Rome Hotels Articles

May 13, 2010

Why was Rome so dominant militarily in the ancient world

Without the mighty Roman military there would have been no Roman Empire. Rome was a military state from its beginning and its purpose was to conquer and to expand its limits. The world belonged to them and as far as they were concerned, there were only seven roads and they all led into Rome. Where did they lead from? From everywhere or at least that was their intention.

“For who is so worthless or indolent as not to wish to know by what means and under what system of polity the Romans in less than fifty-three years have succeeded in subjecting nearly the whole inhabited world to their sole government a thing unique in history? “

The above are the words from Polybius, a historian who wrote about a history of Rome. His writings have been put online at the University of Chicago by Bill Thayer. ( hayer/E/Roman) Those words show the might and the swiftness of the Roman Army. Yet, in order to invade and overpower the other principalities, Rome needed a means of getting its army there and therefore, their first priority was to build a dependable system of roads. They did and we can say confidently they were well traveled roads. Some are still being traveled today.

The first Punic war between the Carthaginians and Rome was from 264-241 BC. Rome knew that powerful group that controlled most of Africa and Spain as Phoenicians. It mattered not that they no longer had their own city-state; they knew their expertise and their warring ways. In fact the word Punic is taken from the Latin name for Phonecia which is poeni. In that first try-out Rome completely ruined their navy. They, of course, were furious. Up until then they had been unbeaten.

The Second Punic Wars from 218-212 was when Hannibal that famed warrior took control of the Carthaginian army. His reputation grew fast and his empire kept pace. By now Carthage had control of most of Spain. Rome dreaded this new invader and tried to avoid him. In 218 he came after Rome. He wasted no time in making Rome his property, especially in the Northern sector. He wanted them willingly to join him in his conquests.

Rome, fearing direct attack was advised to wait and not to jump into traps Hannibal’s army had set to snare Rome. They allowed Hannibal free rein in Rome and supposedly wined and dined them and, for all intents and purposes, were cowards. Hannibal’s army was weakening and Hannibal was growing weary of ransacking the country side and decided to march on Rome.

Roman strategy was to

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