Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

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Paladin
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Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

#1

Post by Paladin » Fri Feb 28, 2020 3:36 pm

Began reading Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War.

The American Conservative wrote a review:
In Praise of Rome’s Citizen Soldiers

Washington Post also wrote a review:
Why knowing Roman history is key to preserving America’s future

With the lack of education these days regarding the history of Western Civilization and Federalist Papers I think this kind of book is really a mandatory and timely read, but I think Brand is brilliantly looking back at both Roman and American history with modern eyes to show us a time tested best path forward.

Great read so far.
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Re: Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

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Post by The Annoyed Man » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:49 pm

Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out.
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Re: Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

#3

Post by Jeff B. » Sun Mar 01, 2020 10:08 am

It is interesting.

I'll be getting the Kindle version and reading this.

It's often said that Rome ceased to be great when the Romans felt they were too good to serve in the Legions.

How many of today's politicians have served and what percentage of their children serve?

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Re: Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

#4

Post by Paladin » Sun Mar 01, 2020 11:42 am

What I've read so far importantly describes Civic Virtue of the Roman republic and how it contributed to the republic's extraordinary success.

One part I had to read twice was with regards to how Roman republic citizen-soldiers trained. While Roman citizen-soldiers had regular drills for unit training, the individual training was done at home by the father. Kids were taught by their family at a young age on all the individual skills they would need as a citizen-soldier. Citizen-soldiers were first productive citizens and served as soldiers only when necessary.

Rome won control of the entire Mediterranean because they could field vast numbers of primarily home(farm) trained soldiers who had a approved the military action and also had personal stake in the victory or defeat.
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Re: Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

#5

Post by Paladin » Sun May 03, 2020 1:38 pm

The book has been a great read. Interesting perspective on the Punic Wars and Macedonian Wars. Carthage and Macedonia were Rome's chief rivals in the Mediterranean. Carthage had an extremely powerful navy and had hired the best soldiers who could be bought. It was a tough fight that Rome appeared completely unsuited for, but the Romans adapted and won a long difficult conflict with Carthage. In the Macedonian Wars the Romans defeated the Greek Phalanx that had previously been completely dominant under Alexander the Great.

The author points to Rome's Citizen Soldiers as key to being able to defeat ALL adversaries. Rome didn't win every battle, but in terms of numbers and adaptability they won final victories against the best professional soldiers of the day. Not something I learned in school.

Thomas Jefferson favored the US being an agricultural nation, in that he believed farmers to be the most virtuous people in character. The Roman Republic held the same belief. This points to something perhaps America has lost in the trend of increasing urbanization.
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Re: Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

#6

Post by Jeff B. » Sun May 03, 2020 9:14 pm

Just got this (hard copy) and will be starting this week...

I'm thinking that this may be even more interesting than I first thought.

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Re: Book: Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War

#7

Post by Paladin » Mon May 04, 2020 7:53 am

It was interesting that in the Roman Republic, Romans didn't trust professional soldiers or armies. They had good reason for it. Rome wanted soldiers who put the republic first, and generally did not trust soldiers who could not afford to purchase their own arms. The poor didn't have much of a stake in the success of the Republic. The wealthy and middle class had a huge stake and all served. The Roman leadership and wealthiest were cavalry as they could afford their own horses, weapons, and armor. The poorest were not required to serve in the army, but always had the option of serving in the navy.

Julius Caesar seized Rome with professionalized enlisted and officers more loyal to himself that the Republic. This was in part due to the Republic not always doing an adequate job re-integrating soldiers who had long served overseas back into Roman society.
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