Sunday: The Roman Army

Every Sunday, I try to bring you a set of ten links that aren’t from Wikipedia that would serve to help a student begin a paper on a given topic, or understand a topic slightly better than before.  My goal isn’t necessarily highly-academic sites; it’s simply a collection of images, video, and text to help a student grasp a subject more successfully.  Previous topics have included Henry IV at Canossa, and Galileo’s championing of the Copernican Revolution. This week, my goal is to find ten sites related to the structure of the Roman Army.

  1.  This first site appears to have lots of photos of real people dressing up as Roman soldiers.  I’ve looked over a half-dozen of the photos, and the kit they wear seems to be pretty accurate.  I prefer using primary sources like art or sculpture, but I’ll take the efforts of obsessives who think Roman legionaries are cool.
  2.  This is a pretty good video, showing college students ( I presume) working their way through the field evolutions of a Roman military squad.
  3. Some reasonably good material here at Vroma.org, a community of scholars interested in ancient Rome.
  4. A Google Timeline for the activities of the Roman legions.
  5. GlobalSecurity.org has some good information, and they seem to be presenting the Roman legions from the perspective that the legions had some good things going for ’em that modern soldiers should be reminded of.
  6. Here’s a place that sells the Lorica segmentata, the standard-style of armor we associate with the Romans even today.
  7. Here’s a 50’s style propaganda film urging Romans to join the legion. Is it silly? Yes.  Moderately accurate?  I suppose.  And a reasonable extension of what the Romans might have done with propaganda films.
  8. Here’s Josephus on the organization of a Roman Legion.
  9. Here’s a Bugs Bunny video where Yosemite Sam thinks a rabbit will make a good candidate for the Colosseum. 1955.
  10. A recent archaeological find in western China suggests that the army of Crassus was settled in eastern Parthia in a prison camp.

It’s rather a strange grab-bag, between the videos, the Bugs Bunny cartoon, and a sense that a lof of the material is dry-as-dust boring to begin with.  Grade overall: C+.

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