Roman Ninth Legion’s guilty secret | Rosemary Sutcliff Google Watch

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Roman legionnaires, like those in Rosemary Sutcliff’s Roman novel The Eagle of the Ninth, according to The Observer newspaper:

… have been the subject of innumerable romantic books and films, including the forthcoming epic, The Eagle (of the Ninth), directed by Kevin Macdonald. But new evidence … has revealed that life for a soldier in the Roman Ninth Legion had a more mundane side. A newly excavated site near Healam Bridge fort, North Yorkshire, a military outpost used by the Ninth, has shown soldiers there had their own industrial estate nearby to provide them with clothes, pottery and other equipment. And, although this is not actually new information, they wore socks with their sandals …

Source: Revealed: the Roman Ninth Legion’s guilty secret

One comment

  1. The news about the socks shouldn’t come as a surprise, as there is a letter among the Vindolanda tablets (discovered in the 1970s) written to a Roman soldier serving at Chesterholm from a relative at home promising him more pairs of socks, presumably in response to a letter begging,”send more socks”! I wouldn’t be surprised if the soldiers sneaked on the odd pair of “barbarian” trousers sometimes either, when the northern wind was whistling about under their tunics, though I think the Roman soldiers serving in the north were issued with leather breeches.

    Some things don’t change. I remember my youngest son leaving home to go and live in chillier climes, and on arriving promptly ringing home with the plea, “send more jerseys”!

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