Contubernium was the smallest organized unit in the Roman army, which consisted of eight legionaries. Soldiers of such a unit were called contubernales. In fact, there were two extra people in the unit – servants or slaves who were involved in packing or cooking. Officially, they were not included in the unit. Ten contubernia were centuria. Legionaries of contubernium shared a tent and could be rewarded or punished together as an individual.
The unit was commanded by decanus – current junior non-commissioned officer. Decanus was appointed by comrades-in-arms of the unit; usually he was also the most experienced and longest-serving soldier. His task was to supervise the creation of the tent, maintain discipline on the march and during the fight.
Each unit was assigned two soldiers auxuilia. They were responsible for taking care of the mules or supplying water to the legionaries during the march. They also often had blacksmith or carpentry skills.