AskDefine | Define legionary

Dictionary Definition

legionary n : a soldier who is a member of a legion (especially the French Foreign Legion) [syn: legionnaire]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Relating to a legion.


legionary (Plural: legionaries)
  1. A member of a legion.
  2. A member of an organization containing the term legion in its title (e.g. the French foreign legion).



member of a legion

Extensive Definition

The Roman legionary was a professional soldier of the Roman army after the Marian reforms of 107 BC. Legionaries had to be Roman citizens under the age of 45. They enlisted in a legion for twenty-five years of service, a change from the early practice of enlisting only for a campaign. The last five years were on veteran lighter duties.
On the march in unfriendly terrain, the legionary would be loaded down with armour commonly (lorica hamata), (lorica squamata), and 2-3rd century (lorica segmentata), shield (scutum), helmet (galea), two javelins (one heavy pilum and one light), a short sword (gladius), a dagger (pugio), a pair of heavy sandals (Caligae), a Sarcina (marching pack), about fourteen days worth of food, a waterskin (bladder for water), cooking equipment, two stakes (Sudes murale) for the construction of palisades, and a shovel or wicker basket.
The Roman soldier underwent especially rigorous training; discipline was the base of the army's success and the soldiers were relentlessly and constantly trained with weapons and especially with drill — forced marches with full load and in tight formation were frequent. Discipline was important and infractions were heavily punished by the centurions.


Included in the ranks, aside from the basic heavy infantrymen, were the immunes, specialist soldiers with secondary roles such as engineer, carpenter and medic. These men were still fully trained legionaries however and would fight in the ranks if called upon. They were excused from some of the more laborious tasks such as drill and fatigues and received better pay than their comrades.

Other legionaries

Legionary is also a term used for members of other legions, like French Foreign Legion, Spanish Foreign Legion or Polish Legions. Members of these modern legions are often called légionnaires, the French term for legionary. The term was also used by the Romanian far right paramilitary group known in English as the Iron Guard.
legionary in Breton: Lejioner roman
legionary in Danish: Legionær
legionary in Spanish: Legionario
legionary in Dutch: Romeins legionair
legionary in Japanese: 軍団兵
legionary in Norwegian: Romersk legionær
legionary in Portuguese: Legionário
legionary in Turkish: Lejyoner

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Amazon, air serviceman, brave, cannon fodder, fighting man, food for powder, halberdier, hoplite, man-at-arms, military man, navy man, pikeman, rifle, rifleman, serviceman, soldier, spearman, warrior, warrioress
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1