LV Roman army talk

LV Roman army talk

When the talk began, it was at a fast pace. We learnt about subjects you wouldn’t normally spend so much time on in Latin, such as the cultural side of the Roman Empire. The speaker was dressed in what a typical Roman soldier would wear: a tan-coloured toga and leather boots, different to what most of us would assume a Roman soldier would look like (a red toga and sandals). He explained that dye was expensive, so the typical person couldn’t afford the red colour, and while people did wear sandals, boots were more practical.

He drew us in with the continuous pace and explored the human aspect of Roman soldiers, such as the camps they lived in, their housing systems, their army hierarchy and small details, such as the initials on helmets, which added an element of humanity to the history, so it wasn’t all just facts. He explained different army formations, such as the classic testudo we see in movies (which was really just used in some situations, not all the time, as movies portray) and the cone formation (used to defeat Boudicca), and how the Romans used terrain to their advantage. 

We were told how much the Romans valued order. Each centurion oversaw 80 soldiers, and they were kept in order by shocking punishments. Centurions had such power! They were objects of respect and were seldom disobeyed. If a soldier fell asleep on duty, ran away from a fight or did pretty much anything wrong, the centurion could order soldiers to beat him to death. During the talk, we were shown different Roman items, such as a replica of the scutum shield and a candle holder (which you would burn animal fat in because olive oil was too expensive), and got to feel a chainmail shirt at the end. 

It was a very informative and interesting talk; thank you to those who organised it. 

Layla (LV)