At its heyday in 117 BC, the Roman Empire comprised more than 88 million people and over 5 million square kilometres of territory, stretching from the north of England to the southern shores of the Mediterranean, and included what are today’s Spain, France, Portugal, Italy, Greece, and a fair bit of Germany, amongst others. It was the world’s first superpower, and it achieved that status largely through the efficiency of its professional army, which has been called the best fighting force the world has ever seen.
New from Playmobil is the Roman theme, which celebrates the both Roman Empire’s soldiers and its diversions. The soldiers are represented by the Centurions and Catapult (#4271), the Commander’s Tent (#4273), the Firing Catapult (#4278), the Mounted Warrior (#4272), the Chariot (#4274), and the Battle Tower with Battering Ram (#4275).
Leisure time in Rome might be spent at the Arena, with its gladitorial combats and other public spectacles. Playmobil has designed an impressive version of the Colosseum (#4270), with a 33 inch diameter, monumental statuary, a trapdoor, and cages suitable for hungry lions and tigers (included).
The Roman navy was most famous for its warships called triremes, so called because they were propelled by over 150 oarsmen seated in banks of three, as well as by the square-rigged sails. Triremes carried the powerful distance weapons known as ballistas, which could propel heavy bolts or arrows in a highly-accurate fashion over a distance of up to 500 yards. The ballistas could also throw the burning projectiles known as Greek fire, which could wreak havoc amongst the wooden ships of their enemies. The triremes were fashioned with a battering ram extending forward from the prow, which was used to tear open the hull of enemy ships and sink them. The Warrior’s Ship (#4276) floats on water for bathtub play, and also has wheels for floor play. It comes complete with working catapult, oars, and a willing crew of Playmobil Romans.
As the Roman poet Virgil said, “Audaces fortuna iuvat” – Fortune favors the bold! Watch out, barbarians! Here come the Romans!