Rome: The Role Of Legitions In Ancient Rome

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The Consul was responsible for the day to day affairs of the Roman state and also was accountable for its military. This system is not unlike the current American system wherein the President fulfills very much the same function. With his election as Consul in 107 BC, and his subsequent appointment as commander of the Roman legions in Numidia, Marius faced a difficult challenge. The Germanic Tribes of the Cimbri and Teutons had invaded Roman Gaul and defeated large Roman armies sent to handle them. Various wars on the frontier had depleted Rome’s manpower base especially in Italy, where once whole legions could be mustered in a matter of days. Prior to Marius’ consulship, Rome had only raised legions from men who held property and could provide their own arms and equipment. In previous wars, temporary relief from this traditional rule would be applied, although the Senate would never allow the rule to be completely expunged. Recruits from the Roman ‘capite censi’ (head count) and freed slaves were used primarily in support of the main army as well as in policing and fire watch functions.…show more content…
Wealthy senatorial aristocrats and equestrian elite land owners bought up small farms from struggling families and worked them with vast numbers of imported slaves. The Gracchi brothers came to embody the desires of this displaced mass of Roman citizens, were landless and jobless, but still voted and were full citizens. By the time Marius came to power, the typical Roman recruiting base was literally non-existent. There quite simply weren 't enough landowners available who weren 't already fighting the Germanic tribes in the north or Jugurtha in Africa to field a new
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