It seems that soldiers in Rome were very well paid, even after all their running costs and other expenses were removed.

What I'm curious to know is where would a soldier have kept his excess funds, and what happened to them upon death?

If we need a time frame for the example I am talking between 300 and 88 BC.

  • Are you looking for something apart from the inheritance of properties?
    – Semaphore
    Dec 21, 2015 at 12:51
  • I'm looking for what ever would be the norm at the time. Inheritance, or if that was not possible then what happened to the money/good? Would it go back to the army.
    – Terry
    Dec 21, 2015 at 12:53
  • 2
    Inheritance of a deceased's property, where there are eligible heirs and/or according to wills, is the norm pretty much, everywhere, all the time. The Roman state takes over if the soldiers die intestate, but after ~100 or so I believe they made illegitimate children eligible for claiming inheritance from a deceased soldier too.
    – Semaphore
    Dec 21, 2015 at 13:06
  • If the soldier died during a losing battle odds are that some Gaul/Spaniard/Carthaginian/whatever looted the body and whatever was left in camp when it was overrun....
    – Doug B
    Dec 21, 2015 at 14:03
  • 3
    Everyone knows the Celts take the Eagle to their camp. :) Whoops, wrong SE.
    – CGCampbell
    Dec 21, 2015 at 14:05

2 Answers 2


I recall that one of the positions within the legion was responsible for pay. A quick websearch turned up nothing. A slightly more exhaustive search turned up two different answers

Signifer: Each Centuria had a Signifer (59). He was responsible for the men's pay and savings, and the standard bearer for the Centurial Signum, a spear shaft decorated with medallions and often topped with an open hand to signify the oath of loyalty taken by the soldiers. It was this banner that the men from each individual Centuria would rally around. A soldier could also gain the position of Discentes signiferorum, or standard bearer in training. UNLV

Alternatively, Roman Empire.net identifies the aquilifer as the responsible officer.

The standard of a legion, the so-called aquila (eagle) was the very symbol of the unit's honour. The aquilifer who was the man who carried the standard was in rank almost as high as a centurion. It was this elevated and honourable position which also made him the soldiers' treasurer in charge of the pay chest. Roman Empire.net

The Roman Empire site specifies that they refer to the time of Augustus, which at the late end of your time period. Absent further research, I'd give them the nod for precision. Neither site is particularly replete with references.

In either case, each legion had someone responsible for the pay chest.


Roman soldier might leave a will as any other citizen. What makes it special, there were no formal requirements for such a will, i.e. the witnesses were OK too. As far as I remember, usually Contubernales took care of this.

You may find more searching for the proper term Testamentum militis.

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