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Much of the success of the Roman army can be attributed to the command structure also. Though after the Marius Reforms the army was much more organized and therefore more effective, the early Roman Republic army was still organized legibly, not into hordes. The Hastati and Principes were divided into ten groups of 120 men called maniples, and the Triarii into ten maniples of sixty men. There were ten maniples of Hastati and Principes in each legion, totaling 2400 men. The remaining force was made up of 1200 Velites. Each maniple had two centurions, in which the most experienced held the command of the maniple. A legate was in command of the whole legion consisting of 4200 men.
Another part of the army’s tactics was to build a camp at the end of every day’s march. The afternoon saw the rapid construction of an army camp, and the night was reserved for rest from the day’s march and labor. The camp served multiple purposes. First and foremost it served as a nightly defense against surprise attacks and as a base to retreat to just in case a defeat should ever happen.
The construction of camps also gave the soldiers and officers a place to rest peacefully. Much of the Roman army’s success depended on coolness of temper. A Roman soldier was kept from nervous strain as long as possible, so as to perform well under the intense stress of battle. The existence of a camp contributed greatly to this. It also exemplified the tenacity of the Romans. If defeated in battle, they would not have to retreat far, and they would fight again the next day, if not the same day.
Also, instead of being pushed back far back into their own lands, the camp served as a fortified stronghold, which could be used to fend off the left over attackers from the previous battle until reinforcements could arrive.
John Hilde is a collector of ancient armor and weapons as well as modern day collectibles. Get more information regarding roman armor
Published on Jan 28, 2014
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