A contest of generals

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A contest of generals

Postby Curio Agelastus on Thu Aug 12, 2004 2:05 am

Salvete omnes,

One thing I've been considering for a while now is the amount of talented generals Rome produced. In the Republic alone, there are many men who could be considered among the greats of military command. Fabius Cunctator, Scipio Africanus, Scipio Aemilianus, Aemilius Paullus, Gaius Marius, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, Quintus Sertorius, Lucius Licinius Lucullus, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, Gaius Iulius Caesar, and many more. Sentius and Bruttius, Curio, Crassus, Metellus Pius, Marcus Antonius, Titus Didius, Equitius, and even more would rank among those talented generals who also won battles for Rome.

My question is this: who was the greatest general of the Res Publica? To answer such a massive question, I propse that each person who wishes to take part adopt one general to advocate, ideally the person you genuinely believe was the greatest general in Republican times. Once everyone who wants to has picked a general, each of us can make a speech explaining our choice. Hopefully this will either inspire fresh interest in an old favourite or eager research into a formerly unknown general that you have taken an interest in. For myself, I will wait until all others have declared who they'll be championing before I make a decision, but I do have a hankering to defend either Sertorius or the Bruttius/Sentius duo.

Is anyone else interested in this idea?

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat Aug 14, 2004 11:41 pm

Salvete omnes,

Is there really no one interested in arguing the case for a specific general? :shock:

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sun Aug 15, 2004 1:11 pm

Salve Curio,

My problem is that I'm not versed enough in Roman military history to speak out on this topic. But from what I've gathered, Quintus Sertorius seems to have been a great general, and Caesar's luitenants also leap to mind. Oh and Traianus, who conquered Dacia and Arabia...

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sun Aug 15, 2004 10:11 pm

Salvete Tiberi et Gnae,

A fair point about time, Tiberi, I'll calm down a bit. :)

Mi Draco, the idea is that this is an opportunity to become well-versed - currently I don't know enough about any one general to present an argument for his being the greatest Rome produced, but I'd like to do more research into one or another in order to do so, so lack of knowledge isn't an excuse. :twisted: As for Traian, he seems to possess a certain imperialistic nature that bars him from being considered the greatest general of the Res Publica. 8)

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Postby Anonymous on Tue Aug 24, 2004 6:41 pm

Salve!!!

The greatest general of the Res Publica ( 510 b.c to 23 b.c. + or -) was, with no doubt: C. Ivlivs Caesar, and not only a general, but the brightest politician of that time. He always follows a straight line to their objectives, and nothing and no one could remove him from his goals. If still has any doubt about his military proeficience, just read "De bello Galico", specially the siege of Alésia ...
p.s. - Excuses for the bad english...
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Tue Aug 24, 2004 9:55 pm

Salve Luci Claudi,

Welcome to SVR!

Don't worry about your English. As long as the Latin is ok, you won't be harmed, hehe ;).

Well, expect our local "Caesar-hater" Piscinus to answer the military assessment of Caesar's field operations. But no doubt, he was indeed a cunning politician and fascinating person, although that is another matter entirely.

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sun Sep 05, 2004 4:33 pm

Salve Coruncani,

I was thinking only really from the exit of Mr Superbus until 27BC, the "official" dates of the Republic. Maybe later on we could have a similar discussion on the merit of Imperial generals. Any idea who you'd like to represent?

Would anyone else like to get involved with this? There are plenty of great names to choose from.

Bene vale,
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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:21 am

Salve Coruncani,

That sounds great, it'll be nice to have some earlier generals, since my knowledge lies almost entirely in the late Republic.

I'm fluctuating between Gaius Marius, who I believe was the greatest general of the Republic, and the duo of Sentius and Bruttius, who I'd really like to know more about - holding Macedonia for Rome with as few troops as they had against such concerted opposition while all Italia was in flames was quite impressive in my view.

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Mon Sep 06, 2004 11:06 pm

Salve Coruncani,

Well I'll start doing some research and gathering sources, I suggest you do the same. :) However, we can't do much more than that until we get some more participants.

Anyone? There's still plenty of people to choose from! Mari, how about defending the original Marius? Piscinus, no doubt you'd like to champion Caesar. :P Draco, you always struck me as someone who likes a challenge. How about defending the younger Caepio, of Marsic War fame? :twisted:

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Postby Curio Agelastus on Sat May 21, 2005 9:34 pm

Salve Coruncani,

Many thanks for your exposition on Fabius and Marcellus, I look forward to seeing the details!

It's currently exam time, so my research on Sentius and Bruttius will have to wait. My exams finish in early June - after that I'll begin working on those two. Does anyone else fancy joining in?

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A contest of generals

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Thu May 26, 2005 1:35 am

Salve Marce omnibusque -

I also have been busy and only picked up thread just now. I need to review before I make a decision.

I'm also assuming that the field is open regarding the criteria we use in judging this or that general to be "best". If it is purely military, won't it be hard to avoid the question boiling itself down to just "Scipio or Caesar?" From what I know, Caesar rarely failed at anything - or, if he did, blamed it on his subordinates. Presumably, we can argue for Scipio or Cunctator or whomever on the grounds of other kinds of merit or success, as well - right?

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Postby M. Aemilius Corvus on Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:50 am

*blows the dust off the thread*

I know it has been a long while since this post was made, but I have to make the case for Quintus Sertorius - a man of little account until he held Rome by himself for years, defeating even Pompey in turn, putting him, in my mind, on a level at least equal to Caesar.

Caesar had the distinct advantage of facing Pompey whilst Pompey was old, not to mention Caesar had both his eyes! You have to give it to the man - he may not have always fought for Rome exactly, but he has to have been the greatest Roman general!
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Sertorius

Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Mar 10, 2008 4:52 am

Salve, Marce Aemeli, et Salvete omnes!

Oh, I remember when this thread was brand spankin'. I wasn't even Aedilis then--not even close. But you may have noticed the rather disjointed nature of the conversation; this is due to the abrupt and complete withdrawal of one of the participants, who, being the thorough type, deleted every spankin' one of his 200-something posts, including the edicta he published while he was our (last) Consul. Maiestas in my book; vandalism at the very least, say those of milder temperaments.

Everyone was expecting me to pick Gaius Marius, and I do; but that'd have been too easy and too expected. Na, what I came here to do tonight was to tender my admiration and respect for Quintus Sertorius. The man established a government-in-exile in my native Spain. He taught his Legionaries to fight like mountain men, and the local mountain-men to fight like a Legion; and from that point on, nothing on the Gods' green earth could defeat a Spanish Legion except another Spanish Legion. And Spanish Legions were not to be found in Rome. Young Pompeius had *no* idea what he was getting into with that man. Oops... >({|;-]

Besides being proud of my 'homie', I also learned a sound life-lesson from his later years. His lieutenants, for whatever reason, thought it'd be better for everybody if Sertorius were to be made suspicious of other Romans--all other Romans, even those who'd been with him fighting the good fight all that time. Divide and conquer, nonne? And that tactic was his undoing.

So when the Societas was very young, and our Senate was considering barring any and all Novaromani from being able to join, this was fresh in my mind. I was against it, though I wasn't a Senator or anything else at the time. Many Senatores, however, didn't like it either; all of us were former Novaromani, and most of us had experienced that organisation's miserable habit of cutting off its nose to spite its face. We didn't want to do the same.

This issue was one of the few real divisions we've had in our little group, and one of the reasons why conditor Florus left us. He couldn't stomach the prospect of an SVR with concurrent Nova Roman Citizens in it. Who knew, they might be spying (*gasp!*)... And NR felt the same way. They passed a few laws about its cives having to pick and choose, and for a while nobody could serve as a magistrate there who was active anywhere else.

Fortunately we rose above all that. A good thing too; or we wouldn't have enjoyed the pleasant and productive companionship of Q Servilius Priscus, M Horatius Piscinus, Q Valerius Poplicola, G Equitius Cato, Primus Galerius Aurelianus, M Arminius Maior and a cast of...OK, tens. Annia Minucia Marcella just joined us--she's NR's Propraetor of Nova Britannia in her 'other life'. Lucius Vitellius Triarius of the Mons Aventinus Project has applied; I'm just waiting for him to turn up here. See what I mean...?

And we've never had a rash of people walk out on us, either. The only one who did so and messed us up in a major way was, strangely enough, never in Nova Roma and didn't want us doing business with them either.

So...a toast to Quintus Sertorius! He didn't die in vain. Thanks to him, we're still here and still friendly. Io! Evoe! w00t!

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