Roman Legions

14 Feb

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Roman enemies spied first the standard bearer of the Legion as the centuries of warriors (about 5000 to the Legion) marched forward. The standard bearer wore a golden mask to instill awe, terror and panic into the enemy troops. Many of these men had never seen metal shine in the sun. T0 them it was a frightening phenomena lending the Roman the appearance of a god leading the troops, not a man.

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The centurions (officers equivalent to Captains) wore fierce animal skins over their helmets to signify ferocity in battle and to intensify the fear in their enemies.

Armor was necessary for survival. A troop wore common tunics, often red in color, overlaid with heavy chain mail.

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While the chain mail offered protection from the blow of a sword it did not protect the soldier from an arrow. The point would pierce the woven metal giving a mortal wound.

Metal helmets, cheek plates, shoulder and breast plates offered greater protection. This more elaborate armor was worn by higher ranking officers. Metal scales provided layered protection from sword blows, stabs and slices. The neck guard of a Roman helmet could prevent decapitation.

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Soldiers had to carry their own armor, a heavy load. To make the bundle less bulky, armor was designed to collapse and compact making it easier to carry.

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The soldier carried all of his possessions on his back in what might have been the first backpack. Armor was carried suspended from a long pole carried over the soldier’s head.

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Soldiers enlisted for 25 years, could not marry and did not reap the benefits of their tedious, dangerous and grueling work until retirement. Only if they survived did they receive land to farm and a significant pension. Many of the survivors married and spent their remaining years in relative comfort.

2 Responses to “Roman Legions”

  1. Terry Murphy February 14, 2017 at 4:39 am #

    Where do I sign up? This sounds like a great deal! Actually, sounds Trumpian to me.

    • Jill February 14, 2017 at 4:52 am #

      I don’t think Drumpf would go for one of the Caesararian haircuts. The helmet with the enormous plume. Yes.

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