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Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Legion of the Roman Kings – Early Roman Army

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Originally, the Roman army was called the Legion , which consisted of a militia of about 3,000 infantry and 300 horsemen from wealthy citizens who gathered only during war or for military training.

Type of organization : tribal militia , proportionally formed from the composition of the main clans ( curiae ) on a decimal basis (each genus, and there were a total of 33, exhibited 100 infantrymen — a centurion and 10 horsemen — a total of 3300 infantrymen + 330 horsemen) the man commanded the tribunes (from the tribe – the tribe).

Thus, the military power of the curia and the community as a whole was made dependent on the natural reproduction of the male population. In the early royal period, when the Roman community had not yet reached its demographic limits and was open to accept new genera from the neighboring conquered tribes, these negative sides were still hidden. But in the VII century B.C. as is evident from the written tradition, the formation of new curiae and the relatively easy acceptance of new genera into existing ones are coming to naught, and soon the inhibiting role of the curate principle of formation of the army was most clearly manifested in the collision of the Romans at the end of the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. with such a strong people like the Etruscans .

In the VIII century B.C. the warriors fought on foot, and their weapons were spears, darts, swords, daggers and axes. Only the richest could afford the armor , most often limited to a helmet and a small plate that covered only the chest.

In the VII — VI century B.C. the Roman army was supposedly a typical Etruscan army since the Romans were ruled by the Etruscans and the army included representatives of the Romans, Etruscans (who formed the phalanx) and the Latins (who fought, according to habit, in a free order). The Etruscan-Roman army consisted of 40 centurions of the hoplites (I class), armed according to the Greek model, 10 centurions of the lancers with medium weapons (II category), armed with the Italian model with a spear and sword, as well as having a helmet, leggings and the Italian shield ( scutum ): 10 centurions lightly-armed spearmen (III class), who had a spear, sword, helmet and scutum; 10 centurias of skirmishers (IV category), who owned a spear, dart and scutum, and finally 15 centurion slingers (V category). Centurius size depended on of what size an army was needed. In the same way, an army was built of veterans who made up the internal garrison.
Reform of Servius Tullius ( 6th century BC )

Organization : property qualification and age division (the older ones were in reserves and garrisons , isolated the so-called “juniors” (from 18 to 46 years old) and “seniors” (over 46 years old), general conscription for citizens, high command – two military tribunes .

Tactics : the main phalanx building with cavalry on the flanks and light infantry off-line

I class (property of more than 100 thousand aces ) – Warriors of this category formed 80 centurias and had to have armor (lorica), helmet (galea), leggings (ocrea), a round shield of type clipeus, and from an offensive weapon (tela) – a spear (hasta) and sword (gladius or mucro). Such full armament as a whole corresponds to the type of so-called hoplit equipment. The warriors of the 1st category stood in the phalanx in the first row.
II category (property of more than 75 thousand aces) – Warriors of this category formed 20 centuries and had to have a helmet (galea), leggings (ocrea), a shield (scutum), a sword (gladius) and a spear (hasta). Historians assign these soldiers a place in the second row of troops.
III category (property of more than 50 thousand aces) – Warriors of this category formed 20 centuries and had to have a helmet, shield, sword and spear. In the ranks, they respectively occupied the 3rd row.
IV category (property of more than 25 thousand aces) – Warriors of this category formed 20 centuries and should have a shield (scutum), a sword (gladius or mucro), and also two spears (long hasta and throwing dart verrutum). The warriors of the 4th rank occupied the last line in battle, and also, according to some data, covered the legion in case of withdrawal.
V category (property of more than 11 thousand aces) – The warriors of this category formed 30 centuries and should have a sling. They were out of action and performed a supporting role.

Centuries of various ranks were undoubtedly of different sizes.

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