Biographies and Essays by SOSZ Members

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Unread postby Jiang Zhi » Fri Nov 21, 2003 9:54 pm

Roman Imperialism
Roman History - 2nd Year, University of Toronto
By Moses D.C. Kong

For centuries, Roman legions have marched from their city upon the seven hills conquering the nations around them. One by one, the mighty ancient monarchies fell under Roman domination. At its height, this empire stretched from the lush green hills of Britannia, through the thick forests of Germania, and into the hot desert sands that stretched from Africa all the way into Judea and Syria. With these newly gained territories, Rome became more and more prosperous, as their resources accumulated through the decades. War and campaigns became a source of income for the empire. This sudden occurrence of the inevitable expansion of Rome can be traced back from the simultaneous threats of the Punic and Macedonian Wars, most notably, the period after Second Punic War to the end of the Third Macedonian War, from 201 to 168 BCE. Facing enemies on both sides of the Italian peninsula, Rome took a policy of “defensive imperialism” and soon defeated both Carthage and Macedonia. Rome soon found itself prosperous due to the sudden influx of wealth gained by her defeated enemies – the phenomenon of Roman Imperialism had begun and had taken shape. Although the Roman Empire was vast at its apex, there was never an expansion policy in the beginning, as the Roman Imperialism was nonexistent then. By only defending Rome, they have consequently gained much of the territories lost by their foes. With these new rich resourceful territories in their control, it was then the realization of building an empire began. And so, their inevitable empire had begun to take shape.
When one tries to analyse the origins of Roman Imperialism and the reasons behind it, there are several factors one must look into, such as early Roman expansion, the origin of the Punic and Macedonian Wars, the emergence of client states, and how Roman society itself reacts to its own territorial expansions. The reason why Rome decided to expand its city from its location on top of the seven hills, and to dominate the Italian peninsula, was the same reason it expanded into the Mediterranean world. Those were the societies that flourished around the city that would one day become either a close ally or a brutal enemy. The first to oppose young Rome was another city along the Tiber River, which bore the name Veii. In a struggle that lasted decades long, the fight for dominance over the Tiber River valley finally ended, with Rome being the victor. However, war was far from over.
From the northern borders, Rome’s first taste of the Gallic tribes poured over from the Alps. Unable to defeat those enemies, the northern invaders broke through the walls of Rome and pillaged the city. It was during that invasion in which the Romans learned a tremendous lesson. What had hurt Rome the most was not the plunder, but “her pride and prestige.” It was because of that invasion, that past allies took advantage of her weaknesses and launched attacks of their own upon the city. Rome never faltered in fending off every attack. Thick walls were raised around the city. Not one foreign invader will ever again set foot onto Roman soil within the walls for another few centuries. One by one, Rome absorbed other nations on the Italian peninsula into its dominion. It was not long before the entire Italian peninsula became the territory of Rome itself. Rome forced their past “allies” into “supplying auxiliary contingents” into its army. Rome has grown from a small village to a large nation dominating all of Italy. Their sight then drifted south towards the jewel of the Mediterranean – Sicily.
Nevertheless, the largest turning point in Roman expansion was during the end of the Second Punic Wars. Rome’s biggest rival, Carthage, was finally defeated and much of what used to be the Carthaginian territories had been annexed into Roman rule. Rome was now an unrivalled power in the western Mediterranean world as their sight turned eastwards towards the former Alexander the Great’s Macedonian empire.
With the death of Alexander in the year 323 BCE, the Macedonian Empire was split between its many generals. In Egypt, the Ptolemaic Kingdom had spread its influence. Also, in a territory spreading from the Aegean to Afghanistan , there was the Seleucid Kingdom that dominated the deserts. Macedonia itself retained its territories in Greece and Thrace. The troubles in the eastern Mediterranean first began during the climatic days of the Second Persian Wars when the king of Macedonia named Philip V made an alliance with Hannibal. With that pact signed, Philip V launched campaigns against Roman possessions in Illyria (modern day Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia). However, due to an alliance by Rome and the Greek states of the Aetolian League, Philip V had to back down from the war. That became known as the First Macedonian War, which lasted from 215 to 205 BCE. It was the first of four conflicts that will open the way for Roman supremacy in the east.
Although the first conflict with Macedonia was not due to Roman interest in the east but a war to prevent Philip V from joining forces with Hannibal, the Second Macedonian War (200 to 196) was the struggle “that really signed the birth certificate of Roman imperialism.” Rome took part in this war because of commercial reasons – they had taken interest in overseas trading from the local Greek cities in southern Italy and Sicily. Philip V however, had been causing several disturbances in these trading routes. Rome would benefit a lot economically with a war against Greece and Macedonia as well. Greece would become a source of intelligent and educated slaves, which was a growing demand in the Roman market since the First Macedonian War. Furthermore, Greece and Macedonia were rich with valuables and treasures that attracted many Romans from all classes.
In order to protect the interests of the Roman economy and the security of Rome itself, in the year 200 BCE, Rome launched its second campaign against Philip V’s Macedonian Empire. This became the start of a new policy known as “defensive imperialism.” What this policy does was to keep the peace throughout the sphere of influence within the Roman dominated Mediterranean world both on land and sea. Rome, in a way, played the “policeman” over what would later become “client states”, and then annexed as provinces.
What spurred this “defensive imperialism” policy was due to the outrage from the Roman populace during the Second Punic Wars, when Carthaginian General Hannibal Barca invaded the Italian peninsula. A force no less than twenty thousand infantry and six thousand cavalry descended down the slopes of the Alps and ravaged the Italian peninsula. Gaining support from cities in the region, they defeated legion after legion in the battles of Trebia, Lake Trasimene, and Cannae. Due to the threats the Carthaginian-Macedonian alliance posed, it was in Rome’s best interest to send their troops east when the Carthaginian forces were wiped out in the battle of Zama.
What really decided the victor of the war was the decisive battle at Cynoscephalae. Although the Macedonian phalanx were superior to the Roman legionnaires in close combat and in their choice of positioning (they fought on high grounds) , the table was turned to Roman favor when “a quick thinking tribune detached some maniples from the rear of the successful Roman right and attacked the ponderous phalanx of the Macedonian right wing from behind.” This move showed that Roman legions were more flexible in their tactics by making changes according to the battle situation. By the year 196 BCE, Rome had “liberated” Greece and the general who led the campaign, T. Quinctius Flamininus, declared the independence of the Greek states. However, this declaration of independence did not give the Greeks total liberation – what the Greeks really became was a client state of Rome. These client states that Rome obtained throughout the period between the Second Punic Wars and the Third Macedonian Wars would later be annexed into Roman provinces sometime in the 140s BCE.
Territorial expansion for Rome not only benefited only the upper class patricians or the aristocracy, but also the common people, better known as the plebeians. War was a source of income for Rome. Every new territory they conquer, there were valuables for generals to distribute among their men. Any leftover “booty” could also be spent on public works, such as temples. Because of these treasures gained from conquering territories, for the ordinary soldier, war was a quick way for many to gain wealth.
Like the soldiers of today, Roman soldiers also received awards for valour. There were crowns awarded for different accomplishments. For example, victors of sea battles received a crown decorated with ships, while someone who was an exceptional cavalry soldier received a crown decorated with the theme of horses. The highest award for outstanding achievement in the line of duty is a “crown of oak leaves, which was considered a much greater honour than all the crowns of silver and gold.” This was known as the “Civic Crown” and those who received it wore it proudly on their heads.
With the Third Macedonian War ending with a decisive victory at the Battle of Pydna, the Romans got rid of the ruling monarchy in Macedonia and split the nation into four independent republics with limited rights. In addition, these territories had to pay an annual tribute to Rome. In Greece, one thousand of the ruling class citizens were purged and deported to Italy. Although none of the territories were annexed until the year 148 BCE, Rome still kept an iron fist over the Hellenistic world. Rome was getting more and more wealthy. Looking at the Mediterranean map, the Romans soon realized that after the Punic and Macedonian wars, Rome’s territorial size had grown from 27,000 square kilometers to 55,000 square kilometers. The empire was slowly taking shape and further conquest would bring additional wealth to the already prosperous city. Expansion was inevitable.
In conclusion, Rome never had a policy of imperialism and expansion in the beginning. It was the threat from the Punic and Macedonian Wars that caused the formation of this predestined empire. Rome expanded only to protect herself from the hostile nations around them – defensive imperialism. It was the promise of wealth and plunder that manipulated the Romans into stretching their frontiers to their limits. From 168 BCE and beyond, the golden eagle of Rome will bring almost all of Western Europe and the Mediterranean World under the control of one city – Rome. Without this inevitable empire taking shape, the world today would have been dramatically altered.

Works Cited

Cavazzi, Franco. The Roman Empire. <>, 1 June 2003.

le Glay, Marcel, et al., A History of Rome, 2nd ed. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers, 2001.

Scarre, Chris, The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.

Shelton, Jo-Ann. As the Romans Did. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Ward, Allen M., et al., A History of the Roman People, 4th ed. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2003.
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Unread postby Book of Faith » Sat Mar 06, 2004 9:55 pm

This is a little essay that I wrote for a History Class. Please feel free to ask any questions, point out mistakes, or post any comments. Please, no grammar corrections(I know there are many).

Rulers After Khubilai

The last years of Khubilai's reign were clouded by the failure of his foreign adventures, by his ill-health and above all by the problem of succession. In contrast to the Chinese practice of the ruler nominating his successor, the Mongols retained the acclamation of a ruler from among those eligible to succeed. This gave rise to to a recurrent difficulty throughout the Yuan period which weakend the dynasty. Khubilai's original choice of successor was his son, Zhenjin, but Zhenjin died in 1285. After Khubilai's death, Zhenjin's son, Temür, was acclaimed Khaghan and reigned as the emperor Chengzong from 1294 to 1307. His reign in many respects saw the continuation of policies intiated by Khubilai, and he achieved nominal suzerainty over the whole of the Mongol world. However, it was also marked by the onset of administrative inefficiency and corruption. He was followed on the throne by Khaishan, who rejected most of Khubilai's programme, plunged recklessly into debt, and adopted a variety of unsound financial practices to try to fix the situation.

A more settled period of government ensued under Khaishan's brother, Ayurbarwada, the emperor Renzong(reign years: 1311-1320). More than any of his predeccessors, Ayurbarwada had absorbed Chinese culture. He employed Confucian scholar-officials in his bureaucracy, and in 1315, he partly received the civil service examinations using a curriculum based on Neo-Confucian texts. However, Mongolian and other non-Chinese groups were given easier tests, and a racial quota sytem was employed. Although the examinations conducted under Ayurbarwada, and until the end of the dynasty only recruited four percent of the official appointments, the reform alarmed the Mongol élite.

In the years following the death of Ayurbarwada, a prolonged struggle broke out between factions at court, who were divided partly by the stand they took towards sinicisation, and partly by the rival claims of the descendants of the two lines from Khubilai. In 1323, a coup took place which put Yesün Temür on the throne. His steppe background made him unsympathetic to Chinese scholar-officials, and led him to appoint Muslims to senior positions. When he died in 1328, an even more bloody succession struggle fllowed. The result of this struggle would be Tugh Temür being enthroned twice. he has been represented as the "Yuan Candidate", that is to say as a Mongol whose commitment was to China rather than to the steppe. He most certainly went out of his way to honor Confucius, and to promote Chinese culture. Finally, in 1333, Toghön Temür was placed on the throne at the age of thirteen. His reign lasted until 1368, when the Mongol court fled from China.
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Unread postby Book of Faith » Sun Mar 07, 2004 5:42 pm

This is another section of my Yuan Dynasty Essay. I'd love to hear any comments, sugestions, or corrections. Please, no grammatical corrections(I know there are many).

Was the Yuan Dynasty Significant?

In traditional Chinese historiography, the Mongol conquest was treated as a disaster, and this pejorative view of the Yuan Dynasty has been accepted by many western writers. Jacques Garnet, for example, emphasised that this was a Mongol occupation of China. He desribed how the Mongols had devised a system of economic exploitation and practiced racial discrimination, concluding that their harsh regime and unjust policies had provoked the hatred of the Chinese, and had led to their inevitable expulsion. Another charge which has been laid at the Mongols' door, is that they caused a major setback to developement of Chinese society, terminating the progress of the Song period, including the economic and technological changes which have been seen as verging on the birth of capitalism, and thus ensuring that the the successor Ming Dynasty would be an introverted and noncompetitive state. It has also been claimed that Mongol rule led to a brutalisation of Chinese politics, and that this bore fruit in Ming times, the evidence quoted including the practice instituted by the forst Ming Emperor of ordering the public flogging of ministers with whom he was displeased.

These views, which are to no extent justifiable, conceal important features of the Yuan Dynasty. Many Chinese supported the dynasty because it brought about a reunification of the country. the claim that the Han Chinese despised being ruled by Mongols, and that throughout the Yuan period they wanted to drive them out, ignores the fact that many Mongols remained in China after the Yuan court had left. It is more likely that the Chinese came to accept the Mongol Emperors as the legitimate holders of the Mandate of Heaven. There is no evidence to show that Han Chinese culture, far from having been dispoiled by the Mongols, as the founder of the Ming Dynasty alleged, actually flourished in the Yuan period. A positive view of Mongol rule has claimed that it was more humane than that of the Song, that less use was made of capital punishment and of irregular taxation, that there was no 'literary inquisitions', and that classocal scholarship flourished. This revisionary view points out that the verdict on the Yuan of the early Ming period was initially highly favourable, but was reversed after an incident which occured in 1449 when the Ming Emperor was captured by the Oirat Mongols.

The impression that remains is that there is still much to be discovered about the Yuan period. One unresolved mystery concerns population. According to fiscal records, the combined population of Song and Jin China amounted to well over 100,000,000 whereas the records of the 1290s indicate a population of roughly 70,000,000. How far that reduction was the product of inadequate recording, how far the result of a demographic disaster, remains unclear. It must also be said that Mongol rule was essentially superficial and that for the great majority of the Chinese population, it probably had only a slight impact.
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Unread postby Book of Faith » Sun Mar 28, 2004 10:28 pm

Background: This is a small essay about the changes in Daoism during the period of division in China.

Intellectual and Religious Developments: The Transformation of Daoism

When thinking about the life during the period of division, the important issue of the intellectual and religious trends which had set in at the end of the Han Dynasty must be considered. These include the transformation of Daoism and the introduction and rise of Buddhism.

Confucianism derived its strength from its importance as a state cult and because of its role in the training of bureaucrats. With the decline of the Han Dynasty, the way was opened for the development of more speculative and individualistic philosophies. In the third century, a number of writers developed the ideas of what has sometimes been described as Neo-Daoism, or Philosophical Daoism. One aspect of the movement was known as xuanxue or "dark learning", whose proponents set out to harmonise the Daoist spirit with Confucian social and moral doctrines. Guo Xiang, who died in 312, conceived the sage to be a person who moved between the realm of human affairs and the transcendental world. Hewrote a famous commentary on the Zhuangzi in which he developed the Daoist theme of nonaction, saying:

In the cutting of a tree, the workman does not take any action: the only action he takes is in plying the ax. In the actual managing of affairs, the ruler does not take any action; the only action he takes is in employing the ministers. If the minister can manage the affairs, the ruler can employ ministers, the ax can cut the tree, and the woodman can use the ax, each corresponding to his capacity, then the laws of nature will operate of themselves, not because someone takes action.

Other groups engaged in qingtan, or "pure conversation", which often implied metaphysical discussion. The most famous of these groups were the Seven Immortals of the Bamboo Grove, a group of men of letters who met near Luoyang to hold discussions, to write poetry and play music, and to drink heavily. An important element in Daoist thought was the search for immortality, which led investigators to the study of medicine and inner hygiene, and which also encouraged an interest in alchemy. Daoism also became a popular religion, with temples, a priesthood, and a pantheon of gods. It was also at this time that the close connection between Daoism and art was established. In his Introduction to Landscape Painting, Zong Bing(375-443 A.D.) summed up many of the points of this relationship when he wrote:

And so I live in leisure and nourish my vital power. I drain clean the wine-cup, play the lute, lay down the picture of scenery, face it in silence, and, while seated, travel beyond the four boarders of land, never leaving the realm where nature exerts her influence, and alone responding to the call of wilderness. Here the cliffs and peaks seem to rise to soaring heights, and groves in the midst of clouds are dense and extend to the vanishing point. Sages and virtuous men of far antiquity come back to live in my imagination and all interesting things come together in my spirit and in my thoughts. What else need I do? I gratify my spirit, that is all. What is there that is more important than gratifying the spirit?
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Unread postby Book of Faith » Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:54 pm

The Founding of the Ming Dynasty

Edward Dreyer traced the origins of the Ming Dynasty back to the 1350s to 'an obscure ban of dislocated soldiers'. The founder of the dynasty. Zhu Yuanzhang, had been born of a very poor family near Fengyang in modern Anhui. Both his parents died of famine, and Zhu entered a Buddhist monastery as a novice. Later he resorted to begging. In 1352, when he was twenty-five, he joined the Red Turban rebels led by Guo Zixing. Zhu showed military ability and also became connected to Guo by marriage. Zhu began to gather his own circle of advisors and administrators. This support, in addition to his military following, enabled him to achieve a degree of independance. from 1335, he offered allegiance to the rebellion headed by Han Liner, who had declared himself emperor of a restored Song Dynasty. In the meantime, Zhu developed his own base at Nanjing which he had captured in 1356. A key factor of his strategy was to fuse together his military machine, and the support of local gentry. He also fostered a reputation for having a concern for the condition of the people and went out of his way to establish good relations with eminent scholars.

By 1360, the key struggle for power was centered on the Yangzhi Valley, which was divided between three regimes, the Ming, the Han, and the Wu. Zhu Yuanzhang's main rival , Chen Youliang, another former Red Turban rebel, had proclaimed himself emperor of the Han Dynasty. the principal battles of what has become known as the Ming-Han war took place between 1360 and 1363. the sequence began with the Han, who had a strong naval force, sailing down the yaangzhi and seizing the important city of Taiping. they then moved on to attack Nanjing, the Ming capital, but suffered a serious defeat, with the loss of a considerable number of ships. It was now the Ming leaders' turn to go on the offensive, and in September 1361, the Ming fleet sailed upriver, achieved a naval victory, and obtained the surrender of Jiujiang. Chen Youliang retreated upriver, and Zhu Yuanzhang, aware of the danger of being away from Nanjing for a long time, was forced to return to his base. In 1363 the final, famous battle took place on lake Poyang. By this time, the Han had built a new fleet, their ships were large three-decked galleasses with iron-sheathed turrets for archers and sterns high enough to overtower city walls. The Ming fleet was composed of smaller, but more numerous ships. A four0day battle on the lake, in which the Ming used fireships effectivaly, weakenes but did not destroy the Han fleet. However, it was now trapped in the lake, and when it tried to break out it was annihilated, and in the same action, Chen Youliang was killed.

The way was now open for Zhu Yuanzhang to exploit the situation he had created. Between 1365 and 1367, he defeated the Wu regime, the key campaign being the siege and capture of Suzhou(the Wu capital). there now remained the final settlement with the Yuan government, which by this time, only had influence in the area around Beijing. Late in 1367, Zhu Yuanzhang dispatched expeditions to the north and to the south. So confident was he of their success, that in January 1368, he formally ascended to the Imperial Throne. Such confidence was not misplaced, for the southern expedition quickly brought the south under Ming rule, and the northern caprtured Beijing. Upon this capture, the Yuan court fled to inner Mongolia.
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Unread postby Book of Faith » Mon Apr 12, 2004 5:15 pm

Here's a small essay I typed up just earlier today. Enjoy:

Transition From Spring and Autumn to Warring States

The traditional resaon for dividing the Western Zhou period into two at 481 B.C. was that that year was the last years of th Spring and Autumn Annals. Because in the Zuozhuan(a commentary on historical records), the record was extended to 464 B.C., the latter date was also used to mark the division. Although the dates merely referred to a break a break in the historical record, most historians assumed that a more fundamental change occured at about that time. The most commonly ited aspect of the difference was the increasing frequency of wars- hence the appellation warring States for the secong period. However, the Hsu Cho-Yun had analysed the record, he concluded that wars were equally frequent is both periods. Other writers countered this conclusion by pointing out that the character of war had changed. Whereas in in the earlier period, wars had been the pastimeof a chaoriot-riding aristocracy, in the latter period it was more a serious affair, dominated by professional generals commanding a massed infantry force armed with a new weapon, the crossbow. The date usually adopted for the beginning of the Warring States period, 403 B.C., is also connected with the increasing severity of the power struggle between the states. In that year the state of Jin fragmented between three contestants. This left seven states, sometimes known as the seven powers: Qin, the eventual victor, in the west, Qi in the east, Yan in the northeast, Chu in the south, and in the north, the three successor states to Jin, namely Zhao, Han, and Wei.

Marxist historians have explained the progression from Spring and Autumn to Warring States period in a different way. They have argued that it coincided with the change from a slave to a fuedal society. However, the evidence for widespread slavery in the early Zhou period is very limited- indeed, there are more references to slavery in the time of the Warring States. Certainly there is nothing to indicate that the economy of China up to this time had been based on slavery.

The question remains: how great was the contrast between the two periods? The impression that the Warring States Period was one of frequent and destructive wars was the theme dear to Mencius's heart and this may be one reason why that view has for so long been accepted. But it must be said that the figures for casualties given in the traditional accounts are too high to be credible. More importantly, the evidence of population growth and economic expansion which occured at this time does not seem compatible with the dismal reputation of the period.
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Roman and Carthage Military Orginization.

Unread postby Da_Chicago_Jigalo » Fri Nov 26, 2004 1:26 am


Rome Army Organization

Conscripted Army: Soldiers taking pay and serving in an army for a little over a year. It took time to train these types of troops.
Legion: Armed Roman force of 5000 heavy infantry, light infantry, and cavalry.
Maniples (Regiment): The basic heavy infantry Roman tactic unit. There were 10 in one line.
Hastati: The first and front line of the heavy infantry in the Roman Legion. The maniples in this line were young fresh conscripts which ranged from 120-160 troops.
Principes: The second line and backup line of heavy infantry in the Roman Legion. The maniples in this line were adult veterans which also ranged from 120-160 troops.
Triarii: The 3rd line and strongest line of heavy infantry in the Roman Legion. The maniples in this line were warrior elite veterans which were only about 60 troops.
Gladius: A short stabbing sword used by the Roman infantry. It was encountered by Spanish mercenaries in the 1st Punic War.
Pilums: Two heavy throwing javelins used by the Hastati and Principes maniples.
Ala: A Legion supporting allied force with 900 cavalry and the same number of heavy infantry. They were equipped in the same manner as the Romans were and the best of the allied troops, the Extraordinarii usually took the Van in battles and usually took the rear guard in withdrawals. They numbered in about 800 infantry and 200 cavalry.
Consular Army: The usual Roman army formed of two Legions and two Alaes. It all being led by one Consul(General).

Different Parts
The Roman troops were conscripted trained Roman citizens straight from their own nation. This gave them a love for their nation and a want to proteft their homeland. Every Armed Force Member serving in an army was a conscripted soldier. The main fighting force in an army was a Legion. It was usually 5000 heavy infantry, light infantry, and cavalry. It had 6 Tribunes commanding it that rotated command in pairs. The Legion had 3 lines of heavy infantry each consisting of 10 Maniples in one line. Each maniples were organized into 2 centuries with 2 leaders called centurions, but then both centuries were led by a senior centurion who led the Maniples. The first and front line of the Heavy Infantry Troops were called Hastatis. They were young fresh conscript troops. Trained well but were the weak troops, they usually ranged from 120 to 160 troops. The second line were called Principes and they were the backup line of Heavy Infantry, they were usually veterans that were adults and ranged from 120 to 160 just like the Hastatis. The third line and the most powerful of the heavy infantry were the Triarii. They were the highly trained highly disciplined troops which usually around 60 troops. The heavy infintry lines were supported by 1200 Light Infantry Troops and 300 cavalry troops led by 3 decurions who shared roles in commanding. The Heavy Infantry were equipped with Roman made helmets, heavy armor, leg grieves, and a large oval shaped shield. Their primary offensive weapon was a short stabbing sword called the gladius. The Triarii Heavy Infantry carried large Greek Phalanx spears, while the Hastati and Principes troops each had 2 javelins called pilums. The Light infantry were only equipped with a helmet, a small shield, and a long sword with a number of javelins. Little is known about roman cavalry. It was usually made up of the Roman nobility and had either spears or swords on horseback. Each Legion of Roman troops were usually supported by Non-Roman foreign troops called Alaes. They had the same number of Roman infantry but had 900 cavalry troops. These troops were equipped in the same manner only they had an elite 800 infantry and 300 cavalry that took the van in clashes, and the rear guard in withdrawals.

How They would Assemble and Fight
The normal army was 20,000 troops with 4 legions and 4 alaes. 4 Legions in the center and 2 alaes on each flank. The maniples of Hastitis in each line of the legions were six to eight ranks deep in twenty yards wide and twenty yards deep of maniples with a gap in the line of each maniples of about 20 yards. The other 2 lines covered in the gaps making a checker board formation. The legion was 400 meters long and the entire army covered a mile long. There were 2 consuls that led the army and they would rotate command on a day to day basis. This system was confusing, but it kept one person from gaining too much power and it was an efficient organized way to achieve victory. By using this method the Roman army was a military machine that was very worthy to lead the mighty troops of Rome. The Roman army was known for its love of Rome and usually had higher morale than most other armies. With it's high morale, and effiecient organization of military, it was a good army and could win many battles. Unlike Carthage, no generals could gain too much power, so unless the consuls were extremely well at leading armies, the Roman army usually had nothing more than ordinary military commanders of the day. When final engaging took place in battles, the Romans would send in the Triarii to send in the final blow in the battle.

Carthage Army Organization

Amalgamation: What the main Army of Carthage was called. It was a large army of allied troops from all over north Africa, Nubia, and Western Europe.
Lybia: A large part of the Carthagian empire who in military services provided strong defensive troops with spears. They provided light cavalry as well as camel cavalry.
Spain: A large part of the Carthagian empire who in military service provided strong defensive troops with huge spears and worked in phalanx formations. They also gave the same heavy cavalry that the Gallic Tribesman did.
Numidia: A small province south of Carthage that gave Carthage some Camel Cavalry and mounted archers.
Gallic Tribesman: Mercenaries from Ireland that were found in Gaul and served the Carthagian Empire. They were unique troops with wooden shields, long swords, and javelins. They also provided heavy European cavalry that made great charges.
Baleric Slingers: Special troops from Carthage that gave a unique punch to the Amalgamation army.
War Elephant: The most powerful troops from Carthage that were huge African Elephants that broke through lines and paved the way for the rest of the troops to charge.

Different Parts
Carthage usually got troops by hiring professional mercenaries from all over their empire to fight for them. The main army of Carthage was called an Amalgamation. It was a massive army of troops from all the different parts of the empire. It had troops from Lybia, Spain, Numidia, and strong troops from the land of Carthage itself. As well as these it also had special mercenaries from Gaul and The British Isles called Gallic Tribesman. All these troops worked together under skilled generals from Carthage. A powerful part of Carthage was it's mighty navy. It's navy basically dominated the western medditeranean, and it thus gave Carthage an easier way to control it's lands in Spain and control trade in the Medditeranean.

How They would Assemble and Fight
The Army of Carthage was no different from any other ancient middle eastern of the ancient times in military fighting styles. Unlike Rome they did not have an overwhelmingly love for Carthage or a highly organized military fighting style. What they did have though was extraordinary military strategists and warriors. Including the great military genius Hannibal. Another thing they had that made up for their lack of love for Carthage was their skill. Troops from Carthage had high military experience since troops served longer (sometimes their entire life). They were hard strong troops and were used to harsh weather. They also did very well at guriella warfare. The Carthage navy was an essential part of it's military. By using it’s great navy it could easily transport troops to different parts of the empire, and could give easy access to unguarded native islands such as Corsica and Sardina. It's navy was clearly a large advantage it had over Rome at the start.

Ancient armies in the Punic Ages

How they fought battles
The battles in those days, were not as straightforward and decisive as battles in Helenistic times, but still used a bit of tactics and strategy to win battles. Armies would camp next to each other, and individual raids and skirmishes would take place between the two forces until the two armies mobilized to engage in the real battle. As they approached each other, different things were done to try to scare and intimidate the enemy army, but when this failed the two armies would come close and exchange javelin and arrow fire. If one army did not withdrawal under the fire, then the two armies would engage in fighting. The battle was usually not fought with the entire army. Different combat battles would take place in different places along the battlefield, if this did not work then the general would either send the entire army into a fray, or withdrawal (which usually ended in heavy casualties).

Sources: A book called "The Complete Roman Army" written by Sean Butler.
Author's note
I had some really nice pictures with it but I couldn't add them in because they were on my disk instead of a URL.
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Unread postby Jordan » Sun May 08, 2005 2:00 am

The Takeda, a part of the Uesugi bio and the Masamune Date bio on Wikipedia and many other sites that copy from wikipedia were sent in by me. They are short but I thought I'd put them in anyways.


He was the son of Takeda Nobutora. At some point in his life Shingen rebelled against his father and took control of the Takeda. Yoshimoto Imagawa helped him in this rebellion and an alliance was formed between the Imagawa, Hojo and Takeda families.

Shingen's first act was to gain a hold of the area around him. His goal was to conquer Shinano Province. He fought with many warlords and expanded his territory. However, the warlord was defeated at Uehara by Murakami Yoshioki, who won by utilizing firearms, which would play a prominent role in Sengoku-jidai warfare. Shingen managed to avenge this loss and the Murakami clan eventually was defeated as well. Murakami Yoshioki fled and later became a vassal of the Uesugi clan.

After he had conquered Shinano, Shingen faced another rival - Uesugi Kenshin. The conflict between the two culminated on the plain of Kawanakajima. These battles wavered back and forth between the two clans. Neither side gained complete victory until Shingen's death. In the fourth of these battles comes the famous tale of Uesugi Kenshin's forces clearing a path through the Takeda troops and Kenshin engaging Shingen in single combat. The tale has Kenshin attacking Shingen with his sword while Shingen defends with his iron war fan or tessen.

After Imagawa Yoshimoto (a close ally of the Takeda) was defeated, Shingen made a move against the weak Imagawa. He fought against Yoshimoto's heir and expanded his domain. After this he made a move against the Tokugawa. At Mikata-ga-hara, Takeda Shingen easily defeated the combined armies of Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu; but he could not defeat old age. After Shingen died in 1573 (due to an illness that, according to one theory, resulted from a musket ball wound), Katsuyori Takeda took control of the Takeda. Katsuyori was ambitious and desired to continue the legacy of his father. He moved on to take Tokugawa forts. However an allied force of Ieyasu Tokugawa and Nobunaga Oda dealt a crushing blow to the Takeda in the Battle of Nagashino. Here Nobunaga Oda's gunmen destroyed the Takeda cavalry. Ieyasu seized the opportunity and defeated the weak Takeda led by Takeda Katsuyori in the battle of Tenmokuzan. Katsuyori committed suicide after the battle, and the Takeda clan would never recover. Upon Shingen's death, Kenshin reportedly cried at the loss of one of his strongest and most deeply respected rivals.

The Takeda were for the most part utterly destroyed from this battle. However Shingen had had a profound effect on the period in Japan. He influenced many lords with his law system, tax system and administration system. He was probably not as cruel as other warlords, but he was aggressive toward military enemies. There were many tales about Takeda Shingen including the one mentioned above. His war banner contained the famous phrase Fuu-Rin-Ka-Zan, taken from Sun Tzu's 'The Art of War.' This phrase refers to the idea of Swift as the Wind, Silent as a Forest, Fierce as Fire and Immovable as a Mountain. The phrase demonstrates both Shingen's policies and warfare strategy.


Uesugi Kenshin was one of the many powerful lords of the Sengoku-jidai. He is famed for his prowess on the battlefield, his military expertise, strategy and his belief in the god of war - Bishamonten. Kenshin was known to also be an alcoholic. He never had any sons but adopted two different sons who would be his heirs.

Kenshin was born in Echigo Province and was the son of a powerful warlord. Kenshin's father died in battle, starting tumult and civil war in Echigo where he was the ruler. Kenshin fought with his brother and won, thus receiving his father's lands and becoming a powerful daimyo. He had gained Echigo but had not completely unified it. Kenshin's unification of Echigo was a slow process that probably was not completed until much later.

Around the time Kenshin became the new lord of Echigo, Takeda Shingen had won major victories in Shinano Province. The two provinces (Shinano and Echigo) shared a border and were very close to one another. Takeda gained dominion over Shinano by defeating a few minor lords and then defeating Murakami Yoshikiyo, the leader of the powerful Murakami clan. The Takeda, originally situated in Kai Province, had expanded northwards. Kenshin watched these activities with alarm. Soon after Murakami Yoshikiyo was defeated, he and another lord went to Kenshin and asked him to help them against Shingen. Shingen's northward advance had worried Kenshin and so he agreed to fight against Takeda Shingen. The two fought many battles at Kawanakajima though ultimately neither side gained any great advantage.

After 3 battles at Kawanakajima, Kenshin expanded his domain to include Etchu Province by fighting various lords there as well. After this he and Shingen fought the biggest battle they would fight, the fourth battle of Kawanakajima. Shingen won this battle but at great cost. Kenshin used an ingenious tactic: a special formation where the soldiers in the front would switch with the soldiers in back as those in the frontline became tired or wounded. This allowed the tired soldiers to take a break while the soldiers who had not seen action would fight on the frontlines. This was extremely effective and because of this Kenshin nearly defeated Shingen. In this battle is the tale of Kenshin riding up to Shingen and slashing at him with his sword. Shingen fended off the blows with his iron war fan or tessen. However, Kenshin failed to finish Shingen off. Hara Osumi-no-kami drove Kenshin away and Shingen made a counter-attack. The Uesugi army retreated and many drowned in a nearby river while others were cut down by Takeda's generals.

Though Shingen and Kenshin still fought again after this, Kenshin became concerned with fighting the Hojo clan. He also fought with the Ashina clan, another powerful clan of the time. Kenshin expanded his territory again but was forced to retreat when he ran short on supplies. Shingen died in 1572, and Kenshin reportedly wept at the loss of such a worthy adversary.

Sometime later Kenshin fought with Oda Nobunaga. He defeated Nobunaga at Tedorigawa despite being outnumbered and might have further expanded into Nobunaga's lands. However, Kenshin died shortly after the battle. Some say he died on a lavatory, others say he was assassinated by a ninja.

Masamune Date:

Masamune is known for a few things that made him a special daimyo of the time. In particular his famous helmet gained him some clout in this period. As a child Masamune Date lost his eye in a bout with smallpox. He actually pulled his own eye out. Masamune expanded trade in the otherwise bland, backwater province of Tohoku. Although initially in his career he was faced with hostile clans attacking him, he managed to overcome these clans after a few defeats and eventually ruled the largest fief of the later Tokugawa shogunate. He built many palaces and worked on many projects to beautify the region. He is also known to have encouraged foreigners to come to his land. It is also possible that Masamune Date himself was secretly a Christian convert although most likely he wanted foreign technology similarly to other lords like Nobunaga Oda. For 270 years Tohoku was a place of tourism, trade and prosperity. Matsushima for instance, a series of islands was praised for its beauty and serenity by the Haiku poet Basho.

Masamune Date's greatest achievment was funding and endorsing one of Japan's only journeys of exploration in this period. Masamune sympathized with Christian missionaries and traders in Japan. In addition to allowing them to come and preach in his province, he also released the prisoner and missionary Padre Sotelo from the hands of Ieyasu Tokugawa. Masamune Date allowed Sotelo as well as other missionaries to practice their religion and win converts in Tohoku. After a while Masamune Date ordered the building of the Date Mura an explorer ship. Masamune constructed this ship using foreign (European) ship-building techniques. He sent one of his retainers and Sotelo on a voyage to Rome. This voyage visited such places as the Philippines, Mexico, Spain and Rome making it the first Japanese voyage to sail around the world. In prior times Japanese lords never funded these sorts of ventures so it was probably also the first successful voyage period.

Although Masamune was a patron of the arts and sympathized with the foreign cause he also was an aggressive and ambitious daimyo. When he first took over the Date clan he suffered a few major defeats from powerful and influential clans such as the Ashina. These defeats were arguably caused by recklessness on Masamune's part. No lord fully trusted Masamune Date. Hideyoshi Toyotomi reduced the size of his land after his tardiness to participate in the siege of Odawara against Ujimasa Hojo. Later in his life Ieyasu Tokugawa increased the size of his lands again but constantly was suspicious of Masamune and his policies. For instance Ieyasu Tokugawa suspected foreign missionaries as treasonous and/or a threat to his power. Because of this he ordered Padre Sotelo to death after his journey around the world. Although Ieyasu Tokugawa and other allies of the Date were always suspicious of him, Masamune Date served the Tokugawa and Toyotomi loyally for the most part. He took part in the Korean campaigns, Hideyoshi's campaigns for expansion in Korea and the Osaka campaigns. When Tokugawa was on his deathbed Masamune came to visit him and read a piece of Zen poetry.

I also started making an informative website but stopped and so the project failed:
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Unread postby Jordan » Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:19 am

Blargh, my former bios suck, and are old. So is the site. Well, now that I've disassociated myself with a certain similar site, I think that I'll post some of my other, more recent, sengoku bios. Or maybe I'll just post one for now and then edit the other ones I did and put them here another time. Mainly I hope to use them as a reference for myself...


Ishida Mitsunari
石田 三成
いしだ みつなり
1560 - 1600
Game Appearances: Samurai Warriors/Sengoku Musou 2, Samurai Warriors 2: Empires/Sengoku Musou 2: Empires, Onimusha: Dawn of Dreams, Nobunaga's Ambition Games


Ishida Mitsunari was born in 1560 and was the son of Ishida Masatsugu. He was one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Five Administrators (Gobugyou, 五奉行). The other 4 were Asano Nagamasa (浅野長政), Maeda Gen-I (前田玄以), Natsuka Masaie (長束正家) and Mashita Nagamori (増田長盛). Most importantly though, Mitsunari was the leader of the Western army during the Sekigahara campaign.

Ishida Mitsunari's skills in performing the Japanese tea ceremony was what first attracted him to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Soon after, in 1578, Hideyoshi recruited Mitsunari. For the most part, Mitsunari was far more talented at handling civil affairs than commanding troops. Although Mitsunari would participate in some of Hideyoshi's campaigns, such as at Shizugatake, he was more often employed to do administrative duty. During the Korean Campaign, Ishida Mitsunari was fielded as a troops inspector, rather than an officer. Outside of war, Mitsunari assisted Hideyoshi in governance. For his services, Mitsunari was given Sawayama Castle in Omi and a fief worth 200,000 koku.

When Hideyoshi died while the second Korean campaign was underway, Mitsunari was one of the most powerful men in Japan. Deciding that Tokugawa Ieyasu was a threat and might ambitiously try to wrest power from Hideyoshi's son Hideyori, Ishida recklessly attempted to assassinate Ieyasu in 1599. Although Mitsunari failed, he managed to survive and, following this incident, Mitsunari assembled a coalition to fight against the Tokugawa clan.

His plan in the campaign against the Tokugawa was initially to have his allies in the East, the Uesugi clan led by Kagekatsu, try to attack territories near Ieyasu's capital of Edo. Meanwhile the Western Army could move forward on other fronts and pincer Ieyasu. Naoe Kanetsugu, an Uesugi general, did manage to capture a few castles in the East. Because the Date and Mogami were able to defeat the Uesugi at Hasedo, however, Ishida's initial pincer scheme would fail.

The greatest mistake that Mitsunari made before marching out to confront Ieyasu was with the handling of hostages. Mitsunari had tried to make the wives and families of various Tokugawa loyalists hostage, but his schemes were upset by the wife of Hosokawa Tadaoki, a Christian woman named Donna Gracia. Donna Gracia, rather than be placed under arrest, had a servant kill her. Her suicide caused such a buzz in Osaka that Mitsunari decided to place only minimal troops to guard the hostages he had taken earlier. As a result, many of the hostages he had taken succeeded in escaping.

Ishida Mitsunari's first military move against Ieyasu was to march against Fushimi Castle. The defenders of the fortress, the Torii clan, were brave and stalwart samurai, and Mitsunari soon realized that the castle would be difficult to take down. After 10 days, Mitsunari threatened the family of one of the Torii's retainers with death by crucifixion. The vassal who Mitsunari threatened turned traitor against the Torii and burned down one of the towers of Fushimi Castle. Eventually the whole castle was up in smoke, thus allowing Mitsunari to seize Fushimi. Mitsunari afterwards ordered Tachibana Muneshige and Mori Motoyasu to take Otsu Castle from the Kyogoku. Meanwhile, a Western army commanded by Onoki Shigekatsu besieged Hosokawa Yusai, a Tokugawa loyalist, in Tanabe Castle. Sometime before these sieges, Western general Mori Hidemoto had managed to conquer Annotsu Castle from Fukuda Nobutaka. Tokugawa victories in the sieges of Gifu and Kiyosu would somewhat weaken Mitsunari's position though. As a result, Mitsunari decided to move his army from his headquarters in Ogaki to the plains nearby the village of Sekigahara. He left 7,500 men to defend Ogaki just in case.

Since much of the Eastern army was guarding Ieyasu's headquarters, the positioning of the Western army troops at Sekigahara was actually superior. In the battle itself, the Eastern forces would charge against the Western Army but would be driven back by cannonades ordered by Ishida Mitsunari. Anthony J. Bryant, author of the book 'Sekigahara 1600,' states that Mitsunari's men "must have fought surprisingly well to have held their position so strongly." Mitsunari would later attempt a counter-attack against the Tokugawa, but would lack support from several Western commanders (including Shimazu Yoshihiro, Kikkawa Hiroei and, most importantly, Kobayakawa Hideaki). Though Ishida Mitsunari pleaded with his supposed ally, Kobayakawa Hideaki (小早川秀秋), to charge from his position and attack the Eastern forces, Kobayakawa merely held his position and kept a neutral stance. The Shimazu, the Kikkawa and numerous other clans that had allegedly allied with the West, all did very little to help the Western Army forces at Sekigahara, but Western Army forces led by Konishi Yukinaga, Otani Yoshitsugu and Ukita Hideie fought so well that a stalemate developed between the armies of Mitsunari and Ieyasu.

The tide of the battle ultimately turned when Tokugawa Ieyasu ordered gunmen to shoot at Hideaki's unit, which then defected over to the Tokugawa camp. Kobayakawa Hideaki's defection shattered the morale of Ishida's forces, and the Western Army soon fell apart after numerous other defections. In the aftermath of the battle, Mitsunari was taken prisoner and sent to the execution grounds in Kyoto. He was said to have been cruelly beheaded with a blunt blade (although this may have been a rumor).

Ishida Mitsunari has a bad reputation historically, and this may be in part because Tokugawa Ieyasu won the battle of Sekigahara and unified Japan afterwards. Mitsunari was branded as a corrupt schemer by historians of the Edo era, but lately a few outspoken writers and historians have scoured through records and found that Mitsunari might not have necessarily been as villainous as some biased historical texts might implicate.

In 1885, German military advisor Klemens Wilhelm Jakob supposedly saw a map of the army positioning at Sekigahara and declared that the Western Army must have won the battle. The positioning of units under Mitsunari's command was done well, but the Ishida were undone at the battle by the inaction of several Western Army generals and the betrayal of Kobayakawa Hideaki. It is unclear what Mitsunari's intentions were in opposing Ieyasu, and in all likelihood he wanted to defeat the Tokugawa to increase his own prestige and influence. Mitsunari was not a bad man though, and he did have many allies willing to die to support him. The kanji on Mitsunari's banner read, "daiichi daiman daikichi." In English this roughly means, "If one person works for the people, and the people work for one person, then all will be happy and the land will prosper." In a sense, Mitsunari's ideas on governance were thus similar to the idea of 'social contracts' propagated by philosophers like Rousseau.

Japanese Kanji Credit to Athrun Zala. Credit for the fact about Jakob looking at the Sekigahara map goes to some member of this forum, actually. I forgot who it was, but some member who got SW2 early posted it once.
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Unread postby Antiochus » Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:48 pm

I had to do a short research about the origins of the terms: Left-Right political spectrum for my history class, as most people in the class (including me) had no idea about why it was called that way. I had to translate it from French to English, so I apologise for spelling mistakes... :oops:


The terms of Left and Right as a description of political affiliation had a very literal meaning when it was first used.

It was actually describing the seating of the early Legislative Assembly of France during the early period of the revolution (1791). This was the period during which the King Louis XVI was ruling as a constitutional monarch, with the actual power in the hands of the Assembly.

Two groups; the Feuillants and the Montagnards dominated the French political scene. While the first group, which supported the monarchy and the old regime sat on the right of the king (later on, the president of the assembly), the Montagnards, led by men of action (in many case extreme) such as Robespierre and Danton, sat on his left.

Hence, the right has become a synonym of conservatism while the left became a one of liberalism. Yet, there are many concepts that were abandoned by one side and adopted by the other. The best example would be that the left of the time were firm supporters of free markets and military interventions, which they are much more reluctant about today.
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