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Roman Cavalry Trooper (#4R) w/Yellow Shield -- Single Mounted Figure
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John Jenkins Designs

Item Number: MRRCAV-04Y

Roman Cavalry Trooper (#4R) w/Yellow Shield -- Single Mounted Figure

The Roman Army of the Mid Republic, Armies and Enemies of Ancient Rome

The Roman Republic was the era of classical Roman civilization beginning with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom, traditionally dated to 509 BCE, and ending in 27 BCE with the establishment of the Roman Empire.  It was during this period that Rome's control expanded from the city's immediate surroundings to hegemony over the entire Mediterranean world.

Roman government was headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and advised by a senate composed of appointed magistrates.  As Roman society was very hierarchical by modern standards, the evolution of the Roman government was heavily influenced by the struggle between the patricians, Rome's land-holding aristocracy, who traced their ancestry to the founding of Rome, and the plebeians, the far more numerous citizen-commoners.  Over time, the laws that gave patricians exclusive rights to Rome's highest offices were repealed or weakened, and leading plebeian families became full members of the aristocracy.  The leaders of the Republic developed a strong tradition and morality requiring public service and patronage in peace and war, making military and political success inextricably linked.  Many of Rome's legal and legislative structures (later codified into the Justinian Code, and again into the Napoleonic Code) can still be observed throughout Europe and much of the world in modern nation states and international organizations.

During the first two centuries of its existence, the Roman Republic expanded through a combination of conquest and alliance, from central Italy to the entire Italian peninsula.  By the following century, it included North Africa, most of the Iberian Peninsula, and what is now southern France.  Two centuries after that, towards the end of the 1st century BCE, it included the rest of modern France, Greece, and much of the eastern Mediterranean.  By this time, internal tensions led to a series of civil wars, culminating with the assassination of Julius Caesar, which led to the transition from republic to empire.

Historians have variously proposed Julius Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon River in 49 BCE, Caesar's appointment as dictator for life in 44 BCE, and the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.  However, most use the same date as did the ancient Romans themselves, the Roman Senate's grant of extraordinary powers to Octavian and his adopting the title Augustus in 27 BCE, as the defining event ending the Republic.

The Roman army of the mid-Republic (also known as the manipular Roman army or the "Polybian army"), refers to the armed forces deployed by the mid-Roman Republic, from the end of the Samnite Wars (290 BCE) to the end of the Social War (88 BC).  The first phase of this army, in its manipular structure (290–ca. 130 BCE), is described in detail in the Histories of the ancient Greek historian Polybius, writing before 146 BCE.

Roman cavalry became an integral part of the legion in this period.

As the stirrup had not yet been developed, riding was an acquired skill, and the Roman saddle was designed to keep the cavalryman mounted firmly on the horse.  At this time, cavalry were auxiliary troops used mainly for scouting, skirmishing, and to combat enemy cavalry.

JUNE 2021