Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Your guide to London's culture and transport news and events taking place across the city.

Exhibition: Legion life in the Roman army

Location

British Museum,

Great Russell Street, London,
WC1B 3DG

Dates

This exhibition runs from Thu, 1st Feb 2024 to Sun, 23rd Jun 2024.

Forthcoming dates:

Sun,
19th May 2024  
(10am - 5pm)
Mon,
20th May 2024  
(10am - 5pm)
Tue,
21st May 2024  
(10am - 5pm)
Wed,
22nd May 2024  
(10am - 5pm)
Thu,
23rd May 2024  
(10am - 5pm)
Fri,
24th May 2024  
(10am - 8:30pm)
Sat,
25th May 2024  
(10am - 5pm)

Cost: £17

Description

From family life on the fort to the brutality of the battlefield, experience Rome's war machine through the people who knew it best – the soldiers who served in it.

The Roman empire spanned more than a million square miles and owed its existence to its military might. By promising citizenship to those without it, the Roman army – the West's first modern, professional fighting force – also became an engine for creating citizens, offering a better life for soldiers who survived their service.

Expansive yet deeply personal, this exhibition transports you across the empire, as well as through the life and service of a real Roman soldier, Claudius Terentianus, from enlistment and campaigns to enforcing occupation then finally, in Terentianus' case, retirement. Objects include letters written on papyri by soldiers from Roman Egypt and the Vindolanda tablets – some of the oldest surviving handwritten documents in Britain. The tablets, from the fort near Hadrian's wall, reveal first-hand what daily life was like for soldiers and the women, children and enslaved people who accompanied them.

Roman military history perhaps stretches as far back at the sixth century BC but it wasn't until the first emperor, Augustus (63 BC – AD 14), that soldiering became a career choice. While the rewards of army life were enticing – those in the legions could earn a substantial pension and those entering the auxiliary troops could attain citizenship for themselves and their families – the perils were real. Soldiers were viewed with fear and hostility by civilians – not helped by their casual abuses and extra roles as executioners and enforcers of occupation – and they could meet grim ends off, as well as on, the battlefield. Finds in Britain include the remains of two soldiers probably murdered and clandestinely buried in Canterbury, suggesting local resistance.

What did life in the Roman army look like from a soldier's perspective? What did their families make of life in the fort? How did the newly-conquered react? Legion explores life in settled military communities from Scotland to the Red Sea through the people who lived it.

Ian has Visited - review here.


Contact and Booking Details

More information at this website.

No need to book tickets - just turn up on the day.

Disclaimer

The information and prices in this listing are presumed to be correct at the time of publishing, but please always check with the venue before making a special trip.

All images are supplied by the exhibition organiser.

This exhibition runs from Thu, 1st Feb 2024 to Sun, 23rd Jun 2024

This event runs over several days/weeks. Dates include:

May 2024

June 2024

Location

British Museum,

Great Russell Street, London,
WC1B 3DG

Map
Map

 

Other exhibitions open at British Museum

Rediscovering gems
A display of gems collected in classical times -- including some recently recovered by the British Museum from an alleged theft.
Rediscovering gems
10am to 5pm
Russell Square
Ends on Sat 15th June
2024-02-15
2024-06-15
Michelangelo: the last decades
This exhibition looks at the last 30 years of Michelangelo's remarkable life.
Michelangelo: the last decades
10am to 5pm
Russell Square
Ends on Sun 28th July
2024-05-02
2024-07-28