First Person account on Romans in Scotland
Hello. I'm a roman soldier named Aulus. I'm going to tell you about the Caledonians and us Romans. I will explain how our outfits and villages are very different from each other. I'll start out telling you about our weapons and clothing.
I'll describe the roman weapons first. For weapons, we had spears (or pilum or hasta as we say in Roman), and swords (or gladius). Our spears are really useful because when they hit their target, they bend and break so that our enemies can't throw them back at us. Every Roman soldier carries two of these, and they are 10 feet long. They are made of iron. Our swords are pretty cool, too. They are about two feet long and two inches wide. These swords are great for slashing and stabbing. What is really unique about these is that the handles are made up of shaped bones. They are shaped so that they are really easily held and used. The Celts had swords, spears, and iron chains for weapons. Their swords were just regular two-foot long swords that were used for slashing and cutting. Their spears were 10 feet long, and their design was incredibly unique and useful. If one of their spears hit you, you wouldn't be able to pull it out. They have ridges on them just like a snake's mouth so that if you try to pull it out, it's like giving yourself another wound and it just goes deeper. They also had iron chains that they could sling and fling at you. That is the description of our weapons.
I'll describe our clothes and defensive equipment to you now. For clothes, we wear a regular tunic (tunica in roman) underneath our armor. Then on top of that, we wear a cloak (sagum in roman) that is kept in its natural brownish color. They are waterproof, which is a big fighting advantage. On top of that, we have our armor (or lorica). It consists of a big breastplate which is its most important feature, and a lower chest plate. It is made up entirely of metal plates. Our helmets (or cassis) are big and bronze and lined with fur. They are very comfortable. Our shields (or scutum) are rectangular and curved. They are made of wood and they have a big, round iron boss in the middle that's good for stopping spears and sword slashes. We also carry kit bags for our equipment (or saccus). These can get very heavy and can weigh up to 60 lbs. The biggest advantage we have in war is, believe it or not, our shoes! Our shoes are very comfortable. They are made of cowhide and they are 2 cm thick. They don't wear out quickly, and we can cross a lot of terrain our enemies can't. That's a huge fighting advantage for us. I'll now explain all the Caledonian equipment that I saw them wearing in battle. The Celts do have shoes that are made of leather, but they are nowhere as nice as ours. In war, the Celts wear really colorful clothing that's really vibrant and bright. They also paint their faces, and a lot of them have huge beards. I personally think that they look really weird with those beards. You never really see any non-slave class roman with those. Their helmets look really uncomfortable. They are made up of metal and leather. They are kind-of shaped like viking helmets. The Caledonians are also really fond of jewelry. They all wear these shiny iron torcs around their necks. So that's my description of the Celts' clothing. My feeling is that us Romans have much better equipment then they do.
Now I can explain our villages. The roman village is much more advanced than the Celts'. I'll describe the Celts' first. There's really only 3 parts of a Caledonian village. Well, that's what the Celt that joined our camp told us. First, there's the Village area. The Caledonians are fond of animals and they have lots of them. They have large herds of cattle here. They also grow their two main crops here, oats and barley. They make carnyxes here, or war trumpets. They have about 2000-3000 people living in a village at one time. They also have short life spans. it's incredibly rare to have someone live over 50 here. The 2nd part of a Caledonian village is all their houses. They were round and had a really steep roof. Women worked hard cooking in here and doing chores. This is where everyone slept. The elderly people in the village were considered important and they always told stories to everyone here. The Caledonians didn't have salt, so they had to trade for it so they could cook. The Celts cooked in cauldrons that they made here. The third and final piece to a Caledonian village was the workshop. These were shaped like houses, but were much bigger. The Caledonians made everything they needed here, including jewelry. The Celts loved jewelry. They were obsessed with these shiny iron torcs. These are like necklaces, but thicker and they are open at one end.
The Caledonians blew threw bellows to keep all of their charcoal-fires warm to heat the iron ore they worked with. This method was very successful.
Now I'll describe our villages. On the outside of our gates, we have the parade grounds which we practice marching and worship our favorite two gods, Mars and Jupiter. On the left side of our village, we have the Commander's headquarters and the baths. I love the baths. You can go to the bathroom there and take different temperature baths. The slaves heat up the hot bath with a fire underneath it. There is also the cool bath and frigid bath here. It's really relaxing. We clean ourselves with olive oil, too. The Commander's Headquarters is where, obviously, the commander sleeps. He also gives us soldiers extra pay here, and he usually just reads and eats dates which are considered the best roman fruit. On the top right of our village is the barracks, which is where us soldiers sleep, cooked (our favorite food snails), and polish our kit bags. Then on the bottom right of our city comes the workshops, or where artisans make weapons, clothes, and building materials such as pickaxes, nails and hammers. On the bottom center of our village stands the headquarters, the most important building. Every soldier comes here twice a year to swear an oath of allegiance to the Romans. All of the extra equipment is kept here.
That is the end of my discussion about the Romans and the Caledonian villages and equipment. As you can see, these two civilizations are very different. I hope you learned a lot. See you later. ~Aulus~