LEGIO XX--The Twentieth Legion

GUIDELINES FOR AUXILIARY SOLDIERS                        1/20/06

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       In general, standards are as strict as for legionaries.  Equipment must be authentic and correctly made, although uniformity is less important.  Spangenhelms, Viking shields, medieval swords, and the like are prohibited.  All auxiliary impressions, as well as the equipment to be used, must be approved by the Commander.

       The "standard" auxiliary impression for the Twentieth Legion will be a member of a mixed cohort of infantry and cavalry, Cohors VI Thracum Equitata.  Infantry will need a helmet, shield, gladius on belt or baldric, armor, and one or two light throwing spears (lanceae), or three or more javelins.  Cavalry will need a Coolus or cavalry style helmet, shield, armor, spatha, spear and/or javelins.  If you own a horse and wish to perform mounted, you will need to discuss saddle and tack with the Commander.  Also, some sites do not allow horses, and at others special arrangements may need to be made.

       Other types such as a slinger or clubman (as on Trajan's Column) are handy for new members who do not yet have sufficient equipment.  Archers must have an approved recurve bow, and arrows and other gear must also be correct.

       Since auxiliary troops were more "barbaric" than legionaries, there is more room for variety in dress and equipment.  The very Romanized "regulation" uniform is fine, but there can be a sprinkling of non-regulation tunics, trousers, cloaks, and shoes (see Cold-weather Clothing and Civilian Clothing for possibilities), and swords or scabbards might be of "native" styles.  All such items must be approved before use, as usual.

TUNICA, CALIGAE, BALTEUS, and GLADIUS (if applicable) are same as for legionaries.  Tunica off-white or undyed, or light blue for sailors/marines.

SHIELD is flat CLIPEUS--oval up to 50"x26", wood 1/4" to 3/8" thick, with domed boss (generally brass or bronze).  Leather or fabric covering, brass or stitched-on leather rim, single horizontal handgrip.  Optional back-bracing similar to that on the scutum.   The shield can also be dished or convex, though there is no easy way to do this.  Decent Deepeeka shields include #3997W Roman Infantry Scutum, #6711W Roman Centurion Wooden Scutum, or #3998W Roman Cavalier Scutum (all apparently linen covered) (and don't worry that they are called "Scutum"...).

HELMET--For infantry, generally brass:  Auxiliary types A and B, Coolus types C to I, or Montefortino types C to F.  (Cross-braced styles date to 2nd century AD.)  Cavalry may use Coolus types or Auxiliary cavalry types.
       The Deepeeka 6303B Auxiliary Infantry type B, 6055B Coolus C, 6308B Coolus G, and 6051B Coolus E are all approved for auxiliary use. 

ARMOR--Traditionally mail, c. thigh-length and sleeveless with shoulder doubling.  Hamata with short sleeves and no shoulder doubling apparently only appears in the second century AD.  Scale armor is also an option.
SPEARS--Of various types and sizes.  Shafts were made of ash, those of lanceae or throwing spears probably being an inch or less in diameter and 7 or 8 feet long, smaller javelins about 3/4" diameter.  A heavier thrusting spear shaft could be 1" to 1-1/8" thick.  Heads were iron, and ranged from 3 or 4 inches up to about 12 or so--8" to 10" is a good range.  Some were carefully made and could even be decorated, but most were simply forged from an isoceles triangle of thick sheet iron.  The wide end was wrapped to form the socket, and the seam was usually not forged shut.  The blade part was quickly hammered into a lens cross-section and the edges ground or filed sharp.  The rest was apparently left black from the forge.  The buttspike was a plain iron cone also made from a triangle, identical to that on a pilum.  The spearhead at right is 11" long.

       The Deepeeka #3501 Roman Spear is terrible!!  3527 Roman Spear isn't bad, but the "Thin Pilum" has the same catalog number (on the website at least), so there may be some confusion.  3529 Greek Spear has a decent head, but also a 5th century BC cast brass buttspike, and the shaft is two pieces.

Accoutrements--Optional pugioCloak and marching gear same as legionary.

Trajan's Roman Cavalry Site, http://www.trajan20.freeserve.co.uk/ 

Also see the page of Things to Avoid.

       The auxiliae or auxiliary troops, usually non-citizens enlisted from the provinces, were organized in their own units.  Infantry cohorts had 480 men in 6 centuries, as in a legion, and in fact many of the centurions were transferred legionary centurions.  The commander was a praefectus, a young man of equestrian rank appointed by a provincial governor.  A cohors sagittaria was made of archers rather than regular infantry.  A cavalry wing or ala was 512 men, made of 16 turmae (squadrons) of c. 32 men and a decurion.  Roughly half of all auxiliary units were alae, and in addition nearly half of the infantry cohorts were cohortes equitatae or "part horsed".  A cohors equitata had the usual six centuries of infantry plus four turmae of cavalry, for a total compliment of about 600 men.  This shows that cavalry formed a very significant portion of the Roman army and was highly regarded.

       In the second half of the first century AD, a few auxiliary units were increased in size to become milliaria, or "thousand-strong".  The exact organization is unclear, and the name may not have been an exact indication of the unit's size.  A cohors milliaria is thought to have had 10 centuries (or five double-strength centuries), similar to an enlarged legionary first cohort, and totalling 800 men.  An ala milliaria may have had 24 turmae for a total of 768 men--very few of these units are known to have existed, and command of one was considered a very prestigious post.  There was also the cohors equitata milliaria, composed of 10 centuries of infantry and 8 turmae of cavalry, for a total of 1056 men.  The normal auxiliary units became known as quingenaria or five-hundred-strong to differentiate them.
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