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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.

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?

Professional army was founded by Augustus

The Roman army from the beginning of its existence was constituted by Roman citizens who had property/land allowing them to arm themselves in battle. The change occurred at the end of the 2nd century BCE, when Gaius Marius first extended his hand to people without land (proletarii), offering them military service and a form of existence.

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