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[Vanilla] Did Firaxis represents Roman Legionary correctly?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Lonecat Nekophrodite, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

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    Did Firaxis represents Roman Legionary correctly as a swordsman (And its proxy)?
    Didn't they actually have a decent anticavalry factor? Civilopedia entry of Square Promotion even cited that the Romans DID invent Square formation to ward off enemy cavalry, particularly the dreaded Parthian Cataphracts.

    https://civilization.fandom.com/wiki/Square_(Civ6)

    Googling also shown Legionairy with Spears, including ones that wear iconic Roman Heavy Armor (and not just Early Republic Hastati square cardio armor) and Legion tower shield, both as throwing spear (Javelin and Pila) and not-throwings.

    Roman Legionary Spearman.jpg

    With this. should Legion shares BOTH Melee and Anticavalry benefits and belongs to a hybrid class that will 'theoretically' materialize as 'infantry' class once the proliferations of firearms came in place one and a half millenia later ?
     
  2. Menocchio

    Menocchio Warlord

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    This is definitely a case of the Civilopedia glaringly misrepresenting information. The battle of Carrhae was one of Rome's worst-ever battlefield defeats, and arguably the most embarrassing; I'm not sure why it should be cited as an example of "successful" anti-cavalry tactics considering it amounted to hiding from the rain in a cardboard box.
     
  3. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

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    I donno who wrote civilopedia for Civ6, but if you said F'xis is very wrong in this entry of 'square' mm
    1. Did Parthians use Cataphracts there?
    2. Did Romans use spear legionaires? (they ain't no Hastati anymore). How well did Roman Legionairy do against enemy cavalry? (except mounted archers of the Eastern Steppes like the Scythian Sakas or Huns)
    3. Did Romans favor swords over spears actually?
     
  4. Duke William of Normandy

    Duke William of Normandy King of England & Unofficial Welcoming Committee

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    As @Menocchio said, why would they use the Battle of Carrhae as an example of success for the Romans? Except if it means getting successfully massacred, then yeah, I agree. :p
     
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  5. Kaan Boztepe

    Kaan Boztepe Prince

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    which legionary of the romans are we talking about here?
    the republic before marius or after?
    the early imperial?
    the late imperial after diocletian?
     
  6. Andrew Johnson [FXS]

    Andrew Johnson [FXS] Warlord

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    So, I started writing for the Civilopedia last year. These entries are much older than that, and what's been uploaded to the online civiliopedia usually represent the very first draft. I've been taking advantage of the patches to update and correct the Civilopedia, but normally I only do really glaring mistakes - even something like this, "neutralize the Parthians" implying that they won, and were not resoundingly defeated, might have gone under my radar (there were many other, even more glaring mistakes). It would simply take so much time to re-research every entry.

    But I think an increased desire for historical accuracy is why I was brought onto the team here.

    As far as spears, they were standard armament in most ancient armies, and were not the dedicated anti-cavalry weapons that they are in the game. The game "gamifies" units a little, so that melee defeats anti-cav, and anti-cav defeats cav, and cav defeats melee, thus making a need for a balance. But in reality anti-infantry on all sides would be largely armed with spears - they're easy to make, keep the enemy at a distance, and are able to be wielded by untrained soldiers.
     
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  7. Lonecat Nekophrodite

    Lonecat Nekophrodite Emperor

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    Legion as presented in Civilization games since the 3rd (maybe the 2nd as well, by then there was no UU yet). In all civ games, they're heavy swordsmen proxy.
     
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  8. Menocchio

    Menocchio Warlord

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    You do know that these questions can be answered well enough by looking at the sources, right? In this case, the Civilopedia gives it to you plainly: Plutarch's Life of Crassus. Let's take a look at what he has to say, shall we?

    (24, 1-4)

    (24, 5)

    (28, 2)

    1. Yes, the Parthians here used what we'd call cataphracts, but who interchangeably used lances and bows. The idea of specific "mounted archers" as a separate category, or limited to steppe peoples, is an inaccurate one. The Parthians and others used both. The "long spears" in the second quote refers to the Parthians' weapons, not the Romans', and it was not any spears the Romans had which deterred the Parthians from making a straight charge, but simply their numbers which were too great to just bowl over. The Romans were almost completely immobile, however, and were easily surrounded and even their shields offered little protection against the masses of arrows shot at them. Later in this section of Plutarch you can find lovely descriptions of soldiers whose shields had been pierced by arrows, nailing them to their hands and arms. Not a very fun way to go.

    2-3. The spears recorded in this account are chiefly javelins used by auxiliaries (who are quickly slaughtered by a storm of arrows) and the explicitly short spears of Publius' Gallic cavalry, which are outranged by the Parthians' lances and they, too, are ineffective. As per the final quote, with the only solid description of what the foot cohorts (whom we can most reliably identify with what Civilisation 6 calls "Roman Legions") using a specific weapon. That specific weapon is the sword, and it does not help them very much at all.

    In other words, the only reason why the Parthians did not charge the Romans directly with their lances was because there were so many of them, not because they had an effective anti-cavalry formation. This formation was not the work of some tactical skill, but something Crassus came up with on the fly because he was terrified, demoralised, and kept changing his mind until he couldn't any more. This hollow square is what he settled on, and ultimately it is what doomed him and the Romans at Carrhae.
     
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  9. Evie

    Evie Pronounced like Eevee

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    As Andrew pointed out, and was also pointed out to you many times in the previous thread on spears and pikes in ideas and suggestions, you cannot *accurately* represent ancient military unit within an infantry-cavalry-anti-cavalry triangle, because the distinction between anti-cavalry and infantry is made-up for the purpose of the game.

    And as Menocchio said, while the main "legionaries" did have a spear, it served primarily as a throwing weapon, not a melee one.
     
  10. Andrew Johnson [FXS]

    Andrew Johnson [FXS] Warlord

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    Thanks - this is a wonderful summary. I do not recall editing this line in the Civilopedia, and so I imagine that it stands now. It is clearly a misrepresentation of Carrhae. Often, the previous Civilopedia had particular weaknesses in non-Western historical stuff, and I devoted most of my editing time focusing on that (I believe that it made the claim that India had no significant political states before the Raj, which is astoundingly incorrect - India may not have been India before this, but the Mughals, Guptas, Cholas, Mauryans, etc., etc. were some of the most significant and powerful empires in the world during their times), so claims about Western history I often glossed over, imagining that the previous writer knew what he or she was talking about.

    There's been a few writers on the Civilopedia over the years, and so the Civilopedia varies a bit in quality. I find entries in GS and RF to be much better.
     
  11. Andrew Johnson [FXS]

    Andrew Johnson [FXS] Warlord

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    Yes. It's a certain kind of "rock-paper-scissors" game to make players give some thought into the kinds of units they have. Also, the "archers fire over miles and miles of terrain" bit is also historically inaccurate but provides a bit of more interesting gameplay.
     
  12. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I just take it that everyone has "longbowmen" in the Ancient Era. :mischief:

    In regards to the Legion's portrayal a Roman legion was made up of many different units, cavalry, light infantry, heavy infantry etc. What is represented in game is probably the Heavy infantry which was the most utilized and principle unit. They were known to use the throwing javelins, like the OP mentioned, but that fell out of use when it was replaced by the gladius, a short sword, which was used afterwards when Rome was still a Republic and then became an Empire.
     
  13. Haig

    Haig Deity

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    Andrew, so has there been changes to civilopedia articles through the years, even older ones? Thats cool to hear.

    When a new city-state is released, for example, I like to read its history from the civilopedia to get info and more flavor.

    P.s. I smiled when I found some fun easter eggs, for example the rock band promotions. :lol:
     
  14. Andrew Johnson [FXS]

    Andrew Johnson [FXS] Warlord

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    Yes, in the patch notes what is usually listed as "various text changes" can really be entire rewrites of Civilopedia entries. If you're reading city-state entries from Lahore (was that DLC1?) onwards, that's me! The rock band stuff is not - I'm not sure who did those, but there were a few great writers (if not Great Writers) working on those - Zach Bush, for instance, went on to be the writer for Chimera Squad! I'll pass along the smile!
     
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  15. Shadowstrike

    Shadowstrike Warlord

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    I'm not particularly great at Civ6 combat, but do people really use anti-cav units that much? I find that I seldomly do, and would be OK if the units were reduced to ranged-infantry-cavalry-siege lines.
     
  16. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    I mean I wouldn't mind it if that were the case.
    In the boardgame, at least the 2010 version, the three categories are divided by infantry, ranged, and mounted and definitely feels more rock-paper-scissor inspired.
    Ranged is stronger than infantry, infantry is stronger than mounted, and mounted is stronger than ranged.
    That being said the infantry is made up of roughly spearmen, pikemen, musketeers, and modern infantry.

    In order to follow that logic in game there would be: Warrior, Spearmen (Classical era?), Pikemen, Pike and Shot formation?, Line Infantry/Rifleman, Modern Infantry/A.T Crew.

    My question is how would they be balanced? I guess the solution would be infantry is stronger when defending against cavalry, but not against ranged, and stronger combat strength when attacking both. Cavalry is stronger when attacking other units except infantry, and defending against ranged. Ranged is stronger when attacking infantry and siege units from afar, never strong at defending. Siege units obviously for taking cities.
     
  17. jasper

    jasper Warlord

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    Cmon guys this isnt that hard. Its a game. Its balanced. You cant have roman legion be good vs everything even if they were actually good vs everything.

    You dont need to give roman legion any bonus that they might have had in real life. This isnt a real life simulator. The game would be far less enjoyable if it were. Things are twisted a bit so they fit well within the game and thats the priority. The priority shouldnt be real life accuracy.

    When firaxis has roman legions shoot lazers then we can talk. If they have swordsman status instead of anti cavalry then who cares.
     
  18. Alexander's Hetaroi

    Alexander's Hetaroi Deity

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    Well they can remove nuclear fallout. :shifty:

    But as mentioned in the civilopedia on Legion, it clearly states they were armed with swords, as well as throwing javelins, with the swords being the primary weapon. https://civilization.fandom.com/wiki/Legion_(Civ6)

    I think the bigger question is why does Macedon have the Hyspaspist as a swordsman replacement when they are carrying spears? :mischief:
     
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  19. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    Whenever you say anything about the Roman Legion, first you have to define When. The Legion went through a whole string of changes from the early Republic to the End of Empire: some due to changes in the available weapons and equipment, some due to changes in the potential and actual opponents.

    For starters, the "Legion" was originally a decimal phalanx. We know this not because of any specific description, but because the smallest unit in the later Legio, the 'squad' if you will, had 8 men, there were 10 of them in a 'Century' but the squad commander (the lowest-ranking leader in the Legion) was called a Decurion - which translates as "Leader of Ten". That means the original Legion was, in fact, a bunch of Hoplites - armored spearmen in a block ten ranks deep and probably in Centuries 10 files wide, making 100 men. The original Roman military was raised just like the Greek Hoplites, from men with enough property to provide their own equipment. The big difference was that from the earliest accounts (Livy, Varro, Polybius) there are swordsmen among the Legion's spearmen, originally only the Hastati which, tellingly, are in front of the Principes - the "Main Body" which means the swordsmen may have originally been considered auxiliaries rather than part of the main 'phalanx' of spearmen.
    By the time they were fighting the Carthaginians only the Triarii, the reserve of the Legion, still carried spears: both Principes and Hastati were swordsmen who threw heavy javelins (the Pilum, possibly originally Etruscan) to disrupt the enemy formation before charging in. The Pilum was, in fact, associated exclusively with Roman Swordsmen: the spear-carriers never used it and the swordsmen apparently never left home without it.
    In other words, at no time was the Legion a 'pure' swordsman unit: they always had other weapons available in addition to the primary sword.

    After Marius' reforms, the heavy infantry of the Legion were all swordsmen with Pilum. The other 'characteristic equipment' was good metal armor, originally link mail, then steel/wrought iron plate, then link mail again, and by the late Empire (4th century CE) increasingly non-metal leather body armor, a large wooden shield that could cover most of the body from knee to top of the head, and a metal helmet. In the 4th century, with increasing numbers of mounted opponents, the Lanciarii were introduced - spearmen as part of the Legions, sometimes mixed with the swordsmen, other times gathered into separate spear units.

    By the late 4th century the Spiculum, a heavier spear than the Lanciarii carried, was becoming the principle weapon of the Legion, BUT they also carried and were trained with a long sword. The late Roman (and earliest Byzantine infantry) Legion was an armored infantry unit (metal-reinforced leather body armor and heavy wooden shields) equipped with spears as long as a Hoplite Xyton but also with long swords - it combined the characteristics of Civ's spearmen and swordsmen into one unit.

    The strength of the Legion from beginning to end, though, was that they were always well-trained with their weapons, and the Legion was always composed of permanent sub-units (maniples, cohorts) that could maneuver independently: the Legion from its first appearance in the historical record is more flexible and better able to react to events on the battlefield than any of its opponents
     
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  20. Earl of Pembroke

    Earl of Pembroke Chieftain

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    You make a good point, but I'm fine with the current depiction. The two problems are 1) it's a game, so what @Andrew Johnson said and 2) Roman Legion constitution, weaponry, and most importantly, doctrine, changed quite a bit. The Romans are famous for getting their butt kicked, but then coming back with new tactics and winning the second time. So there's not really a singular "Roman Legion" for the game to simulate.
     
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