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Could anyone tell me what the approximate weight of a legionnaire's marching pack? Say first century A.D, if it matters.

Thanks.
Quote:... weight of a legionnaire's marching pack?
You probably need to define what you mean by a "marching pack", now that it seems that the men on Trajan's Column aren't carrying Josephus's list of luggage, but are actually travelling expeditus.
In fact, it was the packs exhibited on Trajan's column which set me to thinking, but I'm more interested in the pack they'd be carrying on cross-country expeditions.
I may have answered my own question.

"The precise contents and weight of Roman military sarcina are hard to determine. Weight estimates range widely from a low of 30 lbs. to a high of nearly 100. The high estimate, 90 to 100 lbs., was probably two-thirds of an average soldier's body weight in the case of shorter Italian man, and seems unrealistic, though some modern authors have expressed confidence. On a more realistic scale, estimates range from 48 lbs. to 43 lbs. (60 Roman pounds) stated by Vegetius, excluding armor and weapons, to 30 lbs." Sara Elise Phang in Roman Military Service: Ideology and Discipline in the Late Republic and Early Principate (Cambridge, 2008), p. 217.

Phang goes on to list and discuss the probable inventory as well as notable variations, such as Julius Ceasar's expediti.
We did experiments up on the wall early in the decade and found that the with the armour and packs the legionary would be carrying the same as a Marine yomped accross the Falklands namely 55Kgs. It fits as men haven't changed.
Thanks.

I've seen that higher figure It's a lot to carry day after day on a march. Confusedhock:

Modern combat infantry are often transported, at least to the theater of operations by air, rail or vehicle. Their Roman counterpart had to walk the whole way, unless there was a body of water with convenient conveyance.
It seems an astonishing amount to us, but we are not accustomed to work at that level. It's entirely possible for a man to carry a heavier load. Canadian voyageurs carried huge bundles when portaging their canoes in the Fur Trade days, as did American slaves in the South at the cotton harvest time. We who are office workers could simply not likely keep up even if someone else carried our marching pack: walk 20 miles, dig for two hours, then cook supper? and perhaps stand a turn at the guard post for four more hours...day after day.

Most of us would simply collapse and be left behind to fend for ourselves in hostile territory. Not something that's career enhancing. I know I'd last maybe two days, and then I'd be abandoned.
I wouldn't last through the first morning. :lol:
We found that if you put too much into the pack it would be too heavy and you would have to exert pressure on the furcus to keep it on your back. The two Pilae Murali had to be fastened to the one Pilum we carried.

We did not do more than a couple of miles but we were in our 40s and 50s and managed it reasonably with no training.
I tried to persuade my youngest son a very fit serving Hussar to try but he would only do it if he could keep his modern boots on and we thought that would undermine the trial.
The general conclusion was that for fit men in training the 20 roman miles a day was not unreasonable. Indeed that was demonstrated by the Royal Marines in the Falklands.
Is there twenty miles to walk in the Falklands? (That was meant to be humor.)
Just walk up and down Mount Snowdon a few times, that would more than suffice....
That's tough with no pack.

Conditioning has a lot to do with it as well as the limited distance each day. During the American Civil War, "Stonewall" Jackson's division occasionally made forced marches of as much as fifty miles a day, surprising the enemy.

BTW, elsewhere I've read threads about not marching in step. When I took basic training (in the last century) I was told we learned to march because it was the fastest way to move a large number of people quickly. Assuming at least a legion was involved, would they move fastest in step or out? Has anyone tested it?
Quote:That's tough with no pack.

Conditioning has a lot to do with it as well as the limited distance each day. During the American Civil War, "Stonewall" Jackson's division occasionally made forced marches of as much as fifty miles a day, surprising the enemy.

BTW, elsewhere I've read threads about not marching in step. When I took basic training (in the last century) I was told we learned to march because it was the fastest way to move a large number of people quickly. Assuming at least a legion was involved, would they move fastest in step or out? Has anyone tested it?

I didn't test it, but I would argue fore marching in step, although the evidence for it in the Roman period is small. I've found that when people know how to walk in step (you've learn to do it first, off course) they automatically will do it when walking in a big group. On the march I did last year, we one evening wanted to visit the old town centre of the town we stayed that night and walked out of our camp and found out that we were all walking in step, where nobody intended to do so. I also found that I found it easier to get the same speed as someone else just by walking in step with that person, as that will give you the same movements.

But all that is after I got used to walking in step! Otherwise all this wouldn't have worked out well.
I would go with the instep argument. You will be stepping on the back of the person in front to start if you are out of step, so I am convinced that keeping in step is the smoothest way to do it!
I doubt people actually devised it just to make the troops look pretty when they marched.
Be careful of a lot of assumptions, here. Stepping on the feet of the men in front of you assumes that you are close enough together to do that. Do we have evidence for that? Compare to the frequent assumption that men were shoulder-to-shoulder in combat, whereas the historical sources indicate a wider spacing.

Can you march in step over rough ground, or even rutted roads? Sure, Roman roads *could* be exceedingly well-engineered and very solidly built, but documents from Vindolanda indicate that the roads were basically impassable in the winter, so I don't think we can assume the soldiers always had smooth pavement to march on. Armies in the 18th century routinely moved at the "route step", meaning not in step, until it was time to sharpen up the ranks for maneuvering.

I still think many weight estimates are a little high. People like to include palisade stakes, for instance, but the literary references to those seem to indicate that they were not a standard part of a man's load.

*Could* the Romans have marched with over 100 pounds per man? Sure, probably. But I don't think there is reason to believe they did so on any sort of regular basis. There just isn't that much they had to carry.

Valete,

Matthew
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