Friday, March 4, 2011
Imperator Julius Caesar vs.King Cao Cao of Wei Part
First off is Gaius Julius Caesar the Roman conqueror of Gaul and the man who irrefutably changed a nation, and probably Western history along with it. This man is regarded by many to be one of the greatest conquerors to ever live, and I have read of him frequently compared with Alexander, Genghis, Napoleon, and the little known but impressive Khalid(sorry if I missed any). Without a doubt one of the best commanders the Greco-Roman world would ever produce. Born from a patrician family in 100 B.C. he became head of such family after his father died in 85 b.c. He married the daughter Cornelia Cinna, the daughter of a prominent Populare (populist) politician and lieutenant of Marius . Unfortunately this proved to be almost deadly for Ceaser as when Sulla, an enemy of Marius and therefor the Cinna family, became dictator of Rome he ordered Ceaser to divorce Cornelia. Ceaser refused and had much of his inheritance and his chance of priesthood stripped (that was what his family initially wanted Julius to be) and was nearly killed. Unfortunately for Sulla, Ceaser had powerful friends even among the Optimas (think rich favored) and was persuaded to rescind his proscription (death sentence) on Ceaser. Sulla later said "Beware of that one for in him i see another maruis". Ceaser then went on to serve as a tribune where he was rewarded for heroically saving a citizens life in battle. Captured by Pirates in 74 b.c he first convinced them to nearly triple the ransom, constantly joked with them that once he got out he would crucify them, and then once he was finally released led a military expedition where he proceeded to do just that. He did slit their throat first though in an act of apparent mercy.
Ceaser was a brilliant politician and orator and soon became extremely popular with the people. He formed a triumvirate with fellow (then)populares Marcus Crassus, richest man in Rome, and Gnaeus Pompey, greatest general Rome had at the time, securing the alliance with the latter by marrying off his daughter. To be fair to Caesar, this was apparently one of the few marraiges where the participants actually loved each other. Formed in 60 B.C. this would dominate the Roman world for the next decade, cowing all other Opponents in Rome through whatever means necessary. He used his position to secure Proconsulship (governor) in Roman Cisalpine Gaul (northern Italy and Southern tip of France). Seizing on the excuse of a Helvetti (Germanic tribe ) invading Gaul he spent the next 7 years “securing it” fighting only in summers. Not satisfied with just Gaul he also launched a 3 month invasion of Britain, and a punitive expedition into Germania. Both greatly increased his popularity in Rome, as many were not sure Britain existed, and many others had a great fear of Germania. Throughout his whole Gallic campaign he only lost one battle that he personally commanded. What makes his expeditions unique from most others is the phrase “the winners write the history books” is literally true in this case. Julius Ceaser wrote and published Commentarii de Bello Gallico or Commentaries on the Gallic War, giving us a conquerors insight onto the conquest of Gaul. Of the other ancient Greco Roman generals he and Xenophon are the only ones to write an account of their wars, or at least have their account survive (Alexander the Great allegedly had a journal). I’ll try to make that my primary source for this article. By 53 b.c. he had pretty much completed this conquest but would have a powerful rebellion against Roman rule pop up, led by the enigmatic Gallic chieftain Vercingetorax, who united the various tribes for the first time in history. After many months of guerilla operations and minor battles, Caesar finally managed to besiege him at Alesia. However as the siege went on he himself was later besieged by 250,000 Gaullish soldiers. Fighting off simultaneously breakout attempts from Alesia and the relief army, he managed to prevail with brilliant siege tactics and by encircling his besiegers. Wining the siege all of Gaul was now his, but Caesar was given no respite. Crassus had died in a failed invasion of Parthia and Caesar's daughter Julia had died in Childbirth, collasping the already strained alliance with Pompey. As a result of this Pompey then became an Optima, the faction who hated Caesar. Calling for him to return to Rome without his army, he refused and started a civil war between the optima and populares (see Tiberius Gracchus for why this conflict initially came to be). After securing Spain he then went for Pompey himself, now head of the Optima army. After losing the initial battle he then crushed Pompey’s numerically superior force at Pharsalus. Ceaser with his main opponent defeated now swept the Eastern Mediterranean as he had the West. He defeats the nation of Pontus so decisively that he gave his most famous quote “Veni, Vidi, Vici,” after the battle (I came, I saw, I conquered). He intervened in the Egyptian civil war supporting the famous Queen Cleopatra and destroyed the rest of the optima forces in North Africa. Now without any public opposition he declared himself dictator perpetuus or dictator for life and begins planning for a massive invasion of Parthia, followed by conquest the conquest of Dacia, Scythia, Caucus mountains and finally great parts of Germany, after which he would have completely connected the empire and taken out Rome’s biggest enemy at the time Parthia . If he had been able to do this (and a lot of argument says that he would probably have accomplished a lot of this) he would have equaled his hero Alexander in conquest, and may have actually extended the Roman Empire’s survival. He also planned sweeping and radical reforms on all aspects of Roman society. Unfortunately before he could do this he was killed on the Ides of March, stabbed to death by Senators and another civil war erupted.
Cao Cao biography:
Cao Cao was a Chinese Warlord of the Three Kingdoms Era. He was the King of the Kingdom of Wei, one of the previously Mentioned three Kingdoms. Born in 155 a.d. in the county of Qiao, this man was one of the most influential figures of his era. Han China was already in the midst of Turmoil by the time he was growing up, with power struggles, murder and rebellions frequently occurring. Cao Cao gained his first military experience during the Yellow Turban Rebellions of 184 a.d. Following this he occupied many mid-range police posts in the government, where it was known that he would punish perpetrators equally –regardless of family background. In a society increasingly becoming corrupt and violent he had a unique set of morals. When a tyrannical Dong Zhuo tried to seize power in 190, Cao Cao joined a coalition of generals (all of whom would be major players in the Three Kingdom wars later on) to defeat him. After succeeding in this task Cao grabbed and secured a small piece of land from where he gradually built his power. In the next decade he did two notable actions that set him apart from every other warlord. Firstly, he took control of the young emperor Xian, maintaining him as a puppet to legitimate his personal power. Second, still more important, Cao Cao established a system of military agricultural colonies, which resettled peasants dispossessed by war onto fields that others had abandoned. The new tenants were allocated land under direct control of the government, without intervention from the former landlords: and in ready exchange they defended their territory and produced reliable supplies for armies further afield, showing Cao Cao’s formidable administrative and political genius. Then in the battle of GuanDu he defeated his greatest enemy, Yuan Shao, by brilliantly destroying the morale of the enemy’s massive army, which was about three times bigger than his own. In an early skirmish he killed one of Yuan’s best generals and caused the other to flee (Liu Bei who would later take over the spot as Cao Cao’s greatest rival). After foiling his opponents attempts to create rebellion and outflank him he then found himself being forced into a long trench stalemate. Here he showed his siege ability by using his catapults to destroy Yuan’s archery platforms and by digging large ditches to foil Yuan’s attempt at digging tunnels to breach his lines. After finding the location of the enemy’s supply depot from a defector he personally led an attack on it, further destroying Shao morale along with almost all of their supplies. Shao, wanting to finish this quickly , then commenced a attack on Cao Cao‘s main base, committing his entire army. Cao Cao countered this by sending the noses of the dead who were killed at the raid on his supply depot, along with those of many prominent generals, to the troops of Yuan Shao. Two more generals surrendered, and Cao Cao army then launched a full counterattack, destroying almost all of Yuan’s army (Cao Cao himself boasted to the puppet emperor that he killed 70,000). With Yuan’s death soon after he took control over all of Northern China. However he made quite a few enemies from this victory, including Sun Qian and Lui Bei, leaders of the other two kingdoms. …..
Not slowing his momentum he then drove Liu Bei from the North, and defeated the nomadic Wuhuan in the Battle of White Wolf Mountain. This gave him the services of the nomadic horsemen. However he soon faced a stunning upset when Sun Qian and Liu Bei, putting aside their differences to overcome a common foe, crushed his army at the battle of Red Cliffs (208 b.c.) , forever destroying the chances Cao Cao had of Unifying China in his name. However not letting this slow him, he then conquered most of the West, defeating the Gaunxi in 211 b.c. However although he would have successes gaining some more land and suppressing rebellions, he would never again have a chance to take over all of China. He died in 220 A.D.
Super long range ( yes these are what you think they are, siege machines like Chinese catapult, scorpion ) /10
Long range: /20 (points directly in relation to their ability to deal with enemy armor, among other things)
Mid Range: /15
Extremely close range: /5
(Probably multiple weapons for each range)
Armor (with obvious credit to I honk, he is god of blogs, War master, ect)
Head: /5 (hard to hit area)
Arms and What is carried in arms (shields): /20 (I may lower this)
Tactics, Leadership and Battle Formation: /30
Loyalty: /10(usually default 10/10)
Rules of combat: /10
Training and Discipline : /10
Finally Martial Arts: /10
Well that’s my introduction. Please give feedback as I am not sure if I should keep it like it is or not.
Without further Ado the Army of Proconsul Gaius Julius Caesar
The army of Gaius Julius Caesar will consist of elements of his favored Tenth legion, along with supporting auxiliary and engineers.
Artillery Category: Ballista and Scorpion
Okay I know many of you have gripes about using artillery, and let face it, so do I. I view Alexander the great vs. Attila the Hun and Roman centurion vs. Raj put Warrior as the two greatest flukes by the show for including these weapons.
“When Caesar observed this, he ordered the ships of war, the appearance of which was somewhat strange to the barbarians and the motion more ready for service, to be withdrawn a little from the transport vessels, and to be propelled by their oars, and be stationed toward the open flank of the enemy, and the enemy to be beaten off and driven away, with slings, arrows, and engines: which plan was of great service to our men; for the barbarians being startled by the form of our ships and the motions of our oars and the nature of our engines, which was strange to them, stopped, and shortly after retreated a little.”
- Julius Ceaser, Commentaries on the Gallic War
The ballista was first used by the Macedonians and with the Roman conquest of the Hellas came to be used by the Romans. The ballista was capable of firing bolts or stone. A ballistae bolt or stone could be fired anywhere from 300 yards to 550 yards and could be fired at 115 miles per hour and was used on ships, land and even as riot control. In addition to the standard version the Romans had a unique brand of Ballista, called Carrioballista, that could brought in on horse-drawn carraige.
For some YouTube videos.
Homemade ballista vs. Stove (metal)
Mass Artillery being fired off
Next up the Ballista’s younger brother.
The Scorpion or dart thrower was a smaller version of the ballista. It was capable of being operated by one to two men and could fire darts of around 27 inches. The range could be as much as 400 meters. It could be fired for increased precision or increased amount. Julius Caesar speaks here about the scorpion
“"When the battle was going on in every direction, with the rest of the night now spent, fresh hopes of victory always arose in the enemy: the more so on this case because they saw the coverings of our towers burnt away and believed that we were exposed and could not go to give assistance easily, while they were always relieving the weary men with fresh men, and considered that all the safety of Gaul rested on this one crisis; there happened in my own view an incident that appeared worthy of record, and we thought it ought not to be omitted. A certain Gaul before the town gate who was casting into the fire opposite the turret, guts of tallow and fire passed along to him, was pierced with an arrow on the right side and fell down dead. One of those next him stepped over him as he lay, and performed the same duty: when the second man was slain in the same manner from a wound from the scorpio, a third succeeded him, and a fourth succeeded the third: nor was this post left vacant by the defenders, until the fire of the mound having been extinguished and the enemy repulsed in every direction, and an end was put to the fighting." - Julius Caesar
He would often post them on towers for extended range and line of sight.
Unfortunately the Onager catapult (Latin for “wild ass” will not be used as I can’t seem to find evidence of Julius Caesar having it in his armament.
Neither would the Polyboros for similar reason, although I would love to include it as it is a semi-repeating ballista that, if included in Alexander vs. Attila, could probably get double, even triple digit kills. The problem was it doesn’t seem to have been historically used, and Caesar again never mentions it. However if the Chinese have a “rare, special weapon category” I may add this in….
All you could want to know about these artillery pieces
Mail Call scorpion:
Long Range: Pilums, Cretan bow, early plumbata :
And now I will present the most famous long range Roman weapon, the Pilum. Here is what Vegetius has to for a description
"As to the missile weapons of the infantry, they were javelins headed with a triangular sharp iron, eleven inches (279 mm) or a foot long, and were called piles. When once fixed in the shield it was impossible to draw them out and when thrown with force and skill, they penetrated the cuirass without difficulty. They had likewise two other javelins, the largest of which was composed of a staff five feet and a half long and a triangular head of iron nine inches (229 mm) long. This was formerly called the pilum, but now it is known by the name of spiculum. The soldiers were particularly exercised in the use of this weapon, because when thrown with force and skill it often penetrated the shields of the foot and the cuirasses of the horse
The Pilum is a one of Rome’s signature weapons. The javelin head is designed to penetrate pretty much anything, and then get stuck in said object. If they are not killed outright then once stuck they will either have to A. remove it from the shield or armor, which will be extremely hard to do in combat and even hard to do without training outside of combat, B. drop the shield if holding one as it is now pretty unwieldy lowering the value they can put on defense and blocking, assuming the Roman doesn’t knock it aside. C. If it sticks in armor but the person is not dead then he will be fighting very awkwardly as a big fat javelin will now be sticking out of their chest. The Roman would likely take advantage of the 4 foot pole sticking out, throwing him off balance. This could make it easier for the Roman to win where they are best at, close combat. In short the Roman “fat Javelin” is truly an effective one, and a charge breaker to boot.
for more info here . In Caesar's time this would have been split between two variants; the heavy and light pila. The Former was always thrown while the second and stronger could be used in close quarter combat should the Centurion choose to use it like this.
More information on Cretan bows and the weilders Here
The Hellenic world disdained archery, save one place, the island of Crete. The archers here were famed and since you have seen, and will see, the Cretan bow in many blogs, I may as well give a history of their people. “ In their native Crete though constant civil wars have wrecked the land and have made it a refuge for many outlaws in the Mediterranean, including Cilician pirates. It was so notorious that at the time bad behavior was termed “Cretan Way”. Romans started facing these archers as crews of the Cilician pirate ships. Polybius wrote that under the pretext of fighting piracy the Romans found a good excuse to invade the island. After Metellus subjugated the ferocious Cretan guerillas with unparallel savagery the Romans reorganized the island as military colony under a prefect and a caestor and continued to recruit archers for their armies as before.
Ancient writers talk about the red tunics of the Cretans. Usually this was the mark of elite troops and supports the idea that they fought in the line, because red is hardly a color that ambushing skirmishers would favor. Another characteristic was their headband that still survives in the Cretan national dress.
They used small buckler or target shields. Initially they must have been wickermade, reinforced with leather but later it is possible that bronze facings were used. It is also more possible that they carried them suspended from their shoulder with bauldrics rather that burdening their arms while using the bows. Shield device was the AIGAGROS (chamois) or the swastic-like labyrinth of Knossos.
There is evidence that they started carrying the linothorax and helmets at the late classical period. This might have been their armor in the initial period of their service in the Roman Army but the longer they stay in service the more Roman their gear would become.
They also carried short swords and daggers-sometimes even javelins and they were not unwilling to fight psiloi or peltasts quite aggressively.
Composite bows are mentioned in Homer and by the Hellenistic period Scythian type bows would be available. Excavations in Crete have unearthed triangular heavy arrow heads capable of devastating wounds. The bow would be carried in the gorytos bow case when not in use.
At the time of Julius Caesar they most probably wore “montefortino” type helmets and bronze plaques protecting the chest like the earlier roman principles. The ones attached to the elite 10th legion might even have chain mail. A red roman tunic and braca, along with calligae would supplement their equipment. Service in cold northern frontier would have made them to adopt animal furs and other “barbaric” clothing items.
In the late roman period Cretans are not mentioned and perhaps they were not distinguished from other auxilia missile troops. But they are listed fighting valiantly among the defenders of Constantinople in 1453-perhaps a fitting end for these tough troopers.”
Truly it is as they have been fighting since the beginning of the classical age, and only stopped fighting when the last vestige of classical power was destroyed. They were said to have a range of “100 paces” and had standard and massive tangled arrowheads made out of bronze and iron.
“The exercise of the loaded javelins, called martiobarbuli, must not be omitted. We formerly had two legions in lllyricum, consisting of six thousand men each, which from their extraordinary dexterity and skill in the use of these weapons were distinguished by the same appellation. They supported for a long time the weight of all the wars and distinguished themselves so remarkably that the Emperors Diocletian and Maximian on their accession honored them with the titles of Jovian and Herculean and preferred them before all the other legions. Every soldier carries five of these javelins in the hollow of his shield. And thus the legionary soldiers seem to supply the place of archers, for they wound both the men and horses of the enemy before they come within reach of the common missile weapons.”
Mid range and anti Calvary: Hand-held pilum, Lancea, tribulus caltrops, “lilies”
The heavy pilum was occasionally used as a melee weapon particularly when facing Calvary. Julius Caesar himself ordered it to be used as such at least once at Alesia. In addition Arrian later wrote of its use against the Calvary
“"And the front four ranks of the formation must be of spearmen, whose spearpoints end in thin iron shanks. And the foremost of them should hold them at the ready, in order that when the enemies come near them, they can thrust the iron points of the spears at the breast of the horses in particular. Those standing in second, third and fourth rank of the formation must hold their spears ready for thrusting if possible, wounding the horses and killing the horsemen and put the rider out of action with the spear stuck in their heavy body armor and the iron point bent because of the softness.”
Most, if not all, of the Caesar’s Calvary were Celtic or Germanic. These auxilla were equipped with light spears or lances and long swords. The spear they used was called the Lancea, and it was 8 feet long and fitted with a metal spear point. While originally broad and leaf shaped as the Celts began fighting more and more armored enemies it gradually changed to become narrower to puncture through armor. In Caesar’s army these guys were often employed to chase down fleeing infantry.
“The armed chariots used in war by Antiochus and Mithridates at first terrified the Romans, but they afterwards made a jest of them. As a chariot of this sort does not always meet with plain and level ground, the least obstruction stops it. And if one of the horses be either killed or wounded, it falls into the enemy's hands. The Roman soldiers rendered them useless chiefly by the following contrivance: at the instant the engagement began, they strewed the field of battle with caltrops, and the horses that drew the chariots, running full speed on them, were infallibly destroyed. A caltrop is a device composed of four spikes or points arranged so that in whatever manner it is thrown on the ground, it rests on three and presents the fourth upright”
While many would laugh at such a weapon, this vile instrument can be a commander’s biggest headache. Wooden balls with metal spikes sticking out of it, the caltrops was perhaps the first easy to deploy mine. Many of these strewn around the outside of the camp pretty much guarantee against night attacks. These are much harder to detect then even pits and could be the worst nightmare of even the most armored Calvary, hell even elephants! When used properly they would not only destroy Calvary, but inflict grievous wounds on the infantry and most of all make them afraid to move anywhere, further increasing the caltrops user’s tactical advantage. First used against Alexander the great at Arbela, these were only just skillfully evaded. Later they were used with great effect by the Dioachi and the Romans with great effect against even the cataphracts of the Persians. The one downside is that they have been successful used against the people that deployed them, like when the Arabs forced the Persians to run into their own traps, and Genghis Khan forced the Chinese into a march across a caltrop strewn landscape. Still having a good commander that knows about the weapon can reduce the chance of this, like Alexander and Genghis did.
More info see here
(no not that big)
From Julius Caesar, Commentaries of the Gallic Wars.
“Before these, which were arranged in oblique rows in the form of a quincunx, pits three feet deep were dug, which gradually diminished in depth to the bottom. In these pits tapering stakes, of the thickness of a man’s thigh; sharpened at the top and hardened in the fire, were sunk in such a manner as to project from the ground not more than four inches; at the same time for the purpose of giving them strength and stability, they were each filled with trampled clay to the height of one foot from the bottom: the rest of the pit was covered over with osiers and twigs, to conceal the deceit. Eight rows of this kind were dug, and were three feet distant from each other. They called this a lily from its resemblance to that flower. Stakes a foot long, with iron hooks attached to them, were entirely sunk in the ground before these, and were planted in every place at small intervals; these they called spurs.”
Essentially these were standard pit spike traps. Their effectiveness is limited however, as they usually just around Roman fortifications, like their main camp. Used extensively at Alesia.
Close Range: Gladius, Celtic Long sword/ early Spatha:
Gladius Hispanicus :
The signature weapon of the Roman Legion was defiantly the gladius. Or more specifically, the gladius and shield combo. This allowed for the Roman to get in close to his enemy, while still defending against his enemy’s assaults. The blade then can be easily stabbed forward from the behind the right side of his shield at leisure, preferably whenever the enemy has made himself open. The gladius originally came from the Iberian Celts, who so impressed the Romans that they adopted it as their own, wreaking havoc against the armored Macedonians and chainmail armored Guals (which the Romans also adopted). The gladius hispanicus version was 27 inches long and had a double sided leaf like blade with a tapered point. It is described as the longest and heaviest of the gladius’s. Could be used to cut as well as stab (although Roman military doctrine demanded stabbing more than cutting).
The Celtic and German Calvary would have used their own long swords, often used exclusively on horse to chase down their fleeing enemies. After many years of use of these auxiliary the Celtic long sword evolved into the Spatha. From this point on it became THE weapon of the Calvary, and eventually it would become THE weapon of the infantry in the 3rd century A.D. While it was used almost exclusively from the horse at this period, it could be used by an infantryman with nothing else to use. It is a slashing weapon, like its ancestor, and as such great at slashing from a high-vantage point at the necks of their enemies.
Extremely Close Range: Pugio dagger
Of all the weapons shown thus far this is the one which Caesar will have his most….intimate experiences with. This was the standard side arm of the Roman army and brooding senators. It is a 11 inch long, 2 inch wide blade that found use in everything from emergency combat to ASSASSINATIONS!! Although this could slash, it was defiantly a stabbing weapon as well, as Julius Caesar later found out….
Calvary: Germanic and Celtic Auxiliary
In most cases these were the only mounted troops of Caesar’s army (in one instance though, he had his tenth legion mounted though). The problem with using them is, while they could be skillful on occasion, they were also extremely unreliable, a far cry from his tenth legion. In one instance a force of 5000 of them were routed by 800 men. They also weren’t as equipped as the rest of Caesar’s army, being issued a small shield, lance and their own long swords/spatha. Armor wise they were issued a helmet and there was little to no reference of them wearing chainmail, although some could probably afford it. The Celts were used for skirmishing, to make surprise attacks, to engage the enemy cavalry, to hold the enemy ground troops in check until the legions could arrive and to attack the enemy's flank, and most of all, to chase fleeing enemies .
Head and Neck: Late Montefortino helmet, Focale
A helmet of leather strengthened by iron, bronze or brass (galea) and decorated with a detachable crest (crista) of horsehair or feathers, generally colored red, was worn by all legionaries. While protecting the head and back of the neck, this helmet, held in place by cheek-pieces (bucculae), left the face exposed. The Montefortino helmet was originally an Etruscan design and continued to be used from when they first acquired it in 400 b.c. to 100 a.d. The Focale were scarves worn around the neck to prevent their metal torso armor from scraping it. Minimal protection to neck.
Torso: Lorica Hamata (footsoldier), submarlis or Lorica Musculata (Caesar), Pteruges
Lorcia Hamata was the base armor of the legionnaires during the late Republican era(the famous Segmentata) wasn’t invented until the beginning of the next millennium. Chainmail was first invented by the Celtic Gauls, who the Romans “borrowed” it from. The Hamata consists of thousands of overlapping rings that cover the upper body, and allowed for great flexibility and protection. While piercing weapons could get through it(although it would have a much harder time doing so then DW portrays it as having) , slashing weapons like the Celtic long sword or the KHANDA would not have an easy time doing so. Also would provide resistance against ranged weapons, although a crossbow bolt could probably punch right through it. Submarlis was a padded cloth garment worn underneath to provide additional protection and comfort. Underneath all this was the standard tunic.
Lorica Musculata was the bronze breastplate that Roman officers wore. It was made of two sides, Front and back, and buckled together at the side. Pteruges were straps that hung off the shoulders and waist and covering the upper arms and legs, were made of leather. They were implemented to protect the arms and legs, while conserving the use of metal.
Legs: Ocrea (greaves), Caligae(sandals), Balteus, Sporran
Generally only worn on the right leg (shield covered the other one) from what I have Learned is that Caesar favored the Tenth enough that he allowed these greaves to be worn on BOTH legs. The ocrea covered from shin to thigh and was made of bronze. Linen was worn beneath it to act as padding. The belts (Balteus) were rather narrow and were decorated with metal plates all the way around. The decoration of each bronze plate could be quite ornate. They featured embossed or engraved designs, sometimes plated with tin, and in rare cases coated with silver foil. Meek protection, but its purpose was more to show that soldier wore this. The Sporran was an apron consisted of a number of leather thongs to which were riveted metal plates, and weighted with bronze. Perhaps the most important armor of the Romans it served both for decoration purposes and to protect the GENITALIA.
The caligae were military sandals described as early athletic cleats, with small metal spikes on the bottom. Leather thongs tied half way up the shin and could be stuffed with wool or fur when in cold weather. The spikes could also be used to push in the face of a downed enemy, killing him (with credit to Ares).
Arms aka shield: SCUTUM:
“The Roman panoply consists firstly of a shield (scutum), the convex surface of which measures two and a half feet in width and four feet in length, the thickness at the rim being a palm's breadth. It is made of two planks glued together, the outer surface being then covered first with canvas and then with calf-skin. Its upper and lower rims are strengthened by an iron edging which protects it from descending blows and from injury when rested on the ground. It also has an iron boss (umbo) fixed to it which turns aside the most formidable blows of stones, pikes, and heavy missiles in general.”
- Greek historian Polybius
With sole exception of Julius Caesar himself, nothing else is recognized as so trademark Roman as this awesome shield. This shield defiantly stands as a contender for most important shield (or even weapon as it can be used to bash) in history. Roman military doctrine recognizes this by training the recruits to thrust and stab not slash, to deploy shields above and in front of you when marching under a hail of fire (Tseudo) and to never leave formation without orders to do so in battle. Basically when in formation, a scutum has near immunity from missile fire (although the Chinese crossbow is going to cause some problems), save artillery. Each legion had its distinctive symbol on the scutum and for the tenth legion the symbol was the
Tactics, Leadership and Battle Formation: Natural born leader, Bold aggressive Leader, lead from the front when necessary, Siege and Engineering genius, , lead by example, throw Pilum’s then charge, “Cramping”, Tetsudo
From the time Caesar was in his mere 20s he demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities when he organized small armies-without any formal authority to do so- to destroy first the Pirates who captured him, and then organizing a force to drive Pontic King Mithradates out of a local province. This also demonstrated his exceptional bold and aggressive nature, nature that was shown in his decision of double envelopment at Alesia, and to cross the Rubicon. To be fair though he did everything possible before committing to secure victory, so he didn’t rush in blind! He also fought side by side with his soldiers at the front when necessary, greatly increasing morale. Caesar was also a Engineering and Siege genius, and was master at deploying siege engines. Now to the Roman army. The standard military tactic for the Romans was to throw their pilums, and then charge into the now disorganized enemy. This had been proven time and again to be effective against a wide variety of enemies, whether unarmored or armored. Once they got close they could get in REALLY close and this would drastically decrease the effectiveness of difficult to maneuver slashing weapons, among others. Lastly there was the Roman’s famed Tseudo formation, which was very effective at nullifying causalities suffered by the Romans.
Loyalty: Tenth Legion
The tenth legion was Caesar’s favored legion and showed often fanatical loyalty to him. The only thing that’s going to stop him from getting full points is that the Celtic Calvary aren’t as reliable as his regular soldiers.
Rules of combat: Formation fighters, Throw Pilum’s in then charge
One of the main rules for the Romans is that violating or deforming the formation was one of the worse offenses you could commit, as it put the men around you at risk. As mentioned previously the Pilum throw then charge was pretty standard amongst the Romans.
Motivations: Payment, Land, And Loyalty to their commander:
The Roman army became a professional force after the Marian reforms, when poor soldiers increasingly enlisted in order to get land and Payment promised to them at the end of their terms. Their commanders were the ones who often promised this and promised to carry it out, making them loyal to their generals, instead of the Senate. This did not bode well for the republic…..
Training and Discipline: Professional soldiers , Heavily disciplined, “Not automatons”
As mentioned these are career soldiers, and have much more experience and training than those who are just militia who are just called to serve one day. The discipline of the Legions was legendary, and they were taught to control their fear and be obedient and loyal to those who they served (Roman general). Yet at the same time a degree of independence was encourage, and they were not dependent on their officers(centurions) for everything. They could move around the battlefield and even perform organized retreats effectively by themselves.
Martial Arts: Some Pankration
Continuing the Greek tradition, Pankration was still used in Roman times. While not every soldier would know of this martial art, some would.
Pankration is a “no holds barred” form of wrestling. As shown in DW in one of the few aspects of Alexander vs. Attila that I enjoyed it can be lethal and the rule of the Ancient Greek section of the Olympics was “victory was secured through knockout, submission or death” . Fighting could be Standing up or on the ground.
Roman Conquest 1-3
Battle of Watling Street: You will see this again J
2. (great Pilum scene)
Julius Caesar BBC: One of the most historically accurate ones I’ve watched thus far
Rome Power and Glory (Legions of conquest) I fully suggest you watch the entire six part series though
Julius Caesar History Channel : (battle scenes aren’t historically accurate)
Ancient Warriors: Legions of Rome
Sources by the Romans themselves:
The big man himself
Great author on Caesar Here
Some more sources
(Ultimate weapon site incoming….
6. (seriously check it out has ALOT of weapons listed)
And now for the army of Chinese Warlord Cao Cao
Artillery Category : “Pili che” or Thunderbolt cart (mobile catapult), The Lian Nu “Multiple bolt crossbow”
The Chinese were masters of siege warfare, and without a doubt have some interesting weapons to bring to this game. With regret I will not be able to show you YouTube videos of these, because they haven’t been recreated in the West, but I can give description.
“This mobile catapult was first used by Cao Cao himself in the battle of Guan Du. These mobile catapults could be towed out to wherever they were needed, and the actual catapult throw-arm and central post were probably slotted in on-site when needed. The mounted Xuanfengs(catapults) were light to medium sized catapults, overlapping in power and range at the upper end with that of the Hudun Pao. The development of mobile catapults which did away with the traditional sunken-leg base might have been a consequence of increasingly accurate enemy counter-battery fire.”
Basically this catapult sacrifices power for mobility. Still fing this into a crowded Roman formation will likely cause mass causialties and a serious morale hit.
Multiple bolt crossbow:
Another fascinating siege engine. Orginally invented in the 3rd century B.C. the Three Kingdom Era version could fire as much as ten bolts.
“The ability of the Lian Nu to discharge multiple bolts would have been a highly valued advantage in situations where density of fire was required. This advantage however came at the price of reduced accuracy. Bolts closer to the ends of the bow would have a greater tendency to veer away from the centre due to the diagonal force imposed on the notch by the angle of the bowstring. These side bolts would also necessarily be shorter than the central bolt that logically would not only be the longest, but also the most true in terms of flight trajectory. Somewhat like buckshot from a modern day shotgun, the Lian Nu would have fired a scatter of bolts forward in a spread.”
More info on chinese seige engines:
Long Range: “Nu” Han Dynasty crossbow, Composite bow, repeating crossbow
By the second century B.C. the crossbow had replaced the bow as the long range weapon of choice for the Chinese armies. Its natural accuracy (first three shots I fired with this weapon were all dead accurate) , lack of required training, and power were particularly attractive to the Chinese generals, which spurred them to make this a critical component of the armies. It utilized bronze triggers, which would hold the force of the strings behind it until released. The Han dynasty (the failing empire at the time of Cao Cao) introduced the concept of massed crossbow attack, fire by line crossbow attack, and even mounted crossbowmen. Range would be about 300 meters( but it would probably not peirce at that distance).
Crossbow vs. Scutum:
Much discussion has been put into the issue of “Scutum vs. crossbow” in just about every topic of “Han vs. Rome”. Can the crossbow pierce the scutum? If so can it pierce the armor and padding of the Romans in addition to the scutum? At what range would it be able to pierce the scutum? This question has never been tested, as far as I know, by anyone with interest in Han dynasty military or Roman Legion, which is surprising given the popularity of this grudge match (second only to pirates vs. ninjas) . Naturally opinions on the discussion boards are divided with pro-Han naturally proclaiming that the crossbow will easily pierce through scutum plus mail, and Romans supporters saying that the shield will protect and at most it will stab their hands at the inside of their shield. My opinion is that while it may be able to get through the shield at the closest range, it will not get through the Hamata and shield (compromise view). What is the opinion of some of my fellow posters?
“Noble men have nothing to compete, if really have to, Let us compete in
archery…and the archery contest should be decorous.”
While losing out to the crossbow as the main ranged weapon of the Han, this would still be a quite important component! During ancient times the Chinese would hold archery competitions, although these would be exclusively for the noble class. The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius (a lot of wise men came out of the spring and autumn period) managed to break this monopoly, and included in as one of his six core teachings. His ideas on archery defiantly influenced Chinese development of the bows. Added bonus for the archers of Cao Cao, ability to use fire arrows which is something the crossbowmen will not be able to do(but the Cretans could if they wanted).
Cho Ku Nu (Chinese repeating crossbow)
This crossbow “machine gun” suffered from some serious issues as well as having some benefits. It could not be fired accurately, HAD to be fired from the hip to be truly repeating, had short range(80 meters- and effective killing range of only 10-20) , and almost no penetrative power. What it did have going for it was fast reload time, huge magazine for its time (about 10 metal tipped bolts), fast discharge time (15-20 seconds) and mass amount of bolts firing at the enemy combatants (imagine how many bolts even ten warriors can shower forth in a minute). Also the bolts were poisoned which would ensure death if hit, though maybe not immediately…
Mid Range and Anti Calvary: Long Dao, Qiang (spear)
Honestly I don’t have much information about the first weapon other then it came about around the time the Dao replaced the Jian. It was a long one-sided blade that was placed on a staff or pole. Could be used by Calvary or anti-Calvary.
With the increase in importance of Calvary so too this weapon rose to further prominence, eventually becoming referred to as “the king of all weapons”. After the Ji halberd fell out of use during the Han this became the most important long weapon. It varied in length from 7 feet for infantry to 13 feet for Calvary, had a steel tip and was also made out of wax wood, which allowed for greater flexibility. While the Calvary used it for chasing down enemies and charging, the infantry would use it mostly protect the crossbowmen from Calvary attacks . Could be thrown if the soldiers chose to do so.
Close Range: Dao, Jian
The Dao broadsword was undoubtedly the most common weapon of the late Han-three kingdom age, and was the staple weapon of the infantry man, in addition to being carried by the horsemen. Now made of steel and ranging in length 2-4 feet, this gradually replaced the Jian due to the importance of cavalry, easier to train troops with(it was said to take a year to adequately train a man with a jian, and only a month for a Dao) and the jian’s reliance on stabbing. The Dao is a mostly for cutting and slashing although it could be used to stab and was very fast and deadly when used on a horse. This is way before it got the curve that you see on deadliest warrior. The Dao would remain in the Chinese arsenal all the way till the 20th century.
Look here for BETTER pic of han era Dao sword
While having been replaced among the common infantrymen by the time of the Three Kingdoms, this straight sword could still be seen among officers. While most Jian’s of the earlier eras had been made of bronze, this was made of steel like the Jian used in Deadliest Warrior. It was about 2-3 feet in length and was used almost solely to stab its opponents. Unlike the Dao this sword WILL go straight through the Roman’s bronze(officer on officer duel) and mail.
Extremely close range: daggers
Notice the lack of originality in the title? Why that is because of my research suggests that while they did have daggers, they had serious problems manufacturing the required amounts of swords so thus daggers were given low priority, although the three kingdoms did try to change this by employing more and more knife workers .While this would not be as common as the Dao, these would see occasionally use, and would undoubtedly help in cramped battles. Just not enough to single handily turn the tide
Calvary: Heavily armed shock cavalry, Xiongnu or Wu-huan Horse nomads
These shock troops were very heavily armored, with both horse and rider being covered. Cao Cao was famous for his calvary, which was considered the best in China at the time. Led by those who he was personally related to, these were very loyal and well trained. They were armed usually with the Qiang spear and Dao sword. Just like the Parthians did at Cannae, this unit has the ability to crack open the Roman Tortoise, making them near invaluable. While not as fast as other horse units, they make up for it in sheer power.
Another great image can be found here
These guys were known as the Huns of their day. China has always had an interesting history with the horse nomads around them. From building the Great Wall to keep them out, to adopting crossbow fire by line specifically because of them, to being eventually conquered by the greatest of them, and to finally hiring them to be their skirmishers it seems that their relationship extends back to the furthest reaches of known history. These would have served as auxiliary for Cao Cao, and given their long complicated history and some brooding resentment for the man who had won victories at their expense, wouldn’t have been the most loyal of troops. Armed with bows, short spears and sabers.
Healmet: Iron or leather Lamellar helmet
During the Han Dynasty, bronze armor began to be replaced by lamellar armor, or overlapping plates of either leather or iron. Due to the fact that there are too many fucking video games about this era, it has been hard to research accurate armor. What I have been able to learn is that the Han or later Cao Cao were never able to supply their whole army with helmets, due to manufacturing issues, although Cao Cao was able to make a lot. The more powerful iron helmets were more likely officer, while leather was more so the common foot soldier.
Torso: Leather lamellar plates, Iron Lamellar plates(officers)
The armor of the Wei and Han Chinese was called lamellar. This was a series of small overlapping plates laced together in parallel rows. The lamellar armor used by the soldiers was made of cheaper leather, which while giving them a degree of missile and slashing resistance, doesn’t offer much in the way of stabbing protection. While the iron isn’t as light as the leather it is certainly better at stopping missiles, slashing and greater stabbing resistance. Both sets of armor covered from the shoulders down to the crotch. Suspended over the shoulder by cords.
Some Chinese armor: Here
Legs: Cloth binding near bottom, lamellar thighs, boots
Sorry for the lack of information here, sources hard to come by. I had to rely on ciphering through artist drawings and YouTube videos. Based on the drawing I would say that the upper thigh region had lamellar armor wrapped around it. After this there was a gap which had regular cloth, then a cloth binding on the calves.
Arms aka shield: Shoulder pads, Shield
The lamellar shoulder pads extended halfway down to their elbows. In addition to this they did have shields, although not as prominent as it is in the roman army. It could have been used as cover for crossbowmen, or brought into combat by swordsmen. These ranged from tower shields to the more common rounded shields. Generally made of wood.
Tactics, Leadership and Battle Formation: Tough but fair, cool under pressure, could be merciless, Fire, Calvary and Crossbow oriented, Psychological warfare, Art of War, Han Formation
Cao Cao was known as a tough but fair leader, who didn’t discriminate on the basis of status hierarchy but sill had and enforced draconian laws. He was also cool under pressure, and when informed that Yuan Shao was launching a full scale attack on his main force he calmly continued to destroy his supply depos with his elite Calvary before finally coming back to deal with Yuan’s army . After the battle he then had the prisoners buried alive, in part because some feigned surrender, in part because he wanted to send a terrifying message and that he did, Chinese historians still debate on whether he was a brutal tyrant or hero for trying to unify China. Taking a page from the Art of War, the Chinese often used fire in their attacks, and while four types are strategic and therefore inapplicable, the fifth or flaming arrows is applicable, although flaming arrows were also used in the West. The Han and later Wei dynasties came to focus on the armor piercing powers of the crossbow and the maneuverability of the horse, which led to a decline in packed formations in China. At the battle of Guan Di he cut off the noses of killed enemy soldiers, mixed them with musk ox lips, and sent them at the enemy, further weakening an already morally drained force. This along with other less then savory actions gave him a fearsome reputation in China. He also would have read the Art of War, giving him the strategic insights of Sun Tzu, although to be fair Caesar would have read extensively on Hannibal and Alexander among other ancient war thinkers , which although not the field guide that Sun Tzu’s book is, gives him so unique insight of his own. If what I have read is correct his basic formation would be Front: Crossbowmen, archers behind shields, 2nd: swordsmen 3rd: Spearmen 4:Calvary(although these may be anywhere on the battlefield).
Loyalty: Mostly Loyal, horse nomads
While there were some defections in Cao Cao army, they were mostly loyal, as Cao Cao had committed to much societal advancement in their provinces, in addition to having a fearsome reputation. The Horse nomads would have been a mixed bag due to their history with the Chinese and mercenary status.
Rules of Combat: Crossbow and Calvary oriented, Art of War
Every since Sun Tzu himself penned it, the Art of War has been the premier military document for the Chinese military and has heavily influenced warfare ever since the Warring States Era. Cao Cao would have read this and adapted to the strategies and rules of Warfare as stated by Sun Tzu. In fact the Han actually required their generals to have a passing knowledge of this book before being handed their commission. One thing that had changed since Sun Wu’s time is that crossbow and Calvary became more prominent, and was used more often than infantry/chariots to win battles(the latter of which essentially fell out of use during the Warring States Era).
Motivations: Money, Lord, Buqu
Most, if not all, empires paid their troops and although there was no powerful empire during this time period (Cao Cao was the puppet master of the last Han emperor) troops were still paid . Whereas earlier soldiers had fought for the Han, the militaries loyalty now transferred to the lords of the various states, most notably Lui Bei, Sun Quan, and Cao Cao. Lastly the Buqu were a class specific to ancient China. They were during the Han a small class of private professional soldiers. During the Three Kingdom era they were increasingly refugees of the turmoil who sought security in the hands of powerful lords, at the exchange of their freedom and their family’s freedom. Essentially these were hereditary bodyguards, and followed their lord in peace and in war.
Training and Discipline: Mostly Volunteer, Some professional, Conscription, Buqu, Trained
Most soldiers of this period were volunteer and there was usually no shortage of them. In rare time that there were shortages conscription could be introduced. While all of these were given state training they lacked the discipline and morale of the professional and Buqu troops. These soldiers often comprised of the elite of the armies, like Cao Cao’s Tiger and Leopard Calvary.
Martial Arts: A society of Martial Arts
In today’s world China and Martial Arts are often synonymous. This is not without reason as martial arts came increasingly to be associated with the Literary Arts and then the overall culture. Ill name a few that I found. Jaioli was a combat wrestling style similar to Shuai Jiao. The combat version was no holds barred wrestling style and was often taught to commoners.
· I apology for the lack of detail in this article, it is hard to find Han Dynasty sources.
Artillery Category: Ballista and Scorpion vs. Mobile Catapult and Multi bolt Crossbow
This edge is a difficult one to give. Both have their pros and cons and will be used in different ways reflecting each army’s priorities. The Chinese will likely use theirs on the formidable and densely packed legion, while the Romans will be aiming for the enemy missile troops and opposing siege equipment. The Chinese engines are more powerful and damaging and can inflict mass causalities against even a Tseudo. Both of which are the only Chinese weapons near Guaranteed to pierce the Tortoise ….if they are able to hit. The multi bolt crossbow will easily hit the legion….at close range, farther range its shots will go wide, like the shotgun that it is described as being similar to. The catapult is also mobile, which can help in redeployment and positioning and has around the same range as the Romans. In addition the boulders can be set alight, and will have a greater blast or hit radius than any other weapon on the field. What it can’t compete with the Romans in, however, is accurate range. The scorpion can fire accurately up to 400 yards, while the Ballista has a hundred yards greater range. They could easily be used to take out enemy siege engines, with the Ballista’s long range and stone ball ammo being particularly devastating. Another tactic would be for the Romans to pour suppressing fire on the Missile troops, greatly helping the legion in getting closer. Still one final and extremely important, this one scorpion specific, is essentially sniping. The accuracy and range of the scorpion, as attested by Julius Caesar himself, allows for the specific targeting of enemy officers. This gives the Romans a fairly decent chance of ending the battle before it has even commenced, by taking out the King of Wei himself. The scorpion can also be modified for increased firing rate, increasing the value of its suppressing fire capabilities. In addition to that, the Roman siege engines are easier and faster to reload, and in the ballista’s case also mobile.
Superior accuracy, ability to snipe and faster reloading gives the Romans the edge in my mind. They are hindered from getting perfect score by lack of “area of effect” damage and the fact that they will burn through ammo fairly quickly (though not as fast as the Polybolos would).
Long Range: Pilums, Cretan bow, early plumbata vs. Han Dynasty crossbow, Composite bow, repeating crossbow
This one is rather difficult to decide and is subject to much speculation. Can the crossbow pierce the scutum? Will it be able to go through both scutum AND Hamata/padding? For this blog I assume yes on closest ranges and then no. The ability to go through the shields automatically gives the Wei a lot of advantages, as even if it won’t pierce chainmail it can still go into the Romans unprotected neck, face, feet, arms, hands ect. The Han also utilized an early “fire by line” tactic, so there will be nearly a constant stream of bolts flying at the Tseudo…and that’s just regular from the regular crossbow. The repeating crossbows will fire dozens of bolts each minute, but its effectiveness will suffer greatly from its UTTER lack of penetration and the amount of ammo that it expends ammo at a alarming rate means that it can’t be used for very long. Basically the only way it’s going to get a kill while the Romans are in formation is if it go a lucky shoe shot, in which case the poison will kill fairly soon. The only effective strategy that I can see relating to their use in battle is exploiting a breach caused by artillery (more likely) or a crossbow volley(less likely and smaller then artillery breach). In this case although it wouldn’t pierce the chainmail or essentially any of the Roman’s armor, it can be used on the unprotected spots. While it’s true that it’s hard to aim with this weapon, if you fire enough bolts at an unprotected Roman you are bound to hit at least one unprotected part. Next is the composite bow which would be seen in the Calvary of Wei and among the infantry. The composite bow’s main advantage is, although its use among the standard infantry had declined, Cao Cao has the option to order the ground troops that still utilize this weapon to shoot fire arrows. This is only applicable on the ground however, as horses will spook if you are carrying and lighting a fire arrow. Utilizing fire arrows against a WOODEN shield wall will likely yield serious consequences for the Romans, and will certainly cause disorder. The disadvantages to this are it takes longer to light and fire flaming arrows, less accurate and they will expose themselves as targets for retribution from the Cretans. The Cretan archers were the most highly trained and storied throughout the Roman world and would likely be following behind the main infantry formation. While very skilled, they are unfortunate in that their bow isn’t as strong as the Chinese, and therefore will have some problems with armor. They will be very good at suppressing fire, and can “return the favor” by setting alight their own arrows.
The Pilum will be the best anti-armor weapon in the Roman arsenal. When in range each legionnaire can throw two of these armor piercing missiles to devastate the Wei front line. It will go through or get stuck in (thereby rending it useless) pretty much all the armor of the Chinese that it hits, and will cause mass disorder and confusion for the Romans to charge into. The only downside is that you have to get really close to throw, in the meantime constantly getting shot by artillery/ crossbows. The last Roman weapon of range is the plumbata dart. The surprise factor of this weapon along with the ability to quickly and sometimes accurately throw it will be a great boon to the Romans. It can also be thrown horizontally directly at the enemy in front of you or overhead at enemies farther back. The flip side is it’s not the best versus armor, and was not really used in any large supply until later eras.
Of the weapons shown only the Crossbow, composite bow and plumbata would/could be used on horse.
So who gets the edge? In my mind this is close but it ultimately goes to Cao Cao for superior range, armor piercing capabilities, capacity to exploit artillery attacks, and pure amount of bolts(although conversely this would drain their supplies). VERY close though
Mid range and anti Calvary: Hand-held Pilum, Lancea, tribulus caltrops, “lilies”vs. Long Dao, Qiang (spear)
First of all, yes there are more Roman weapons and tools, but that doesn’t mean all are really effective. The Lilly won’t be in random places around the battlefield, rather just around the main camp. While they could cause a man to bleed out, their main function was really just to delay the enemy, which is what they would do. The Tribulus is MUCH more effective however, as it can be deployed either directly on the battlefield or during pre battlefield preparations. It is arguably the best anti-Calvary weapon here and can even stop Cao Cao’s fearsome elite before they have a chance to affect the battle. It will also stop infantry marches in their tracks. The downside is that good commanders have shown that they can navigate around this and that it is possible that the Romans may fall victims to their own devices. The hand-held pilum is going to be hampered by the same thing that makes it so effective long range: its ability to get stuck in an enemy. While you may kill the guy you are currently attacking, any other opponents around you will take advantage over your distinct lack of weapon. The Lancea is the best “Roman” weapon for this range, as it can be used both as a lance and as a javelin. Only the Celtic auxiliaries would have this though, meaning that the regular Romans would have to stick to their Pila.
Wei forces use two multipurpose and handheld mid range weapons: the Guandao and Qiang spear. The elongated Dao can easily be used to slash at the opposing Romans and Celtics while passing on Calvary, or if carried by infantry to knock out a horse’s legs. The Qiang can be used as a pretty dam effective lance if on horse or if on ground as a anti-horse if used by infantry. The downside about both of these weapons is that their ground versions will be at a disadvantage in the extremely close quarters fighting that the Roman infantry prefer. Also their shields will cause problems during calvary attacks(lances getting stuck in them, slashing attack limited, ect).
Despite this I feel like the Wei Chinese would get the edge due to how more common their mid range is, and how both of them can be used on Calvary or foot. Another small edge though.
Edge Cao Cao
Close Range: Gladius, Spatha vs. Jian, Dao
To anyone that pays attention to my writings, you should already know who get the edge here. I’ll explain for those who have never read my opinions before. The Dao is primarily a slashing weapon, which would do nothing against the chainmail of the Romans, assuming it can past the shield. In addition the sword is rather big, which will put the Wei foot soldier at a disadvantage when the Roman gets close. It does show it effectiveness on the horse, and will help in Calvary on Calvary engagements. The Jian, while it WILL get through the chainmail and padding, is only used the officers, who will have to contend with the formidable scutum and cramping tactic of the Roman.
On the opposite end of the specter is the gladius. Primarily used for stabbing but with slashing capabilities, it can be used in even the closest quarters. From the time legionnaires join the army they are constantly trained by the centurions in how to operate with gladius. They are trained how to use effectively in a formation, how to use their shield as a ramming device to throw the enemy off balance and then finish off with gladius, and how to block and parry effectively against other weapons. The Spatha was used almost exclusively on horse until the third century, and was the descendent of the Celtic long sword. It is an excellent slasher, which is usually preferred on a horse over stabbing weapons due to need to move onto other opponents.
While the Wei weapons are good, there is simply no competition in this category in my mind. For the first time on this blog ill give this a perfect 10
Extremely close range: Pugio vs. Chinese daggers
The Pugio is equipped by all Romans, and Caesar would have personally paid for his legion’s having the best money available. Due to the inherent problems of a large state, resource limitations, priorities, and apathy toward the idea, not all of the Chinese soldiers would be equipped with this. While the officers and elites would have had these, ordinary troops would have had this only if they could have personally afforded it.
Due to mass availability and use with shield the Pugio gets the edge.
Calvary: Germanic and Celtic Auxiliary vs. Heavily armed shock cavalry, Xiongnu or Wu-huan Horse nomads
While the Celts are surely a formidable group of warriors the Calvary of the Wei-Han combine heavy that are the Chinese version of Cataphracts and horse archers, something that could prove fatal against the Romans. While some of the Celts/Germans are armored with Chainmail, most do not. The majorities have a shield and helmet, other than that they are bare-chested. While this gives them some freedom of movement, it hurt them in battles with the heavily armored Wei horse, which will likely tear through them in any melee engagement. I doubt that the Celts will be able to catch the horse archers either. Really what their optimum purpose will be is A. Flanking the enemy B. Attacking from the rear C. attacking enemy siege engines D. chasing after routing enemies. Even their ability to accomplish this is hampered by their dubious loyalty.
The Romans aren’t alone in having disloyalty among their auxiliaries, as I can see the Xiogngu or Wua- Han abandoning Cao Cao if things get to rough. This possibility is the sole reason I don’t give Cao Cao a perfect score here, as the Wei heavy Calvary can crack open a tortoise.
Edge Cao Cao
Head and Neck: Late Montefortino helmet, Focale vs.: Iron or leather lamellar helmet
Caesar gets the edge here. Not only are all of his troops wearing it, but all Roman helmets are made of Iron, whereas only the Chinese officer’s helmets are made of Iron. The regular Wei rank and file, if their lucky to have one, wore leather, which although it’s better than nothing, won’t stand up to an assault as well as the Iron can. In addition to this the Romans have neck coverage, so while they don’t get perfect here due to an exposed face, they do get a solid 4/5.
Torso: Lorica Hamata (footsoldier), submarlis or Lorica Musculata (Caesar), Pteruges vs.Leather lamellar plates, Iron Lamellar plates(officers)
Ill split this into two parts:
First the average Soldier: The leather lamellar plates of the Wei Chinese will certainly provide protection from slashing and most projectiles and offer slightly more coverage then the Romans, unfortunately they don’t offer much defense in the way of stabbing protection, which is the category that the majority of Roman weapons are in. The Chainmail on the other hand is great at protecting from slashing weapons such as the Dao, which is the main close weapon of the Wei. The Leather padding underneath, although it was included primarily for comfort reasons, will help slightly with stabbing weapons. The only weapon that the Chainmail/padding will NOT help against is the crossbow, which will go right through it. This is quite problematic as that is the main ranged weapon of the Wei.
Still it gives more protection overall then the Lamellar, so it gets the edge overall in my mind.
Officer: The Roman Officer’s armor consists of an ornately decorated bronze breastplate and leather straps/protection along the shoulders/upper arms known as Pteruges . The Wei Chinese consists of Iron lamellar plates that covers pretty much everywhere that the Roman armor does. Both possess a great degree of slashing, piercing, and stabbing resistance. Both will falter to at least one of their opponents long range ( Pilum, Crossbow). For this I can’t really decide who should get the edge here so I am calling it
Legs: Ocrea (greaves), Caligae(sandals), Balteus, Sporran vs. Cloth binding near bottom, lamellar thighs, boots
The Romans are pretty much covered from groin to feet, while the Wei Chinese have some gaps in their armor that is exploitable, in addition to the cotton binding being weaker then the bronze Ocrea. This gives the Romans a pretty solid edge, as only their feet lack covering.
Arms aka Shields (I have lowered this down to 15 for reasons of Fairness): Scutum vs. Shoulder pads, Shield
You should already know the answer to this but I’ll go into detail. The Lamellar extends further down to the arm then the Roman’s armor does so that is a slight advantage. The Chinese did carry shields, including tower shields to protect their crossbowmen and regular shields for closer end combat (although not all of them would have this). EVERY legionnaire has the Scutum and are trained extensively allowing it be both used offensively and defensively in a giant formation (tortoise). The only weapons of the Chinese I see being able to effectively counter it are the Crossbow at the closest ranges and the fire arrows.
Tactics, Leadership and Battle Formation: Natural born leader, Bold aggressive Leader, lead from the front when necessary, Siege and Engineering genius, , lead by example, throw Pilum’s then charge, “Cramping”, Tetsudo vs. Tough but fair, cool under pressure, could be merciless, Fire, Calvary and Crossbow oriented, Psychological warfare, Art of War, Han Formation
I’ll go by categories before giving my overall edge.
Tactics: Caesar was undoubtedly a genius but he did rely more on Leadership abilities then innovative tactics. Most of what he used was used before by other Romans, except in the siege and engineering department, where he really shined. Whereas Caesar relied primarily on his Legions Cao Cao focused on crossbow and Calvary, giving him mobility and range benefits. He also had access to the Art of War, a boon to any commander, and giving him Sun Tzu’s tactical and strategic insight. He was also a master of Psychological Warfare, something that must be featured in army battle such as this. Although he gets the edge, he is still going to have a tough time dealing with the Legion in close quarters along with their armor ruining pilum.
Leadership: Caesar has this field, as he has shown his Leadership ability ever since he was a youth in Asia Minor (where he launched to military expeditions without any official backing). . Many, Many times throughout his campaign he was able to convince his men to follow him even when things seemed hopeless or horribly outnumbered. The Imperator was willing to take to the front when necessary to give a much needed morale bonus. Cao Cao is a good leader, and calm, collected one to boot, but he cannot compete in this field.
Battle Formation: Romans have the edge here. Their Tseudo will help greatly against the Han Missiles and their Pila will wreak havoc on whatever lines of the Han formation it hits. Although the Han can be praised for their variety, most of their close –mid range weapons included in the formation will not help against the Roman gladius+scutum.
Overall even as I feel that the Tactical advantage of Wei helps even things up.
Loyalty: Celtic Auxiliaries, 10th legion vs. Mostly Loyal, horse nomads
Even as both sides have their loyal elements (10th legion, Tiger and Leopard Calvary) and disloyal elements (Celts, Horse nomads).
Rules of combat: Formation fighters, Throw Pilum’s in then charge vs. Rules of Combat: Crossbow and Calvary oriented, Art of War
The Roman Rules of combat are pretty much standard and inflexible, while the Wei can maneuver much better, fire their missiles’ quicker and more efficiently, and they have the knowledge of an ancient military genius on their side, who they routinely study. The Romans will dominate close range combat though, so Cao Cao does not get full points.
Edge Cao Cao
Motivations: Payment, Land, And Loyalty to their commander vs. Money, Lord, Buqu
Both are pretty well motivated to win, but in my opinion the unique status of the Buqu and the need for their lord to stay alive to protect their families gives him a slight edge.
Edge Cao Cao
Training and Discipline: Professional soldiers , Heavily disciplined, “Not automatons” vs.Mostly Volunteer, Some professional, Conscription, Buqu, Trained
The Roman forces are thoroughly professional, disciplined, and yet trained to operate independently if needed. The Wei force is a mixed bag ranging from the volunteer troops, conscripted men, to the probably heavily trained Buqu, who fight for a living. Most of Cao Cao’s troops would go back to the farms once their service was over.
Roman discipline has proved time and again a deciding factor in battles, and I see no reason why it wouldn’t help in this one.
Martial Arts: Some Pankration vs. A society of Martial Arts
The Wei has the advantage here. Multiple different martial art styles coupled with mass widespread cultural training will certainly help against the Romans. There just isn’t enough Pankration training among the rank and file to make a difference. Yet the Chinese don’t get full advantage here due to my doubts about it dealing effectively with the Roman Formation
Edge Cao Cao