The Roman Army

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The Roman Army

The Romans were probably the most successful empire ever. However what made them such a driving force was the sheer power and organization behind the formidable legions of the Romans.

The legions were split into various things:-

Legion “ There were usually around 5,000 men in a legion. The whole army contained around 150,000 soldiers. It was commanded by a Legate or a Legatus Legionis who was usually from a wealthy or important family.

Cohort “ For some reason one cohort (prima cohors) had more men than the other cohorts “ the prima cohors had around 800 men while the others had from 480 men to 500 men. Each legion had 10 cohorts.

Century- Although the name "century  suggests that there were 100 men in each century, this was usually not the case. Oddly most centuries had only around 80 men, but some did have 100 soldiers. Despite this inconsistency, there was always 6 centuries in a cohort.

Contubernium “ There was 8 soldiers in each contubernium. They ate together and shared the same tent or room. There was 10 contubernia in each century and each legionary belonged to one.

When the roman soldiers signed up for 25 years of service, they received a signing-on fee “ approximately 3 Aurei or 75 Denarii (1 Aureus, which was a gold coin, was equivalent to 25 denarii which was a silver coin. Romans obviously valued gold much more than silver; possibly they thought gold was 25 times more valuable than silver.). Each soldier had to serve out all 25 years of their contract, the first 20 years most likely as a normal soldier, then the next 5 years as a veteran. Most people to sign up were around 17 or 18- however there is a record of someone as young as 15 signing up. They would serve until they were 42-43. After that they would get a large pension, a bit of land (later on emperors st... Continue Reading