AskUs: Did the Roman military have R&D department for developing new weapons?

June 2, 2016
Comments (1)
  1. Rob says:

    I would also mention that the Romans made great strides in terms of siege warfare and engineering. In the ancient world many countries were based around some large City-State and to conquer an enemy you had to take control of that City-State. Most of the time this involved surrounding the city and starving it to death and this was a long and arduous process that could last for years, where the attacker, or besieger, had a greater chance of dying from disease or starvation than of actually taking control of the city (which was usually in the same process of starving or dying from disease). The reason for this was that most cities had giant stone walls, which were mostly impenetrable until the invention of gunpowder some 2000-3000 years later. The Romans were different in this regard because of their engineering techniques which allowed them to destroy these walls, either through the use of clever machines (Siege Towers, Ballistas, Onagers, etc) or through the practice of mining underneath the walls (“Sapping”). The methods and machines became more complex as the empire grew but were eventually lost during the Dark Ages. This, perhaps just as much as their weapons and organization, was one of things that contributed to Rome’s success and eventual dominion. At least in the East, where cities and City-States were more common.

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