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The Legionaries
The Legionaries

The Legionaries

The legionaries were Roman citizens, usually volunteers, who joined the army around the age of twenty in exchange for modest pay and a certain future. They enlisted for a period of 25 years, the last five as reserves. At the end of this long period of service they usually received a plot of land. Subject to tough training and instructed in strict discipline, they were the backbone of Roman military might.

The Equipment

The infantry legionary's combat equipment, armor, weapons, and shield could weigh more than 45 lb/20 kg. A legionary also carried a backpack, called a sarcina, which contained his personal belongings, cooking utensils, supplies, and various tools such as a pick, a hatchet, a shovel, or a pickax for building camps or fortifications. They could march from 5 to 20 miles/8 to 32 km with a total load of about 77 lb/35 kg.


This is a model from the imperial era. They wore protection for the cheeks (jawbone) and neck, and a shoulder pad at the front to protect against a vertical impact from a sword.


The shield was made of wooden planks. It had a rectangular curved shape, ideal for creating the formation known as the "tortoise".