How greeted Roman soldiers

school : Latin at your fingertips

Latin student Kasimir (11) and his classmates from the old grammar school were able to get enthusiastic about ancient Rome one morning

by Kasimir Kehrer
June 22, 2016, 1:27 a.m.

Salvete! Greetings! We “Latins” from the Flensburg Old School were visited by “Legio XXI Rapax” for one morning. This group has set itself the task of bringing school children closer to the life of the Roman legionaries. Instead of picking up our Latin book, we were able to experience almost real Romans live, and some of us were allowed to slip into the role of soldiers ourselves.

Lucianus and Cato impressed us in their chain mail and helmets on their heads. First they clarified with us which countries today were in the Imperium Romanum - the Roman Empire. Lucianus introduced himself to us as a trainer of Roman citizens as legionnaires. Not all applicants were selected because they did not meet the requirements. Only Secundus from 6c, whose real name is Matthias, was lucky enough to be recruited: He was a free Roman citizen and had a decent job as a farmer. He wasn't married and had a letter of recommendation with him. So his training could begin. Equipped with a heavy helmet, lance and sword, he practiced correct standing. The commands "state" (stands tight!) And "laxate" (stands loosely!) Certain Secundus' attitude. After the training was over, Cato and Lucian described a battle against the Picts to us and showed us which weapons were fought with at that time: Scorpions were very quiet, fast projectiles, arrows and slingshots were also used. The pilum (the spear) was thrown by all at the same time, after which one received the order to go into combat formation. It is stabbed with the short sword. Lucian showed us this impressively.

How bad a hit from an arrow was was demonstrated under feigned pain Flaccus, in real life Finn from 6a. The pointed arrow was relatively easy to pull out of the wound, but a medicus had to be found for the barbed arrow, as the barbs could cause greater damage when pulled out. As far as possible, the injured man was anesthetized with herbs and the arrow removed in an operation. Fortunately, the arrow was not actually in the abdominal wall, but only between the fingers of our wounded Flaccus.

From our point of view today, the legionaries who served during the so-called Pax Romana or Pax Augusta could be very happy. Because during the peace time of the emperor Augustus it happened that the legionaries never saw a battlefield. Instead, they built buildings and took on administrative and security tasks. Many of the ideas and achievements of the Romans have survived to this day, including in the judiciary, administration and architecture. Our modern thermal baths, for example, date back to the Romans. We are still learning Latin in school - so this language is not as dead as it is always said. And after such an informative and vivid morning about the world of the ancient Romans, we can imagine one or the other from our Latin books even better, we are looking forward to more stories from Lucian's and Cato's time.