Roman Siege Warfare

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Definition

In ancient warfare open battles were the preferred mode of meeting the enemy, but sometimes, when defenders took a stand within their well-fortified city or military camp, siege warfare became a necessity, despite its high expense in money, time, and men. The Romans became adept at the art of siege warfare employing all manner of strategies and machinery to batter the enemy into submission. Five factors enabled the Romans to be remarkably successful at sieges: sophisticated artillery weapons, formidable siege towers, the engineering experience of fortification construction, superior logistics to ensure long-term supply, and mastery of the seas. Thorough preparation and the careful execution of well-laid plans were second nature to the Romans in warfare, and so when they applied these skills to sieges lasting months or years, they were virtually unstoppable.

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