Archers in the Roman Army by primusboy


									Archers in the Roman Army
Ancient Roman warfare was built on the back of the legion. The Roman war
machine evolved around the legion like the ancient Greek's war machine
revolved around the Phalanx. Rome was built on the back of its
legionnaires, they suffered some setbacks but overall the legions swept
away any enemy that confronted them in the field. And though the legions
formed the major part of the Roman army, the Romans also used auxiliary
troops to great effect. Among these troops were the archers.
Archers were a major part of most ancient countries war machines. The
Romans didn't use them to the same extent as other ancient civilizations
like Egypt they did recognise the importance of archers in the ancient
battlefield and placed them with great skill alongside their legions. On
Trajans column the auxillary archers are dressed in their native clothes.
Most of Rome's archers were recruited from the middle east, a region that
had perfected the use of the bow as a weapon of war. As Crassus, a Roman
commander, was to find out when he led an army to defeat at the hands of
Persian archers.
The conical helmets, long tunics and chain mail coats all suggest the
archers came from the middle east. The Romans were experts at warfare and
they turned their skills to archery to get the most power they could from
the archers. They employed different types of arrowheads to perform
different jobs. The well-known leaf shaped arrowhead was used to
penetrate soft targets. These would be used against lightly armored
troops. For heavily armored troops these arrowheads were ineffective,
just bouncing off the armor.
To inflict damage on heavily armored troops the Romans would use heavier
arrowheads with a tripointed end. These arrows would easily penetrate
most body armour. They would also stick into shields making them heavy
and difficult to maneuver. Arrows were designed to be used only once. The
shaft of the arrow would bend once fired and the arrow point would be
damaged once it had penetrated armor or a shield.
Roman archers usually carried about forty arrows in their quivers. As
well as their normal arrows they also carried small darts. Darts were
fired at approaching enemy units to break them up and force them to lose
their discipline. Causing confusion and fear among the approaching enemy.
The legions would then attack the enemy units with their disciplined
formations. Although the legion was the mainstay of the ancient Roman
army, auxillery archers played an important role in ensuring the success
of the ancient Roman army.
Paul Merry Runs The Archery Store

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