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Children of legionaries in camp

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman children's shoe
Roman children's shoe | Photo: E. Greene/University of Western Ontario

Even though at the beginning of the empire, Roman legionaries were not officially allowed to marry, they not only started a family, but they also did not keep it very secret.

In 2013, in the Vindolanda legion camp (northern England), professor Elizabeth Green came across 10 cm long shoes, exactly imitating the style of adult footwear (approx. 4,000 pieces). Such shoes were put on children only during official celebrations, parades or holidays. The legionaries used public opportunities to boast about their – theoretically illegal – offspring.

It is also worth mentioning here that Caligula is one of the few emperors we rarely know by real name. Germanicus as a leader more often stayed in military camps than at home. Therefore, his wife and son often accompanied him in his life as a soldier. And there, to the delight of the legions, he dressed little Gaius in military clothes and put on his sandals. His nickname was born: Caligae. This is nothing but the name of the sandals worn by legionaries. we can also translate it as “shoe”. The “shoe” was regarded as the mascot of the army.

  • Family footwear find shows new side to Roman military, "", 21.01.2013
  • Mały bucik Rzymianina, "Historia Focus", 6.05.2013

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