Top 10 Roman Generals (Byzantine allowed)

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,363
here
Agrippa was certainly superior at naval warfare his victories over Sextus Pompey and bottling up Antony's navy at Actium confirms this. However overall I don't think he can match Antony's record.

Under Caesar in Gaul, Antony commanded the Roman cavalry at the Battle Alesia. During the Civil War he managed to trick the Pompeians and facilitate the movement of the main army to reinforce Caesar in Greece. He then commanded Caesar's left wing at the decisive Battle of Pharsalus. After Caesar's assassination at the battles of Forum Gallorum-Mutina he fought against terrible odds inflicting heavy losses on the enemy and killing both Roman consuls. He then managed to extricate his army and cross the Alps in the face of famine conditions. The victory at Philippi was also largely due to Antony and should not be understated as the entire Liberator army was forced to surrender. Even in the retreat during the disastrous Parthian Campaign, Antony according to Plutarch won eighteen engagements over the twenty seven days preventing his army's total destruction.
Would you say then, that the reason Antony lost in the end was more to do with factors other than Agrippa’s generalship?
 
Sep 2019
68
Vergina
Would you say then, that the reason Antony lost in the end was more to do with factors other than Agrippa’s generalship?
Agrippa had the advantage of having superior naval force and being the defender. Antony having brought his army-navy to Greece effectively hit a brick wall. Octavian refused battle and Antony could not transport his army across leaving him at a strategic dead end. Antony after being worn down a bit decided to withdraw and fight another day on better terms. Actium was more of a breakout then a decisive battle. Antony's goal was for a chunk of the fleet, along with the crucial treasury, to breakout by sea and make for Egypt while the land army under Canidius was then to preform its own march back east. This plan effectively succeeded as Cleopatra's force was able to breakthrough and escape. The main issue is that Antony misjudged Canidius' ability to keep the morale of the land army which quickly surrendered to Octavian and doomed his cause. So to conclude Agrippa failed to prevent Cleopatra from escaping and had Antony's army not surrendered the war could have continued indefinitely.

Now I don't want to sell Agrippa short as he strategically bottled up Antony and prevented his move into Italy. My main point is that overall his record doesn't compare to Antony's.
 
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Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,640
Australia
Scipio Africanus certainly has a great case to be top 10. He’s a great example of the difficulty of evaluating some of the generals on this list. For Africanus we have a huge amount of detail about his campaigns, that let us get a firm grasp of his tactical and strategic abilities. For generals like Sulla and especially Sertorius we don’t; yet what they accomplished in many ways is objectively more impressive. This is part of the problem with these lists. The evidence that does exist leaves me pretty confident Sulla has a case over Africanus; but it’s very speculative and results based. Very few commanders have the perfect storm Caesar does, whereby he ticks every box for evaluating his greatness.
 

Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,959
Yötebory Sveriya
Caesar, Aurelian, Constantine, Theodoric the Great, Ricimer, Aetius, Marius, Antony, Stilicho,

I’ll pick #10 later. I am probably going to look for someone obscure and disadvantaged rather than someone who had vastly superior resources and forces like Trajan or Septimius.
 
Oct 2018
1,734
Sydney
Caesar, Aurelian, Constantine, Theodoric the Great, Ricimer, Aetius, Marius, Antony, Stilicho,

I’ll pick #10 later. I am probably going to look for someone obscure and disadvantaged rather than someone who had vastly superior resources and forces like Trajan or Septimius.
Ricimer: another general for whom I have a soft spot, but I'm not sure why I do, since he appears to have been such a nasty piece of work!
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
4,107
Slovenia, EU
Caesar, Aurelian, Constantine, Theodoric the Great, Ricimer, Aetius, Marius, Antony, Stilicho,

I’ll pick #10 later. I am probably going to look for someone obscure and disadvantaged rather than someone who had vastly superior resources and forces like Trajan or Septimius.
But still: what is more difficult? Fighting with superior resources in enemy's difficult terrain (with hostile local population) or fighting with inferior resources in your well known terrain (with local popular support)? First combination diminishes resources (Severus in Caledonia, Trajan in Dacia), second enhances them (Sertorius). I think both is very difficult. First gives logistic problems and makes someone blunder because he thinks that he is invincible and feels overly secure. Also coordination of bigger numbers with more than one army under personal command in a complex operation brings another level of complication and coordination.

For example Arevaci ambuscade of Roman army (I think there were two major ones) in Numantine war or Japanese battle of Okehazama.