Women and Roman forts …

There’s an interesting report in New Scientist today that, contrary to traditional belief, women lived with their soldier menfolk while they were stationed on the frontier – and until things started going pearshaped in the 300’s most Roman soldiers were deployed on the frontier rather than as garrisons.

This makes sense, moving army detachments in Roman times was a logistical challenge, so these frontier deployments were relatively long lasting (no six month rotations here), and humans being humans, soldiers would doubtless form relationships locally.

It’s equally to be expected that, in times of threat or trouble, soldiers would want to protect their wives and children by having them inside of the fort rather than left outside in the vicus.

Certainly, there’s evidence of the presence of childern’s shoes and ‘female’ items such as hairpins inside military camps which lends weight to this.

As a thought experiment, it might also be interesting to look at the archaeological assemblages from both British and Dutch East India forts, where we have plenty of written evidence of similar informal arrangements …

Written with StackEdit.

About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s