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Centurio

(374 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] With the exception of the senators and the equites, the centurio was the most important officer in the Roman army. In the 1st cent. BC, a cohort (  cohors ) contained six centuriones, each commanding a   centuria of 80 men, and bearing titles reflecting the former mode of organization by maniples: pilus prior, pilus posterior, princeps prior, princeps posterior, hastatus prior, hastatus posterior. By the Flavian period at the latest, there were only five centuriones in the first cohort, which was, however, the highest ranking cohort in the legion ( primi ordines). There …

Evocati

(394 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] In the 2nd cent. BC, Roman soldiers had to serve in the military for up to six years, followed by a further 16 years, during which as evocati they had to be available to be called up again. During the civil wars in the final years of the Roman Republic, military leaders frequently tried to talk experienced soldiers into returning to their units. Troops recruited in that manner were referred to as evocati. In rank, evocati stood above simple soldiers, but below the centuriones. They either formed a special unit, or they were integrated into existing units. Frequ…

Centuria

(874 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
In general signifies an amount measured by or divided into units of 100, and can therefore relate e.g. to plots of land as well as to people. Thus the relationship to the figure 100 can be lost, the word then referring merely to a mathematically exactly measured or divided amount. [German version] A. Political Centuria is particularly used in the constitution of the Roman Republic to denote the electorate for the   comitia centuriata . In this meaning, the term probably derives from the contingent of 100 foot soldiers that, according to the histo…

Recruits, training of

(845 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] I. Greece See Ephebeia. Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast) [German version] II. Rome "Look at the training of legions ( exercitatio legionum)  ... From this comes that courage in battle that makes them ready to face wounds". Cicero here expresses the traditional pride of Romans in their military training (Cic. Tusc. 2,37). In the early Republic rudimentary military training was probably carried on in the Campus Martius. Later, when citizens living further away from Rome were recruited, the Romans recognize…

Primipilus

(408 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] In the Republican Period a centurio primi pili, later described as primipilus or primus pilus, was the highest ranking centurio in a Roman legion. He was in command of the outmost manipulus of the triarii or pilani on the right flank. Normally he was a member of the general's c onsilium and like other centuriones had served several years as a soldier. As legions were originally recruited year by year, a p. served only for one year and was then a simple centurio again; a p. could hold the position several times, however. In 171 BC Spurius Ligustinus reports that du…

Contarii

(109 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] were auxiliary cavalrymen armed with a heavy lance ( contus) about 3.5m long. They held the lance across the withers of the horse, with both hands either on top of or underneath the lance, and were thus not protected by a shield. This lance was probably adopted from the Sarmatians. From the time of Trajan or Hadrian there were separate units of C., as for example the ala I Ulpia contariorum milliaria. Although the C. initially wore no armour, they probably contributed to the development of mailed cavalry. Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast) Bibliography 1  J. W. Eadie, The develop…

Dux

(741 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast) | Tinnefeld, Franz (Munich)
[German version] [1] The term dux, which had already appeared in the Republican period with the general meaning of ‘a leader in a military action or of a troop of soldiers’ (cf. e.g. Cic. Dom. 12: seditionis duces), was in the 2nd cent. AD occasionally used in a semi-official way as the title for the commander of a military unit established for a particular purpose and not necessarily subordinate to the governor of a province. Thus Ti. Claudius Candidus was dux exercitus Illyrici in the war waged by Septimius Severus against Pescennius Niger in AD 193-195 (CIL II 4114 = ILS 1140); dux was also u…

Iuniores

(218 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] Under the centuriation system, which the historiographical tradition ascribed to king Servius Tullius, the Roman people were divided into classes according to the wealth of individual citizens. It was simultaneously used for political and military purposes. Each class consisted of two groups of citizens: the iuniores (men of 17-46 years), who had to perform military service and fight where and whenever it was demanded of them, whereas it was the duty of the seniores (men of 46-60 years) to defend the town itself against attacks (Pol. 6,19,2; Liv. 1,43,1f.: seniores ad…

Decurio, decuriones

(1,201 words)

Author(s): Gizewski, Christian (Berlin) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
Decurio (cf. decuria;  Decurio [4] via decus(s)is f. dec- and as) in general usage refers to a member or representative of a group of ten or tenth-part group (cf. Dig. 50,16,239,5); there is no shared etymology with curialis, a word of partly similar meaning derived from co-viria. In its specialized sense decurio denotes various functionaries: [German version] [1] A member of a curia in municipia and coloniae A member of a   curia , in those municipia and coloniae bound by Roman Law, was called decurio. Appointment of the usually 100 decuriones (occasionally smaller numbers) was regul…

Kataphraktoi

(353 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] (κατάφρακτοι; katáphraktoi). The term kataphraktoi refers to the armoured cavalry, which was first encountered by the Romans in 190 BC, in the war against Antiochus III (Liv. 37,40,5). At Carrhae, the army of Crassus was defeated, in 53 BC, by the Parthian cavalry whose men and horses were armoured (Plut. Crassus 24f.). From AD 69 on, the Romans were confronted with the armoured cavalry of the Sarmatians on the lower Danube (Tac. Hist. 1,79). In the Roman army, the first unit of armoured cavalrymen was probably deployed by Hadrian ( ala I Gallorum et Pannoniorum catafr…

Hasta

(1,030 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast) | Paulus, Christoph Georg (Berlin) | Siebert, Anne Viola (Hannover) | Salomone Gaggero, Eleonora (Genoa) | Barceló, Pedro (Potsdam) | Et al.
[German version] [1] Hasta, hastati In the Roman army of the middle Republic, the hasta served primarily as a thrust lance for close combat although it could also be thrown; it had a wooden shaft and an iron point. The hasta was adapted to the fighting style of the  phalanx, but it remained in use when, in the 4th cent. BC, the Romans adopted a more flexible set-up in maniples (  manipulus ). According to Livy (Liv. 8,8,5-13), whose account, however, is not without its problems, in 340 BC the Roman army consisted of three battle rows, the hastati, the principes and the triarii. The triarii were a…

Gaesati

(166 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] According to Polybius (Pol. 2,22,1; 2,34), the G. were a Gallic tribe, living in the Alps and along the Rhône; G. went into service as mercenaries, hence their name (Pol. 2,22,1). They took part in the Gallic invasion of Italy in 225 BC, but were beaten off, and subsequently defeated in 222 BC. Gaesum is also the name of a Gallic spear (Caes. B Gall. 3,4), sometimes carried by lightly armed Roman troops (Liv. 8,8,5). In the early Principate, auxiliary troops recruited from Raetia and apparently equipped with this kind of spear were referred to as gaesati. They were stationed…

Praetorium

(247 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] The praetorium  was the tent of the commanding officer of a Roman army in the Republic. The term betrays the fact that the praetor was originally the supreme Roman commander. Once camp was reached on the march, the location of the praetorium was first decided (Pol. 6,27; cf. Caes. B Civ. 1,76,2); it occupied centre stage in the camp (Castra) and was flanked by an open square serving as the market and by the tent of the quaestor . The via praetoria and the porta praetoria were probably the street and gate adjoining the praetorium. The word praetorium also denoted the advisory m…

Discens

(128 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] In a military context, this term denotes a soldier who has received special training for a certain special tasks or roles. There is epigraphical evidence that among soldiers serving in a legion were some who had received special training to prepare them for service as cavalry (CIL VIII 2882 = ILS 2331), medical orderlies, architects, or to act as standard or eagle bearers ( discens aquiliferu(m) leg(ionis) III Aug(ustae), CIL VIII 2988 = ILS 2344). It is not clear whether the discentes were of the same rank and standing as the immunes, i.e. soldiers who had special resp…

Equites singulares

(708 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] From the 2nd cent. BC at the latest, Roman commanders had an elite unit composed of mounted troops and foot soldiers, its members drawn from the contingents of the Italian socii, as was the case with the   extraordinarii . Towards the end of the Republic the elite units were recruited from the   auxilia ; it is unknown whether these, too, had a particular name. Similar units appear to have existed at the beginning of the Principate. During the German campaign of Germanicus (AD 11-14), Fabricius Tuscus commanded an ala praetoria, by which is probably meant the commander'…

Levy

(2,093 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] I. Greece In geometrical and early archaic Greece, mainly nobles and their dependents took part in wars. With the rise of the phalanx in the 7th cent. BC, the Greek polity also levied free farmers, who could provide their weapons themselves. However, details about conscription are first known from the Classical period, especially from Athens and Sparta. In Athens, all citizens - probably with the exception of the thetai until the middle of the 4th cent. BC - were liable for military service between their 18th and 59th year; o…

Auxilia

(519 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] During the last two centuries of the Republic, Rome forcibly recruited or enlisted as mercenaries members of non-Italian peoples with particular military skills e.g. Cretan archers, slingers from the Balearics and horsemen from Numidia, Spain or Gaul. After the Battle of Actium, many of these units remained in the service of Rome either voluntarily or as bound by contract, whilst others went on to serve under their own military leaders in their native country or in its vicinity. A…

Principales

(383 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] The principales of the Roman legions were soldiers who performed special duties, for this were exempted from the usual camp service and received one and a half times or double the pay of common soldiers (Veg. Mil. 2,7); the immunes on the other hand received no increased pay. The  enhanced standing of a principalis is illustrated in a letter by Iulius Appollinaris, a Roman soldier in Egypt: “I give thanks to Serapis and good fortune that while others are working hard all day cutting stones, I am now a principalis and stand around do…

Manipulus

(242 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] The manipulus (maniple) was a tactical unit of the Roman legion introduced in the 4th cent. BC (Liv. 8,8,3: et quod antea phalanges similes Macedonicis, hoc postea manipulatim structa acies coepit esse). It enabled troops to be more flexibly deployed for battle than with the phalanx. Soldiers armed with the pilum (throwing spear) were given more room. The legion was deployed for battle in three ranks ( hastati, principes, triarii ), each of the first two ranks comprising ten manipuli, each of 120 men, while the rank of the triarii comprised ten manipuli, each of 60 men. …

Mercenaries

(1,073 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] I. Greece Mercenaries (μισθοφόρος/ misthophóros or μισθωτός/ misthōtós, ξένος/ xénos) - soldiers who fought in foreign service as professional soldiers in exchange for payment ( misthós) - had existed in Greece since ancient times. In the 6th cent. BC they served Egyptian or eastern kings (Egypt: Hdt. 2,154; ML, No. 7; Babylon: Alc. 350 Lobel/Page); Greek tyrants like Peisistratus [4] or Polycrates [1] needed mercenaries to protect them (Hdt. 1,61; 3,45). Only from the Peloponnesian War onwards did the po…
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