Rome was the largest city in the world for hundreds of years, and it’s empire surrounded the Mediterranean. It’s often called the greatest empire of all time due to it’s size, prosperity, and longevity. Roman generals were the driving force behind Rome’s military success. Using tactics, and strategies way ahead of their time, Rome managed to become one of the largest empires of all time.


Gaius Marius 157 – 86 BC

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Gaius Marius was a Roman general, and served as Consul (the highest position in Rome) seven times, for the first time in history. Marius reformed the Roman army and made it much more effective than before. He allowed ordinary citizens to join which increased the armies numbers dramatically. Marius defeated many Germanic tribes including the Teutones, Ambrones and the Cimbri. Marius won a decisive victory over the Teutones and the Ambrones. The Ambrones had 80,000 troops more than Marius’ 40,000 but with superior tactics he managed to completely annihilate both tribes killing up to 100,000 enemy troops. A year before this great victory he fought against the Cimbri in 102 BC. In this battle the enemy had more than four times the strength of Marius. But even in this battle Marius killed 140,000 enemies and captured another 60,000 leaving the Cambri army completely destroyed.


Lucius Cornelius Sulla

Sulla was one the Republics most eminent and skilled Roman generals. Sulla became consul twice and even became dictator of the republic. Sulla originally worked under and even this early in this career displayed the signs of a great leader, and was even enough to make Marius jealous which led to bitter relations between them. Sulla is responsible for the Roman republics first civil war which he won. After his victory he went on to become dictator of Rome. Before he started the war, Sulla had been promised command over the eastern army, but the senate went back on this promise and gave it to Marius instead. Sulla was infuriated about this and marched into Rome twice, in the first march he defeated Marius in battle, and on the second he claimed dictatorship of Rome.


Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus

Traianus was emperor of the Roman Empire, and expanded the empire further than anyone else in history. By the time he died in 117 AD the empire was at it’s largest extent in history. Traianus was one of the most skilled Roman generals and most benevolent Roman emperors. He is known as “the best ruler” and as one of the “Five Good Emperors” because of his philanthropic deeds. Traianus succeeded in the conquest of Dacia, the annexation of Nabataea, and the War against the Parthian Empire. His with the Dacian king got off to a rocky start, he defeated the Dacian army in their first encounter but his army took heavy damage because of it. After that the Dacian king quickly launched an attack against Traianus, but Traianus managed to repulse the Dacians, and finally defeated them a year later.


Flavius Aetius

Flavius Aetius is a brilliant general famous for his victory over the Huns at the battle of Catalaunian Plains in 451. Aetius fought alongside the Visigoths to defeat the Huns and their vassals under the command of Atilla the Hun. The battle had no clear winner, Aetius managed to stop the Hunnic invasion but in result Rome’s military capacity was greatly damaged. Not many people have managed to ever defeat Atilla the Hun in battle, and he managed to end the Hunnic invasion which was a major threat to Rome. Aetius is often named the “Last of the Romans”.



Vespasian founded the Flavian dynasty that lasted for 27 years. He became emperor of Rome in 69 AD, and ruled for 10 years. Vespasian became famous for his military victories. He took part in the Roman invasion of Britain and in 43 AD and tried to quell the Jewish rebellion of 66 AD. Rome was thrown into chaos when Emperor Nero committed suicide, and a civil war broke out known as the year of the Four Emperors. When Flavian became emperor he reformed Rome’s financial system and built the famous Roman Coliseum.



Belisarius was a significant General of the Eastern Roman Empire. Belisarius played a key role in helping Emperor Justinian recapture large masses of lost territory. He battled against the Persian Empire, the Vandal Kingdom, and Italy. Belisarius won many victories on the Mediterranean front, and gained the trust of Emperor Justinian. Belisarius was then appointed to go to war with the Vandal kingdom in an attempt to recapture land that used to be a part of the Western Roman Empire. Belisarius defeated the Vandal kingdom in an extraordinarily quick time, it took him only a few months. Together Belisarius and Justinian increased the empire’s territory by 45%.


Marcus Furius Camillus

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Dubbed the “second founder of Rome”, Camillus held the dictatorship of Rome a total of 5 times. Camillus was a brilliant general, and helped Rome when it appeared to be in unfavourable situations. When Rome declared war on the Etrurian city of Veii, a siege ensued that lasted for years. People started getting more and more frustrated with the war, and appointed Camillus to fix he situation. He quickly stormed two of Veii’s allies, Falverii and Capena, and defeated them both. 10 years into the war, the siege still hadn’t ended and so Rome looked to Camillus again to resolve the situation. Camillus cleverly dug through the cities soft ground below the walls, and his men entered the city through it’s sewage system, entering the city in this way secured victory for the Romans.


Lucius Licinius Lucullus

Firenze.PalVecchio03 Roman Generals
Lucullus was one of the Empire’s greatest, and most generous Roman Generals. He displayed incredible skill as a military commander, especially at the battle of Tigranocerta in 69 BC, and at the siege of Cyzicus in 73-72 BC. Lucullus was a philanthropist of great magnitude, and away more money than his contemporaries could believe. This after he had captured so much money warring the east, he gain so much wealth it literally couldn’t be counted. At the battle of Tigranocerta he fought against an Armenian army, twice as numerous as his own, and still won, possibly killing 100,000 opponents in the process. Little is known about the siege of Cyzicus, but it was a decisive victory for Rome.


Gaius Julius Caesar

Caesar is probably the most famous, and highly esteemed of all the Roman Generals. He famously won the Battle of Alesia where he was overwhelmingly outnumbered, and played a key role in Rome’s evolution from a republic to an Empire. Caesar formed a political alliance with Pompey and Crassus, together they dominated politics in Rome for years. Caesar eventually became the most powerful man in Rome, and started a civil war in Rome. Caesar won the war, and eventually became dictator in perpetuity. Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC by a group led by Marcus Junius Brutus. After this more civil wars started, and Caesar’s adopted son Augustus eventually became Emperor.


Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus


Africanus is not only one the greatest Roman generals, but widely regarded as one of the greatest generals, and strategists of all time. He famously defeated Hannibal Barca who is also believed to be one of the greatest generals of all time. Africanus won many epic victories during Second Punic Wars, but it was his victory over Hannibal Barca at the Battle of Zama which marked the end of the Second Punic war. Africanus was at a numerical disadvantage against Hannibal which makes his victory even more amazing. This battle was the end of the Second Punic wars, after this Cathage had to accept a dissatisfying peace, and Scipio was awarded the title Afticanus.

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