2.10. Extra: The Roman Army

 The Time of Greeks and Romans
2.10  EXTRA: The Roman army
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In deze les zitten 34 slides, met interactieve quizzen, tekstslides en 3 videos.

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 The Time of Greeks and Romans
2.10  EXTRA: The Roman army

Slide 1 - Tekstslide

Slide 2 - Tekstslide

What you will learn in 
this lesson
  • That the Roman army was made up of legions and what a legion is.
  • Why the legions were stationed where they were.
  • What the difference is between a legionary soldier and an auxiliary soldier
  • Why the Roman army was a professional army and how that was different from so-called "Barbarian" armies.
  • What a legionary looked like and what he did if there were no wars to fight.
  • What cavalry is.
  • What a centurion was.

Slide 3 - Tekstslide

Key Words
The Roman Army
legion: army unit of 5000 soldiers
auxiliaries: Roman soldiers who were recruited from the provinces
Limes: northern frontier of the empire
infantry: foot soldiers
centurion: Roman officer, commander of 80 legionaries

Slide 4 - Tekstslide

Slide 5 - Video


Slide 6 - Sleepvraag

This map shows how the Roman armies were spread across the empire

Slide 7 - Tekstslide

Graphic overview:

Slide 8 - Tekstslide

The Roman army (1)
The Romans could not have built their Empire without an army to capture new provinces, keep them under control and guard the Empire’s borders. The heart of the Roman army was its legions: infantry made up of Roman citizens. 
There were about 6,000 men in each legion. Eight soldiers shared a tent. A 'tent party’ was the smallest unit in a legion. Ten tent parties made a century, led by a centurion. Six centuries made a cohort; ten cohorts made a legion. 

The first cohort was always twice the size of the rest, so a legion had 5,300 soldiers. The rest were skilled men, such as engineers, clerks or doctors. 

legionary soldier
Legionary soldiers were always Roman citizens.
They served in the army for 25 years, mostly at the borders of the empire.
After their long service they were rewarded with a pension: they received money and a piece of land where they could enjoy their old age (if they lived that long...)

Slide 9 - Tekstslide

1. A century was a unit in the Roman army that
consisted of 80 soldiers

Slide 10 - Quizvraag

2. Use the legion overview and the map to calculate the size of the Roman army. How many soldiers did Rome have approximately (=ongeveer)?

Slide 11 - Open vraag

3. What do you notice about how the legions are
spread across the empire?
Can you explain that?

Slide 12 - Open vraag

The Roman army (2)
The army also had auxiliaries: infantry and cavalry who were not Roman citizens but came from captured provinces. 
They were made citizens at the end of their time in the army. They never fought in their own province, in case they decided to join local tribes rebelling against Rome. 
The Roman soldiers spent a lot of time training. They practised hand-to-hand fighting with wooden swords. They threw javelins and fired stones from a sling made with the leather strap they always carried. They trained to move and fight as a unit so that in battle they easily performed complicated manoeuvres.
During times of peace the soldiers were put to good work: they built roads, aqueducts and even cities.

auxiliary soldier
Auxiliary soldiers were different from legionaries.
They were NOT Roman citizens. They came from the provinces (= lands that the Romans had conquered), like Gaul, Spain or Egypt.
Auxiliaries wore different, simpeler (cheaper) armour.
After 25 years of service they became Roman citizens as a reward.

Slide 13 - Tekstslide

4. What was the main difference between legionary soldiers and auxiliary soldiers?

Slide 14 - Open vraag

5. Why were auxiliary soldiers never stationed in the province they originally came from?

Slide 15 - Open vraag

The Roman Army (3)
As with any modern army the Roman army also had officers who trained the soldiers and gave them orders.
The most famous (and most feared by the soldiers) was the centurion. He commanded a "centuria", a group of 80 men.

On his helmet he wore a crest made of feathers or horse hair. On his chest he wore decorations (medallions), earned for bravery and in his hands he held the "vitis", the stick that he used to strike his soldiers with if they did not obey his commands quickly enough.

The highest officer in the army was the "legate", or legion commander. This could only be a patrician citizen.

photo of a reconstructed (very handsome and intelligent) Roman centurion.
Centurion was the highest rank a normal soldier could get.

Slide 16 - Tekstslide

The vexilarius carries the flag of the legion.
He wears an animal skin (wolf) over his helmet.
The cornicen uses his trumpet (cornu) to give orders on the battlefield.
an older, less handsome centurion.
Notice he is the only officer who wears greaves on his legs
The optio is the replacement of the centurion. He marches behind the soldiers and makes sure they keep in step
the signifer carries the century's standard, the signum.
The number of discs may indicate to which century within a cohort the unit belongs (in this case the sixth century)

Slide 17 - Tekstslide

6. Think of reasons why the Roman army made use of trumpets, flags and standards during a battle.

Slide 18 - Open vraag

Roman cavalry attacking a village in Gaul

Slide 19 - Tekstslide

Slide 20 - Tekstslide

7. Describe in your own words, and in detail, what's happening on the training ground.

Slide 21 - Open vraag

Testudo, or tortoise formation

Slide 22 - Tekstslide

8. In what circumstances would the Romans use the formation of "testudo" during a war?

Slide 23 - Open vraag

9. The Romans had a "professional" army.
What do we mean by that and how did this make the Roman army different from barbarian armies?

Slide 24 - Open vraag

Nijmegen and the Limes
Nijmegen is the oldest city in the Netherlands. It started as a Roman legion's camp (castra) along the river Rhine. Later, the Romans built the city Ulpia Noviomagus nearby.
The rivers Rhine and Danube formed the most northern borders of the Roman Empire. We call it: The Limes.
Limes is Latin for 'frontier' or 'boundary' and Nijmegen was part of a 550 km frontier that ran from the Rhine to the Danube. It included the walls, forts and watchtowers built all along the edges of the Roman Empire when Rome decided to stop expanding. 

This frontier had about 1,000 watchtowers and 200 forts of various sizes. Most were only big enough for a few hundred men. Nijmegen could hold two legions: about 12,000 men.

The Limes
A map of the Limes, the northern frontier of the Roman Empire, stretching from Scotland to the Black Sea along the rivers Rhine (Rijn) and Danube (Donau).
Modern reconstruction of the city of Nijmegen in the first century AD. It was called Ulpia Noviomagus.
The Limes NL
A map of the Limes, zooming in on the Netherlands.
Notice all the Dutch places that have a Roman origin.

Slide 25 - Tekstslide

Slide 26 - Link

Most Roman soldiers were stationed in forts close to the borders of the empire. Patrols were sent out from the forts to keep a constant lookout for invaders. Early forts were built of wood but by the 2nd century AD most had been rebuilt in stone. Each fort had a similar layout so that soldiers could easily find their way around. Legionary forts held about 5,000 men. Auxiliary forts, like this one, held only 500 to 1,000 men. 

The Roman army used large numbers of horses and ponies as mounts for infantry officers as well as cavalrymen. Mules were used to pull supply carts. 

Fort walls were about 4.5 metres high and 3 metres thick. There were watchtowers at regular intervals along the walls. A deep ditch in front of the walls made it difficult for an enemy to attack. 

Grain was stored in buildings called granaries, with raised floors to keep out the damp. 

The principia was the building that was the headquarters of the fort. It contained offices, archives, a shrine, storerooms, and a strong room where the soldiers' pay was kept. 

Sparks from the furnaces of the fort's bathhouse could set fire to the fort, so it was always built outside the walls for safety. 

The fort's commander lived with his family in a large, comfortable house called the praetorium. 

Each century had its own barrack block where the soldiers ate and slept. The centurion had a private room. The soldiers slept eight to a room. 

Innkeepers and shopkeepers settled outside the forts, hoping to make a living selling food and other goods. 
Roman fortress
click for more 

Slide 27 - Tekstslide

Ulpia Noviomagus
Modern reconstruction of the Roman city of Ulpia Noviomagus (Nijmegen) as it appeared in the 1st century AD.
You may notice that the layout of the city is very similar to that of a Roman fortress.
In fact all fortresses and cities in the Roman empire were built according to the same strict layouts. 

Slide 28 - Tekstslide

10a. The Limes was
a natural border
a man made border
part natural and part man made border
a supernatural border

Slide 29 - Quizvraag

10b. explain your answer from question 10a

Slide 30 - Open vraag

Copy this in your notebook and fill in the gaps.
Summary Romans 4

The Romans had a professional army. It was made up of ___________, units of 6,000 men.
there were two types of soldiers:
legionaries: they were _______________________________
auxiliaries: they were ________________________________
An important officer was the _____________. He was in charge of 80 men.
Roman soldiers spent ______ years in the army. During that time they trained a lot, but also built roads, even cities.
After their service legionaries received a piece of land to farm
Auxiliaries received the Roman citizenship.

The northern border of the empire was called _____________ and ran along the rivers _______ and __________.
Our oldest city __________ was a part of this border. It was called _____________________ in Roman times.

Slide 31 - Tekstslide

You can watch the next videos if you are interested in them.
They are NOT mandatory viewing

Slide 32 - Tekstslide

Slide 33 - Video

Slide 34 - Video