Military Reforms of Diocletian – Roman Imperial Army DOCUMENTARY

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Our animated historical documentary series on the evolution of Roman armies and tactics continues with a video on the military reforms of Roman Emperors Gallienus, Diocletian and Constantine, as the introduction of limitanei, comitatenses and other reforms changed the armies of the Roman empire.

Previous videos in the Evolution of Armies and Tactics series:

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The video was made by our friend Arb Paninken while the script was researched and written by Matt Hollis

This video was narrated by Officially Devin ( &

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Production Music courtesy of Epidemic Sound:

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Comment (46)

  1. Well I think it makes sense The main infantry was holding up in a family's formation kind of like what the hotlines were but since they can't be diverged on multiple sides they have to have the observer's defender sides and rears and the algebra troopers being Eli palatina would basically make it sure it won't happen the auxiliary troopers are usually kept in the sides are now being held as palatina in more ways make sense really to think about it

  2. Until the 360s, the Limitanei were called "Ripenses". Also, I suspect Constantius II wanted Julian to lose at Strasbourg as Julian was outnumbered heavily by the Alemanni and Constantius had killed off many of Julian's relatives.

  3. >comes out of nowhere
    >declares war on the emperor
    >wins and declares himself emperor
    >fixes the empire
    >abdicates after 20 years because "no one should rule for so long"
    >lives retired till his peaceful death

  4. I'm glad to see Gallienus getting more mentions, I feel that he is often overlooked, without him, the empire might as well have collapsed completely in the late 3rd century. Love the video!

  5. I like how the Dominate Roman Army is often considered inferior to the Principate Roman Army when, instead, it has many parallels with current military reforms for better combat readiness. The main capability of the Roman Army became force projection, like today, and the older 5000 strong legions were replaced by more numerous and smaller 1000 strong legions with attached auxiliary units which are more easily deployable and more tactically relevant, much like today. The old massive divisions are now divided in Brigade Combat Teams for the Army or Marine Expeditionary Units for the USMC which are the standard deployable units for the Armed Forces and they are smaller regiment sized elements with organic support. Also, the equipment was, in fact, upgraded and became more protective with more resilient helmets and longer weapons with greater standoff range such as a long spear, a longer sword as sidearm and 5 smaller javelins/darts, instead of just the two pila. All in all, the late Roman Army seemed to have implemented very sound changes. Training for the regular army remained excellent according to sources but requirements became a bit more relaxed so, man for man, a Principate legionary might have been more professional but, overall, it remained a formidable fighting force

  6. I wonder why nobody ever brought up the idea of compaction. I know that’s not the only reason why Rome fell there were a multitude of reasons but no one can deny that over expanding their borders didn’t help


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