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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…

Cohors

(498 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] During early Republican times, the  allies placed units of 500 men under the command of the Roman army, which were later called cohortes and came under the command of a prefect of the relevant town. It remains unclear when the cohortes were integrated into the army as tactical units. Polybius called a cohort a unit consisting of three  maniples (Pol. 11,23; Battle of Ilipa 206 BC), but in his famous description of the Roman army, cohortes are not mentioned. Livy mentions cohortes in his representation of the campaigns in Spain during the 2nd cent. BC, sometime…

Legio

(5,549 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] A. Republic In early times, the Roman military contingent probably consisted of 3,000 soldiers in total, each of the three tribus of the royal era providing 1,000 men (Varro, Ling. 5,89) - a military force described as ‘the levy’ ( legio). The division of the Roman people into six classes of wealth, ascribed by historiographical tradition to Servius Tullius (Liv. 1,42,4-43,13; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 4,15-18) also had a military purpose: a citizen's assets dictated with which weapons he was to equip himself. Those without property ( capite censi) were excluded from mili…

Bucellarii

(172 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] In late antiquity, bucellarii described groups of barbarian soldiers in the service of respected warriors, who from time to time deployed them in the interest of Rome. Eventually, the term bucellarii developed a particular meaning: an armed retinue, who served large landowners as bodyguards, a practice which -- despite being banned by Leo -- was frequently encountered. Bucellarii could also be found around high-ranking officials, mostly officers; they swore an oath of allegiance to both their lord and the emperor, which seems to indicat…

Exploratores

(303 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] Exploratores were the scouts of the Roman army. They reconnoitred the movements and deployments of the enemy as well as the terrain and positions of camps. In the early years of the Principate, soldiers selected from the   auxilia were commandeered from their units for a certain length of time to act as scouts. In the Dacian War (AD 105-106), Ti. Claudius Maximus, then serving in an ala, was selected by Trajan himself as a scout and brought the princeps the head of King Decebalus. In the mid 2nd cent. there is evidence of small reconnaissance units called explorationes. They w…

Aerarium militare

(577 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] Since the Roman senate in the Republican Period was unwilling to support the soldiers after they left the army with provisions of land or money ( praemia), certain commanders took care of it on their own account. This contributed to the development of armies that owed personal allegiance to an individual leader and helped to undermine political stability, beginning with the dictatorship of Cornelius [I 90] Sulla. When the younger Augustus (C. Octavius) established himself against his adversaries in the civ…

Praetorians

(876 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] ( cohortes praetoriae). In the Roman Republic, the cohors praetoria was a small military unit which guarded the praetorium and acted as an escort for the commander. According to Festus (Fest. 223M.), Cornelius [I 71] Scipio Africanus was the first to have selected 'the bravest' for his protection. Freed from other duties, they also drew higher pay. In the late Republic, powerful commanders had strong bodyguards; thus in 44 BC, M. Antonius [I 9] assembled a bodyguard of 6,000 from his veterans. In 27 BC, Augustus [1] created a standing corps of praetorians who…

Singulares

(73 words)

Author(s): Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] were Roman soldiers specially selected to serve as aides or orderlies to high-ranking officers (P. Oxy. 7.1022; CIL III 7334). Singulares are found serving in the officia of the praefectus praetorio , the tribunes of the praetorian and urban cohorts, senatorial military tribunes, and the cavalry prefects. The singularis of the praetorian prefect ranked below the tesserarius and belonged to the principales . Equites singulares Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Cavalry

(2,665 words)

Author(s): Starke, Frank (Tübingen) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. History With the development of the skill of driving teams of horses in the 1st half of the 2nd millennium BC, the methodological foundations of riding also were in place ( Horse III,  Horsemanship). Although there is definite evidence of mounted messengers and scouts from as early as the 14th/13th cents. BC onwards (Akkadogram LÚPETḪALLUM ‘rider’ in Hittite texts; Egyptian pictorial evidence [10]), the use of the cavalry as an armed force did not develop until during the 9th/8th cents. Decisive in this was the diff…

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…
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