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Bronze statuette of a legionary


Height: 11.500 cm

Castellani Collection

GR 1867.5-10.4 (Bronze 1611)

Room 69: Greek and Roman life

    Bronze statuette of a legionary

    Roman, 2nd century AD

    The legionary (foot soldier) wears a tunic, with an outer skirt of leather straps, and, on his upper body, the lorica segmentata, the characteristic Roman body armour made of numerous strips and plates of iron. He is also wearing strapped sandals, breeches, and a crested helmet. The dress and armour are very similar to those worn by soldiers depicted on Trajan's Column in Rome, built to commemorate the conquest of Dacia (Romania) by the emperor Trajan in the early second century AD.

    The legion was the major unit of the Roman army, and would have contained between five and six thousand men. Numbers of soldiers were large, since the Empire was at its greatest extent during this period, and as many as twenty eight legions were deployed. The average soldier (or seaman) would sign up for a period of twenty-five years. At the end of this he and his family would be granted full Roman citizenship, usually commemorated on bronze plaques. The British Museum has examples of these bronze diplomas.

    H.B. Walters, Catalogue of bronzes, Greek, R (London, 1899)


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