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Inaccurate claim in the Military sections of this web site

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Just been reading through the Military section of UNRV History and it claims that the Roman Legions were the first paid professional army in ancient history.

 

What about Philip of Macedonia's foot companions (Macedonian Phalanx) if memory serves me correctly that was also a full time, paid, professional army and a good few hundred years before the Legions of the Empire.

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Just been reading through the Military section of UNRV History and it claims that the Roman Legions were the first paid professional army in ancient history.

 

What about Philip of Macedonia's foot companions (Macedonian Phalanx) if memory serves me correctly that was also a full time, paid, professional army and a good few hundred years before the Legions of the Empire.

 

It should read "among the first", and now it does. Thanks.

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Be careful. Was the macedonian army simply paid for a campaign? The roman army after Marius was a permanent institution with units consigned to barracks when not campaigning.

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Be careful. Was the macedonian army simply paid for a campaign? The roman army after Marius was a permanent institution with units consigned to barracks when not campaigning.

Here I must beg you to differ for armies after Marius were still disbanded after they had served their purpose, the roman state could not afford to keep armies on permanent basis until the time of Augustus. The only unit of that period I might consider as professional ( that is, in my view, constituted of men whose bisness all year long is war and only war ) is that famous unit called the Valerians made of soldiers raised during the civil war who then served under Lucullus and later under Pompeius Magnus. But even those had periods during which they were not under arms or command, discharged by the state. Earlier we also see professional or near professional units ( like that centurion of the first half of the second century BC whose story is told by Livius ). But the professional army will only come when Augustus raise Caesar's soldiers and use them and deploy them in the provinces.

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Salve, Amici!

 

Please excuse me for a silly question.

 

Exactly which criteria define an Army as professional?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

I view permanent garrison/assignment rather than temporary levy to deal with a threat (regardless of payment method) as the definition of professional.

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The only unit of that period I might consider as professional ( that is, in my view, constituted of men whose bisness all year long is war and only war ) is that famous unit called the Valerians made of soldiers raised during the civil war who then served under Lucullus and later under Pompeius Magnus.

 

Salve, BH.

 

Here is an excellent thread about that unit, aka the Fimbriani.

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Be careful. Was the macedonian army simply paid for a campaign? The roman army after Marius was a permanent institution with units consigned to barracks when not campaigning.

Here I must beg you to differ for armies after Marius were still disbanded after they had served their purpose, the roman state could not afford to keep armies on permanent basis until the time of Augustus. The only unit of that period I might consider as professional ( that is, in my view, constituted of men whose bisness all year long is war and only war ) is that famous unit called the Valerians made of soldiers raised during the civil war who then served under Lucullus and later under Pompeius Magnus. But even those had periods during which they were not under arms or command, discharged by the state. Earlier we also see professional or near professional units ( like that centurion of the first half of the second century BC whose story is told by Livius ). But the professional army will only come when Augustus raise Caesar's soldiers and use them and deploy them in the provinces.

So we're arguing the level of professionalism really. Augustus introduced a regimental system that made individual legions lasting entities with traditions, but even he disbanded some thirty legions at the start of his reign. Disbandments does not imply a lack of professionalism - thats merely economics and relative security level. Modern professional armies get regiments disbanded often enough don't they? Professional status in military matters is the result of paid vocation - that its a way of life rather than simply following the drum in emergencies or being a military retainer of some dignitary. Thats what Marius introduced, and although many of the legions of his time didn't last, that does not preclude professional status. Nor does the matter of booty. This was used shamelessly as a 'carrot' for troops on campaign but not in peacetime. Whilst reprehensible, it does not preclude professional status either. These men were paid according to a fixed rate and schedule for a length of time agreed by contract. How professional do you need to be?

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Salve, Amici!

 

Please excuse me for a silly question.

 

Exactly which criteria define an Army as professional?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

I view permanent garrison/assignment rather than temporary levy to deal with a threat (regardless of payment method) as the definition of professional.

By that standard, would Attila's Hunnish warriors have been considered professional or not?

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Salve, Amici!

 

Please excuse me for a silly question.

 

Exactly which criteria define an Army as professional?

 

Thanks in advance.

 

I view permanent garrison/assignment rather than temporary levy to deal with a threat (regardless of payment method) as the definition of professional.

By that standard, would Attila's Hunnish warriors have been considered professional or not?

 

The Huns didn't necessarily garrison, nor did they routinely fortify, nor as far as I know were they paid a "salary", but they were certainly not temporary levies. Is a tribal army professional? Probably not in the strictest sense, but we also know they employed mercenaries and acted as such themselves.

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The Huns didn't necessarily garrison, nor did they routinely fortify, nor as far as I know were they paid a "salary", but they were certainly not temporary levies. Is a tribal army professional? Probably not in the strictest sense, but we also know they employed mercenaries and acted as such themselves.

 

And what about the Carthaginian army during the Punic Wars?

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The Huns didn't necessarily garrison, nor did they routinely fortify, nor as far as I know were they paid a "salary", but they were certainly not temporary levies. Is a tribal army professional? Probably not in the strictest sense, but we also know they employed mercenaries and acted as such themselves.

 

And what about the Carthaginian army during the Punic Wars?

 

Yes, professional, but not necessarily in the same sense as the Romans. Carthage's army were not levies but recruited and paid troops who were assigned to specific regions and tasks, though that assignment was temporary. They are often identified as mercenary, but the bulk of these "mercenaries" were recruited from within Carthaginian controlled regions. They were perhaps more akin to later Roman auxilia than mercenaries.

 

However, allow me to clarify what I mean by the garrison concept in establishing the legions as a professional army. While many ancient armies would be professional in the sense that they were trained paid soldiers with uniform military structure, Rome was among the first to truly develop a permanent standing army with static points of assignment. Perhaps surprisingly, I'm suggesting a much later period than what we might be thinking.

 

It's not until after the civil wars and the reforms of Augustus and the evolution of the Caesarian/Antonian legions that my criteria really takes hold. It's at this point where legions were permanent forces and not temporary levies (even if earlier armies were clearly professional by training, discipline, standardization. Think Scipio, Marius, etc.). I'm focused on when the legions themselves became permanent entities (ie Legio II Augusta, Legio III Gallica, Legio IV Macedonica, etc.) that continued to exist with a continuing and defined task/assignment while replenishing existing units with new recruits when veterans retired, rather than retiring an entire legion and levying an entirely new army for a different task.

 

Perhaps my concept doesn't quite conform to the traditional sense of what a professional army was, but I hope that clarifies my thought process. Of course, I'm open to opposing points of view.

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By that standard, would Attila's Hunnish warriors have been considered professional or not?

No, they weren't. They were a warrior people who settled whenever they chose, who fought without regard for regular pay or fixed terms of service.

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By that standard, would Attila's Hunnish warriors have been considered professional or not?

No, they weren't. They were a warrior people who settled whenever they chose, who fought without regard for regular pay or fixed terms of service.

Then, a couple of questions?

 

- A fixed location is required to be considered a professional soldier?

 

- What is exactly a regular pay?

 

- Irregular pay disqualifies soldiers as professionals?

 

- What is exactly a fixed term?

 

- Unfixed terms disqualify soldiers as professionals?

 

Thanks in advance.

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Then, a couple of questions?

 

- A fixed location is required to be considered a professional soldier?

No. Soldiers go where they're told. professionalism is derived from profession, your trade, your daily job.

 

- What is exactly a regular pay?

Wow, tough question..:) Regular pay is an agreed amount paid according to an agreed schedule. Hope that explains it...

 

- Irregular pay disqualifies soldiers as professionals?

Of course real life isn't that simple and soldiers have fought with late or non-existent pay ever since this innovation was brought in. That doesn't change the terms of service, it simply annoys the troops.

 

- What is exactly a fixed term?

Are you serious? You sign on the dotted line and your backside is ours for 25 years. How fixed is that? Roman soldiers signed a contract of service (at least in their later manifestations - the early roman armies were levied and therefore temporary).

 

- Unfixed terms disqualify soldiers as professionals?

No, but the circumstances might. The huns were warriors by birth. It was their culture to fight and expected of them. They did so for status, peer pressure, and for the sheer fun of it. A roman soldier of the professional era fought by vocation. He had chosen to earn a living as a soldier of Rome. A volunteer for a war isn't necessarily a professional, but if he chooses to remain in the army after the war is over and everyone else goes home, then I would say he is. A professional chooses to serve, others serve because they must. Its all a bit of a grey area really and I suppose it depends on your viewpoint.

 

You're dealing with a real world situation here involving service and pay and these things are changeable according to situation. However you might like defining things precisely you won't reach an exact solution. At the end of the day when you join an army for a wage you assume a professional status as opposed to someone who responds to a national emergency and does his bit for Rome.

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