Wars of the Roman Empire (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Addition of territory to the Roman Empire, defense of the Roman frontiers. Result: The Roman Empire successfully defended its borders against a number of groups until the mid-fifth century, when Germanic groups overpowered the western empire.
After nearly a century of warfare in the Late Republic (146-31 b.c.e.), the Roman army had become a professional fighting force. Military power frequently was used either to acquire or demand political power, and the dependence of powerful generals on their troops was very clear. The wars of the Roman Republic were often motivated by the personal ambitions of generals rather than military emergencies, but with the inauguration of an era of peace beginning in 27 b.c.e., the army had to find a new role to play. Well paid, well fed, and well provided for after retirement, the army was poised to become a major factor in the politics of the Roman Empire.
For ending the civil wars, Gaius Octavius (Octavian) was given the honorary title of Augustus by a grateful Senate. He molded the Roman army into a professional organization with fixed terms and conditions of service, pay rates, promotion procedures, and rank. Augustus also continued the personal relationship between soldiers and generals that had developed since the Late Republic. Soldiers took an oath of loyalty to the emperor and were paid in coins displaying the emperor’s...
(The entire section is 2897 words.)
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