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Bill Thayer

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 p2  Accensi

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


  1. Public officers who attended on several of the Roman magistrates. They summoned the people to the assemblies, and those who had lawsuits to court; they preserved order in the assemblies and the courts, and proclaimed the time of the day when it was the third hour, the sixth hour, and the ninth hour. An accensus anciently preceded the consul who had not the fasces, and lictors without fasces walked behind him, which custom after being disused was restored by Julius Caesar in his first consul­ship (Varro, L. L. VII.58, ed. Müller; Plin. H. N. VII.60; Suet. Jul. 20; Liv. III.33). Accensi also attended on the governors of provinces (Cic. ad Fratr. I.1 §4), and were commonly freedmen of the magistrate on whom they attended.

  2. A body of reserve troops, who followed the Roman army without having any military duties to perform, and who were taken one by one to supply any vacancies that might occur in the legions. They were according to the census of Servius Tullius taken from the fifth class of citizens. They were placed in battle in the rear of the army, behind the triarii, and seem to have acted sometimes as orderlies to the officers. They were also called Adscripticii and in later times Supernumerarii (Fest. s.v. Accensi, Adscripticii; Liv. I.43, VIII.8, 10; Veget. II.19; Niebuhr, Rom. Hist. vol. I p449, &c.)

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