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.
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 …
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