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Tertia

How long did Roman armies take to reach their theatre of war?

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Salve!

I have been trying to ascertain how long Roman armies would have taken (approx) to reach their theatre of war in the middle Republic?

The specific case in point is Numantia:  i.e. the legions under the command of the hapless Gaius Hostilius Mancinus (cos 137 BCE) and later, Scipio Aemilianus (cos 134).

I understand that a portion of the journey from Rome to an Italian port would have occurred by foot (how long would this take?) - probably passing through Etruria (Plutarch, Tiberius Gracchus), and that the legions would then have taken ship to Spain (how long would this take?)

As consuls assumed office on 1 January in 137 BCE, I wonder when they would have departed Rome - presumably in time to commence the spring campaign season?

Hoping someone can help shed some light on the above please!!

Many thanks.

Tertia

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Firstly have a read of this thread....

https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/8226/how-quickly-could-the-roman-legions-march-how-does-it-compare-to-the-mobile-cav

Bear in mind that the terrain and weather could significantly restrict the ability of a legion to move. A forced march of men carrying their own gear along a road would cover substantial distances in a day. The idea that they found this easy is perhaps illusory since reconstructions and re-enactments show how physically demanding such marches would have been. Nonetheless they did undertake them.

Or consider that usually legions on the march took animals to carry heavy gear - even weapons might by loaded onto a cart in some circumstances. The used of such a baggage train might reduce the range by anything up to 75%. Or consider the floodwater that troops encountered in Germanicus' revenge camaign against the German tribes. Some of them were trying to wade through floodwater up to their necks, quite literally, and many died, drowned because with marching gear and armour, they could not stand up when floundering after insecure footing.

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Hi Caldrail

Apologies for the delay in responding.

Many thanks for your reference and advice, both of which are much appreciated.

I had endeavoured to use the ORBIS mapping software, to gauge marching time to a Roman port, and then sailing by ship to the destination. I confess I'm still unclear as to the process. It seems that in many cases a standing army was left in the province, awaiting the arrival of the new consul, command staff and reinforcements.

I haven't had a chance to review the thread you provided yet, and look forward to doing so.

Best regards

Tertia

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Forces were allocated to regions on the basis of perceived security risk. The Romans were well aware that long garrison duty meant troops became lazy and ill-disciplined (there are sources that mention these issues). Thus when a situation arose, it was wise to send a new commander with a mission, someone with the talent to lead and the will to shake up the unit into some order. This is especially so in the case of Corbulo, sent by Nero to Syria to pick up a legion to march to Armenia and settle the government there. He arrived to find an army that had not even bothered undertaking basic military duties. He went on to win the war in Armenia. However, his methods may well have been very heavy handed although some historians put this down to poor regard and reporting (Nero ordered Corbulo to commit suicide despite his victory)

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