The year is 15 CE and the Roman Empire is prospering.
Most of the credit will go to the emperor,
but this success wouldn’t have been possible
without loyal soldiers like Servius Felix.
Servius enlisted as a legionary eight years ago at age 18,
the son of a poor farmer with few prospects.
Unlike the majority of legionaries, he doesn’t gamble,
so he’s been able to save most of his wages.
He ’ s even kept his viaticum,
the three gold coins he received when he enlisted.
If he survives until retirement, he’ll receive several acres of land.
And he’s grown rather fond of a girl back home
whom he intends to marry.
But he ’ ll have to wait
until he completes his 25 years of service
before that can happen.
And the life of a legionary is dangerous and grueling.
Today, Servius’s legion, along with three others,
今天 赛尔维乌斯所在的军团 连同其他三个军团
has undertaken a “great march” of 30,000 Roman paces,
the equivalent of nearly 36 kilometers.
Servius ’ s armor and weapons, including his gladius, scutum,
赛维尔的盔甲和武器 包括他的短剑 盾牌
and two pila, weigh over 20 kilograms.
And that’s not counting his backpack, or sarcina,
which contains food and all the
tools he needs to help build the camp – spade,
saw, pickaxe, and basket.
Although Servius is exhausted, he won’t sleep much tonight.
He ’ s been assigned the first watch,
which means looking after the baggage animals
and keeping alert against a possible ambush.
After he’s done, he lies awake, dreading the day ahead,
值守结束后 他睁眼躺着 担忧着往后的日子
which will force him to recall his worst nightmare.
At dawn, Servius eats breakfast with his seven tent companions.
They ’ re like a family,
all bearing scars from the battles they ’ ve fought together.
Servius is from Italia,
but his fellow soldiers hail from all over the empire,
which stretches from Syria to Spain.
So they ’ re all far from home in the northern land of Germania.
Servius’s legion and three others with him today
are under the command of Emperor Tiberius’s nephew Germanicus,
named for his father’s military successes against the Germanic tribes.
Each legion has close to 5,000 men,
divided into cohorts of about 500,
further subdivided into centuries of around 80-100 men.
Each century is commanded by a centurion.
An aquilifer, or eagle-bearer, marches at the head of each legion
一位带鹰者 或者说是持鹰人 行进在每支军队的最前方
carrying its eagle standard.
The centurions march beside the legionaries belting out orders,
“Dex, sin, dex, sin,”
“右 左 右 左”
“Right, left, right, left,”
“右 左 右 左”
starting with the right foot as the left is considered unlucky or sinister.
先踏右脚 因为“左” 被认为是不祥或者不吉利的
Despite the strict discipline, there’s tension in the air.
Last year, some legions in the area revolted,
demanding better pay and a cut in the length of service.
Only their general’s charisma and negotiating skills
prevented wholesale mutiny.
Today is a “just march,” only 30 kilometers.
As the marshes and forests of Germania lie beyond the empire’ s road system
the men must build causeways and bridges to make headway—
something they’ve recently spent more time doing than fighting. Finally,
they arrive at their destination, a place Servius knows too well.
最终 他们到达了目的地 一个赛尔维乌斯再熟悉不过的地方
It’s a clearing on the outskirts of the Teutoburg Forest,
where six years ago, during the reign of the Emperor Augustus,
Germanic tribes under their chieftain Arminius
ambushed and destroyed three legions.
Proceeding along a narrow path,
the legions were attacked from forest cover under torrential rain
with their escape blocked.
It was one of the worst defeats the Romans ever suffered
and Augustus never lived it down.
Servius was one of the few survivors.
Servius still has nightmares of his comrades lying where they fell.
时至今日 午夜梦回时分 他依旧会想起战友们倒下去的样子
But now the army is back to bury the dead with full military honors.
As he helps in the task,
he can’ t help wondering
whether the bones he handles belonged to someone he knew.
Several times he wants to weep aloud,
but he pushes on with the task.
The glory of the Empire can go to the crows.
All he craves is to retire
on a small farm with his wife-to-be,
if the gods should spare his life for 17 more years.
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daily trifles of life in ancient civilizations,
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罗马士兵的一天- Robert Garland