Even though still a citizen militia recruited from property owners supplying their own war gear, it was the manipular legion that faced Pyrrhus and his elephants, the Gauls and their long swords, Hannibal and his tactical genius, the Macedonians and their pikes, to name but a few of its formidable opponents. This book, therefore, will look at the recruitment (now based on age and experience as well as on wealth and status), training (now the responsibility of the state as opposed to the individual), weapons (new types being introduced, both native and foreign), equipment (ditto) and experiences (which included submission to a draconian regime of military discipline) of the legionary at the epoch of the middle Republic. The middle Republican era opens with the last great war with the Samnites (Third Samnite War, 298-290 BC) and closes with the Republic at the height of its imperial glory after the victory in North Africa (Iugurthine War 112-105 BC). The provisional legion in which the legionary served now exhibited many of the institutions and customs of the later professional legions, perhaps best reflected in one of its most notable practices, the construction of a temporary camp at the end of each day's march. Lest we forget, however, for our legionary, military service was not a career, but an obligation he owed to the state, and it was this militia army that conquered the peninsula of Italy, defeated the magnificent Hellenistic kingdoms and the mercantile empire of Carthage. All of the Mediterranean basin was now within the imperium of Rome, some of it organized into provinces governed by Roman magistrates, the rest reduced to client status. Romans were acquiring a sense that they possessed a world empire.