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This is a temporary title The Roman Empire grew to surpass all previous ones into the strongest empire that the world had ever seen It was described in the Bible as a terrible and frightening and very powerful beast with large iron teeth that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left Daniel 77 But to become this powerful beast Rome had to build its empire by defeating other civilizations in order to build an empire a city-state has to defeat other civilizations Romes imperial quest eventually led it into conflict with Carthage a powerful city close to present day Tunis in northern Africa Carthage proved to be a powerful enemy with a huge navy and one of the best armies in the ancient world Looking at the comparable strengths of the two civilizations raises the question of how Rome was able to defeat the Carthaginians in the first and second Punic Wars The answer lies in Roman military tactics and their ability to adapt to different threats The Roman military in the time of the Punic Wars was composed of Roman citizens The Roman soldiers were well trained and well disciplined The infantry were by far the most important arm of the Roman military and comprised the majority of the principal fighting formation the legion A typical legion consisted of anywhere from 4200 to 5200 men depending on whether or not it was at full strength The legion had been developed from the Greek phalanx into a more flexible formation that was better able to maneuver over broken ground The legion was organized into twelve rows of ten men each followed by another twelve rows of ten men each arranged in a checkerboard pattern This allowed the soldiers to advance or withdraw without the need for complex maneuvering Bagnall 23 A legionarys basic equipment consisted of armor a shield a short thrusting sword gladius and a medium
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