Sunday, September 26, 2010

Legionary Veterans

Legionary veterans were viewed as military reserve, but also became leading members of provincial society. This would especially be true around Vera (Chester) and Virconium (Wroxeter) where there was a large garrison maintained. Those who could speak both the Celtic and Latin languages would certainly have an advantage over those who could not. Soldiers were allowed to engage in business (other than farming) in the provinces in which they were assigned. Since our JONES family had farmed this land for centuries, it would allow one part of the family to continue farming (feed the troops)and another part to engage in business. Records from the period show that even "troopers" could have a slave or freeman, and often these individuals would be agents for the soldier. This process must have happened on such a scale that by 200 AD soldiers were granted the legal right to set up a home, including a wife, children, slaves, and freedmen. Our family must have gone through this process, for by the time the Anglo-Saxons arrived [in another 200 to 300 years], they called us "walas".

At retirement, soldiers often returned to the province in which they had previously been stationed. Certainly, our family members would have returned to the families' land. They most likely would have settled back on their family's land and brought with them their Roman world. A study of animal species bones found around Shropshire/Cheshire plain showed that cattle was the predominate animal. This was followed by sheep, ox, horses, and pigs. Cattle and sheep were to play a major part in our JONES families' future history.

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