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Curiosities of ancient Rome (Army)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Professional army was founded by Augustus

The Roman army from the beginning of its existence was constituted by Roman citizens who had property/land allowing them to arm themselves in battle. The change occurred at the end of the 2nd century BCE, when Gaius Marius first extended his hand to people without land (proletarii), offering them military service and a form of existence.

Republic period legionary | Photo credit: Joseph Qiu

“Marius’ mules”

The Roman army has evolved many times over the course of history. The equipment (except armour) of Roman soldiers was originally, as was the case in all armies of the then world, on carts or mules/donkeys. Gradually, however, there was a need to improve military mobility, shorten the entire marching column, and abandon the use of too many draft animals and rolling stock.

Marius's mules

Lost eagles of Roman army

The Roman army was one of the best in the world for a reason. However, despite many victories, this unbeatable machine also had numerous failures. However, the most shameful defeat took place when the legion lost its eagle.


Corvus – Roman method of fighting at sea

The primary method of attacking the Roman fleet was by boarding. Rome developed its power through a land army, therefore naval combat was a problem for a long time, and lack of skill often led to defeats. The solution was the “raven” (corvus), a ramp equipped with two or one spike (resembling a bird’s beak, hence the name) for boarding. It allowed for the introduction of the tactic of quickly jumping to the enemy and using the infantry force at sea.

Corvus - Roman boarding bridge

3 key Roman armor

Roman legions conquered more peoples and lands not only thanks to their organization and discipline but also thanks to armament that was really high quality. In addition to offensive equipment (pilum, pugio, gladius) also had very good armour.

Lorica segmentata

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