On the Wings of Eagles: The Reforms of Gaius Marius and the Creation of Rome's First Professional Soldiers

On the Wings of Eagles: The Reforms of Gaius Marius and the Creation of Rome's First Professional Soldiers


By (author) Christopher Anthony Matthew

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  • Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing
  • Format: Hardback | 120 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 206mm x 20mm | 318g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Newcastle upon Tyne
  • ISBN 10: 1443817422
  • ISBN 13: 9781443817424

Product description

Gaius Marius (157-86B) was one of the most innovative and influential commanders of antiquity. With Marius in command of its legions, Rome prevailed on the battlefields of North Africa and defeated a two-pronged invasion of the Italian peninsula by 300,000 migrating Germanic tribesmen. The reason for this success was a series of five ground-breaking reforms through which Marius dramatically altered the demographics, recruitment, training and operation of the Roman army. In effect, Marius' reforms changed the Roman military from a service of short-term militia into a professional standing army. This allowed Rome to use the military as an effective tool for military expansion and internal security and laid the foundations for the role of the Roman army for centuries to come. Many of these reforms, however, came at a cost to the stability of the state. This book charts the military implications of Marius' reforms: what they were, why they were made, how they were made, and how they altered the functionality of the Roman military.

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Author information

Christopher Matthew is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on ancient warfare. A respected lecturer and author of several published articles in peer reviewed journals, he is regularly invited to present at institutions across Australia and shares his work through presentations at both local and international conferences. Christopher is also the historical advisor to a film production called 'The First War for the West'; a multi-hour docu-drama on the Greek and Persian Wars currently being filmed in Australia. After graduating with first class honours from the University of New England in 2006, where he focused on the study of ancient Greek and Roman warfare, Christopher completed a PhD at Macquarie University in Sydney using physical re-creation, experimental archaeology and ballistics testing to examine the mechanics of warfare in ancient Greece. Christopher's next research focus will be utilising similar techniques to examine the mechanics of warfare in the Hellenistic world.