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Post Reply Anicent Rome army vs Anicent China army
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Posted 3/29/16

runec wrote:

This debate really needs some ground rules. You can't just speculate the ideal conditions for one side to win then say they would win.


Ranwolf wrote:
To be the most fair and even comparison it would have to be Late Era Roman Empire versus The Han Dynasty.


Okay, so assuming the height of each then. Let us also assume equal numbers, neutral terrain and combined arms of archers / cavalry / infantry on both sides. So no if there is x than y wins arguments. We're all squared up. So where does that leave us? Personally, I don't think either side would outright kick the other's ass. It would be a bloody mess of a fight.

The key point of contention here seems to be Han crossbow usage. Which is a good point, but not one I think is as effective as presented. Romans had crossbows as well along side an assortment of small, amusing artillery weapons. Both armies are also well drilled in cycling missile volleys. Han crossbow drills could certainly cut in to any light armour infantry on the field. But it would be less effective at digging in to legionnaires and their overlapping shield walls. Penetrating a shield is one thing, going through a shield and still having enough power to penetrate armour is another. Penetrating two shields and armour? Rather tricky.

The biggest problem with this topic though is that there really isn't any accurate information or surviving examples of complete Han crossbows to gauge their effectiveness with. And from what I can see, this is some sort of long standing internet bitchfest of an argument that has been raging across historical forums for years. >.>




Why would we be assuming equal numbers? China has always been able to field armies that can number into the hundreds of thousands quite readily and easily . Not all of them would be the professional standing troops of noble houses but every single male citizen of the Han Dynasty would have done compulsory service and thus be at least trained in both weapons and small unit level tactics.

Rome on the other hand has always relied on their professional troops with conscripts largely doing garrison duty . And we get what a legion or two per battle with like what 4000 to 7000 troops. By Chinese standards that would have been considered a policing force at best. Hell most nobles maintained larger standing armies then that. Add to that the Chinese talent for rapid mobilization and those two legions would have likely been facing 50,000 or more troops in short order.

I don't care how badass a legionary is, those kind of odds would overwhelm anyone.
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Posted 3/29/16

ericthefred wrote:

Just the personal opinion of an amateur enthusiast here, but I think this isn't a question one could easily resolve, just because comparing apples to apples is too difficult. Which Roman army, which Chinese army? The armies of Scipio, Julius Ceasar, Constantine and Justinian are different things from different eras. Are you comparing one of them to the Qin dynasty (which would be better compared to Alexander and his successors), the Han dynasty, Three Kingdoms period, or some other period?

Throughout the Classical ancient period, I suspect the real answer is that at some times the West was superior and at others the East was superior. I suspect Julius Caesar would have kicked Chinese butt, but only a few years later, Guangwu would have kicked Roman butt right back.

In reality, it's a silly question. They were both amazing empires with amazing militaries, and our modern world is really just the continuation of both civilizations together.


What we should really be comparing is NINJAS VERSUS PIRATES
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Posted 3/30/16

Ranwolf wrote:
Why would we be assuming equal numbers? China has always been able to field armies that can number into the hundreds of thousands quite readily and easily . Not all of them would be the professional standing troops of noble houses but every single male citizen of the Han Dynasty would have done compulsory service and thus be at least trained in both weapons and small unit level tactics.


China during the Han Dynasty was not the China of today population wise. The Roman Empire was of comparable size. And you could skip on the compulsory service by paying a tax which shifted much of their army from conscripts to volunteers. It was only full conscription in the early Han Dynasty. A period which would not be favourable for the debate here, as the early Han Dynasty was weaker and still using weapons and equipment from the Qin Dynasty. More copper, less iron, etc.

Rome was also very apt at rapid deployment and very apt at, you know, empire building. Conversely, it too moved from a conscription model to a more volunteer model over time. Both Rome and China preferred volunteers if possible. Better for morale and all that.

And I nixed numbers because if you want to bring in mitigating factors like that things will get ugly as we need to compare entire cultures, systems and economies. You have one of the greatest empires in human history vs a country that while yes, had technological strengths, had honestly never faced any other major military power. It largely fought itself for hundreds of years. There are precious few periods in the Han Dynasty where it wasn't at war internally and it was that internal fighting that led to its collapse.

So yes, if you want a fair comparison, we need to keep it even and assume the best available from both sides.



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Posted 3/30/16
I don't know, I just don't want to be in the middle
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Posted 3/30/16

runec wrote:


Ranwolf wrote:
Why would we be assuming equal numbers? China has always been able to field armies that can number into the hundreds of thousands quite readily and easily . Not all of them would be the professional standing troops of noble houses but every single male citizen of the Han Dynasty would have done compulsory service and thus be at least trained in both weapons and small unit level tactics.


China during the Han Dynasty was not the China of today population wise. The Roman Empire was of comparable size. And you could skip on the compulsory service by paying a tax which shifted much of their army from conscripts to volunteers. It was only full conscription in the early Han Dynasty. A period which would not be favourable for the debate here, as the early Han Dynasty was weaker and still using weapons and equipment from the Qin Dynasty. More copper, less iron, etc.

Rome was also very apt at rapid deployment and very apt at, you know, empire building. Conversely, it too moved from a conscription model to a more volunteer model over time. Both Rome and China preferred volunteers if possible. Better for morale and all that.

And I nixed numbers because if you want to bring in mitigating factors like that things will get ugly as we need to compare entire cultures, systems and economies. You have one of the greatest empires in human history vs a country that while yes, had technological strengths, had honestly never faced any other major military power. It largely fought itself for hundreds of years. There are precious few periods in the Han Dynasty where it wasn't at war internally and it was that internal fighting that led to its collapse.

So yes, if you want a fair comparison, we need to keep it even and assume the best available from both sides.





Okay mate the British Empire was one of the greatest empires in the world. Rome was a mere shadow of what the British managed to do. I mean for crying out loud we speak English as a global standard not Latin . Hell even the educated Romans didn't speak Latin.So it's a bit much to call Rome a great anything,let alone an a great empire. And unlike Rome Han Dynasty China was at least united under a single cultural and social flag more or less anyway. Rome was comprised of disparate people who spoke a wide variety of languages, worshipped a variety of gods , and never really forgot Roman swords took their sovereignty from them . This is not the most ideal situation to face off against an enemy like China. Trying to draw recruits from a people you conquered never works out well in the end, just ask Britain how that works. So if we are talking a prolonged conflicted the very fact Rome was composed of so many different races and beliefs would work against it.

And if we're going to bring up never ending warfare as a negative we have to mention the entire Roman economy was based off the fact it's legions kept sending back that sweet pilfered gold and other valuable trade goods. And the minute Rome stopped winning wars was the day it began dying a slow death.

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Posted 3/30/16 , edited 3/30/16

JanusCascade wrote:

I've seen some website about this, the majority said that Roman Legion would win due to superior War Tactic, and Wise Generals. Also they said that Roman army are more Discipline than China Army.


Generals and tactics are worthless in the face of a sufficiently large army that is sufficiently prepared to die.

This is why Russia was NEVER successfully invaded. It doesn't matter how many of them you kill. They will keep sending more until you give up and leave.

China could and would do the same to the Roman legions. They don't have to be better fighters. They just have to have fresh soldiers to climb over the dead ones when the Romans are exhausted.
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Posted 3/30/16 , edited 4/2/16

nanikore2 wrote:
What we should really be comparing is NINJAS VERSUS PIRATES

Historically Shaolin monks won 75% of the time vs pirates
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Posted 3/30/16
The Chinese Era I was thinking of is Lu Bu, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, ,Zhang Fei and Cao Cao etc?

Against famous Roman Generals.. like Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Gaius Octavius, Flavius Aetius, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Lucius Aemilius Paullus Macedonicus, Constantine the Great, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, and Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus etc?


http://listverse.com/2012/01/19/7-greatest-roman-generals/
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Posted 3/30/16 , edited 3/30/16

Ranwolf wrote:
Okay mate the British Empire was one of the greatest empires in the world. Rome was a mere shadow of what the British managed to do. I mean for crying out loud we speak English as a global standard not Latin . Hell even the educated Romans didn't speak Latin.So it's a bit much to call Rome a great anything,let alone an a great empire.


Er, Rome was undeniably one of the greatest empires in human history. That isn't really up for debate. Its contributions to western civilization are immense. There would be no British Empire without the Roman Empire before it.



Ranwolf wrote:And unlike Rome Han Dynasty China was at least united under a single cultural and social flag more or less anyway. Rome was comprised of disparate people who spoke a wide variety of languages, worshipped a variety of gods , and never really forgot Roman swords took their sovereignty from them . This is not the most ideal situation to face off against an enemy like China. Trying to draw recruits from a people you conquered never works out well in the end, just ask Britain how that works. So if we are talking a prolonged conflicted the very fact Rome was composed of so many different races and beliefs would work against it.


It worked fairly well all things considered. We're talking an empire that lasted over 2000 years from start to finish ( vs the 400 of the Han Dynasty ). And its not like China wasn't rife with its own constant internal infighting. That is what brought down the Han Dynasty after all.



Ranwolf wrote:
And if we're going to bring up never ending warfare as a negative we have to mention the entire Roman economy was based off the fact it's legions kept sending back that sweet pilfered gold and other valuable trade goods. And the minute Rome stopped winning wars was the day it began dying a slow death.


That's completely wrong, sorry. The Roman economy was based on trade and was the most powerful economy on the planet at the time. They were astute businessmen and traders with a sophisticated banking system. They controlled the entire Mediterranean sea and had considerable trade volume as a result. As well as abundant industry. Economically speaking, they were responsible for more of the global economy in their day than the British Empire was in its. Even the Han Dynasty has records of Roman trade goods.

Comparatively speaking, China would not hit its economic peak until the Song Dynasty. Over 700 years after the Han Dynasty. So if you're going to compare economies and longevity, the Han Dynasty is going to lose without question. Rome had more money, more resources, more industry and a more complex banking system tailored to trade.

The Han Dynasty would ( and did, historically ) fall way before the Roman economy would falter in any way. So if you're going to argue a prolonged conflict, the Han Dynasty would collapse under rebellion and internal strife while the Roman Empire would keep chugging along for a couple more centuries before any significant decline began.

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-Draw your Sword- -smirks- j/k

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Posted 3/30/16 , edited 3/30/16

Dariamus wrote:


nanikore2 wrote:
What we should really be comparing is NINJAS VERSUS PIRATES

Historically Shaolin monks won 75% of the time vs pirates



I always admire Shaolin Monks for their training and wisdom. I love watching Kung Fu series.

Few years ago I asked if Shaolin Monks know a way to cure Diabetes.. due to all that training and med knowledge.. But I know that they cannot cure anything that Doctor haven't yet like Diabetes, Aids and other illness. I'm talking about Curing Diabetes completely.. Not by eating right and do some workout.. You still have Diabetes cell in your body.

I seen the Shaolin Warrior Series where the Monks easily take out the pirates.

Edit:

Oh btw, Shaolin Monks are no Match for Marcus Octavius! :p

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Posted 3/30/16

JanusCascade wrote:


Oh btw, Shaolin Monks are no Match for Marcus Octavius! :p



But what about Marcus Octavius x Marcus Octavius?
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I don't have the historical knowledge to say one way or the other. I would say the Romans, from what little I do know, where very good at winning wars. They either invented or popularized some of the most effective war strategies of the era. As for China, I don't have much knowledge of how they won their wars.

I don't know about the Romans, but the Greeks tended to see users of slings and bows as cowards. If that was also the prevailing opinion of the Roman empire, it's possible they may not be as advanced in ranged tactics. Someone with more knowledge feel free to confirm or deny.

In a realistic sense, martial arts, as we know them, where practiced by both sides. China had various forms of Kung Fu, and Rome had wrestling, boxing, and various weapon based martial arts. In the end though, I would say martial arts skills, especially hand to hand, are more important for one on one encounters than they are for war. In a war, it's typically "Are you strong enough and or skilled enough with this weapon to kill this guy? Good. Now, is it the right TYPE of weapon to fight the enemy formation? What? All your formation has is spears and the enemy is pushing forward with a shield wall? wow, that's rough buddy..."
That's not to say the skills and fitness an individual gains from martial arts wouldn't help them survive in a war, on the whole it's not going to win the war.

In the end, another factor that makes it difficult to say is how impractical the war would be.
My geography is lousy, so I could be wrong, but I think the logistics of a war between China and Rome would be a nightmare.
Even today, with modern vehicles, long distances are not ideal for wars of conquest. It makes it difficult to attain and hold territory.
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Posted 3/30/16

Dariamus wrote:


nanikore2 wrote:
What we should really be comparing is NINJAS VERSUS PIRATES

Historically Shaolin monks won 75% of the time vs pirates


ARRR THOSE ARE NO NINJAS NOR PIRATES MATEY!!

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