1. Firaxis celebrates the "Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month", and offers a give-away of a Civ6 anthology copy (5 in total)! For all the details, please check the thread here. .
    Dismiss Notice
  2. We have selected the winners of the Old World random draw and competition. For the winning entries, please check this thread.
    Dismiss Notice

Roman Army vs. Medieval Army

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

  1. Drolyt

    Drolyt Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    For Verbose, I'm pretty sure that the Ballistae and that thing that shot fiery balls (I'm not good with terminology) were in fact field artillery and not siege weapons in the sense of knocking down walls. Besides that you missed what I meant about the cavalry, which is really my fault for not explaining. By all historical accounts Medieval Europeans bred for larger stronger horses, but by all historical accounts this was actually a ******** move. The Roman cavalry would be lighter and move faster, not as fast as a well bred Mongol horse, but I was thinking their goal would be to outmaneuver and pick off opponents like the Mongols did. I suppose I might be overestimating Roman ability with horses, but still, the main thing is you are overestimating the ability of Medieval armor to defend. They could stop arrows all right, but they were not strong enough to stop Mongol Composite Bows, so I see no reason to suggest they could stop a bolt from Roman Ballistae. Also I doubt that armor of any kind will help when a club bashes you in the face. It would help, but I think the main problem isn't the armor but the horse; if the Romans can't catch the knight, he could just run around chopping of Roman heads while Roman bows couldn't stop their armor. I think if it were Caesar he would just outfit a Roman spear with a hook and trip the horses, but maybe I'm overestimating Roman ability to adapt. I think if an educated modern individual were the ones in charge they would come up with many tricks the ancients wouldn't think of due to limited knowledge, but the Romans were excellent engineers. I think the Ballistae would be the deciding factor.
     
  2. shortguy

    shortguy It's a working title

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2004
    Messages:
    2,913
    Location:
    the hook
    Somewhat counterintuitively, this could be an encounter where a late Roman army would perform better than a "high" Roman army. Later armies used a practically phalanx-like formation--perhaps better against medieval cavalry--and they were more likely to have heavy cavalry of their own.
     
  3. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    32,588
    Location:
    Moscow
    That's not the way Roman cavalry was usually employed. For virtually all of the Republic and most of the Empire, the equites and alae were used as glorified flank guards for the legion. Only in a very few battles do we see cavalry being used by the Romani to outflank an enemy (the key among these being, of course, the immortal Battle of Zama, where the Romani had the services of Massinissa's top-quality Numidian cavalry), and in virtually no circumstances are they deliberately avoiding combat and conducting 'hit-and-run' tactics.
    I personally don't think that they would be available in sufficient numbers to really tell against the medieval units, and they wouldn't be much good at all against the cavalry.
    Why is that counterintuitive? :p

    Said later Roman legions would also have performed better against the Republican and Principate legions as well. There really isn't much basis for the "regression" that the military systems of the day underwent until about the seventh to eighth centuries AD, when the Western Empire and its immediate Ostrogothic successor had finally gone the way of the dodo. The abandonment of the triplex acies was a product of Caesar and Marius, really, when the legionaries were standardized across maniples, and the reduction to a two-line system was mostly to increase shock power in the first line and generally make battles shorter and less bloody. Comitatenses could hold their own against earlier imperial legionary cohorts, and of course the cavalry was better.
     
  4. GinandTonic

    GinandTonic Saphire w/ Schweps + Lime

    Joined:
    May 25, 2005
    Messages:
    8,897
    Assuming two decent generals the medieval general would be able to use his missile superiority and heavy cav superiority to dictate the terms of the engagement. With two poor generals marching their men into the meat-grinder the Romans would have a far better chance.
     
  5. civman21

    civman21 Warlord

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    164
    a medievel army no quistion. there armor and weapondry was far more effective, not to mention the longbow (would have slaughtered roman legions). Alot of barbarian armies at the time could have beat a roman legion, the huns on horesback and barbarian tribes with axemen were more effective. The romans won by engineering ingeniuty, siegecraft (which medievil armies had way better) and military disipline. A downside to a medievel army was there extradionary caust, thats why knights equiped themselves. eventually the caust of a standing medievil army was so great that the system of grand monarchy fell under their own weight.
     
  6. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    32,588
    Location:
    Moscow
    In certain tactical circumstances, probably. If the Romani aren't forced to approach the longbows and their attending men-at-arms over a large amount of open ground, I fail to see how the longbows would be any use. As has been said on other threads, ranged weapons - despite what one may believe from RTW's example - are not everything.
    What "time" are we talking about?
    The same Huns that lost the Battle of the Catalaunian Fields, eh? By the late Empire, Rome had much more powerful cavalry units than did the Republican or Principate legions. And formed infantry - infantry that doesn't just break instantly - has always been superior to a cavalry assault from the front, and that didn't change at any point during the Roman hegemony.
    Assuming they have enough space to swing the aforementioned axes, which IMHO would be somewhat lacking in a confined space like a forest, which is where they spent most of their time fighting Roman troops.
    Not really. Torsion engines existed for the Hellenistic and Roman period, as did the various methods of breaching the wall in other ways (mining, ladders, towers, rams, etc.); Julius Caesar's method of siegecraft is regarded as one of the pinnacles of the effort, along with that of Vauban.
     
  7. knez

    knez Prince

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Messages:
    323
    Location:
    Croatia
    you're all talking about land army, but what about navy

    let's say roman fleet 2. century vs 11. century venetian fleet?
     
  8. Cheezy the Wiz

    Cheezy the Wiz Socialist In A Hurry

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2005
    Messages:
    25,238
    Location:
    Freedonia
    Well the question said army, so I would assume we would talk about, well, a land army.
     
  9. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    32,588
    Location:
    Moscow
    Don't be so sure...the Romans had an odd penchant for turning naval battles into land battles during their initial forays onto the sea. :p But yeah, army probably = army.
    The critical question: which second century? AD or BC?...well, actually it'd be a lot more interesting if the Roman fleet of the 3rd century BC or the 4th century AD were used.
     
  10. zjl56

    zjl56 Emperor

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2004
    Messages:
    1,242
    Location:
    Iowa
    The venetians would probably lose in that situation because usually Roman fleets had the sheer advantage of numbers, and they were both using simple galleys. Now if it were a late 14th century fleet of venetian caravels, then the Romans would be slaughtered. When the Venetians were fighting the Ottomans outside of Constantinople they would easily fend off 50 small ships just because the great protection afforded by caravel as composed to the simple Ottoman ships of the time.
     
  11. Darthfanta

    Darthfanta Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    1
    Counters
    Longbows-Tortoise Formation or the Roman's own Composite Bows which had the same power and distance of a longbow.
    Crossbows-I believe that the Romans could have had their own Crossbows given the time, they could even knock the Medieval Armies with their Siege Equipment e.g Ballistae.
    Some Steel Swords-Romans have them as well.
    Knights on Horseback-Auxiliaries are too well trained and most importantly, they have spears, they could pick the Knights off their horses.Also, the Romans too have their own Heavy Cavalry, the Cataphracts and Clibanarii.
    Pikes-You won't want Pikes when you are fighting against Roman Legionaries with a large rectangular shield and short swords.
    Overall-The Roman Army wins.
     
  12. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    5,742
    Location:
    Oxford
    For those who want specific details of the proposed encounter, can we say an average mediaeval army (including size and compsition) of the 12th century, or maybe 13th?
    The middle ages start around 1000, as a nice easy number, and end in the 1400s.
     
  13. negZero

    negZero Emperor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,148
    Middle ages are commonly dated as 5th century(Fall of the Western Roman Empire) till 16th century (European overseas expansion)
     
  14. Brighteye

    Brighteye intuitively Bayesian

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2006
    Messages:
    5,742
    Location:
    Oxford
    R. W. Southern, my only academic source on the subject, explains that although he recognises it as a subjective label, he will start in something like 969.
     
  15. negZero

    negZero Emperor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,148
    Whats the end period he uses?
     
  16. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    32,588
    Location:
    Moscow
    From what European state does the medieval army come? And from what time period are the Romans? I've said this ad nauseam in the thread before...:p
     
  17. negZero

    negZero Emperor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    1,148
    Am under the belief its the best parts of the Roman Empire's army against the worst parts of Medieval army.
     
  18. Steph

    Steph Multi Many Tasks man Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2002
    Messages:
    18,162
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Pont de l'Arn, FRANCE
    So a medieval army beat another medieval army, and you use it an evidence the roman army would slaughter a medieval army... Strange reasonning here.

    Edit :I should have a look at the date before replying ...
     
  19. Dachs

    Dachs Hero of the Soviet Union

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    32,588
    Location:
    Moscow
    Meh. It's pretty clear that the comparison is a load of horsedung anyway. Technologically, there is no point in putting the Romans of any era up against a 'medieval' force. Unless, of course, we want to talk about stuff like, oh, this. :p
     
  20. innonimatu

    innonimatu Deity

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2006
    Messages:
    14,318
    Not exactly an europena state, but... how would the late republic/early empire armies fare against the turks? I guess that if the byzantines didn't stop them the early roman empire had much less of a chance, but it might be an interesting comparison because they had a somewhat similar opponent at the time (the parthians).
     

Share This Page