No powerful civilization has ever excised without a well-organized military. The Republic of Rome and Imperial Rome would have no been so influential to civilizations across the globe without a powerful military. Imperial Rome conquered vast lands from Britain to North Africa, from Egypt to Judea with their military which consisted of well discipline soldiers from their generals to the simple foot soldiers. This military was not an armed mob with clubs and spear; they were a high skilled set of professional soldiers. Over the vast Roman Empire the military executed the will of the emperor.
The distinct similarities of the Roman Military to that of modern militaries, the history of their conquest and duties, and their influence on Christianity are the attributes that influenced the entire world. Ancient civilization at its core was a very brutal time. Hollywood at times portrays military battles being fought by mob like soldiers with no clear organization. The Roman military was something quite different. Like modern military’s Roman armies did have standing formations with ‘regimental’ identities and traditions.
(Coulston) There were rank, promotion , and pay structures; personal field decorations and unit citations; an identifiable officer class; concepts of doctrine; military discipline; state supply of food, clothing and equipment; medical provision; and end of service retirement mechanisms. (Coulston) It is very astonishing that an ancient military has some of the same characteristics as those of modern military’s. The modern day’s serviceman uniform is likely to have badges or a type of insignia; these badges are used to set themselves apart from other units.
Unit badges were also common place in the ancient Roman times. Unit badges were often the zodiac sign of the founder (e. g. bull for Julius Caesar, scorpion for Tiberius), a totemic animal (e. g. Capricorn or Pegasus for Augustan foundation, wild boar for northern European associations), or a deity (Minerva, Mars Hercules). (Coulston) The military’s of modern “superpowers” would not exist without a well-organized military. Likewise the superpower that was Rome would not have existed for hundreds of years without a structured military. An orderly well-disciplined military is important for any country.
Feeding and equipping military’s today can be a daunting task. Napoleon Bonaparte was quoted saying “an army marches on its stomach”. Supplying the Roman military with adequate food was a priority just as in modern military’s. The diet of the Roman military was based on wine and bread. (Coulston) Like the soldiers of some more modern armies milites principally drank wine, which was transported in bulk using ceramic amphorae to Roman military installations and in great wooden barrels on wagons during field campaigns. (Coulston) The wagons no doubt traveled as the army did on well-built ancient roads.
(Roman Roads) The primary importance was that of military, but they were of great commercial importance. (Roman Roads) However, wine was consumed in the ancient world was mixed with water, and sometimes medicinal additives. (Coulston) The Roman military did not march around and fight intoxicated. Without a steady supply of food and drink, neither modern military of that of the Romans could have been successful. Successful militaries need a vast array of supplies, not only uniforms with distinct insignia, or a solid supply of food, medical car is also crucial.
Effective modern militaries rely on immense medical care. The same can be said about the Roman military. There were medical support mechanisms for the individual Roman soldier in the form of surgeons, field medics, and hospitals. (Coulston) This was a very distinct advantage for the Romans, in contrast to enemy and for this reason care for Roman causalities is depicted on Trajan’s Column. (Coulston) Without proper medical care for wounded soldiers, no military can be expected to be at all successful, be it modern or ancient. Rome was founded legendary around 753BC.
The Roman military campaigned for over 3,000 years. (Murray) Imperial Rome or as many historians call the Roman Empire was founded by the Julius Caesar ascension to Emperor in 44 BC. (Murray) Throughout the time of the empire the Roman military conquered various lands and had many other duties. (Murray) In addition to engaging foreign enemies, the Roman military served another strategic purpose that of maintain the empire’s internal stability. (Murray) While most legions were stationed on the frontiers, some were kept close to major strategic points within the empire.
(Murray) Legionaries guarded Egypt for instance as it was a crucial source of Rome’s food supply. (Murray) Rome’s powerful military was used to conquer lands, and to defend their homeland. The military was also used to keep peace within their lands and to put down rebellions. (Murray) The military was crucial in the ushering in the peaceful era in the first and second century’s. This time of Roman peace which was the height of their military power was known as the Pax Romana. Possibly the area of most Roman influence was the influence on Christianity, the region known as Judaea.
In 63 BC Rome conquered modern day Israel a region known as Palestine. (Palestine) The Roman military was the law of the land for the region with a permanent legion stationed at the outpost. (Palestine). Caesar Augustus was the Emperor of Rome at the time of Jesus’ birth. (Ryrie) The Roman military was the enforcer of the terrible capital punishment known as the crucifixion. (Ryrie) It was this Roman military that carried out the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ryrie) Roman soldiers mock and scourged Jesus prior to the crucifixion. (Mark 15:16-20) The soldiers also forced Jesus to carry his on cross.
(Mark 15:21) Although it was the Sanhedrin that tried Jesus and was instrumental in the crucifixion of Jesus, it was Roman soldiers who carried out the crucifixion. (Ryrie) However in perhaps a prophecy of things to come; a Roman Soldier who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus proclaimed “surely this was a righteous man”. (Luke 23:47) A roman soldier also was on guard at Jesus tomb. (Matthew 27:66). One of the early Gentiles to be saved was in fact a Roman military commander by the name of Cornelius. (Elwell) Cornelius was lead to the saving grace of Jesus Christ by Peter.
(Elwell) In the early fourth century the Emperor Constantine converted to Christianity, thus ushering in a new era of prosperity for Palestine. (Palestine) Roman soldiers by just following orders had a direct influence on Christianity. It all parts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, Rome’s military presence were well known, and there effects helped to expand Christianity. In conclusion the Rome possessed history’s first true professional army, a tactically proficient force that sustained its excellence through a severe regimen of training and discipline that remained in place into the 3rd century.
(Murray) The distinct similarities of the Roman Military to that of modern militaries, the history of their conquest and duties, and their influence on Christianity are the attributes that influenced the entire world. As I reflect on what I learned through throughout working on this paper, a few things stick out the most. I have always admired the architecture, the unbelievable building the Romans completed. Many times I have wondered what might have been if this great civilization would embraced the teachings of Christ much earlier. The love of Jesus could have unified an empire already in a state of peace.
I am truly impressed of the intense discipline of the Roman military. Without such discipline the Roman military could have never defeated many of their enemies of which outnumbered them in many instances. (Murray) It amazes me that military thousands of years ago possessed such striking similarities to that of modern militaries. A system of roads many of which are still in place to this day, reminds me of the Eisenhower Interstate System. Although the Roman military was of a brutal sort one must admire their courage and resolve. What I learned the most while working on this paper has to do with the crucifixion.
Pilate ordered a soldier to guard the tomb of Jesus. While the Romans did in fact drink wine, I find it hard to believe in the rumor of the soldier falling asleep, or being drunk on duty as many have said. This little tidbit of know ledge gives me cold chills. How can anyone deny the fact that Jesus lives? The soldier was not drunk he was on post and most likely witnessed the greatest miracle in the history of the world! It is more likely the story of the soldier falling asleep or being drunk was fabricated to prevent terrible consequences for telling the story of Jesus’ resurrection.
I have indeed learned a lot about a military force I have admired for many years. It seems through my research that the seeds of Christianity and the Roman Empire were sown long ago. Through their unlikely union they have influenced all of modern western civilization WORKS CITED Coulston, Jon. “Courage And Cowardice In The Roman Imperial Army. ” War In History 20. 1 (2013): 7-31. Military & Government Collection. Web. 19 May 2013. Elwell, Walter A. , and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey.
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013. Print. Murray, Williamson. “Rome’s Big Ideas. ” Military History 27. 4 (2010): 62-68. Military & Government Collection. Web. 19 May 2013. “Palestine. ” Encyclop? dia Britannica. Encyclop? dia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopedia Britannica Inc. , 2013. Web. 19 May. 2013. “Roman Roads. ” Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Literary Reference Center. Web. 19 May 2013. Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. Ryrie Study Bible: New International Version. Chicago: Moody, 1994. Print.