The reform of the Roman Army during the Hannibalic Wars and its application in the Second and Third Macedonian Wars
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 22:31 authored by Timothy J. Blizzard
Despite a reasonably sustained focus upon the career, exploits and tactical brilliance of Scipio Africanus during the Hannibalic War, modern scholarship has neglected the apparent abandonment of his tactical reforms by the Roman army during the following half century. This project focuses upon the development of tactical doctrine within the Roman army throughout the Hannibalic and Macedonian Wars. The project's aims are to establish with certainty the nature and scope of Scipio Africanus' tactical reforms, that they constituted a widely applicable alteration to tactical doctrine, and, finally, whether this reform program was abandoned in the Second and Third Macedonian Wars. These aims are addressed by a comparison of six set piece engagements, each critically reexamined by the investigator and based upon ancient source material, in order to determine the ideal conception by which Roman commanders employed their armies. This comparison found that Scipio’s reforms constituted manifestly superior tactical doctrine, based upon the doctrinal principle of envelopment, which was abandoned by Roman command during operations in Macedonia. The project concluded that the abandonment of said reform program constitutes an informational failure at the organizational level, which may represent a base driver for the relative decline of the Roman military in the second century BCE and thus a partial origin of the Marian reforms.