PAENULA             Cape or Cloak, generally hooded, for warmth and protection from weather.  It can be circular, semi-circular or oval, at least 45 inches in raduis

PALA                     A "spade" shaped shovel


PALLIUM             Greek mantle

PALUDAMENTUM    Purple cloak of the commander-in-chief

PANIS                     Bread

PANOPLIA             Armor

PAPILIO                  Traditional 8 to 10 man A-frame (butterfly / pup) tent,  housing a "contubernium",  usually made from goat skins

PARMA / PARME      A round shield or buckler

PASSUS                    Foot Step / Pace

PATERA / PATERAE    A flat dish,  saucer or shallow pan.      Mess Pan/ Dinner Plate 4 to 8 inches in diameter,  generally made of brass or bronze. 

PECTORALE         Smaller body armor plates to primarily protect the vulnerable portions of the chest, heart and lungs and the center of the back.  They were generally supported and held in place with straps over the shoulders and around the torso.

PECUARIUS          Soldier who attended farm animals

PELTA                    Small light shield in the shape of a "half-moon" originally used by Thracians and other barbarians

PES / PEDES          Roman "foot" / "feet",  measuring 11.55 inches or 29.44 centimeters.   A term for a foot soldier ("ground pounder")

PEDITES                Infantry (plural)

PENSIO                    A Payment

PEREGRINUS        A freeborn foreigner who did not have Roman citizenship

PERONES                Over-boots worn over caligae in cold weather

PHALERAE            Small discs awarded as military decorations,  usually worn by the Centurion of the honored unit; attached to a leather chest harness

PHARSALUS          Place in central Greece where in 48 BC,  Julius Caesar defeated the forces of Pompey,  after they had escaped from an intial encounter at Dyrrachium to the north.   See the  ROME  HISTORY  Page for more details.

PILANI      Alternate title for the Triarii soldiers of the third battle line who were the older and more experienced troops of the century.  The term seems to derive from "pilus", a file of soldiers, and not from the "pilum" javelin. 

PILUM / PILA        Roman Army heavy spear or javelin.   Also termed a  "Verutum".  Usually the first offensive weapon used by legionary in battle.   One or two Pila were carried by legionaries while on a march into battle.

PILA MURALIS     "Wall Spear" an incorrect term for the Palisades Stake used as a perimeter defense of an encampment.   See  SUDES    or  VALLARIS.

PLUTEUS   Moveable shed for protecting besieging troops at the base of walls.   Also called a CATTUS or VINEA 

PONS                         A bridge

POPULUS                 The "People" of Rome,  those having military service obligations.    See  SPQR

PORCUS                   Pork  

PORRO                     Command to "Charge" or move forward quickly 

PORTA                     Gate / Portal

PORTORIA               Harbor fees,  taxes  or  tariffs 

PRAEFECT            A commander of non-Roman soldiers during the Republic.  In the Imperial period, he was a Junior Magistrate and/or a Commander of Auxiliary units    

PRAEFECTUS        A Commander or Senior Officer of a military unit.   An officer in charge.   Frequently a member of the Equestrian Class.   After the reign of Claudius,  a Praefectus was termed a Procurator.

PRAEFECTUS  CASTRORUM   Third in command of a legion  -  Camp Prefect/Commandant

PRAEFECTUS  CLASSIS  Fleet Commander in the Navy   

PRAEFECTUS  FABRUM  Camp Quartermaster and sometimes, Camp Commandant.  Logistics Specialist.  Frequently was a retired Primus Pilus or other Senior Centurion serving during or after his term of Veteran Service.       

PRAEMIA                Discharge Benefits 

PRAENOMEN  -   The first name element in the three part "Tria Nomina" naming convention used by citizens of Rome.   The Praenomen was frequently the same as the father's.    Consult the  Roman Names  Page for more details and a Praenomen List.

PRAEPOSITUS      Commander of a NUMERUS or CUNEUS unit

PRAESIDIA            A guard point

PRAETENSIO        Military Post or Fort

PRAETENTURA     Front portion of a camp (castra) or fort (castellum) occupied by the legionaries and senior units; while the rear part (Retentura) was occupied by the lower or lessor (auxiliary) units

PRAETOR                One of eight elected Senior Roman Magistrates who judged legal cases during the Republican Period.   Could also be the commander of a lesser military unit or an auxilliary contingent.

PRAETORIAN GUARD    The Emperor's household troops, which were later abolished by Constantine.   The "Guard" often took on the responsibility for the assasination  of emperors who had out-lived their usefulness.      See also "Singulares"

PRAETORIUM       Commanding officer's house

PRANDIUM            Breakfast, the first of two daily meals for soldiers.   See CENA

PRINCEPS                Officer responsible for the headquarters staff and for training soldiers 

PRINCIPES              "Chief Men", soldiers in the prime of life (20's & 30's) who normally served in the second line of the battle formation 

PRINCIPIA               Headquarters in a camp or fort

PILUS POSTERIOR   Lead Centurion in each of the Second through Tenth Cohorts of a Legion.

PILUS PRIOR         Centurion "second in command" in each of the Second through Tenth Cohorts of a Legion.

PRIMI ORDINES  "First (top) Line/Order"  Term applied to the five Centurions of the First Cohort of a Legion, the most senior of which was termed the Primus Pilus "First Spear" in command of the First (double size) Century of the Legion.  The other centurions serving under him in the First Cohort, composed of four additional "double centuries",  would be, in descending rank, the Princeps, Hastatus, Princeps-Posterior and Hastatus-Posterior.  These six Senior Centurions out-ranked all the other more "Junior" Centurions of the Legion and were known as the Primi-Ordines "First (top) Line/Order".

PRIMUS-PILUS or Centurio Primi Pili  -  "First Spear"  The highest ranking Centurion of the Legion and lead Centurion of the five Centurions "Primi Ordines" (first-line) in charge of the five centuries comprising the First Cohort of an Imperial Legion .  

PRINCEPS        The "second in command" Centurion  in the First Cohort of a Legion  -  A senior Auxiliary Centurion.

PRINCIPALES       Senior and Junior Staff Officers of a Century unit who received either "pay and a half" (sesquiplicarii)  or   "double-pay" (duplicarii), who were the Signifer, Vexillifer (standard bearers) and Optiones.  The next promotion from Principales in a Century would be to the post of Centurion.

PRINCIPES            The older more experienced and best trained heavy infantry troops.

PRINCIPIA             The headquarters tent or structure in a fortress or town.

PROBATIO             An Examination

PROBATUS             A recruit trained and ready for military service

PROCONSUL         A Consul who's military command was extended beyond his year of elected office.  A former "Consul", sometimes assigned as the governor of a province

PROCURATORE   A buyer/procurer of gladiators or Tiro (trainee) gladiators for Ludus Gladiatorium (school) 

PROPRAETOR      A Praetor who's military command was extended beyond his year of elected office.  Could also be a former "Praeter"  sometimes assigned as the governor of a province.

PROVINCIA           A province 

PESSIME                To feel very badly

PTERUGES  or  PTERYGES   Leather or linen dags or strips attached to a subarmalis for protection at the shoulders and/or below the waist.

PUGIO                   A Roman dagger carried by all legionaries and used as secondary weapon and utility knife with a blade 7 to 11 inches long.    The scabbard was generally heavily decorated reflecting the pride and affluence of its owner.

PUGNA                  Battle or Fight

PULLUS                 Chicken  -  Origin of our term for Poultry. 

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