• Imagining History

The Weapons & Armour of a Roman Legionary - A Speedy Read for Kids

Updated: 3 days ago


Sword


Called:

A Gladius


Appearance:

A short, light-weight, double-edged sword.


Used for:

Jabbing the enemy. This sword was too short to parry with and was specifically designed to stab and slash.


Did You Know:

A Roman soldier would wear his Gladius on the right side of his body and draw it underarm with his right hand. This is unusual as most swords are worn on the left of the body so it can be easily drawn from across body with the right hand. But Roman soldiers found this interfered with the large heavy shield they held with their left hand – so a right side position was used.


Spear


Called:

A Pilu or Pilum


Appearance:

A 2 metre long javelin made from wood with an iron spike at one end.


Used for:

Throwing in battle. The spear would wedge into an enemy’s shield so they could no longer use it to protect themselves.


Did You Know:

The Pilum was designed to bend on impact. This way it could not be thrown back and used against the Roman Army.


Shield


Called:

A Scutum


Appearance:

A large rectangular curved shield with iron boss in the centre. Often red and gold in colour.


Used for:

Protecting the soldier in battle. The curved shape helped shield more of the soldier’s body and meant enemy weapons were more likely to deflect off to one side than become stuck in the shield.


Did You Know:

The Roman Army held their shields together side-by-side in different formations for attack and defence.


Helmet


Called:

Cassis or Galea


Appearance:

An iron domed helmet with a horizontal ridge across the forehead, collar extending down the back to protect the neck and hinged cheek guards either side of the face.


Used for:

Protecting the head, face and neck.


Did You Know:

Soldiers occasionally attached horse hair plumes to the top of their helmets. This was likely for ceremonial purposes and wouldn’t have been used in battle.


Body Armour


Appearance:

Numerous iron plates overlapping and held together with leather straps & brass hinges. A tunic would be worn underneath.


Used for:

Shielding the soldier’s torso from attack. It was sturdy enough to protect the soldier’s body but also flexible to allow him to bend and manoeuvre.


Did You Know:

The body armour was incredibly heavy. In total (including his weapons, armour, tools & utensils) a Roman soldier’s equipment could way around 35kg!



If you liked what you just read, why not consider joining our Patreon Community? It's thanks to awesome people like you that we are able to continue creating content for this History Resource.


We offer our Patrons a ton of great rewards for their support, be sure to check them out!

Further Reading:

  • RSS
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Call Us
  • Email Us
School Workshops - Find Primary & Secondary Workshops for Schools

findschoolworkshops

Lancaster, England