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p477 Evocati

Unsigned article on p477 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

EVOCATI, were soldiers in the Roman army, who had served out their time and obtained their discharge (missio), but had voluntarily enlisted again at the invitation of the consul or other commander (Dion Cass. XLV.12). There appears always to have been a considerable number of evocati in every army of importance; and when the general was a favourite among the soldiers, the number of veterans who joined his standard would of course be increased. The evocati were, doubtless, released, like the vexillarii, from the common military duties of fortifying the camp, making roads, &c. (Tacit. Ann. I.36), and held a higher rank in the army than the common legionary soldiers. They are sometimes spoken of in conjunction with the equites Romani (Caes. Bell. Gall. VII.65), and sometimes classed with the centurions (Caes. Bell. Civ. I.17). They appear to have been frequently promoted to the rank of centurions. Thus Pompey induced a great many of the veterans, who had served under him in former years, to join his standard at the breaking out of the civil war, by the promise of rewards and the command of centuries (ordinum, Caes. Bell. Civ. I.3). All the evocati could not, however, have held the rank of centurions, as we read of two thousand on one occasion (Ib. III.88), and of their belonging to certain cohorts in the army. Cicero (ad Fam. III.6 §5) speaks of a Praefectus evocatorum (see Cic. ad Fam. XV.4 §3; Caes. Bell. Civ. III.91; Suet. Aug. 56; Lipsius, De Milit. Rom. I.8).

The name of evocati was also given to a select body of young men of the equestrian order, who were appointed by Domitian to guard his bedchamber (Suet. Dom. 10). This body is supposed by some writers to have existed under the succeeding emperors, and to have been the same as those who are called Evocati Augusti (Hyginus, de Lim. p209; Orelli, Inscript. No. 3495, 153).


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