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Standards for Equipment, Gear and Other Items

In general, all equipment, gear and other items we use should be as historically accurate as possible in form, materials and function. By using items which are as close as possible to the items used by real Roman soldiers, we gain not only an a better knowledge of how they did things in the 1st Century AD, but we also gain a better understanding of the life of the miles gregarious (the common Roman soldier).

Sometimes, we substitute modern materials for ancient, for example the use of steel instead of iron or the use of machine-woven cloth instead of hand-woven. The thing is, while we would like (no, love) to use real wrought iron for armor (vs. steel), it is generally not available in a form or in quantities we can readily use. Hand-spun thread and hand-woven cloth is available and all members are encouraged to use it or make their own, when possible, however the cost of these materials prohibits any requirement of its use.


When making reproduction clothing, armor or kit and you are able to use an ancient method to reproduce an item, you should. Why? For one thing, the older methods will do a better job of making modern materials look like they've been handcrafted. Far too often, modern reproductions are made with much more care and precision than were the originals — in the case of the original items, things were just not that well made — "hand-made" truly describes these items. Measurements were not precise — certainly not precise in the way we know it. Among modern craftsmen and makers of Roman stuff, there seems to be this notion of beautiful shiny objects — in many cases this is just not the way things were done back then. Take a good look at photos of original helmets— most are built a little crooked. Stuff isn't exactly uniform and that would drive modern consumers and reenactors nuts! Of course, this is not to say you should make things in a haphazard manner — just that you shouldn't feel obligated to make your reproduction into total perfection.

Remember: Do it like they did, not like Hollywood does!


We have broken down the soldier's "kit" into two different "lists." They are:

  • "A-List: The Basic Kit"— All items on this list represent the minimum kit required to participate at a typical Legio IX event. Every member must possess the items on this list.
  • "B-List: The Full Kit" or "the complete miles" — Items on this list represent all the additional items needed to complete your common Roman soldier impression.

Detailed descriptions (and sources) for the items on the different lists, will be found under the appropriate item numbers in following pages, along with a vendor from the LEGIO IX Source List.

Another important piece of advice (which is pretty much what this book is about): if you are new to Roman reenacting or new to our unit, please don't rush out and just start buying or making clothes; nor any armor, weapons or other gear! Consult our "Authenticity Czar" — he will be happy to help and advise you!

Follow the lists and try and acquire the items in the order they appear on the lists!

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Becoming a Civilian in Legio IX Hispana


Legio IX has a civilian contingent—members who don't wish to be part of the military and who have an interest in the civilian aspect of Roman Britain. Those members who do portray civilians, don't portray the aristocracy, tribunes, generals, priestesses, etc. No one wears a 1uidromanhistoriantoga (except for certain displays). Civilian members are those common people who would accompany or interact with a camp of Roman soldiers. This can include the women and children of soldiers, as well as assorted craftsmen and local civilians. Civilian members are often native or local born, often Britons but sometimes civilians from other parts of the Empire.

1uidcivilian1Like many Roman reenactment groups, Legio IX Hispana welcomes civilian impressions such including women and children, as LONG as there is an impression. By that we mean what we do is not a baby sitting service nor is it a place simply to socialize (although we do do that). Part of the reason this is done is an effort to both accommodate entire families and to portray Roman civilian life. Roles can include Craftsmen (carpenter, smith, jeweler, netmaker, cord twister, etc.) medic/medicine man, bard and fisherman. Additionally, it is not unknown for older male reenactors (who might have previously played Roman legionaries) to portray consuls, senators, or even a Roman emperor.

In these roles, members can explore the life of the average Roman who was NOT in the military. Tradesmen, craftsmen—families of such. Clerks, slaves, traders... Roman Britain was a diverse and varied land—check here to learn about life then and there.

One Place to Begin

A really great source of information on how to build a Roman civilian impression can be found on Legio XX's website. The link to the civilian area is here.


A really great site to inspire the Roman civilian is here! These are fellow reenactors in Germany... Roman reenacting truly IS something that crosses all borders.


1uidstreet1Here are a couple roles that do not have to be a military role.
  • The Surgeon (Medicus) with his surgical instruments that are recognizable to doctors even today—some with a gruesome history.
  • Herb Seller/Hipotecarium (Apothocary): Our medicus can show you the herbs that were used by the Roman healer to treat ailments, disease and injury. Many were used then, for many different purposes than they are used today. Many of these herbs are unusual, but are now, once again, becoming popular with the herbalist and natural healers of today.
  • Seer/Fortune Teller
  • Families of soldiers and others involved with the army.
  • More to come.
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Becoming a Member of the Ninth Legion

Welcome to Legio IX

This information is intended to get you started to prepare yourself for a Roman Impression as a member of Legio IX. Your impression should be based on Legio IX's service in Britain between Boudica's Revolt in AD 60 and the invasion of Caledonia (Scotland), the battle of Mons Graupius, and the following occupation, up to AD 85. 


If you are under 18, you MUST have signed permission from your parent or guardian to participate. Those under 16 are allowed to participate in drill training only, but NOT combat or combat training. If you are under 16, you MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

We have several "Categories of Membership":

  1. TIRO - Volunteers who have have submitted an application form and have had their application accepted. The unit will help you make or purchase necessary clothing and equipment, and in the meantime can provide loaners so you can participate in events. (DO NOT BUY ANYTHING WITHOUT ASKING THE LEADERSHIP FIRST! We have suggestions of reputable vendors.)
  2. PROBATUS - New members that have purchased or made their own caligae and tunica, and have been to at least one event*.
  3. MILES - Members who have obtained all necessary equipment** and are active participants who have been to at least one public or immersion event*

*Event is defined as any scheduled Legio IX activity as listed on the events page of the LEG IX website, discussion forum, or Facebook group.

**Equipment necessary to progress in rank includes: Caligae, Tunica, Galea, Gladius, Lorica, and Balteus. (Civilian members may also attain different status based on their impressions' completeness).

To Get Started:

First: Talk to the Centurio or any Legio IX member. They will help you get orientated to the ancient genre of reenacting and guide you through the process of becoming a member.

Second: Join for emails and updates. This is a place where you can ask any and all questions about the hobby, gear, and construction of gear without feeling like a newcomer! The yahoo group will also keep you informed on upcoming events.

Third: Join the Legio IX Forum here on this site (maybe also)

Fourth: This is a two part step. Part 1: Print off a copy of the Ludus Militis tactica (drill manual) located in our files section. Part 2: Study up on Latin. We know it's a dead language, but you will want to know how to say hello, goodbye, yes sir, etc... in Latin. Don't worry, only a few of us speak it as a second language. We are developing a basic conversation guide for our handbook, which will help you.

Fifth: Start planning your equipment acquisition and determine which items you will buy and which you will make yourself. You should always ask your sponsor or a senior unit member before you buy anything! Not only will this keep you from wasting your money on bad stuff, they may be able to get you a better price, or suggest the best supplier. There is no rush to purchase anything. The Legion has equipment you can borrow until you complete your impression. If you have the gift of being a good craftsman, you can make nearly everything scratch! 

Sixth: Borrow or check out some books.

Finally: If you have a question, ask the group, one of us will know the answer or get you in the right direction. The only thing we require is a noble attitude, we can supply the rest!


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