How were soldiers recruited into the Roman Army?

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bohemianteacher4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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The Roman Army initially was not the strong fighting legions as history has portrayed them. Originally, farmers were recruited during the times between harvests. The farmers would return to their crops having earned a sum of money that would supplement their farming. The Roman Army moved into a professional status with lingering campaigns under Marius' consul. He provided the chance for men of any class to have a chance to rise by establishing a career in the army. The consuls were granted the power to recruit the men who served in the army. Later, the power was shared with the provincial governments, if they obtained approval from the consul.

Initially, the only men allowed to serve as career military had to be part of the five Servian classes, excluding the sixth class. Because the soldiers had to purchase their uniforms and supplies, a soldier had to have funds. Marius extended the army by allowing all classes to join.

The Roman Army enjoyed the splurges of war by attaining part of the wealth that they obtained through sieges. Punishment for offenses in the army were harsh and helped to maintain discipline. The first official payments for soldiers began as a result of an extensive and long lasting siege against the Veii.

Rome extended its reign, and freed Italians were allowed to enter the Roman army. Slaves were often required to travel as servants. As Rome began to lose its strength by spreading its military out to thin, men were forced into the army.

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