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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 474 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROMAN ART IV Scythica VI. Ferrata near Antioch (?). III. Gallica X. Fretensis (Jerusalem). II. Trajana (near Alexandria—a disorderly city). The total of legionaries may be put at about 18o,000 men, the auxiliaries at about 200,000. If we exclude the " house-hold " troops at Rome, the police fleets on the Mediterranean, and the local militia in some districts, we may put the regular army of the Empire at about 400,000 men. This army, as will be plain, was framed on much the same ideas as the British army of the 19th century. It was meant not to fight agiinst a first-class foreign power, but to keep the peace and guard the frontiers of dominions threatened by scattered barbarian raids and risings. Field army there was none, nor any need.. If special danger threatened or some special area was to be conquered—such as southern Britain (A.D. 43) or a little land across the upper Rhine (A.D. 74)—detachments (vexillationes) were sent by legions and sometimes also by auxiliaries in adjacent provinces, and a field force was formed sufficient for the moment and the work. Change from the Third Period to the Fourth.—Two principal causes brought gradual change to the Augustan army. In the first place, the pax Romana brought such prosperity to many districts that they ceased to provide sufficient recruits. The Romans, like the British in India, had more and more to look to uncivilized regions and even beyond their borders. Hence comes, in the 2nd century and after, a new class of numeri or cunei or vexillationes who used (like the earlier auxiliaries) their national arms and tactics and imported into the army a more and more non-Roman element. This tendency became very marked in the 3rd century and bore serious fruit at its close. And, secondly, the old days of mere frontier defence were over. The barbarians began to beat on the walls of the Empire as early as A.D. r6o: about A.D. 250 they here and there got through, and they came henceforward in ever-growing numbers. Moreover, they came on horseback, bringing new tactics for the Roman infantry to face, and they came in huge masses. We may doubt if any military system could have permanently stayed this astonishing torrent. But the Empire did what it could. It enlisted barbarians to fight barbarians, and added freely—too freely, perhaps, if there was any choice—to the non-Roman elements of the army. It increased its cavalry and began to form a distinct field force. Fourth Period.—The results are seen in the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine the Great (A.D. 284–circa 320). New frontier guards, styled limitanei or riparienses, were established, and the old army was reorganized in field forces which accompanied or might accompany the emperors in war (comitatenses, palatini). The importance of the legions dwindled; the chief soldiers were the mercenaries, mostly Germans, enlisted from among the barbarians. New titles now appear, and it becomes plain even to the casual reader that in many points the new order is not the old. The details of the system are as complicated as all the administrative machinery of that age. Here it is enought to point out that the significance of such officers and titles as the dux and the comes (duke, count) lies ahead in the history of the middle ages, and not in the past, the history of the Roman army itself. War Office, General Staff.—Under the Republic we do not find, and indeed should not expect to find, any central body which was especially entrusted with the development of the army system or military finance or military policy in wars. Even under the Empire, however, there was no such organization. The emperor, as commander-in-chief, and his more or less unofficial advisers doubtless decided questions of policy. But the army was so much a group of provincial armies thatmuch was left to the chief officers in each province. Here, as elsewhere in the Empire, we trace a love if not for Home Rule, at least for Devolution. There was, however, a central finance office in Rome for the special purpose of meeting the bounties (or equivalent) due to discharged soldiers. This was established by Augustus in A.D. 6 with the title aerarium militare, and had, for receipts, the yield of two taxes, a 5% legacy duty and a 1% on sales (or perhaps only on auction-sales). The legacy duty did not touch legacies to near relations or legacies of small amount. BmLioGRAPHY.—Liebenam, " Exercitus," in Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopadie; Von Domaszewski, in Mommsen-Marquardt's Handbuch der romischen Altertumer (2nd ed., Leipzig, 1884), vol. v, pp. 319–612; H. Delbriick, Geschichte der Kriegskunst, vol. i., 2nd ed. (Berlin, 1907) ; E. Lammert, " Die Entwicklung der romischen Taktik," in Neue Jahrbiicher fur das klassische Altertum, ix. 100-28, 169–87 ; Cagnat's article " Legio " in Daremberg and Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquites grecques et romaines; E. G. Hardy, Studies in Roman History (London, 1906–9) ; Th. Mommsen, " Das romische Militarwesen seit Diocletian," in Hermes, xxiv. 195–279. (F. J. H.)
End of Article: ROMAN

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