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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  

Recruits, training of

(845 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] I. Greece See Ephebeia. Campbell, J. Brian (Bel…

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 during his military career he had been a p. four times in a few years (Liv. 42,34,11). I…

Contarii

(109 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] were auxiliary cavalrymen armed with a heavy lance (

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:

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

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 regulated in various ways in accordance with …

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 Antioc…

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 armed with the hasta; it can be assumed that the hastati were also equipped with the hasta. The spear (  pilum ), on the other hand, is not mentioned here. Polybius, in his description of the Roman army, which probably reflects the situation in the 2nd cent. BC, refers to property and age as the criteria for the recruitment of soldiers: the hastati, younger men, wore the full armour and stood in the first battle row, the principes

Gaesati

(166 words)

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 (

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; of these, the first two years, perhaps already from the 5th cent. BC., completed the ephebeia. After a declaration of war by the public assembly, the strategos named by them, was responsible for conscription, by which all those liable for military service were gathered, either according to age (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 53,4; 53,7) or ἐν τοῖς μέρεσιν/ en toîs méresin, probably according to phyles (Aeschin. Leg. 168; phyle [1]). A centrally kept registry (κατάλογος/ kat…

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,

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 merce…

Extraordinarii

(237 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] The extraordinarii were soldiers from allied Italian cities, serving in the army of early Rome as elite units of infantry and cavalry. Twelve prefects appointed by the consuls selected the best soldiers from the contingents of the alliance ─ ar…

Numerus

(234 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] In the Roman army, generally, a number of soldiers or specifically, a military unit; as the word lacked a precise definition, it could be used of either the auxilia or of the legions (Tac. Agr. 18,2; CIL III 12257: cohors Lusitanorum). Units lacking their own name were those referred to as numeri, e.g. the equites singulares Augusti (ILS 2182-2184; 2129) or the exploratores (ILS 2631; 2632; 9186; 9187). The same applied to units which had been recruited at the frontiers of the Empire: these numeri were often named after their place of origin (cf. e.g. the numeri Palmyrenorum,…
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