An Argument for the Strength of the Roman Army
Posted: Dec 13, 2016
Are you a fan of history or ancient civilizations or the development of war throughout the ages? Do you have a long-lasting love for video games focused on the battles of early civilizations? Maybe you are interested in fantasy fiction, dragons, magic and everything this entails. If you fall into any of those categories, you may eventually come across the question of whether Roman soldiers or medieval knights would come out victorious in a battle against each other? You might compare Roman soldier armor to medieval armor and think that’s the end of the debate. However, there are some very good arguments to the contrary.
Many historians and fans of history believe that the Roman army had the discipline and might to defeat any of the European armies that existed before the introduction of gunpowder. It’s true that many civilizations feared the Romans because of the power of their army. Setting aside any discussion of the Mongols and other armies outside of Europe, consider the advantages that the Romans had over other armies and skirmish groups in the area. Don’t make too many judgements based on your idea of the Roman soldier costume versus other forms of armor.
Discipline and Training
One of the first advantages the Roman soldier had over other fighters was discipline. The Romans were highly organized and began training their legions from a very young age. This means that the Roman army was full of highly trained fighters who had been working together for many years. While there were brief pockets in history when the fiefdoms were united, they didn’t have the same advantage as the continuous training provided to the thousands of soldiers in a legion. Roman soldier armor might not provide the same coverage you’d expect from a medieval knight’s, but when training as a unit is factored in, the Roman soldier may have a clear advantage.
Comparison of the Group
Of course, it is difficult to make a clear argument without separating the differences in overall army comparisons and the armor. For the sake of this conversation, most people might agree that a legion of soldiers who have trained together would defeat a trained knight leading a ragtag group of farmers and mercenaries, or would at least agree that the advantage was with the Romans.
A Closer Look at Armor
The next step would be to compare the Roman soldier armor. Medieval armor did a great job at protecting the wearer. Separate sections of steel would have been difficult for a Roman sword to pierce. Before deciding that the Roman soldier costume was inferior, take a moment to recognize that most of the men fighting in a medieval army did not have the full-plate armor that knights may have had. A legionary in Rome would have had a tunic, a shield and helmet, boots, groin guard and perhaps some other leather gear. They would have been armed with at least one of many different weapons. Fighters in a medieval army may have been very skilled with their plows and scythes, but would probably have been fighting in the same clothing they wore while working in the fields.
John Trinh has been writing for 10+ years. He first delved into the world of writing when he wrote his first article for his university's paper.