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Hello Roman Army Talk.

To be quite frank, my knowledge on the Roman empire is limited. I have watched perhaps 6-8 documentaries on Rome (such as "Conquest: Roman Weapons", "Engineering an Empire", excerpts from "Ancient Discoveries"), read about a dozen articles in regards to the Roman (more Imperial then not) on Wikipedia, visited and read a few Roman related websites (including this one), and skimmed "The History and Decline of the Roman Empire" while eating breakfast. But, all in all, my main fascination with the Roman empire stems from a long-winded debate on a certain forum based around Chinese history, in regards to a hypothetical Roman-Han war, so, note of that bias.

In any case, like so of my aforementioned bias for being here, I am curious as to the Roman MIC, in general. I know they produced "a whole lotta" raw materials to put it lightly, but I'm curious as to the process to which that material was extracted, refined, and used in the expansion and protection of the empire. If specifically requested, I am more or less, curious as to the process in which Rome produced it's arms and armor. I know of the fabricae that were in of the camps of the legionaries, but asides from the general purpose of the fabricae, I know not more of it. So, if possible, please expound on that specifically.

As an aside, and not necessarily on-topic thought, how would of Rome sustained a hypothetical Industrial Age revolution? From one of my prior readings, it is apparent to me that one of the largest factors as to why China has such a large population was because of it's early onset of advancements in agricultural technologies. However, it also became apparent, that the Romans too, had an early onset of advancements in agricultural technologies, and thus, if Rome had not fell, Europe may perhaps have a similar population to pre-1950's China (between the 50's and 70's, Mao "encouraged" Chinese families to produce plenty of children, this is one of the main factors to which attributed to China's doubling of population, from about 500,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 in that same time frame). Without floffing about in my aforementioned bias, I am wondering, again as an aside, how Rome would of "coped", or rather, spur on an Industrial Revolution in their time (the agricultural aside-aside was to acknowledge the fact that the Industrial Revolution in 18th and 19th century Britain occurred because of the British Agricultural Revolution, which met and surpass Roman yields for crops, thereby freeing labor for the factories).

Alright, this post has been awkward, I've went from explaining my biases to the British Agricultural Revolution, spending about 1/4 of the post asking my question. Before ending this post, and before embarrassing myself later, in my defense, I have searched the forum to answer the "main" question of this post to no satisfaction.
Hi Dracko, and welcome to RAT.
Quote:I am curious as to the Roman MIC, in general. [..]I know of the fabricae that were in of the camps of the legionaries, but asides from the general purpose of the fabricae, I know not more of it. So, if possible, please expound on that specifically.
Please specify a bit more. Don't expect to launch a generalistic question and expect an essay in return. :wink:

Quote:As an aside, and not necessarily on-topic thought, how would of Rome sustained a hypothetical Industrial Age revolution? [..] it also became apparent, that the Romans too, had an early onset of advancements in agricultural technologies, and thus, if Rome had not fell, Europe may perhaps have a similar population to pre-1950's China [..]Without floffing about in my aforementioned bias, I am wondering, again as an aside, how Rome would of "coped", or rather, spur on an Industrial Revolution in their time.
How can we draw any parallels between the 4th c. western Roman Empire and China in the 1950s? Rome was not an effective state, it has been unfavourably compared to modern Zimbabwe in the sense of government effectiveness. There was no way that any Roman ruler ('government' would be to much here) could effectively enforce such a population policy. Furthermore, it was not the 'mere accident' of Rome 'falling' that prevented your predictions of European demographic development, but rather the other way around. Rome fell due to a number of factors, some of them being a drop in population, also due to a number of factors (war, economics, climate). The Western Empire was not equipped enough to keep itself together, whereas the east barely managed to hang on.
Therefore, there can be no question as to the conditions for anything like an Industrial revolution - even if the knowledge had been there, there was no educational system, no understanding of economics, no grasp of effective government (not even a working succession system).
People who have looked seriously at the Hellenistic and High Imperial worlds, and Song China, and the 17th century Dutch, and the 19th century UK seem to lean towards the theory that contextual things in the UK produced a movement of machine science in a place and time where it was possible to develop steam engines and complicated machinery. In other words, the First Industrial Revolution wasn't an inevitable result of a few economic statistics, but something which happened in very specific circumstances. Ian Morris has some brief comments in his new book.

I'm not sure if military-industrial complex is the right concept in the ancient world, since most ancient artisans worked in small businesses. I'm not sure if even the collegium fabrum in a large town would have the power to convince the local governor to buy more swords and horseshoes than he was already planning to.
How armour was produced - a nice and simple introduction would be Roman Imperial Armour by Sim and Kaminski. Readable and an extensive bibliography.

The "why" the armour was produced, in part, answers some of your question if you consider a revolution in industry as opposed to the Industrial Revolution.

The size of Rome's Empire and military force demanded the production of equipment and materiel in large volumes which had to be sustained across the Empire and for several centuries. Potteries had to produce more and led to a huge export market from Gaul (Samian ware) and other production centres (Black Burnished ware in Britain) based on locally available clays etc to support it's maufacture (all of this is very broad brush I hasten to add so if it's too much for your purist soul, look away now :wink: ).

Huge granaries in forts indicate the amount of grain required to feed the soldiers (and there are ample google-able references to feeding the Roman army); barley and fodder for horses and pack animals (in vast numbers). Herds of cattle, flocks of sheep, goats etc etc etc...

I don't know much about the era of the Chinese empire you are concerned with but a VERY interesting book I came across goes some why to explain the difference in the development of science and art in East and West and subsequent other perceived "industrial" developments and is very thought provoking. This is The Glass Bathyscaphe by Martin and MacFarlane. A fascinating and mind blowing read Confusedhock: Big Grin which goes into the development of glass production principally by the Romans and its move to further development in the West than the East (the need for clear panes of glass to block open windows in northern climates being one of the main incentives. All those Govenors' and Commanders' houses in forts in Northern Europe don't y'know)

So revolutions in industry yes, sort of.
Quote:Hi Dracko, and welcome to RAT.
Dracko post=307454 Wrote:I am curious as to the Roman MIC, in general. [..]I know of the fabricae that were in of the camps of the legionaries, but asides from the general purpose of the fabricae, I know not more of it. So, if possible, please expound on that specifically.
Please specify a bit more. Don't expect to launch a generalistic question and expect an essay in return. :wink:

Quote:As an aside, and not necessarily on-topic thought, how would of Rome sustained a hypothetical Industrial Age revolution? [..] it also became apparent, that the Romans too, had an early onset of advancements in agricultural technologies, and thus, if Rome had not fell, Europe may perhaps have a similar population to pre-1950's China [..]Without floffing about in my aforementioned bias, I am wondering, again as an aside, how Rome would of "coped", or rather, spur on an Industrial Revolution in their time.
How can we draw any parallels between the 4th c. western Roman Empire and China in the 1950s? Rome was not an effective state, it has been unfavourably compared to modern Zimbabwe in the sense of government effectiveness. There was no way that any Roman ruler ('government' would be to much here) could effectively enforce such a population policy. Furthermore, it was not the 'mere accident' of Rome 'falling' that prevented your predictions of European demographic development, but rather the other way around. Rome fell due to a number of factors, some of them being a drop in population, also due to a number of factors (war, economics, climate). The Western Empire was not equipped enough to keep itself together, whereas the east barely managed to hang on.
Therefore, there can be no question as to the conditions for anything like an Industrial revolution - even if the knowledge had been there, there was no educational system, no understanding of economics, no grasp of effective government (not even a working succession system).

Ah, I thought I was being quite specific! In any case, I am curious as to how the Roman MIC "worked". Before you say anything of it being vague, allow me to expound on that specifically. I am curious, that because I know that the annual Roman Iron production was a bit over 80,000 tonnes in some periods of the Empire, and that as the post-Marian army was professional (and Government supplied), where did all that iron go to? Only so much iron is required to make a gladius, a piece of segmentata, but the amount required to make a set of arms and armor, for the most part, is only required once every few years as it is unlikely the one would entirely lose his armor. Though in campaign I'd suspect that the rate of production would increase to compensate for the replenishment of troops that are being recruited, that still leaves a whole lotta iron out there, and I'm curious as to where else it went.

You can actually draw a parallel between 4th century Roman Empire and pre-1950's China, in that, both of them were at the forefront of agricultural technologies of their day. If you looked at the seed-yield ratio, even compensating for the less energy dense grain that the Romans grew, the Romans grew about the same amount of calories as the Chinese grew in their hay day, and my speculation was that if the Romans had not fell, and if Europe had not forgotten the advancements in agriculture that the Romans developed, perhaps the post-Roman civilizations could of been as populated as China in the modern day, as China's sustaining use of advanced agriculture is one of the few reasons attributed to their massive population.

Quote:People who have looked seriously at the Hellenistic and High Imperial worlds, and Song China, and the 17th century Dutch, and the 19th century UK seem to lean towards the theory that contextual things in the UK produced a movement of machine science in a place and time where it was possible to develop steam engines and complicated machinery. In other words, the First Industrial Revolution wasn't an inevitable result of a few economic statistics, but something which happened in very specific circumstances. Ian Morris has some brief comments in his new book.

I'm not sure if military-industrial complex is the right concept in the ancient world, since most ancient artisans worked in small businesses. I'm not sure if even the collegium fabrum in a large town would have the power to convince the local governor to buy more swords and horseshoes than he was already planning to.

Ah. I admit I was naive to assume that Industrial revolutions were inevitable to several socio-economic indicators. In any case, another question I had in regards to the Roman "MIC" was what of the quality control? I hear stories of the Qin dynasty where apparently one artisan's crossbow trigger would fit on another artisan's crossbow, and from a documentary I watched "What the Romans did for us - Invasion", they hypothesized (or perhaps it's been elevated to a theory now?) that the palisades and other parts of the castra was pre-fabricated by different artisans, and that despite minute inconsistencies, the work of two artisans seemed to join well together. Was standardization like that, applied to other hardware, such as a gladius or the pointy end of a pilum? Also, was there perhaps a standard to which each Imperial gladius had to adhere to or other guide lines of the sort?
Quote: Ah, I thought I was being quite specific! In any case, I am curious as to how the Roman MIC "worked". Before you say anything of it being vague, allow me to expound on that specifically. I am curious, that because I know that the annual Roman Iron production was a bit over 80,000 tonnes in some periods of the Empire, and that as the post-Marian army was professional (and Government supplied), where did all that iron go to?
Can we even attempt such an answer without proper documentation? But then I’m no expert in industrial production of the empire, so perhaps we do have research on this.
My only objection would be to the use of the term ‘MIC’. So much of the production of arms & armour (during the Principate for instance) was in the hands of private producers, one can wonder if there even was such a thing. When during the Dominate and afterwards the production of military material was becoming centralized this may have been more on the minds of the officials. How many of the iron production was state-owned I can’t say.

Quote: Though in campaign I'd suspect that the rate of production would increase to compensate for the replenishment of troops that are being recruited,
No doubt, but whether as a result of planning or as a result of demand?

Quote: If you looked at the seed-yield ratio, even compensating for the less energy dense grain that the Romans grew, the Romans grew about the same amount of calories as the Chinese grew in their hay day, and my speculation was that if the Romans had not fell, and if Europe had not forgotten the advancements in agriculture that the Romans developed, perhaps the post-Roman civilizations could of been as populated as China in the modern day, as China's sustaining use of advanced agriculture is one of the few reasons attributed to their massive population.
Sure, Agricultural yield facilitates population growth, but the one does not logically result in the other. In fact it seems that the population was already declining around that time.

Btw: how can we be sure of the seed-yield ratio of the Roman empire during the 4th century?
I wonder if Rome was more at the forefront of logistics than agricultural production. In an empire almost the size of a continent, there would always be areas that were very fertile - like North Africa and Egypt - that could produce a surplus. The trick was to get that surplus where it was needed. Here Rome had an advantage over China, with the Mediterranean neatly linking where food was grown and where it was needed.
Quote:
Dracko post=307497 Wrote:Ah, I thought I was being quite specific! In any case, I am curious as to how the Roman MIC "worked". Before you say anything of it being vague, allow me to expound on that specifically. I am curious, that because I know that the annual Roman Iron production was a bit over 80,000 tonnes in some periods of the Empire, and that as the post-Marian army was professional (and Government supplied), where did all that iron go to?
Can we even attempt such an answer without proper documentation? But then I’m no expert in industrial production of the empire, so perhaps we do have research on this.
My only objection would be to the use of the term ‘MIC’. So much of the production of arms & armour (during the Principate for instance) was in the hands of private producers, one can wonder if there even was such a thing. When during the Dominate and afterwards the production of military material was becoming centralized this may have been more on the minds of the officials. How many of the iron production was state-owned I can’t say.

Quote: Though in campaign I'd suspect that the rate of production would increase to compensate for the replenishment of troops that are being recruited,
No doubt, but whether as a result of planning or as a result of demand?

Quote: If you looked at the seed-yield ratio, even compensating for the less energy dense grain that the Romans grew, the Romans grew about the same amount of calories as the Chinese grew in their hay day, and my speculation was that if the Romans had not fell, and if Europe had not forgotten the advancements in agriculture that the Romans developed, perhaps the post-Roman civilizations could of been as populated as China in the modern day, as China's sustaining use of advanced agriculture is one of the few reasons attributed to their massive population.
Sure, Agricultural yield facilitates population growth, but the one does not logically result in the other. In fact it seems that the population was already declining around that time.

Btw: how can we be sure of the seed-yield ratio of the Roman empire during the 4th century?

Would there be a better word for MIC to use? I'd admit that I spent a few minutes thinking about words that would fit the Roman economy better, but came to naught Sad

Well, like any talk of history, I can't help but state beforehand that our knowledge of the past, excluding the last few centuries, is quite limited, and that we can never be to sure of anything. Though I am unsure of Roman agricultural yields for the average owner of a small farm in the 4th century specifically, I know from my limited studies that a family with 20 iugera can meet subsistence production while maintaining farm animals for help, and that, at worst, a poor family has a seed-yield ratio of "4:1" and for owners of latifundia can expect higher ratios of "15:1", based on historical texts and or works from the likes of Cicero and Columella.
Quote:My only objection would be to the use of the term ‘MIC’.
Quote: Would there be a better word for MIC to use? I'd admit that I spent a few minutes thinking about words that would fit the Roman economy better, but came to naught Sad

I am thinking along the lines that 'MIC' suggests something modern: "a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the defense industrial base that supports them." But perhaps I'm thinking too modern?
Well, it is only a term and can refer just as easily to the string of armorers, blacksmiths and other craftsman that supply the armed forces, to the Industrial giants that constitue the MIC of today..?
Or perhaps the better term would be the MIS? :wink:

Or even IB,W,&WW?
Quote:Well, it is only a term and can refer just as easily to the string of armorers, blacksmiths and other craftsman that supply the armed forces, to the Industrial giants that constitue the MIC of today..?

Yes, that is basically what I attempted to cover with the label of MIC.
Quote:
Robert Vermaat post=307504 Wrote:My only objection would be to the use of the term ‘MIC’.
Quote: Would there be a better word for MIC to use? I'd admit that I spent a few minutes thinking about words that would fit the Roman economy better, but came to naught Sad

I am thinking along the lines that 'MIC' suggests something modern: "a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the defense industrial base that supports them." But perhaps I'm thinking too modern?
When Eisenhower invented that expression, he was thinking in political terms; he believed that a coalition of arms manufacturers and generals had undue influence on US politics, because both had an interested in a large military equipment budget. I would look at the Roman arms trade, or the Roman iron industry, or the Roman economy.
Hello, Dracko

I'll skip Eisenhower, the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution, and slam back to 200 BC through AD 200. While the Romans certainly did produce iron, they were far behind a Han China that built gigantic foundries during this period, especially in the Southlands. The amount of ore refined in China was the largest smelting operation in the world. I refer you to Sima Quan, Vol. 2, the Han Dynasty.

Have a nice Industrial day. :whistle: