Full Version: Research for an upcoming roman game
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Dear RAT members!

I don't know if this is the right place to write my questions to you, if not, feel free to move it to the right place.

I'm starting this topic, because me and my brother talked a bit about our enthusiasm of historcial video games and decided on trying to make one. The basic concept of the game would be a simple thing. The player has to train a cohort sized force of legionaries, then try to move with them from destination A to destination B. The game would take place during the gallic wars, but I cant say anything more accurate of it, beaceuse it's not decided yet.

I would like to ask you guys about the following things, required for making the game as historically accurate as possible.

1. What was the actual number of people who were trained paralell? Is it possible that a whole cohort could be trained during a short period of time (eg. in 6 months)?

2. As far as i know, all the recruits or tirones received the same training during their "boot camp". If some of them were better at things like throwing pilums or fighting with a gladius, were they selected in separate groups amd then enlisted in the same centuries by their "special" attributes? Or this was an insignificant fact and they were put thogether randomly?

3. Do the legionaries use any kind of projectile weapons beside the pilum (eg. slings)?

4. When did the training or the buccinators and signiferies start?

5. When did the training of the immunes or specialists start (eg. enginners, surgeons, craftsman etc.)? Were they choosen during their enlistment or during their training? During a conflict were these soldiers part of the actual fighting force or they had a special status?

These would be my first questions, we are at the beginnig of the plannig phase, but I thought it would be a good idea to ask some of you, who are more expedienced in this field.

Thanks for your cooperation,

Caesar raised entire new cohorts and trained them on the march. Some good references on training can be found here:

Individual drill and commands can be found there and also here:

There is also a section on signals:

You should try to base as much as possible on ancient sources and fill in the gap with best guesses from knowledgeable persons.
If you read Vegetius, he lists a number of things that soldiers were trained to do. All were trained to ride and "vault", presumably onto horses?, use slings, bows, missile weapons, and essentially all things that pertain to combat. Not everyone would be an expert archer, but all could send arrows downrange. As far as I remember, and it's been a long time since I read that, the skills were mixed into the units without regard for who was best at what.

That may be more difficult for your game characters, since it wouldn't be a unit of excellent javelin throwers here, and spear fighters there. It would be that some of the men in any unit might throw further than others, for example.
You have already decided, effectively, by noting that you intend to set the game in the period (mid 1st Century BC) to answer most of your questions.

As far as 'we' know, legions in that period were raised en masse and trained as a whole. Living and fighting together and eventually, those who were left, being disbanded together.

Vegetius, whilst certainly good as a source for all the likely things a recruit went through, is most probably writing about the later (Imperial) period when legions (and auxilia) were regularly constituted and new recruits joined existing units, replacing those lost in conflict or injury and retirees. Many of the ranks and roles you are referring to are from this later period.

For your period we can probably assume that centurions (so 6 per cohort in your example), at least, were already experienced (someone has to do the training!). Each centurion (think modern-day drill sergeant if you like) would then assemble his 82(?) men and get training. He would identify 12 of them as 'outstanding' and make 1 his Optio (this chap might also be pre-experienced - drill-corporal?); 1 to be the Signifer (big and strong and an example to his comrades); and 10 men to lead the 'contubernia'/sections. At that point you have the start of all you need. Smile