Roman Auxilia

Roman Auxilia

Not all soldiers fighting for the Roman Empire were legionaries. As much as three-fifths of them belonged to a secondary class known the auxilia (or auxiliaries), whose ranks dominated the Roman cavalry and archery forces. Whereas only Roman citizens could be legionaries, auxiliaries on the other hand were mainly drawn from their various conquered subjects. Only after twenty-five years of service could auxiliaries earn citizenship (this changed after 212 AD, when all free-born people in the Empire automatically became citizens). In contrast to the legionaries’ trademark lorica segmentata (iron band armor), the auxiliaries’ armor would have come in the form of iron mail shirts.

These two auxiliaries, one Celtic and the other Egyptian, are obviously from very different parts of the Empire. Though the mail shirts would be standard issue for their ranks, I chose to given them some culturally distinctive clothing articles and equipment to reflect their non-Roman heritages. What I find most fascinating about the Roman Empire is how multicultural and multiracial it would have become given its transcontinental territory.

(As for their being women, that’s just artistic license on my part. Though I’ll be glad to be informed if there actually were female soldiers fighting in the Roman Empire.)

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