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Roman Army vs. Medieval Army

Discussion in 'World History' started by AceChilla, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. AceChilla

    AceChilla Goedheiligman

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    I've been wondering. You would expect a medieval army to be better than a Roman Army since they existed more than a thousand years later. But I can't really find a reason they would be.

    A roman army after the Marius reforms like Julius's army conquering Gaul against a European medieval army like the crusaders for instance. Who would win?

    Would a medieval army be so much better and why?
     
  2. pawpaw

    pawpaw Now Farve-Proof

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    the roman army had the one ingredient that the medeival army lacked--discipline.
     
  3. bigmeat

    bigmeat The weapon of choice

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    not true, a knight spent their whole life training, and they were mounted, a medieval army could beat a legion
     
  4. pawpaw

    pawpaw Now Farve-Proof

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    exactly--A KNIGHT--1 person spent his whole life training, a legion ( 6000 men ) spent its whole life training together
     
  5. bigmeat

    bigmeat The weapon of choice

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  6. pawpaw

    pawpaw Now Farve-Proof

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    i was merely pointing out that while a knight had good training they were not trained as an unit, to work together, an army of 3000 knights drawn from 500 feifs was a force gonig in 10 differant directions and had 7 heads leading it.
     
  7. stormbind

    stormbind Retenta personam!

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    Medieval army..

    1) Longbows
    2) Crossbows
    3) Some steel swords
    4) Knights on horseback
    5) Pikes

    .. would anihilate a Romans one. There is no contest. Medieval army would win in too many ways. Every weapon they had was superior to the Roman alternatives.

    I do not believe that medieval armies were without discipline.
     
  8. Mescalhead

    Mescalhead Vincebus Eruptum

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    Take a look at Medieval European armies, and you will see that rarely if ever were there as many soldiers fielded as the Romans fielded. I don't know what that says, except for the fact that because there was no strong central government after Charlemagne that could compete in numbers with the Romans, it would truly be something to consider. And I am assuming the stirrup would give a huge advantage to the Medieval mounted warrior over Roman infantry or cavalry.
     
  9. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    Yep. A High Medieval "Frankish" army would annihilate a Roman army of equivalent or much larger size. The Frankish knight was so well armed and so mobile compared to a Roman soldier, there'd be no competition. The idea that the medieval army wasn't disciplined is nonsense. There was always a command structure, based often on strong bonds of kinship. If you're thinking of the popular crusade armies, well, these were not professional armies.

    That's not to deny the greatness of the Roman army. The Roman army could consist of half a million professional full-time soldiers. No medieval European "state" could ever hope of getting anything like that, but the medieval Romano-Germanic world was far more militarized than the urban civilization of the Roman Empire.

    After all, it the medieval army is a fusion of Roman, Germanic and Eastern military tactics, and early medieval armies - primitive compared with High Medieval armies, and palaeolithic compared with a late medieval army - got the better of the late Roman army. Need more be said?!
     
  10. PresidentMarcos

    PresidentMarcos Warlord

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    'Course, the early medieval armies weren't exactly up against the best the Romans had to offer. When the Romans did face early medieval armies and lose, it was either because the empire was in a period of decline and they were fielding an early medieval army too, or some such (towards the end of the late Roman Empire, German mercenaries did most of the fighting) or because they were far from home and were ambushed and cut down. Teutoburger Wald is a case in point of the latter.
     
  11. Gelion

    Gelion Captain

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    Its almost impossible to tell. I can answer only if you give me exact numbers and dates. As it was said here discipline, numbers, equipment and traninig varied in those armies over the years. Also comparing Rome to Europe is like comparing British Empire to the world even though the Roman Empire was bigger in % of land. Also Byzantineans had a good Medieval Army at the time - an they were direct Roman descendants.
     
  12. Xen

    Xen Magister

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    1)it depends on what era of the midle ages- the late middle ages, the armies of medieval europe were actually starting to get group disiplne, and use real tactics, other then th eold line 'em and charge

    2)that said, an early medieval army is mincemat- the Roman army was not some static fomation where everyoen was armed the same thing, if anyoen here belives tyhat the Romans went into every battle with 2 pila, a short soward, and what ] not, then they dont have a clue as to what they are tlakign about

    -records are quite clear- generals armed thier troosp with what they needed to succedd- Ceaser is knwon to have armed his troops with pikes, Trajan to have made his legioanries into osmthing as heavy as later medieval foot knight

    -I wont let any oen heare continue the long held assumption that Imperial cavalary was crap- it wasnt, pure and simple- they used the same type of equipment, but had better tactics, and it was late Roman cavalry which provided the basis for th e knight, the germanics lent thier semi-feudal heirarchy to it all, and you get a noble trooper

    -lets nto forget the assorted styles of ballistae. soem of them as large as a modern day rifle, and were for all intents and purposes, a fancy type of crossbow

    -The Romans I woudl say would be by far the more competent amry- all of its troops were trained, regimented, well equipped, and knew thier duty- of the middle ages, only the nobles woudl have such a veiw, while the mainstay of the amry -the foot men- woudl not have, them being a mixture of the peasntry, and mercenaries
     
  13. AceChilla

    AceChilla Goedheiligman

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    Yes please :)

    Why would he have been so much better armed? Roman armour was pretty sophisticated wasn't it? Or is it the quality of the material that would make medieval armour better? What did the medieveal European blacksmith's have that would make medieval armour better than roman armour?

    Wouldn't the Roman legions be better disciplined and trained than medieval infantery in hand to hand combat, medieval army's often raised their men from town and farms to come and fight. After the Marius reforms the Romans had a standing army which was disciplined and trained. I think they would be better than medieval infantery unless the medieval dude's had better materials.
     
  14. Dell19

    Dell19 Take a break

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    I assume the medieval armies would win largely down to he greater use of heavy cavalry like Byzantine cataphracts and horse archers that stay out of danger. The battles would probably be close but Rome wouldn't have the advantage of troop quality when trying to establish an empire. By the time gunpowder units come around with cannons the Romans would no longer stand much of a chance at all.
     
  15. Ozz

    Ozz Deity

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    My money would be on the Romans of the republic.

    Roman Officers follow orders, the bane of medieval armies was knights charging off to glory (and disaster), The bane of the Romans was the
    civil wars, not the barbarians.
     
  16. Lozzy_Ozzy

    Lozzy_Ozzy Rapture

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    Medieval

    1) They have longbows
    2) Mounted knights
    3) Pikes
    4) More efficient siege weapons
    5) They had more zeal
    6) Thay had raving fanatics (in some crusade armies)
    7) They had better armour/weapons
    8)They were better!
     
  17. Ace

    Ace Emperor

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    If Agincourt is any example, the Roman army would slaughter a medieval army.
    5,000 Englishman slaughtered 30,000 Frenchmen. Unless the equipment makes one side hopelessly outclassed, discipline and training will beat nobility and rabble every time. The average medieval army was armed with similar weapons to the old roman armies. Ok, some of the stuff had been upgraded, but nothing the medieval army had would have come as a shock to the Roman army. I.e., it would not be like a cohort of the Roman army meeting a Panzer battalion. It would be more like a Panzer battalion of Mk IVs meeting a battalion of T-34s. A tough fight, but not a problem that better discipline and training could not overcome.

    Remember, the Medieval Knight was a member of the royalty and a well trained individual fighter ingrained with the one on one honor bit. Put a bunch of them together and they still fought as individuals. And the footmen, men at arms, archers et all, were considered scum by the royalty. And, if I remember my history accurately, the medieval armies were not very large (too expensive), and it was not until Napoleon that armies reached 100,000 men or more, again. Hail Caesar!
     
  18. jonatas

    jonatas tropicalista

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    the equipment (ie. longbow) did hopelessly outclass one side
     
  19. AceChilla

    AceChilla Goedheiligman

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    Would a longbow really make such a big difference? I think not. Certainly because the Romans would try to get into hand to hand combat as quickly as possible and I think they would be better at that than medieval infantry.

    It's infantry that always finally wins a battle.
     
  20. Terje

    Terje The Red Semi-Menace

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    At the previously mentioned battle of Agincourt, 5,000 English beat 30,000 french.
    The French Cavalery didn't even reach the front lines of the English before they were killed by English longbowmen.
    And as the French knight was way more mobile than the Roman Legionaire, the Legion would have been slaughtered as well.

    Also, I seem remember from the Civ2 civiliopedia that the Legion was used as a military unit until it was beaten by some knights at some battle (dates and places ain't my strong side...).

    So I think the Medieval army would've won.
     

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