Primary Homework Help Roman Shields

 

The Roman army was made up of groups of soldiers called legions. There were over 5,000 soldiers in a legion. Each legion had its own number, name, badge and fortress. There were about 30 legions around the Roman Empire, three of which were based in Britain at Caerleon, Chester and York.

Tombstones at Chester indicate that some men joined the legions young; two men had been only fourteen when they had joined up.

A legion had commanders, officers and ordinary soldiers. There were also doctors, engineers and other workers

The different sections of a Legion

The Roman army was divided into legions of about 5,000 men.

Contubernium: consisted of 8 men.

Centuria: (century) was made up of 10 contubernium with a total of 80 men commanded by a centurion.

Cohorts: (cohort) included 6 centurie, a total of 480 men.

Legio: (Legion) consisted of 10 cohorts, about 5,000 men.

Eques Legionis: Each legio had a cavarly unit of 120 attached to them.

Contubernium (8 men) >Centuria (80 men) >Cohort (480 men) > Legio (5,000 men)

The smallest unit of the Roman legion was the contubernium (tent group) of eight men. They marched, fought, worked and camped together.


The 'section' (eight men) - the basic unit of the legion

In barracks, these eight men shared two rooms. On a march they shared a leather tent and a mule to carry it.


A leather tentfor a Contubernium


On a march the Romans lived in tents

Contubernium (8 men) >Centuria (80 men) >Cohort (480 men) > Legio (5,000 men)

 

One of the Romans most famous formations was the Tortoise (testudo). Testudo is the Latin word for "tortoise". It was used to protect the soldiers from

The soldiers in front and sides interlocked their shields. The soldiers in the back lines placed their shields over their heads to form a protective "shell" over top of the men.



The Testudo was a very strong, tight formation. It was usually used to approach fortifications. The soldiers could march up to a fort in the Testudo formation and not one of them would get hurt.

The shields fitted so closely together that they formed one unbroken surface without any gaps between them. It has been said that it was so strong a formation that men could walk upon them, and even horses and chariots be driven over them.

The wedge was used to 'crack open' enemy lines. Legionaries formed up in a triangle, the front 'tip' being one man and charged towards enemy lines with their gladius out.

The short legionary gladius was useful, held low and used as a thrusting weapon, it was easier and more effective than longer swords.

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