Late Roman weapon & arms changes?

Mar 2014
1,916
Lithuania
#11
Yes I definitely think the sudden uptick in Cavalry coming from the ERE, Sassanid's and the Hun invasion would of been a massive problem for the Gladius wielding Classical Legions.

The fact that the legions took on basically all the weapons and armour of the Roman Cavalry soldiers speaks volumes.

I also think what me and Aggie were discussing as in the need for a border troop policing the Empire over a conquering aggressive legion also was a big factor, the Romans became more defensive rather than offensive and the classical Legions were designed to steam roll other infantry armies.

The weapons of the late Romans was more for an individual warrior with longer reach, but could also band together in a shield wall.

The Classical short reach against this influx of armoured and long range cavalry would of been a definite issue.

I think all that combined I can form an idea now of why they deviated, Infantry vs Infantry was not the be all and end all of warfare in the Dark ages that it might of been in Classical times especially in the West, Eastern style horse warfare had arrived from both the Middle East and Far Eastern Steppe hordes.

Just picturing a classical Legionaire with a Gladius trying to fight off and hit back against a Hun on horse back is an issue right there.
Why wouldn't he toss his pilum at the Hun's horse and then stab rider on the ground?
 
#13
Why wouldn't he toss his pilum at the Hun's horse and then stab rider on the ground?
............. so.

One Pilum, 1,000's of enemies, you'll come into contact with a minimum of 10 different enemies.

Stab rider on the ground lol, you have to get him off his horse first while he's slashing down on your or spearing at you from up on a horse.

What about a Persian Cataphract, armed with a Kontos lance, try getting him off a horse while he ploughes right through you and even when he's mired down your gladius still can't really reach.

No disrespect but you described a very "Action movie" type scenario, realistically its not that easy and one Pilum isn't going to help you defeat multiple opponents.
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,470
Australia
#14
It wasn't a video game. The Romans adopted whatever units, equipment, and tactics that seemed appropriate at the time. They used light infantry, heavy infantry, light cavalry, heavy cavalry, archers, slingers, artillery, and so on.

Don't get hung up on equipment because it really had little influence over the outcome of a battle. Battles were decided by numbers, training, experience, morale, intelligence, geography, weather, supplies, fatigue, commander ability, transportation, surprise, and so on. If you list all of the factors that affected the outcome of a battle in order of importance, the type of equipment used would be way down near the bottom.
 
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#15
He would also chase him with cavalry and shoot him with bows and slings. The Roman army didn't consist solely of a bunch of legionaries.
Roman Equites vs a Hunnic Horde ..................

That would be a very quick ordeal, Parthian shot was designed for dealing with such chase scenarios.

Roman horsemanship can't compare to the expertise of Hunnic Horseman.
 
#16
It wasn't a video game. The Romans adopted whatever units, equipment, and tactics that seemed appropriate at the time.
Name me one situation in history where the Romans (who actually fought the Huns) used cavalry to defeat the Huns.

That is a ridiculous notion, the Romans neither had the number of cavalry to engage a Hunnic horde on horseback or the military expertise or efficiency.

The Huns made a living of destroying other Steppe mounted warriors, you think a few Romans on horseback would of stood a chance?

Even the improved ERE cavalry would of been reluctant to engage a Steppe horde away from the support of the main army.
 
#17
You are hung up on equipment when it really had little influence over the outcome of a battle. Battles were decided by numbers, training, experience, morale, geography, weather, supplies, fatigue, commander experience, transportation, surprise, and so on. If you list all of the factors that affected the outcome of a battle in order of importance, the type of equipment used would be way down near the bottom.
.............. all of which has absolutely nothing to do with what you said.

"Romans would just chase them away with Cavalry"

Laughable.
 
#19
Maybe you should read the rest of my post. Forget about equipment. It wasn't important.
That is your opinion and I disagree.

Equipment effects your tactics, it effects range, it effects absolutely everything.

I remember us having this same convo when discussing the Swiss Pikemen vs Romans ..................

If equipment didn't matter then why is their weapon evolution?

What good is a Gladius in the time of plate armour and Polearms (which were developed because of that).

The whole Medieval era was an evolution of equipment to deal with heavily armoured opponents encased in steel.

Why did the Romans even bother changing their weapons then.

I literally don't understand your dismissal of probably the most vital bit of warfare for a soldier .......... what his armour / weapons are.

How do you make a Pike Square with no Pikes? how do you fire from horseback with no bow?

Equipment doesn't matter? why even have it then?
 

Dan Howard

Ad Honorem
Aug 2014
4,470
Australia
#20
If you want to know why a particular battle was won, forget about equipment. Look at all of the other factors I listed first. The differences in equipment between the two sides are rarely pronounced enough to have much influence.
 

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