Exercitatio – Roman legionary training

About the digital painting

First of all things: I need your help! If you see something I could improve, please be sure I would love to ear it from you. It could be anything. To do this digital painting, I used Photoshop, many hours of patience, and some new techniques, at least for me. I tried to put some textures on it, some dust everywhere, trying anything to give you a more vivid picture. I’m not an expert in this, but it’s a start, others will follow. I also think I’ve made some improvements in rendering muscles :)

I’m not satisfied with my speed of painting, I’m way too slow (but’s it’s improving…). Something is also wrong in general about this image, but I don’t really know what, and that’s why I need you! Is it the composition? Is it the colors? Or maybe the texturing, not enough present? What do you think?

Exercitatio – The painting

Exercitacio, by Jori Avlis

Exercitatio, by Jori Avlis

Mandatory training

A bit of History: Ancient Roman legionaries were excellently trained. It was their duty to train everyday, and they knew why: their lives depend on it. With this new picture, I wanted to show a young legionary, after his¬†probatio, starting to train, under the supervision of the¬†doctore¬†(a military officer in charge of the training). The training was, above all for a beginner, the marching. They would march heavily loaded with their packs for miles and miles and miles… This would give them endurance and discipline. But they would train also to swim, run, jump, to do heavy tasks and so on, everything to be in shape.

Romans legionaries trained, of course, also the combat techniques: in my picture, you can see that the young legionary is using a¬†rudis, a fake sword made of wood, but much more heavier than a regular metal gladius. He is also using a wicker shield (for an artist, it’s an horrible thing ¬†to draw…). Those fake weapons are difficult to use, but they are not lethal, unlike the real ones. If the beginners could use those, it would be a lot simpler to use their real gear in combat.

I don’t know if they used their lorica (armor) during the training or if they had another type of heavy armor specially for training like the rudis…

I hope you’ll like it, I’m still improving! Outside of my home, I can ear an heavy thunder, preventing me to post this on the Internet… is it a bad omen? :(

One thought on “Exercitatio – Roman legionary training

  1. Dear Jori – I am in America, in fact in Texas and I am a History minor at the University of Texas. I came across your website and I am so impressed with the amount of historical information you offer about the Legions of Rome. I am doing a research paper about the fall of Rome (specifically Western Roman Empire) and this information has been helpful in understanding the requirements of a soldier and the fact that they did have a standing army at the ready at all times. I had one source that stated that they didn’t always have one at the ready for a battle. Interesting how the world wide web can be full of NON facts. If you do not mind I will use your information at a “primary” source as you are reenacting the Roman military and its Legionaries.

    Thank you for putting this site together,
    Clara Holloway (drclarah@gmail.com)

    PS. I you ever want to know anything about Texas or the US just ask me – I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and I was born and raised here. Coming from a family of history buffs – I have traveled to many historical places in my nation and I am a proud patriot. Much like you are a proud patriot of France and Roman culture and history. Proud to know someone else who is interested in educating the public about history.

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