Army’s evolution (s. I - IV AD)
The Roman army was very structured and disciplined. Its essential unit was the legion, composed almost exclusively of heavy infantry. Together with her, auxiliary troops fought, born to supplement the needs and shortcomings of the legion: archers, slingers, light infantry or cavalry.
Thus specific auxiliary units of cavalry, alae, were created; infantry, cohort; or mixed infantry and cavalry, cohors equitata. Under Augustus’s command, these auxiliary troops would be part of the regular army.
Throughout the centuries, the army evolved and changed. Weapons, armor, shields and other equipment are adapted to new needs and ways of fighting.
Our reconstruction is a journey through four centuries to know the changes that took place within the auxiliary units of the legions, focusing in this case on the history of the Cohors I Gallica.
From the third century on, a convulsive moment for the Roman world, there are great changes in all aspects of the life on the empire, and therefore also within the army.
Already in the fourth century, the progressive influence of the uses and customs of the troops coming from the outer territories are reflected in all levels of the army: use of the spatha, the chainmail or lorica hamata, types of helmets, the form and decorations of the tunics, use of the trousers…
In a very visual way, with didactic explanations and small format exhibitions, legionaries from different eras can be observed and thus appreciate the modifications that were taking place within the army. And not only the particularities regarding weapons, clothing and specific materials of each period, but also how evolved the warfare way, life within the legion, the use and functions of troops, etc.
It tries to bring close to the viewer a different perspective to the usual one of how they were the soldiers of the army on the ancient Rome, since its existence prolonged during centuries and the transformations were constant.
Trajan's Column detail (2nd century
Early imperial panoply (Notitia dignitatum)
1st century soldier reenactment
1st century soldier wearing a lorica segmentata (banded mail) reenactment
Tetrarchs Sculpture (3rd century)
3rd century soldier
in plain clothes
4th century heavy infantry soldier