Gaius Marius (157-86 BC) was born in 157 BC near Arpinus, in the village of Cereata in the former Volscian region. Apparently, he came from a horseman village family. The Marii were hereditary clients of the Gerennii, but they were also related to the House of Caecilius Metellus.
According to Plutarch, Marius performed heavy labor from a young age, accustomed to easily endure hunger and thirst, heat and cold. When Marius reached military age, he entered the military service, which he began in Celtiberia, where Scipio Aemilianus was besieging Numantia. Observing the energetic, persistent and hardworking young man, Scipio already predicted a bright future for him.
Marius ' political career began in 119 BC, when a hopeful young man turned to Quintus Caecilius Metellus for help and, thanks in large part to him, achieved the position of tribune of the people. A year after the end of his term, Marius put forward his candidacy for the post of aedile, but failed in the election. Then he served as praetor, but even here he did not achieve any outstanding success.
Marius, in his civic career, was neither eloquent nor possessed of the vast wealth with which the men who were most respected at that time led the people. However, the citizens highly valued him for his constant work and simple lifestyle (Plut. Mar., VI).
Marius was lucky enough to enter into a lucrative marriage, taking Julia, from the noble house of the Caesars, as his wife, which brought him much closer to the aristocrats. In 111 BC, the Jugurthian War (111-105 BC) begins, in which the Senate assigns the command to the consul Quintus Caecilius Metellus. Marius goes to this war as a legate, but he himself believed that he owed this appointment not to Metellus, but to a happy fate. Marius once again had an opportunity in the element of war that was close to him. In Africa, he quickly wins the favor of the soldiers, “not avoiding great works and not neglecting small ones”"
"For Roman soldiers, the most pleasant thing is to see a general eat the same bread before their eyes, and sleep on a simple bed, or dig a ditch and put up a palisade with them. Marius willingly shared with the warriors all their difficulties, which earned him great love and respect. From the camp to Rome, everyone wrote that there would be no end or limit to the war with the barbarians until Gaius Marius was elected consul "(Plut. Mar., VII).
Naturally, such sentiments among the soldiers irritated the current army commander, and Marius forced Metellus to sentence his friend Turpilius to death. They had been openly hostile ever since, and when Marius announced that he was going to run for the consulship, Metellus made every effort to prevent him from returning to Rome until twenty days before the consular election. When Marius arrived in Rome, he addressed the impatient crowd who were waiting for him, begged for the consulship, laid many accusations against his former patron, Metellus, and promised to capture Jugurtha alive or dead.
After being elected consul for 107 BC, Marius was appointed commander-in-chief of the Roman army in Numidia. Before being sent to Numidia, he began to carry out his reform (or, as many modern researchers think, a series of military reforms). He began, contrary to custom, to enroll all citizens in the army, ceasing to be guided by the property qualification. This was the beginning of military reform. Military service attracted a lot of impoverished proletarians, since now they had the opportunity to regularly receive salaries and gifts from the commander, and most importantly, at the end of their service, landless soldiers could receive their own land allotment. In addition to the proletarians, Marius added auxiliary troops recruited from the Allies, and began to summon all the bravest soldiers he knew from previous campaigns, personally persuading those who had already served their time to go with him. The army under his leadership went to Numidia and the war was completed in two years, ending in a complete victory for the Romans. Betrayed by his ally Bocchus, the Numidian king Jugurtha was captured and taken to Rome, where he was imprisoned in an underground prison on the Capitol. At the same time, even then, Marius was faced with someone with whom he would later fight for power at the end of his life, namely the young patrician By Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Sulla volunteered to negotiate with Bocchus about his betrayal of Jugurtha. Sulla the brilliant completed the task assigned to him, and for the rest of his life he wore a custom-made ring with an engraving of Bocchus and Sulla sitting on chairs, and before them on his knees is a bound and captive Jugurtha. Marius had already begun to suspect Sulla of excessive ambition and lust for power.
Turning to the history of Ancient Rome, we can note that almost from the day of the city's foundation to the last days of the Western Roman Empire, this state fought almost continuously. And often it was the steadfastness, courage, combat training and hard work of the soldiers that saved the eternal city from destruction. The reason for these truly grandiose successes lies in the fact that military affairs from the first days of the Roman state became one of the main spheres of life of the Roman people, reflecting on their character and worldview.
But it was not only the bravery of the Roman soldiers that allowed the initially small city-polis to survive in long and bloody wars. Talented commanders led the army and often decided the outcome of battles with personal valor. In many ways, it was their success that allowed the Roman civilization to take its rightful place on the pages of world history.
Gaius Marius became one of these generals. By his perseverance and diligence, he paved the way for glory and honor, doing much to protect and strengthen the Roman state. According to Plutarch, Caesar himself often sought to imitate Marius (Plut. Mar., VI). The originality of Marius, his talent as a military leader and firsthand acquaintance with the life of ordinary soldiers largely characterize the military reforms carried out by him.
After being elected consul for 107 BC, Marius was appointed commander-in-chief of the Roman army in Numidia. "The war required huge material costs and human resources from the state, so the issue of recruits became particularly acute."1 Then Marius, contrary to custom
he began to enroll all citizens in the army, ceasing to be guided by the property qualification. This was the beginning of a military reform “dictated by the entire objective economic and political situation prevailing in the Roman state at the end of the second century." Military service attracted a lot of impoverished proletarians, since now they had the opportunity to regularly receive salaries and gifts from the commander, and most importantly, at the end of their service, landless soldiers could receive their own land allotment.
In addition to the proletarians, Marius joined the troops with auxiliary detachments recruited from the Allies and began to summon all the bravest soldiers he knew from previous campaigns, personally persuading those who had already served their time to go with him.
"Just think, Quirits," Marius said at a soldier's meeting, " what you would gain if someone from this respectable class, who has a long row of portraits adorning their walls, but is completely inexperienced in military affairs, were chosen instead of me… Compare me to them. What they know from books or hearsay, I have witnessed and acted in all this. What they want to find in books, I've learned it all in practice. I think that all people are naturally equal, and the one who is most worthy is noble. I don't mind them accusing me of ignorance. Indeed, I do not possess the art of arranging feasts, I do not keep actors and expensive cooks, I am a rustic and simple person...". "As for you, soldier," said Marius at the end of his speech, " remember that I will never leave you. In the midst of dangers, I will always be with you and share your labors. I will have everything in common with you... "(Sall. Bell. Jug., 85). Plutarch observes that Marius ' haughty words drew the most criticism from the most distinguished Romans. The people, who were accustomed to measure the greatness of the spirit by the ringing of their speeches, rejoiced at the blasphemy of the Senate, and praised Marius as a hero, thus encouraging him to please the common people not to spare the best citizens. (Plut. Marius., IX). Besides, Marius knew that he had to keep his promise to the people. The army under his leadership went to Numidia and the war was completed in two years, ending in a complete victory for the Romans. Betrayed by his ally Bocchus, the Numidian king Jugurtha was captured and taken to Rome, where he was imprisoned in an underground prison on the Capitol. “For six days he struggled with hunger and clung to life until the last hour, but still suffered the punishment worthy of his crimes." (Plut.Mar.,VI)
Shortly before the end of the war in Africa, for his military successes, Marius was elected consul in absentia for 104 BC. e. Perhaps breaking the tradition of a 10-year break between re-election to the post of consul, the fact that the armies of his long – time opponents of the Germans-the Cimbri and Teutonic tribes-were moving towards Rome. Gaius Marius, appointed commander-in-chief in the war, once again fully justified the hopes placed on him.
Having assembled an army, he arrived in 104 BC in Trans-Alpine Gaul, but the Germans had already left for the Pyrenees. Marius, on the other hand, followed a strictly defensive tactic, not going beyond the Roman borders. The barbarians, meanwhile, suffered a series of defeats in Spain and retreated north, conquering all the tribes from the Pyrenees to the Seine. In the area of the Vellocas (near Rouen), the Cimbri received significant reinforcements, and then it was decided to make the repeatedly discussed campaign to Italy. The Cimbri and Tigurines decided to enter Italy through the eastern Alpine passes they knew, while the Teutons and Ambrons went through Roman Gaul to the western passes.
This allowed Marius to defeat his opponents singly: the Teutons at Aquae Sextii (Narbonne Gaul) in 102 BC, and the Cimbri a year later at the Battle of Vercellae. Thus the homeless Cimbrian people, together with their allies, disappeared from the face of the earth, as T. Mommsen wrote about it in his work History of Rome vol. 2. page 136. His military victories were largely a consequence of the military reform he carried out in the Roman army, which by 100 BC had transformed it from a civilian (conscription of citizens in case of danger, or a military campaign somewhere) to a professional army. With these victories, Marius gained great fame as a general. He was elected consul six times in a row (from 105 to 100 BC) and was hailed as the third founder of Rome.
In 103 BC, Marius took Lucius Saturninus, the tribune of the Plebeian people, as an ally to counteract the Senate of the nobles (the highest aristocracy of Rome). Since the Senate saw in Marius himself an upstart, as they then called “Homo Novus "(new man). In Ancient Rome, this was the name of a person who came from an obscure and little-known family or even from the Plebs, who was able to get the highest magistracies in the province or even Rome itself. Saturninus helped Marius to be elected consul for the third time in 102 BC and fought in every possible way against Marius ' opponents among the nobles and in the Senate. For this, Marius helped Satrninus II become the tribune of the people in 101 BC.
Marius himself, with the active help of Saturnina, bribery and his veterans, was elected consul again in 100 BC. e. A law was passed on the withdrawal of veteran soldier colonies in Sicily, Macedonia and Gaul, as well as a law on the sale of bread at reduced prices. Marius was soon forced to break his alliance with Saturninus because of the latter's radical views, and as a result, Marius was forced by the Senate to militarily suppress the speech of Saturninus and his supporters in the summer of 100 BC.
Because of the suppression of Saturninus ' speech, Marius lost the support of the common people and never fully got close to the Senate, as a result, Marius spent almost all of the 90s BC.e. until the Allied War (91-88 BC), Marius spent in the shadows, as a private person. At the same time, it is unclear in what year, at this time, he was elected to the college of augurs. Also at the end of his consulship, he made a trip to the East, where he met the growing power of Mithridates Eupatros.
With the outbreak of the Allied War, he fought as one of the legates of the acting Consul Rutilius Lupus in the northern theater of operations. Soon, due to a series of failures and the death of other high-ranking officers, including Rutillius Lupus himself, Marius, by order of the Senate, was appointed sole commander-in-chief of the Roman forces in the northern theater of operations. Here he was able to defeat the Martians several times, and then his powers were not renewed, although he remained in office, but soon, according to sources, Marius resigned due to old age and illness, he was already more than 65 years old. See Plutarch. Gaius Marius. 32. ( according to the 1994 edition)
At the end of the Allied War, a confrontation between Rome and Mithridates Eupatrus over the eastern provinces of Rome began in the East. This war seemed like an easy thing to do, and promised a lot of wealth and glory. Many politicians began to fight for the right to appoint themselves commander of the Roman forces in the east to fight Mithridates (the First Mithridatic War (89-85 BC), but Marius and Lucius Cornellius Sulla were the most active competitors for this position. Sulla, in 88 BC, was chosen as one of the two consuls for that year. Marius, wishing to receive the coveted post of commander, entered into an alliance with the tribune of the people Publius Sulpicius.
Sulpicius drew up a series of laws: on the distribution of new citizens to all the tribes (only this would give them the actual fullness of civil rights), on the return of exiles convicted under the law of Varius, and on the exclusion from the Senate of those nobles whose debts exceeded two thousand denarii. But to implement them, he made an alliance with Marius in exchange for his support in appointing him to the post of commander of the Roman forces in the east to fight Mithridates.
Soon, clashes broke out in the streets of Rome, but Sulpicius had the upper hand. Sulla left Rome to join the troops, but in his absence Sulpicius enforced his laws and those of Gaius Marius, giving him the power of proconsul. After Sulla, military tribunes were sent to demand the transfer of command of the army to Marius, but the troops prepared in advance by Sulla, who told them that they would be disbanded, and new soldiers would be recruited in their place with whom Marius would move East, beat the messengers of Marius and together with Sulla marched to Rome.
Soon after the battle in the streets of Rome, Sulpicius was killed and Marius fled Rome, and Sulla, who occupied Rome, with the help of the people and the Senate, declared Marius, Sulpicius and their supporters enemies of the fatherland. So passed 88 BC. e. Marius wandered as a fugitive, until he settled on the island of Kerkina off the African coast, with some of his supporters. Plutarch described in detail the wanderings of Marius during this period in his work "Comparative Biographies". Gaius Marius. 35-40. T 3. According to the 1994 edition. While Marius was in exile, Sulla, having settled all his affairs, went to Greece, and from there to the East, to continue the war with Mithridates, with the rank of proconsul, and in Rome two new consuls were elected for 87 BC.
One of the consuls, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, tried to repeat the law of Sulpicius, on the distribution of new citizens to all tribes, for which he was expelled from Rome and deprived of the consulate. Cinna then formed an alliance with Marius, gathered his troops, and marched on Rome. Marius commanded the troops to march on Rome and eventually, after a short resistance, was able to occupy Rome.
After the capture of Rome, according to ancient sources, terror began in the city against the opponents of Marius and Cinna. Many contemporaries were struck not by the fact of terror itself, but by the murder without trial of many politicians who were once consuls and proconsuls.
Similarly, Marius declared himself consul for 86 BC, thus becoming a seven-time holder of this position, without the approval of the national assembly. But soon, due to health problems and the nervous strain of the last few months, Marius died in January 86 BC.
Returning to the transformations of Marius, it should be noted that his military reform (or rather a whole set of related changes) cannot be attributed to a single year. The most important part of them, namely the enlistment of proletarians in the army, can be attributed to the first consulate of Marius in 107 BC, before he was sent to Africa. The rest of the reforms discussed below seem to have been carried out gradually during the five consulates from 104 to 100 BC. “It is hardly possible to speak of measures to reorganize the army as a single, systematic military reform. Most likely, it was a complex of social, organizational and tactical measures dictated by the internal and external situation”"6 Undoubtedly, the departure from the old system of recruitment gave the Roman army new strength to develop and solve the most important foreign policy tasks. Met with hostility by the nobility, the reform actually proved its worth, allowing the Romans to defeat Jugurtha and adequately meet the Cimbri and Teutons advancing from the north.
“Even before returning from Africa, Marius, on the crest of his glory, was re-elected consul for 104 BC. e. Despite the fact that it was not customary to elect a candidate if he was not in Rome and if the prescribed period (10 years)had not passed since the previous consulate”"7 Marius was, as we recall, consul in 105 BC and, at the time of the election, was in Africa. However, this did not stop the Romans from going against the rules and re-electing him to the highest office. According to T. Mommsen, “he deliberately mocked the class spirit of the nobility, which in its attitude towards Mary revealed all its stupidity and short-sightedness”"8 The Horseman of Arpinus turned everything upside down, and his second election to the consulship went against tradition, but the Romans ' fear of a new threat was beyond any written or unwritten rule. “The people drove out all those who opposed Marius, considering that it was not the first time that the law was sacrificed for the public good, and that there was no less good reason for this now than when Scipio was elected consul against the law: (he was too young to pass all the career steps on the way to the post of consul) because then they did not fear the destruction of their (Plut. Mar., XII). At the hands of the Germans, the Romans suffered a number of defeats: in 113 BC. e. at Norica, in 109 BC. e. at the Allobrages, in 107 BC. e. at the Upper Garonne, and in 105 BC. e. at Arausio, when more than 80,000 Romans were killed or captured.
Gaius Marius, appointed commander-in-chief in the war, once again fully justified the hopes placed on him. Having assembled an army, he arrived in 104 BC in Trans-Alpine Gaul, but the Germans had already left for the Pyrenees. Marius, on the other hand, followed a strictly defensive tactic, not going beyond the Roman borders. The barbarians, meanwhile, suffered a series of defeats in Spain and retreated north, conquering all the tribes from the Pyrenees to the Seine. In the area of the Vellocas (near Rouen), the Cimbri received significant reinforcements, and then it was decided to make the repeatedly discussed campaign to Italy. The Cimbri and Tigurines decided to enter Italy through the eastern Alpine passes they knew, while the Teutons and Ambrons went through Roman Gaul to the western passes.
This allowed Marius to defeat his opponents singly: the Teutons at Aquae Sextii (Narbonne Gaul) in 102 BC, and the Cimbri a year later at the Battle of Vercellae. Thus the homeless Cimbrian people, along with their allies, disappeared from the face of the earth.
With these victories, Marius gained great fame as a general. He was elected consul six times in a row (from 105 to 100 BC) and was hailed as the third founder of Rome. But these events are of interest to us primarily because they are closely interrelated with the reforms of the Government, largely causing each other. The victories were a consequence of the reorganization of the troops, and the reorganization itself was largely carried out based on the needs of the approaching war. But in any case, by the year 100, the final transformation of the Roman army from civilian to personnel took place.
Most likely, the reforms in the army were carried out by Marius from 107 to 100 BC and were not a pre-thought-out, systematically carried out reform. The changes were carried out without any preparatory agitation, and the Senate “ " unaware of the possibility of such a turn of events, was confronted by Marius with the fait accompli of admitting the poor to the army.”
Sallust reports “ " He (Marius) did not enroll in the usual order, not by class, but by enrolling everyone who wanted to, and mainly from among the poor” (Sall. Bell. Jug., 86).
"The replenishment of legions by conscripts with proper property qualifications ran into difficulties even under normal conditions, so that the extraordinary replacements that were necessary after the Battle of Araucion (105 BC) could not actually be carried out in compliance with existing rules.”
The human resources of the Romans were depleted, and in some ways the situation at that time was similar to the tsarist period, when it was necessary to find a new source to replenish the army in order to solve foreign policy problems. Then this source was the Plebeians, as a result of the reform carried out by Servius Tullius, who joined the army. Marius decided to follow a similar path, abolishing the previously existing restrictions determined by the property qualification.
Thus, any free citizen could now become a legionnaire, and " recruiting the landless poor into the army became the main source of replenishment of the legions”" Admission to the army of the poor led to some improvement in the financial situation of soldiers. The state was forced to regulate the issue of material support for legionnaires (to provide them with weapons, necessary equipment, etc.). Soldiers began to receive pre-agreed salaries and gifts from military leaders who sought to gain popularity for their service in the army, and after the end of their service, soldiers hoped to receive land plots.
Marius, of course, could not confine himself to introducing a new order of recruitment when he began to carry out reforms. The entire military system that was formed about 150 years ago in many ways required changes, being no longer able to fulfill the tasks assigned to it.
In the system of recruiting troops before Marius, the property qualification played an important role – “the richest served in the cavalry, the middle classes in the heavy infantry, and the rest in the light.” “Each of these categories occupied a certain, once and for all established place in the battle formation, had its own special military rank and special military badges”" Marius abolishes all these distinctions by abolishing the system of dividing the legions into Velites, Hastati, principi, and triarii. From this point on, the Legion was recruited and formed from equally armed and trained warriors. The Velites were excluded from its membership and separate detachments of archers and slingers were recruited from them.
Civilian cavalry also ceases to exist as a separate branch of the armed forces. "In fact, the cavalry, which according to the law was supposed to be recruited from the wealthiest citizens, actually stopped participating in campaigns before the war. In the war with Jugurtha, this cavalry is still a sort of honor guard for the commander-in-chief and for foreign princes, and since then this type of army has completely disappeared.”20 Its place is taken by the new heavy-armed Thracian and light-armed African cavalry, which was recruited before Marius. In general, residents of the provinces are increasingly attracted to serve in the Roman army, from which auxiliary horse and foot detachments are formed, called auxilia. Such detachments, as a rule, retained their usual combat techniques and weapons. They were used to start a battle, cover the flanks or pursue the enemy. In addition, detachments of Balearic slingers and Cretan archers, as well as Ligurian light infantry, are being recruited. Mommsen gives an example when troops were recruited to fight against the Cimbri, even from Bithynia, far from Rome
Without a doubt, one of the most important tactical changes Marius made was a radical change in the legion's structure. To increase the combat effectiveness of the soldiers, Marius abolishes the division of the legion into 30 manipuli, which has ceased to justify itself. The fact is that the maniples, due to their small number, could not act as independent combat units, which hampered the initiative of the commander.
According to the new legion formation system, the number of warriors in it was now 6,000 (despite the fact that 1,200 Velites left the legion), which were divided into 10 cohorts, which became new tactical units. Each cohort consisted of 600 people, respectively, and was divided into 3 maniples of 200 people each. The depth of cohort construction was usually 8-10 rows.
In general, the advantages of the formation introduced by Marius over the phalanx are obvious. In fact, most of the soldiers in the phalanx were inactive during the battle. In addition, the phalanx was very sensitive to attacks from the rear and flank.
Mommsen calls the Domarian Legion's maniples tactical units. Delbrueck has a different opinion on this issue, considering that the previous maniples could not be tactical units, since they were too small for this and were not truly independent. There were cases when one or several manipulas could make an attack, but, as a rule, the entire echelon acted.
The new system allowed the commander to operate more widely, opening up new opportunities for tactical maneuvers. Now much more attention was paid to training soldiers who could take any formation and make any movement. A general might order an army to be drawn up in one, two, three, or even four lines; he might strengthen one line and weaken the other; he might arrange them in a broken line and place the cohorts with their backs to each other, thus forming a double front. After all, he could move each cohort from one place to another.26
All this gave a huge advantage to the Roman army over an ordinary phalanx. In the beginning, the Roman phalanx was divided into echelons (lines), and under Maria it was divided into numerous small tactical units, which could either connect into a solid whole, or with extraordinary flexibility change the shape of the system: divide, turn in one direction or the other.
Naturally, the creation of such an organization of the army required iron discipline and training from the soldiers. But the Romans managed to overcome these difficulties, and cohort tactics became, in Delbruck's opinion, the highest precision achieved by the ancient infantry in the development of the art of combat. Now everything depended only on the leadership talent of the leader, who did not have to invent new forms of order. He only needed to develop and apply the already established ones.
The use of cohorts in combat was fraught with difficulties due to the fact that the army must be a single well-established mechanism that obeys the will of the person controlling it. It took centuries to overcome them, and only one state from the ancient world actually achieved this and achieved dominance over all the others due to this.
In the course of the reform, Marius also abolished the military badges of the former four parts of the legion with the image of a wolf, a bull with a human head, a horse and a boar. These were probably the insignia of cavalry detachments and three heavy infantry units.
Marius replaced these badges with new cohort banners, and also introduced a single badge (signum) for the entire legion, which featured a silver eagle.
But there is no consensus on changing the symbols of the Legion and its units. For example, R. Kanya believes that the cohorts did not have their own banners, and the silver eagle was given by Marius only to the entire legion, and it is around this symbol that the corporate spirit begins to develop. It is also associated with the memory of the legion's military achievements and glory.
Feelings of this kind could not have appeared in the previous era, since after each campaign the legionnaires disbanded and returned to their homes. Now, numerous wars were constantly fought, which gave rise to some stability of the legions.
The next innovation introduced by Marius was to change the form of the oath. Previously, soldiers took the oath in the name of the consul, and since the consul was in power only for one year, the oath was given for a year.
Now, when soldiers entered the ranks of the army, they took the oath for the entire term of their service, and not in the name of the consul, but in the name of the state, i.e., senatus populusque Romanus. Thus, the army was recognized in theory as a permanent institution.
All these changes led to the fact that now the legionnaires formed a homogeneous army, where the place of each was determined solely at the discretion of the officers. All differences in weapons disappeared, and, consequently, all recruits were now trained in the same way.
Marius made very high demands on the combat training of soldiers, for whom war had become a profession, which radically distinguished them from the former militia peasants. Publius Rutilius Rufus, a colleague of Marius in the Jugurthian war and consul in 105 BC, drew up new rules for military training, which had many similarities with the system of training future gladiators.
During the war with the Cimbri, Marius made a change in the design of the Roman pilum, a throwing spear on a thick wooden shaft one and a half to two meters long. According to Plutarch “ " previously the tip was attached to the shaft with two iron spikes, and Marius, leaving one of them in its original place, ordered the other to be removed and replaced with a brittle wooden nail. Because of this, the spear did not remain straight when it hit the enemy's shield: the wooden nail broke, the iron one bent, the curved tip stuck firmly in the shield, and the shaft dragged on the ground” (Plut. Mar., XXI).
Artillery was used by the Roman army long before Marius, but even with him, each legion had at its disposal a certain number of throwing machines, which made it possible to increase its combat power. The main requirements that have always been imposed on field artillery were: mobility, maneuverability and compactness, so as not to overly burden the army on the march. "Artillery was used to conduct sieges, to protect field fortifications, and also directly on the battlefield to fire at the enemy before the start of hand-to-hand combat.” Based on the articles "Design and classification of throwing machines" and”Artillery of the Roman Land Army " 35, we can try to briefly describe these machines.
The ballista, borrowed by the Romans from the Greeks, was a two-shoulder torsion-action machine that threw round balls along a relatively flat trajectory. Apparently, the ballista was very popular during the late Republic, and it can be recognized as the main artillery piece of the legion.
The maximum caliber (the concept of caliber here differs from the modern one and in this case the caliber is determined by the mass of the projectile being thrown) of the ballista was about 40 kilograms, with a firing range of 100 m. Ballistae of this power were quite difficult to build, transport and maintain. Therefore, a new machine was required, more unpretentious and easy to operate, but no less powerful.
A new design solution was found by the Romans in the III century and was named onager, which means “donkey”. Onagr was a technological step forward, representing a torsion-action throwing machine designed for mounted shooting with stones or incendiary pots. In fact, it was a rock thrower, the design of which was much lighter than that of a ballista. With the help of the onager, it was possible to throw projectiles, the caliber of which was two, or even three times larger than that of a ballista. The layout of the onager, consisting of a horizontal frame and a vertical throwing arm with a sling, was so convenient that it existed without significant changes throughout antiquity.
In addition to technical improvements, the military discipline and loyalty of the soldiers to their leader played an important role in the brilliant victories won by Marius.
"During the campaign, Marius hardened the army, forcing the soldiers to run a lot, make long marches, cook food and carry their luggage on themselves." (Plut. Mar., VI) Throughout the Yugurta War, Marius maintained discipline in the army, trying not to resort to punishments, but to appeal to the conscience of the soldiers. At night, he went around the posted posts himself, not so much out of distrust as to make the soldiers more willing to bear the hardships that the general shared with them. Many attributed this to the desire for popularity, others to the fact that the harsh life to which he was accustomed from childhood and all that is now considered a misfortune, was for him a pleasure. (Sall. Bell. Jug., 100)
The result of the reforms carried out by Gaius Marius was a complete revolution in the Roman military organization, caused, in Mommsen's opinion, by purely military considerations and dictated by necessity. But at the same time, almost all researchers note that the reform has affected many areas of society's life.
In the legion's organization, all traces of civil and aristocratic divisions have now disappeared, and only soldier differences remain between the legionnaires. Now under the Roman banner were not only citizens defending their homeland, but also people for whom military affairs had become the main occupation and who wanted to make the most of it.
The formation of a new type of soldiers began, who, showing valor on the battlefields, considered themselves entitled to demand from the commander a part of the loot, and from the state – a plot of conquered territory. The camp became their only homeland, war their only science, and the commander their only source of hope.
A vivid illustration of the new relationship between the general, soldiers, and the state can serve as a case described by Plutarch. During the battle of Vercellae, Marius illegally granted citizenship to a thousand Camerians who had particularly distinguished themselves in battle. When he was called to account, he said that at that moment “The roar of weapons drowned out the voice of the law.”
(Plut. Mar.,XXVIII). The reform of Maria gave an impetus to the formation of a completely new, hitherto unknown social force in Rome, which was constantly growing. The peasant army gradually moves away from military affairs and is replaced by a new army consisting of people who look at things
completely different. Service in the legions has now become a matter of vocation and profession, losing its former meaning of duty for every citizen. The identity of the concepts of the Roman people and the Roman military force has become an irrevocable past; the times have come when these terms have become not only different in essence, but often opposite.
In a relatively short time, such an army was able to turn not only into a special and independent force in the state, but also into a force over the state. The reform, by which the army was filled with poor soldiers who would do anything to earn their salaries and increase them with the spoils of war, and who were willing to follow their general wherever he paid them, had the saddest consequences for the Republic.
The maintenance of the army now fell on the state, which was supposed to provide soldiers with equipment. At the end of the service, the soldiers could not return to the land, because they did not have it, so the veterans had to be provided with land, and this new concern fell on the shoulders of the commander.
Considering the reforms from a military point of view, it is safe to say that in general, the changes carried out had a positive result. The organization of the legion (legion – cohort - manipula) has become more complex, but performing tactical movements and managing the legion has become easier. The importance and role of the commanding staff in preparing for battle and during the battle increases. The technical equipment of the army was strengthened. Now trench tools were widely used, and engineering carts appeared, which, however, did not exempt legionnaires from the mandatory baggage. Razin also highlights some negative consequences of the reforms. So, for example, the combination of maniples reduced the freedom of maneuvering of the legion on rough terrain. Reduced the tactical depth of the Legion's battle formation. The abolition of Velits (light infantry) reduced the possibility of starting a fight and avoiding it. The only form of combat now was a decisive and fast attack.
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