Roman Army Facts

The Roman Army was incredibly well-organised, well-trained and highly disciplined.

Only men were allowed to be Roman soldiers and they had to be Roman citizens and at least twenty years old.

Click the link to find out some more information about Roman soldiers.

How was the Roman Army structured and organised?

The Roman Army was divided up into about 30 legions. Each legion was made up of between 4000 to 6000 soldiers. The soldiers were known as legionaries. Each legion was made up of 10 cohorts. A normal cohort contained 480 soldiers. These soldiers were divided into six groups of 80, and these were called centuries and were led by a centurion. Within each century, the men were further divided into groups of 8 called a contubernium. These 8 men would share a tent when the legion camped.

The first cohort in every legion was larger than the other cohorts. It was made up of five double centuries.

The Roman soldier who had command of the whole legion was known as a legate.

Each legion also had a group of 120 horsemen attached to it. They were used as scouts and to send messages.

This video gives a really good picture of how the a Roman legion was organised and how it would look on the battlefied from the perspective of an opposing army.


What were Roman auxiliaries?

Although the legionaries made up the bulk of the Roman Army, they were not the only troops used by the Romans. Non-Roman citizens could also fight for Rome as a Roman auxiliary. Auxiliaries were paid only a fraction of the wages givenb to the legionaries and they did not have use of the best armour and weapons. They were used to defend the frontiers of the Roman Empire and they were sent to the front line in battles where the fighting was most fierce.

Roman Army
Roman Legionaries (Credit)

Discover more facts about the Romans by following this link to our Roman resources page.

Facts About Ancient Roman Clothes and Costume

What did the Romans wear?

The Romans mainly wore clothes made of wool (and linen was also imported from across the Roman Empire). The style of clothing was influenced by the clothing worn by the Ancient Greeks, but it also evolved over time, incorporating fashions from all over the Empire.

The Clothes of Roman Men

Roman men usually wore a chilton (a type of tunic which came down to the knees). This could be sleeveless or have short-sleeves. A cloak was often worn over the chilton. When the weather was cold, Roman men often wore more than one tunic.

Only free Roman citizens were allowed to wear a toga. Originally, togas were worn without tunics underneath, but it soon became normal to wear a toga over the top of a simple tunic. The toga was a large (sometimes 3.5 metres wide) semi-circular piece of woolen material designed to be draped over one shoulder and then folded to fit the body. Sometimes lead weights were sewn into the hem of the toga to help it to hang properly. By law, standard togas had to be white.

Roman Toga

The Clothes of Roman Women

The stola was a long tunic. It commonly reached to the ground and could be sleeveless, have short-sleeves or long-sleeves. It was usually worn over another long tunic. A palla (a smaller and simpler version of the toga) was often worn over the stola.

Women’s clothing could be quite colourful. The most sought after colour was Tyrian purple, created from a dye extracted from the glands of murex sea snails.

Roman Clothes

The Clothes of Roman Children

Most Roman children wore a simple tunic, belted at the waist.

Children would wear a bulla (a type of amulet or charm) which was given to them when they were very small. Boys would wear it until they reached the age of sixteen and girls would keep it on until they were married.

Rich boys wore a toga with a purple edging.

Roman Underwear

Romans wore a simple loin cloth, kept in place by knots at either side of the body. Instead of bras, women wore a band of material tightly tied across the body.

Undergarments were usually made of linen, but women also used silk when if they could afford it.

Roman Cloaks

There were several different types of cloaks, and the styles changed over the history of the Roman Empire. Cloaks were basically the jackets and winter coats of the Romans. They were worn over tunics and togas (although they sometimes replaced the toga) and they often had a hood sewn into them. Cloaks could be brightly coloured and sometimes made of leather or felt.

Roman Footwear

Roman men and women often wore the same types of shoes. There were lots of different options available to the Romans and the style they went for would have been affected by the weather and whether or not they were inside or outside.

The calcei was an outdoor shoe made from soft leather. It was worn by most Romans.

Sandals were thought of as indoor shoes. Rich Romans would employ a slave to carry his sandals for him so that he could change into them when he stepped inside a building. The Romans also wore a type of slippers when they were indoors.

Roman soldiers wore the caliga – a type of military boot / sandal. It had hobnails and was very hard-wearing.

A Roman military sandal (Credit)
A Roman military sandal (Credit)

Find out more facts and information about the Romans by visiting our Romans resources page.

Mairi Hedderwick: Facts About the Author of the Katie Morag Books

Here are some facts about Mairi Hedderwick, the children’s writer, illustrator and the creator of the popular Katie Morag series.

  • Mairi Hedderwick was born on 2nd May 1939 in Gourock. Her father was Douglas Lindsay, an architect, and her mother was Margaret Crawford.
  • Her father died when she was thirteen years old, and she often felt lonely and out of place as a child.

  • She studied at Edinburgh College of Art. During the holidays she went to the Isle of Coll and worked as an au pair.
  • In 1962, she married Ronnie Hedderwick. After teaching art for a few years, Mairi moved to the Isle of Coll in the Hebrides, Scotland. They lived in a farmhouse without electricity or running water. Their closest neighbours were three miles away.
  • Mairi and Ronnie earned money by rearing sheep and cattle and by fishing for lobsters. Mairi also taught art lessons at the local primary school, sold her artwork to tourists and started her own printing company called the Malin Workshop. The Malin Workshop used manual printing techniques to print maps of the island, calendars and postcards.
  • At this point, Mairi also started to do some illustration work for the Scottish children’s writer, Jane Duncan.
  • Mairi, Ronnie and their two children, Mark and Tammie, lived on the Isle of Coll for ten years. They had to move because there was no secondary school on the island.
  • Mairi started to think about writing her own children’s books, and the first Katie Morag story, Katie Morag Delivers the Mail, was published in 1984.
  • Mairi moved back to Coll in 1990. She now lives in a house close to her daughter and grandchildren.
  • Their are now more than ten Katie Morag stories, and Mairi has written and illustrated many other children’s books.
  • She has also written four books about her travels through Scotland.
Mairi Hedderwick
Mairi Heddwerwich reading a Katie Morag story (Credit)

A List of the Katie Morag Books

  • Katie Morag Delivers the Mail
  • Katie Morag and the Two Grandmothers
  • Katie Morag and the Tiresome Ted
  • Katie Morag and the Big Boy Cousins
  • Katie Morag and the New Pier
  • Katie Morag and the Wedding
  • Katie Morag and the Grand Concert
  • Katie Morag and the Riddles
  • Katie Morag and the Dancing Class
  • Katie Morag and the Birthdays
  • Katie Morag Of Course!

What next? Learn more about other famous children’s authors.

What language did the Romans speak?

The Romans spoke Latin, but it wasn’t the Classical Latin language that it taught in schools and universities today. The Romans would have spoken Vulgar Latin, and used Classical Latin for their writing and official events and ceremonies. Vulgar Latin was not standard and is sometimes known as Common Latin or Colloquial Latin.

The Romance Languages (such as Spanish, French, Portuguese, Romanian and Italian) all evolved from the same starting point following the fall of the Western Roman Empire – Vulgar Latin. Over time they developed into completely separate languages.

In the Eastern Roman Empire, based around Constantinople, by the 4th century, the official language was Greek and not Latin.

Click this link to learn more about the Romans.

Hinduism Facts

Here are some facts about Hinduism, the main religion of the Indian sub-continent, and one of the most popular religions worldwide.

What is Hinduism?

  • It’s probably easier to define what Hinduism isn’t. Hinduism is not based on a strict set of rules, it is not based on a single holy book, and it wasn’t founded by one individual. This sets it apart from other religions and makes it really hard to set down exactly what Hinduism actually is.

  • Hinduism has close links with other religions, such as: Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism, and many individuals have contributed their ideas and teachings to Hinduism over thousands of years . In order to reflect this fact, people sometimes refer to Hinduism as a family or group of linked religions or a way of life, rather than one distinct faith.
  • Two people who both call themselves Hindus might have very different beliefs and live their lives in very different ways, however, it is possible to identify some things that most Hindus would consider to be important to their religion.
  • Many Hindus believe in the existence of a Supreme God – a creator and destroyer of universes – who is represented by a range of different deities.
  • Hindus believe in a cycle of reincarnation and believe that the life you lead can affect the form the soul will be housed in during the next life. This process is dictated by Karma – the concept that every action has an equal reaction.
  • The key Hindu religious texts are called the Vedas. These do not specifically mention the word Hindu, but they do make reference to dharma (a form of morality upon which workings of the world and society have been constructed).

How Old is Hinduism?

Hinduism, as discussed above, is made up of wide collection of teachings and philosophies. As a result, it is not possible to say with any certainty when Hinduism started or when the religion was founded. The roots of Hinduism can be traced back more than 2000 years before the birth of Christ. The first Veda (holy text), the Rigveda, was thought to have appeared between 1700 and 1100 BCE , and many refer to Hinduism as the oldest living religion.

Where did Hinduism Originate?

Hinduism originated in the Indus Valley region around the River Indus in the country known today as Pakistan. Today, Hinduism is a worldwide religion, although it is still most popular in India and Nepal. The map below shows the percentage of Hindus in different regions of the world.

Hindu Population

Grace Darling: Facts and Interesting Information

Here are some facts about Grace Darling, the lighthouse keeper’s daughter who was famous for her role in rescuing the survivors of the Forfarshire shipwreck in 1838.

  • Grace Darling was born on 24th November 1815 in Bamburgh, Northumberland.

  • William Darling, Grace’s father was the main keeper of the Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands (a group of islands off the coast of Northumberland). Grace’s mother was called Thomasin.
  • Grace, her parents and her brothers and sisters, lived in the Longstone Lighthouse.
  • On 6th September 1838 a massive storm wrecked the SS Forfarshire about 3/4 of a mile from the Longstone Lighthouse. Early on 7th September, Grace’s father, William, assessed the situation and decided that he needed to try and rescue any survivors. His sons weren’t at the lighthouse, so he took Grace with him in their rowing boat. Between them, they managed to rescue nine survivors.
  • The Victorian newspapers loved the story of the rescue of the survivors of the SS Forfarshire shipwreck, and they made the most of Grace’s role and she became a celebrity.

Grace Darling

  • Grace Darling received a personal letter from Queen Victoria and a reward of £50. She also got lots of fan-mail  asking for locks of her hair or pieces of the dress she wore on 7th October 1838.
  • In Victorian England, it was possible to buy Grace Darling themed plates, postcards and even boxes of chocolates!
  • Grace Darling died of tuberculosis on 20th October 1842. She was buried in a family grave in St Aidan’s Churchyard, Bamburgh. A monument to her was built in St Aidan’s churchyard.
  • In 1880, Thomasina, Grace Darling’s sister, published a book called Grace Darling: Her True Story, which aimed to describe the real Grace without any of the exaggeration. It didn’t sell very many copies as the public wanted to believe that Grace Darling was nothing but an angelic, daring heroine.

Find out about other famous Victorians, or visit our Victorians resources page to discover more Victorian information and facts.