The Roman Army

The Roman army was made up of paid soldiers. They were Roman citizens, which means they were all men. There were no teens allowed, and they were supposed to stay in the army for twenty-five years. They weren’t supposed to marry while a soldier, but when they retired, they were given a gift of land to farm. Many settled together and formed their own little colonies of ex-soldiers.

Roman citizen soldiers were called legionaries. In the Bible we read about Roman centurions. A centurion was a leader of a group of about eighty soldiers. Those groups of soldiers were called centuries.


There were soldiers who weren’t Roman citizens. They were called auxiliary. The word auxiliary today means that something is providing additional help and support. They were given either boring jobs or dangerous jobs, like being guards or fighting at the front of a battle.

Some soldiers had specialties like shooting arrows or slingshots. Another weapon used was the catapult. They would use a huge catapult to fire huge boulders which they might even cover in tar and light on fire.


Armor was made from iron and leather with a metal helmet. Their shields were curved rectangles made of wood and leather.

Their weapons were short and long spears. They would throw their long spears at an enemy shield. It would get stuck in their shield so that they would have to abandon their shield to be able to move freely without a carrying around a big pole.

Shields were important. You can see from this drawing how they put their shields together to make what’s known as a tortoise formation. Your shield saved your life.



Picture credits:

Public Domain