British Museum Pocket Dictionary Roman Army by Richard Abdy


British Museum Pocket Dictionary Roman Army by Richard Abdy

This is a new title in the popular Pocket Dictionary series. The Roman empire was the largest in the ancient world. It was an amazing military machine, whose legionaries conquered the entire Mediterranean basin. In the Republican period the soldiers of Rome were part-timers, but as Rome fought more and more wars, and gained a huge empire which it needed to control and defend, it needed a permanent army. Men volunteered to enlist as legionaries: after 25 years service they were discharged with money or land. The army was organised into centuries which contained, not 100, but 80 men. A group of centuries made up a cohort, and ten cohorts made up a legion: some 5,000 men in all. Each legion had its enlisted men and officers, plus specialists such as doctors, clerks and veterinary surgeons to tend to the horses.The legionaries were well-armed, well-trained, and physically fit. They had to learn to fight in armour with sword and dagger, build camps and forts, and three times a month they had to march 30 km (over 18 miles) with full packs. Short entries describe the structure of the army, the soldiers and officers, and their weapons and armour. The entries are illustrated with real weapons and armour, and sculptures and reliefs of Roman soldiers, from the collections of the BM, along with coloured drawings reconstructing the appearance of legionaries.

About the Author

Dr Paul Roberts is a curator of Roman antiquities at the British Museum.

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Book Info


48 pages


Richard Abdy
More books by Richard Abdy


Publication date

5th May 2008



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