The Roman Army By: Madison Halcovage

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The Roman Army By: Madison Halcovage

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The Roman Army

By: Madison Halcovage


Key Terms

Legions- units of soldiers

Legionaries- soldiers that fight in the army

Maniples- a legion that was divided into smaller groups of 120 men


- the strong men that were in the front of the maniples


- seasoned and experienced warriors


- the veterans that were called upon only when needed


- a seven foot weighted javelin that could be thrown 30 yards


- a sword that was virtually unbreakable and measured 20 inches

Decimate- to destroy


/via- a system of well paved roads


- a shelter made from soldiers shields.


The Early Army

Able bodied men were expected to fight.

Farmers were sent to Campus


when Rome was threatened.

They were separated into 100 men called centuries.

Officers in the army were patricians.

To become eligible for high public office during the Republic you needed to serve ten years in the army.

They used


that had about 4,000 men.


Formation of The Army

Then later on

instead of legions they



which was smaller then the legions


Maniples had 120 men in each group.

They were formed in three lines.

The front of the line were the


which was were the stronger men stood.

Behind the


were the


which was were the more experienced warriors stood.

In the last line was where the


stood and they were the veterans that were called upon to fight only when needed.





was a seven-foot weighted javelin which could be thrown 30 yards. This was a replacement for the cumbersome thrusting spear.



had a iron head with a softer metal that could fit in a wooden staff.

It was designed so the softer metal would bend on impact and the head of the spear would stick on the shield.

It was designed this way because the head of the spear was so strong that it could not be pulled out and the enemy was forced to leave his shield and go without it.





is a sword that was just about unbreakable.

It was a short sword that measured 20 inches.

It was a great weapon because it was sharpened on both sides. So it was sharp on both sides.


Professional Army

To join you needed the three qualifications which were Roman citizenship, good physical condition, and a height of at least 5’ 10.”

A Soldier was paid a reasonable amount in Roman currency for all his efforts.

When the soldier retired after 20 years of service in the military there was a promise of a piece of land waiting for you.

Each soldier was supplied some salt which was used for preserving meat and fish.


On The Battlefield

When the battle started the legionaries threw there


with great force.

They rushed against their opponent and knock them down with their shield until their enemy lost his balance. When the enemy threw his hands up in the air to get back up the legionary poked him in the stomach with his



If one soldier survived for 15 minutes then he would be taken out of the line and be replaced by the soldier behind him.


On The Battlefield Continued

If an officer found out that there was a unit of cowardly behavior then he would lower their rations.

If a mutiny was detected every tenth man would be killed. The rest of the group would have to sleep outside the camp until they proved that they were worthy soldiers.

This is where our word


comes from.

Every century a unit of the army had their own standard.


On The Battlefield Continued

Every century a unit of the army had their own standard. In the republican times it was a tall pole which had a animal on top that was carved. The animal was usually a wolf, horse, or a boar. It had symbols of past campaigns and victories.

Later in the years the pole had only metal discs and crescents on them.

A standard person that carries things wore an animal skin which was placed over his helmet and uniform.

They could be well seen above the soldiers.

The standard person was called a bearer and he was chosen to lead the soldiers in battle and keep them together.


The Army Uniform

The Soldiers wore a red woolen red tunic. On top of the tunic they wore a leather shirt that was covered with overlapping iron plates of armor that is attached to metal hinges and leather straps.

Their armor was flexible so that the legionaries could move easily while wearing it.

They wore iron helmets to protect their head. Which had metal cheek pieces attached to it without blocking his vision.


The Army Uniform Continued

They had molded bronze shin guards.

In cold weather they wore woolen cloaks which were warm for the night.

They wore a combination of sandals and boots which were called


. They had iron studs on the bottom which were supposed to keep the leather from wearing out to quickly


An important job was to




The Army Uniform


A Soldiers Diet

A soldiers diet was made up grain which was wheat or barley.

He grounded it up with a


or a stone and was cooked into bread or porridge. Then he added nuts or some berries. After he added the nuts or berries he washed his meal with vinegary wine.


The Camp

Legionaries slept in well protected organized camps that they had helped build.

If the army was on the march then they would have to choose a new site every night. Usually the location was on a hill facing an enemy with supplies like water, timber, and grass for animals.


On The March

The soldiers trained very hard.

If a soldier camped for long time in one place then they would march at least 20 miles three time a month which could be done in 5 hours.

Searching for another location they legions would travel 18 to 20 miles each day with about 60 pounds of supplies and equipment.

This equipment they carried was armor, weapons, a sickle, a spade, an axe, a wicker, baskets, a few cooking pots, three days worth of grain, rope, and some wooden stakes.

The well paved roads called


was needed so that the troops could quickly get to one battle site to another and to send off messages.

The paved roads were built by the legionaries.


Other Duties

The legionaries got up very early in the morning and went to line up for their inspections without eating breakfast.

After the inspections they received their duties including cleaning the camps and toilets, repairing boots and studs, sharpening studs, polishing armor, and building bridges and roads.

Every group of soldiers had builders, engineers, surveyors, nurse assistants, scouts, and clerks.

Legionaries were not very active when they were not doing work. When they were not doing work they were spreading seeds around.


Siege Machines

Sometimes the Romans surrounded a city and cut off the food supplies and waiting for the enemies to surrender could be a long time. So they arranged to storming the city walls.

In order to do this they needed siege machines.

The Romans learned about siege machines from the Greeks.

One simple siege machine was called a battering ram which was a huge log that was cut to a point at one of the ends which could be strengthened with iron. It was held by ropes from a wooden frame.

It would be swung toward

the wooden gate of an enemy’s fortress until it was damaged.


Battering Ram


Siege Machines Continued

A siege tower was a tall wooden tower that was built on wheels which was covered with skins of freshly killed animals. This made the building fireproof.

When the tower was pushed against the wall of the fortress the soldiers hiding inside would fight hand-to-hand against each other.



The legionaries developed a good plan to charge up to a well defended wall.

Their plan was called a testudo which was a shelter made by overlapping shields. The word testudo means tortoise in Latin.

It was four rows of six men. The men in the front held their shields forward when the men in the middle held their shields above their head.

It moved slow like a tortoise because the men had to march in unison.




Siege Machines Continued

The Greeks made many weapons that worked by tension using hair or string.

The Romans made a lot of things from the Greek models.

They made the scorpion which was a big mechanical bow and arrow that was used to send arrows into wooden fortresses.

They also made the ballista which was a catapult that was put on a cart. It threw stones that were 60 pounds.

They made the


which was a bigger catapult that threw larger rocks and burning logs.


Military Triumph

When a general won a battle or another great victory then the Senate rewarded.

He rewarded him with a triumph which was a grand civil and religious spectacle.

For the general’s triumph he wore a purple toga, laurel crown, and red boots.

He drove a chariot that was pulled by two white horses. He only drove the chariot through a gate of the city that was only opened for special occasions.

In front of the general were his chained prisoners of war. Behind him was a parade.


Military Triumph Continued

After sacrifices at the temple there was a banquet.

After all the ceremonies the prisoners were sold off to people as slaves.

The general was then called



which means man of triumph.


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