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"Roman v Samurai - Who Would Win?" Topic

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2,195 hits since 22 Jul 2011
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CPBelt Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:01 p.m. PST

OK, this has been a question a certain someone in our household (not me!) has been asking for weeks. I said I would ask here to see the reaction.

If a Roman army (pick your period) were somehow able to fight a Samurai army (pick your period) under ideal battle conditions, who would win the battle?

On another note, who would you fear to face more in a 1:1 fight? A Roman gladiator or a Samurai warrior?

The stuff kids ask these days. :-)

Sysiphus Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 4:06 p.m. PST

I'l take Roman training over Samurai individuality. As for a Roman gladiator….he could be almost anything but a Roman, from what I've read. So, in a one to one I'd fear the Samurai more.

sillypoint22 Jul 2011 4:21 p.m. PST

I love fantasy, a Roman army would beat a Samuari army, with a nod to all other variables, me vs. Jeff using WRG 7th edition, I would still lose.

Personal logo RelliK Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jul 2011 4:32 p.m. PST

a Roman Gladiator fights with a handicap where as a Samurai doesnt.

Greylegion22 Jul 2011 4:40 p.m. PST

Send this suggestion in to Spike/Deadliest Warrior.

SECURITY MINISTER CRITTER Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 5:21 p.m. PST


Mako11 Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 6:02 p.m. PST

One against one, I give the edge to the Samurai, since he has a much sharper sword.

sillypoint22 Jul 2011 6:24 p.m. PST

Maximus! Maximus!

DalyDR Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 8:00 p.m. PST

Romans win (Caesar's army) vs. any Samurai army, hands down, no contest. IMHO, of course!


Beowulf Supporting Member of TMP Fezian22 Jul 2011 9:35 p.m. PST

Another vote for the Romans: a disciplined army is much more efficient than one made of individualists, no matter how good they are. Just ask the Celts.

Connard Sage22 Jul 2011 9:56 p.m. PST

One against one, I give the edge to the Samurai, since he has a much sharper sword.


Parfitts Tele Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 10:10 p.m. PST

For a battle scenario, I would take the Roman Legion any time.
Individually, the Samurai gets my vote .

Jovian1 Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 10:12 p.m. PST

Caesar vs Kagetora – Fight! Samurai win, they have guns.

setsuko22 Jul 2011 10:29 p.m. PST

Any period, you say? Any 17th century army with developed musket drills would make short work of any Ancient army.

NoLongerAMember Inactive Member22 Jul 2011 11:43 p.m. PST

Romans v Japanese at army level, Romans. Proffessional soldiers beat individual warriors every day.

One on one, in full gear, Roman again. That Samauri sword is good, but its outreached by the pilum, blocked by the scutum and blunted by facing metal armour…

kreoseus2 Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 12:03 a.m. PST

Roma victor

platypus01au23 Jul 2011 12:05 a.m. PST

On another note, who would you fear to face more in a 1:1 fight? A Roman gladiator or a Samurai warrior?

I have to choose? I'd be terrified of either! I'd be hopefull that their armour would be heavy and restricting as I run away as fast as I could.

Rule #1: Cardio


Andrew May1 Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 1:56 a.m. PST

Samurai wins hand down. Look at it this way:

Yojimbo played by Tohiro Mifune against the sweaty guy played by Russell Crowe.

Easy choice, Mifune wins every time!

ochoin deach Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 2:06 a.m. PST

Unleash Hell!

Yep, the Romans beat the Ronin.

Huscarle23 Jul 2011 2:27 a.m. PST

Tough call, all those Samurai bows, but overall a Roman army would IMHO beat a Samurai army.
Individually, a Samurai would probably beat a Roman.

Andrew May1 Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 3:09 a.m. PST

Nope, the Samurai would win!

Mapleleaf Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 3:14 a.m. PST

If "Contemporary armies" fought say First century AD then the Romans would have the advantage. It would be totally unrealistic to put a 16th century Samurai "Age of Battles " army against a Roman army due to the use of gunpowder.

Berlichtingen Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 3:41 a.m. PST

Even with gunpowder, I still think the Romans have the edge. It still comes down to a truly professional army fighting, what in comparison, is a mob

Scarab Miniatures Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 3:59 a.m. PST

I will go with the Samurai army, longer reach weapons, effective bows, mobile well organised force.

However, as noted, both styles are so different at the different periods of history theres no real comparison (not least in the number of troops deployed in the battles) but yes, kids ask questions and as adults we need to offer reasoned answers.

it is the sort of thing you can try out on the table top or perhaps a computer game, but depending on the rules used you will also get different results each time.

One on one is a more interesting discussion, I think my conclusion would be "I won't want to be in the way" but assuming the child is assuming "stereotypical gladiator versus stereotypical samurai" then probably the samurai, more armour, better sword, but I would not place a bet.. :)

kind regards
Rob Broom

Mechanical Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 4:43 a.m. PST

Without gunpowder Romans win in mass battle.

One on one that all depends on the class of gladiator and whether or not you allow the samurai his bow.Gladiators were matched by type to give a good fight while samurai were equipped to survive and kill on the battle field. Two very different environments. A retiarius would give any samurai pause while a thraex would probably get cut up in short order.

Edit: sorry the question was me vs samurai or gladiator. Doesn't really matter as long as I can bring my rifle. Take that away, and I would rather face the gladiator as I could probably rustle up enough Latin to tell him I'll put up a bit of a fight then take a dive giving him an easy victory and then trust my fate to the mercy of the crowd. A samurai is just going to kill you outright.

kallman23 Jul 2011 7:13 a.m. PST

At first I was going to go with the Roman but I have upon consideration gone with the Samurai. Here are my talking points:

First off even if we do not allow for later period Samurai armies and take away gunpowder you have a very effective long range bow.

Second and perhaps the most important tactical edge is excellent cavalry with sturrips. Roman cavalry did not have this simple yet important revolutionary design. Add to this that the Samurai were effective horse archers. Rome in any period had considerable trouble dealing with horse archery such as used by the Parthians and Sassanids. A Samurai commander would soon have the Romans out flanked with the fast mounted, yet heavy armed Samurai horseman. The best the Roman commander could hope for is that his men hold their nerve and form a tortoise. Then it becomes a battle of attrition as arrows and and long yari spears look for the gaps in the Roman line.

Third, while the Romans had excellent drill they would appear to have noted tactical inflexibility in the face of the longer ranged bows, and when it came to grips the Samurai army has longer hand held weapons, yari, naganatas, and no-dachi. All of these weapons could deliver a powerful blow that would soon render the scutum and lorica segmata moot. All of the things that give the Romans the edge in close combat are effectively countered.

Fourth, the Samurai army is fast and can evade the heavier more ponderous Roman army. The Samurai could fight a longer protracted battle and wear the Romans down, then go in for the final blow.

Hmmm…I may have to one day do this as a Warhammer Ancients battle.

kallman23 Jul 2011 7:23 a.m. PST

Now a match up between a Medieval or Renaissance European army of the same time period as a Samurai army is quite a different animal. Here I would give the better chance to the Europeans. Depending on the force the Europeans would have heavy steel armor that even the best Samurai sword would find a tough nut to crack, and the mercenary forces were very professional and drilled. Massed pike and halberds would make hash of the Samurai lines and I would take the cross bow over the long Samurai bow for distance and hitting power. The Europeans would have better handguns as well and then there is all that cannon. A well armored knight would shrug off the best the mounted Samurai could give him and then beat the Bushido out of the Samurai.

JJMicromegas Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 8:28 a.m. PST

As it turns out I just played a game of FoG with my Imperial Romans against my foes Samurai army. I lost all of my skirmishers to his massed archery, and my auxilary troops were getting beat, but my Legionaires in close order smashed his infantry. So based on that experience I would say Rome by a small margin because of the quality of their close order disciplined Legionaires.

vojvoda Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 8:43 a.m. PST

Late Repbulican Roman A class legion would beat mid to early Samurai on rough terrain. In open country give the advantage to the Samurai.
James Mattes

Manflesh Inactive Member23 Jul 2011 4:00 p.m. PST

The more you scale it out, the more it swings in the advantage of the Romans. For a start, with the resources of the Empire at it's height, they'd be able to pay for some Samurai to fight with them, thus mitigating any tactical advantages enjoyed by the Japanese. Plus, normal Roman practice was to turn up and build a fort, wasn't it? Although the samurai would find this unsporting, there wouldn't be much they could do about it.

To be honest, this whole question is kind of silly. I mean, in an open battlefield I'd give modern Somali militia the edge against Romans. Guns make rather a big difference.


Narcisista23 Jul 2011 4:29 p.m. PST

Pff. Apples and Oranges.

Put a Japanese army from the Imjin war in the fray and we see lots of dead hypotethical romans whatever the time period they come from.

Remove firearms from the equation and I can see a lot of situations where the romans would mop the floor with samurai ass.

Samurai vs gladiator… What kind of gladiator? A samnite is different from a thracian, etc… This would have an effect on the match-up altough a samurai in full armour with Yari or Naginata could probably take on any gladiator with a fair chance to win.

Katzbalger23 Jul 2011 6:46 p.m. PST

Non-gunpowder samurai against just about any period Roman army should, assuming equivalent generalship, go the the Romans. Yes, they sometimes had trouble against horse archer armies, but sometimes they won against those armies, too.

Fortification/camp construction, discipline, excellent armor/shields, discipline, great close order drill, discipline, and the genreally Roman attribute of not quitting (AD 9 notwithstanding).
(Lost a legion? Send out two more!)

Oh, and did I mention Roman discipline?

After gunpowder--things get more tricky. After all, we're talking matchlock level of technology, right? I don't think I could answer that one as I'm not sure what proportion of Japanese troops would actually be armed with firearms and what their normal reload times were. If they only had a low proportion of firearms and reload was in the 1 minute range, then the Romans close and butcher them between shots. Otherwise, not so much, maybe.

As for which I'd rather face? Well, I guess that would depend upon what I was carrying, wouldn't it?


pilum40 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jul 2011 6:26 a.m. PST

Who would win? A Decepticon of course…you silly people! :)

Lion in the Stars25 Jul 2011 10:22 a.m. PST

Musashi played by Tohiro Mifune against the sweaty guy played by Russell Crowe.

Let's get to the proper scale of badassery, here.

As far as teppo-carriers, by 1600 it's roughly 1/3 of the entire army. However, most of the troops were not on the firing line, they were firing rotating volleys about every 5-15 seconds. (multiple units, each line shooting/reloading separately)

If the Japanese don't have teppo, but after the Mongol Invasions (so post 1300) I still lean towards the Japanese having the upper hand. The tight Roman formations make massed arrow-fire much more effective than the loose Japanese formations.

Before the Mongol Invasions, definitely the Romans.

Flat Beer and Cold Pizza Inactive Member25 Jul 2011 9:57 p.m. PST

"Comparisons are odious."

-popular 14th Century saying

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