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Roman Legionary Weapons and Equipment

These guys would be hard to miss, visually that is, and that is just the point of their flamboyant uniforms, shields and helmets. Most of the ancient world knew that you did not mess with the Roman Legions so they advertised their presence. The smart barbarians got out of the way.

This formation is known at the "Turtle". Used for attacking siege positions or maybe anytime there were a lot of arrows falling.

Here the group is being drilled by their officer, known to them as a Centurion. A centurion commanded 80 men.


The shield or scutum was very cleverly made from a minimum of three thin sheets of wood, glued together at right angles and molded so as to wrap around the warrior. This is what we now call bent plywood which is used often for it's superior strength to weight ratio. The scutum was also covered with a layer of leather for even greater strength.

The armor being worn here was typical for most of the glory days of Rome. It is made of thin iron plates curved to the body and fastened together. The short sword, the gladius., was effective for close in fighting.

This legionary is wielding a Pilum. The Pilum was about 7 feet long with a hardened iron point and an intentionally delicate shaft. It was usually thrown at the enemy just before close combat. The idea was that the enemy would hold up their shields. The pilium would stick into the shield in a way that it could not be easily taken out. That had the effect of making the shield useless. If the pilium struck some other hard object it would be bent and not available to be thrown back at the Romans.

Camp is being guarded here by Marcus Cassius Philippus of Legatus Regio, Maine

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Copyright 2008 Ted Whittenkraus. All Rights Reserved

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