Diary of a Roman Soldier in Britannia

Diary of a Roman Soldier in Britannia


Greetings!
I am Marcus, a soldier of Legion XX Invictus. Emperor, Claudius, sent my legion and three others to Britannia, in the third year of his reign - That was in 43AD to you.
Part of our job was to build a Roman province here.

It was a lot of hard work building a province in Britannia. Most of the people who lived there, the Celtic tribes, did not like us taking control of their lands.


The first job we had after landing at Richborough, was to build a long wall and ditch to defend the habour the navy was building.

Next, we built roads so we could travel quickly around our newly acquired land. We built forts to defend the land and towns for our people and the Celts who joined us.


The biggest defence we built to protect Roman England from the tribes who lived in Scotland was
Hadrian's wall. The wall stretched 117 kilometers (73 miles) from the west coast to the east coast of England. We built it so well that even today, almost 2,000 years later, you still can see parts of it.

Roman Soldier

As I march down from Hadrian's Wall to Kent, you can follow my diary below.  (The newest entries will be at the top). You can also follow my journey on a map.

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about my life as a Roman soldier.

My Diary

avatarMy boots are not like army boots you see today. My boots look more like sandals to you. They are made from animal skins and have hobnails on the sole to help prevent the leather from wearing away. (see photo below)
avatarThe Roman army was divided into two groups - legionaries and auxiliaries. Only Roman citizens could be Legionaries, other soldiers were known as auxiliaries. The auxiliaries out numbered legionaries 2:1.
avatarIt is 5am and we are all ready and packed to carry on our journey. We need to get a move on if we are go to reach Richborough by Wednesday. I hear there are some young people there who want to join our army as auxiliaries.
avatarIt feels so great to have a rest from carrying the equipment. My equipment weighs about 30kg. (That’s the weight of an average 8 year old!!!! – imagine giving one a piggy-back all the way from Hadrian's Wall to Richborough!!!)
avatarIt is my turn to do the first guard duty this evening. Even though we are all tired from the march we still have our duties to perform. We also need to clean our armour and make more bread. We eat bread with all our meals.
avatarWe have been marching all day and now it is time to erect our tent. A pony carried the tent for us. The tent weighs over forty kilograms and is made from seventy seven large goatskins. You can see our tent at the bottom of this page.
avatarWe have packed our kit. We will carry it on a wodden cross pole. I have packed spare clothes, food rations, a cooking pot, a short spade and a hand mill for grinding corn I am also taking two wooden stakes to help build a protective fence (palisade) around our camp.
avatarTonight we are having a hearty meal before we set off tomorrow. It is a long march down to Kent and we need to make sure we have the energy to walk it. I will also take some figs with me to eat on the way.

avatarMy legion is trained to march 20 miles* in five hours at the military pace. Can you work how long it will take us to walk to Kent from Hadrian's Wall?
368 miles = Hadrians Wall to Richborough Roman Fort
317 miles - Hadrian's Wall to Lullingstone Roman Villa

avatarI am starting my journey down to Kent from HOUSESTEADS ROMAN FORT (VERCOVICIUM) in Northumberland. A fort we built in stone around AD 124. It has been my home for many years. I can still remember when I first arrived here. It was so cold and it seemed to rain a lot, much more than it did back home in Italy.


* 1 miles = 1.6 kilometres

 :-) Think

How many kilometres is 20 miles?
How far is Hadrian's Wall from Kent?
How long will it take the Romans to marched down to Kent?



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Image collection
All packed and ready to leave
All packed and ready to leave
 
Thinking about the long march ahead
Thinking about the long march ahead
 
Centurion inspecting me
Centurion inspecting me
 
Getting ready
Getting ready
 
This is our tent
This is our tent
 
It is made from 77 goatskins
It is made from 77 goatskins
 
Standing Guard
Standing Guard
 
My Boots
My Boots
 
Gladius- sword
Gladius- sword
 
Guarding our camp
Guarding our camp
 
Dinner!
Dinner!
 
Marching down to Kent
Marching down to Kent
 
Roman Auxiliary
Roman Auxiliary
 
Body armour
Body armour
 
 
 



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