Legionary infantry. 8 figures, 4 variants in lorica segmentata and holding a pilum.
The legionary cohorts were the imperial elite heavy infantry. Augustus decreed sixteen years as the standard term of service for legionary recruits, with a further four years as reservists (evocati). In AD 5, the standard term was increased to twenty years plus five years in the reserves. In the period following its introduction, the new term was deeply unpopular with the troops. On Augustus’ death in AD 14, the legions stationed on the rivers Rhine and Danube staged major mutinies, and demanded, among other things, reinstatement of a sixteen-year term.
For most of the Roman Imperial period, the legions formed the Roman army’s elite heavy infantry, recruited exclusively from Roman citizens, while the remainder of the army consisted of auxiliaries, who provided additional infantry and the vast majority of the Roman army’s cavalry. (Provincials who aspired to citizenship gained it when honourably discharged from the auxiliaries).
Many of the legions founded before 40 BC were still active until at least the fifth century, notably Legio V Macedonica, which was founded by Augustus in 43 BC and was in Egypt in the seventh century during the Islamic conquest of Egypt.