Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 2 weeks ago

Were the Roman soldiers discouraged from having access to luxury food items by his superiors even if they had the chance to buy them?

For example when they were on camp and some merchants arrived to sell their goods to them ( things such as spices, eggs, honey, good wine, etc ), were the roman soldiers banned from buying those things? ( I assume maybe onlyt high rank officers were allowed to buy them to enjoy them later )

7 Answers

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  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    Many European towns started as markets around Roman Legions' camps.  The solders were paid on the (more or less) regular basis and there were plenty of merchants eager to separate the legionnaires from their cash.  The relative safety of a nearby army post attracted settlers, who grew food to sell to the troops and, in turn, provided a recruitment base for the legion.  

  • 2 weeks ago

    There were camp followers, and merchants BECAUSE soldiers purchased those things!  It is much the same today.  Soldiers get the basic issue, but, make it better with things they have purchased.  Higher ranks do this as a matter of course, mostly because they have more money, but, even the lowest soldier likes a treat from time to time.  This is not banned at all.

  • 2 weeks ago

    Of course it was a matter of supply and demand. If the luxury goods were thin on the ground, officers would have priority because they could pay higher prices.

    But there was no reason to ban lower ranks from buying whatever they could afford.

    EDIT to add: I wonder why in your question you say "to enjoy 'later'". Why 'later'? Why wouldn't you eat the eggs and honey and whatever right then?

    • bluebellbkk
      Lv 7
      2 weeks agoReport

      Not at all. The purchase of occasional treats and luxuries is common among all armies in all periods of history. Life is hard enough for the common soldier as it is.

  • 2 weeks ago

    The soldiers probably wouldn't have held money, it was probably sent home to their families. And the probably wouldn't have been allowed to carry too much luggage around.

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  • 2 weeks ago

    But not buying means saving for the future, right?

  • Tim D
    Lv 7
    2 weeks ago

    Why do you assume that?

    Merchants might be more likely to sell to the highest paying customers but there was no prohibition on ordinary soldiers buying delicacies if they had the money.

    • Tim D
      Lv 7
      2 weeks agoReport

      You have a very strange concept of soldiers. One of the first things you learn is that "any fool can be uncomfortable".

  • 2 weeks ago

    Only if their superiors were stupid.

    Outside the major campaigns that made the history books, most Roman soldiers spent years - even decades - on garrison duty, with no chance of home leave. Naturally, their biggest enemy was boredom. However, they still got paid, meaning that merchants were drawn to the commercial opportunity presented by the camps, and you can be sure that their most popular wares were food, wine and sex.

    No officer who didn't want a mutiny on his hands would try to stop this trade.

    • Marius2 weeks agoReport

      but just think of this: maybe it was considered unsoldierly to eat both better elaborated and more tasty meals

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