in the Roman army both sides sent their skirmishers and light combat units and the heavy units decided things then. Contrary to the Romans the Gauls spent lots of money on chariots (expensive; two horses, a driver and the chariot) and had less to field as many heavily armoured men-at-arms. Wandalstouring 18:00, 1 December 2006 (UTC)


I would leave the section too because it is really just a small potatoes summary of Roman strategy as it affects the decline of the infantry. The Strategy Article uses a more advanced and comprehensive approach, breaking down strategy into politics, grand strategy, operational, and tactical levels. This model cuts across all the ROman military history and could work in explaining say the Punic Wars- like "strategic offensive" of hannibal versus "strategic defensive" of Fabius etc, or the Parthian wars, etc. Soem general books on warfare use this approach to look at Greece, Rome, etc. It could then be applied to the latter stages of the empire, where the emperors had to make big strategic choices as regards the frontiers, army organization, settlement of the barbarians, the limitinei forces, the growing power of the east and the split with the East, etc.. It's really a "big picture" approach.
One good way to kick start it might be to find a good online book review of say Luttwaks Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire, or Arter Ferils The Fall of Rome books, and use those for a working outline of the second part of the big Strategy article. Or their tables of contents can be pulled from Amazon and tweaked. This would cut down on the editing workload and give others a rough guide to help with editing. The section here is too narrow or light to do justice to Strategy which really should focus on the big picture. Another method is just to duplicate what you want and move it over to Strategy. Get rid of the headings, and get rid of the infantry focus, and re-work the prose, with just a link added back to this one as a reference for "ground level" views. This will help flesh it out. Enriquecardova 04:59, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
OK, no probs. The strategy article isn't completed yet in any case, i still have a lot of work i want to do on it. Cheers - PocklingtonDan 07:44, 2 December 2006 (UTC)::If I can get my hands on Luttwak's book I might be able to add some content. Enriquecardova 00:21, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Roman checkerboard[edit]

Do some research, but I think the Romans didn't operate with real gaps under any circumstances. As far as I know they used irregular units to fill these, so they did have a complete battle line. If the irregulars were hard pressed they could retreat and were replaced by real infantry. I know I saw a source for this somewhere (will take some time to find it). Wandalstouring 18:22, 1 December 2006 (UTC)

I will have ot cross check other sources but according to Goldsworthy:
"The maniples of the hastati deployed perhaps 6 to 8 ranks deep with an interval equivalent to the frontage of the unit between each maniple. The formation of the princeps was the same, but the maniples were stationed behind the gaps in the line of hastati. In the same way the smaller maniples of triarri covered the gaps between theunits of the second line. This created a checkerboard of maniples, like the quincunx or number five on a gaming dice." From Goldsworthy- Punic Wars, p53 (sorry about the spelling)

This was modified after the republic but I think it is still basically a checkboard type effect. The irregulars apparently used the gaps to ease back after the initial skirmish opening, or skipped to the flank. Will plug in a section on the checkboard issue for review. All the ancients say there were gaps.

The more you dig into this the more info keeps flooding out. According to the Warry book (ref. plugged into article) the use of gaps seems to have declined under Caesar's armies. -- Enrique Cardova —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:30, 13 December 2006 (UTC).

Delbrück assumes that while describing the "checkerboard formation", Livius was referring to a maneuver only for exercising mobility (basically a drill), because in battle, a formation with such wide gaps would put the milites in a distinct disadvantage both in attack and defence, for each maniple could be mini-outflanked before the second line could plug the gaps. I do not know whether there are any other true primary sources for the checkerboard apart from Livius, and Delbrück, while his analyses usually make sense, but of course weren’t always right and might be outdated. However, putting holes in your front line doesn’t really make much sense. Can anyone clarify this? –Johann —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:59, 28 November 2009 (UTC)

Germans did never fight the Roman Empire[edit]

Germanic tribes or Germanic people did battle the Romans, while the word "German" is a 15th century invention to distinguish the people of Central Europe which priviously had all been called Dutch. I will change it in the article, but beforehand we should clarify such things. Wandalstouring 11:10, 5 December 2006 (UTC)

Saw that edit myself and was going to change it but didn't want to start a revert war - given this editor seems sure they are right, we should perhaps wait for him to confirm he agrees? - PocklingtonDan 11:24, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
We'dd already worked this over in the Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history/German military history task force if I'm not mistaken. Therefore changed it back, the editor should feal free to contest this here. Yet until conviced otherwise I'm admant on sticking with Wandalstouring on this matter.--Dryzen 19:38, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
No real opinion on the word German myself. Germanic or Gallic seems to provide more coverage but either way could work.Enriquecardova 20:03, 10 December 2006 (UTC)


I doubt the use of horde is appropriate for the Germanic tribes as long as we aren't going to repeat WWI propaganda material. See also -> It is only appropriate for factions labeling themselves horde and not for the Germanic farmers and part-time robbers. Wandalstouring 08:26, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Horde could be viewed as negative in popular usage, although in one title the word is put in ironic quotes, in recognition of this. "Host" is more neutral or has a nobler ring, as in Biblical use, "captain of the host" or "the host of Syria", or something else more neutral. Enriquecardova 20:07, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
I think the only reason to use any word other than "army" is when it is necessary to indicate that the group contained an entire tribe on the move. If one is referring solely to a group of armed germannic combatants, surely "army" is appropriate and neutral. Where an entire tribal group is being referred to, perhaps "band" or "tribal group" would be better - PocklingtonDan 20:23, 10 December 2006 (UTC)
That is a reasonable distinction. I have no strong preference either way. Army could also work.Enriquecardova 04:18, 11 December 2006 (UTC)

quality images[edit]

Really do we need every cozy image of Roman reenactment from commons or could we keep the quality standards we agreed to use? Thus only image which do provide helpful information. Wandalstouring 13:46, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Great Job[edit]

Whoever was the main writer of this article, great job. That was a heck of a lot of work. However, some more pictures wouldn't hurt, and the article just feels...unwieldy. Some better organization maybe? There is a plethora of good information in this article though so I'm not sure what could be done to make it more manageable and concise, so I won't be editing it. Ciao--PADutchman 05:49, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

Added some detail to the Training section[edit]

I added a short bit describing the specifics of sword and shield play, from depictions on Trajan's Column and other sources. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Kozushi (talkcontribs) 02:10, 29 April 2007 (UTC).


I'm not going to throw a template on here at this time but as I pass through I notice a lot of small things. As to whether there are still big things I do not know - but the big things often get discovered when you confront the small things. So what I suggest is someone start from the beginning and improve all the spelling and grammar. I think we will find that it will be possible to condense a lot of it to save valuable space. Remember now, there is nothing sacrosanct about an article except for quality. A major concern should be standardization. The article right now is a mixture of various ways to do things. Especial attention should be paid to the annotation. So let us line up an initial detailed pass to be made by someone. You would be surprised what you can discover just by checking statements out. I see from the discussion that the tone of the work is now friendly so we ought to be able to move along and there are now enough good articles to serve as a model, not to mention an overall plan with box. While noting it still needs to be done I say I am working on other things right now with needs just as great. That does not mean I cannot get back to this in the future but meanwhile that is what needs to be done.Dave 13:21, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Absence of ancient sources[edit]

Unfortunately this article is loaded with assumptions that are only attested by contemporary historians. More ancient sources should be given, since the issue of Roman battle tactics is widely open to many historical interpretations. If there is interest to discuss Roman military tactics, I would be more than happy to proceed to it before making any serious changes to the article. So, please declare some interest and opinions to start the improvement of this article.


GK1973 (talk) 17:38, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

This talk page is rather deserted. While I would not oppose changes, we do prefer modern historians over old ones. Vegetius for example has no first hand knowledge of the military structure he tries to promote instead of the Late Roman army model. Wandalstouring (talk) 09:45, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Good... I would say that all modern historians derive their knowledge grom the ancient sources. There are many theories that may be presented, since there are many things we do not edxactly understand about how exactly the ancient Romans fought but ancient sources are an invaluable tool for those who really want to elaborate on ancient tactics. Vegetius, Frontinus, Arrian, Xenophon, Aelian, Asclepiodotus, Onesandros, Polyaenus, Caesar, Emperors Maurice and Leo the Wise, Kekaumenos and many other military writers as well as historians like Livy, Polybius and Plutarch among many others have left us with a considerable knowledge that deserves to be presented first hand. As far as modern historians are concerned, most of them have little to do with battlefield tactics and strategy and theories are also abundant. For example John Warry (The Art of War in Greece and Rome) suggests that the change of the lines was performed during "breaks", that according to him all armies made to rest, Peter Connoly (Greece and Rome at War) suggests that the changes took place during battle. Still others claim other things... So, there is no certain contemporary source that could be used as an evangellion. My proposal is that among all those various theories, original sources have to also be given for those who want to elaborate or to further support existing theories.

GK1973 (talk) 13:50, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

Havent been on this page for a while, but I have no objection to various theories being listed as long as the references are there, and the summary is concise. Goldsworthy notes that Polybius suggests the presence of gaps. I have no strong preference for any particular theory as long as the reader gets an understanding of the issues.Enriquecardova (talk) 00:29, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Roman legion frontage[edit]

In the text a quote is provided by Goldsworthy :

"The Roman maneuver was a complex one, filled with the dust of thousands of soldiers wheeling into place, and the shouting of officers moving to and from as they attempted to maintain order. Several thousand men had to be positioned from column into line, with each unit taking its designated place, along with light troops and cavalry. The fortified camps were laid out and organized to facilitate deployment. It might take some time for the final array of the host, but when accomplished the army's grouping of legions represented a formidable fighting force, typically arranged in three lines with a frontage as long as one mile (1.6 km)."

First of all in the flow of the text of the article it isn't evident that it is just a quote. It is given as the article's opinion, so since it is a citation and not just a conclusion based on the given source it should be put in questionmarks. I do not insist on removing this citation since it provides a pictureful description of the Roman array but we still have to add information on the frontage of the Roman army, a chapter of great importance to those who elaborate on military tactics.

Reasons for disputing the information given on frontage :

The previous assessment was totally unsupported since it gave a frontage of a mile for what army? A legion? A consular army of two legions? "a line as long as one mile" is too abstract when not accompanied by the size of the army. For example at Cannes, the frontage of the Romans was over 3 kms... (about 2 miles) Of course it was an exception, since it was one of the few times that they used more than the typical consular army. And in Zama, Scipio used Numides who greatly extended his line as well as at a time post his principes alongside his Hastati effectively doubling the frontage... So, a saying like that is not helpful and too abstract to use in an article like that.

Calculation of the frontage of a regularly arrayed Roman legio (Roman + Allied) of Republican Rome in the period in queation.

As far as the usual frontage of a Republican full legion of the 2nd Punic War is concerned (Roman and allied together), we have to keep in mind that the given number of the Hastati was 2.400 men (1.200 Romans and 1.200 allies) usually posted 6 men deep. This allows for a frontage of 400 men who were usually arrayed in open order, which accounts for about 1 m for each soldier. Thus, we arrive at the number of 400 m for the infantry line only (since the line was indeed uninterrupted and even when in quincunx order, the legions did not widen their frontage but posted the posterior centuries behind). As you saw, I did not include cavalry because there is a big controversy as to how the turmae were posted. Most theories have it arrayed 10 men deep (although this would make them only 3 men wide and most ancient and medieval tacticians propose to array cavalry up to 4 men deep, but there is much confusion here too), others even 3 men deep. Furthermore, the intervals between the turmae are sadly unknown and only assumptions can be made as to their exact size, by studying works that define the array of cavalry in greater detail, although sadly not the one in question. Having in mind that the legionary cavalry included 1.200 men in 40 turmae, each turma could have a frontage of 4 - 10 meters, which gives a total of 160 to 400 meters not including the necessary intervals for the usual retreats. Most possibly, Goldsworthy has assumed that the cavalry frontage was 400 meters (a number that with intervals would average the above calculations) and thus calculated the frontage of a full legion at 800 meters. Given that the usual campaign army of the time was the consular army, consisting of two full legions he may have thus arrived at the number of 1.600 meters. But, as history stands, this was in no way a maximum, as Goldsworthy seems to suggest by his wording (as long as...). I can give you contemporary sources if you would like to certify that the frontage of the Romans in Cannes was really much more than 1.600 meters and about the rest of my claims, but in my opinion, it is much preferable to give the ancient sources as well.

I hope I have persuaded you for the reason I found the specific comment inadequate and would like to add this kind of analysis (with sources of course) to such an article.

GK1973 (talk) 14:50, 26 May 2008 (UTC)

You have some grounds for flagging it. It is not actually a quote but a summary from Goldsworthy. He was referring there to a Roman the "army" or as the section says "army's grouping of legions" not a single legion, during the Punic Wars- the Trebia battle I think. I would support plugging in your estimate of a single legion frontage as long as you have a reference per Wandalstouring, so that it appears alongside Goldsworthy's "army group" estimate. If you have a better source than Goldsworthy for overall sizes, frontage, etc go for it. You are quite right that a single legion, deployed in the usual fashion could not take up one mile. If you have any other resources that can be brought to bear within the general article structure by all means bring them out. Enriquecardova (talk) 00:51, 28 May 2008 (UTC)

Spliting Article[edit]

Wow! This page is massive. It could easily be split into mulitiple pages. Maybe one based on historical eras of the empire. Maybe one based on the geographic locations. Oldag07 (talk) 18:20, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I don't think it needs splitting. There are a lotof big military articles. Up above it says the general reasoning for the article is not to overlap with other areas too much. You have Articles on Organization &Structure, then Equipment, then Navy, then major campaigns in various geographic areas, then individual battles and biography articles, etc. This article is the tactical 'how to' article on the infantry. I think it could be trimmed by 10% or so by moving the section on Caesar and the Germans and German chariot warfare to Ancient Germanic Warfare articles, but there is a lot of interst in the Germans so moving that out would need discussion with some others. A split on geographic lines or historical eras might be just duplicating what has already been done before on Campaign history of the Roman military. This article is different, and at 101k, not that much bigger than a lot of military article. Tet Offensive article for example is 112K, bigger than this page, for just one battle, whereas this article covers about 1,000 years of history. Everything is in one place so the reader gets a complete idea of 'how' the Romans fought and how they matched up against many other enemies, and how they eventually lost their effectivness. The other articles in the overall umbrella cover the other aspects like equipment, organization, campaigns, etc.Caricola (talk) 07:45, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
No, that would create redundant articles and the point about presenting Roman infantry tactics would get lost. It's a big topic, cope with it. Wandalstouring (talk) 08:28, 11 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think it needs to be split. As the other posters have said it is a very big topic and a very important one. Just keep it how it is. gensanders (talk) 18:58, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Split it. It is way too long. Creating sub-articles and having hatnotes to sections will improve it drastically. I could tell no one reads it to the end when I edited a while back and the tail of the article was riddled with errors.
⋙–Berean–Hunter—► ((⊕)) 22:37, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Don't split but trim if need be, keep as a central article with an overview of the topic. e.g any sections on topics which are dealt with elsewhere and are just repeating information can be linked to and eliminated.KTo288 (talk) 09:08, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
I am ambivalent on a split. The page is 101kb long so a split is recommended. I will remove tag since there is no consensus and it has been tagged since Oct 2008. -- Alan Liefting (talk) -

Citations of ancient sources[edit]

The way ancient texts are cited here (Polybius, Tacitus, Caesar) is completely useless. Please cite ANY ancient author as AUTHOR, TITLE, BOOK, PARAGRAPH, such as: Polybius, Histories, VI, 19-42 (this is the part where he describes the Roman army, for instance). In this way anyone can locate the cited text in ANY edition/translation. Domusaurea (talk) 20:21, 9 May 2010 (UTC)

Barbarization section is unbalanced[edit]

It only references one source, and only presents one side of the ongoing controversy. I think Hugh Elton's work pretty much demolishes the arguments in the section anyway. (talk) 04:53, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

It presents info on how the forces declined not so much any arguments about the general empire. Hugh Elton reference added. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pourhouse (talkcontribs) 02:09, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Roman Manipular Formation[edit]

I have been testing out these tactics on the rome toal war video game. I have noticed this formation is vulerable to being out flanked when facing the same or supior numbers. I have solved this by bending the flanks and thinning the units on the flanks to extend the line. Is there any sources saying the romans did this. Nhog (talk) 17:38, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Roman Manipular Formation[edit]

I have been testing out these tactics on the rome toal war video game. I have noticed this formation is vulerable to being out flanked when facing the same or supior numbers. I have solved this by bending the flanks and thinning the units on the flanks to extend the line. Is there any sources saying the romans did this. Nhog (talk) 17:38, 30 May 2012 (UTC)