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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…

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)

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…

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…

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…

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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