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Romans = great warriors???

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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Romans = great warriors???
    Posted: 10-Jul-2007 at 13:35
Originally posted by Mumbloid

I think this is irrilevant, since the celts used them in another way....


Yes and no ... it was close-order swordfighting by the Celts that put the phalanx out of business ...

From what we know of them, the Celts fought in very dense concentrations, tightly packed. It's more likely there'd be 2-3 Celts in the same space as a legionary, and the Romans used this to their advantage - one of their most effective tactics was to form a series of wedges like the teeth of a saw, and trap masses of men between the "teeth" where they would be pinned between the weight and impetus of their own host (as impetus/shock was their chief form of attack) and the shield-wall of the legionaries. Had they fought in a more dispersed style, this wedge-saw formation wouldn't have had the same effect. Romans actually fought more loosely than the Celts - the maniple, for instance, was developed to give enough room for the light hastati infantry in the front line to melt back through the heavier principes, and even the triarii, if necessary.

Incidentally, this is why the Roman shields are like the Celtic shields, only about twice as wide - the Celts used a narrower shield because their line was more dense and they could provide the coverage with a narrower shield. The reason they didn't fight more loosely and allow room for men to return behind the front ranks was because they basically fought like a mob and stampeded; they wanted weight for the impetus of their charge, not unlike the phalanx.

I don't know where people get this picture of Celts fighting with huge swords and axes from. They did have a longsword - but it was not a battle sword, it was a duelling weapon for single combat. Longswords are often found in burials of important personages, but in other digs they are very, very rare - one or two might be found in a cache of hundreds of daggers and swords. Celtic battle weapons are almost universally thrusting weapons - chiefly spears, large daggers, and short swords (which were basically evolved out of daggers - the "daggers" are about 25 inches, the "swords" are usually about 30 inches). They did have a cleaving battle sword, the Falcata - but it's thought that they copied this from the Etruscans or the Greeks.

It's not like the later Celts couldn't beat the Romans. They inflicted a few major catastrophes in Spain, for instance. But just generally, they lost.

Edited by edgewaters - 10-Jul-2007 at 13:47
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  Quote Mumbloid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jul-2007 at 04:34
Originally posted by edgewaters

Originally posted by Mumbloid

I think this is irrilevant, since the celts used them in another way....


Yes and no ... it was close-order swordfighting by the Celts that put the phalanx out of business ... 


from the roman side it was the because of the Samnite...they adopted the samnite manipular system and used it against the gaul, who got defeated!
 But if you ask me, I say a mix of both battle system; initially they fought in Samnite style, actually mixing the oplite with the "new" and more flexible tactic. Later (IMO) they improved it with similar celtic tactics....



From what we know of them, the Celts fought in very dense concentrations, tightly packed. It's more likely there'd be 2-3 Celts in the same space as a legionary,



SOMETIMES the celt fought in nice formation (especially if guided by a valent commander, es Brennus or Hannibal) and SOMETIMES NOT, ancient writers as lyvi, Florus, Strabo, Pausanias describe them fighting like animals and other times the opposite happens . The big trouble Romans and greek had against the celts were their imprevedibility....it was hard to figure out what they were doing. Many times they charged screaming with claws other times not.



 and the Romans used this to their advantage - one of their most effective tactics was to form a series of wedges like the teeth of a saw, and trap masses of men between the "teeth" where they would be pinned


that was also the way Boudiceas revolt was tamed....with the near extermination of the entire tribe.


 

Incidentally, this is why the Roman shields are like the Celtic shields, only about twice as wide - the Celts used a narrower shield because their line was more dense and they could provide the coverage with a narrower shield.


carefull with that, I dont say there are no celtic influence, but there are also saminte and other central southern italian influence. Dont forget Romans were italians so it is much more easyer they adopted it and adapted to their own use by other italic people.

AND

we should not forget the influence from the gladiators....




The reason they didn't fight more loosely and allow room for men to return behind the front ranks was because they basically fought like a mob


like a mob?


I don't know where people get this picture of Celts fighting with huge swords and axes from.


come on, you know were we got that from. From the people who fought with them and against them. Even if it is challenged by modern historian, but we should not underestimate the people who witness them in battle.




It's not like the later Celts couldn't beat the Romans. They inflicted a few major catastrophes in Spain, for instance. But just generally, they lost.


perhaps the romans made them obsolete Wink

Just kidding....or perhaps not.

There are good reasons about why the romans won, and it is not ONLY because of the battlefield.....



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  Quote Mumbloid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jul-2007 at 05:23
okydoky im going to vacation, so i will not be looking at this thread uintil few weeks.

Nice discussing with you Edgewaters Smile




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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12-Jul-2007 at 06:28
Originally posted by Mumbloid

SOMETIMES the celt fought in nice formation (especially if guided by a valent commander, es Brennus or Hannibal) and SOMETIMES NOT, ancient writers as lyvi, Florus, Strabo, Pausanias describe them fighting like animals and other times the opposite happens .


Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about an orderly formation here, just a dense mass of men - like a mob. They would pack themselves very densely and charge, using the weight and speed to give impetus so they could overcome the enemy line. They were armed with thrusting weapons. In principle, this isn't entirely unlike the basic idea behind the phalanx, just much shorter weapons and counting more on speed and ferocity than the weight provided by formational structure.

carefull with that, I dont say there are no celtic influence, but there are also saminte and other central southern italian influence. Dont forget Romans were italians so it is much more easyer they adopted it and adapted to their own use by other italic people.


Well, Samnites were borrowing the same things from the Celts - the technology belongs to a material culture known as "La Tene" which originated in Cisalpine Gaul.

come on, you know were we got that from. From the people who fought with them and against them. Even if it is challenged by modern historian, but we should not underestimate the people who witness them in battle.


Can you name any that describe them that way? Tacitus, who describes a host as "close embodied, and prepared for action"?

No, the Romans never described them fighting with wide spacing or using heavy cleaving weapons in battle at all, except in single combat duelling between leaders - a Celtic institution used as a substitute for battle. They described their method of battle quite differently. Celts just didn't use huge cleaving weapons in battle; they used big daggers, short thrusting swords, and spears. The only exception is the Falcata - which, as I mentioned, is something they seem to have borrowed from the Greek kopis via the Etruscans (or possibly via Massalia) and was known only in Spain.

There just aren't any descriptions of Celts fighting in dispersed masses or having widely separated spaces, or of heavy weapons being used in actual battle (only in single combat duelling).

Celts were not Norse or Germans. They were more closely linked with the Meditteranean cultures, having had contact with the Greeks and Phoenicians since the earliest times. They even fought as mercenaries in Egypt, long before Rome existed. Their fighting style evolved in the context of warfare of that period; thrusting weapons used with impetus of the host. When the Romans developed the maniple, it was a revolutionary approach to fighting, and yes, it not only rendered the phalanx obsolete, it rendered the Celtic method of battle totally obsolete (except for the Gallic cavalry).

Germanic warriors - and later some Celts who were influenced by the Norse (particularly the Scots, with their claymores and sparths) - were the ones that used larger cleaving weapons in battle. This was because heavier armours were more common and most members of the warrior class had them (eg Saxon huscarls; not many of the fyrd, but most of the huscarls). This allowed them to forego the protection of the shield and use both hands. Celtic warriors were by and large unarmoured and depended solely on the shield for protection, so heavy cleaving weapons were uncommon. Though Celts did invent chainmail, it was rare - powerful chieftains would have it, which is why the Celtic longsword was a weapon used almost exclusively by chieftains, and why it features in accounts of single combat between leaders of two hosts. Most Celts (the infantry, anyway - the cavalry might have used longswords I suppose) had a weapon that was a dagger or small daggerlike sword, spear, and shield, or they were darters with javelins; no armour and no heavy weapons.
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