Imperial Rome....

Imperial Rome was ....

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Also highly likely that the Romans exaggerated the numbers of their enemies to make their victories sound more impressive and their defeats less down to incompetence. I have seen several documentaries noting that the primitive logistic systems employed by many of Rome's enemies could not have sustained in the field armies even the size of Rome's own, let alone several times bigger.

Similarly, many of the larger hordes would probably have contained a huge proportion of very poor levies, perhaps armed with little better than clubs, basic farm implements and sharp sticks. Professional fighting men were an extremely expensive asset and needed significant collective wealth to sustain, something absent in most subsistence societies of the time.

A couple of Imperial Rome's most significant defeats (Teutoburger Wald and Carrhae) were "strike and haemorrhage" victories that could conceivably have been inflicted by smaller forces than the Romans claimed.
I believe it's on record that Arminius had a sizeable force of Germanic tribes for that little Pot Pouri but that elementary errors on the part of Varus which compounded the damage done. So it wasn't just the size or lack of it by Arminius that was significant
Some genuinely interesting stuff and ideas going on in here and the descriptions of tribes (part. Wessex) in Vespasia's time, also those defending Mai Dun as compared to the Vespasian Legions, are probably near the mark. Maiden Hill would also have become Romano-Celtic; archaeology - as a part of other studies - is also important for understanding the transition from the late Iron Age to the early Roman period in southern England.

Since bits and bones 'don't [often] lie' and evidence, right or wrong, is all we have available, the prospects of the Mai Dun people/Durotriges being pastoral agricultural workers and traders rather than seasoned warriors when the Romans attacked them, seem to be sound. The absence of tribal records and the general illiteracy of the times don't help though. And neither do misinterpretations in archaeology, which is after all a constantly organic, fallible discipline. Social history and whatever records exist, have to be involved; 'history is written by the winners [victors]' but it's often written by the losers as well. Maybe History is not written by the winners but by those who know how to write.

It also seems the Roman needed two days to capture Mai Dun but the Beeb may have grounds for their 'poor defenceless Celt' slingshot story. The evidence for slingshot and thousands of local stones for such a purpose, is there. AFAIK the evidence for more lethal weaponry at Mai Dun - other than spears in AD43 - is barren. However, that farming and trading centre on the Big Hill Maiden Castle, one of the most significant major earthwork sites in Europe, probably housed their chieftain. They also built the Hengistbury fortress and it's thought that Veneti peoples joined the Durotriges, besides fighting for the Romans. The Durotriges probably weren't the only tribe at Maiden Castle.

If as has been suggested the strong Mai Dun defences made its people feel invincible and they were a peaceful bunch of farmers in a developed, self-sufficient society of vibrant industries (the Iron Age peoples didn't live and work solely in Hill Forts; there was Duropolis for instance): then they might not have expected Roman military ferocity and weren't capable of victory, even if those well-developed townships with decent engineers in proto-urban settlements were well armed for civil war.

Yet the various and differing Wessex tribes we call Celts were at each others' throats until they joined forces against the Romans. Civil wars fought solely with stones? Unlikely. Local warrior burials sometimes involved breaking their swords so that only they could use them in whatever afterlife they believed in, and they also seem to have produced flint axes.
But how many did? I suspect that the death toll from disease and combat would be fairly high, and in reality, there were probably options to leave short of the 25 years...
No question about that - but for a Legionary to have a First Spears Pension - must have been considerable ?
As a matter of interest - does anyone know exactly what a 25year legion Veteran would receive ?

Apart from Roman Citizenship ?

I heard that some authors stated they were 'given' a plot of Land and enough to Farm / Make a go of it ?

Plus there was a small stipend to help them on their way ?

Additionally,what share of the box the Aquilifer guarded ? Perhaps better known as the 'Burial Fund' ?

Any info on this appreciated,as Authors don't seem to cover that aspect.
As a matter of interest - does anyone know exactly what a 25year legion Veteran would receive ?

Apart from Roman Citizenship ?

I heard that some authors stated they were 'given' a plot of Land and enough to Farm / Make a go of it ?

Plus there was a small stipend to help them on their way ?

Additionally,what share of the box the Aquilifer guarded ? Perhaps better known as the 'Burial Fund' ?

Any info on this appreciated,as Authors don't seem to cover that aspect.
It depends upon what era you are talking about. During most of the republic, soldiers were conscripted from amongst the land and property owning classes only. They had to provide their own equipment, and as a result the infantry were divided into different categories of heavy and light infantry, depending upon the means of the individual soldiers. They were called up for service as and when needed. Failure to show up when called could result in severe punishment, up to and including death.

After the Marian reforms in late republican times, the army became professionalised and all citizens were eligible to volunteer to join and standard equipment was provided to them. They were paid a stipend, but the cost of their equipment, food, and clothing was deducted from their pay. The result however was that the legions became uniformly well equipped heavy infantry.

Initially the pay of a post-Marian legionary was roughly equivalent to that of a common labourer, but over time that increased such that their pay became much better than a common labourer. Initially they were paid once per year, later that became every four months.

The period of service for a post-Marian legionary was 16 to 20 years, depending upon the period. Upon their discharge at the end of that, originally they received a substantial lump sum of cash. Later, due to shortages of cash, that turned into a grant of land. Legionaries could either take the land wherever it was granted, or they could sell it and return to wherever it was they wanted to live (e.g. back to their home village).

For the average legionary, service in the Roman army meant a step up the social ladder. Yes they risked being killed, but the life of the common civilian was also not without risk from disease, accident, or famine in an era with very limited medical care. For someone who was willing to cut their ties with their homes for an extended period of time and travel to wherever they were sent, it could be a very attractive career.


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good thread - keep it coming Proles - SPQR my Gallo-Celtic arrse :)


( Democracy - invented by the Greeks, stolen by the Romans, perfected by Hanging Chad)
Having spent the last week or two flooring and painting the garage and doing garden stuff - i.e. out of range of the router so no streaming. I've been listening to "The History of Rome" podcast. I'm currently 75 episodes into 300 odd and it's pretty good. He's a yank, so his latin pronunciation is ******* awful but he's done his reading. Has certainly filled in some gaps for me.
Except they all spoke Greek apparently. It explains the confusion
Western Empire Latin, Eastern Empire Greek. yet Romanian is indeed a Romance language, funny how it works out.

Another more significant outcome of that is that the Romanian language is derived from Latin, just like Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese are.
But derived from vulgar or street latin not classical. Like equus for horse in classical but caballus on the street, a bit like equine and horse in English.
Hence cavall - Catalan, cavallo - Italian, cheval-French, cal - Romanian, and so on.
When the Empire went down people still spoke latin, but it simply evolved as languages do, and today these people in effect still speak latin, just modified latin. Apparently you can still hear almost unchanged latin in Lugodorese, a Italic dialect spoken in Central Sardinia.

And don't forget Catalan, Occitan and Walloon in your list.
And to think I complained about my resettlement.

Went there last summer, had a great time. Countryside nice, people friendly, prices really cheap, you can find some good beer, but wine crap, girls attractive, nice weather. Many folk and most of the youngsters speak good English, so in that respect it's better than Glasgow.

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