Okay, so Julius Caesar gets the sort of troops and equipment that he typically used in his day, and Ghengis Khan gets what he typically used. But Ghengis doesn't get gunpowder, that would probably tip the scales. They get forces of roughly the same strength (that's difficult to measure though...). Who would win?
My probably wrong reasoning is that I thought the hordes fought on horses, while the Romers used a lot of spears.
Pretty much. Romans used cavalry as auxiliaries, the rank and file wielded a short javelin (pilum), a short sword (gladius) and a big rectangular shield (scutum). They'd usually chuck their javelins in the first wave and then move in in formation to use their short swords at close range.
The Romans never seem like an impressive military force, but their strength was always organisation, tactics, strategy and teamwork. They'd work like a giant machine, grinding down much larger foreign armies. Provided they had a good leader. Often their armies would be headed by military incompetents and they'd get slaughtered.
The Mongols I don't know so much about, except that they used cavalry extensively. I think they mostly had scimitars and little round cavalry shields. Ghengis Khan used a lot of foreign fighters in his army as well... does anyone know more about this than me?
Mr. Khan, I mean with a name like Ghengis he must have been teased a lot in grade school and have the meanest disposition of anyone around.
For the record, his real name was Temujin. Ghengis (pronounced Chingis) Khan only means "Great Khan". :uhhuh:
I believe that the Mongols would win, but for the sake of debate, I'll highlight what I think are the Romans strengths.
It also depends where they fought. Mongol bows were composite recurve bows. This means that they were made from wood, bone, sinew and glue. This made a very small, but extremely powerful bow. This bow was perfectly suited for Steppe combat, because the Mongolian steppes are a very dry place. The glues that the Mongols used would not have held up in the more humid Western European climate.
Aside from a thick forest where neither army would fight, the Romans have the advantage of being able to fight on varied battlefields. They chalked up victories in all climates they fought in.
It also depends largely on the battlefield. The Romans were big on fortified positions. Every soldier carried palisades (wooden stakes) that they could easily turn into a fortified position. And they were fast at it too. Every night they were in the field they'd build their own fortified position. For all that's it is a Hollywood movie, Gladiator does a relatively good job of portraying what a well prepared field fortification they could prepare. After taking China, the Mongols had become adept at assaulting fortified positions, even well prepared ones. During most sieges, the advantage goes to the attacker because they control the resources. However, if the Mongols were expecting a normal battlefield situation, the Romans might be able to spring a primitive fortification on them. This is still unlikely though.
Advantage: Ghengis Khan
During the time of Caesar, the Roman army was the pinnacle on warfare for their era. Roman soldiers were among the best-trained and equipped armies history had every seen. Furthermore, they were one of the first professional armies. Many of the armies that the Mongols would have faced would have been professionals, supplemented with your garden-variety peasant shmuck. Had the Mongols faced a core group of well-trained, well-equipped, and dynamic troops, they would have had a significantly more difficult time than carving up Eastern European peasants.
Also, there's a reason that everyone in the Western World knows of Julius Caesar. He wasn't just a guy that has a pizza chain named after him. The man marched an army through Gaul, fighting away from their home. Caesar was a dynamic and brilliant general. Granted, Ghengis Khan was as arguably just as good. I think that on an open battlefield, Caesar would have the advantage of better-trained and disciplined troops. I don't think that the added mobility of horses would be as huge a factor when fighting a general of Caesar's ability.
Originally Posted by underdawg
This was at a time when much of fighting was still mainly through indivuadilism (Did I Spell That Right? ).
In Rome's era, not so much. Individualistic fighting really didn't manifest itself until the rise of the Norse and Germanic peoples after the collapse of Western Roman authority. Roman warfare was all about fighting as a unit. Roman leaders awarded soldiers who best followed orders, and fought as a unit. Breaking rank and file could get you and your buddies killed.
The Mongols were considered barbaric by their era's standard, yet even they still fought with some semblance of group fighting.
I think that Caesar would win, his scouts did a better job getting info on the enemy. Plus the legions had faced masses of cavalry before and won. The arrows could mostly be blocked; one guy holds up his shield as a 'roof' and another stands right in front of him with a spear. It wouldn't stop all of the arrows, but it would stop most of the short arrows mounted archers use.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the Roman also possess the very deadly "longbowman"?
If so, then I believe the romans would have the edge, since Khan's trops didn't have particularly good and wide shields, like the romans, to protect themselfs from "arrow showers", not to mention that if the horse is hit than both horse and rider are taken out...
So as far as ranged goes, I can see Caesar's troops causing more casualties then Khan's...
Then again, If a mounted raider can advance throught the arrows and javelins, he has a great chance to charge and trample some soldiers... Then again, the horse could be taken down quickly rendering the raider helpless...
If I recall correctly, Khan had the greatest Empire ever known to history, but as someone already mentioned, he mostly faced poorly armed and managed peasents... Caesar however, faced some of the greatest armies of his time, and emerged victorious and him too had one of the biggest empires in history...
I think I'm going with Caesar here.. Close call thought..
Well, the Roman legions were known for their ability to smack down the more undisciplined barbarian hordes. I'll go with Ceasar, but I don't know all that much about the Mongols, and I just finished watching "Rome" on HBO.