Hardships of the Roman Soldiers

Life for the Roman soldiers was never easy. As a young man you could enter the army at the age of eighteen and serve Rome for a span of twenty five years. When retiring you would of course get pension and some land grants. People from other kingdoms could also join the Roman army and he would be provided a citizenship after twenty five years of service. But spending twenty five years in the Roman army was not easy.


Life of a Roman Soldier was not easy

As a Roman army you would have to travel as far as your feet could go. Any soldier was expected to march 20 miles within five hours. All the soldiers had to march eighteen miles thrice a month. During their travel they would be carrying about sixty pounds of armour, gear and foods. Soldiers had to perform various fighting drills twice a day to keep them battle ready. As a soldier you had to be at the apex of physical fitness at all times.


Roman soldiers had to march eighteen miles thrice a month

There was a strict discipline followed in the Roman army. Some may term this discipline as quite harsh. Centurions were the commanders of ten groups of eight men. They carried vine sticks made of very hard wood. Flogging was a standard punishment for the soldiers failing to perform any task satisfactorily. There were various types of fines for any smaller crimes. If a soldier deserted the troops and was later caught he would be stoned to death. After a battle, even if the Romans had won an entire legion could be punished for not fighting well.


Roman soldiers were trained on various ploys of combat

If you were a Roman soldier then marriage was definitely not on your cards. Soldiers had to wait until they retired to get married. Usually the soldiers had girlfriends or mistresses near their encampments. But their counterparts had to wait long before the holy union. Many soldiers would marry many times after they retired.

Roman soldiers would be punished severely for not fighting well


The wages for the soldiers was not great. They were paid 2 ½ pence a day and about 225 denarii for a year’s work. The expense of food and clothing was deducted from this salary. Upon retiring a soldier got 14 years of salary in the form of lands or cash. But a promotion could dramatically increase a soldier’s salary.

Roman soldiers wore and carried heavy armour


Roman soldiers were involved in intense battles. Any soldier would have training in hand-to-hand combat. Mental warfare was both genius and brutal. If any soldier turned to retreat he would be killed immediately. So the only option open for any soldier was to fight the fear and fight opposition armies.


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4 thoughts on “Hardships of the Roman Soldiers

  1. Great post – on your last post, I think the maniple system served well to prevent retreat in the front ranks and when you say ‘fight the fear’, I’m taking that is ‘fight the fear’ of your commanding officer.

    Btw, which comment system is this?

  2. Hello! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds
    me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this.

    I will forward this article to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  3. Hello Ayoub thanks for your comment. Denarii was the currency of the Roman Empire. Historians feel that 225 Denarii was just enough for a person to have bread on a daily basis without any savings. This was not the just pay for hardships Roman soldiers had to go through for their Caesar.

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