Roman Legion Essay

4772 Words20 Pages
The organization skill of the Roman Empire is best demonstrated by the organization of the Roman Army. During its time the Roman Army was the most professional and effective military organization in the world. At the heart of the Roman Army was the legion. The strength and organization of the Roman Army varied in time depending on the health of the empire and desires of the emperor. The legion, which was the basic fighting unit of the Roman Army, was a highly disciplined, well trained, and heavily armed body of infantry. Its basic unit was the century, which comprised eighty men, divided into ten sections of eight, who shared either a barrack room or tent. Six centuries of eighty men formed a cohort, and ten cohorts made up a legion. Nine of the cohorts were divided into six centuries. The first cohort, which was the most prestigious, consisted of five double-strength centuries. The infantry was supported by one hundred-twenty cavalry troops, who acted as scouts and dispatch riders. The total nominal strength of the legion, therefore, was approximately 5,240 men, which further was supported by lighter armed auxiliaries in the form of light infantry and cavalry, as well as specialized forces such as archers and slingers, who were recruited from the provinces and local tribes. The legion was commanded by a legate, a senator who already had been a praetor at Rome. He was assisted by six staff officers: a senior military tribune, who also was of the senatorial class and the legate's second-in-command, and five others. The senior professional soldier was the camp prefect who was responsible for the organization of the legionary fortress and the training of the men. In the absence of the legate, he took command of the legion. Ranking below the officers were fifty-nine centurions, each of whom led a century. The five centurions of the first cohort outranked the others

More about Roman Legion Essay

Open Document