This page cannot be viewed in frames

Go to page

If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Curiosities of ancient Rome (Army)

The world of ancient Romans abounded in a number of amazing curiosities and information. The source of knowledge about the life of the Romans are mainly works left to us by ancient writers or discoveries. The Romans left behind a lot of strange information and facts that are sometimes hard to believe.

Musculus – Roman war machine

The Latin word musculus means “little mouse” as well as “muscle”. The ambiguity comes from the fact that some of the moving muscles under the skin look like little mice in motion. Interestingly, musculus was also a term for the Roman war machine.

Musculus - Roman war machine

Great defeats with Persians and Empire’s rematch in 3rd century CE

The greatest defeat in Roman history is considered to be the battle with Hannibal at Cannae in 216 BCE. There are also known hecatombs in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE and under Adrianople in 378 CE. However, a little known fact is that in the 3rd century CE, during the reign of Emperor Valerian, the Empire suffered two major defeats with the Persian state of King Shapur I. At Barbalissos and Edessa, two large Roman armies of around 60,000-70,000 were probably defeated and destroyed. people. The empire suffered the greatest humiliation in its history – the emperor became a prisoner of the Persian ruler. The Romans did not forget about the rematch – as early as 282, Emperor Carus conquered Mesopotamia with the Persian capital Ctesiphon, and only his unexpected death stopped the further march of the legions to the east.

The Persian king Shapur I using the former Emperor Valerian as a footstool when mounting his horse

Roman military diploma

A military diploma is the modern name of Roman documents confirming the release from the army and the granting of Roman citizenship to a veteran of auxiliary units by the emperor. It existed as a reward for faithful service. The diploma was drawn up by imperial officials and displayed to the public in Rome.

Roman military diploma

Caesar and his campaigns across Rhine

Julius Caesar is one of the greatest leaders in world history. This is evidenced by his victories in Spain (61 BCE), the conquest of Gaul (58-50 BCE), the invasion of Britain (54-53 BCE) or, for example, military campaigns east of the Rhine (55 and 53 BCE). Especially, the expeditions against the Germanic tribes prove how bold and ambitious Caesar was, who for the purposes of the campaign decided on an extremely complicated move for those times – the construction of a bridge over one of the longest rivers in Europe.

John Soane, Caesar Bridge on the Rhine

Gallus’ war campaign in Arabia

With the addition of Egypt to the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, Augustus saw a number of problems related to the new province. Regular invasions by the Kushites began from the south, and Arab pirates lurked from the side of the Red Sea. In addition, due to the commercial dominance of the Himyarites and Sabaians in the Bab el Manbed strait, the Romans had a difficult opportunity to cruise on this important route to India.


Who could serve in Roman legions?

Many fans of Roman films are astonished by the ideas of the producers that in the Roman army they placed soldiers from different continents. The rule was that only a Roman citizen could serve in the army, i.e. in the Roman legions. However, obtaining citizenship was not an impossible task.

Roman legionaries

Reward for winning fight

In the late 2nd century CE, a senatorial decree entered into force allowing gifting the victorious gladiator a reward of 500 sesterces for a fight, if free human and 400 if he was slave. This amount was comparable to the teacher’s annual salary.


Types of Roman tents

Tents were already in use in ancient times. Ancient Romans used them mainly in marching camps (castra aestiva), which were broken up during military campaigns every day. We owe a lot of information about their construction to the excavations in Vindolanda, near Hadrian’s Wall in England, where leather materials have also been preserved.

Roman tent of contubernium

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: