While military innovations did play their crucial role in the armies of ancient civilizations, it was undoubtedly the Romans (among few) who pushed the scope of progressive technologies and deep tactical developments that directly affected their battlefield effectiveness. To that end, ranging from weapons, formations to infrastructure, let us take a gander at ten incredible Roman military innovations you should know about.
Note – The ten military innovations are presented in an alphabetical manner, as opposed to chronology.
1) Battlefield Surgery
The Roman army and its incredible organizational depth constituted the greatest of Roman strengths, thus setting them apart from other ancient military institutions. One of the major advantages of the sheer organizational scope directly pertained to the self-sufficient capacity of the individual legions. And it was the immunes, a group of highly trained specialists who were specifically employed to maintain the logistical and medical sustenance of the legions. Ranging from doctors, engineers to architects, these men were exempt from the hard labor duties of the rank-and-file soldiers, while also earning more than them – thus hinting at the (presumed) crucial nature of their jobs.
Pertaining to the Roman medical professionals, their dedicated battlefield surgery units were instrumental in the use of innovative contraptions like hemostatic tourniquets and arterial surgical clamps to curb blood loss. This was complemented by antiseptic measures where instruments were disinfected with hot water before their real-time usage, thus espousing an ‘advanced’ form of surgery that only became the norm after 19th century.
Moreover the doctor’s job also entailed the supervision of sanitation quality in the army camps, which aided in the mitigation of dreadful logistical nightmares, otherwise known as the spread of diseases. Taking all of these factors into account, combined with better diet, the Roman soldiers (possibly) tended to live longer than their civilian counterparts, thus alluding the efficiency of the ancient Roman doctors and surgeons.