Ancient Roman Victories Posted by on Mar 22, 2011 in Uncategorized

When we remember the ancient Romans, we will remember them for their literature, their art and for their military prowess. In terms of the number of battles the ancient Romans waged, they won more times than they lost. In honor of these victories, here are my top three triumphs that demonstrate the ancient Romans did not win out of just pure luck.

The Battle of Alesia led to the final conquest of Gaul. The Battle of Alesia was commanded by Julius Caesar and is considered one of his best military victories, if not the greatest. In the Battle of Alesia, the Romans were outnumbered by the Gauls. In addition, Alesia was on a hill that was geographically disadvantageous for Caesar. However, he decided to hire military engineers to blockade the area and set traps against the Gauls. Once the area was blockaded, the Gauls were unable to receive food and water supplies. The women and children starved and this led to a loss of morale among the fighting men of Gaul. Moreover the traps set by Caesar took a toll on the Gauls and they were eventually defeated. The Battle of Alesia proved that Caesar was a military genius who was able to turn events in his favor; despite the odds.

The Battle of Pydna was commanded by Publius Cornelius Scipio Nasica Corculum (related to Scipio Africanus). Although the Battle of Pydna was not the last battle between the Romans and the Macedonians, it severely weakened the Macedonians. For many years the Macedonians were a constant nuisance to the ancient Romans, but the Battle of Pydna was the turning point that led to the slow demise of the Macedonian forces. In the past, the Romans struggled against the Macedonian phalanx. For instance, they were not able to hack the points of the long spears of the Macedonians. However, the Romans broke through the phalanx formation and with their long swords they were able to defeat the Macedonians. Once the phalanx formation was broken, the Macedonians were unable to fight properly. The Macedonians had shorter swords and this disadvantage benefited the Romans. The Battle of Pydna is a prime example of the perseverance of the ancient Romans.

The Battle of Zama was commanded by Scipio Africanus and was the decisive battle that crushed Hannibal’s forces. Initially, Hannibal believed he had the upper hand. He had several war elephants that proved deadly to the Romans. Hannibal also had a Numidian king as his ally. In addition, Scipio’s tactic was risky. Scipio proposed that he invade the Carthaginian homeland, not just its outlying territories. The Senate was uneasy about this, but they reluctantly agreed to Scipio’s plan. Everything would have turned out in Hannibal’s favor if it wasn’t for the fact that things started to go wrong at the beginning of the battle. Hannibal instructed his soldiers to scare the elephants, thereby causing a stampede. However, this plan backfired and part of Hannibal’s forces was injured by the scared elephants. The ancient Romans took this opportunity to attack Hannibal and eventually he was defeated.

So what are your top three ancient Roman victories?

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