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What was it like in the Roman army?

Legionaries of the Roman armyLegionaries of the Roman armyIt was thanks to their well-trained army that the Romans were successful in conquering other lands and building a huge empire. The powerful army crushed any rebellions within the empire. It could even control who became emperor. Ordinary footsoldiers in the army were called legionaries. Their commanding officers were called centurions. 

A centurionA centurion


The Roman army was divided into legions, groups of about 5500 men. A legion was made up of a number of cohorts, each consisting of 10 centuries, or 800 men. Each century (which was made up of 80 men) had its own commander, called a centurion. The century's standard bearer was called a signifer. The bearer of the legion’s standard, a gold or silver eagle, was called the aquilifer. The eagle standard was the most important possession of the legion. Its loss in battle was considered to be a terrible disgrace.

A soldier had to stay in the army for at least 25 years before he could retire. After retirement he was given a pension and a gift of land to farm. Those who were not already citizens received Roman citizenship.

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