An Autobiography of Optimus Prime, and his Experiences as an Officer in the Roman Army
My name is Optimus Prime and I was an officer in the Roman army. I fought in the battles between the Celts and the Romans, and this is an account of my experiences when we invaded Scotland.
I lived in a Roman fort with my fellow officers and soldiers, along with the commander and his family, who lived with him in the Praetorium, or the Commander's Quarters. My family couldn't live with me inside the fort, they had to live outside in the village, along with all the other soldiers' families. Other buildings inside the fort, besides the Praetorium, was the balnae, or baths, the centuriae, or barracks, the fabricae, or workshops, the campus, or parade ground, and the principia, or the head quarters. The centuriae was the sleeping quarters for us soldiers, and each building was about 50 meters long and 10 meters wide. When I woke up each morning I would head over to the campus for weapon training and marching drills. The other officers and I made the soldiers practice different formations, my favorite being the "tortoise". The tortoise was a formation where the soldiers would march in a line with their shields out to block enemy missiles. After training, we would go to the Principia, the most important building in the fort. The principia was run by the officers in the legion. This was where the soldiers would swear an oath of allegiance to the emporer, punishments would be carried out, and where weapons would be stored. In the afternoon, I would go to the balnae for a nice soak in the baths. I bathed in a cold bath, then a warm, bath then a hot bath, because we Romans believe that that is healthy and good for you. Afterwards I would usually dry off in the sauna. Another important part of the fort that I didn't often go to were the fabricae, or the workshops. This was were the craftsmen worked. One workshop was where meat was kept and supplied. Another was where the blacksmiths made nails, armour, and helmets. Another workshop was used by masons, plumbers, carpenters, and roof-tile makers. And the Praetorium, which I already talked about was just a living quarters for the commander. Surrounding the fort was a 3 meter high wall made of carefully cut blocks of turf. The fort had four gates, and was a rectangular shape.
The first skirmish I was in with the Celts was when we were moving out of our fort for the spring campaign. We had been marching along for a few days when we spotted the smoke in the distance. As we got closer I got my first look at a Celtic fort. The first impression I got was how primitive the fort was compared to ours. It was basically a big circle with unimpressive walls. Inside was an unorganized looking jumble of huts with thatched roofs, and I realized that this was a fort-village. We snuck up to the gate, took out the guards and then raided the fort, looting what was useful to us, burning the rest. The Celtic soldiers wore woolen tunics and simple helmets made of metal and leather along with a large shield made of wood covered in leather. We wore a sagum, or long woolen cloaks and a cassiss, or a bronze helmet with an iron cap underneath. The officers would wear red cloaks so we stood out in battle. As for weapons, the Celts had a long sword for cutting and slashing, as well as long spears with spiral points used for making deep wounds. Us Roman soldiers had a pilum, or throwing spear, and a gladius, or a short, wide, double-edged sword. The battle only lasted a few hours. By the end of it, we were surrounded by a mass of dead bodies, and we ourselves had only lost 12. We took a few survivors as hostages. Another impression that the layout of the Celtic fort gave me was that they were a bit disorganized. Our fort had a strict layout, whereas their's was more random. If the layout of their fort was disorganized, then I figured that their army wasn't very organized either. That was a useful piece of information. This battle left me feeling a lot more confident then I was before.
After the battle we continued on until night fell and then set up camp. The next few weeks were uneventful, stumbling upon a Celtic fort-village here and there, but other than that nothing major. One time we picked up a barrel of the Celtic ale to try. It was disgusting, like drinking water thats been in a jar of mud for a week. About a half a second after everyone took a sip, you could hear a symphony of hundreds soldiers spraying their beer all over each other. It was rather comical, we Romans definitely prefer our good old wine. In the next month we had a huge battle with the Celts, which we eventually won, but we lost about half of our century. This forced us to return to our fort a little bit prematurely, until reinforcements arrived. After that we went through another winter living in the fort and then were called back home to Rome.
So, that is a short summary of what life was like an Roman officer during the time we invaded Scotland.