Res Militaris


The non-combatants weren't people who sat on the sidelines while the battle raged on, but served more as a backstage crew. Often slave and servants served as the Calones. The Calones were people who performed menial tasks such as being clerks, secretaries, maintenance workhorses, smiths, and sometimes cooks. Mercatores, Latin for "merchants", bought, sold, and traded booty with the soldiers. Their tents resembled pawn shops. The Muliones were slaves specialized in caring for pack animals such as horses, mules, cows, and other beasts of burden. They tended all the animals regularly. The Fabri were engineers and architects. They were responsible for the strength and functionality of buildings. The Exploratores and Speculatores were considered the eyes of the army. They were the people who scouted out the territory ahead of time. They would be able to move days ahead of the army, and tell them the landscape's advantages ahead of time. These people were mounted and considered part of the cavalry.

The Roman Legion

This was the large unit of people that was able to take on very large groups of opposing forces. It was made up of many smaller groups, grouped into bigger and bigger ones. The lowest unit was the Pedites, the single armed soldier. Next would be the grouping called a Centuria, a pack of 100 men led by a Centurion. Two Centuria would team up to form a Manipulus. A Cohors would be made by binding 3 Manipuli together. A legion would be formed by getting together 10 Cohorts. The legion would be led by a general.

When Caesar was commanding his legions, he made them smaller to make them easier to maneuver. His century unit only contained 60 men, instead of the standard 100. This changed the amount of men per legion drastically, from the standard 6,000 to a smaller 3,600.

Standard Bearer

The people were a lot like the mascots for the army. They would hold up a symbol to unite the soldiers, and lead them into battle. The Aquilifer was the man who held the Aquila (eagle), the symbol of Roman Army. This man would be carried by the Aquila into battle and lead the legion to victory. There were many things like the Aquila found in battle.

The first of which was the Vexilla, this acted as a flag to rally small groups of soldiers. The Imaginifer would hold a statue-model with medallions hanging from it. Also found were the Signifers who were very educated men who stood in front of a Century, and the Draconius, a dragon-head with a fabric tail made to whistle in the wind.

Army Officers

Individual legions were a very powerful force, but the leadership was the key to a successful mix of power and agility. Throughout time it has been the leadership of an army that has kept it in order, and kept it winning.

Let's start from the bottom. The lowest role of leadership on the chain is that of Decuriones. This man was the senior officer in charge of ten horsemen. He would basically represent that small group of soldiers and, if he was killed in battle, the next most senior person would take his place. The next step up on the ladder is the job of Praefectus. This person was the commander of the cavalry. One more rung on the ladder is the Centurion. He would lead a century. This officer was non-commisioned, and to hold this title, would have to had previously been a sergeant.

The following are even higher positions that are reached through an entirely different type of promotion. Only senators could ever get these positions. The Military Tribune is the first on this list. The Tribune was in charge of keeping an accurate list of all the soldiers, noting casualties, and when needed becoming a mediator in minor disputes. The Qaestor was the treasurer of the Roman Army, they would handle the logistics. These people served a term of one year. The commander and chief of a single roman legion, also known as the legion general. The second highest in command would be the Legati. This person served as the lieutenant general. This person was usually between the age of 30 and 40, and would serve a term of 3-4 years. The head man in charge of the ENTIRE Roman Army was the Dux. This person had it all. The Dux has the power to crush civilizations. The Dux has the power to expand the great Empire of Ancient Rome.

Life of a soldier

A soldier's life consisted of a basic repetition of everyday activities. Every 15 days each soldier received their rations. They each received 1/2 a bushel of Frumenti (grain). With this Frumenti, they could prepare many types of food including bread, porridge, wheat, and barley. When meat was available, it was eaten. Most of the meat was purchased from the traveling merchants. The soldiers were recommended to eat cheese, olive oil, and honey whenever available. Each soldier only received 45 dollars a year. This was not a lot, even by Ancient Rome's standards. But the soldiers all received a portion of the "spoils of war". These gifts of land and valuables made the soldier's life a very profitable one. In addition, with normal generals in charge the higher ranks would receive more land than the lower ranks. Caesar was the first to distribute all the spoils of war evenly among all the officers and soldiers.


Every soldier was equipped with the basic defensive and offensive equipment. All clothing was military standard, so everyone would look uniform. There were three basic defensive tools used to prevent attack. The Lorica, also known as the breastplate, was built to withstand frontal attack. The Galea, Latin for helmet, was made to prevent crushing blows to the head and face. The most important of the three however was the Scutum. This shield was used to ward off attack in close battle, and utilized for many other protection schemes.

The offensive tools consist of two types of weaponry. The first is the javelin. The javelins were constructed to bend once inside the enemy, that way the enemy could not pull them out or reuse them for their own needs. The second offensive weapon the soldier was equipped with was the Gladius. This was the basic short sword that was good for close attacks.

Side by side with these weapons were the standard issue clothing. As a soldier, you were required to wear certain clothing. The first of which was the Tunica. The Tunica was like an undergarmet we have today. The next layer of clothing was much like a jacket, a cloak of sorts that was worn over the tunica. And to top off the look, every soldier wore a pair of Caligae, extremely heavy boots made for marching. In addition, all the equipment was carried over the soldier's shoulder in a sarcina. The sarcina would weigh about 50 pounds when completely full.

Roman camp

The Roman Camp was a vital technique used in the military. One might ask themselves, technique? Yes, technique. The Roman Camp was actually a detailed strategy used to prevent surprise attack. The Roman Legions would easily control their surroundings by taking a portable city whever they went. The Army would march all day, and when they found a spot to settle, the entire army could build a camp that ran as efficiently as a well planned city. The only difference between the Roman Camp and the Roman City was that the camp would be in a different location the next day.

The Roman Camp was easily built in about six hours. The first step in building the city is contructing the walls. The camp would be surrounded in fossa (ditch) and an agger (wall). This ditch and wall system made it difficult to attack, and often would slow down the enemy.

The Roman Camp was shaped like a square, with entrances at the midpoint of each of its sides. The entire camp perimeter was made of a strong wall, built up by a vallum. This vallum had walkways that were constantly guarded by centurions, and each portae is guarded by an additional watchtower. The guarded gates in the vallum were called portae. The camp was connected by roads which were built as straight as possible. The way the road system worked was that the Via Principia connected the eastern and western portae, and the Via Praetoria connected the north and south portae.

All the soldiers were quartered inside cantebernium, which were tents that could hold eight men at a time. The general's tent, called the Praetorium, was located in the center of the camp, where the main roads intersected. Outside the general's tent was a flagpole. When certain flags were raised, battle could be signaled. Also in the center were the Taburnaculae, known as the merchant tents.


Roman formations in battle were vital to success. Unless all the links were there, the chain would fall apart. That is why the Roman Legions developed techniques and formations to stop all the confusion in battle.

The Triplex Acies is the usual battle formation in the Roman Army. This setup included three parts. The Acies Prima, was the strongest and forerunning line of defense. This first line consisted of four cohorts. The Acies Secunda online had three cohorts. Their purpose in battle was to fill in the holes of the first line whenever men formed gaps. This line often contained mediocre soldiers. The last was the Acies Tertia. This weak set of three cohorts was used to protect against flanking and in case the second line needed extra men to help fill in the first line.

Then there were the signals used in battle. The first signalling device was called the Cornu. This horn had a deep loud sound that was blown for basic formations. The Tuba, which looked like the trumpet we have today, gave precise battle commands. The Bucina was a lot like a bugle. The Bucina told the soldiers when lunch breaks were happening and signaled preliminary formations. Last but not least, the Lituus was used to signal the cavalry.

On the march

The Roman Army was constantly on the march, sometimes going at unheard of speeds. Could you imagine marching all day carrying over 50 pounds of extra weight on your back?

Keep up! You might want to stop walking and start jogging, the Roman Army was expecting its soldiers to march 25 miles a day. An example of this would be the Magna Iterna. This marching mode set a pace that forced entire legions to travel 25 miles a day. While marching, each soldier had to carry his own sarcina, a soldier's pack carried over the shoulder, along with other baggage. Fast moving groups like scouts would be considered Expeditus, because they are light armed soldiers that can move quickly.

When marching, the line would be set up in a box fashion. The strongest legions would march in the center. The strongest of the strongest soldiers marched at the head of the center line. The legions were called Agmen. The strongest legion was the Vanguard, going by the name Primum agmen. Surrounding the strongest legions would be the Novissimum Agmen. These were the weakest soldiers, they acted as padding in case of a surprise attack.

The Roman navy

The Roman Navy was not started until 311 BC. At that point, it was simply a small navy of triremes. This small navy was scrapped a few years later.

Rome really never felt a need for a navy, but because of threatening naval forces during the Punic Wars, a navy was formed. The larger navy was constructed in 260 BC during the first Punic War. This fleet was made up of triremes and a few quinqueremes. This navy soon grew to 330 ships.

Over time, this amount grew to 700, but because of heavy losses in battle, this number once again dropped. The navy was no longer being maintained, the only operational ships they had to use were those bound by treaty from Rhodes and Pergamum.


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