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research paper - James Fisk UGC111 The reforms of Gaius...

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James Fisk UGC111 12/2/2010 The reforms of Gaius Marius and their impacts on the Roman Military The Empire of Rome would have been nothing if it weren't for its military prowess. An Imperialistic empire, they expanded across three continents and had complete dominance over the Mediterranean sea. Rome influenced our world in every way imaginable and it wouldn't have been possible if they were not precise and professional on the battlefield. But how and why were they so proficient? Rome wasn't always such a potent military force. It wasn't until a man by the name of Gaius Marius came along and completely reformed and revamped the Roman military during the Cimbrian War. He changed the way the army was created and used as well as changing the political aspects of military power and conquest. Without Gaius Marius, Rome would not have been what it was. Gaius Marius was born in 157 BC in the town of Arpinium in southern Latium born to an important family of equestrian status (Cimbrian War pg 22.). He was a relatively self made man. He started as a Cavalry Captain in 109 BC fighting against Jurgutha, King of Numidia. Although the Roman army faced many embarrassing defeats at the hands of the Numidians, Gaius was able to gain the attention of his commander, Quintus Caecilius Metellus, through military success. After much petitioning, at the ripe age of fifty, Gaius was able to leave the conflict and run for consulship in 107BC, which he won (On the wings of Eagles pg 6.). He was then given control over the army in Numidia. It was here where he made his first reforms to the Roman Army. But to understand the effects of his reforms, one must first understand the pre-Marian reforms Roman Army.
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Before the Marian Reforms, recruitment into the Roman army was strictly prohibited to land owners was net worth was above four thousand asses. It was thought that men with more invested in Rome had more to fight for and were better soldiers. The youngest and poorest of the men recruited were place with the Velites, or light skirmishes. These men threw large spears at charging attackers and had the least equipment. Next were the Hastati. They were heavy infantry, bearing large shields, short swords and two large javelins. They were the least experienced of the infantry. Behind them would lie the Principes. Armed similarly to the Hastati, they were more battle hardened and had served longer. Behind them were the Triarii, who were the eldest of the men. They had a thrusting spear instead of javelins and were placed at the back so if soldiers wanted to flee, they would see the Triarii holding ground and would turn to face the enemy. They would position themselves in a checkerboard formation, falling between the gaps of the line behind them when the battle was too intense. They were able to maneuver and get fresh troops to the front this way but made them more open to penetration to an enemy who fought in a more open and simplistic manner (On the wings of Eagles pg 2-4). The men in the army were not full time professional soldiers. They were mustered when
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research paper - James Fisk UGC111 The reforms of Gaius...

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