The Romans In LondonLondon Grid for Learning

The soldiers based in London were probably serving in legions that were based in the province. These legions had been sent to Britain from abroad and many soldiers would have come from France, others came from Spain and some even came from places as far away as Syria or Africa. There were legionary infantry foot soldiers (legionaries), cavalry horsemen or auxiliary soldiers who were archers, slingers or had other skills to provide back-up resources for the main body of soldiers. Roman London, therefore, would have had a real mix of soldiers from all parts of the Roman Empire.

A legionary soldier would have carried a large rectangular shield which curved around the front of the body to form almost total protection and an auxiliary soldier, an oval or round shield. Each soldier carried a dagger (pugio) and a sword (gladius). They also used other weapons, a spear (hasta) and a javelin (pilum). These had iron ends with long wooden handles. Soldiers wore metal chest armour (lorica) over cloth tunics, helmets and leather sandals (caligae). The lorica that they wore was either made of flat strips of iron, metal scales fixed onto leather or chain mail made of many small iron rings linked together. A letter, surviving from a fort on Hadrian's Wall, asked for warm socks and pants to be sent from home - just imagine that cold soldier trying to keep warm on guard duty.

Soldiers in Roman London continues on the next page...