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It is true that in the Roman times generals had much more authority over their soldiers than in the modern democracies. However, limits on generalsí authority do not necessarily prevent military coups. In the recent century, plenty of elected governments have been overthrown by the army in Asia and Latin America.

As for the Navy, I think it was actually more important for the Romans (whose armies were frequently dispersed around the Mediterranean) than for the U.S. or the EU countries. If, for example, the French army wants to march on the Parliament in Paris, it does not need to cross any seas.