Tactics That Led The Romans To Victory


Katherine Lu, Journalist/Editor

Ancient Rome is widely regarded as one of the most powerful empires ever. The Roman Empire was the largest empire in history and at one point, controlled most of the Mediterranean. Its strength lay with its efficient and highly disciplined military. The standardization of equipment and training played an important role in the Roman Empire’s success, along with their meticulously planned tactics. Ancient Roman military tactics are still taught today at schools like Sandhurst. Here are some of the tactics that led the Romans to victory. 

The Roman military utilized many strategies, including the tortoise formation, or testudo. The testudo was a type of shield formation commonly used in battle. Soldiers would align their shields so that the front and top of the formation would be covered. The first row would hold their shields in front of them and the back rows would balance their shields on their helmets, protecting the person in front of them from overhead. If extra protection was needed, men positioned at the flank and rear could lock their shields together to cover everyone.

Another strategy was building a castrum, or fortified camp, every night while on the move. This provided protection from night attacks. In fact, modern armies still build some form of protection if they stay out in the open at night. Castra were usually very elaborate, unlike modern camps. 

Aside from testudos and castra, the Romans also used a strategy known as the wedge, which was designed to cut through enemy lines. When given the command of “Cuneum formate”, soldiers would form a wedge, charging at the enemy. The strongest soldiers would be at the front of the wedge so they could penetrate the enemy’s defenses. This strategy was frequently used and led the Romans to victory many times.

The strongest empire in history would have been nothing without its indomitable military. The detailed tactics and well-thought-out strategies were what made the Romans extremely powerful and eventually led them to be the strongest empire of all time.

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Roman Life by John Guy

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