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Old November 8th, 2012, 02:08 AM   #21

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Originally Posted by Mangekyou View Post
By the time of his conquest of Gaul, he had many enemies back in Rome, especially Cato the elder, who was often outspoken about Caesars war on the Gauls being illegal, and prosecuted without the consent of the senate. That said, Cato was technically correct, but given Caesars abilities as an orator and the perennial fear that the Roman people instilled into their psyche, after Rome was acked previously, that Caesar was allowed to continue his conquest.

No Roman General was supposed to bring his army beyond the Rubicon. That was the boundary. Any crossing was considered a march on Rome. Caesar was on his way back to Rome, and was ordered to disband the army (it belonged to the state in theory, not him), although he knew if he was to do this and enter Rome on his own, he would be arrested for warring with the Gauls. The die was cast, and the rest, as they say, is history.
that situation is easy to understand yet its just what they meant by disbanding that i don't understand. men who had not done their 25 years servie, what were they to do or did dispanding mean to distribute them men among other legions?
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Old November 8th, 2012, 02:18 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
that situation is easy to understand yet its just what they meant by disbanding that i don't understand. men who had not done their 25 years servie, what were they to do or did dispanding mean to distribute them men among other legions?
I don't think the 25 year service was a rule yet at Ceasar's time. Instead, the legions were raised for a campaign, and afterwards, if they were no longer needed in some other campaign, they were dismissed. I.e. given their pay and sent back home, wherever that was. Of course, it was often the case that especially the poorer members who had signed up in the first place had no livelihood outside the army, so they tended to re-enlist as soon as possible, and/or hope that their General would secure land grants for them.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #23

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that situation is easy to understand yet its just what they meant by disbanding that i don't understand. men who had not done their 25 years servie, what were they to do or did dispanding mean to distribute them men among other legions?
I think it was 16 years, only over 25 years from the reign of Augustus.

Well, he was basically just told told to leave his legions at the Rubicon, which he something he felt he could not do. If it was disbanded they would either go back to their families or more likely be shifted to other legions, unless the legion was to be reformed later on, which was done with some legions.
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Old November 8th, 2012, 11:42 AM   #24

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yet the Marian reforms had been in place with about 50 years by the time of Caesar's Gallic wars. it seems odd that they would still be taking on temporary soldiers as i had thought those reforms ushered in the standing army in which each soldier served for life until he could retire, it seems things were more flexible then that.
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Old November 9th, 2012, 05:31 AM   #25

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1. its said that it was a volunteer army yet conscription was of course used a lot of the time, is it known exactly how men were chosen from each area, was a census kept of local population that they could be sure everyone contributed or was an average to be drawn at random from each area.
Citizens could (and often did) volunteer for service if they wanted, and would be examined to see if they measured up. Weak or worthless individuals were discarded. However legions did resort to conscription and Augustus asked Tiberius to look into how many men were avoiding military service by hiding in rural slave barracks. Notice that legions sometime retained soldiers after their retirement date. Centurions could serve as long as they wanted, but ordinary soldiers were sometimes compelled to remain in service because of the problems in finding men willing to serve. We also know that cutting off the thumb (a practice that made holding a sword too difficult) began in that era, becoming a known and identified issue in the late empire.

2. how standardized was their equipment really, i was talking once with a reenacter and he said that a lot of the time there would have been a lot of divergences in what each soldier carried making the uniform look of roman legions in most movies and documentary a bit of a myth.
The only evidence for uniformity comes from monumental art, which was not entirely photographic and used standard images so the public would recognise who the Roman solduiers were. The re-enactor is quite correct and archaeology confirms a variety of forms.

3. did recruits mostly only come from italy or did they draw a lot from other territories as well, in which case would there not have been language difficulties?
The proportion of italian recruits decreased with time. Many legions boasted of their tribal heritage and indeed their officers made use of it for morale purposes. Language? You either learned the latin words you needed to know or you got punished.

4. can anyone give me the brake up of a legion, i know that each was divided into sections for easier control, sort of like how a modern army is broken down into division, regiment, company, platoon and squad.
AAARGH! The legions were not a modern army at all. They were well organised certainly, and evolved some practises we would recognise today, but their structure was not the pyramidical national army we would expect today. Each legion was a seperate fighting force in its own right, loyal only to personality and pocketmoney, and even a personality cult instituted by Augustus did not guarantee loyalty. The actual structure is well known but please, don't fall into the trap of trying to equate ancient and modern organisation. Different principles apply.

5. i'm not sure on this part and may be misunderstood but was a legion disbanded after its original leader left as their loyalty was always more to him then to Rome itself.
Legions were made standing formations by Marius and made permanent institutions by Augustus. Changes of leader were politically inspired and although the loyalty of the men might well be an issue, the leader was representing the authority of senate (or the Caesar, in later times) and as a member of a senior social order.

6. can anyone give me an overview to their usual tactics in battle, i know they changed overtime along with the army but i am taking of when they were at their hight like under Trajan and Marcus Aurelius.
Osprey do an excellent book on Roman military tactics.
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