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What does archaeology show about the life of a Roman soldier in Roman Britain?

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Introduction

Classical Civilisation Coursework 2 - What does archaeology show about the life of a Roman soldier in Roman Britain? Many old documents and papers have been found in Roman forts, most of which are systems and records, showing just how systematic and careful the Romans where, making sure everything was where it should be and every weapon and piece of armour was accounted for. Hygiene was also an important part of Roman life - they developed the first working lavatories, although primitive in comparison with modern life, and had a working system for getting rid of drainage and sewage. A bath house exists at Chesters and one has been uncovered near Housteads, although not actually inside the fort. These show that going to the baths was a common everyday activity in Roman life, and again shows their concern for personal hygiene. Bone combs and devices for removing earwax have also been discovered, again highlighting the importance of hygiene in the roman life. Animal bones have been discovered, such as those of deer and rabbits. This shows us that the Romans kept, hunted or ate animals such as these. It also gives an insight into the Roman diet, and indicates that a large portion of it may have been made up of various meats. ...read more.

Middle

Lorica - a type of strip metal armour - has been found, which seems to be a further development from scale and chain mail, which was far less effective in protecting a soldier. However, the lorica needed another person to secure it at the back, which meant soldiers wearing it would have to help each other out when putting it on. Coins have been found in Hadrian's Wall, and at places like Vindolanda. Shards of domestic pottery have been unearthed, found in a huge number of Roman sites, which as we can see from marks at the bottom would be used for cooking, suspended above a fire or in the embers of one. Samian pottery was the type used with military and civilian Romans, as it had an extremely large trade in forts - it was originally produced in Italy and Gaul, but some was also produced in Britain. We can tell the maker by the inscription on it - M or MA meant 'manu' - by the hand of - and FEC meant 'fecit' - made it. A writing tablet in Vindolanda tells us over an 8 day period soldiers were supplied with lard, pork fat, bacon lard, olive oil, ham, venison, pork, eggs, bread, beans, lentils, honey and semolina. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is also possible to see the life expectancy of an average soldier, through the gravestones which have been discovered near Hadrian's Wall. For example, the tombstone of 'Titus Annius', which was discovered at Vindolanda, and tells us he died in war. We can also tell a lot about the leisure time of the Roman soldiers, and how it was usually spent. Pots have been found near Corbridge, which depict hunting scenes, something many Romans would have done in their spare time. As mentioned above, many would spend time in the bathhouses. Board games and dice have been found near Segedunum, and show us that many Romans would gamble in their spare time. Many of the dice uncovered are weighted, showing us that some of the Romans may have been cheating the locals out of their money, or vice-versa. Finally, the Vindolanda tablets have told us a huge deal about Hadrian's Wall. They include letters to families back home, requests to send items, gossip, requests for leave, bargaining over food prices, invitations to parties, Duty rotas and finally, accounts. They were, of course, discovered at Vindolanda. This shows that the life of a Roman soldier revolved mainly around the 3 aspects of training and fighting, enforced by the Roman army, relationship, be they family, friend or lover, and leisure, which was spent differently for every individual soldier. ?? ?? ?? ?? Ben Spurgen 4 Alpha ...read more.

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