- The Roman army around the time of Augustus Caesar numbered at only 400,000, but they kept the peace of a Roman world of over 45 million people.
- When Roman soldiers weren’t fighting, they were building. Most of the aqueducts and amphitheatres in the areas they were occupying were built by armies (like in France).
- A typical soldier’s job (when there wasn’t a specific war going on) was stone-cutting for buildings, but most hated it. Those with something called “special letters of introduction” could practice a “trade” of their choosing, normally an administrative type position such as in a library, as a clerk, or in a surveyors or architect’s office.
- The Roman soldier could move up the ranks by becoming the head man of his “mess” (the groups in which soldiers ate their meals), then a centurion’s second-in-command, then a centurion. To move up even further into the officer’s ranks, they would become a first cohort, then a knight. After that, they would retire, but usually only after serving, on average, 25 years if they volunteered. Some were even employed strictly to torture prisoners.
- Discipline in the Roman army was taken very seriously. Favorite punishments of the emperors were to replace the wheat used to make bread in a soldiers diet with barley, public flogging of a soldier who misbehaved, reduction of a share of booty, or having 1 in every 10 soldiers from an “offending” cohort (legion), chosen at random to be clubbed or stoned to death by a soldier from another cohort.
Guess which of my two books I've been reading today.
I can't even write a real blog because I want to get back to the book!