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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.

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.

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.

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.

Hoplites in Roman army

When we hear about Roman soldiers, we see in front of us a well-equipped Jewish legionary fighting in the formation testudo. We do not realize that one of the first types of a warrior in the Roman army was a heavy-armed hoplite who looked completely different from the legionary.

Did Roman legionaries sing songs during march?

Life in the army has always been hard and required soldiers to have strong will, perseverance and physical strength. Long and demanding marches caused that the soldiers tried to diversify time in various ways, including singing. Did Roman legionaries do the same?

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