Were Roman Armies historicly used during Harvest?

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Innovan
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Were Roman Armies historicly used during Harvest?

Postby Innovan » Tue Mar 28, 2006 1:42 am

In Parthenon you're allowed to take your Greek armies and put them to use in the fields during harvest time to increase yield (max of one soldier for each farmer already assigned). Which makes the Armies useful for something else besides just standing around preparing to die in the next attack battle, and makes them a valuable economic unit instead of just a suck to your economy consuming salary. (Thinking of CotN here).

Would armies doing double duty for harvest work also be historical for the Roman Age, or is that a Greek age thing only?

Keith
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Postby Keith » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:39 am

The Greeks were citizen-soldiers. They never had a standing army. After the Republic era and after the very early Empire, the Romans had a professional standing army. I don't ever recall seeing anything about them doing farm work. They were used extensively in many construction projects, especially roads.
Last edited by Keith on Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

Shadow-Imperator
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Postby Shadow-Imperator » Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:47 pm

The Legions where used extensively used for civil projects and whatnot, like Keith said, they build lots and lots of Roads during peace time, which kept them industrious as opposed to being idle, and probably kept their minds off plots and unrest and whatnot.

Innovan
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Hmmm... roads and civil projects

Postby Innovan » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:00 pm

Hmm... Stone highway and aquaduct building (and other civic buildings) by army units could be interesting, and give them something to do on the homefront.

King Faticus
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Postby King Faticus » Tue Mar 28, 2006 6:26 pm

Shadow-Imperator wrote:The Legions where used extensively used for civil projects and whatnot, like Keith said, they build lots and lots of Roads during peace time, which kept them industrious as opposed to being idle, and probably kept their minds off plots and unrest and whatnot.

they also build large monuments on the frontiers like Hadrians wall. the theory behind it was if a soldier was unoccupied he would squander his salery gambleing and what not, but, even more importantly a busy army is one that doesn't have enough time to plot against the emperer whom usually put them to work away from rome ;) Many emperors met their end because the army and others learned from their mistakes or else.... Roman Politics are fun :eek:

Acamas
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Postby Acamas » Wed Mar 29, 2006 2:54 am

I remember learning about the Soviets ordering their soldiers to do farmwork during harvesting season. It could work. I've heard of Roman soldiers re-building cities after an earthquake or a riot druing the Imperial era. Anyone have info on this?

Marius
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Postby Marius » Wed Mar 29, 2006 3:12 am

Years ago i came across a reference somewhere about Roman Legions on the move to battle grounds harvesting food and coralling livestock ... to take with them to the combat area as provisions from the countryside they moved through.

Essentially taking a couple breaks along their path to gather supplys.

Not sure if they ever did it to augment the local Governor, Praetor, or Caesar's purposes/benefit ...

Keith
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Postby Keith » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:14 am

Foraging for food has always been part of armies on the move. Legionaries doing regular farmwork in occupied areas or even at home was probably not done. At least I haven't seen a reference to it yet.

Thucydides
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Postby Thucydides » Wed Mar 29, 2006 9:22 am

Napoleon once famously quipped that an army marches on its stomach. The Roman army had an excellent logistics train, but it would have been alert to the need to bolster its supplies, particularly when on a permament deployment in a frontier camp. The Romans had an essentially agrarian economy and its soldiers would have been well skilled in farmwork. We know, of course, that the standard 'superannuation' payout for Roman conscripts was a patch of farm land to work in retirement. So it is probably safe to assume that the Roman Army would have been able to suppliment their provisions by farming if so required.

Rachelc258
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Postby Rachelc258 » Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:57 am

Innovan wrote:In Parthenon you're allowed to take your Greek armies and put them to use in the fields during harvest time to increase yield (max of one soldier for each farmer already assigned). Which makes the Armies useful for something else besides just standing around preparing to die in the next attack battle, and makes them a valuable economic unit instead of just a suck to your economy consuming salary. (Thinking of CotN here).

Would armies doing double duty for harvest work also be historical for the Roman Age, or is that a Greek age thing only?


One thing that you gotta keep in mind, i think, is that rome changed tremendously during its thousand and some years. So i'd say the question is not really 'did they' but 'if they ever did- when?"

however, given the time frame I imagine will be used for this game, I doubt the citizen-soldier will figure highly into it. i imagine it'll be more the 25 year tour types. :-P

generals3
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Postby generals3 » Fri Mar 31, 2006 10:55 am

what i once read in one of Caesar's texts is that his soldiers harvested the farms from the enemy so they wouldnt have food left, but i don't know about harvesting from regular farms...

MarkDuffy
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Postby MarkDuffy » Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:46 pm

Innovan wrote:Which makes the Armies useful for something else besides just standing around preparing to die in the next attack battle, and makes them a valuable economic unit instead of just a suck to your economy consuming salary. (Thinking of CotN here).


And the game more easy, too!

COTN soldiers didn't just sit around doing nothing during non-military times. They consumed HUGE amounts of food, goods & services. If you deleted them, they emigrated & became vagrants to cause you grief. Soldiers reacted FIRST to a player's unstable city & were pretty easy to get to protest.

Would armies doing double duty for harvest work also be historical for the Roman Age, or is that a Greek age thing only?

We can bend history if necessary. It is a game in a historical setting & not a documentary.

While an interesting concept that has come up before, I'm not sure I would really want it in C4.

I want to have to build an actual construction crew with appropriate leaders & separate farmers/other food jobs to make the game more challenging & require many different types of citizens. I want a varied diet to be absolutely necessary for health & prosperity.

However, having to decide whether you need food/construction or defense/offense at a specific moment would be interesting to look at. Especially if a construction site collapsed when you sent soldiers off to defend/attack. ;)

Very interesting subject & it is a glimpse into the very heart of the nature of CBing itself. Whether we want multitasking or specific duties for our people.

Thankx, Innovan! :)
Last edited by MarkDuffy on Fri Mar 31, 2006 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Geminus Portitor
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Postby Geminus Portitor » Sat Apr 01, 2006 7:52 am

Just a couple of observations from history:

Until the end of the Republic, Rome did not possess a standing army. Citizens were called up in militias as needed, your social standing and wealth determining type of service you were to provide. For this reason, campaigns were brief. Rather than soldiers being used in the fields, armies actually had to be disbanded in time so that the "former" soldiers could get back to bring in that years harvest. Otherwise the city starved!

Once standing armies were established in the 1st century BC, it was standard practice for them to forage when they were on campaign. When on enemy soil, they just took what they wanted. When on Roman soil or that of her allies, they could commandeer crops and produce in return for fair payment (a rule not always observed). Use of troops for agricultural duty was not common due to a lack of farming tools. During periods of idleness they were usually set construction tasks like roads and secure encampments.

People seem to be overlooking that it was a very rare occurrence for armies to be permitted in Italy itself. Excepting the Praetorian Guard, this was a rare event. For political and security reasons, armies were kept well away from Rome and so were some distance from the farmlands servicing the city.

Moreover, by the time of the early Empire, the local farmlands had long since failed to be able to provide sufficient food to the population of Rome. Most was imported from Egypt - so even if soldiers were able to help on the farms and even if the soldiers were allowed in Rome, the farms were mostly in Egypt by then anyway!

Rachelc258
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Postby Rachelc258 » Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:05 am

most of the farm produce may have been coming out of egypt, but there were still a huge number of farms in italy. The huge plantations. shifts in the social order and all that. poor republic.

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Sat Apr 01, 2006 9:45 am

Don't have a source at the moment, but I believe that many Roman farms actually didn't produce wheat anymore but rather luxury products by the time the Empire had begun.

Azeem
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Postby Azeem » Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:50 pm

EmperorJay wrote:Don't have a source at the moment, but I believe that many Roman farms actually didn't produce wheat anymore but rather luxury products by the time the Empire had begun.


I've heard of that as well. Aside from Egypt, where else did they get wheat from?

Kiya
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Postby Kiya » Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:00 am

Enjoyed doing some googling on a Sunday morning.

"Landowners lived in the cities or, in the case of the truly wealthy, in Rome itself. A foreman managed each estate separately. Some individual estates, called villas, were huge operations. One villa, the Boscatrecase, which was located near the Italian city of Pompeii, had 100,000 jugs of wine in storage. Large estates in the provinces had lower labor costs, which gradually undermined traditional Italian agriculture. As a result, Rome imported wheat from Egypt and Africa, wine from Gaul, and oil from Spain and Africa."

"The early Empire had many hut villages that relied on their own crops for support. The chief crops of these villages were emmer wheat, barley, peas and beans (Cornell & Matthews, 1982 p. 19). One of the principle producers of grain was Egypt. Egypt was also "the center of the cultivation of the papyrus plant and of the manufacture therefrom of the paper of antiquity" (Lewis and Reinhold, 1990 p. 83). According to Pliny, North Africa was a major producer of wheat (Lewis & Reinhold, 1990 p. 84). Roman roads were many times difficult to use when trying to deliver goods. Most goods received by Rome were from Afiica and Egypt because it was cheaper and faster to deliver these imports by ship than bringing them from other faraway countries by road. Instead, the roads were used mainly for the transfer of local goods to be sold at markets in much smaller quantities (Cornell & Matthews, 1982 p. 114). It was still difficult however to transport crops to Rome by way of ship because of the warm and moist conditions that were conducive to the spoiling of the grains aboard ships (Lewis & Reinhold p. 63)."

"An estimate of the cost of transportation of wheat indicates the crucial importance of sea travel. The cost of transporting wheat 100 Roman miles by land was 55 percent of the value of the wheat whereas transporting it by sea was only 1.3 percent of the value of the wheat. (p. 368 of The Economy of the Roman Empire by Richard Duncan-Jones)"

"Crimea was one of the Roman's source of wheat. They bought wheat (and wine too). Officially Crimea (and Feodosia) never formed a part of Roman Empire but there was an agreement between some Crimea city states and Rome to defend Roman borders against numerous nomads.
Nevertheless, these states were under the Roman power and couldn't be independance in spite of the fact that this region never had the status of Roman province."

Fishrob
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Postby Fishrob » Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:11 pm

Roman Soldiers
Try This,when the Romans FIRST invaded Britain

Agamemnus
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Postby Agamemnus » Mon Apr 03, 2006 2:51 am

Those are just British guys dressed in mock Roman clothing.

Timeformime
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Romans were Mercenaries.

Postby Timeformime » Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:10 am

Actually, the Greeks were one of the many civilizations up to the Romans who had a citizen army, whereas the Roman army was made up of mercenaries. The legions were loyal only to the generals who paid them.

Edit: I believe though, this was all during the Republic.
Last edited by Timeformime on Wed Apr 12, 2006 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.


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