Roman Army:

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THE AURELIAN WALLS: The city of Rome was from 600 BC defended by stout defensive walls. The Servian walls of the Republican era prevented an assault on the city by Hannibal even after that Carthaginian general had annihilated several legions throughout Italy. During the Pax Romana of the early empire the walls were allowed to fall into desuetude, but with the resurgence of civil wars and barbarian invasions in the third and fourth centuries AD the walls of Rome were reconstructed into a massive brick and mortar circuit. The Vandals sacked Rome in 410 AD.

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THE ROMAN LEGION: a tactical formation composed of units (maniples, then cohorts) standing apart both in frontal distance and in depth; in each unit each man had 6feet for action. Such a unit was based both on the necessary weapons and on the professional training of the troops. The maniples were arranged in 3 waves of 10 maniples each in a checker-board fashion. The Cohortal legion, shown here, from 100 BC onward, consisted of 6000 infantry in 10 cohorts arranged in as many waves as the commander thought necessary. Each cohort was fully self-sufficient to fight at a distance from the legion, operating basically as a "mini-legion". This made the cohortal legion more suitable for controlling native guerilla warfare and the garrison duty incumbent on Roman imperial rule.

THE LEGIONARY CAMP: Nothing in the public life of the Romans bears such eloquent testimony to the orderly and practical spirit which gave them the mastery of the ancient world than their scientific method of encampment. A Roman army on the march never bivouacked without constructing an entrenched camp (castra) large enough to contain the whole force, together with beasts and baggage; and the marching kit of the Roman soldier included a number of stakes for us in forming the palisade with which the earthen mound (vallum) surrounding the camp was strengthened. The characteristic crossroad of the cardinal and decumanal paths that bisected the camp according to the compass form the center of numerous imperial cities throughout Italy, testifying to the influence of permanent Roman camps in the spread of Roman culture.

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THE SIEGE OF ALESIA: site of Julius Caesar's stirring siege of the Gallic rebel, Vercingetorix, for supremacy in Gaul in 52 BC. Having besieged Vercingetorix in the Gallic village, Caesar himself became surround by thousands of Gallic reinforcements coming to attempt to life the siege of their leader. Caesar constructed a double wall of circumvallation--one to besiege the village, the other to withstand the siege of himself and ultimately prevailed. Caesar's account of the siege in his "Commentaries" demonstrates the superior technological skill of the Roman military.

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THE ROMAN TRIUMPH: The Roman festival procession at the head of a victorious army through the city of Rome to the Capitoline hill, the highest distinction accorded a victorious commander. The relief from the Arch of the Emperor Titus depicts his father, the Emperor Vespasian (69-79 AD) triumphing in Rome after his conquest of Judea and sack of Jerusalem.

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