RomanArmyTalk

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Hello! I've been lurking around the forums for quite a while now, drinking in the vast amount of knowledge that is collected here. Ancient Rome was my first love in history, but unfortunatly I moved on to more recent history as my specialty. Now that I am in grad school, however, that interest in Rome has been rekindled and I have alot to catch up on. I hope to learn alot from my time here and hope to be able to contribute myself eventually.

So onto the question...

I am over-simplifying, but for the sake of the question, most of the high ranking officers in the Legion were political appointments. Legates and Tribunes were, again generally speaking, on a career path that required them to spend time in the army. Although some of these would be content with a spartan existance, I would suppose that some would wish for luxury, even in the field. At some points in history, the Emperor himself went on campaign. So my question, in a nutshell, is what sort of "camp furniture" could an officer be expected to have? What about a Centurion? Is there evidence of beds or cots that could be transported? Chairs or tables?

Also, and although this isn't the reenactment section, if anyone has pictures of reconstructions, I would be very interested to see them!

Thanks
There would I think have been very good furniture used by high ranking officers in the Roman military, the situation for a young Tribunus Laticlavus ( a person of high status in Roman life ) is where in his early 20s would be sent maybe to work with a govenor of a province.
The govenor would no dought have a very good life style indeed and the Tribune also would share this kind of style even in the field with many comforts.
Then even with a Centurian we only have to look at the kind of quarters he had on the end of a barrack block ( almost three times that of a Contaburnium ) with a complete set of rooms for his needs indeed he might even have had a slave to cook and clean for him.
Greetings Brian,

While you covered many aspects of what might be expected in a "built-up" or Cantonment area such as Governor's quarters or a barrack block, I believe the original question was that of "On campaign" or while on the march. What type of furniture was carried in/on logistical trains, (wagons and carts) to support the legions?

If any?

Best regards,

My mistake, you did mention "in the field".
Thanks for the responses, guys. I was thinking more about what would be present in the field, whether on manuevers or on campaign. For example, my reenactment experience is much more modern (WWII), but I know that there's a big difference between the little tent that I am crowded in with the other enlisteds as opposed to the officers. I would expect that in ancient times, when rank and social distinctions were even more clear cut this would be the case even moreso.

I know that the Vikings had a bed that could be taken apart for transport and put back together again when they were on land. They would also use sea chests to sit on, and possibly even shields as a table. Although the Vikings were of a later date, I don't think that they were on the same technological level as the Romans. So while out in the field, is there evidence for anything like a cot, stool, ect?
There were folding stools, with metal framework.
I imagine they had tables, to write memoires and reports, orders etc.
I think there is an image of what lookslike a camp bed/cot from a later period, but don't take my word on that.
Probably folding wooden stools too.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=roman+f...40&bih=642
Some tables seem to look more or less like those stools, but scaled up to be a table, with a hard plank top instead of the sling seat.
Bearing in mind that Caesar allegedly carried a portable mosaic floor around with him on campaign, we can assume that the camp quarters of higher ranking officers were quite luxurious. The Roman 'curule chair' of a magistrate was actually very similar to the folding items illustrated in Byron's link. Even centurions would probably have had a bed - perhaps three, to make up a triclinium for dining - and a selection of folding chairs or stools.

Tables or desks were probably not so common - as discussed here, Romans generally wrote on tablets, using their laps as support. They ate lying down, with a low table, like a modern coffee table, or even the ground to place the dishes on.

The only vital furniture, then, would be a bed and a chair or two. And a portable mosaic floor, if you wanted to overawe local potentates... Confusedmile:
Ammianus (Late Roman times) mentions (disapprovingly) folding beds- Id assume camp beds. Ammianus clearly reckons proper soldiers should sleep on the earth!
I seem to recsll when Caesars troops entered the Pompeian camp after Pharsalus, there was a banquet set up to celebrate thir non materialised victory.....silver service was mentioned...
I think that when a high ranking officer was sent off to some distant province he took not only furnishings but even his good silver tableware.
Indeed it has also been considered that even the ordinary soldiers may have had bunk beds in their 8 man barrack rooms, in fact when we look at the barrack blocks at forts on Hadrian's Wall there is every indication that the troops may well have had bunk beds.
Then also Vindolanda or Breminium where we find that the commanders even had their wives and families with them and what more frontier area can one get than this in the far northwest of Empire.
Quote:Ammianus (Late Roman times) mentions (disapprovingly) folding beds- Id assume camp beds. Ammianus clearly reckons proper soldiers should sleep on the earth!
No doubt that was part of the experience of mobile field armies, and my guess is that Ammianus did so himself on many occasions.
Quote:I seem to recsll when Caesars troops entered the Pompeian camp after Pharsalus, there was a banquet set up to celebrate thir non materialised victory.....silver service was mentioned...

Livius.org:

[3.96] In Pompey's camp you might see arbors in which tables were laid, a large quantity of plate set out, the floors of the tents covered with fresh sods, the tents of Lucius Lentulus and others shaded with ivy, and many other things which were proofs of excessive luxury and a confidence of victory, so that it might readily be inferred that they had no apprehensions of the issue of the day, as they indulged themselves in unnecessary pleasures, and yet upbraided with luxury Caesar's army, distressed and suffering troops, who had always been in want of common necessaries.
You should bear in mind that Livius wrote under (and by order of) Octavian/Augustus, the adopted son of Caesar, opponent of Pompey. It is possible he exaggerate the extravagance of Pompey and his generals/supporters, to oppose this to Caesar (who, as a 'true Roman', would not be in need of luxuries, certainly not on campaign).

But of course it's also possible that it's all true.
Catullus 10 has the poet complain that when he travelled with the praetor of Bithynia, he didn't have a single servant who could settle the broken leg of an old camp-bed on his shoulder (fractum qui veteris pedem grabati/in collo sibi collocare posset). Casson's Travel in the Ancient World might be a good resource.
I think Livius is just using the comentaries of Caesar as his source.
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