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Glossary of Roman terms and phrases - 'S'

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Sagum
A woolen cloak worn by the Roman upper classes. To own such an item gave the impression of the wearer being in the height of fashion
Salii
An organisation founded in Italy which was associated with a god of war
Samnite
A gladiator who used a scuta and wore an ocrea on his left leg, and acried a galea with a large crest and plume, and a gladius
Sarcophagi
A stone coffin
Saturnalia
On 17th December each year, this was the day of the festival in honour of Saturn
Scholae Palatinae
A section of troops designated to be bodyguards consisting of at least two regiments of cavalry with 500 men in each regiment
Scrinium
A department within a ministry
Scutum
The shield carried by a soldier
Sica
A curved scimitar
Secutor
A gladiator who took his name from the term for 'pursuer' and fought virtually naked and bald, carrying a large oval or rectangular shield and a sword or dagger, wearing an ocrea on the left leg, leather bands at the elbow and wrists, and a round or high-visored helmet
Senate
The Chief Council of Rome. The senate consisted of about 600 members who reported directly to the emperor. Although powerful in their own right, the senate had limited powers. A directive passed by the senate had to be authorised by the emperor before it became law
Sestertius
A brass coin worth four asses, or a quarter of a denarii
Severi augustales
An organisation set up to promote the image and worship of the emperor. It was initiated by wealthy landowners who built monuments and statues to the ruler of the time. They set off the costs by selling statuettes and mementoes of the emperor that citizens placed in their homes as a mark of respect. The main purpose of the organisation was to get its members noticed by the rulers and so advance their own careers
Sextarius
A unit of measurement for liquids. Equal to one imperial pint (0.568 litre)
Signifer
The standard bearer for the century in a legion
Singulares
The auxillary soldiers
Spelt
A form of wheat that suited the damp climate of Britain
Sponsalia
A Roman engagement party for the berothed couple
Statua triumphalis
An award given for military service
Subligaculum
A loin cloth
Sui generis
A one off project such as Fishbourne Palace


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