Roman Military Impact in Modern Day

Rome was famed for its military strength, tactics, and discipline. Many of these traits would influence modern day.

Rome was famed for its military strength and great military tactics. One of the most famous formations of ancient times is the phalanx. The Romans started with the phalanx and adapted it for their own. Many different strategies used by the Romans have resurfaced in recent times. In Kiev, Ukraine on January 22nd, 2014, the riot police used the Roman military formation testudo. In response to the rioters who built a small trebuchet, the riot police used this formation to protect the police and deny the rioters to advance.


The Romans would march in cohorts and every man would have roughly eighty pounds of equipment on them and would march thirty miles a day before stopping and setting up a castrum. In the Roman Empire, castrum is the latin (plural is castra) word for a building, or plot of land, used as a fortified military camp. These encampments were usually made whenever the Roman Army stopped their march and needed to rest for the night. However, these encampments have almost no documented incident where any encampment has ever been breached. Much of Western Europe has ties to Rome through many of their names. Cities like Winchester and Lancaster have their names because they too were once Roman encampments and Chester/cester is the anglicized version of the castrum.

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Rome was known for having a disciplined military and brutal punishments for offenses of any manner.  However, Rome’s most famous punishment was decimation.

This punishment was not commonly used as there are few instances of it being enacted but its use as a punishment would be seen in later years. One such example during 1642 in the Czech Republic, 90 cavalrymen were put to death by Austria’s Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. The punishment was ordered following the alleged cowardice of a 900-man regiment of horse at the  Battle of Leipzig. Though normally used as a punishment, sometimes it was used to punish captured soldiers. During the Finnish Civil War, during 1918, 80 captured troops were executed via decimation which became known as the Lottery of Huruslahti.

Rome would be one the first in its time to create structures that their people could use Many structures that were created for military use, such as roads, could be used by the general populace. These very roads were created by the Roman army. Among the Roman soldiers a unit called architecti, “chief builders”, were responsible for all military construction. In addition to all of his military equipment, every soldier carried a saw, hatchet, sickle, pick and spade to build at the architecti’s command. Much of the architecture today is based and improved on the ancient design and these Roman roads are no different




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