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Ave,

Have reviewed most of the previous postings but have not seen any discussions on veterans, other than diplomas, and the physical part of resettlement.

Does anyone know if veterans kept their military belt? Was it customary for veterans to still wear the military style Tunica, or maybe that was something that was only done on their legions holiday?

New to this group and am amazed at the scholarship and information available. Makes one wish that the internet and forums like this were available during ones university days. Keep up the good work!

Regards from the Balkans,

Arminius Primus, aka Al
Welcome aboard, and here's a + for a good first question!

Sorry not to have an equally good answer for you, but I'll bet someone will.
Well, it is but one small piece of evidence but IIRC, wasn't the ex-soldier,found at Herculaneum carrying a bag of carpenters tools, wearing his military belt, sword and dagger? This was one of the reasons he was identified as an ex-soldier.
Now, whether he wore them as a matter of course, or whether, as 'valuables' like his tools, he snatched them up and put them on to flee, is a moot point.
Even if the latter case is correct, it shows that veterans could still keep and own their belts/sidearms .......
Do we know that he was an EXsoldier? He was armed, if I remember the photo correctly, so perhaps still in service?

Gaius Decius Aquilius

A short summary of documents l quickly scanned.

Testaments to length of service and time as a "reserve".

Belts and equipment left in wills of discharged veterans.

Tax exemption from some taxes but not others if a veteran serves in pubic office. specific reference to a Road Tax.

Protest from a veteran that he has been made to do compulsory service specifically prohibited for veterans.

Discharges ranged from honorable , medical, and dishonorable. Dishonorably discharged veterans to be marked. How so not described.

Offenses committed during service shall not be held against an honorably discharged veteran.

Veterans, and the children of veterans shall not be condemned to the mines, or public works, or beaten with rods. (Cool, huh?)

Veterans cannot be appointed against their will to the positions of magistrate, ambassador, or tax collector.

All soldiers keep permanently the title "Miles". The context in several documents seems to indicate the ability of veterans to preform as some sort of local police. This indicates permanent possession of the military belt, which is a distinguishing feature of a Miles.

Letter from veteran who was recalled to service from the reserves asking his wife to send him his belts.

There is change over time, of course.

R. Izard
veteran, exempt from property tax and from being beaten with rods... at least in this state
Hi David !
That is an interesting point ! Dr Sara Bisel, who investigated the skeletons found in and around the boatshed reckoned the man to be 37-40 years old.He was 170 cm (5ft 7ins) tall, average for the time, was carrying a bag of carpenter's tools, probably in a leather bag, and had 3 gold and 15 silver coins, probably in a small cloth bag, as well as having military belts gladius and pugio.
His skeleton showed former wounds - he was missing three front teeth, and his left thigh had healed up after a serious wound. She also deduced he had frequently been riding from his well-developed thighs (described as 'horseman's thighs)....he therefore may have served as a legionary cavalryman ( as a resident of Herculaneum, he must have been a citizen hence most likely served in the legions, or just possibly an auxiliary unit 'civium romanum')

Now we know that no military units were based in Herculaneum at the time, which is why he is usually described as an ex-soldier.

However, he was slightly too young to be 'retired', because Vespasian had set the term of service at 25 years, hence if he joined at 17-18 would have reached retirement age at 42-43.

That leaves two possibilities; he could have been a member of the town's vigiles(sort of combined police/firemen) , if the town had any, which is unlikely, or else he had been retired on medical grounds (missio causaria), given his severe leg wound.....this latter seems the likeliest explanation.
Paul,

on a sidenote, I don't agree that he had to be legionary cavalry or auxilia CR. There are Roman citizens in ordinary auxiliary cohorts as well iirc.


About the soldier: this is just speculation but he might well be a frumentarius. Several were sent to Italy from various legions and they fulfilled different jobs from special missions to just delivering messages and commands. They usually had horses. So in his case that would fit. Was he maybe handicapped by his earlier wound? That might help explain why he was sent to Italy to fulfill some administrational duty as frumentarius.
Hi Micha !

I didn't actually say "had to be legionary cavalry or auxilia C.R.".....I was cautious enough to use phrases such as "may have served..." "most likely served..." or "just possibly..." and the other two possible explanations I put forward, including a discharged wounded veteran as " likeliest" based on his age and wounds.......

I definitely wouldn't disagree with you that other explanations, such as the frumentarius you suggested, are most certainly possible.

To answer the original question, the evidence of this man, whatever he was, together with the knowledge that soldiers paid for their kit, hence owned it, plus the evidence referred to by Ralph, and the painted depictions of men from Pompeii/Herculaneum in what appears to be military tunica ( or worn military style, hitched up - bearing in mind the same was true of 'working class' Romans anyway) points to the answers to Al's questions being most likely "Yes!"..... Smile D
Greetings Arminius,

Quote:Does anyone know if veterans kept their military belt?
I remember reading that veterans were recalled to duty from time to time at least during the late Republic, such as under Pompey the Great when he recalled his father's old veterans to duty in his province of Picenum and Umbria during the civil war between Sulla and Marius. It would seem unlikely to me that veterans would have to repurchase all their gear from scratch, especially personal items like the cingulum / balteus. If veterans did not keep their old gear then the next likely possibility is that they bequeathed it to their sons (assuming they were also soldiers), IMO. We know this practiced existed for helmets from certain surviving specimens that they were passed on to other soldiers.

By the way, do you have any particular period in mind ?

Quote:R. Izard
veteran, exempt from property tax and from being beaten with rods... at least in this state
:lol: :lol:

~Theo
Theo et al,

Great discussion as always, I have a better understanding of veterans status now. Especially the part about being exempt from being beaten with rods Big Grin .

Actually was looking at the period around the the 1st Century CE . Seems my small part of the Balkans really started to flourish about then and I sort of had the idea that maybe it was due to the resettlement of veterans in the area.

Regards from Scupi, Arminius Primus aka Al
Arminius/Al wrote:-
Quote:Actually was looking at the period around the the 1st Century CE . Seems my small part of the Balkans really started to flourish about then and I sort of had the idea that maybe it was due to the resettlement of veterans in the area.
.....that would be correct. Roman influence in Illyria/Macedonia grew during the second century BC, and veterans colonies were planted, many more during the Civil Wars, and more still under Augustus in the late 1stC BC. There were dozens in the region...two notable ones being Dyrrhachium(modern Durres) and Byllis in Illyrian Macedonia.....
Quote:She also deduced he had frequently been riding from his well-developed thighs (described as 'horseman's thighs)....he therefore may have served as a legionary cavalryman
I recall that being derided by experienced riders. There are many reasons for a man to be bow-legged and have well developed thighs. Did either of his belts have an apron?
Very definitely one of the Herculaneum soldier's belts had an apron - I saw the belts/belt parts, the weapons and his tool kit when I saw the "Tales from an Eruption" tour of artifacts at the Museum of Civilization, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada in August 2006. I was there as part of a Roman reenactment display. Lee Holeva was there as well and took some photos of the belts, etc., which he posted up on RAT afterward. I purchased the so-called exhibit catalog and was hugely disappointed that the belts, etc. did not make it into the book. "Not artistic enough or something?" :x

The soldier could also have been serving with the Navy - the fleet base at Misenum was very near. And the "apron" wasn't just worn on legionary belts, but also by auxiliaries and thus might also have been worn by fleet soldiers (borrowing Sara Elisa Phang's term for naval personnel used in The Marriage of Roman Solders, Brill, 2001).

Considering that belts were items on which the soldiers lavished money - i.e. many may have been personally bought or at least embellished at the soldier's own expense, it would seem likely that he could take his belt with him into retirement.

Whether a veteran could take other items of equipment into retirement, is simply an unknown (and hotly debated in some circles).

Quinton Johansen
Marcus Quintius Clavus, Optio Secundae Pili Prioris Legionis III Cyrenaicae
Tarbicus wrote:-
Quote:I recall that being derided by experienced riders. There are many reasons for a man to be bow-legged and have well developed thighs.
That's certainly true, Jim, and I must say her reasoning sounds a bit dubious to me too...but on the other hand, she is an 'expert', and we know that manual professions do produce bone deformities ( e.g. modern tennis players, mediaeval archers and many more, as has been referred to in another thread)....perhaps there is something unique to horse riding?Or not? ........can anyone else with more knowledge comment?
Quote:Tarbicus wrote:-
Quote:I recall that being derided by experienced riders. There are many reasons for a man to be bow-legged and have well developed thighs.
That's certainly true, Jim, and I must say her reasoning sounds a bit dubious to me too...but on the other hand, she is an 'expert', and we know that manual professions do produce bone deformities ( e.g. modern tennis players, mediaeval archers and many more, as has been referred to in another thread)....perhaps there is something unique to horse riding?Or not? ........can anyone else with more knowledge comment?
Show me evidence of a cavalyrman having a double belt with apron :wink:

Show me a jockey with over-developed thighs.... Smile Methinks John Wayne has been thought of.
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