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
PALISADES STAKE See SUDES
PALLIUM Greek mantle
PALUDAMENTUM Purple cloak of the commander-in-chief
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
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, comprised 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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