Many historical events and persons of the ancient past are often shrouded in legend, and they make great stories. Whatever the origins of Rome, it became one of the most powerful states that ever existed under the sun.
The Legionnaire was the foundation of the Roman army. The Legions of the early Roman army were an outstanding group, formidable in battle and all areas of siege warfare. They were also excellent engineers; they built roads, bridges, and water systems for the empire.
They were professional soldiers who served with each other often for twenty years. They fought very hard for the empire, but they were more dedicated to their legion than to the state. The system worked well for Rome, because each Legionnaire fought his heart out for his comrades They were prohibited from marrying, so their loyalty was to their fellow soldiers After service of twenty years, they were allowed to retire with a pension and an allotment of land. Perhaps they married at this late stage of life.
They had the finest weapons of the day. They often made changes to make them more efficient. They wore a breastplate armor called lorica segmentata. It was made of iron strips that were held in place by leather strips. This replaced the solid breastplate which restricted movement. They wore an iron helmet with a peak to prevent blows to the head. They carried a colorful shield made of wood and metal. The Roman foot soldier carried three weapons. They carried a 7-foot javelin which is now referred to as a pilium. By their side was also a pugio ( small dagger) and a two-foot short sword (gladius). On their feet, they wore sandals with hobnails on the bottom. With this equipment, they conquered most of the ancient world.
The Roman Legionnaire was powerful, dedicated to his legion, and a very effective fighting machine.