The Roman Army: A study of Roman military campaigns against the armies of Parthia and Germany from 113B.C.-9A.D.
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Throughout the centuries, the ancient world of Rome was known for its long rule and influence throughout the Mediterranean world. The Roman world spanned three continents, and covered most of Europe, northern Africa, and parts of Asia. Roman dominance and culture could be seen in all facets of life, and wealth and prosperity were synonymous with Rome. What helped carry Roman civilization to the farthest parts of their domains was its army. Roman military institutions, leadership, and training were unmatched by any other nation in the ancient world, and its dominance was felt by those who were conquered. Despite Roman military achievements in battles, Rome suffered its share of horrible defeats throughout her quest for security and glory. During the years of 113B.C.-9A.D., Roman influence expanded from the boundaries of Italy itself to control over the Mediterranean and surrounding countries. During this period, Rome came into contact with the people of Germany and Parthia. These two nations came from different parts of the world, and their impact on Roman expansion led to many problems for the military might of Rome. The people of Germany were a proud warrior nation that was well known for its bravery and determination on the battlefield. Germans lived in central Europe, which is located geographically with lush forests, mountainous, and rocky terrain, and many rivers. The Germans at times were migratory people, but tended to live in tribes, and would roam to claim land if necessary. The Germans like most people were fiercely nationalistic, and would try to prevent others from subduing them. In contrast with the Germans, the Parthians were located in present day Iraq, and were a nomadic people with a large empire. The Parthians were ruled by a king, and organized into a hierarchical feudal-like system. They were noted for their riding abilities and cavalry, and other skills such as arts, science, and archery. The Parthians were in general a peaceful people who tried to maintain peaceful co-existence with surrounding people, but would retaliate harshly if threatened. These two nations clashed with Rome during the republic and empire. On both occasions, the Germans defeated many Roman forces during the Cimbric Wars(113B.C.-101B.C) of the Republic, and defeated Varus and his legions in the Teutoberg Forest during the Roman empire. Parthia managed to defeat the Romans decisively on two occasions during the Republic. Once at Carrhae in 53B.C. under the Parthian leadership of Suren, and another occasion against Marcus Antonius's invasion of Parthia. This is not to say that the Romans never defeated them in battle, but the battles that the Germans and Parthians won were decisive. These battles resulted in changes in Roman military policy against these two nations that would last for many years to come. This resulted in permanent boundaries of the Roman empire being set by the Roman Emperor Augustus. These "permanent boundaries" left by Augustus would halt Roman imperialism, and leave her armies defending her frontiers for many years.
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