Some Interesting Facts About the Roman Soldiers

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Units of the Roman Army

    The basic unit of the Roman Army was called “century”. A century had 80 soldiers, grouped into 10 sections with 8 soldiers in each, who shared either a barrack or a tent. Six centuries made up a “cohort”, and 10 cohorts made up a “legion”.  There were over 4,920 soldiers in the Roman Army, excluding the auxiliaries, cavalries, archers and slingers.

The Centurion

    The commander of a “century” was called the “Centurion”. Their equipment was different from the others so that they can be easily recognized by their men during battle. They wore medals that symbolized their bravery during the hard fought battles. They could also have wives unlike the Legionary Soldiers.

Legionary Soldiers

    Legionary soldiers were composed only of Roman citizens. They could march 20 miles a day while carrying heavy equipment; and were not allowed to have wives. A centurion was in charge of 80 of these soldiers. In battle, they would first throw their “pillum”, a special spear, before they could draw their swords and attack enemies from behind their shields.


    Non-Roman soldiers were called “Auxiliaries”. They fought as an infantry, archer, or cavalry. These non-Roman soldiers were from the tribes that had been an ally or from the conquered people of Romans. They would serve the army for 25 years and then awarded with a Roman citizenship.

Roman Archers

    Roman archers were auxiliaries. They were recruited from the countries of Syria, Scythia, and Crete. Roman archers used deadly bows with a 400-meter range. They used different arrow heads for different types of situation. Some arrow heads were meant to beat a horse down, to slow down an enemy, and to make fire.

Battle Order

    The 1st and 6th cohorts of every legion were elite soldiers. The weakest were the 2nd, 4th, 7th, and 9th cohorts. In the front line of Roman army were the 1st to 5th cohorts, while the 6th to 10th cohorts were in the second line.

Army Camp

    Every night, the army would camp to sleep. Every soldier had their own tasks and equipments for digging and setting up camps. Each leather tent that could accommodate eight men, were carried by mules during the day.

Soldier’s Shield

    Carried by Legionary soldiers on their left hands, their shields were for protection in battles. These usually had a curved rectangular shape; these were made of leather and canvas. Over the handgrip was a space for their hand used for inflicting blows upon the enemy.

Tactics that the soldiers used to win their battles:


This was one of the best tactics of the Roman Army. They would surround the village where the enemy lived and waited for their food supplies to arrive and then cut them off, starving the enemy.

Shield to Shield

In the battles of the Roman army, they fought side by side with their shield in the front lines. Those behind them would also place their shields on the top of the heads of those who were in the front line

Battle Readiness

During a fierce battle, especially under a hot sun, a soldier would get tired easily. The Roman soldiers solved this problem. A soldier would only fight in front within 15 minutes. Then they would move to the back in order to allow those in the next row to attack in full strength.


Another reason why the Roman army gained victories in their battles is because they treated every man that fights beside them as a brother.

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