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Hi , I wonder if you could anwser this question , dont know if it can be anwsered . My job is a Historical Interpteter for schools and museums , basically I teach history but get dressed and get the children dressed in whatever period being covered but I mainly do Roman Legionary around the Invasion of Britain . I was asked this question and had no Idea of the anwser .

How many soldiers were in the Roman army ? not just in the Invasion force but on a whole .

Can anybody tell me please ?

Thanks , Julius . :wink:
I don't think anyone can go beyond a ballpark figure here.

You have the proverbial 'thirty legions' - probably not quite any more after the loss of XVII, XVIII and XIX. Let's say 27 for simplicity's sake, I'm not entirely sure which legions were in existence at that exact time (IIRC Caligula raised one? but the majority of new legions are post-Julio-Claudian). 27 legions of about 4-000 to 5,000 men each, and again, we can only guess how much of a legion's administrative strength would physically exist at any given time. There had been serious recruitmnent problems under Augustus, I'm not sure whether these had been resolved under Claudius. Let's assume the legions are close to establishment strength, that makes somewhere around 135,000 men.

For auxiliaries we're guessing even more. The rule of thumb is that there were roughly as many as there were legionaries. I haver no idea whether that includes or excludes client/allied forces, but I will assume it excludes them. So let's say another 135,000 auxiliaries, with several thousand client troops available on request locally in some places.

Say 270,000 army soldiers in regular employ, give or take a few ten thousand.

Then you have the navies - I'm not even going to try, we have our resident experts for that. But it was enough to raise two legions from during the war.

There are urban cohorts, vigiles, German bodyguards and praetorians in Rome, but I'm not sure they should be counted. Neither are the numbers entirely clear.

If you say '300,000' you're likely not to be too badly off base.
Good guess Carlton

I was sitting here running possible numbers in much the same way as you outline and reaching a number of 250,000 - 300,000 (give or take) for all the reasons and caveats you list.

Perhaps a member of our forum has a more precise number, but I would think 300,000 a reasonable estimate.

Of course, I will not be at all surprised if someone has done the research that blows this number out of the water :oops:

:wink:

Narukami
Thanks lads , an indepth reply . I had a rough idea which was around 250,000 so I was quite close to your estimates .

Thanks again .


Julius .
Now that's a lot of hobnails. Matt, would that be enough to get an order together, or what!
That is a whole lot of coin to find every year Confusedhock: