Top 10 Greatest Roman Generals

10. The Scipio Family

Although Scipio Africanus was the most notable, most of the the Scipio leaders were good generals but there are to many good generals of Rome to mention all of them in a top ten list of Roman generals. But in my opinion they were the the Roman equivalent of the Barca family of Carthage (Hannibal) and thus only fitting that one of them should beat the greatest Barca and possible the greatest general ever, the Scipio in mention will appear later on down the list.

9.Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus

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Restored Roman authority in Germanica together with Tiberius after the disaster at Teutoburger Wald. Conquered Cappadocia and Commagena (in Asia Minor) in the few years before his death.

8. Flavius Belisarius

Actually not a Roman but a Byzantine general. The only one who conquered Rome and Carthage: thanks to his skills the Byzantines restored their power in Italy for a few centuries.

7. Quintus Sertorius

Often underrated, Sertorius managed to survive in Spain for nine years, defeating Pompeius Magnus and winning the hearts and minds of the locals with his skills as statesman and diplomat. The fact that he defeated Pompeius and was nicknamed ‘the new Hannibal’ says enough.

6. Marcus Ulpius Traianus

As adopted son of Nerva, he became emperor after Nerva’s death in 98. While most emperors appointed skilled proconsuls or family members to lead the legions in person, Traianus led his men in person against the Dacians and Parthians.

5. Julius Caesar

In a century of giants, Caesar was the greatest. With political skills he rose to the office of consul, and as proconsul he conquered Gaul in a swift military campaign. During the civil war, he fought against the odds most of the time.

4. Augustus Caesar

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Very skilled and calculated general although mainly known for his political leadership he won some very convincing victories against hardened warriors such as Mark Antony.

3. Marius

Marius made what what we consider the Roman army. His skills might not necessarily have been in tactics but more in the training and conditioning of his army.

2. Constantine

Constantine reunited the empire and brought it back from the brink of destruction, if only for a few more years. Nevertheless, in politics and on the battlefield he was brilliant.

1.  Scipio Africanus

Scipio

Scipio Africanus was the roman who saved Rome from Hannibal by studying Hannibal’s every tactic, without him the empire might never have happened. In a sense he made this list possible therefore deserves to be number 1.

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Posted by on September 21, 2009. Filed under The List. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

11 Responses to Top 10 Greatest Roman Generals

  1. Good list. How about the Top Ten Greatest Franks? Tops on my list goes to Gen. Frank Sneeringer (famous for his “A-ight, good job!” battle cry) for his swift, remorseless victory over Gaul.

  2. Bad list. Very bad list. How can you rank Augustus ahead of Trajan?!? Trajan’s conquests enlarged the empire to the greatest extent it would ever achieve. Trajan also did what Domitian couldnt and conquered Dacia. He annexed Armenia and kicked the snot out of the Persians capturing the Persian capitol. Agrippa did all the fighting for Augustus. Most of the battles Augustus was at personally turned out to be disasters. Where on this list is Agricola? How can you rank Constantine higher than Ceasar?!? That just baffles me. The battle of Alesia was genius or what about the battle of Zela or Munda. Constantine reunified the empire piece-meal with the strongest largest army in the empire at that time. Marius i can understand making the list but his reforms and number of times served ad Consul eclipse what he did on the battle field regardless of how important it was at the time. Compared to some others on this list he has no business ranking so high. I could go on about this list but i think any real historians like myself likely already commented and this is about all i can stand to write from my iphone

  3. Horrible!!!
    FIRSTLY Scipio family? Should we really consider the family part of the ‘greatest list’ which only one earned a place in this list?

    I agree with Augustus:
    1. Remove Octavian and add Agrippa, seeing as he actually was the general.
    2. You should look into Agricola, he accomplished much.
    3. Marius was a reformer and general, but this list is on generalship and quite frankly he should be dropped a few places. Both Sertorius and Belisarius were more accomplished.

    I know its the stereotypical encyclopedia reader of Roman history to argue that J Caesar was the greatest Roman general but he really was 1 or 2.

    Adding Sulla to the list would also make sense, his victories against Mithridates are impressive.

    Although critical of your list, i am happy to see Sertorius on the list, defiantly the most underrated Roman general thank to Sulla.

  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabius_Maximus
    Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus Cunctator (ca. 280 BC–203 BC), was a Roman politician and general, born in Rome around 280 BC and died in Rome in 203 BC. He was Roman Consul five times (233 BC, 228 BC, 215 BC, 214 BC and 209 BC) and was twice Dictator in 221 and again in 217 BC. He reached the office of Roman Censor in 230 BC. His agnomen Cunctator (akin to the English noun cunctation) means “delayer” in Latin, and refers to his tactics in deploying the troops during the Second Punic War. His cognomen Verrucosus means “warty”, a reference to a wart above his upper lip.

    He saved the Roman Empire from Hannibal Barica before Publius Scibo “Afric.’ defeated him.
    some of his military tatics are still in use today.

  5. leonardo scardino

    how is marcus furius camillus not up there? five times dictator, united most of the italian peninsula, defeated gauls with a citizen army while he was not even given a command from rome and called the second founder of rome. i mean really, i love scipio, but his family did not merit being up there, and constantine as well. i say give it up for trajian, camillus and sulla.

  6. 10) Agrippa
    9) Belisarius
    8) Stilicho
    7) Camillus
    6) Sulla
    5) Traianus
    4) Marius
    3) Pompeius
    2) Scipio
    1) Caesar

  7. Yeah Agrippa should definitely replace Augustus. I would also put Quintus Fabius Maximus on there as well- anything known as “Fabian” today is known that way because of his tactics. No one likes The Last of the Romans? I would put Flavius Aetius in my top 3 with Caesar and Scipio (Africanus)- he was the last hope of the empire and prolonged its complete collapse by defeating Attila the Hun

  8. Augustus was an incredibly skilled politician, but not a very good general. It was Marcus Agrippa, who was responsible for most of Augustus’s victories and so it should be his name that comes in at number 4. Also, you’ve left out Aetius.

  9. 1. Caesar
    2. Scipio
    3. Belisarius
    4. Aurelian
    5. Trajan
    6. Marius
    7. Pompeius
    8. Camillus
    9. Sulla
    10. Agrippa

    Hounourable mentions for Lucullus, Stillicho, Aetius, Fabius, Sertorius and Constantine.

  10. Julius Ceaser is the greatest and where is Crassus?