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Life in the Roman Army


During the time of the kings, the Roman army was developed by each tribeRoamn Infantry providing 1000 infantry and 100 cavalry. During the Republic, the army was called up during times of trouble. Later, a permanent army was developed.

For many poor Romans, a career in the army was inviting.. They were required to be at least eighteen years old and at least five and a half feet tall. Often it was helpful to get a letter of recommendation to increase the chances of being chosen. A legionnaire
could earn about three hundred denarii a year. Some of the money was kept by the army for food, pensions, and equipment. A soldier could serve for twenty five years and then retire with a pension. While in the army, the solider was not allowed to marry, but many had girlfriends in settlements near their fort or base camp (in A.D. 197 this rule was lifted and soldiers were allowed to marry). Non-Roman citizens could serve in the army as auxiliary soldiers and receive Roman citizenship and a pension or a piece of land after a twenty-five year tour.

The army was spilt into large groups known as legions. During the time of Hadrian, about thirty legions were stationed around the empire to protect the borders. The legions were not allowed into Rome itself, except during parades celebrating a great victory. Only the personal guards of the emperor, known as the Praetorian Guard, were allowed in the city limits.

The army served not only as the protector of the empire, but was also the organization which built much of the large road system in the empire. Each legion had among its ranks trained stonemasons to help build roads and fort walls. The roads allowed the army to quickly shift men to problem areas. The army could average twenty-one miles a day on the roads. These road systems also provided a good system for transporting goods throughout the empire.



Roman Army Introduction | Army Structure | Auxiliaries | Army Daily Life

Army FormationsRoman Fort  | Roman NavySiege Warfare

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