Saturday, January 7, 2012

Soldiers in the Classroom

Over the weekend my family helped me set up Centurio primus pilus Legionis X Gaius Crastinus (First-Rank Centurion of Legion X Gaius Crastinus) and miles Publius Sempronius Tuditanus Legionis VI Ferratae (soldier Publius Sempronius Tuditanus of Legion VI Ferrata).

These are just pictures I snapped with my phone.  I should have better ones uploaded early next week.

They make a fine addition to our classroom.  I don't think we will have too much trouble with classroom discipline now...not that we ever did with the best students at North Central!


  1. First spear, I think. In highschool I used to attend a statewide Latin rally; won an award one year for making a Roman Army recruiting poster with brochures for the assorted jobs.

  2. Nice lobstertail. I wonder if the ones on the Colonial Marines' helmets in Aliens are derivative.

  3. There is great debate at as to whether "primus pilus" is better translated "first spear" or "first rank." There is some etymological evidence that "pilus" indicated a line of soldiers in the older, manipular style army of the early Republic. The idea of "first spear" comes from the fact that, "pilum, pili, n." means spear. Those who advocate for "first rank" as the translation claim that "first spear" is based on a false etymology. I have a hypothesis that I am currently working on in which I wonder whether the "pilus" of "primus pilus" is a personalized form of the word for "spear," as evidenced by the change from the neuter word for the weapon to the masculine word for the officer. To test this, I am combing through a standard Latin dictionary for any other evidence of such a neuter-to-masculine shift in related words, one of which being an object and the other being a person who uses that object. I will let you know what I find out.

  4. Of course the p-f consonant is something of a both/and among Indo-European languages. I'd guess that pilus/filus comes from an IE root for anything long and narrow.