The Roman Army
February 24, 2003 10:48 AM   Subscribe

Modeling the Roman Army. The author of this site uses CAD software to examine the mechanics and problems of manuevering large masses of men in ancient warfare. Good stuff for people interested in the subject.
posted by moonbiter (9 comments total)
While probably interesting to war buffs, it´s not a very interesting use of CAD, as most of the illustrations could have been done as well, if not better, by hand or using Illustrator or Freehand.
posted by signal at 11:21 AM on February 24, 2003

This is more of a data visualization issue than an illustration one. I don't know that Illustrator would help, but there are certainly better viz/modeling tools to use than CAD.
posted by badstone at 11:34 AM on February 24, 2003

Illustrator would work with small numbers of elements and strictly in 2D, but when you're trying to visualize the way units move together over (possibly uneven) terrain, for example, there's no way Illustrator could do it.

I don't think there's any off-the-shelf software that could do what they want to do (reminds me of Weta's MASSIVE software, that was used to model the armies in the Lord of the Rings movies), so CAD is as good as anything and certainly better than a 2D illustration program.
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:46 AM on February 24, 2003

RylandDotNet: As far as I can tell, all the drawings are 2d.

Some of the analysis is actually interesting, though little more than defining blocks and moving them around, it was probably the most expedient way do it.

I guess the word modelling in a CAD context just made me expect 3d models of roman soldiers and war machines.

The plan and elevation soldiers are cute, though.
posted by signal at 11:58 AM on February 24, 2003

My mistake. I should have been more clear in the FPP and specified "the subject" as historical warfare.
posted by moonbiter at 12:11 PM on February 24, 2003

I thought it was cool. The diagrams of the camps reminded me of David Macaulay's City : A Story of Roman Planning and Construction.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:14 PM on February 24, 2003

This is definitely cool. But the poor elephants!
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:05 PM on February 24, 2003

I find it sort of interesting that he chose to do this with a drawing tool - it makes open field combat look so regular and even and predictable when it was, of course, none of those things. I wonder if the author is also involved with any of the many Roman Legion Historical Reenactment Units active worldwide.

I think he might find that reproducing these maneuvers with live armored soldiers might answer many of his outstanding questions.

Cool link, moonbiter - thanks for sharing it.
posted by anastasiav at 2:24 PM on February 24, 2003

I vote: Good Post!
posted by The Michael The at 4:30 PM on February 24, 2003

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