Livy said:Victory in war does not depend entirely upon numbers or mere courage; only skill and discipline will insure it. We find that the Romans owed the conquest of the world to no other cause than continual military training, exact observance of discipline in their camps and unwearied cultivation of the other arts of war. Without these, what chance would the inconsiderable numbers of the Roman armies have had against the multitudes of the Gauls? Or with what success would their small size have been opposed to the prodigious stature of the Germans? The Spaniards surpassed us not only in numbers, but in physical strength. We were always inferior to the Africans in wealth and unequal to them in deception and stratagem. And the Greeks, indisputably, were far superior to us in skill in arts and all kinds of knowledge.
But to all these advantages the Romans opposed unusual care in the choice of their levies and in their military training. They thoroughly understood the importance of hardening them by continual practice, and of training them to every maneuver that might happen in the line and in action. Nor were they less strict in punishing idleness and sloth. The courage of a soldier is heightened by his knowledge of his profession, and he only wants an opportunity to execute what he is convinced he has been perfectly taught. A handful of men, inured to war, proceed to certain victory, while on the contrary numerous armies of raw and undisciplined troops are but multitudes of men dragged to slaughter.
I notice the Romans are always seen as invincible and superior their opponents in every way. Like the quote by Livy above, the Romans weren't exactly the perfect army in military abilities, tactics, and strategies. In fact much of the time the Romans were outmatched in many essential areas!Roman Legions were often inferior to their opponents in many essential fields such as quality of weapons,physical conditioning of soldier,numbers, skill of individual warriors, thickness of armor, quality of weapons!For example take armor and weapons. Generally history books make it seem that Romans had the most advanced armor and weaponry in Europe and their opponents often fought with poor armor. But if one researches the enemies the Romans fought, often they had armor and weaponry as heavy as those the Romans had especially some of the more vicious Germanic tribes of the post Pax Romansa such as the Visigoths and the Franks!! And the Romans weren't master of tactics and strategies like history books make it out to be. Often when they fought in North Africa and in the Middle East particularly against the Sassinids, the Roman tactical and strategical abilities were significantly inferior to those of their enemies even down right foolish at times. And history books alway make the Romans seem like they were masters of Siege weaponry and engineering. If one reads , often the siege equipment the Romans used were no better than those of their enemies.
Aside from tactical training, logistics and tenacity in waging wars on strategic level they were average to at most good in many different fields and traits but not the best. Roman Soldiers were less zelous than Jews. They were less physically imposing than Germanic tribes. Roman officers and generals were less briliant than those of their Greeks. Even their famous resourcess were matched by their enemies particularly the Sasanids. Carthage, Macedonia, Ptolemaic Egypt, the Seleucid Empire and other mediterranean powers had comparable technology, social and economic development to the Roman Republic.
In fact whatever tactics,strategies, and equipment the Romans used that were incredibly effective were copied by their enemies!For example Carthage had adopted basic Roman formations and heavy infantry in their armies. When they fought the Romans their equipment was equal to those of the Romans and they used similar formations. The Sassinids were quick to create shock infantry that were heavily armored once they saw the Roman Legions hacked through their regular infantry thus the Sassinids became on par with the Romans in armory and weaponry. Heck Romans armies have time and again been easily defeated by villagers of nations they invaded. Plus their enemies training were as equally grueling as their own! Just research the training of the Sassinid Armies and the . Additionally the Roman Legions even admitted that the Sassinids as skilled as they were in war.
In fact, the Romans themselves admit there were serious deficiencies in their armed forces. Tacitus for instance gives the game away. W hen the the legions in Germania and Pannonia mutiny upon hearing the death of Augustus, he simply dismisses the causes as being essentially the same as usual.
Why are the Romans always made out to be the most superior army in every in the Classical Age including in weaponry,armor, and strategies and tactics?