First Roman battles after the Marian reforms

I'm quite interested in the removal of the Hastati, Principes and Triarii elements introduced by the Marian reforms in 107 BC, and how it affected the Roman army at first.

Looking on Wikipedia for Roman battles just after the reform brings two Roman defeats in the Cimbrian War: the Battle of Burdigala (107 BC) and the disastrous Battle of Arausio (105 BC).

Both articles mention other causes for defeat, but I'm wondering if inexperience in a new system on the battlefield played a part.

Of course, in case the new Marian legions didn't made their debut in neither of those battles, where was it and what impact had the new composition of the army?

Firstly, this is an excellent question.

Marius created the reforms during his time as proconsul after Rome's struggles in the first half of the Cimbrian wars against the Northern Rhone-located Cimbri and Teutons tribes. The absolute destruction at Arausio was part of the reason for the reform's institution. It is unlikely that any battle led before Arausio including Arausio used the reforms- many sources including the Wikipedian articles upon the Cimbrian war state the Roman forces in terms of strict numbers and tend to only use the term "legions" and "cohorts" after and in the battle of Aquae Sextiae.

For this reason, I think we can deduce the first use of the legions was at Aquae Sextiae.

Marius eliminated the manipular system and invented the term "cohort". Another reason I think we can state with solidarity that Aquae Sextiae was the first usage is because of Marius's reform that allowed non aristocratic plebeians to join the army. This would only have been done due to the absolute deficit of Roman soldiers, which would have occurred after the loss of 80,000 at Arausio.

The system eliminated many of the conventions of the Republican army and ensured that a fully staffed and annually paid Roman army was always at hand. I found this to be an excellent source detailing many of the impacts of the war and the changes in the Army post triplex acies.

I hope this helped and gave a better idea on the reforms and approximate time of the institution of the reforms.

Rome: Total War Heaven

Every player of Rome:Total War knows that the advent of the Marian Reforms is the single most influential event in the game. It opens up a totally new technical tree for the Romans, deletes the weaker units, massively improves the quality of recruitable Roman units, and paves the way for the Romans to conquer everything. But what exactly are the Marian Reforms? Why did they come about? And what effect did they have in history?

The Marian Reforms in ancient Rome were a set of laws quite simple, effective, and yet relatively earth-shattering for their day. Gaius Marius passed laws that simply waived the property requirement for men wishing to serve in the legions. Those recruited under these laws would receive their equipment from the State, and serve a sixteen-year term of service (which was later raised to twenty). After that, they would be granted land upon which to settle. In addition, allies who volunteered were granted Roman citizenship after the end of their service. That was it, in a nutshell.

Why did these reforms come about? Some will point out that these Reforms were a natural progression of Roman military might, and being practical people, the Romans made the change. This is wrong. The Romans were indeed a practical people, but practical people do not change something that works adequately- they come up with solutions to problems of things that do not work. And there were problems aplenty to be fixed- but very few with the will or the means to apply a solution until Gaius Marius.

Rome was in deep trouble. Her laws had always been scrutinized carefully upon their proposal, and tweaked where necessary, before passing from the Senate to the People for ratification. Then they were inscribed in bronze plates and stored for eternity. This worked well, but times changed and the laws did not. One of those laws was the statutes for serving in the legion. One had to be at least of the Fifth Class, and provide his own equipment in order to serve in the legions. The Senate felt that men who had a stake in Rome- a farm, a standing, a vote that counted- would be more willing to fight than those who did not. The People agreed- most armies in the known world at that time were raised that way. A term of service was one campaign long- normally a single summer. The system worked well for centuries, but times change.

Tiberius Gracchus noticed changes fifty years after Hannibal destroyed Roman armies in battles at the River Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and the colossal carnage at Cannae. He saw the senators and wealthy buying up the empty small farms, consolidating them into large latifundia, and importing slaves to work them. He saw the small farmholders being squeezed out, losing their homes and status while the Senate and wealthy prospered. He saw the military strength of Rome waning as the pool of eligible men shrank. And he was determined to do something about it.

He became a Tribune of the Plebs and instituted his Lex Sempronia Agraria, which attempted limit the amount of public land available to individuals- including senators. His laws were passed with violence, and he was soon assassinated, his laws torn down or ignored. His brother Gaius Gracchus took up the flame of reform, and met the same fate. The situation steadily declined as the Senate forgot the message of the Gracchi and returned to business as usual.

The bloody mess of the Second Punic War was but eighty years past and the Gracchi thirty years in their graves when a new threat emerged. These were the Germans- the Cimbri, to be exact- who were searching for a new home. Their low-lying homeland on Jutland had been flooded with seawater, making the once fertile land incapable of producing grain or sustaining life. Thousands died, and the majority fled to seek new lands. They traveled with the Teutoni, and later the Ambrones as well. And they came towards Italy in 112 BCE.

Gaius Papirius Carbo was sent to drive them away. He levied his legions, went to Noricum, and fought the Cimbri in the Battle of Noreia. He was stomped hard, and lost most of his army in the process. Over the next few years, the Romans would lose battles at Gallia Narbonensis where the consul Marcus Junius Silanus would be killed, Burdigala where Gaius Cassius Longinus Ravilla and his entire army was killed, in the Alps where they were defeated again, and finally at Arausio in 105 BCE.

Here, the two consuls, each with an army, faced the Cimbri. Neither consul would allow the other to command his army, so they met the Cimbri as two small warhosts fighting independently rather than as a single, large, and unified army. The Cimbri annihilated both armies. Rome lost eighty thousand soldiers and two entire armies in one bad day.

Rome lost in total between one hundred fifty thousand and one hundred eighty thousand propertied legionaries in those few short years, not four generations after the massive losses incurred during Hannibal's Invasion of Italy- which itself virtually annihilated the entire class of men eligible for legionary service.

Meanwhile, Gaius Marius was elected consul to take over the war against Jugurtha in Numidia. The outgoing general, Quintus Caecilius Metellus, gave his army to the senior consul Ravilla, who took those veterans and lost them all at Burdigala. Marius had command of a war, but no troops with which to wage that war. So like every consul before him, he sent recruiters throughout Italia to raise a new army. His recruiting teams returned to Rome empty-handed.

The explanation was simple. The military disasters of the last hundred years had killed off many of the propertied men who qualified as legionaries before they could replace themselves with children. Further, the recent campaigns like the Siege of Numantia, or the Third Punic War, lasted far longer than a single season. The farms, left unattended or in the hands of women and children for that long a time, faltered and went bankrupt or were bought up, reducing the once-proud citizen-soldier to a poor and jobless mouth to feed at State expense upon his eventual return.

The disowned farmers, former legionaries and their families had flocked to Rome, where they were classed by censors into the capite censi. These people were so poor they were merely counted, not classed into centuries like the upper classes. They had no vote, no say, and no property worth mentioning- only mouths to feed. This lowest class became so large, that it actually affected politics, with men like the Gracchi appealing to them with their laws. As defeat heaped upon disaster on the field of battle, this poorest class grew and grew.

This situation, growing worse with every season, effectively denuded Italy of men qualified to serve- as foreseen by the Gracchi- and increased the expenses of the State who subsidized the grain of the poor. Few men except the rich had property, and they would serve as officers, not legionaries. Legionaries had to be found. Rome had hundreds of thousands of able-bodied men, but very few of them were qualified to serve. So Marius removed the one thing barring these men from serving- the property qualification.

He then equipped these legions of the poor with the many sets of armor and weaponry in storage at Capua and other cities. This Rome had in droves from its many recent defeats. With typical Roman efficiency, Rome had afterward cleaned up every battlefield where her men had died and stored the arms and armor of the dead for future use. Marius used this equipment and with his law removing the property barrier, he now had the manpower. Man plus equipment equals soldier.

Marius as a general reorganized the legion itself. He had to. Times had changed, as stated before. Starting in 104 BC, he was elected senior consul of the Roman Republic five times in a row, giving him the time to firmly entrench his reforms and work out the bugs.

The old Camillan system was based upon hastati graduating to principes, who would graduate to triarii. This is where one problem lay. There were no more hastati to become principes, no more principes to become triarii. Spears had fallen out of favor with Romans after crushing the phalanxes at Pydna in 168 BCE, and he had not the time to teach to four separate groups of men the tactics of the Camillan velites, hastati, principes, or triarii. So he abolished that deadwood and reduced the various Camillan parts to a single branch based on the principes- who had provided the backbone and muscle of the Camillan legions.

The legions of Marius and his successors would consist of ten cohorts, in place of the thirty maniples of the Camillan legions. Camillus had grouped centuries into maniples because the century had become too small a unit to be effective on the battlefield as warfare evolved. Marius replaced the maniple with the cohort for the same reason. Auxilia were classified and assigned to legions to fill holes in the order of battle, and transferred about as needed.

The legionary himself was armored in the lorica segmentata, or chainmail. He carried a pair of pila, into which Marius introduced a wooden pin that broke upon impact. This prevented a foe from casting the pilum back at the Romans. In addition, the legionary was armed with the gladius and scutum, a combination the Romans had used with great success for two hundred years, despite the recent reverses. All equipment was standardized, easily made and repaired wherever a forge and materials were at hand. The training was also standardized, which meant a legionary from one legion could be transferred to another and know exactly what to do and where.

Marius also cut away much of the baggage train a legion had with it, making it more mobile. This was not so popular with the legionaries themselves, as they now had to carry most of their equipment on forked sticks, instead of letting an oxcart carry it. Oxcarts and mule-pulled wagons are slower than men and require roads, while legions of Marius's Mules could cross lands where no roads existed at the pace of a marching man.

The legionary now served for sixteen to twenty years, instead of a single campaign. Previous legionaries were recruited as needed, served their campaign, after which they returned to their homes, if they still had homes. Marius turned serving as a soldier into a full-time occupation. The legionaries were now recruited, equipped, and trained by the state, then remained in service until the end of their term. This standing professional army was unlike any seen in the Western World at that time, and the fact that it was a standing army meant that it drilled and trained year-round, and was ready for action immediately. No longer would precious time be spent recruiting and training when a crisis threatened- the legions were at hand.

All of this gave the professional Roman legionary a huge advantage over the part-time and self-equipped warriors of their opponents.

Marius got his legions, and with the help of good lieutenants, captured Jugurtha and ended the war. He then destroyed in the Cimbri in the battles of Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae, ending that threat to Rome.

Rome survived. She would pay for her folly in trying to hamper his reforms later, but Gaius Marius and his reforms had made immediate and positive effects. Rome was safe from the Germans, for the time being. The midterm effects of the reforms launched Rome from a large city-state with foreign territories to a great empire. But the long-term effects would help bring down the Republic.

The Reforms of Marius were a social earthquake upon the established system. As mentioned above, the propertied classes of Romans eligible for service had been depleted by the massive and repeated disasters which befell the incompetent generals prior to Marius's consulship. This in itself caused unrest, as the defeated general was often seen as a vulture who reaped financial benefits from his own ineptitude and deaths of the men he led. Those legionaries fortunate enough to survive their general often found themselves without a home, if having been bought in bankruptcy court while they were away fighting for Rome. Rome was polarizing into a State of the Very Rich and the Very Poor- with almost nothing in the middle. The Gracchi saw the dangers, but were killed trying to correct the situation.

Something had to be done or Rome would break apart.

Marius did something. He opened the legions to the poor, giving those who enlisted a steady job for sixteen to twenty years. As an incentive to fight for Rome, they were to receive a parcel of land upon which to settle after their term. Marius had far better luck with his solution- the Gracchi had no terrifying Germanic hordes breathing down Roman necks.

In effect, Marius was trying to inject new blood to repopulate the small farmer-middle class of Rome that was nearly extinct. As the powerful senators had swept up most of the available land in Italy, or refused to use it for settling veterans because they hated Marius, he was forced to settle his veterans on lands captured from an enemy. This seeded Roman citizens and Roman values in the conquered lands while trying to rebuild those lost middle-classes for future wars. In that he failed, though he did further Romanization and provided legionaries for many years to come.

The Reforms were also political dynamite. The senators hated Marius- to them, he was a mushroom from Arpinum who had no ancestral claim to enter their exclusive club of senior Roman magistrates. They voted down his reforms, stating that the poor would not fight well as they had no farm or home for which to fight. So Marius passed over the Senate and went directly to the People of Rome, who passed the laws. He proved the Senate wrong at Aquae Sextiae and again at Vercellae, where the Marian legions fought very well indeed.

When Marius declared he could not tell Roman from ally in battle, he effectively cancelled the notion of allied legions. Hereafter all legions were Roman legions. But the Senate, protecting its exclusivity, refused to consider the allies as equal to Romans. They even went so far as to punish certain allies for daring to claim Roman rights. The result was the Social War, Rome versus its former allies. Rome almost lost before recovering under Sulla, and in the end negotiated a peace giving the former allies Roman citizenship.

When Marius attempted to get land for his veterans, the Senate balked time and again to disburse good land to the peons of Marius. The main senatorial objections to this section of the Reforms seem to be that they threatened the Senate's own means of wealth (senators were required to have an income of at least four hundred thousand sesterces per year from land). And that they came from the mind of Marius.

This was most foolish, for in making a general apply for land upon which to settle his veterans instead of granting it automatically whenever a legion retired, the Senate turned the loyalty of the legionary away from the State and to his general instead. The State was seen as a puppet to the Senate, out only to enrich itself over the bones of the People, while the general was seen as a patron and a way to wealth for his legionaries.

The senatorial quibbling also forced each general to be dependent upon conquering foreign lands upon which to settle his veterans. The four hundred years after the reforms were marked by Roman expansion from Italy, North Africa and a bit of Gaul to reign over the entire Mediterranean world, to the southern reaches of Scotland, to the Rhein, deep into the Balkans, and as far east as Parthia. True, much of this conquering happened after the fall of the Republic, but it gained a big boost in the time between Marius and Augustus until the latter finally tamed the Senate and could settle veterans by decree. Yet the damage was done- legionaries were steadfastly loyal to the general who would earn them spoils and land, and not the State who supplied his equipment and salary.

The legionaries, loyal to their generals above Rome, marched time and again on Rome to make their favorite general emperor. It began with Sulla and Caesar, but continued with Galba, Vitellius, Vespasian, Septimus Severus, and many others. Civil war, which Rome had not faced before Sulla, became commonplace, especially in the Year of Four Emperors (69 CE) and in the years after the Five Good Emperors. Thus the Marian Reforms contributed greatly to the destruction of the Republic and wracked the Empire with civil war due to this conflict against senatorial obstinacy.

Towards the end of the Empire in the West, the same situation arose, but due to different causes. Most of the troops then were not even of Roman or even Italian origin- they were allied foederati or Germanic legionaries. The Roman and Italian legionaries who had built the empire were long since pushed further and further into oblivion, until at last the Empire they built was defended by men whom their forefathers had considered the enemy.

The Mules of Marius built an empire, but the same social ineptitude leading to their creation continued and eventually caused its downfall five hundred years later. Marius had given Rome a means to survive, which she used, then ignored, and eventually squandered away over the next half-millennium. Five hundred extra years he gave the Eternal City- not bad for a mushroom from Arpinum with no ancestors.

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2. Caesar’s Civil War

The death of Caesar (Credit: Leemage/UIG via Getty Images)

In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar found himself at a crossroads. The great general was fresh off a stunning military campaign in Gaul, but his longtime alliance with Pompey the Great had turned into a bitter rivalry. Even more pressing was the Pompey-aligned factions of the Roman Senate, which demanded that he disband his army and return home as a civilian. Caesar would do no such thing. Vowing, “The die is cast,” he rallied his men, crossed the Rubicon into Italy and ignited a civil war.

Over the next several months, Caesar’s supporters crossed swords with Pompey’s forces in battles across Italy, Spain, Greece and North Africa. A crucial turning point came at 48 B.C.’s Battle of Pharsalus, when Caesar outfoxed a Pompey-led army despite having far fewer troops. Pompey fled to Egypt in the wake of the defeat, only to be double-crossed and executed by its young king. With Pompey dead, Caesar’s victory was all but secured. After defeating the last of Pompey’s allies in North Africa and Spain, he returned to Rome and was appointed dictator for life in early 44 B.C. His reign would be short-lived. On March 15, the infamous Ides of March, Caesar was assassinated by a cabal of Roman senators.

Roman Consul Gaius Marius and the Marian Reforms

Although Consul Gaius Marius (157-86 BCE) 1 of Ancient Rome is known as one of the most controversial players on the stage of Ancient Roman history, he is likewise perhaps the greatest contributor to the increased battlefield proficiency that became what people today think of when we think of the powerful Roman Army. In fact, in many ways Marius set the standard by which most future successful military forces were to operate on at the tactical and logistical levels.

The Marian Reforms played a pivotal
role in the future of the Roman military, economy, political and social cores of Roman society. While his Reforms took care of some problems, a whole new problem took hold. That problem came when
during the Jugurthan War in Numidia, Gaius Marius raised the first Roman volunteer army in 107 BCE. 2 The army was made up of mostly poor, landless, and or unemployed men. He trained them and then defeated an enemy that had been fighting well against the Roman Army. 3 Not only did this make Marius a hero because he defeated the enemy with his volunteer army, he managed to relieve a
great portion of Rome’s economic problem of rampant unemployment by accepting men for service that were previously not allowed into the Roman armed forces due to societal status. Ironically, some of these men had once been lower class land owners who farmed, and while away on military service their homes had been confiscated and sold off by the wealthier classes of Roman citizenry. Once they had served, but
now homeless, landless, and unemployed, without Marius they no longer were qualified for service. Marius changed that by allowing them into service in spite of their societal position.

These veterans whose homes had been sold off naturally had a great level of distrust of the Roman central government and aristocracy. Likewise so too did the poor, and
unemployed of the lower classes of Roman society. This distrust, along with the fact that under Marius, an army’s general was to pay his soldiers rather than the state turned the loyalties of the Roman soldier to his own commanding officer rather than to the nation itself. Thus, while a great economic burden on Rome had been lifted
to a large extent, Marius’ volunteer army and method of paying them served the purpose of dividing Rome and eventually paved the way for generals and their armies to fight civil wars for ultimate power of Rome. Here is where Marius’ controversy comes into play.

There is further irony here as well. Marius went to great length successfully to bring the Roman military under a more unified and uniform fighting force in spite of the fact
that he caused the great divisions that took place. One simple way in which Marius brought a greater level of cohesion and single identity to the Roman military was the change their standards from the five different symbols of the minotaur, horse, eagle, wolf and boar to being uniformly an eagle across all of the legions. 4

Another vital aspect that Marius focused on was the individual training of each soldier. The Roman soldier was without question a formidable and capable fighter in
single combat, but his specialty was fighting as part of a cohesive unit. Giaus Marius dramatically improved the Roman soldiers’ abilities in single combat by employing the use of gladiators in their training. 5 The gladiators had imported a vast number
of different fighting styles from their homelands and the weapons to go with those styles. The training given by the use of the gladiators gave the Roman soldier of vast knowledge of the different styles of fighting he may encounter as well as the use of a large variations of weapons. The Roman soldier became much more effective in single
combat than in previous periods of Ancient Rome.

While Marius had his soldiers trained in many different fighting styles and weapons, Marius made yet another key reform that brought an excellent level of military
efficiency to the Roman Army. That change was the standardization of weapons and equipment. Previously it was not uncommon to see Roman soldiers carrying a number of different weapons in a formation. This was because the soldier had to supply his own. Marius made changes that mandated all soldiers, in particular the heavy infantry, would have standardized weapons, shields, and armor. The soldier did still have to pay for his gear, but he purchased it from the state while in service. With each soldier carrying the same types of weapons, it was much easier for smiths to repair or replace a weapon or piece of gear when damaged or lost in battle. This made life easier for the combat soldier and for support personnel.

Marius was able to also reduce the
size of his army by drastically limiting beasts of burden to carry
soldiers’ gear and ordered that soldiers carry most of their
equipment on their person. This reduction in army size as opposed to the added weight on the individual soldier still made for an army that was able to move on march faster than before. 6 They were able to march approximately 20 miles a day on favorable road
conditions while carrying roughly 80-90 pounds. 7 Much like King Philip II of Macedon in previous Greek history, Marius removed as many non-essential personnel and animals from his army as possible and thus made it faster and easier to move on campaign.

After Gaius Marius had been victorious in the Jugurthan War in Numidia, Marius found himself once again dealing with a war, and that war was with the Germanic barbarians of continental Europe. What he found was that he needed a military
organized in such a way that it was better suited for dealing with the large numbers of German warriors within the German battle formations. Marius needed more combat troops on the battle line, but needed to maintain flexibility of maneuverability. What Marius did was change the military organization from a maniple based army to a
cohortal based force by changing the cohort from an administrative element to a tactical element in the army. This placed more men in the fray, but did not sacrifice tactical flexibility or maneuverability, and allowed for greater independent action by forces if need be.

Clearly, Consul Gaius Marius was the author of a great number of innovations in the Roman military machine that dramatically improved its capabilities. His impact was felt in tactical ability, logistical ability, in the sphere of Roman economics, and in the social and political realms. Much of what he did was to serve Rome well against its enemies, but likewise the Marian Reforms pulled Roman allegiance apart. Consul Gaius Marius is a figure that can be greatly admired for his achievements, and yet is
viewed as perhaps having done more damage to Rome than many, if not any other Consul of Rome serving before him.

1.Carey, Brian Todd, Allfree, Joshua B., Cairns, John. Warfare in the Ancient World. Barnsley:UK Pen and Sword Books Ltd 2009. 106

2. LeGlay, Marcel, et al, A Historyof Rome, 4 th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. 124-125.

3.Webb, J. P., From Marius to Patreaus: The Relevance of the Marian Reforms to the Modern American Warrior. Waco,TX: Webb Publishing 2011. 7

4.Goldworthy, Adrian. Roman Warfare. London:UK Phoenix 2007. 107

5.Carey, Brian Todd, Allfree, Joshua B., Cairns, John. Warfare in the Ancient World.

6. Webb, J. P., From Marius to Patreaus. 11-12

7.Carey, Brian Todd, Allfree, Joshua B., Cairns, John. Warfare in the Ancient World. 108

8.Carey, Brian Todd, Allfree, Joshua B., Cairns, John. Warfare in the Ancient World. 106

Adrian Goldworthy. Roman Warfare. London:UK Phoenix 2007.

Appian. The Civil Wars: Book I. Chicago,IL: University of Chicago, 2006.

Brian Todd Carey, Joshua B.Allfree, and John Cairns. Warfare in the Ancient World. Barnsley:UK Pen and Sword Books Ltd 2009.

J. P. Webb. From Marius to Patreaus: The Relevance of the Marian Reforms to the Modern American Warrior. Waco,TX: Webb Publishing 2011.

Marcel Le Glay, et al. A History of Rome, 4 th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

What were the impact of the military reforms of Marius on Rome?

The Roman general and politician Marius was one of the most important figures in the Roman Republic. He was a controversial figure during his lifetime, and his contributions have been fiercely debated since then. Many historians have argued that he helped save the Roman Republic and laid the foundation for an almost invincible army for centuries.

Marius's reforms also had important social-political implications, and he dramatically expanded citizenship in the Republic. Still, his reforms changed the Roman army's nature, which weakened the democratic character of the republic. These reforms allowed generals to take control of Rome with their troops. Because of his changes, Rome's legions increasingly came under the control of ambitious leaders such as Pompey or Sulla. The Marian reforms that were initiated during a crisis became an essential factor in the decline and the fall of the Roman Republic and the Imperial system's rise in Rome.


Rome in 100 BC was a fast-growing power. Originally, Rome was only a small settlement on the Tiber. However, by force of arms, it was able to expand its power across much of Italy. The defeat of the Carthaginian Empire meant that Rome no longer had any serious enemy in the Mediterranean. The city-state’s armies were the most formidable in the region, and they created a huge Empire. The Roman army was made up of citizens, and they supplied their arms and armor. Wealth and slaves flowed into Rome.

However, the Carthaginians' victory and the growing wealth of Rome created problems and eventually led to a crisis in the Roman Republic. The government of Rome was designed to govern a city-state and not an Empire. Increasingly, the Roman Senate could not control the governors in the provinces who acted as independent sovereigns. [1]

The political system of Rome was unable to govern an Empire effectively. Rome’s wealth led to increased social divisions, and the city was divided between the elite, the Optimates, and the popular party, Populares. Rome's common people, including many citizens, were experiencing economic decline as slave labor in the cities and on landed estates resulted in many small farmers and traders going bankrupt. There was also tension between Rome and its Italian subjects who wanted a greater say in the Empire and citizenship. Rome had become the Mediterranean's predominant power, but it was a volatile society with a political system on the verge of collapse. [2]

The career of Marius

Gaius Marius was born about 157 BCE in Arpinium in central Italy. His family was of Equestrian status, and they were very influential in the local district. They had important political connections in Rome, especially with the powerful Scipio family. Marius joined the Roman army at an early age, and he was essentially a military man. He served under Scipio in Numantia and became a military tribune and later a quaestor. It appears that the Scipio family acted as the patrons of the young Marius and this greatly helped his career. [3]

Marius later married Julia, the aunt of Julius Caesar. He then served as an officer in Rome’s war with the North African king Jurgutha. This war was to make the reputation of Marius as a soldier and a general. Marius was eventually given command of the army in the war against Jurgutha, and he proved to be a charismatic leader with real military talent. [4] He developed a new strategy to deal with the king and soon captured him. During his time in North Africa, he began the first of his military reforms, which were technically illegal.

Marius was very concerned with citizens' reluctance to enroll in the army and the declining number of recruits available to Rome. [5] Marius was later elected one of Rome’s two consuls, and he was elected to that office an unprecedented seven times. He was associated with the Populares, and his policies were often informed by the need to help the urban and the rural poor. In 105 BCE, while he was consul, he was sent to deal with a military threat from the far north. The Cimbri and Teuton tribes from modern Scandinavia were migrating towards the Mediterranean.

They defeated a Roman army sent to repel them, and they seemed to be on the verge of overrunning Italy and Rome. Marius was faced with a crisis. There were just not enough citizens to fill the ranks of the army. [6] It was when he enacted radical reforms in the military, and they became known as the Marian reforms.

In 102 BC, the Germanic tribes, who had invaded Gaul, decided to launch a full-scale attack on Italy. Marius had thoroughly reformed the army by this time. Fortunately for Marius, the invaders split into two groups, which allowed the Roman general to demolish them in separate battles. Marius had saved Rome and was the leading figure in Rome for some time. A Marius tried to introduce land reforms that would have benefitted the poor, but the Senate blocked them. He did not prove to be a capable politician, but he remained popular with the poor.

Later, he became involved in a series of civil wars with the Roman politician and soldier Sulla, the aristocratic faction leader. Marius, during the wars, was able to seize Rome but was later expelled by Sulla. He later returned to Rome while Sulla was in the east and took control of the city once again but died soon afterward in 86 BCE. [7]

Marius Reforms

The most important of the Marian reforms was the army's opening to those who had no property. Previously only those who had land or wealth could join the army. Marius, because of the shortage of workforce in Rome, recruited even the landless poor. This was strictly against the law, and many conservatives opposed Marius' efforts.

However, such as the threat from the Cimbri and The Teutones that Marius was able to get his reform passed. There was a problem with recruiting the poor in that they did not have the resources to purchase their arms and armor., Marius arranged for the Roman state to provide them with arms and equipment. The soldiers would also be paid, which made joining the army very attractive for the many landless peasants who had lost their lands because of the expansion in the estates of the rich.

Many poor men rushed to join the army, and they were expected to enlist for at least fifteen years. Marius was also able to standardize the equipment used by the soldiers. He also believed that Rome, because of its Empire and the various threats to its borders, needed a standing army. Previously, the army was only composed of citizen-soldiers. [8] The soldiers would return home after the end of every campaign. Marius believed that a soldier should be a professional and train full-time. Even in times of peace, the Roman soldier should be ready for war. [9]

Marius reorganized the Roman army, and he reformed the legions. The total number of men per legion was six thousand, and of these, 4800 would be legionnaires and the rest support staff, mainly servants. Marius wanted every legion to be a self-contained fighting force. The legion was divided into centuries commanded by a centurion. [10] Each century was comprised of 80 soldiers and twenty support staff. The century was divided into sub-units that contained eight legionaries and two non-combatant support staff. The Roman legionnaires would eat, fight, and live together, which created a great spirit de corps. Marius insisted on regular training and drills, and this meant that the Romans were always physically fit. He also ordered that every man carrying his gear and equipment and the soldiers, as a result, referred to themselves as ‘Marius’ Mules.’ [11]

This meant that the army did not have lengthy supply lines and massive baggage trains but was very mobile and flexible. Marius believed that morale was essential in the military, and he offered the ordinary soldiers and men retirement benefits. These were usually in the form of land for the common soldier and money for officers. Upon retirement, a soldier could expect a parcel of land usually in some newly conquered territory. One of the most significant reforms of Marius was that he granted citizenship status to many Italians. Any Italian who fought in the Roman legion was automatically granted the citizenship of Rome. The reforms of Marius were widely adopted, and they shaped the Roman army right down to the 3rd century AD. [12]

The social and political impact of the Marian Reforms

The reforms of Marius did not only change the army. They also change Roman society over the longer term. Marius was a member of the popular party, and he was always keen to advance the common people's interests.

Because of his reforms, the poor could join the army for the first time, which provided them with opportunities that allowed them to rise in society. Marius, by allowing many Italians to become citizens, changed Rome's nature, and it became less of a city-state and rather the capital of Italy. The ability of many Italians to become citizens did much to strengthen Rome over time. [13]

Then Marius, by providing retiring soldiers with land from conquered territories, strengthened Rome’s control of the provinces by moving former Roman soldiers to these new provinces. Retired soldiers often formed colonies in newly conquered territories, and they helped maintain Rome's hold on newly conquered lands. These colonies also played an important part in the ‘Romanization process,’ whereby provincials adopted Roman practices and cultural norms. [14]

Impact on the military

Marius undoubtedly strengthened the army as a fighting force. He ensured that for many centuries that the Roman army would not experience any workforce shortage. His reforms also ensured that the Roman soldier was the most professional and well-trained in the Classical World. The Roman army became a standing army, which meant that Rome could quickly respond to any threat. The Romans always had an army that was well-trained and experienced, which was a critical factor in the expansion of the Empire.

However, the newly established army was more loyal to their generals than to the Senate and Rome's people. [15] The armies' generals were responsible for providing for the equipment and the retirement bonuses loyalty of the legionnaires. The general would often extend his command to secure the rights and the rewards of his soldiers. The legionary owed more allegiance to his general and commanding officer than to the state.

This allowed many generals to take control of legions and to use them for their purposes. Again and again, over the last century of the Roman Republic, generals such as Pompey had de-facto control of much of the army. This was very destabilizing. This is evident from the fact that there were a bloody series of civil wars. [16] . No sooner had the reforms been implemented than a never-ending series of wars took place.

The Roman generals became more important in Roman politics, and they often used their armies to intimidate the Senate. Commanders such as Sula were able to impose their will on the Roman political system. Increasingly, power shifted from the Roman senatorial class to the commanders in the field. The Roman Republic was in crisis as a result for many decades. Roman generals often used their forces to further their political ambitions, as was the case with Julius Caesar. The establishment of a standing army led ultimately to the destruction of the Republic. The bloody civil wars were only ended by the creation of the Imperial system under Caesar and his grand-nephew Augustus. [17]


Marius military reforms were undertaken during a period of crisis. They were in response to an invasion of Italy by German tribes. Marius created a standing army, permitted the poor's enlistment, and provided retirement benefits for veterans. He also reformed the organization of the army. These all allowed Marius to defeat the barbarian invasion. The army that he created drove the expansion of the Roman Empire for years to come.

The changes made to the Roman army had profound social and political consequences. It led to more citizens from outside the traditional elite, and the granting of lands to retired soldiers was crucial in securing conquered provinces and their Romanization. However, Marius' reforms had some unintended consequences as it resulted in soldiers' more loyalty to their generals than to the state. This led to years of instability and plunged the Roman Republic into decades of civil wars. These were only ended with the fall of the Roman Republic and the emergence of Augustus as the first emperor.

The Reforms

Marius recognized the need for maintaining a larger force and having a larger pool of men to recruit from. He abolished the property requirements and allowed the landless masses and urban poor of Roman territory to enlist. With no alternative for better income and advancement in society, many joined. Marius arranged for the state to supply armour and weapons. The soldiers were to serve 16 years before discharge with a plot of land, as a professional army. They would be paid a regular salary (in addition to war loot), while training and drilling all year-round. This improved the endurance and combat abilities of the legion.

The major changes that took place affected:

The Soldier.

The Polybian legion worked with the right balance of various troop types. However, during extended conflicts, imbalances disrupted the effectiveness of the legion. Legionaries were now equipped like Principes. The legionaries were standard heavy infantry men, armed with the short-sword as their primary weapon, 2 Javelins, a dagger, Chainmail armour, and a large oval shield.

The New Legionary: A well armed heavy infantry trooper


The maniple structure which defined the battle order was abolished. The new Roman structure centred on the cohort. A cohort was a force of 480 men. With standard troops and training, it was flexible in combat and could adapt to situations.

The Maniple order of Battle

The smallest unit was the Contubernium. It consisted of 8 soldiers and 2 helpers (to look after armour, and supplies for them). They were led by a soldier amongst them called the Decanus. At the next level, 10 Contubernium formed a force of 80 soldiers and 20 helpers, called the century. This was in fact the most basic tactical unit, and was led by an officer, the Centurion.

6 Centuries made a cohort of 480 men, the primary sub-unit of the legion. There were 10 cohorts, with 9 regular cohorts the first cohort of the legion, with 5 double-strength centuries for 800 men and were the best troops in the legion.

The Marian and Imperial legions were organized similarly. A Double strength first cohort, 9 cohorts of 480 men. The imperial legion would later add the cavalry arm.

In support, auxiliaries were recruited from various lands to fill specialized roles. These included archers, slingers, light infantry and cavalry. Rome recruited Balearic Slingers, Cretan Archers, Numidian Cavalry, Gallic Infantry and Germanic Cavalry among others.


The logistics of the legion was overhauled. Armies have always been slowed down by their supply train. In order to reduce his supply trains and speed up his forces, Marius made his troops carry their own armour, basic cooking and camp equipment and 15 days rations. That was 60lbs of weight. A forked stick was issued to help ease the load. The soldiers were nicknamed Marian Mules.

Marian Troopers carried a lot of gear, including food and weapons and some basic camp equipment.

There were two outcomes from this change. Carrying such load while marching, helped improve the conditioning and stamina of the soldiers. Secondly, the Legions could make forced marches on short notice for short periods of time, without their main baggage train. This led to opportunities to surprise regrouping enemies by engaging them at short notice. The legions would have just been accompanied by mules carrying equipment, with 10 legionaries sharing a single mule.

First Roman battles after the Marian reforms - History

It may seem odd to disband them but think of it this way.

If you disband them in City A they will be added to the population of city A and then raise a unit of Legionary troops in that same city the population will be deducted again. So you are not really lossing any people when you do this!

You notice that you lose the ability to even retrain the pre-marian units after the reforms so you can not replace losses in an out of date unit?

So they really have become redundant in the face of the army reforms and whether you simply disband them to add to the population of your cities and send the off in a gorious and bloody battle is up to you.

It better than still having your old FAA running around in the late medieval period kicking arse because they have loads of experience (like 300 years!) and have been re-equiped with the latest weapons.

PS. Total agree on the reforms happening 100 years or so too early. Forgetting the historical outrage it is really poor gameplay wise as you have to fight hard to get Triarii but just as they arrive they are out of date.

I agree you should be able to retrain them to their equivalent level of post marius unit, but personally i disbanded them. The experience my best units had gained by 220-30 something bc (best had about 1 silver chevron) was totally outweighed by the maius units far batter stats. So all of them were disbanded or sent to guard a backwater.

That included all my triarii too, i had only just built my first 2-3 units and they were unused in battle.

I agree you should be able to retrain them to their equivalent level of post marius unit, but personally i disbanded them. The experience my best units had gained by 220-30 something bc (best had about 1 silver chevron) was totally outweighed by the maius units far batter stats. So all of them were disbanded or sent to guard a backwater.

That included all my triarii too, i had only just built my first 2-3 units and they were unused in battle.

Yes, it would be great if we could upgrade pre-Marian Legionaries to post-Marian units. However, do NOT discount the abilities of seasoned pre-Marian legions! Every time a unit gains an experience chevron it's Attack, Missile and Defense Skills increase and it also becomes more resistent to routing. I would sooner use a grizzled veteran Hastati, Principes or Triarii unit in a critical situation than a rookie Legionary Cohort.

I would sooner use a grizzled veteran Hastati, Principes or Triarii unit in a critical situation than a rookie Legionary Cohort.

Temple of Mars, +1 valor
Large Temple of Mars, +2 valor
Awesome Temple of Mars, +3 valor

= Veteran-level Reform Army right off the bat. Build them in the Greek cities, which are all in a bunch right there together, and retrain them all in towns with an awesome temple.

When the civil war breaks out, it will be a massacre.

Yes, it would be great if we could upgrade pre-Marian Legionaries to post-Marian units. However, do NOT discount the abilities of seasoned pre-Marian legions! Every time a unit gains an experience chevron it's Attack, Missile and Defense Skills increase and it also becomes more resistent to routing. I would sooner use a grizzled veteran Hastati, Principes or Triarii unit in a critical situation than a rookie Legionary Cohort.

True but given you cant train reaplacement members to put these units back up to full strength (I seem to remember), this means the decent units eventually end up with only 10-20 members in (i'm playing on huge units), hardly an effective unit regardless of experience. I think if you check the unit stats in the game, the experience bonuses are added to their stats on the unit info sheet. So two units with the same equipment but different experience, have different stats stated (i think). Even with this my post marius units were superior to my best vets. Maybe if the marius event happened 80 years later then i'd have a few gold experience level units i'd think of saving for something special. Chances are they'd be disbanded all the same though.

"You notice that you lose the ability to even retrain the pre-marian units after the reforms so you can not replace losses in an out of date unit?"

(a) The marian reforms happen far too soon - should be about 150-100 bc i think.

(b) You should be able to retrain your veteran hastati, principes, triarri etc into the proper marian units.

I would like to be able to keep using the old ones until aroudn 150 bc, even if the reforms have already happened. I just like having the 3 different types and battlelines :)

True but given you cant train reaplacement members to put these units back up to full strength (I seem to remember), this means the decent units eventually end up with only 10-20 members in (i'm playing on huge units), hardly an effective unit regardless of experience. I think if you check the unit stats in the game, the experience bonuses are added to their stats on the unit info sheet. So two units with the same equipment but different experience, have different stats stated (i think). Even with this my post marius units were superior to my best vets. Maybe if the marius event happened 80 years later then i'd have a few gold experience level units i'd think of saving for something special. Chances are they'd be disbanded all the same though.

Yes but when the reforms took place I saved a good number of my experienced Republican legionary units to avoid that situation. The most experienced units are always at full strengh since they're drawing from the ranks of second most experienced unit after them and so and so forth. To avoid drastic bloodletting I usually keep these units as a reserve in battle or on guard duty in a province with a lesser enemy.

I just think it's a waste to simply disband such experienced troops.

This is oddly fitting as experienced troops often end up in cerimonial units using out of date equipment for parade duty.

Roman cavalry is the post-Marian Equite, IIRC.

I had around 2 full stacks of pre-Marian legionnaires and I just sent them off to conquer Iberia, then Numidia, then Sicily. I just combined stacks when they got too small and used mercs to bolster their ranks. I ended the game with still almost a full stack.

Roman cavalry is the post-Marian Equite, IIRC.

Then it is the other way around, the pre-marian unit is better than Roman Cavalry. By 1 attack point, or some tiny difference.

hastati and principes are not obsolete.

hastati are better than their pm counterpart.

Principes are almost as good.

Triarii are terrible, but they're still very good troops relative to the inf that other factions have.

The Officers

A historical reenactor in Roman centurion costume. By Luc Viatour = CC BY-SA 3.0

The only people not in formation are the officers and the messengers who ride between them on swift horses. You know a few of the officers by sight. You even know the name of the general and of the legate leading your legion. But that’s all you really need to know. Their orders will reach you through the centurion.

A rider gallops past. The enemy has charged on the left flank. You can hear the clash of iron and their war cries. The messenger is galloping away to report to the general, telling him how things look on the ground. It’s the only way officers can stay informed across the front.

First Roman battles after the Marian reforms - History

Rome: Total War Discussion
Moderated by Terikel Grayhair , General Sajaru , Awesome Eagle

I'm relatively new to RTW, and recently I hit the Marian Reforms for the first time on a Roman campaign I'm actually trying to bring to completion. So, while phasing out my pre-Marian army with awesome new legions, I make a few attacks with my pre-existing invasion armies. And I get crushed. Even in attacks where I greatly outnumber the enemy. Granted, I'm not the greatest tactician, I'm not terrible (I usually play comfortably on Normal difficulty), and I almost never lose battles when I outnumber the enemy. Does the enemy AI get better after the reforms, or do their troops get buffed, or am I having bad luck, or what?

tldr version: I got to the Marian reforms, and it seems that enemies are dramatically harder against my pre-Marius units. Why?

Quoted from jedibob:

I make a few attacks with my pre-existing invasion armies. And I get crushed.

Did you mean that you attacked Legionary Cohorts with Hastati? Then of course they're gonna steam-roll you.

Upgrade more of your barracks to Army/ Urban, and start pumping out the Legionary/ Urban Cohorts. You'll need them against the fast updating AI Romans. As for your Pre-Marian Principes or Hastati, no they're not going to be of much use against even the least experienced Post-Marian Legionary Cohort. Early Legionary Cohorts would be easier to take down, but even so the right path is still to update your field armies fast.

The difficulty level might have appeared to spike because all of a sudden you're facing new enemies with exactly the same unit types and advantages you enjoy, all except the unique power of the human decision-making system. Good luck.

"The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for." -Homer
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Devoted to Mary, Concerned for Souls

The Marian devotion of St. Stanislaus particularly focused on the Immaculate Conception, and this was some two centuries before the dogma would be declared by the Church. He wrote: "I believe everything that the holy Roman Church believes . but first of all I profess that the Most Holy Mother of God, Mary, was spotless from original sin, from the moment of her conception."

The privilege of the Immaculate Conception was very precious to St. Stanislaus. He talked about it in sermons and wrote extensively on the subject. Like a knight of old, who pledged to defend the honor of his lady, he made a vow of blood to lay down his life if necessary in honor of Mary's Immaculate Conception. History shows that he faithfully kept this vow, not only in the living of his life, but in the founding of a religious order dedicated to promoting the Immaculate Conception.

Two other factors weighed heavily on the mind of St. Stanislaus, as God led him to found a new religious order. Particularly during the period of the Swedish invasion, St. Stanislaus witnessed thousands of casualties on battlefields and from dreaded plagues. He himself accompanied Polish troops as a chaplain in battles against Turkey in Ukraine in 1674. He was deeply saddened to observe how many people died with no time to prepare to meet their Maker. At the same time, he experienced visions of the Holy Souls in Purgatory. These factors, combined with the deeply charitable spirit that always characterized St. Stanislaus, led to a charism still distinctive among religious communities: prayer and penance on behalf of the dead &ndash including those most forgotten, especially the souls of those who had died in wars and plagues.

Along with the wars and violence, St. Stanislaus observed a general decline in moral tone that threatened the religious life of his nation. He therefore determined that the new religious order should take a profound interest in religious education in order to deepen the faith of the common people. Members were to act with missionary zeal in bringing knowledge of the faith to those whose religious education had been most neglected.

DEI - When are Marian Reforms?

Marian Reforms in Rome 2 no longer work the way they did in Rome 1. You need to research one of the technology trees for it. A lot of people assume that it's Cohort Organization because that's the first time units begin replacing the hastati and old manipular units, but Cohort Organization is NOT the Marian Reform either.

Research Professional Soldiery this is truly when the Marian Reforms take place. Also, you CAN upgrade your existing units to the versions that replace them. Have your units in a province with the barracks capable of producing your new units, and then an upgrade icon should appear over your unit cards when you click them. It's going to cost a bit if you're still early-game and don't have much money, but it'll be well worth it.

When can i expect to have the Marian reforms in my roman DEI campaign? I am 90 turns in (4 turns per year) and hold all of the western mediteranean coast apart from Carthage and I also hold the alpine regions, dacia and Illyria and the south of france

About reforms you can modify it but y must have experience about code it
1. Download pack manager (maybe you know)
2. press Option and un stick CA packs are read only
3. Then open pack DEI (part1,part 2 or part . only 1 part have lua_script) then open lua_script it haves 2 script (grand_campaign.lua,reforms.lua) eidt 2 that file
4. First edit file reforms.lua first you will see 2 row need edit
-- ********************************************************************************************************

-- ========================================================================================================
-- Here we can change the turn requirements for the various Global Reforms
-- Simply increase/decrease the number requirements for how many turns
-- to trigger the various reforms
-- Example: if we want to trigger Greek Thureos Reform on turn 10
-- and Thorax to 50 we change the first number to 10 and the second to 50
-- So that it is "greek = < 10, 50>"
-- NOTE: The Number of Reforms are set, so it is important to NOT change
-- the number of arguments (how many numbers there are) but only the values
-- ========================================================================================================

roman = <1, 3, 5>, <= (popylian is turn 1,marian is turn 3,imperial is turn 5)
carthaginian = <100>,
greek = <60, 140>,
celtic = <110>,
iberian = <117>,
german = <115>,
parthian = <130>

celtic = <30>,
iberian = <35>,
german = <32>

carthaginian = <80>,
iberian = <100>
4.2 ========================================================================================================
-- Here we can change the turn requirements for the various Player Reforms
-- The requirements are the first number for the Imperium requirements
-- and the second number for the turn requirements for how many number
-- of reforms the player faction can have.
-- Example: if we want to trigger Greek Thureos Reform on Imperium 1, turn 10
-- and Thorax to Imperium 3, turn 50 we change the section in this way:
-- "greek = <1, 10, 3, 50>"
-- (where 1, 10 are the Imperium and Turn checks for the Thureos Reform
-- and 3, 50 are the Imperium and Turn checks for the Thorax Reform)
-- NOTE: The Number of Reforms are set, so it is important to NOT change
-- the number of arguments (how many numbers there are) but only the values
-- ========================================================================================================

_lib.requirements.main_rome.player = <
roman = <1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 5>, <= (popylian imperium 1,turn 1,marian imperium 1 turn 3,imperial imperium 1 turn 5)
carthaginian = <5, 80>,
greek = <3, 50, 5, 120>,
celtic = <4, 90>,
iberian = <4, 90>,
german = <4, 90>,
parthian = <5, 120>

_lib.requirements.main_gaul.player = <
celtic = <3, 20>,
german = <3, 20>,
iberian = <3, 20>

_lib.requirements.main_punic.player = <
carthaginian = <4, 60>,
iberian = <4, 80>,

5.Edit second file grand_campagin.lua (if you play rome or carthaginian) you find row

if camillian_army == 0
and turn_num <= 2 (end of turn popylian reform)
and turn_num >= 1 (start of turn popylian reform)
and owner_Rome == factionName
-- spawn army
then scripting.game_interface:create_force(
319, 370,

Log("Roman Camillian Army spawned")
-- set camillian army to spawned
camillian_army = 1

-- Rome Polybian Army
elseif polybian_army == 0
and turn_num <= 4 (end of marian)
and turn_num >= 3 (start of marian)
and owner_Rome == factionName
-- spawn army
then scripting.game_interface:create_force(
319, 370,

Log("Roman Polybian Army spawned")
-- set polybian army to spawned
polybian_army = 1

-- Rome Marian Army
elseif marian_army == 0
and turn_num <= 10000000 (end of imperial default is 249 but if y play long >249 turn all of unit will empty )
and turn_num >= 5 (start of imperial)
and owner_Rome == factionName
-- spawn army
then scripting.game_interface:create_force(
319, 370,

Log("Roman Marian Army spawned")
-- set marian army to spawned
marian_army = 1

-- function to reset the roman turn counter, after X turn the roman AI can spawn additional Defense Armies
function Counter_reset(turn_num)
local max_counter = 16 -- 4 years

if turn_num == 130
then roman_counter = 0
Log("Roman Counter Reset Marian Reform")

if polybian_army >= 1
and turn_num <= 4
and turn_num >= 3
then roman_counter = roman_counter + 1

if roman_counter >= max_counter
then polybian_army = 0
roman_counter = 0
Log("Roman Counter Reset During Polybian Reforms")

if marian_army >= 1
and turn_num <= 10000000
and turn_num >= 5
then roman_counter = roman_counter + 1

if roman_counter >= max_counter
then marian_army = 0
roman_counter = 0
Log("Roman Counter Reset During Marian Reforms")

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