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Ancient Armies

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Poll Question: Which Ancient Army was the best?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
50 [40.65%]
18 [14.63%]
32 [26.02%]
2 [1.63%]
1 [0.81%]
20 [16.26%]
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  Quote Rome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Ancient Armies
    Posted: 30-Jun-2005 at 02:52

Rome by far had the best army of all time because of its organization and discipline and the fact that from the second century B.C. through the second century A.D. it domanated three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa).                    

 

 

                                                                        

 

 

                            

                                  

                                          

 

 



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Cyrus Shahmiri View Drop Down
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  Quote Cyrus Shahmiri Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2005 at 03:17

Yes Augustus mad Rome a super power when he had to make a peace with Phraates after the disgraceful defeat of Mark Antony in Battle of Phraaspa, as you know Mark Antony began a campaign against the Parthians in 33 BC. His army numbered more than 120,000 men, including no less than forty thousand cavalry whenas Phraates could collect only thirty thousand men. Roman general was defeated in this battle definitely and had to retreat after losing fifty thousand of his best troops.

It also said that the return of the Roman standards captured by Orordes in the more disgraceful Battle of Carrhae (53 BC) was a victory celebrated by Rome with numerous honors for Augustus.

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  Quote Rome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2005 at 12:29

 Rome would woop any asian army in its path during the time of Augustus.

 



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  Quote vulkan02 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jun-2005 at 13:48
a Chinese army would probably beat the Romans though i don't know a whole lot about Chinese armies back then
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  Quote Virgil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jul-2005 at 22:44
Originally posted by Cyrus Shahmiri

Yes Augustus mad Rome a super power when he had to make a peace with Phraates after the disgraceful defeat of Mark Antony in Battle of Phraaspa, as you know Mark Antony began a campaign against the Parthians in 33 BC. His army numbered more than 120,000 men, including no less than forty thousand cavalry whenas Phraates could collect only thirty thousand men. Roman general was defeated in this battle definitely and had to retreat after losing fifty thousand of his best troops.

It also said that the return of the Roman standards captured by Orordes in the more disgraceful Battle of Carrhae (53 BC) was a victory celebrated by Rome with numerous honors for Augustus.



To be fair, the Romans pushed the Parthians out of Syria in 39 BC, killing the king's son Pacorus. They also forced the Parthians and a rebel Roman commander out of Asia Minor. They began to learn how to deal with the Parthians. In the 1st century, under Carbulo, forced them to come to a treaty over Armenia. Under Trajan, Marcus Aurelius and Severus they sacked the Parthian capital three times in a century. Everyone remembers Carrhae, they tend to forget the Romans ended up giving the Parthians as many headaches as the Parthians gave them.


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  Quote Belisarius Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Jul-2005 at 23:46
The Chinese had superior logistics and technology, as well as a greater supply of manpower, over any of these other civilizations. I would say the Romans could give them a fair fight but they would be hard pressed to win enough victories to force an armistice. On the other hand, the Chinese would not have been able to conquer all of Rome, despite the superior logistics and technology. In a battle where the capablities of singular Roman and Chinese armies were deployed to the fullest, the Chinese would have won.

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  Quote giani_82 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jul-2005 at 10:20

Originally posted by vulkan02

a Chinese army would probably beat the Romans though i don't know a whole lot about Chinese armies back then

At some point they had a great use of chariots (till 3-2 century B.C. before cavalry was introduced). About 3 men were on the chariot - driver (or however it's named), an axe yeilder or a spearman and bowman. Later chu-ko-nu made quite an impact because 10 arrows could be reloaded faster than a regular bowman would do that. And still the chinese warfare counts much on archery, and Romans would have difficulty countering it. A constant turtle formation is probably going to work, yet the units wouldn't see a charging melee army all that well, don't know it's all a fantasy poll anyway - may be it's best solved in pc games (Rise of nations, Empire Earth II).

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  Quote Virgil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jul-2005 at 17:17
Originally posted by giani_82

...And still the chinese warfare counts much on archery, and Romans would have difficulty countering it. A constant turtle formation is probably going to work, yet the units wouldn't see a charging melee army all that well, don't know it's all a fantasy poll anyway - may be it's best solved in pc games (Rise of nations, Empire Earth II).



Don't forget that the Romans integrated a large number of archers, both mounted and foot, into their auxiliaries. The notion that the legions were suceptible to attack by archers is due to a large part to the fiasco at Carrhae.  Legions in the principate contained large numbers of archers who were arrayed in various configurations depending on the enemy, terrain, etc.  The foot archers were recruited from Crete and Syria, while the mounted archers were often Scythian.  I've read of Parthian units in the Roman auxiliaries fighting in Germany, although I can't remember the source.
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  Quote Virgil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Jul-2005 at 17:47
Originally posted by Belisarius

The Chinese had superior logistics and technology, as well as a greater supply of manpower, over any of these other civilizations. I would say the Romans could give them a fair fight but they would be hard pressed to win enough victories to force an armistice. On the other hand, the Chinese would not have been able to conquer all of Rome, despite the superior logistics and technology. In a battle where the capablities of singular Roman and Chinese armies were deployed to the fullest, the Chinese would have won.


Good post, although I disagree with the final sentence. Roman legions were usually much more balanced undertakings than the infantry only formations people envision, with cavalry, archers and light infantry auxiliaries.  This can make it frustrating to envision the typical Roman army on the move since it was dependent on the auxiliaries available, the frontier and the enemy encountered. After ten years in the military I'm less a believer in the "well the name-your-army compound bow can fire 1,000 meters and penetrate..." school of military analysis than in the influence of effective training, chain of command at all levels and flexibility, which is why I think so highly of Roman armies in general. 
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  Quote Rome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 06:29
  I would say that yes the roman army could beat the Chinese and that the chinese did have many archers and thats how they fought but Rome drilled its armies practiced with them and they had beater decipline then the Chinese. The Chinese never had a full time Pro army.

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  Quote Ahmed The Fighter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 09:47
what about babylonian army and assyrian army
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  Quote Rome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 14:07

 There to weak

 

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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 16:55

Did any European army ever defeat a Roman army in a pitched battle from 150BC - 150AD?

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  Quote Rome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 19:07
 Yes the gauls deafeated Ceasar a few times and also the Romans lost the battle of Teutonburg forest to the Teutons, but only because the Romans had a bad leader and it was a ambush.

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  Quote Gubook Janggoon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 19:49
Originally posted by Rome

  I would say that yes the roman army could beat the Chinese and that the chinese did have many archers and thats how they fought but Rome drilled its armies practiced with them and they had beater decipline then the Chinese. The Chinese never had a full time Pro army.


Erm...

1.  The Chinese army (Let's say Han dynasty) wasn't simply archer based.
2.  Roman amies had better discipline?  What's your source or basis for that, other than what would seem like a major bias?
3.  The Chinese never had a full time Pro army?  I beg to differ.

There's a similar thread at CHF if ya'll are interested.  It focuses more on a potential conflict between Rome and the Han Dynasty.  I think everyone's tried to be fair, but be prepared to encounter some bias.

http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?showtopic=185
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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 20:34

I think everyone's tried to be fair

Riiight.

About as fair as the users on a Roman History Forum I visit were being when they came up their Rome vs Han scenario.

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  Quote charles brough Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 21:12

Perhaps more consideration should be made to WHEN the various armies are compared because their fighting power changed over the course of time.  This is an important consideration if real accuracy is being sought.  The Roman military did finally grow static and crumble.  So, it was not a very good fighting machine after it became Christianized.  Christians were not then particularly fierce fighters!

Also, the Macedonian army was far superior to the Persian army but only because by then the Persion civilization was in decline.  The Chinese military machine underwent similar gyrations or cycles with each dynasty.  Its strength depended upon the condition of the Chinese faith and society at the time.  When a society becomes corrupt, the army draws upon mercenaries and compulsion.  It fills with deadbeats and dropouts.  It becomes a big mass of fighters who are quick to find a reason to retreat.    Frankly, to me it is far more interesting to analyze this and why armies change in strengh than it is just to say, arbitrarily, that one was better than the other.

When this is all taken into consideration, it might tell us something out our own military future . . .

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  Quote Rome Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Jul-2005 at 21:13

  Ok there is a chance that the Han could have beaten the Romans, but still the Romans were not weak like how the people at the Chinese forum portray them, they are a war machine that could beat a Chinese army but they probably couldent march all the way to China and just conquer it because of Parthia and the other central asian cultures. Rome still had more discipline and organization then the Chinese. Also I know that the Han dident just have archers they also were very good Cavalry men.

 



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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jul-2005 at 21:59
I was researching Shi Huang De and apparantly the Chinese armies of the 220s BC were still using chariots (by that time very outdated in the West) and still used typically bronze armor. The Romans if i recall correctly had moved on to using superior iron armor. If you were to place Rome and China side by side then of course China would win thanks to vastly superior manpower, but man for man I am not so sure the Chinese armies had vastly superior equipment. Indeed, during the Warring States period many of the soldiers used were conscripted peasants (though the Chinese states all had a professional core of full time soldiery). The Roman soldier was meant to be a full time professional who served for about 20 years.
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  Quote strategos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jul-2005 at 22:57
If Roman armies and Chinese armies met on a battlefield, just fighting, not conquering since China and Rome/Italy are too far, I would say Rome, because it had a variety of different soldiers it could gather throughout the empire, while the Chinese could not have such a variety. Manpower is not all in battle, perhaps if the greatest Roman leaders could lead the army, I do not believe the ywould loose.
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