Roman Standards & Standard-Bearers (1)

Roman Standards & Standard-Bearers (1)

112 BC–AD 192

Elite 221
  • Author: Raffaele D’Amato
  • Illustrator: Peter Dennis
  • Short code: ELI 221
  • Publication Date: 25 Jan 2018
  • Number of Pages: 64
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Roman unit standards played a important role, both ceremonially and on the battlefield. With the armies of the late Roman Republic and early Empire continually engaged on the frontiers, the soldiers selected for the dangerous honour of carrying them were figures of particular renown and splendour.

Standard-bearers wore special armour, with the heads and pelts of animals such as bears, wolves, or even lions draped over their helmets and shoulders. The standards themselves varied greatly, from the legion's Eagle and imperial portrait image to various cohort signa, flags (vexilla) and even dragon 'windsocks' (dracones) copied from barbarian enemies and allies.

This first volume of a two-part series by Roman army expert, Rafaele D'Amato uses detailed colour plates and the latest research to examine these vital cogs in the Roman army machine that drove its soldiers to conquer the known world.

Biographical Note

Dr Raffaele D'Amato is an experienced researcher of the ancient and medieval military worlds. After achieving his first PhD in Romano-Byzantine Law, and having collaborated with the University of Athens, he gained a second doctorate in Roman military archaeology. He currently works in Istanbul at the Fatih University as visiting Professor for the TUBITAK (Turkish Government Research Institution) on a project linked to the arms and armour of Rome and Byzantium.


Introduction - historical evolution of standards, from Marius to Commodus
Late Consular period: standard-bearers - standards
Early Imperial period: standard-bearers - organization & career
Early Imperial legionary standards: the eagle, vexillum & imago
Standards of the cohors, centuria & manipulum
Auxiliary standards: cavalry - vexillum - draco
Praetorian Guard standards - standards of Urban cohorts and Vigiles
Signa Militaria & Signa Imperia
Uniforms and weapons of standard-bearers
The chapel of the standards
Standards in battle - some famous standard-bearers
Select Bibliography
Plate Commentaries

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