Ancient Roman Soldier Facts
The backbone of the ancient Roman Army were the highly disciplined Roman soldiers. In fact they made the Roman army one of the greatest fighting machines the world has
ever seen. Any kid who has picked up a world history book has without doubt seen pictures of these amazing warriors with their distinctive armor and weapons.
On this page of Ancient Roman Army Facts you will find a list of facts about ancient Roman soldiers. Information will include what weapons they used, where they came from,
and how they became so successful.
Interesting Ancient Roman Soldier Facts
- A Roman soldiers was called a legionary. Only men who were Roman citizens could be a legionary; women were not allowed in the military.
- These soldiers had to be in good physical shape; not only did they have to fight exhausting battles but they often had to march up to twenty miles in one day carrying
weapons and other heavy equipment. They also had to build roads, forts, and other defenses.
- Joining the Roman Army was no small commitment; a legionary had to stay in the army for 20 years. This long term insured that the army would have experienced well
- At the end of a legionary's term he would be awarded land, a large amount of money, or both.
- Also included in the ranks of the ancient Roman army were non-citizen soldiers who were called auxiliaries. They had to commit to twenty five years of service at the end
of which they were awarded Roman citizenship.
- At one point roman soldiers were paid with salarium (an allowance for salt) which was believed to be good for one's health and was valuable in ancient times. This was the
origin of the phrase "worth one's salt" which means you are worth the salary you earn. The word salary is derived from the word salarium.
Ancient Roman Soldier Awards
- After a military victory the soldiers were often brought together for an awards ceremony where those soldiers who had acted bravely were awarded.
- Various crowns were often awarded to soldiers for various acts of bravery. For example a mural crown (corona muralis) was awarded to the first man over a defensive enemy
wall. Another example is the Gold Crown (corona aurelia) given to the soldier that held his ground at the end of battle.
- One common reward was a disk made of gold, silver, or bronze called a phalera which was worn on the breastplate of the honored legionary.
- An armband (armilla) was often awarded to soldiers who showed exceptional bravery in battle.
Ancient Roman Soldier Weapons and Defense Facts
- Legionaries were armed with several weapons which included a short sword called a Gladius, a spear (hasta), and a javelin (pilum).
- For defense the ancient Roman soldier utilized shields. Earlier Roman soldiers generally carried large rectangular shields whereas later ancient Roman soldiers carried
- Over the centuries Roman warriors wore various styles of metal helmets (galea), breastplates, and leg and arm guards. These defenses would also often vary among military