Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 9 months 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

  • Joseph
    Lv 7
    9 months 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.  

  • 9 months 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.

  • 9 months 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?

  • 9 months 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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  • 9 months ago

    But not buying means saving for the future, right?

  • Tim D
    Lv 7
    9 months 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.

  • Lomax
    Lv 4
    9 months 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.

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