Some of the helmets used by Roman legionaries had crests, with plumes made of horsehair and coloured red, yellow, purple or black. A sideways crest like this one would have been worn by a Centurion in command of between 80 and 1000 men. The special crest would have helped identify the Centurion on the battlefield. The Roman word for helmet wasgalea.
A Roman sword, or gladius, was used for cutting, chopping and thrusting. It was a key part of a Roman soldier’s kit which also included javelins and daggers.
The pugio or dagger was probably a back-up weapon, used for stabbing at close quarters. Roman writers also say that the pugio was used in assassinations by the rich and powerful, because the dagger could be easily hidden in their robes.
A Roman legionary would have worn an undershirt made of linen with a woollen tunic. His body armour was made of overlapping metal strips, done up with hooks’ laces and leather straps. Armour was designed to protect the soldier in battle but also to allow him to move freely.