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My Roman Story
"Grampa, tell us about when you were a soldier in the war," Pippo requested. My name is Decimus. I was a sodier in the Roman army. I was also a skilled blacksmith. While I was serving in the army i also supported our soldiers with new weapons that the blacksmiths made. I served for 5 years. Every soldier has to serve for 20 years but i am retired now. I have been retired for 3 years now. I enjoy telling my grandchildren the stories of when i was a soldier in the army. My favorite story to tell was when we found a spy in our camp. The story goes like this.
We had just arrived in Melrose, Scotland. We were setting up our fort. We were setting up our barracks or the buildings where we sleep. We were putting our belongings in one of our two common rooms were we cooked, gambled, polished our kits and kept our belongings. We had barely been there an hour when we heard someone screamed, "Spy. He's a spy!" By the time we got to where the scream came from other soldiers already had the spy captured. Apparently he had fallen in the ditches we dug ourside the walls of our fort so intruders couldn't get in. Nobody reconized him as a soldier in our century so we had 2 soldiers run to the commanders quarters to get our centurion or our commander while we tied the spy up. We looked through his belongings while we waiting for our centurion. He was wearing a helmet made out of metal and covered in leather and had a horned beast on his hemlet. I figured he wore it to make himself look taller and fiercer but he was at least a whole head shorter than most of our warriors. We all wore bronze helmets with a skull cap of iron underneath that was lined with fur to make it more comfortable. We laughed at the spy's jewelery or as he called it a "torc". It was a copper necklace that was coiled like a snake. We would never wear jewelery. He was wearing a bright dyed wollen tunic . Our tunics were very much alike, but ours went down to our knees. They also wore wollen trousers called bracae or breeches. He wore a bright, checkered cloak that was fastened around his neck. He had dyed his bright yellow but we didn't dye ours so it would staywaterproof and warm. We later learned that only the rich wore undergarments and women wore sleeveless linen blouses dyed purple. The Celtic warrior also wore leather boots that kept their feet warm because it was very cold here in Scotland. The boots we wore were leather but we also wore fur socks for warmth and comfort. His shield was a joke to us. His was made of wood and covered in leather where as ours was made our of strips of wood with an iron rim that had a iron boss in the middle to protect from stones or missiles. Their shields were designed with wild beasts on them. They had also stolen our ideas of weapons, but the only weapon he was carrying was a long sword used for slashing and cutting and a spear with a spiral pointed iron head for creating deep wounds. He also had a slingshot. We carried a hasta or a spear and a two foot long sword. The advantage of our spear was that when it hit something hard it would bend so it was useless to the enemy and we could throw it and kill someone from 90 feet away. A headless spear was given to a brave warrior in honor after a battle. Our sword was 2 feet long and 2 inches wide and was double edged with a sharp point. They were used to thrust and stab. The handle was made of bone and we kept them in a leather pouch. The warrior didn't wear body armor as where we did. Our armor protected our chest and back and it was made our of metal plates and strips so we could move easier. The Celtic warrior did not carry anything else. We carry a kit bag because we had to bring our own food for three days. We carried a bronze tin food box, a kettle, a hand mill and building tools. We were nicknamed mules because we carried so much with us. Once our centurion got to us he told us all to return to our barracks and go to sleep. We all did what we were told but none of us slept. We sat in our beds and wondered what had happened to him. He obviously wasn't a Roman but a Celtic soldier. We all knew that if he was trying to blend in he would have done a better job of disguising himself. After a while two other soldiers and I snuck out to see what happened to him. If our centurion found out we had snuck out knew we would be in trouble but our curiosity got the better of us. We snuck over to the head quarters. We figured they brought him there because that was where we kept our weapons. Once we go to the window we ducked and listened. All we heard was mumbling. We couldn't quite make out much, but what we did hear didn't tell us anything. Just as we were about to go back to our barracks we heard screaming. The man let out a blood-curtling scream so loud the entire fort must have heard it. After that we went back to our camps wothout a second thought. We had all assumed that they tortured him to find out what he knew, what he was doing there and what he knew about us. Nobody wanted to see the man tortured so we left.
No one ever actually found out what happened to him. We had asked our centurion but he never really gave us a straight answer. We all thought he was dead but had no proof. Soon after we went back to our normal routine. Waking up at the brink of dawn. Training and working until the sun went down. Going to the bathhouse or gambling in the common room then going to bed. Same routine every day with no change. Out of sight really does mean out of mind because nobody saw him so nobody found a reason to talk about it.
"Grampa, tell us the story when you were injured in the war!" Pippo demanded. "Oh, that is a story for another day. I think it's bedtime for you my grandson," I replied. I picked Pippo and his sister Tullia and tucked them in bed. "Goodnight my precious grandchildren," I whispered. That is one of my stories. A spy was captured because of the way we built our fort and was then captured and never seen again. Every night i still wonder what happened to him. I guess we will never know.
Article posted February 19, 2010 at 09:06 AM •
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