Brave Men, Brave Hearts…

“Live as brave men; and if fortune is adverse, front its blow with brave hearts.” Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC to 43 BC) Roman statesman, lawyer, scholar, and writer who vainly tried to uphold republican principles in the final civil wars that destroyed the Roman Republic. His writings include books of rhetoric, orations, philosophical and… Read More

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Civil War & Ideology…

“Things looked very different if you were a participant in civil war. Although its foundation myth included fratricide, as Romulus killed Remus, and after the internal conflicts which brought down the Republican form of government civil war haunted the Roman imagination, Rome during most of its history was rather better than Greek cities at avoiding… Read More

When Do I Get Paid?

“One type of expense incurred in modern wars was not always present in the ancient world: paying the troops. As we have seen, in the classical city state citizenship was bound up with military service. For a long time city states thus had no need to pay their citizen-soldiers. In the Greek world the only… Read More

Eager Stranger…

“No great reliance should be placed on the eagerness of young men for battle because the prospect of fighting is agreeable only to those who are strangers to it.” Vegetius (Flourished 4th century AD) Flavius Vegetius Renatus was a Roman military expert who wrote what was perhaps the single most influential military treatise in the… Read More

Combatants & Infection

“In several nineteenth-century battles, about 5 percent of the combatants contracted tetanus infections; of those, about 80 percent died. Approximately 5 percent of the wounded combatants in ancient wars contracted gangrene, another infection caused by bacteria in soil. Washing of the wound could reduce the incidence, and amputation might save an infected limb, but if the… Read More

The Roman Military Medical Service

“The Roman military had a medical system that was extraordinary for the ancient world. It was based on the teachings of Greek medicine and emphasized both prevention – maintenance of conditions for good public health – and healing of battle-wounded soldiers. A nutritious diet, a carefully monitored water supply, and strict rules about sanitation helped… Read More

Deaths on the Battlefield

“As happens in many battles, the losers and winners differed not only in the proportions of men killed and wounded but also in the types of wounds suffered and, especially, in the ways they died. In ancient battles for which detailed historical documentary is available, usually fewer than 5 percent of the soldiers on the victorious… Read More