The power of Rome was based on the army. The "Legionari" were soldiers who undertook military life for a period of 20/25 years. At the end of this period, they had some benefits: money, lands or, more over, the Roman citizenship.
To be a Roman citizen meant to have prestige, respect, not to pay any taxes (the highest taxes were paid by the inhabitants of the province) and above all, the possibility to undertake a civil or political career, even as a senator. That was forbidden to a "non citizen".
But, during the wars, the officials and the soldiers fought and lived as equals on the battlefield.
This promoted a greater moral in the troops and the possibility to share the "booty" of the conquered lands.
If the soldiers did not appreciate their officials, the last ones were immediately transferred before the group started a mutiny and killed them.

The equipment of the "legionario" consisted of:
- A heavy metal jerkin (sleeveless jacket). One could only put it on with the help of another person.
- A belt called "cingulum", made of leather stripes and metallic supports. During the march, it made a great noise that contributed to frighten the enemy
- Sandals called "caligae" with a nailed sole made for long walking
- The famous short sword called "gladium" placed on the right side
- A double cut dagger called "pugio"
- A launch. Later on it was replaced by a javelin called "pilum" which could pierce the enemy's armor.
- Two different kinds of helmets: one without the well-known crests for "legionari" and another with the crests for "centurioni" (head of 100 legionari) or for officials. This way, each soldier could recognize his own captain during the battle
- A wooden shield with metal plates
- Rucksack, shovel, pickaxe, frying pan, water bottle, for a total weight of approx.80 lbs.
The "legionari", with all the equipment, marched for about 18 miles per day.

(Rita B.)

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