Roman Soldier A. Joining the Army – Qualifications if any – Pay or benefits received – Initial training no boot camp in those days – Soldiers oath (page 6 Legionary book) B. Life at the Fort – Accommodations – Food – Showers bathrooms -Free time – No weekends off but had all religious holidays off – Religion – Temple of Mithras, he was most of the soldiers god, You had to pass 7 tests of skill to become of full Mithras brotherhood C. Duties – Sentry duty – Cooking / Cleaning – Working (pg. 16 Legionary book) – Built roadsbridges – Made tiles for public buildings – Built aqueducts – Drained marshes to build new forts on – Quarry, stones for buildings etc.
– Polished iron armor and weaponry – Sweeping – Only a select few got out of bad jobs and they were clerks, cobblers, smiths D. The Centurion – Was the boss of all the soldiers who worked – Dress was much more elaborate – Carried a vine wood stick – was a badge of honor also used as a whip for disobedient soldiers – ProfessionalOfficers -Were harsh taskmasters – Punishments – petty such as being late would be to make the soldier look like a fool and make them stand outside w/o weapons or armor to show he is not worthy to be a soldier – serious crime such as sleeping on guard or deserting resulted in flogging, rank lowered. At the time of war the penalty was death – If a unit disgraced itself in battle it might be “decimated” – 1 in 10 selected to be clubbed or stoned to death by the rest of the army – Decimation was stopped after Emperor Trajan ruled E. Family Life – Forbidden to marry – That was not strictly enforced – Was not unusual to keep wife and children in nearby homes F. Pay – Pay was low – Deductions were taken out for worn out gear, bedding food, boots, clothes etc. – Often got a bonus in pay to celebrate an important event (annual) I wanted to join the Roman Army ever since I was a young boy playing in the fields of my home in (NAME A TOWN OR CITY RELATED TO ROME HERE).
My father was a legionaire in the Roman Army for 25 years. It was my goal in life to follow in his footsteps. The hard part of being a Legionaire in the Roman Army was not becoming a soldier. To become a soldier you jsut had to be somewhat physically fit and be at least 5 feet 8 inches tall. The pay for being a legionaire was also not all that attractive to me.
I got paid 250(DOLLARS, PESOS, FRANCS???) per month. There were many deductions taken out of that 250 that I did not like. Roughly 10 for my bedding, 80 for food and 60 for clothes. So after all those deductions I was not left with all that much. The signifer kept track of all my money and savings I had.
When I first became a legionary there was no inital training or boot camp to become an official soldier. I just showed up and was given my equipment and instructed on where to go and what to do. I was given a few questions to make sure I was a genuine citizen before I could take the Soldiers Oath. After the oath I was given 4 motnhs bonus pay which was very nice and then instructed on which century I was to report to. A century is an 80 man company.
Six centuries made a cohort and ten cohorts made up a legion. Living inside the fort was not all that bad. I was fed very well and my living quarters were quite fitting to me. The food I ate varied quite often. It all depended on what the men in teh auxillary killed while hunting.
Most often it was buffalo which I have liked since I was a child. We all showered in a big open area made of concrete. We showered about once per week on average. The bathrooms were a large room with two long rows of benches on each side. It was a punishment if you were assigned to clean the bathroom.
One of the things I did not like about living at the fort was that I got very little free time to myself. I worked from sunrise to sunset each day with no weekends to myself. Although I did get all of the religious holidays which was very enjoyable. I prayed at the Temple of Mithras. Mithras was most of the soldiers god. To become a full Mithras brother I had to pass 7 various tests of skill. There were many jobs that had to be done around the fort on a daily basis. On any given day I could be building new roads or bridges which was very labor intensive.
Making tile for all of the new various buildings that were constantly being built. Building aqueducts for the new areas under renovation. As land filled up with forts we would have to drain marshes to build new forts on. I would end up in the quarry busting up stone quite often which was one of the worst jobs. A very boring job which involved just sitting down was the constant polishing of armor and weaponry.
If it was a slow day and I thought there was nothing else to be done I would always end up sweeping out the buildings just to keep busy. Only a select few people were ever able to get out of all that labor. Those were the people who were the clerks, cobblers or smiths. I would do anything to have one of there jobs. Although they do not get treated with as much respect by all of the other soldiers because they are thought to have it easy.
About once a month I would get sentry duty. Sentry duty was guarding the building which was the shrine of the standards. In order to maintain discipline throughout all of us soldiers there was a centurion. I never liked any centurion who was assingned to my cohort. Many of the centurions seemed to be on a power trip.
The centurions dress was much more elaborate than the regular soldiers. He had shiny armor all decorated with various medals. The centurion carried a vinewood stick. His stick was not only a badge of honor to distinguish him from other soldiers but it was also used for disobedient soldiers. The centurions were harsh taskmasters.
They gave out the worst punishments. If the soldier did a small petty fault such as having dirty armor or being late on parade then the centurion would make him look like a fool. I arrived one time with dirty armor and teh centurion made me stand outside the fort with no armor or weapons and tell all who passed by me that I was not worthy of being a Roman soldier. The centurions took pride in making people look foolish. For a more serious crime such as sleeping while on guard or not showing up for guard duty at all would result in being beaten, flogged or being lowered in rank.
If a soldier was caught sleeping at a time of war the penalty was death. If a whole group of soldiers were disobedient they would often be put on a ration of food, just enough to survive. My centurion was not happy with my centuries work so he made all 80 of us sleep outside the fort walls. We had to make our own shelters for the nite and leave extra men on guard. That was a night that will not be soon forgotten.
If a unit had disgraced itself in battle the worst of all punishments that I hated to see was decimstion. Decimation was when one out of every ten of the disgraceful soldiers soldiers were selected to be clubbed or stoned to death by the rest of the army. A Roman Soldier was forbidden to marry. Although that rule was not strictly enforced. It was not unusual for a soldier to keep a wife and children in nearby homes outside the fort.