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Exercises of Roman legionaries

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Exercises of the Roman legionnaires
Author: Sean-ÓBrógáin

What made Roman legionaries stand out was the ability to act in a group and fight in various weather conditions. In addition, they were disciplined, well-equipped, and of course perfectly trained and durable. So what did their training look like?

First of all, the Roman recruit had to learn long marching: every day, soldiers covered 30 kilometers with full equipment. They covered half the distance with a free step, and the other half they had to run.

Then they learned how to build a camp, and they did military exercises twice a day (trained legionaries practiced only once a day). They learned about stone throw, swimming and horse riding. They had to be able to jump on and off the horse in full gear, and from both sides of the mount, which was quite a feat, given that at that time stirrups were unknown. The most important, however, were weapons exercises.

A pile was driven into the ground, the height of which corresponded to the height of man. A soldier armed with a wicker shield and a wooden, blunt sword (rudis; of the same weight as the real, and sometimes even heavier) attacked the stake and learned to strike. He also had to throw a very heavy pilum. Marked battles were also organized, and covers were placed on the blade of the sword and spear to avoid possible injury.

Sources
  • Carey Brian Todd, Wojny starożytnego świata: techniki walki, 2008
  • Rodgers Nigel, Rzymska armia. Legiony, wojny, kampanie, Warszawa 2009
  • Warry John, Armie świata antycznego, Warszawa 1995
  • Vegetius, De re militari

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