Thayer points out that Julius Caesar was the greatest general and leader in ancient Rome who used his statesmanship to lead the Roman campaigns in the 55 year BC against ancient France known as the Celtic tribes of the Gaul. According to him, Caesar’s war campaigns comprised of the highly classified disciplinary forces which had made it easier for him to overcome the Celtic forces at the times referred to as Gallic armies. He notes that the successful years of Caesar’s campaign in capturing the most of European cities attracted his attention to turning to the Island of Britain which he had the little knowledge about. However, he points out that Caesar had a grasp of the British population as composed of various tribes that did not only have the similar cultures as those of Gallic Celtic, but rather supported them in undermining his leadership in Gaul.
According to Goldsworthy, Julius Caesar had bestowed powerful war talents. They, thus, had the good will and zeal that gave them the courage in confronting and fighting their enemies to enhance Caesar’s fame. He notes that this was evident in the case of Britain where Caesar’s legionary forces had been forced to wade ashore with their fighting equipment when they were attacked by Celtic soldiers. However, Ellis notes that the channeled warship cavalry forces and equipped transport systems were not effectively enough for Caesar’s soldiers to overcome the ambushing storm that had destroyed most of their cavalry. He points out that this made it difficult for Caesar’s solders not only in crossing over, but also in countering the offensive attacks that had been made by the Celtic forces. He notes that this led to their defeat and retreat back to the Roman city. But this did not deter him from engaging his Roman army for the second British invasion of which the Roman army had been adamantly defeated.
The history of Caesar’s war campaigns in Britain, which saw the powerful and equipped military forces defeated in war battles after successfully overcoming several battles, is an essential topic of discussion. It presents some features of military failures which can adversely affect their conquering quest in overcoming the battle fields. The paper reveals strengths and limitations of the Roman army during Caesar’s campaigns to Britain.
Strengths of the Roman Army
Caesar’s campaigns in Britain revealed the strengths of the Roman army as based on the effective statesmanship in equitably disposing resources among soldiers. This was evident by Caesar’s statesmanship that did not depict selfishness, but rather cultivated and bestowed rewards and honor to the Roman armies. As pointed out by Thayer, Caesar did not use the wealth gained from previous wars for enhancing his own selfish luxury, but rather for greatly sharing money among his deserving Roman army. He points out that this encouraged the Roman army which willingly toiled hard in its battles through trying to overcome each and every danger that emanated from the battle fields. For instance, he points out that when the British Celtic soldiers launched a missile attack on the Roman army being still at the deep water level, Caesar’s forces jump out of their ships and waded to the ashore carrying their war equipment. This shows how personated the Roman army was in pursuing any avenue for the battle field of which they would equitably and effectively benefit from the acquired resources. Therefore, the equitable disposal of acquired wealth resources from the captured regions among the warring soldiers was the main factor that had strengthened the Roman Army.
It is also noted from Caesar’s campaigns that creating a sense of belonging in enhancing loyalty among the Roman soldiers were another source of strength to the army. Thayer notes that Caesar had instilled the sense of belonging among the Roman soldiers that made them endure the harsh climatic conditions during the Britain attacks so as to enhance Caesar’s fame. He points out that Caesar had put trust in his army that enabled him to use it in surveying the suitable English which they could effectively harbor in enhancing the war invasion. For instance, Todd notes that Caesar sent lieutenant Gaius Volusenus Quadratus in scouting effective landing places in the British coast.
This did not only help the Roman army in finding potential avenues for its invasion, but it also presented an assessment perspective that would not subject Caesar’s soldiers in the unknowing battle field. It presented the possibility of death. Moreover, he points out that Caesar’s active presence and involvement in the wars passionately encouraged the Roman army the battle of which was more than to succeed, but rather enhance the image of Caesar. It is, therefore, important to note that the ability to enhance loyalty among soldiers was another source of strength to the Roman army.
On the other hand, the availability of warships that adequately transported enough of Roman soldiers and warring equipment was another factor that strengthened the Roman army. Kefeng notes that Caesar had gathered eighty warships for the transportation which were able to effectively transport two sets of highly trained legions of approximately ten thousand men. He points out that, Caesar had assembled another bunch of 18 transport systems that would carry the auxiliary cavalry forces. Sabin concurred with him by noting that not only was the presence of the enough transportation system as a strengthening factor, but it was also the division level and the standard of the Roman soldiers. He points out that the highly trained Roman legions gave them strength in invading the British Celtic due to their overwhelming records of successfully defeating many battles. This, therefore, points out that the availability of adequately trained soldiers and well equipped transportation system were the factors that strengthened the Roman army.
Additionally, the defeat of the Roman army in the first British invasion gave them more strength of initiating and developing better transportation system and equipment. According to Dando-Collins, Caesar’s attack of the British in 54 BC saw him gathering the large army forces with expanded five legions as opposed to the previous ones, with the war ships designed with Venetic shipbuilding technology that enabled them to dock in the shallow shores. He points out that the Roman army did not want to encounter what they had experienced during their first invasion in Britain where their ships had been designed in the manner that did not allow them to dock in shallow shores. He, therefore, points out that the Roman army’s first invasion in Britain gave him more strength of improving the weak points in initiating the second invasions.
Weaknesses of Roman Army
Caesar’s campaigns revealed that the inability to effectively assess the meteorological weather patterns and geographical locations of Britain was a kind of weaknesses of the Roman army. As pointed out by Grainge, Caesar’s first defeat in Britain was due to the insurgence of storm that heavily destroyed warships and equipment, and more the cavalry. He notes that one night storm invasion on the Roman troops and equipment destroyed most of their transport modes and war equipment. This did not only hinder them in penetrating deeply to the British island, but also resulted into the destruction of cavalry which was essential in enhancing their conquering conquest.
In addition, Webster notes that the reluctance of the Roman army in initiating meteorological measures from its first encounter during the second invasion in Britain clearly demonstrated its inability in assessing the weather pattern. He points out that Caesar’s second British campaign saw more than forty warships seriously destroyed by the storm that had struck Dover’s shores. He notes that Dover shore did not only experience stormy weather conditions, but rather was too small for harboring the highly number of Roman soldiers. This was a major setback to the Roman army in the battle field.
Moreover, Caesar’s campaigns in Britain revealed the Roman army’s weakness of not effectively initiating the measures in curbing the storm disaster that had befallen them, which, in turn, led to their attack. Salway points out that the Roman army on noticing the security threat that had befallen the warships and cavalry as caused by the raging storm had taken as long as ten days in constructing the land fort for their security precautions. This subjected them to offensive attacks by the British tribes of which the Roman army had been successfully destroyed with Caesar’s forces plunging back to Roman locations. This points out that the unpreparedness of the Roman army in dealing with the natural disasters was its weakest point in the battle field which ultimately led to its defeat.
In conclusion, the paper has pointed out the number of factors that had strengthened the Roman army. It has noted that the proper establishment and embracing insightful leadership qualities in the army is essential in not only enhancing the soldiers’ loyalty, but also creating the sense of belonging to enable the soldiers being effectively engaged into the battles. The paper pointed out the need to properly equip the army and effectively conduct the battle field surveillance so as to gain adequate measures of curbing the disasters that had risen in the battlefield. Moreover, army commanders should seriously take their previous battles as avenues for improving their machineries and warring strategies.