I wonder how far did Roman soldiers march when they went from point A to point B. Carrying that large metal shield and their gear must have been a lot.
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I would venture to say modern soldiers may carry as much as the Roman's of old. Our rucks often weighed between 80 - 120lbs and no less than 40. Then add the LBE, helmet, weapon, and body armor and you see it gets pretty heavy. As a rule we trained to ruck around 20 - 30 miles and I'd bet the Romans did the same.
Typical guideline for Roman soldiers was 60 pounds of gear and armor not including weapons.
And a marching day usually fell between 15 and 18 miles, though they could go further when in a hurry.
You can probably chalk much of the difference up to differences in physical fitness, and in gear allowing for better weight distribution.
Yup, pretty close it seems. The norm for a ruck is probably close to 60lbs. My rucks were heavier because of the type of unit I was in. We were also much better trained and in better rucking condition. This isn't to say a normal soldier wasn't in good shape, quite the contrary. It's just that we trained to ruck a lot.
So, it's probably fairly close in weight and you are correct in that we've learned how to distribute the weight better. The Romans were a great army. Best of their time. Well trained and well equipped. I guess that's why they lasted so long in one form or another.
Roman military was great at what they did. If the found a enemy that had an advantage they would find a way to incorporate it into their army for their advantage or find a way to over come it. Marching miles upon miles a day was nothing. They did things a certain way to be the best and trained to be the best too.
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And they had some great engineers that went with them. They built roads and aqueducts as they went. There are still roads and aqueducts today that Roman soldiers built 2000 years ago.