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Men Of Gondor = Roman Soldiers (sp)

LadyGaladriel

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Did anyone feel that when the read LOTR that they could see similarities between the Men Of Gondor and The Romans
For
1)There is a saying about if a Roman Soldier was told to stand in a set place to his death he will - In gondor (ROTK) The Penity of leaving your place was Death

2) Their organisation and Armour and In the film this showed this

Any Opions?(sp)
 

tyeruler

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it is hard ot say.....

you have to remember that Tolkien wrote some of LOTR while being in WWII. So it is posible that he is trying to make the Men of Gondor look like soldiers of some sort.....but Roman Soldiers....who knows!!!
 

Lantarion

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Basically yes, because the Gondorian army was very vast and quite effective; and it was the capital of a huge kingdom, like Rome.
But despite the harsh rule of death for leaving your place, the Gondorian army was not as disciplined and strict as the Roman. At least it doesn't seem that way to me. Or it might, if it was a choise between Roman and Spartan soldiers! :)
 

Hanne

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I am learning a lot about Rome at school and,yes,they do look very much like Roman soldiers!!!Actually whole Gondor made me think of the Roman Empire.There was also a lot of trouble about the kingship and the emperors ,it also has a very simular history (if you look at the big lines) and the army organization was simular.
 

Ancalagon

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There are certainly some similarities, though Gondor lacks the same bloodlust that drove the Romans. The mix between Art and Death is more romanticised in Tolkiens work than it was in the stark reality of the Roman Empire and its rulers.

There is no evidence that the peoples of Gondor desired the same entertainment provided by the forced Gladiatorial battles that so pleased the Romans. Possibly the lack of brutality in Tolkiens mind shows his distaste for the practices employed by Romans upon their slaves and conquered subjects. That is not to say that all Romans were barbaric in their own modernised way, yet it speaks volumes for the mentality of a nation, driven by war and defeated by it.
 
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Rangerdave

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Gondor's Legion

I have to agree, the legions of Gondor do resemble the well organized legions of Rome. However, this only applies to the "grunt" infantry. (of course, that would be about 90% of Gondor's army) The real kicker however is Faramir's band. They seem to recall the old Celtic Combrogi (damn I hope I spelled that right). A modern equivalent would be to the British SAS or my old unit the US Army Rangers.

Thanks, this was a good thread
RD
 

Niniel

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Mmm.... as a history student I should be able to have some answer to this. I think the army of Gondor resembles the Roman one in its discipline (although Tolkien doesn't give enough detail to explore the Gondorian strategies in full), but not in its purpose. The Romans used their army mainly to conquer territories, at least at the heyday of the Empire (100 BC-200 AD), but Gondor uses it mainly for defense. It is never said that the Gondorians wilingly conquered other countries, not even when it was at its strongest (in the Second Age).
Over all, Tolkien has been much more interested and studied in Old English, Norse and Celtic mythology and history, and takes very few references from Roman history. Therefore I think there is not enough evidence to say Tolkien willingly modelled the Gondorian army on the Roman one, because he just doesn't write enough about them to compare the two.
As to Rangerdave's point about Faramir's band, that is interesting, because I do not know of any such bands in Roman history. Or maybe they should be seen just as a scouting party, which there were of course in Roman armies as well. You're right about the existence of such bands in Celtic history, though I don't know a lot about them.
I like the society and army of Rohan as well, it seems Tolkien has described them exactly as the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants of England. Even their language is Old English (éo means horse, Éowyn means 'joy in horses' Dernhelm means 'helm of secrecy' etc etc etc.).
 

Rangerdave

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Ooops

Sorry, I did not mean to say that the Romans had any kind of Special Operations troops. I just meant to say that Faramir's company operated outside the normal Military organization as sort of a independant unit.

The Romans had small sapper (engineer) units and sparse caverly, but these units were considered beneath the common legionaire. Also, I suppose that the Guards that Pippin enlists into can be considered a close proximation to the Preatorian Guards.

Sorry for the confussion.
RD
 

Tao

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Hmmm...this is an interesting idea. I see what you mean, though...I guess so. There are some strange similarities.
 

Niniel

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That's a nice comparison between the Praetorian Guards and the Guards of Minas Tirith. But the Romans of course were not the only people that had special guards to guard the capital city or the emperor/ruler. So I don't think Tolkien really consciously meant to make the Gondorian army look like the Romans.
 

Elanor2

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I do not think that the Gondor army resembles a Roman one. It was efficient, but so was, for example Napoleon's army. A couple of years ago I looked at the battle plans of the combined army that defeated Napoleon in Belgium, and I must say that they won by sheer superiority of numbers, not necessarily by being more efficient.

Any successful army has to be efficient, if it wants to win, so any winning army looks efficient, but not necessarily similar.

Roman's had a very hierarchical structure (decurias, centurias...). They had organized camps that looked almost the same in every terrain. Their main weapon in open battles was the Pilum, a heavy lance whose point bended on impact to the enemies' shield, remaining hanging from it and forcing the opponent to discard the now useless shield. That left the enemy open to sword attack. Additionally, they used lots of engines and engineering work when attacking cities.

I haven't seen things like that in Tolkien's battles. I would not say that they are comparable, based on that.
 

Niniel

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I didn't mean thay were comparable, sorry if I made that impression; there are of course similarities like the strong discipline of the Gondorian army, but that's about all. What I really meant is that there just isn't enough about the armies and strategies and hierarchical structure in LOTR to see what they really are like. The only thing you read about it is how many men there are, but nothing else. It isn't clear how the armies were arranged exactly and what kind of weapons they had.
What is clear however that it was not a standing army; it consists of men who are no professional soldiers, but farmers etc. (at least not all of thema are professionals), unlike the Roman army. Considering their weapons, I don't suppose they had large shields like Romans, but more likely a small shield and a sword (it doesn't say anything about lances).
 

Rangerdave

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Classic examples

Well put.

I suppose that if one were to look for a real example from history to compare with the Army of Gondor, a logical choice would be to the English Army under Herny V at the battle of Angicourt (sp?). Their victory was a direct result of superior tactics, motivation and training. Interestingly enough, this was the battle that gave us the world famous British two fingered salute.

Enjoy
RD
 

Lantarion

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These 'tactics' were nothing but effective use of the longbow instead of all-out man-to-man war. Most of the French troops were killed within a distance of one mile by the English archers. (I don't think the Frenchies appreciated that, as they cut off the two fingers of the archers they captured!)
 

Rangerdave

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I beg to disagree.

The use of the longbow was the determining weapon at the scene, but the placement of the archers was tactical brillance. Henry effectively routed a significantly stronger force by channeling Mounted Knights into a bottleneck allowing for the wholesale decimation of French Heavy Horse.

also the range was considerablly less than one mile. While it is true that the British longbow can indirectly plunge arrows at ranges close to that. Henry used his bowmen for direct fire at ranges of no more that 100yards. This is the first recorded account of direct fire archers used to defeat heavy horse, and says much for the tactical command prowse of Henry.

Not that it really matters much for the sake of this argument. The point is that Aragorn and company through valour and skill were able to give much worse than they got. Even at the battle before the gates of Mordor. The Allied forces of Gondor and Rohan inflicted far more casualties then they received. Granted without the destruction of the Ring Aragorn and company would have eventually been defeated, however, the force needed to defeat them would have been significantly greater than their own.

Just my thoughts on the matter
no offense intended
RD
 

Ancalagon

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Where is JeffF when you really need him?

Something that has been playing on my mind in the method of managing the defence of the 7 Gates! How many guarded each one? How many were in waiting? How was food and provisions transported to these outposts? Was there a wandering force just outside the hidden gate?

Only one person I know can add address these questions, and he ain't anywhere to be seen;)
 

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I'd never considered the troops of Gondor to be similar to Rome. Nor, do i think, did Tolkien ever refer to the legions of Gondor.

A Roman legion was a unit of 1000 men, their strategies WERE based on defense, even when conquering Gaul they were more concerned with offense than defense (like the Toronto Maple Leafs) Taht is why the Romans were famous for their well defended camps. Attacking the Romans on Campaign was like attacking a fortress, every night they would fortify their position. Caesar wrote a great deal about their fortifications.

I have always thought more of the Egyptians, in the way of their Grandiose buildings and monuments. Gondor of old was a 'monumental' culture, if you can ignore the pun. Though i would say that Tolkien created a rather unique culture that stands without much comparison to anything Europe could have assembled.

Sadly, there is no city that compairs with Minas Tirith...

though i do like the reference to the Praetorian Guard.

And a note about disipline, even during WW1 it was punishable by death to not 'go over the top', so Gondor wasn't much different from anyone else

'foots
 

Ancalagon

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Proudfoots......feets....., you have some very valid points there. Enough actually to gain entry to the Guild of Ost-in-Edhil, where can venture more suggestions to the OiE-Wiki project;)
 

Eriol

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An enlightening thread, very good indeed. I also don't think there is a similarity in the equipment, though they appear similar in efficiency. But not in organization, as one can see when we recall the scene witnessed by Bergil and Pippin. Several companies, unlike each other, under different commanding officers, all under the leadership of the Steward (no middle hierarchy). Probably the Romans would have though it was a mess! Sure, they used other forces besides your traditional Roman legion, especially at the end of the Empire (but wasn't Gondor at its end also?). But the chain of command was clearer in the Roman army, I think.

I hate to nit-pick, but...

It is never said that the Gondorians wilingly conquered other countries, not even when it was at its strongest (in the Second Age).
I would have thought Gondor was only established by Elendil, and existed for less than a century in the 2nd Age (though you may be meaning the Numenorian colony there, before Elendil's arrival). Also, Gondor conquered many lands in wars in the 3rd Age. I think a map of Gondor's greatest territory would include Mordor, the plains north of Mordor up ro the Sea of Rhûn, Little (?) Harad and Umbar. I may be wrong though, I don't have the appendices at hand -- it is all in the Tale of Years.

I would have liked to see a Gondorian army in a war of conquest... the barbarian in me.
 

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