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How did Odin lose his eye?Why did we call our Viking and Roman Living History Education service Lore and Saga?
Roman Legionaries. The Legions of the Roman Army were the elite fighting force of their day.

The Roman Empire.

( What has gone before. )

770 BCE. A wolf suckles two twin babies instead of just eating them !

753 BCE. The Twins grow up, Romulus kills Remus and then builds a city to hide the body !

( By the way this is what passes for history back then. )

509 BCE. Romans kick out the Etruscan King and become a Republic.

400 BCE. Rome is sacked by the Celts.

55 + 54 BCE. Caesar invades Britannia, The locals watch with amusement when he goes away again.

27 BCE. Octavian kicks out the Republicans and makes himself Emperor.

43 CE. Claudius invaded Britannia properly.

61 CE. Romans seriously under estimate the fury of a woman scorned.

122 CE. Hadrian builds a wall to neaten up the border a bit near Scotland.

 

( For more details and less flippancy see the Chronology. )

The Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire was centred around the Mediterranean Sea and included all it’s shores. The expansion North was to take in the Near East and a large part of Europe including Britannia. The trade links connected with most of the known world at that time.

The Roman Empire shown in Red.
A selection of the tools a Roman soldier carried in addition to his battle equipment. The Roman Legions were builders as well as warriors.

The Romans had a crazy idea. They wanted to make the World Roman. The amazing thing was they actually gave it a pretty good try.

Of course nobody knew just how big the World was back then but the Roman Army conquered a massive amount of land in Europe, North Africa and the Middle and Near East.

Of all of Rome’s achievements the Roman Army was one of the greatest. There are many books written about the Army but the picture can be simplified because every soldier had four basic jobs to do.

The first is obvious, conquering, he is trained to fight and kill just as every soldier is. The second job is fairly straightforward as well. Once you have conquered your enemy you must control them, so the Army also acted as a “police” force in every territory they controlled.

The third job is the interesting one, Having smashed the enemies country to bits the Army will then start to rebuild it. Not as it was, but in the style of Rome,  roads, towns, cities, baths, temples, arenas the lot, and it’s not just for the Romans it’s for everyone to use.

A Roman soldiers pack the Roman Legion carried all of it's own equipment.

The last job is to patrol the borders to stop anyone else from causing trouble.

To achieve these four jobs required a lot of people and equipment, more than Rome had available. Estimates for the size of the Roman army vary but it was somewhere in the region of 330,000 men with 200,000 of them needed just to patrol the borders.

So the Army recruited helpers from provinces that it had conquered and gave these recruits the chance to be a Roman. These helpers or “Auxiliaries” served as soldiers for 25 years in exchange for the rights of a Roman “Citizen”, not just for them but for their children too. These Auxiliary troops were largely responsibly for patrolling and controlling which left the better equipped and trained “Legionaries” for the jobs of conquering and building.

The Legionaries were recruited from Roman Citizens and were the elite of the Army. These are the stereotype Roman Soldier that everyone recognises in the banded “Lorica Segmentata” armour but what many people don’t realise is they only made up a little over a third of the Army.

These are some of the aspects that go towards understanding the Roman Army and form part of my presentations for schools.

 

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Lore-and-Saga Living history services and resources for schools, museums and heritage sites. Viking and Roman in school sessions and craft demonstrations. teachers notes and worksheets. Vikings, Saxons, Romans, national curriculum, invaders and settlers, key stage 2, history, teachers information, living history interpreter, in school sessions, storytelling, Roman resources, educational presentations, Viking lore, runes, Roman lore, Viking saga, living history interpretation, Viking resources, Odin, Viking crafts demonstrations, Roman cookery display, Viking silverwork, Roman games, chronology, Viking games, Roman school visits, Viking runes, national curriculum history key stage two, Viking school visits
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