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Full Version: Roman stretcher (Medical)
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Heya RAT.

Are there any evidence of stretchers? Been considering building one for our group but can't find any sources on it.
(11-06-2017, 08:59 AM)FrederikA Wrote: [ -> ]Are there any evidence of stretchers?

Interesting question. We might assume there was something of the sort, but I can't find anything concrete about them. Are there any depictions on imperial monuments?

There are some vague references online to leticarii as 'stretcher bearers' - but the word means 'litter/bed carrier'. There are also paralabani or paralaboi, but they seem to have been employed in church-based hospitals. The Strategikon says that deputati were ordered to find and transport injured men, but doesn't say anything about how they did it.

Without further evidence, we could either assume that something like a modern stretcher existed, or that wounded men were carried on or in something else (litters? blankets? their shields?) or that the army slaves or deputati just carried them bodily.


I do recall a reference somewhere to Roman soldiers carrying an injured man on a door - it also turns up in a novel, but I think it's based on something genuine. It sounds like an improvised expedient though!
Thanks for the reply Nathan!

We have discussed shields and such in our unit, but it just feels wrong due to the organised medical units in the legion.

Like you say yourself, little to no evidence is around (I haven't found any at least) but I shall search further. Will of course post the results of my project.
Hi FrederikA, I can't think of any explicit evidence off hand but your post reminded me of the time I went for a week's training to be a Summer Mountain Leader up at Glenmore Lodge in Scotland - we were trained on how to evacuate a casualty off the mountain if that person was unable to walk.

A survival blanket was used as an emergency stretcher with two walking poles wrapped up along the edges as handles. It was surprisingly effective. I remember thinking at that time that a cloak and two spears/javelins would serve the same purpose.
There is plenty of evidence of shields being used as stretchers from the infamous Spartan anecdote through to the Hundred Years War, but I can't think of any Roman accounts off the top of my head.