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Speaking of Gladiator...
The movie did re-spark my interest in Rome, but I have one question. It is my believe that the Roman legion used his own fighting ability in battle. In the beginning battle, at the beginning of the battle, it looked like they marched in, more like hoplites, almost. Can someone please educate me, as I do not know all that much about Rome and it's armies <p><i><font color="black"><b>Romulus Agustulus, Ceaser of Rome and president of UPURS<br><marquee>All for the Glory of Rome!</marquee></i><br></p><i></i>
First of all, movies may be great fun and very inspriational, but they should NOT NOT NOT be used as historical sources! Start with the assumption that everything in the movie is WRONG, then kick back, relax, and enjoy if you can. If you find things here and there that you know from reliable sources may actually be correct, great! See my post on the topic thread below (Gladiator legacy) for some of my frothing on Gladiator in particular. My full review is at<br><br>
As far as tactics go, the masses of advancing legionaries in Gladiator were actually pretty effective, visually. The Romans' tactics were linear, just like any other culture using heavy infantry up through the 19th century, and they had the same general sorts of weapons available to the rest of the world. So there will certainly be some superficial resemblence between an advancing legion and a phalanx--lines of men in organized ranks, moving together. Hey, it works!<br>
The difference is that the legion could operate in smaller units and therefore had a LOT more flexibility than the phalanx. Roman troops were the best-trained in the world, and much of their training was TEAMWORK, relying on each other and staying in formation. Certainly they were also very well-trained to use their weapons as individuals, but they were not supposed to try to stand alone, generally.<br>
Gladiator screwed up the details, of course. It shows the men with their javelins tightly clamped under their arms, and they never threw them. And after the first clash there were no formations (typical Hollywood...). In reality, they'd advance at a march, staying in ranks, to about 30 yards, then throw their pila (javelins) and charge in with sword and shield. Body slam with the shield to knock the enemy off balance, and stab with the sword. No one is really sure what happened to lines and ranks during the crush of battle, but the fact that the Romans continued to emphasize formations and continued to win seems to indicate that a mob was less effective. They seem to have had some way of relieving men in the front ranks when they were wounded or tired, so they could keep a flow of fresh troops going as long as necessary--no other army could do that.<br>
Does that help? Sorry if I got a little technical, but comparative tactics is a fascinating topic which some of us will argue ad nauseum! Suggestion? Get Peter Connolly's Greece and Rome at War, or even John Warry's Warfare in the Classical World. Both are readily available and give good overviews on the subject. Lots of neat evolutionary bits.<br>
Matthew/Quintus, Legio XX <p></p><i></i>
Matthew Amt (Quintus)
Legio XX, USA
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Another testimonial for Connolly! Really, you should buy it before it goes out of print again.<br>
Catiline, what say you about the inaccuracies of the first battle in Gladiator? <p></p><i></i>
Founder, Roman Army Talk and

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
-- Robert Louis Stevenson

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