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Life of a Roman Soldier

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Katie Shea

on 22 September 2012

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Transcript of Life of a Roman Soldier

Life as a Roman Soldier By: Katie Shea How they were treated: The life of a Roman soldier was very difficult. The men were disciplined by flogging and at times, the general would even have a soldier beheaded if they did not follow orders. Roman soldiers were trained to march twenty miles a day, under the burden of eighty pounds. They had the skills and abilities to swim rivers, climb mountains, penetrate forests, and they were prepared to face any kind of danger. Soldiers had to carry a huge amount of gear. Marching with so much to carry was hard on the men. After a long day of working, the men would have to make a camp. This consisted of digging a ditch around the outside of the camp. They would throw the extra dirt from digging outside of the camp. Next, they would put up a wall of stakes on the pile of dirt. They would carry these stakes from camp to camp. This protective wall of wooden stakes was useful when marching through enemy territory. At times soldiers were paid, but often they were given no money except for their share of the booty, though sometimes months would go by without any booty to share. According to the Roman constitution, every free-born citizen was a soldier and bound to serve if necessary. Soldiers were required to be at least eighteen years old and at least five and a half feet tall. While in the army, soldiers were not allowed to marry, but had many girlfriends in settlements near their fort or base camp. A soldier could serve for twenty five years and then retire with a pension. The Roman army was well organized. Each main section of the army was called a legend. A group of eight soldiers shared a tent and ate together. This group of eight was called a contubernium. Eight contubernia made a century. Centuries were grouped into cohorts and ten cohorts made a legion. What They Ate While traveling, the diet of a soldier consisted mostly of unleavened bread-- meaning bread made without yeast, so it was flat. The soldiers also ate porridge and what vegetables they could find. They got little wine. Meat was so rare that many of the soldiers didn't even like to eat it. Weapons The Roman soldier carried shields, swords, daggers, spears, and javelins. The Roman shield was made from double or tripple plywood and edged with copper. They were curved and usually oval or rectangular. Shields were carried in the soldiers left hands. The soldiers learned to lock their shields together to make a formation called a tortoise. This made a protective barrier against the enemies' arrows and stones. The soldiers used a long, double-edged sword. This sword was carried on the soldier's right side. The spear was cone-shaped so the soldier could stick the head into the ground without causing damage to the spear. Javelins were used with a throwing strap to improve the distance it could be thrown. The catapult The Romans are well known for their use of the catapult. The catapult was first invented by Philip 11 of Greece. It was fired by winding down a huge beam, which had a sling at one end. A man called a laoder lifted a large round stone and fit it into the sling. They used stones that weighed up to 66 pounds that landed up to 100 feet away and could easily make holes in the walls of the enemy's fort. Rewards Roman soldiers were given various decorations for loyal and outstanding deeds in battle. These decorations were worn with great pride when marching in parades of triumphs. The most common rewards to rank and file Roman soldiers were the following: Armillae:
minor decorations worn as an armband Torques:
decorations worn around the neck Phalerae:
embossed disc which was worn on the uniform The mural crown:
presented to the soldier who in the assault first scaled the rampart of a town The castral:
gien to soldiers who were foremost in storming the enemy's entrenchments The civic chaplet of oak leaves:
given to the soldier who saved his comrade's life in battle The triumphal laurel wreath:
given to the general who commanded in a successful engagement The army served not only as the protector of the empire, but was also the organization which built much of the large road system in the empire. The roads allowed the army to quickly shift men to problem areas. They also provided a good system for transporting goods throughout the empire. The Roman soldiers built over 250,000 miles of roads. The rewards of the Roman soldiers were small; they were paid in glory. No profession brought so much honor as the military. A roman soldier was taught that his destiny was to die in battle: death was his duty and his glory. He enlisted in the army with little hope of revisiting his home; he crossed seas and deserts and forests with the idea of spending his life in the service of his country Sources: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgPS_AxP-GU&feature=relmfu http://www.mce.k12tn.net/ancient_rome/soldiers.htm http://www.historylink102.com/Rome/roman-army.htm http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=roman+catapult&view http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=roman+army&view=detail&id=315C652EF5BC4FB8E8081
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