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The Centurion

A Roman centurion

A centurion was in charge of a century made up of 80 legionary soldiers.

His equipment was very different so his men could quickly find him in battle.

He carried a vine stick as a badge of rank. He would use this to punish his men!

The horsehair crest on his helmet went from side to side.

He wore medals on his chest, awarded for bravery in battle.

Centurions could marry, and their wives lived in the barracks with them.

They did not march, they rode on horseback.

An optio - next in command to a centurion









A centurion chose his second in command - called an optio.

Optios carried wax tablets on which they could write passwords and orders of the day.

Only the very best legionaries could hope to become optios and then centurions - and this would take 15 years!

An altar which was erected by an optio was found in Caerwent. The soldier probably retired to the nearby Roman City. Follow this link for pictures and a description.