Header image

Primary Homework Help
The Romans

by Mandy Barrow
WW ll
Roamn Britain
Saxon Britain
Viking Britain
Norman Britain
Tudor Britain
Victorian Britain
World War Two
500 BC
AD 43
This site uses cookies. See our Cookie Policy for information

Standard Bearers



Roman standards were held in awe and fiercely protected. They were symbols of Roman honour.

A standard is a long pole with badges or flags on.


RomanThe Badge

The standard which most closely resembles the modern flag is the vexillum, a small square piece of cloth attached to a cross-bar carried on a pole. This standard shows what legion the soldiers belong to.

The lettering on this flag is LEGXX.
LEG is the abbreviation of Legio (legion)

This is the standard of the Twentieth legion.


Flag bearer
The vexillumwas carried by the Vexillarius

RomanBeing Brave


A standard bearing an image of the emperor (the imago) helped soldiers feel strong and brave in fierce fighting.

The standard was carried by the imaginifer.

The imago was a three dimensional portrait representation of the Emperor made from beaten metal.

the imago
A standard bearing an image of the emperor (the imago)

RomanThe Eagle

The standard of the first legion was the aquila, or golden eagle - made of silver or bronze and showing the bird with outstretched wings. It was the greatest disgrace if the eagle was captured.

The aquila (golden eagle) standard

RomanThe Spear - signum

Each of the 59 centuries also had its own spear - standard (signum).

The images below show an example of a signum. It is composed of a number of philarae (disks), along with a number of other elements mounted on a pole, topped with a manus (human hand) image.

The signum was carried by the signifer.

This tall standard served as a rallying point for the men in battle.

RomanBattle Signals

Horn A horn-player called cornicen blew his horn to give signals to tell the soldiers what to do. For example, he might give the signal for soldiers to gather around their standard

Horn player

The Animal Skins

The standard bearers wore animal skins over their uniforms. The heads of the animals were carried over the bearers' helmets so that the teeth were actually seen on the forehead.

A standard bearer

A Lion (leo) pelt is thought to have been generally worn only by the Aqualifer, Signifer or Vexillarius of a legion (legio unit.

Lion (leo)

Bear (ursus) and Wolf (lupus) pelts were frequently worn by the standard bearers of century and cohort units.

Bear (ursus)

Wolf (lupus)



Roman Soldiers Roman Army Roman Officers
Equipment Soldier's weapon Armour
Artillery Standard Bearers Formations
Roman Auxiliary Army Training Roman Shields


back to the top
email© Copyright - please read
All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the author Mandy Barrow.

©Copyright Mandy Barrow 2013

I teach computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

Follow me on Twitter @mbarrow

Woodlands Junior School, Hunt Road Tonbridge Kent TN10 4BB UK