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Life and Times in the Roman Legion - Essay Example

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For many centuries these divisions of the Roman army were adept in defeating their enemies. They were very impressive in their tactics and for many centuries served as examples for military and army prowess.
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Life and Times in the Roman Legion
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Download file to see previous pages C. The ancient Roman army was made up of several legions which included several cohorts of heavy infantry. Although the main legions consisted of Roman citizens there existed some auxiliary units that comprised soldiers who were not Roman citizens. These smaller units served as boosters for the legions. In the early years legions numbered approximately one hundred and twenty soldiers each. There were substantial increases in sizes in later centuries.
From the early period military service was an obligation and duty upon Roman citizens, but also a kind of privilege (Campbell, J. B. 4). Soldiers served in the army and were categorized according to wealth and political power. All male citizens in Rome who were healthy and in possession of property were divided into five classes with the purpose of serving in the military. Those with substantial amount of wealth served as cavalry. They also enrolled as equestrians. These men were also dressed in accordance with their wealth and power. They normally wore a spear, sword, helmet, breast plate and round shield. Many members of the cavalry eventually ended up in politics. In comparison to the other classes in the military the cavalry had the least number of men. The three lower classes of soldiers were drawn from among the not so wealthy. They served in the infantry and wore fewer decorations than those persons in the cavalry. They, however, formed the principal unit in the military. The fifth and lowest group composed only of slingers. Since they were the least armed they sometimes acted as scouts. Soldiers were responsible for the acquisition of their weapons. Those citizens who had no property and lacked the resources to acquire weapons were excluded from military service.
This classification within the legions changed when Gaius Marius (157 B.C. – 86 B.C) assumed political power. His reform of the military changed it into a more ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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