The point that I'm trying to make and that doing seem to be getting across is that there is a big difference between a trained, professional combantant and someone who isn't. Most cultures only had a small core of trained warriors (like the Viking Huscarls). The Roamns had one of he first professional standing armies, highly trained and hightly disciplined. Something that you really don't see elsewhere until centuries later.
The Celts vs. Romans thing is interesting on many levels. The celts were the romantic and heroic warrior culture, where as Rome's greatest strengths were effiscient administration, infrastructure and mass production.
The gladius is a good example. The celt's made extraordinarily beautiful leaf bladed shortswords, which the romans copied into the extremely simplified, mass produced gladius. The romans also copied chainmail and the use of soap from the so-called barbarians. The celts even raided Rome herself early early in her future, and after a long siege were payed to leave by giving them practically all the valuables in the city. One does tend to wonder what the world would be like if the celts had destroyed Rome utterly then.
Crap, thats what it would be like now.
The romanticisation of Celts always amuses me, just like the romanticisation of the Vikings does. The idea that one side was Right/good/clever is as poor as the idea that the other was Bad/evil/stupid. Had the Celts had the forsight they would have manufactured swords on a similar scale but they didn't have the organisational skills, too busy raiding and arguing amongst themselves.
One of the reasons that they didn't destroy Rome could be that they weren't more merciful than the Romans but they expected to be able to do it again and again. Why kill the Goose that lays the golden egg?
Many of the tribes on the borders with Rome looked at Rome with envy, eventually settling within its borders with Romes blessing, Who better to keep out the real scum than the semi-scum. :wink:
The Monty Python sketch "what have the Romans ever done for us?" in the Life of Brian is a brilliant example of Romes achievements, not that they did these things first but they did them best.
Not that I am suggesting that the Romans were morally superior to the people that surrounded them they weren't But I think that the Life for the average "barbarian" can be summed up as "nasty brutish and short". and for the average Roman citizen as "nasty, brutish and shortish."
I feel that the Romans at the moment suffer from the same sort of press as the English do around the time of William Wallace "Braveheart", which convenently leaves out the fact that he cold bloodedly murdered one of the other rebel leaders and had helped the English put down a previous uprising.
Anywho, I will step away from my hobby horse and apologise in advance.