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Authors: Simon Scarrow

Cato 01 - Under the Eagle

BOOK: Cato 01 - Under the Eagle
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Cato Series – Book One

Simon Scarrow

An Hachette UK Company, 338 Euston Road, London NW1 3BH


Table of Contents

The Organisation of a Roman Legion
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-one
Chapter Twenty-two
Chapter Twenty-three
Chapter Twenty-four
Chapter Twenty-five
Chapter Twenty-six
Chapter Twenty-seven
Chapter Twenty-eight
Chapter Twenty-nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-one
Chapter Thirty-two
Chapter Thirty-three
Chapter Thirty-four
Chapter Thirty-five
Chapter Thirty-six
Chapter Thirty-seven
Chapter Thirty-eight
Chapter Thirty-nine
Chapter Forty



Available from Headline

The Roman Series

Under the Eagle, The Eagle's Conquest, When the Eagle Hunts, The Eagle and the Wolves, The Eagle's Prey, The Eagle's Prophecy, The Eagle in The Sand, Centurion, The Gladiator, The Legion, Praetorian

The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet

Revolution Series

Young Bloods, The Generals, Fire and Sword, The Fields of Death


Gladiator Series

Fight for Freedom, Street Fighter




Copyright © 2000 Simon Scarrow

‘ISBN 0 7472 7282 4’

For Audrey and Tony, best of parents and best of friends





It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of military life isn't difficult enough for the bookish young man, he also has to contend with the disgust of his colleagues when, because of his imperial connections, he is appointed a rank above them. As second-in-command to Macro, the fearless, battle-scarred centurion who leads them, Cato will have more to prove than most in the adventures that lie ahead. Then the men discover that the army's next campaign will take them to a land of unparalleled barbarity — Britain. After the long march west, Cato and Macro undertake a special mission that will thrust them headlong into a conspiracy that threatens to topple the Emperor himself…

About the Author: Simon Scarrow teaches at a leading Sixth Form College. He has in the past run a Roman History programme taking parties of students to a number of ruins and museums across Britain. Having enjoyed the novels of Forester, Cornwell and O'Brian, and fired by the knowledge gleaned from his exploration of Roman sites, he decided to write what he wanted to read — a military page-turner set during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. Simon Scarrow lives in Norfolk.

The Organisation of a Roman Legion


The Second Legion, like all legions, comprised some five and a half thousand men. The basic unit was the century of eighty men commanded by a centurion with an optio acting as second in command. The century was divided into eight-man sections which shared a room together in barracks and a tent when on campaign. Six centuries made up a cohort, and ten cohorts made up a legion, with the first cohort being double-size. Each legion was accompanied by a cavalry unit of one hundred and twenty men, divided into four squadrons, who served as scouts and messengers. In descending order the main ranks were:

was a man from an aristocratic background. Typically in his mid thirties, the legate would command the legion for up to five years and hope to make something of a name for himself in order to enhance his subsequent political career.

camp prefect
would be a grizzled veteran who would previously have been the chief centurion of the legion and was at the summit of a professional soldier's career. He was armed with vast experience and integrity, and to him would fall the command of the legion should the legate be absent or
hors de combat.

served as staff officers. These would be men in their early twenties serving in the army for the first time to gain administrative experience before taking up junior posts in civil administration. The senior tribune was different. He was destined for high political office and eventual command of a legion.

provided the disciplinary and training backbone of the legion. They were hand-picked for their command qualities and a willingness to fight to the death. Accordingly their casualty rate far exceeded other ranks. The most senior centurion commanded the first century of the first cohort and was a highly decorated and respected individual.

The four
of the legion commanded the cavalry squadrons and hoped for promotion to the command of auxiliary cavalry units.

Each centurion was assisted by an
who would act as an orderly, with minor command duties. Optios would be waiting for a vacancy in the centurionate.

Below the optios were the
men who had signed on for twenty-five years. In theory, a man had to be a Roman citizen to quality for enlistment, but recruits were increasingly drawn from local populations and given Roman citizenship on joining the legions.

Lower in status than the legionaries were the men of the
auxiliary cohorts.
These were recruited from the provinces and provided the Roman Empire with its cavalry, light infantry and other specialist skills. Roman citizenship was awarded on completion of twenty-five years' service.





'It's no good, sir, the bastard's well and truly stuck.'

The centurion leaned back against the wagon and paused for breath. Around him a score of bone-weary legionaries stood up to their waists in the foul-smelling ooze of the marsh. From the edge of the track, the general followed their efforts in growing frustration. He had been embarking on to one of the evacuation ships when news arrived that the wagon had run off the narrow path. He had immediately taken one of the few remaining horses and galloped it back through the marsh to investigate the situation at first hand. Weighed down by the heavy chest resting on its bed, the wagon resisted every effort to wrestle it free. There was no further help available now since the rearguard had finished loading and put to sea. Only the general, these men and a thin screen of the last remaining cavalry scouts stood between the wagon and the army of Caswollan snapping at the heels of the erstwhile Roman invaders.

The general let slip an oath and his horse raised its head in alarm from the nearby copse where it had been tethered. The wagon was lost then, that much was evident, and the chest itself was too heavy to carry back to the last ship waiting at anchor. For security's sake the key to the chest had remained with the quartermaster, now well out to sea, and the chest was so constructed as to make it impossible to open without the right tools.

BOOK: Cato 01 - Under the Eagle
4.92Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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