The Roman legionary was a professional soldier of the Roman army after the Marian reforms of 107 BC. Legionaries had to be Roman citizens under the age of 45. They enlisted in a legion for twenty-five years of service, a change from the early practice of enlisting only for a campaign. The last five years were on veteran lighter duties.

On the march in unfriendly terrain, the legionary would be loaded down with armour commonly ("lorica hamata"), ("lorica squamata"), and 2-3rd century ("lorica segmentata"), shield ("scutum"), helmet ("galea"), two javelins (one heavy "pilum" and one light), a short sword ("gladius"), a dagger ("pugio"), a pair of heavy sandals ("Caligae"), a Sarcina (marching pack), about fourteen days worth of food, a waterskin (bladder for water), cooking equipment, two stakes ("Sudes murale") for the construction of palisades, and a shovel or wicker basket.

The Roman soldier underwent especially rigorous training; discipline was the base of the army's success and the soldiers were relentlessly and constantly trained with weapons and especially with drill — forced marches with full load and in tight formation were frequent. Discipline was important and infractions were heavily punished by the centurions.


Included in the ranks, aside from the basic heavy infantrymen, were the "immunes", specialist soldiers with secondary roles such as engineer, carpenter and medic. These men were still fully trained legionaries however and would fight in the ranks if called upon. They were excused from some of the more laborious tasks such as drill and fatigues and received better pay than their comrades.

Other legionaries

"Legionary" is also a term used for members of other legions, like French Foreign Legion, Spanish Foreign Legion or Polish Legions. Members of these modern legions are often called "légionnaires", the French term for legionary. The term was also used by the Romanian far right paramilitary group known in English as the Iron Guard.

ee also

*Military history of ancient Rome
*Foreign Legion
*Roman camp
*Roman Republic
*Roman Empire
*Punic wars
*Phalanx formation
*List of Roman legions

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  • Legionary — Le gion*a*ry ( [asl]*r[y^]), a. [L. legionarius: cf. F. l[ e]gionnaire.] Belonging to a legion; consisting of a legion or legions, or of an indefinitely great number; as, legionary soldiers; a legionary force. The legionary body of error. Sir T.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Legionary — Le gion*a*ry (l[=e] j[u^]n*[asl]*r[y^]), n.; pl. {Legionaries} ( r[i^]z). A member of a legion. Milton. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • legionary — index innumerable Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • legionary — [lē′jəner΄ē] adj. [L legionarius] of or constituting a legion or legions n. pl. legionaries a member of a legion …   English World dictionary

  • legionary — I UK [ˈliːdʒ(ə)nərɪ] / US [ˈlɪdʒəˌnerɪ] adjective relating to a legion of soldiers a legionary fortress II = legionnaire legionary UK [ˈliːdʒ(ə)nərɪ] / US [ˈlɪdʒəˌnerɪ] or legionnaire UK [ˌliːdʒəˈneə(r)] / US [ˌlɪdʒəˈner] noun [countable] Word… …   English dictionary

  • legionary — 1. adjective a) Relating to, or consisting of a legion or legions. A legionary force b) Containing a great number. Unto whom ( what is deplorable in men and Christians ) too many applying themselves, betwixt jest and earnest, betray the cause of… …   Wiktionary

  • legionary — le|gion|ar|y1 [ lidʒə,neri ] adjective relating to a LEGION of soldiers: a legionary fortress le|gion|ar|y2 [ lidʒə,neri ] or le|gion|naire [ ,lidʒə ner ] noun count a soldier in a LEGION …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • legionary — I. adjective Etymology: Middle English legyonary, from Latin legionarius, from legion , legio Date: 15th century of, relating to, or constituting a legion II. noun (plural aries) Date: 1598 legionnaire …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • legionary — /lee jeuh ner ee/, adj., n., pl. legionaries. adj. 1. of, pertaining to, or belonging to a legion. 2. constituting a legion or legions. n. 3. Hist. a soldier of a Roman legion. 4. a member of the British Legion. 5. legionnaire (def. 2). [1570 80; …   Universalium

  • legionary — Synonyms and related words: Amazon, air serviceman, brave, cannon fodder, fighting man, food for powder, halberdier, hoplite, man at arms, military man, navy man, pikeman, rifle, rifleman, serviceman, soldier, spearman, warrior, warrioress …   Moby Thesaurus

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