What Roman Soldier Costumes Teach about Roman History

The dress and costumes of various kinds of humans from ancient time periods can often illuminate much about the way they lived and the history of their people and times.

Roman soldier

Ancient Roman Clothing

While togas may be most commonly associated with the dress of the people from the Roman Empire, the costumes of the brave Roman soldiers proudly displayed the force and might of a proud society that ruled Europe for centuries.

The first thing to note about the Roman soldier costume and battle dress was the meticulous attention to detail regarding both form and function. The overlapping body armor strips create a formidable look while providing valuable protection. Their design and construction evolved over time through trial and error, with their successes and failures on the battlefields serving as a guide for adjustments and additions. For example, the Roman armor was at one time most commonly made of leather before advancing to the more protective metal.

Heavy Armor

The armor was extremely heavy. It took great strength to travel and put the armor to use, making it essential for soldiers to be in top physical form and shape. The Roman Empire lasted so long because of the intelligence of their leadership and tactical strategy, but the soldiers used to carry out those plans were also historically fit, strong, and ferocious warriors.

It was also very expensive to arm Roman soldiers with the proper weapons and protection. Helmets, or galeas, were often recycled after being collected from the battlefields after particularly costly skirmishes with the enemy.

Variations in the styles and protective elements changed and evolved throughout the years, giving further glimpses into various time periods throughout the Roman Empire’s reign. The weapons used, and the clothing and protection worn, were at least partially dependent on the time period, location, and the unique circumstances of the moment.

While there was never an official uniform for the Roman soldier costume, uniformity enabled soldiers to present a look of cohesion and strength to their formidable enemies.

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