Nov

4

 I have recently read several biographies of Caesar including Caesar by Colleen McCullough. I found this brief review on Wikipedia illuminating. While I am not very knowledgeable about military strategy or Roman History, I saw many examples of Caesar's genius that were applicable to trading. I thought it might be helpful to list 10 things that helped him rise to the top and win battles that extended Roman territory to the Rhine and English Channel, and conquered 3 million of enemies, killed or captured more than a million of them, and brought back vast wealth to Rome.

1. High Frequency Execution.

He used high frequency weapons. The soldier's weapons were much shorter and lighter than the enemies. His used the Javelin and a short sword called the Gladus. The enemies used two foot spears. The Romans got to wound the enemy much faster and were able to fight much longer and fresher because they carried lighter weapons.

2. The Roman Logistics.

Legionaires had much better logistics than their enemy. Caesar always paid greater attention to food and living arrangements than his enemy. His men were healthier and stronger for battle and were able to escape quicker when defeat was imminent. The importance of a proper foundation for trading is emphasized. Make sure you have proper equipment, capital, and infrastructure before you start trading.

3. Alliances.

He was a master of making alliances, no matter the virtues of his allies. He formed an alliance with Pompei when it was in his interest, married his daughter to him, established peace with hostile Germanic tribes to defeat the Helvetias and the Gauls.

4. Training in the trenches.

He fought as a common soldier from the age of 20. He lived with the soldiers, ate their food, and battled with them. He was captured by pirates and was able to talk his way out of capture with a ransom and then caught the pirate ship and executed them. He had down to earth habits in his food and living. A trader who wants to succeed can't rise to the top withouot trading himslef, and developing economical habits.

5. Engineering.

Caesar loved nothing more than a complicated engineering problem. When he coudn't pursue the Germans by land he built a bridge over the Rhine. He left enough space on the other side so that he couldn't be captured again. He was able to move his army over the Alps in two days to defeat Pompei in Spain. He was trained as a scientist before becoming a soldier and applied the disparate disciplines of engineering, medicine, and architecture to better prepare for battle. The best training for a trader comes from fields other than finance,— physics, ecology, biology, music.

6. Celerity.

He moved his Legionnaires faster than his enemies. They frequently marched 60 miles in a day. He made decisions quickly and brought his legionnaires into the fray quickly when it was time to rout the enemy.

7. Speculation.

Time and time again he gambled and took bold strokes. If you are going to be a speculator you have to speculate you can't grind like Pompei, a much more experienced commander, did.

8. Incentives.

The legionnaires and he were entitled to a % of captured lands, jewelry and slaves. Each hand had a share of the spoils and this made them fight harder. At the end of their stay in the legionnaires they were promised land for retirement and many remains of their homes and belongings show that they lived relatively as well then as retired military today.

Alston Mabry notes: 

Twenty or 25 miles a day would be a substantial march, especially carrying all the gear they had.

In broad terms, the key to Roman battlefield success was their tactic of fighting in very close formations, even with overlapping shields. Essentially, they had more "swords per yard" at the front of a unit. This was very effective against enemies who fought in loose mobs, like the Gauls.

As for Caesar, an interesting topic of study is the battle of Alesia.

Phil McDonnell writes:

When I attended high school in NJ I had the pleasure of reading some of Caesar's writings in Latin. In particular I was struck by how he opened his account of the Gallic Wars. the opening three sentences were:

Veni. Vidi. Vici.
They translate as: I came. I saw. I conquered.

In many ways it is the height of confidence, even arrogance. Undoubtedly his confidence was one of his greatest aspects but it also lead to his hubris. One imagines that he was truly shocked when they assassinated him in the Senate chambers.


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