Answer: The answer is themselves. Because up until the late Republic each man was responsible for purchasing their own equipment as they were mostly a part-time militia.
Some extra relevant information:
The soldiers of Ancient Rome were renowned throughout history for their formidable weapons and armor. To ensure a well-equipped army, the Roman soldiers obtained their weapons and armor from a variety of sources.
One of the primary means of arming Roman soldiers was through the state-controlled armories. These armories, known as “fabricae,” were large-scale production facilities that manufactured weapons and armor for the Roman military. They were typically located in strategic locations throughout the empire, such as Rome itself, enabling efficient distribution across the vast territories under Roman control.
The fabricae employed skilled craftsmen who specialized in producing weapons and armor. These artisans utilized various materials, including iron, bronze, leather, and fabric, to create high-quality military equipment. They manufactured a range of weapons, such as swords, spears, javelins, and daggers. Additionally, they produced armor consisting of helmets, breastplates, greaves, and shields.
Another vital source of weaponry for Roman soldiers was the spoils of war. After victorious battles and conquests, soldiers would loot weapons and armor from defeated enemies. This included capturing enemy weaponry or salvaging it from fallen soldiers on the battlefield. These spoils were then distributed among the Roman troops, improving their arsenal.
Furthermore, soldiers often had the option to personally provide their own weapons and armor. This gave them the freedom to choose equipment that best suited their preferences and combat style. Wealthier soldiers could afford higher-quality and more ornate gear, showcasing their social status and commitment to military service.
It’s important to note that as the Roman Empire expanded, the reliance on local resources also played a role in the acquisition of weapons and armor. Armaments were often sourced from conquered regions or tribute-paying allies. This allowed for a diverse array of weaponry, influenced by the specific military traditions and materials available in each respective area.
In conclusion, the soldiers of Ancient Rome obtained their weapons and armor primarily through state-controlled armories, which produced a wide range of military equipment. Spoils of war from conquered enemies also contributed to their arsenal. Additionally, soldiers could furnish their own gear, creating a mix of equipment based on personal choices and resources from different regions within the empire.