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Thread: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

  1. #1

    Default Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    In Europa Barbarorum 2's time period. The military organizations were:

    1.The professional armies where being a soldier was a career that most male citizens were able to volunteer for, akin to what the Romans had.

    2. The warrior aristocracy where a child would be trained and equipped to be a warrior from early childhood, as seen in most of the barbarian and nomadic factions.

    3. The military levies, where citizens would work ordinary jobs but take up arms and fight when the time for war came, similar to what the Greeks had.

    What were the advantages and the disadvantages of the three? Which system of military organization was superior?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    You can't really say superior or inferior, as each system had different underlying society and its capabilities and needs significantly affected their military organization.

    Proffessional army is expensive and slow to build up, but provides unparalled manpower of decent quality. Since it requires significant production and manpower surprlus that can be used toward maintaining it, it's been domain of urbanized, centralized societies that are either in need of constant military presence (Rome) or are gearing up toward offensive, decisive conflict (Phillip's and Alexander's Macedonian army).

    Warrior aristocracy is typical for decentralized societies with significant internal conflict, which tends to shape them toward ritualized combat with certain rules of engagement, since open war would result in effective destruction of both sides due to manpower depletion.

    Citizen militia is curious, I dare to say, intermediate type that sometimes arise as a result of urbanization and rise of of middle classes. As society coalesces into an urbanized, centralized one that projects power mainly by non-military means, the opportunity cost of maintaining either standing army or warrior aristocracy becoms too high for the benefit. Citizen militia arises from these circumstances-when war is rare, but there is significant amount of citizens that can spare time for some training and money for the weaponry available. Such organization can provide higher manpower than warrior caste at quality level of standing army, but at fraction of cost. However, it cannot project force over long ranges or long time period, and this is more useful as defensive measure than offensive.

    Also keep in mind that at some degree, all these systems did in practice overlap, for example the Greek system did maintain some form of warrior aristocracy and ritualized fight, although it was not as focused purely on combat as in the preceeding military systems. And traditional style levies were, in time of need, used by all military systems.

  3. #3
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Quote Originally Posted by Tactics Mayers View Post
    In Europa Barbarorum 2's time period. The military organizations were:

    1.The professional armies where being a soldier was a career that most male citizens were able to volunteer for, akin to what the Romans had.

    2. The warrior aristocracy where a child would be trained and equipped to be a warrior from early childhood, as seen in most of the barbarian and nomadic factions.

    3. The military levies, where citizens would work ordinary jobs but take up arms and fight when the time for war came, similar to what the Greeks had.

    What were the advantages and the disadvantages of the three? Which system of military organization was superior?
    1. Wasn't true of Rome before the Marian reforms. Prior to that, they were mostly 3, where any Roman citizen between the ages of 16 and 60 could be called up to the legions, until they'd served a maximum number of times.

    As for 3, that was only true of Hellas and certain city-states. The Hellenistic system was of colonial settlement of soldiers who received land in return for being mustered when the state required. Along with their sons and subsequent descendants also being liable for military service in return for their preferential treatment in the tax system.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    If only the Celts had been able to institute some sort of standing army... we would all be speaking Gallic right now!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    It's tough to answer, and I think one good way to start and try to 'answer' the question is to ask what really constituted success or effectiveness for an ancient military? In the Classical Greek world, your polis would only aim to vindicate its desires in its clash with the rival cities, and to strive for a good peace with favorable terms. In that environment, a strong navy was one of the most important force-modifiers that distinguished powerful states from middling ones. The city-state military was always a citizen-army meaning that the military effectiveness of a polis was very closely tied to its population size; your number and selection of allies was the factor that could modify this. For its purposes the Classical Greek city-state army was pretty apt. The system began to strain when the hegemonies of Athens and Sparta appeared in the 5th Century. To support their quasi-empires, both states (but especially Athens) adapted proto-imperial approaches to their lesser allies to try and extort more money and soldiers from them at a volume equal to maintaining a hegemony rather than just campaigning for one city-state. And this was also the catalyst for the rise of mercenaries as additional forces who could bolster the size of their armies up to more imperial levels.

    When you look at a comparable contemporary, Achaemenid Persia, their military and their imperial system totally reflected their political goals. The Achaemenids were special favorites of the divine with a mission and a trust to enforce the harmony of the universe across the world. For this reason, they left other rulers basically intact unless they were somehow offensive to the gods. Then as their superiors, and as their sworn benefactors and overlords, they could call upon these local lords to honor their fidelity to heaven and assist in enforcing the regimen of universal balance. The satrapal system organized this perfectly, and created a state system where most of the people of the empire were left intact with their forces available while the whole imperial system could mobilize itself to punish a serious blasphemer such as Greece or Egypt

    Religious motivations like such were typical of how ancient Mediterranean rulers, the commanders-in-chief, actually defined their military and political goals. Of course, there was also a robust awareness that plunder was a material reward for conquest that served as the motivation for many average soldiers and persons of mundane virtue. Satisfying material desires was necessarily a faculty of an imperial system that wanted to control its soldiers, its tributary peoples, and its aristocratic constituencies. The Achaemenid system was designed to dole out rewards in order to keep a handle on such a sprawling territorial empire. Classical Greeks, who did not take control or mastery of other cities ever, did not have to do this for their neighbors and enemies. They had a different society and thus a different approach to foreign relations.

    I think what you find is that the EB II settlement management and the recruitment mechanics simulate ancient imperialism as a phenomenon that emerged when individual nations, for various reasons, took protection over foreign peoples and established some tributary relationship between themselves and the conquered. But the original state of all ancient empires was as just one nation (or a tribe within a nation) that rose through conquest to control the territories of other, foreign peoples. As individual nations, most in the ancient world were structurally similar, with essentially differences of praxis on cultural and religious grounds. But as empires, there was a greater diversity of ways in which the imperial power could define its relationship to the conquered people

  6. #6

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    1. That is true for the Romans after the Marian reforms. Before that, the closest thing to that would be the argyraspides regiment that the Seleucids used, where 10,000 of the most-able soldiers were picked to form a royal-guard (out of all the military colonists) and received pay. The Antigonids also had the somewhat professional Peltastai/ Agema regiment.
    2. That could again be true for the successor kingdoms, as the sons of military settlers were expected to serve in the military like their fathers did.
    3. This was certainly true for the earlier Greeks (Persian Wars, Peloponnesian War), but by this point the successors utilized the klerurchy system (giving land in exchange for military service), only some states in mainland Greece levied citizens to war (Aetolia, Sparta, Achaeans etc.)
    The advantages of the Hellenistic clerurchy, military settlement system (a mixture of 1,2 and 3) was loyalty to the king (see Antiochus III against Molon) and a good level of training/ effectiveness of the soldiers. Another big one was the protection against native revolts (like the revolt of Upper Egypt), the downside was money strain due to limited lands to give (Antiochus II), cost of maintaining the Royal Guard and a somewhat limited source of manpower (although later Seleucid armies were still able to field pretty good numbers, even after the Antiochus VII disaster).
    The Roman system (pre-Marian reforms) is good as long as you have reliable allies (Socii) and general population willing to fight.

  7. #7
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Garrison duty is an important aspect of the Ptolemaic system of colonisation, something reflected in the upcoming patch. Keeping the natives in check was a major concern.

    It was also something the Carthaginians devoted some of their Libyan manpower to in Africa as well.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Quote Originally Posted by Tactics Mayers View Post
    In Europa Barbarorum 2's time period. The military organizations were:

    1.The professional armies where being a soldier was a career that most male citizens were able to volunteer for, akin to what the Romans had.

    2. The warrior aristocracy where a child would be trained and equipped to be a warrior from early childhood, as seen in most of the barbarian and nomadic factions.

    3. The military levies, where citizens would work ordinary jobs but take up arms and fight when the time for war came, similar to what the Greeks had.

    What were the advantages and the disadvantages of the three? Which system of military organization was superior?
    I'll try to keep it short.

    1. Professionals:

    Advantages: Due to constant training and experience, they should be highly competent and disciplined soldiers.

    Disadvantages: Expensive to maintain, prone to following the money.

    2. The warrior aristocracy:

    Advantages: Well motivated to keep and even perhaps expand their privileges. Very competent fighters. In the case of some settled/civilized peoples, they may not be as competent as the professionals simply because aristocracy has managerial and judicial duties that take time away from martial training. It depends on the society, though. For example, nobles in nomadic societies are the most competent warriors in those societies - their social status depends on their martial prowess.

    Disadvantages: Few in number, prone to following their own political agenda and undermining central authority. Some nobility are not well disciplined fighters - usually in societies that emphasize personal glory, single combat etc

    3. Levies:

    Advantages: Cheap, readily available in large numbers, motivated when defending.

    Disadvantages: Not nearly competent and disciplined as the first two groups (although some levies are much better than others), unwilling to be on campaign for extended periods of time (again, some levies are much better than others). Also, bear in mind that they are primarily farmers, craftsmen, merchants etc - every moment they spend fighting is a moment they aren't producing.

    In my opinion, the core of the army should be comprised of professionals while motivated citizen levies make up the bulk of the forces. The professionals do the heavy fighting and help train the levies. At the same time, they are affordable to maintain and they do not pose a huge threat to the state because there aren't a great many of them overall.
    Last edited by Rad; May 23, 2019 at 07:11 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  9. #9
    Vladyvid's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Which system of military organization was superior?
    The professional army system would be the best system of those 3, as that is the most modern one. The system can be superior to other recruitment systems, but there are different circumstances where different systems can work better. As ussual, the correct answer is 'it depends'.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladyvid View Post
    The professional army system would be the best system of those 3, as that is the most modern one. The system can be superior to other recruitment systems, but there are different circumstances where different systems can work better. As ussual, the correct answer is 'it depends'.
    You also have to factor in the era we're talking about. The Romans got a professional army with the Marian reforms and look what that got them. They went from a glorious Republic to a crappy Empire and a bunch of them got killed in the process. A professional, patriotic citizen army is an entirely different beast, though.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Quote Originally Posted by Rad View Post
    You also have to factor in the era we're talking about. The Romans got a professional army with the Marian reforms and look what that got them. They went from a glorious Republic to a crappy Empire and a bunch of them got killed in the process. A professional, patriotic citizen army is an entirely different beast, though.
    Yes, Marius was reason why the Glorius Republic fell and eventually transformed into an Empire. It's good idea to not pay the troops and let the generals do it for them, ensuring their loyalty is to them and not the state.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Soldiers followed the money instead of the idea. Bad for republics
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  13. #13
    Vladyvid's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    The Romans got a professional army with the Marian reforms and look what that got them. They went from a glorious Republic to a crappy Empire and a bunch of them got killed in the process.
    As if the army reform decided everything happening afterwards... that analysis is flawed and unjustified. Progress is in essence a positive factor, and professional army was always progressive no matter the time period. Thats the reason why Roman legions reigned supreme across such a vast territory, and thats why later feudal armies were replaced by professional conscripts.

    A career soldier is on a completely different level than a levy. Levy doesnt even fit this whole comparison in my opinion. There existed different systems where you would have career soldiers, both in what you categorise here as professional armies, aswell as feudal or tribal societies.

    The superiority of a professional army comes from many factors but in my opinion best example is that the more professional the armies are in general ruled by merit. That means men who have skills and experience, advance in ranks. You could still have an incompetent Consul maybe, but the legions tribuns and centurions would be very well qualified. Another superiority is organization, both in battle and outside of it.

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    Lusitanio's Avatar Content Staff
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    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    You aren't also taking into consideration the use of mercenaries which was a game changing factor during wars and a major factor on ancient wars as well as the fact that there was usual a combination of those types of warriors. Just look at the battle of Zama and the Carthaginian army at that battle, it was basically a combination of all the military organizations types because the army had "professional" infantry on the third line, the Carthaginian citizen levy on the second line and the "warrior aristocrats" on the third line, which was composed of gallic, italian, libyan, numidians, etc.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    The Romans already had a professional army. Since the 5th Century BC, they paid soldiers on campaign a wage for their labor and paid allied troops in victuals. Warfare was not seasonal, as is sometimes wrongly alleged - since at least the time of the Siege of Veii, the Romans had switched to keeping armies in the field for multiple years at a time. The Marian reforms were only the culmination of a process of increasingly low property qualifications. What was more destabilizing than that, and which disrupted the normal administration of the army, was the Social War and the large constituencies of Italians who felt more personal loyalty to their generalissimos than to the Republic

  16. #16

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Being paid to overwinter at Veii, they were still using their own arms and weapons, and eventually returned to their farms after right? With the Marian reforms.. the state supplied arms and the legionnaires were basically landless and had no other profession, until retirement from the army?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Quote Originally Posted by Vladyvid View Post
    As if the army reform decided everything happening afterwards... that analysis is flawed and unjustified. Progress is in essence a positive factor, and professional army was always progressive no matter the time period. Thats the reason why Roman legions reigned supreme across such a vast territory, and thats why later feudal armies were replaced by professional conscripts.

    A career soldier is on a completely different level than a levy. Levy doesnt even fit this whole comparison in my opinion. There existed different systems where you would have career soldiers, both in what you categorise here as professional armies, aswell as feudal or tribal societies.

    The superiority of a professional army comes from many factors but in my opinion best example is that the more professional the armies are in general ruled by merit. That means men who have skills and experience, advance in ranks. You could still have an incompetent Consul maybe, but the legions tribuns and centurions would be very well qualified. Another superiority is organization, both in battle and outside of it.
    Yeah, it pretty much decided everything happening afterwards. Rome (the state/government) made one crucial mistake. It refused to bear the costs of raising, maintaining and disbanding those soldiers. Ambitious individuals exploited that mistake, bore those expenses and in return got powerful armies loyal to themselves, instead of the state/government.

    I have no idea what you wanted to say with the second and third paragraph. A professional army is a superior fighting force compared to one made of levies, I never stated otherwise. The danger is internal, not external.
    Last edited by Rad; May 24, 2019 at 02:46 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    Quote Originally Posted by Beckitz View Post
    The Romans already had a professional army. Since the 5th Century BC, they paid soldiers on campaign a wage for their labor and paid allied troops in victuals. Warfare was not seasonal, as is sometimes wrongly alleged - since at least the time of the Siege of Veii, the Romans had switched to keeping armies in the field for multiple years at a time. The Marian reforms were only the culmination of a process of increasingly low property qualifications. What was more destabilizing than that, and which disrupted the normal administration of the army, was the Social War and the large constituencies of Italians who felt more personal loyalty to their generalissimos than to the Republic
    The Romans did not have a professional army until the end of the 2nd century BC (roughly speaking). The fact that Rome paid soldiers while they were on campaign does not change that. It can only be seen as an attempt at compensation for lost revenue, covering expenses etc. Modern reservists are compensated when they go on military exercises. That does not make them professional soldiers.

    The Roman soldiers prior to the Marian reforms were first and foremost farmers, craftsmen, merchants etc who were called to fight by their country. They had to supply their own gear (one possible exception I can think of are the legions levied after Cannae). After the campaign was over, they were disbanded and they returned to their jobs from which they derived their livelihood. That system worked well until the catastrophies that were the first and second Punic war and the aftermath that followed, when Rome basically decided to do everyone everywhere at the same time, if possible. The population loss and the aggressive foreign policy put a huge strain on manpower base that suffered great losses. Soldiers were forced to fight for longer periods of time and when they were finally disbanded, they would often have to face the fact that someone exploited their abscence/loss of productivity of the household and bought their land.
    Last edited by Rad; May 24, 2019 at 03:05 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  19. #19
    Vladyvid's Avatar Senator
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    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    I dont know enough about Rome to discuss this further, Rad, but my impression is that you are considering the professional army as some sort of a mistake and only focus on the fact that soldiers must be payed. Does it mean there is any other system better than professional armies? What is it?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Professional Armies vs Warrior Aristocracies vs Military Levies

    You're missing the point. The state made the mistake of refusing to pay for those soldiers. Private individuals stepped up and took those costs on themselves. They took the responsibility of equipping, training, paying and providing land and/or cash bonuses for the soldiers. By doing that, those private individuals tied the soldiers to themselves and alienated them from the state. Thus, the soldiers became the weapons of those private individuals.

    The best possible army I can think of is a professional army made of patriotic citizens - paid for, trained and equipped by the state.
    Last edited by Rad; May 24, 2019 at 04:03 AM.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

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