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The Roman section only (pp489‑511) of an article on pp481‑511 of

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


2. Roman. In the present article we shall attempt to present a view of the constitution of the Roman army at several remarkable epochs, and to point out in what respect the usages of one age differed most conspicuously from those of another, abstaining most carefully from those general statements which in many works upon antiquities are enunciated broadly, as if they were applicable alike to the reign of Tarquin and to the reign of Valentinian, including to the whole intermediate space within their wide sweep.

Our authorities will enable us to form a conception, more or less complete, of the organisation of a Roman army at five periods: —

  1. At the establishment of the comitia centuriata by Servius.
  2. About a century and a half after the expulsion of the kings.
  3. During the wars of the younger Scipio, when the discipline of the troops was, perhaps, more perfect than at any previous or subsequent era; and here, fortunately, our information is most complete.
  4. In the times of Marius, Sulla, and Julius Caesar.
  5. A hundred and fifty years later, when the empire had reached its culminating point under Trajan and Hadrian.

Beyond this, we shall not seek to advance. After the death of M. Aurelius, we discern nought save disorder, decay, and disgrace; while an inquiry into the complicated arrangements introduced when every department in the state was remodelled by Diocletian and Constantine, would demand lengthened and tedious investigation, and would prove of little or no service to the classical student.


The number of ancient writers now extant, who treat professedly of the military affairs of the Romans, is not great, and their works are, with one or two exceptions, of little value. Incomparably the most important is Polybius, who in a fragment preserved from his sixth book, presents us with a sketch of the Roman army at the time when its character stood highest, and its discipline was most perfect. This, so far as it reaches, yields the best information we could desire. The tract περὶ στρατηγικῶν τάξεων Ἑλληνικῶν of Aelianus who flourished under Nerva, belongs, as the title implies, to Greek tactics, but contains also a brief, imperfect, and indistinct account of a Roman army. The τέχνη τακτική of Arrian, governor of Cappadocia under Hadrian, is occupied in a great measure with the manoeuvres of the phalanx, to which is subjoined a minute practical exposition of the preliminary exercises by which the Roman cavalry were trained; to Arrian, likewise, we are indebted for a very interesting fragment entitled ἔκταξις κατ’ Ἀλανῶν, supposed to be a portion of his lost history, which bore the name Ἀλανικά, consisting of instructions for the order of march to be adopted by the force despatched against the Scythians, and for the precautions to be observed in marshalling the line of battle. This piece taken in connection with the essay of Hyginus, of which we have spoken under Castra, will assist us materially when we seek to form a distinct idea of the constitution of a Roman army in the early part of the second century. It remains for us to notice the Latin "Scriptores de Re Militari," Frontinus, Modestus, and Vegetius. The Strategematica of the first, who lived under Vespasian, is merely a collection of anecdotes compiled without much care or nice discrimination, and presents very little that is available for our present purpose; the Libellus de Vocabulis Rei Militaris of the second, addressed to the emperor Tacitus, affords a considerable number of technical terms, but is in such a confused state, and so loaded with interpolations, that we can employ it with little confidence; the Rei Militaris Instituta of the third, dedicated to the younger Valentinian, is a formal treatise drawn up in an age when the ancient discipline of Rome was no longer known, or had, at least, fallen into desuetude; but the materials, we are assured by the author himself, were derived from sources the most pure, such as Cato the Censor, Cornelius Celsus, and the official regulations of the earlier emperors. Misled by these specious professions, and by the regularity displayed in the distribution of the different sections, many scholars have been induced to adopt the statements here embodied without hesitation, without even asking to what period they applied. But when the book is subjected to critical scrutiny, it will be found to be full of inconsistencies and contradictions, to mix up into one confused and heterogeneous mass the systems pursued at epochs the most remote from each other, and to exhibit a state of things which never did and never could have existed. Hence, if we are to make any use at all of this farrago, we must proceed with the utmost caution, and ought to accept the novelties which it offers, merely in illustration or confirmation of the testimony of others, without ever permitting them to weigh against more trustworthy witnesses.

But while the number of direct authorities is very limited, much knowledge may be obtained through a multitude of indirect channels. Not only do the narratives of the historians of Roman affairs abound in details relating to military operations, but there is scarcely a Latin writer upon any topic, whether in prose or in verse, whose pages are not filled with allusions to the science of war. The writings of the jurists also, inscriptions, medals, and monuments of art communicate much that is curious and important; but even after we have brought together and classified all these scattered notices, we shall have to regret that there are many things left in total darkness, and many upon which the assertions of different writers cannot by any dexterity be reconciled in a satisfactory manner. We shall endeavour to expound in each case those views which are supported by the greatest amount of credible  p490 evidence, without attempting to discuss the various points upon which controversies have arisen.

Among the writings of modern scholars we ought to notice specially the dialogues "De Militia Romana" by the learned and indefatigable Lipsius, in which the text of Polybius (VI.19, 42), and a chapter in Livy (VIII.8) serve as a foundation for a great superstructure of illustration and supplementary matter; nor must we forget the "Poliorcetica" of the same author, which may be regarded as a continuation of the preceding. The posthumous dissertation of Salmasius "De Re militari Romanorum," which displays the deep reading, mixed up with not a little of the rashness, of that celebrated critic, is well worthy of perusal, and will be found in the "Corpus Antiquitatum Romanarum" of Graevius, vol. X p1284. The same volume includes the admirable commentary of Schelius on Hyginus, his notes on Polybius, together with essays on various topics connected with Roman warfare by Boeclerus, Robertellus, Erycius Puteanus, M. A. Causeus (De la Chausse), Petrus Ramus, &c. A most elaborate series of papers by M. Le Beau is printed in the twenty-fifth and several succeeding volumes of the "Mémoires de l'Académie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres;" and although we are far from acquiescing in all the conclusions at which he arrives, it is impossible to deny that in so far as facts are concerned, he has almost exhausted every topic on which he has entered, and we cannot but lament that he should not have completed the design which he originally sketched out. We may consult with profit Folard's "Commentaire," attached to the French translation of Polybius, by the Benedictine Vincent Thuillier, 6 tom. 4to, Amst. 1729; Guischard, "Mémoires Militaires sur les Grecs et les Romains," 2 tom. 4to, La Haye, 1757, and "Mémoires Critiques et Historiques sur Plusieurs Ponts et Antiquités Militaires," 4 tom. 4to, Berlin et Paris, 1775; Vaudoncourt, "Histoire des Campagnes d'Hannibal en Italie," 3 tom. 4to, Paris, 1812; Roy, "Military Antiquities of the Romans in Britain," fol. Lond. 1793; Nast, "Römische Kriegsalterthümer," 8vo, Halle, 1782; Löhr, "Ueber die Tactik und das Kriegswesen der Griechen und Römer," 8vo. Kempt. 1825; Lehner, "De Republica Romana sive ex Polybii Megalop. sexta Historia Excerpta," 8vo. Salzb. 1823.

General Remarks on the Legion

For a quick summary of the Roman legion, but with dozens of detailed pages on each of the various specific legions, see this excellent subsite of Livius.Org.

The name Legio is coeval with the foundation of Rome, and always denoted a body of troops, which, although subdivided into several smaller bodies, was regarded as forming an organised whole. It cannot be held to have been equivalent to what we call a regiment, inasmuch as it contained troops of all arms, infantry, cavalry, and, when military engines were extensively employed, artillery also; it might thus, so far, be regarded as a complete army, but on the other hand the number of soldiers in a legion was fixed within certain limits, never much exceeding 6000, and hence when war was carried on upon a large scale, a single army, under the command of one general, frequently contained two, three, or more legions, besides a large number of auxiliaries of various denominations. In like manner the legion being complete within itself, and not directly or necessarily connected with any other corps, cannot be translated by battalion, division, detachment, nor any other term in ordinary use among modern tacticians. Ancient etymologists agree in deriving legio from legere to choose (Varr. L. L. V. § 87, VI. § 66. ed. Müller; Plut. Rom. 13; Non. Marcell. I. s.v. legionum; Modest. de Vocabl. R. M.; Isidor. Orig. IX.3. § 46), and the name endured as long as the thing itself. Le Beau and others are mistaken when they assert that in Tacitus, and the writers who followed him, the word numeri is frequently substituted for legio, for it will be seen from the passages to which we give references below, that numeri is used to denote either the different corps of which a legion was composed, or a corps generally, without any allusion to the legion (Tac. Hist. I.6, 87. Agric. 18, cf. Ann. II.80, Hist. II.69; Plin. Ep. III.8, X.38; Vopisc. Prob. 14; Ulpian. in Dig. 3. tit. 3 s.8 §2; 29. tit. 1 s.43, &c. &c. See below the remarks on the Cohors).

In the Scriptures of the New Testament, in Plutarch (e.g. Rom. 13, 20), and elsewhere, we meet with the Grecized word λεγέων, but the Greek writers upon Roman affairs for the most part employ some term borrowed from their own literature as an equivalent; and since each considered himself at liberty to select that which he deemed most appropriate or which suggested itself at the moment, without reference to the practice of those who had gone before him, and without endeavouring to preserve uniformity even within the bounds of his own writings, we not only find a considerable variety of words used indiscriminately as representatives of Legio, but we find the same author using different words in different passages, and, what is still more perplexing, the same word which is used by one author for the legion as a whole is used by others to denote some one or other of the subdivisions. The terms which we meet with most commonly are, στρατόπεδων, φάλαγξ, τάγμα, τέλος, less frequently στράτευμα and τεῖχος. Polybius in those chapters which are devoted exclusively to a description of the legion uniformly designates it by στρατόπεδον, which he sometimes applies to an army in general (e.g. II.73, 86), while by others it is usually employed to denote a camp (castra). Again Polybius gives a choice of three names for the maniple, σημαία, σπείρα, and τάγμα, but of these the first is for the most part introduced by others as the translation of the Latin vexillum, the second almost uniformly as equivalent to cohors, and the third, although of wide acceptation, is constantly the representative of legio. Dionysius uses sometimes, especially in the earlier books of his history, φάλαγξ (e.g. V.67), sometimes τάγματα (e.g. VI.45, IX.10, 13), or στρατιωτικὰ τάγματα (VI.42), and his example is followed by Josephus (B. J. III.5 §5; 6 §2); Appian adopts τέλος (e.g. Annib. 8, B. C. II.76, 79, 86, III.45, 83, 92, IV.115); Plutarch within the compass of a single sentence (M. Anton. 18) has both τάγματα and τέλη; Dion Cassius, when speaking of the legions in contradistinction to the household troops, calls them in one passage τὰ πολιτικὰ στρατόπεδα (XXXVIII.47), in another τείχη τῶν ἐκ καταλόγου στρατευομένων (LV.24), and where no particular emphasis is required, we find stra/teuma (τὸ δέκατον στράτευμα, XXXVIII.47, XL.65º), τεῖχος (τοῦ τετάρτου τοῦ Σκυθικοῦ τείχους, LXXIX.7), στρατόπεδον (XXXVIII.46, XL.65, 66), and στρατόπεδον ἐκ καταλόγου (XL.27  p491 comp. XL.18), whence the legionaries are styled οἳ ἐκ τοῦ καταλόγου στρατευόμενοι (LV.24, LII.22, LIX.2), or simply καταλεγόμενοι (LIV.25).

Neither Livy nor Dionysius notice the first establishment of the legion, but they both take for granted that it existed from the very foundation of the city, while Varro (L. L. V. § 89) and Plutarch (Rom. 13) expressly ascribe the institution to Romulus. The latter speaks of the band led by Romulus against Amulius as being divided into centuries (δύναμιν συλλελοχισμένην εἰς ἑκατοστόας), giving at the same time the origin of the term maniple, and the former states that Romulus, to establish his legion, took 1000 men from each tribe.

Constitution of the Legion. The legion for many centuries was composed exclusively of Roman citizens. By the ordinances of Servius Tullius those alone who were enrolled in the five classes were eligible, and one of the greatest changes introduced by Marius was the admission of all orders of citizens, including the lowest, into the ranks (Sall. Jug. 86; Plut. Mar. 9; Flor. III.1; Gell. XVI.10). Up to the year B.C. 107 no one was permitted to serve among the regular troops of the state except those who were regarded as possessing a strong personal interest in the stability of the commonwealth, but the principle having been at this period abandoned, the privilege was extended after the close of the Social War (B.C. 87) to nearly the whole of the free population of Italy, and by the famous edict of Caracalla (or perhaps of M. Aurelius), to the whole Roman world. Long before this, however, the legions were raised chiefly in the provinces, and hence are ranked by Hyginus among the provincialis militia (legiones quoniam sunt militiae provincialis fidelissima). Even under Augustus, the youth of Latium, Umbria, Etruria, and the ancient colonies, served chiefly in the household troops (Tac. Ann. IV.5), who for this reason are complimented by Otho as Italiae alumni et vere Romana juventus (Tac. Hist. I.84). But although the legions contained comparatively few native Italians, it does not appear that the admission of foreigners not subjects was ever practised upon a large scale until the reign of the second Claudius (A.D. 268‑270), who incorporated a large body of vanquished Goths, and of Probus (A.D. 276‑282), who distributed 16,000 Germans among legionary and frontier battalions (numeris et limitaneis militibus, Vopisc. Prob. 14). From this time forward what had originally been the leading characteristic of the legion was rapidly obliterated, so that under Diocletian, Constantine, and their successors, the best soldiers in the Roman armies were barbarians. The name Legion was still retained in the fifth century, since it appears in an edict addressed by the emperors Arcadius and Honorius to the prefect Romulianus (Cod. Justin. 12 tit. 35 s13) and also in the tract known as the Notitia Dignitatum Imperii (c59). It probably did not fall into total disuse until the epoch of Justinian's sway; but in the numerous ordinances of that prince with regard to military affairs nothing bears in any way upon the constitution of the legion, nor does the name occur in legal documents subsequent to the above-mentioned edict of Arcadius and Honorius.

There is yet another circumstance connected with the social position of the soldier to which it is very necessary to advert, if we desire to form a distinct idea of the changes gradually introduced into the Roman military system. The Roman armies for a long period consisted entirely of what we might term militia. Every citizen was, to a certain extent, trained to arms during a fixed period of his life; he was, at all times, liable to be called upon to serve; but the legion in which he was enrolled was disbanded as soon as the special service for which it had been levied, was performed; and although these calls were frequent in the early ages of the kingdom and the commonwealth, when the enemies of the republic were almost at the gates, yet a few months, or more frequently, a few weeks or even days, sufficed to decide the fortunes of the campaign. The Roman annalists assure us that a Roman army had never wintered in the field, until more than three centuries after the foundation of the city, when the blockade of Veii required the constant presence of the besiegers. As the scene of action became by degrees farther removed from Latium, when southern Italy and Sicily were now the seat of war — when the existence of Rome was menaced by the Carthaginian invasion — when her armies were opposed to such leaders as Pyrrhus, Hamilcar, and Hannibal — it was, of course, impossible to leave the foe for a moment unwatched; and the exigencies of the state rendered it necessary that the same legions and the same soldiers should remain in activity for several years in succession. This protracted service became inevitable as the dominion of Rome extended over Greece and Asia, when the distances rendered frequent relief impracticable; but down to the very termination of the republic, the ancient principle was recognised, that when a campaign was concluded, the soldier was entitled to return home and to resume the occupation of a peaceful citizen. It was a conviction that their leader had broken faith with them by commencing a new war against Tigranes, after the defeat of Mithridates, their proper and legitimate opponent, which induced the troops of Lucullus to mutiny, and compelled their leader to abandon his Armenian conquests. Hence, for upwards of seven centuries, there was no such thing as the military profession, and no man considered himself as a soldier in contradistinction to other callings. Every individual knew that he was bound as a member of the body politic to perform certain duties; but these duties were performed without distinction by all — at least by all whose stake in the prosperity of their country was considered sufficient to insure their zeal in defending it; and each man, when his share of this obligation was discharged, returned to take his place in society, and to pursue his ordinary avocations. The admission of the Capite Censi into the ranks, persons who, probably, found their condition as soldiers much superior to their position as civilians, and who could now cherish hopes of amassing wealth by plunder, or of rising to honour as officers, tended to create a numerous class disposed to devote themselves permanently to a military life as the only source from whence they could secure comfort and distinction. The long-continued operations of Caesar in Gaul, and the necessity imposed upon Pompeius of keeping up a large force as a check on his dreaded rival, contributed strongly to nourish this feeling, which was, at length, fully developed and confirmed by the civil broils which lasted for twenty years, and by the  p492 practice first introduced upon a large scale, after the Mithridatic wars, of granting pensions for long service in the shape of donations of land. Hence, when Augustus in compliance, as we are told by Dion Cassius (LII.27), with the advice of Maecenas, determined to provide for the security of the distant provinces, and for tranquil submission at home by the establishment of a powerful standing army, he found the public mind in a great degree prepared for such a measure, and the distinction between soldier and civilian unknown, or at least not recognised before, became from this time forward as broadly marked as in the most pure military despotisms of ancient or modern hands. In this place, we are required simply to call attention to the fact — it belongs to the philosophic historian to trace the results.

The numbering of the legions and their titles

The legions were originally named according to the order in which they were raised. Thus in the early part of the second Punic war, we hear of the fourth legion (τὸ τέταρτον στρατόπεδον), being hard pressed by the Boii (Polyb. III.40); the tenth legion plays a conspicuous part in the history of Caesar as his favourite corps (Dion Cass. XXXVIII.17), and the cabinets of numismatologists present us with an assemblage of denarii struck by M. Antonius in honour of the legions which he commanded, exhibiting a regular series of numbers from 1 up to 30, with only four blanks (25, 27, 28, 29). As the legions became permanent, the same numbers remained attached to the same corps, which were moreover distinguished by various epithets of which we have early examples in the Legio Martia (Cic. Philip. V.2; Vell. Pat. II.61; Dion Cass. XLV.13; Appian, B. C. IV.115), and the Legio Quinta Alauda [Alauda].

Dion Cassius, who flourished under Alexander Severus, tells us (LV.23) that the military establishment of Augustus consisted of twenty-three or twenty-five legions (we know from Tac. Ann. IV.5, that twenty-five was the real number), of which nineteen still existed when he wrote, the rest having been destroyed, or incorporated by Augustus or his successors in other legions. He gives the names of nineteen, and the localities where they were stationed in his own day, adding the designations of those which had been raised by subsequent emperors. This list has been considerably enlarged from inscriptions and other authorities, which supply also several additional titles. We give the catalogue as it stands in the pages of the historian, and refer those who desire more complete information to the collections of Roman inscriptions by Gruter and Orelli, to the fifth book of the Comment. Reip. Rom. of Wolfgang Lazius, fol. Francf. 1598, and to Eckhel, Doctrina Numm. Vet. vol. VI p50, vol. VIII p488. In the following table an asterisk is subjoined to the nineteen legions of Augustus, to the remainder the name of the prince by whom they were first levied; the epithets included within brackets are not given by Dion, but have been derived from various sources: —

List of the Legions in the Reign of Alexander Severus.

Number of the Legion.
By whom raised.
Where stationed in the age of Dion Cassius.
Prima Italica Nero Hiberna in Mysia Inferiore
—— — Adjutrix Galba Pannonia Inferior
—— — Minervia Domitianus Germania Inferior
—— — Parthica Septimius Severus Mesopotamia
Secunda Augusta
Hiberna in Britannia Superiore
—— — Adjutrix Vespasianus Pannonia Inferior
—— — Ægyptia Trajana Trajanus (Egypt?)
—— — Italica M. Antoninus Noricum
—— — Media (Parthica) Septimius Severus Italia
Tertia Augusta
—— — Gallica
—— — Cyrenaica
—— — Italica M. Antoninus Rhaetia
—— — Parthica Septimius Severus Mesopotamia
Quarta Scythica
—— — Flavia (Felix) Vespasianus Syria
Quinta Macedonica
Sexta Victrix
Britannia Inferior
—— — Ferrata
Septima Claudia
Mysia Superior
—— — (Gemina) Galba Hispania
Octava Augusta
Germania Superior
Decima Gemina
Pannonia Superior
—— — (Fretensis)
Undecima Claudia
Mysia Inferior
Duodecima Fulminatrix
Decima Tertia Gemina
Decima Quarta Gemina
Pannonia Superior
Decima Quinta Apollinaris
Vigesima Valeria Victrix
Britannia Superior
—— — —— —
Hiberna in Germania
Trigesima Ulpia (Victrix) Trajanus (Germania?)

 p493  On this we may remark: —

  1. That several legions bore the same number: thus there were four Firsts, five Seconds, and five Thirds.

  2. The titles were derived from various circumstances; some indicated the deity under whose patronage the legions were placed, such as Minervia and Apollinaris; some the country in which they had been levied or recruited, as Italica, Macedonica, Gallica; or the scene of their most brilliant achievement, as Parthica, Scythica; some the emperor under whom they had served or by whom they had been created, as Augusta, Flavia, Ulpia; some a special service, as Claudiana Pia Felix, applied to the 7th and 11th, which had remained true to their allegiance during the rebellion of Camillus, prefect of Dalmatia, in the reign of Claudius (Dion Cass. LX.15); some, the fact that another legion had been incorporated with them; at least, this is the explanation given by Dion Cassius of the epithet Gemina (Δίδυμα), and there seems little doubt that he is correct (see Eckhel, vol. IV p472).

  3. The same legions appear in certain cases to have been quartered in the same districts for centuries. Thus the Secunda Augusta, the Sexta Victrix, and the Vicesima Victrix, which were stationed in Britain when Dion drew up his statement, were there in the age of the Antonines, as we learn from Ptolemy (II.31), and the first of them as early as the reign of Claudius (Tac. Hist. III.22, 24).

  4. The six legions of Augustus which had disappeared when Dion wrote, were probably the following, whose existence in the early years of the empire can be demonstrated: Prima Germanica; Quarta Macedonica; Quinta Alauda; Nona Hispana; Decima Sexta Gallica; Vigesima Prima Rapax; besides these, it would seem that there was a second fifteenth and a twenty-second, both named Primigenia, and one of these ought, perhaps, to be substituted for the second twentieth in the above table, since the words of Dion with regard to the latter are very obscure and apparently corrupt.

  5. We find notices also of a Prima Macriana Liberatrix raised in Africa, after the death of Nero, by Clodius Macer; of a Decima Sexta Flavia Firma raised by Vespasian; and of a Vigesima Secunda Deiotariana, apparently originally a foreign corps, raised by Deiotarus, which, eventually, like the Alauda of Caesar, was admitted to the name and privileges of a Roman legion.

  6. It will be seen that the numbers XVII, XVIII, XIX are altogether wanting in the above lists. We know that the XVIII and XIX were two of the legions commanded by Varus, and hence it is probable that the XVII was the third in that ill-fated host.

  7. The total number of legions under Augustus was twenty-five, under Alexander Severus thirty-two, but during the civil wars the number was far greater. Thus, when the second triumvirate was formed the forces of the confederates were calculated at forty-three legions, which, after the battle at Philippi, had dwindled down to 28 (Appian, B. C. V.6); but a few years afterwards, when war between Octavianus and M. Antonius was imminent, the former alone had upwards of forty legions, and his adversaries nearly the same (Appian, B. C. V.53). In order that we may be able to form some idea of the magnitude of these and other armies, we must next consider

The number of foot soldiers in a Roman legion

Although we can determine with tolerable certainty the number of soldiers who, at different periods, were contained in a legion, we must bear in mind that at no epoch does this number appear to have been absolutely fixed, but to have varied within moderate limits, especially when troops were required for some special or extraordinary service. The permanent changes may be referred to four epochs.

  1. Under the Kings. — Varro (L.L. V. § 89) and Plutarch (Rom. 13), both of whom describe the first establishment of the legion, agree that under Romulus it contained 3000 foot soldiers. The words of Plutarch indeed, in a subsequent passage (Rom. 20), would, at first sight, appear to imply that after the junction with the Sabines the number was raised to 6000; but he must be understood to mean two legions, one from each nation. It is highly probable that some change may have been introduced by Servius Tullius, but, in so far as numbers are concerned, we have no evidence.

  2. From the expulsion of the Kings until the second year of the second Punic War. — The regular number during this space of time may be fixed at 4000 or 4200 infantry. According to Dionysius (VI.42) M. Valerius, the brother of Publicola, raised two legions (B.C. 492), each consisting of 4000, and Livy, in the first passage, where he specifies the numbers in the legions (VI.22B.C. 378), reckons them at 4000, and a few years afterwards (VII.25B.C. 346) he tells us that legions were raised each containing 4200 foot soldiers, and 300 horse. The legion which possessed itself of Rhegium (B.C. 281‑271) is described (Liv. XXVIII.28) as having consisted of 4000, and we find the same number in the first year of the second Punic War (Liv. XXI.17B.C. 218). Polybius, in like manner (I.16), fixes the number at 4000 in the second year of the first Punic war (B.C. 263), and again in the first year of the second Punic War (III.72, B.C. 218). In the war against Veii, however, when the Romans put forth all their energies, according to Dionysius (IX.13), an army was raised of 20,000 infantry and 1200 cavalry, divided into four legions; and, according to Polybius (II.24), in the war against the Gauls, which preceded the second Punic War, the legions of the consuls consisted of 5200 infantry, while those serving in Sicily and Tarentum contained 4200 only, a proof that the latter was the ordinary number.

  3. From the second year of the second Punic war until the consul­ship of Marius. — During this interval the ordinary number may be fixed at from 5000 to 5200. Polybius, indeed, in his treatise on Roman warfare, lays it down (VI.20) that the legion consists of 4200 foot soldiers, and in cases of peculiar danger of 5000. However, the whole of the space we are now considering, was in fact a period of extraordinary exertion, and hence from the year B.C. 216, we shall scarcely find the number stated under 5000 (e.g. Polyb. III.17, Liv. XXII.36, XXVI.28, XXXIX.38), and after the commencement of the Ligurian war it seems to have been raised to 5200 (Liv. XL.1, 18, 36, XLI.9, but in XLI.21 it is again 5000). The two legions which passed over into Africa under Scipio (B.C. 204) contained each 6200 (Liv. XXIX.24), those which served against Antiochus 5400 (Liv. XXXVII.39), those employed in the last Macedonian war 6000 (Liv. XLII.31, XLIV.21, comp. XLIII.12), but these were special cases.  p494 

  4. From the first consul­ship of Marius (B.C. 107) until the extinction of the legion. — For some centuries after Marius the numbers varied from 5000 to 6200, generally approaching to the higher limit. Festus (s.v. sex milium et ducentorum) expressly declares that C. Marius raised the numbers from 4000 to 6200, but his system in this respect was not immediately adopted, for in the army which Sulla led against Rome to destroy his rival, the six complete legions (ἓξ τάγματα τέλεια) amounted to 30,000 men (Plut. Sull. 9, Mar. 35, but the text in the latter passage is doubtful). In the war against Mithridates again, the 30,000 men of Lucullus formed five legions (Appian. Mithr. 72). Comparing Plutarch (Cic. 36) with Cicero (ad Att. V.15), we conclude that the two legions commanded by the latter in Cilicia contained each 6000. Caesar never specifies in his Commentaries the number of men in his legions, but we infer that the 13th did not contain more than 5000 (B. C. I.7), while the two mentioned in the fifth book of the Gallic war (c48, 49) were evidently incomplete. In Appian, M. Antonius is represented as calculating the amount of 28 legions at upwards of 170,000 men, that is nearly 6100 to each legion, but he seems to include auxiliaries (τῶν συντασσομένων). During the first century the standard force was certainly 6000, although subject to constant variations according to circumstances, and the caprice of the reigning prince. The legion of Hadrian, if we can trust Hyginus, was 5280, of Alexander Severus 5000 (Lamprid. Sev. 50), that described by Vegetius (II.6), to whatever period it may belong, 6100, and most of the grammarians agree upon 6000 (e.g. Serv., ad Virg. Aen. VII.274; Isidor. Orig. IX.3 §46; Suidas, s.v. λεγεών, but Hesychius gives 6666). The Jovians and Herculeans of Diocletian and Maximian formed each a corps of 6000 (Veget. I.17), but beyond this we have no clue to guide us. If we believe the τάγματα of Zosimus and the ἀριθμοί of Sozomen to designate the legions of Honorius, they must at that epoch have been reduced to a number varying from 1200 to 700.

Number of Cavalry attached to the Legion

According to Varro and the other authorities who describe the original constitution of the legion, it consisted of 3000 infantry and 300 cavalry. The number of foot soldiers was, as we have seen above, gradually increased until it amounted to 6000, but the number of horsemen remained always the same, except upon particular occasions. In those passages of Livy and Dionysius, where the numbers of the legion are specified, we find uniformly, amid all the variations with regard to infantry, 300 horsemen set down as the regular complement (justus equitatus) of the legion.

Polybius, however, is at variance with these authorities, for although in his chapter upon Roman warfare (VI.20) he gives 300 as the number, yet when he is detailing (III.107) the military preparations of the year B.C. 216, after having remarked that each legion contained 5000 infantry, he adds, that under ordinary circumstances it contained 4000 infantry and 200 cavalry, but that upon pressing emergencies it was increased to 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry, and this representation is confirmed by his review of the Roman forces at the time of the war against the Cisalpine Gauls (II.24). It is true that when narrating the events of the first Punic War, he in one place (I.16) makes the legions to consist of 4000 infantry and 300 cavalry; and in the passage referred to above (II.24) the consular legions amounted to 5200 infantry and 300 cavalry, but both of these were pressing emergencies. The statements, therefore, of Polybius upon this point are directly at variance with those of Dionysius and Livy, and it does not seem possible to reconcile the discrepancy. There are two passages in the last-named historian which might appear to bear out the Greek (Liv. XXII.36, XLII.31), but in the first he is evidently alluding to the assertions of Polybius, and in the second the best editors agree in considering the text corrupt, and that we should substitute duceni pedites for duceni equites.

When troops were raised for a service which required special arrangements, the number of horsemen was sometimes increased beyond 300. Thus the legion despatched to Sardinia in B.C. 215 (Liv. XXIII.34) consisted of 5000 infantry and 400 cavalry, the same number of horsemen was attached to a legion sent to Spain in B.C. 180 under Tiberius Sempronius (Liv. XL.36), and in B.C. 169 it was resolved that the legions in Spain should consist of 5000 infantry and 330 cavalry (Liv. XLIII.112), but in the war against Perseus when the infantry of the legions was raised to 6000 the cavalry retained the ancient number of 300 (Liv. XLII.31). It must be observed that these remarks with regard to the cavalry apply only to the period before Marius; about that epoch the system appears to have undergone a very material change, which will be adverted to in the proper place.

We now proceed to consider the organisation of the legion at the five periods named above.

First Period. Servius Tullius. — The legion of Servius is so closely connected with the Comitia Centuriata that it has already been discussed in a former article [Comitia], and it is only necessary to repeat here that it was a phalanx equipped in the Greek fashion, the front ranks being furnished with a complete suit of armour, and their chief defence the round Argolic shield (clipeus).

Second Period. The Great Latin War, B.C. 340. — Our sole authority is a single chapter in Livy (VIII.8), but it "is equalled by few others in compressed richness of information," and is in itself sufficiently intelligible, although tortured and elaborately corrupted by Lipsius and others, who were determined to force it into harmony with the words of Polybius, which represent, it is true, most accurately the state of a Roman army, but of a Roman army as it existed two centuries afterwards. According to the plain and obvious sense of the passage in question, the legion in the year B.C. 340 had thrown aside the arms and almost entirely discarded the tactics of the phalanx. It was now drawn up in three, or perhaps we ought to say, in five lines. The soldiers of the first line, called Hastati, consisted of youths in the first bloom of manhood (florem juvenem pubescentium in militiam) distributed into fifteen companies or maniples (manipuli), a moderate space being left between each. The maniple contained sixty privates, two centurions (centuriones), and a standard bearer (vexillarius); two thirds were heavily armed and bore the scutum or large oblong shield, the remainder carried only a spear (hasta) and light javelins (gaesa). The second line, the Principes, was composed  p495 of men in the full vigour of life, divided in like manner into fifteen maniples, all heavily armed (scutati omnes), and distinguished by the splendour of their equipments (insignibus maxime armis). The two lines of the Hastati and Principes taken together amounted to 30 maniples and formed the Antepilani. The third line, the Triarii, composed of tried veterans (veteranum militem spectatae virtutis), was also in fifteen divisions, but each of these was triple, containing 3 manipuli, 180 privates, 6 centurions, and 3 vexillarii. In these triple manipuli the veterans or triarii proper formed the front ranks; immediately behind them stood the Rorarii, inferior in age and prowess (minus roboris aetate factisque), while the Accensi or supernumeraries, less trustworthy than either (minimae fiducia manum), were posted in the extreme rear. The battle array may be thus represented.

[image ALT: A schematic representation of the battle array of a Roman army: hastati, principes, and triarii (including rorarii and accensi).]

The fight was commenced by the Rorarii, so called because the light missiles which they sprinkled among the foe were like the drops which are the forerunners of the thunder shower (Festus s.v. Rorarios milites), who, running forward between the ranks of the antepilani, acted as tirailleurs; when they were driven in they returned to their station behind the triarii, and the battle began in earnest by the onset of the hastati; if they were unable to make any impression they retired between the ranks of the principes, who now advanced and bore the brunt of the combat, supported by the hastati, who had rallied in their rear. If the principes also failed to make an impression, they retired through the openings between the maniples of the triarii, who up to this time had been crouched on the ground (hence called subsidiarii), but now arose to make the last effort (whence the phrase rem ad triarios redisse). No longer retaining the open order of two first lines, they closed up their ranks so as to present an unbroken line of heavy-armed veterans in front, while the rorarii and accensi, pressing up from behind, gave weight and consistency to the mass, — an arrangement bearing evidence to a lingering predilection for the principle of the phalanx, and exhibiting, just as we might expect at that period, the Roman tactics in their transition state. It must be observed that the words ordo, manipulus, vexillum, although generally kept distinct, are throughout the chapter used as synonymous; and in like manner, Polybius, when describing the maniple, remarks (VI.20), καὶ τὸ μὲν μέρος ἕκαστον ἐκάλεσαν καὶ τάγμα καὶ σπείραν καὶ σημαίαν.

Livy concludes by saying, that four legions were commonly levied, each consisting of 5000 infantry and 300 horse. We must suppose that he speaks in round numbers in so far as the infantry are concerned, for according to their own calculations the numbers will stand thus: —

15 × 60
15 × 60
Triarii, &c.
15 × 3 × 60

In deference to a great name, we ought not to omit mentioning that Niebuhr (Hist. of Rome, vol. III p97) while he admits that the text of Livy is sound and consistent with itself, argues, we venture to think, somewhat unreasonably, that he did not understand his excellent materials, and although clear at first, became eventually completely bewildered and wrote nonsense.

Third Period. Polybius. — Polybius describes minutely the method pursued in raising the four legions, which under ordinary circumstances were levied yearly, two being assigned to each consul. It must be observed that a regular consular army (justus consularis exercitus) no longer consisted of Roman legions only, but as Italy became gradually subjugated, the various states under the dominion of Rome were bound to furnish a contingent, and the number of allies (socii) usually exceeded that of citizens. They were, however, kept perfectly distinct, both in the camp and in the battle field.

  1. After the election of consuls was concluded, the first step was to choose the twenty-four chief officers of the legions, named tribuni militum, and by the Greek writers χιλιάρχοι. Of these, fourteen were selected from persons who had served five campaigns of one year (annua stipendia, ἐνιαυσίους στρατείας) and were termed juniores (οἱ νεώτεροι τῶν χιλιάρχων), the remaining ten (seniores, πρεσβυτέροι), from those who had served for ten campaigns. The manner of their election will be explained below, when we treat more particularly of the legionary officers (Polyb. VI.19).

  2. All Roman citizens whose fortune was not rated under 4000 asses were eligible for military service from the age of manhood up to their forty-sixth year, and could be required to serve for twenty years if in the infantry, and for ten years, if in the cavalry. Those whose fortune was below the above sum were reserved for naval service, except in any case of great necessity, when they also might be called upon to served for the regular period in the infantry.

    The consuls having made proclamation of a day upon which all Roman citizens eligible for service must assemble in the Capitol, and these being in attendance at the time appointed in the presence of the consuls, the tribunes were divided into four  p496 sections, according to the order of their selection, in the following manner:— The four junior tribunes first elected, and the two senior tribunes first elected were assigned to the first legion, the three juniors and the three seniors next in order to the second; the four juniors and the two seniors next in order to the third, the last three juniors and the last three seniors to the fourth legion (Polyb. VI.14).

    The tribunes being thus distributed into four parties of six, those belonging to each legion seated themselves apart, and the tribes were summoned in succession by lot. The tribe whose lot came out first being called up, they picked out from it four youths as nearly matched as possible in age and form; out of these four, the tribunes of the first legion chose one, the tribunes of the second one of the remaining three; the tribunes of the third legion, one of the remaining two, and the last fell to the fourth legion. Upon the next tribe being called up, the first choice was given to the tribunes of the second legion, the second choice to those of the third, and the last man fell to the first legion. On the next tribe being called up, the tribunes of the third legion had the first choice, and so on in succession, the object in view being that the four legions should be as nearly alike as possible, not in the number only, but in the quality of the soldiers. This process was continued until the ranks were complete, the regular number, according to Polybius in this passage, being 4200, but when any danger greater than usual was impending, 5000.

    In ancient times, the cavalry were not chosen until after the infantry levy was concluded, but when Polybius wrote the cavalry were picked in the first place from the list on which they were enrolled by the censor according to their fortune, and 300 were apportioned to each legion (Polyb. VI.20).

  3. The levy being completed (ἐπιτελεσθείσης τῆς καταγραφῆς), the tribunes collected the men belonging to their respective legions, and making one individual stand out from the rest administered to him an oath (ἐξορκίζουσιν) "that he would obey orders and execute to the best of his ability the command of his officers" (Sacramentum s. Jusjurandum militare, Cic. de Off. 1.11; Liv. XXII.38; sacramento milites adigere s. rogare, Liv. VII.11; sacramentum s. sacramento dicere, Festus, s.v.; Caes. B. C. I.23; Liv. II.24, IV.53; Gell. XVI.4). The rest of the soldiers then came forward one by one, and swore to do what the first had bound himself to perform. They were then dismissed, a day and place having been appointed where each legion was to assemble without arms (Polyb. VI.21; Caes. B. C. I.76). The words uttered by each soldier after the first were probably simply "idem in me," (see Fest. s.v. Praejurationes).

  4. At the same time the consuls gave notice to the magistrates of those towns in Italy in alliance with Rome, from whom they desired to receive a contingent, of the number which each would be required to furnish, and of the day and place of gathering. The allied cities levied their troops and administered the oath much in the same manner as the Romans, and then sent them forth after appointing a commander and a pay-master (ἄρχοντα καὶ μισθοδότην) [Socii] (Polyb. VI.21).

  5. The soldiers having again assembled, the men belonging to each legion were separated into four divisions; and here, we must remark in passing, that Polybius has fallen into a slight inconsistency, for while in the passage quoted above he fixes the number of the legion when he wrote, under ordinary circumstances, at 4200, in describing the arrangements which follow he supposes it to consist of 4000 only (VI.21).

    (1) One thousand of the youngest and poorest were set apart to form the Velites (Γροσφομάχοι, Γροσφοφόροι), or skirmishers of the legion.

    (2) Twelve hundred who came next in age (or who were of the same age with the preceding but more wealthy — the words of Polybius are not very distinct) formed the Hastati (Ἁστάτοι).

    (3) Twelve hundred, consisting of those in the full vigour of manhood, formed the Principes (Πρίγκιπες).

    (4) Six hundred, consisting of the oldest and most experienced, formed the Triarii (Τριάριοι).

    When the number of soldiers in the legion exceeded 4000, the first three divisions were increased proportionally, but the number of the Triarii remained always the same.

    The equipment of these corps was as follows: —

    For defensive armour the Velites were furnished with a plain head-piece (λιτῷ περικεφαλαίῳ), sometimes covered with the hide of a wolf (λυκείαν) or any similar material, and a strong circular buckler (parma — πάρμη), three feet in diameter. Their offensive weapons were a sword (μάχαιρα), and the light javelin (hasta velitarisγρόσφος), the shaft of which (hastileτὸ ξύλον) was generally two cubits (δίπηχυ), that is, about three feet in length, and in thickness a finger's breadth (τῷ δὲ πάχει δακτυλιαῖον), i.e. about ·7584 of an inch; the iron point a span in length (τὸ δὲ κέντρον σπιθαμιαῖον), i.e. about nine inches, hammered out so fine that it was of necessity bent at the first cast, and therefore could not be hurled back by the enemy.

    The Hastati wore a full suit of defensive armour (πανοπλία), consisting of shield, helmet, breastplate, and greave. Their shield, termed Scutum (θυρεός), was formed of two rectangular boards from four feet to four feet three inches long by two and a half feet broad, the one laid over the other, and united with strong glue; the outer surface was then covered with coarse canvas, and over this a calf's hide was stretched, and a curvature was given to the whole, the convexity being turned outwards. The upper and under edge was strengthened by an iron rim (σιδηροῦν σιάλωμα), the former, that it might resist the downward stroke of a sword; the latter, that it might not be injured by resting upon the ground. In addition, it was still further fortified by an iron boss (σιδηρᾶ κόγχος), which served to render it more secure against blows from stones, against thrusts from the long pikes of the phalanx, and, in general, from all heavy missiles. [See a figure of the Scutum under that article.] One leg was protected by a greave (ocreaπαρακνήμις), and the head by a bronze helmet (galeaπερικεφαλαία χαλκῆ), with a crest composed of three scarlet or black feathers, standing erect to the height of about eighteen inches, so that the casque added greatly to the apparent stature and imposing carriage of the soldier. The greater number of the Hastati wore in front of their breast a brass plate nine inches square, which was called the Heart-preserver (καρδιοφύλαξ); but those whose fortune exceeded  p497 100,000 asses had complete cuirasses of chain-armour (loricasἁλυσιδωτοὺς θώρηκας).

    The offensive weapons of the Hastati consisted of a sword and heavy javelins. The sword, which was girded on the right side, had a strong straight blade, double-edged, and sharp-pointed, being thus calculated both for cutting and thrusting. It was called a Spanish sword (μάχαιρα Ἰβηρική), in contradistinction to the Gaulish sword, which was a cutting sword only. Each man carried in his hand two of those heavy missiles, called pila by the Latins, ὑσσοί by the Greeks, which may be regarded as the characteristic weapon of the Roman infantry. The shaft of these was in every case four and a half feet (three cubits) long, and the barbed iron head was of the same length, but this extended half way down the shaft to which it was attached with extreme care (Polyb. VI.23), so that the whole length of the weapon was about six feet nine inches. The shaft varied both in form and thickness — in form it was sometimes cylindrical, sometimes quadrangular — in the heaviest, the diameter of the cylinder or the breadth across one of the flat sides was about three inches (παλαιστιαίαν ἔχουσι . . . τὴν διάμετρον).

    The equipment of the Principes and the Triarii was in every respect the same with that of the Hastati, except that the latter carried pikes (hastaeδόρατα) instead of pila (Polyb. VI.21, 22, 23. For more minute information with regard to the different parts of the equipment, consult Galea, Hasta, Lorica, Scutum, Parma, &c.).

    We may remark, in passing, that in addition to his armour and weapons the legionary, when in marching order, usually carried provisions for a fortnight at least, and three or four stakes, used in forming the palisade of the camp, besides various tools, an enumeration of which will be found in Josephus (B.J. III.5 §5). The Roman writers frequently allude with pride to the powers of endurance exhibited by their countrymen in supporting with ease such overwhelming loads; and Polybius draws a contrast between the Italian and the Greek soldier in this respect little favourable to the energy of the latter (see Cic. Tuscul. II.16, which is the locus classicus; Polyb. XVIII.1; comp. Veget. I.19; from Liv. Epit. LVII it appears that Scipio trained his men to carry food for thirty days, and seven stakes each — double the usual burden).

  6. The Hastati, Principes, and Triarii were each divided into ten companies called Manipuli, to which Polybius gives, as equivalents, the three terms τάγμα, σπείρα, σημαία. The Velites were not divided into companies, but were distributed equally among the Hastati, Principes, and Triarii.

  7. Before the division of the three classes into maniples, officers were appointed inferior to the tribunes. Thirty men were chosen by merit, ten from the Hastati, ten from the Principes, and ten from the Triarii; and this first choice being completed, thirty more in like manner. These sixty officers, of whom twenty were assigned to each of the three classes, and distributed equally among the maniples, were named centuriones, or ordinum ductores (κεντυρίωνες, ταξιάρχοι), and each of the sixty chose for himself a lieutenant (optio), who, being posted in the rear of the company while the centurion was at the head, was named οὐραγός (i.e. Tergiductor) by the Greeks, so that in each maniple there were two centurions and two optiones. Farther, the centurions selected out of each maniple two of the bravest and most vigorous men as standard bearers (vexillarii, signiferi, σημαιοφόροι). The first elected centurion of the whole had a seat in the military council (συνεδρίου κοινωνεῖ), and in each maniple the first chosen commanded the right division of the maniple, and the other the left. Each of these subdivisions of the maniple was called, as we shall see hereafter, centuria, but it is not specifically noticed here by Polybius (Polyb. VI.24).

  8. The cavalry were divided into ten troops (turmae, ἴλαι), and out of each of these three officers were chosen, named decuriones (ἰλάρχαι), who named three lieutenants (optiones, οὐραγοί). In each troop the decurio first chosen commanded the whole troop, and failing him, the second.

    The equipment of the cavalry was originally adapted solely to secure great ease and rapidity of movement. Hence they wore no breastplate, but were clad in a single garment girt tight round their bodies; their shields were formed simply of an ox's hide, were incapable of withstanding a strong blow, and were readily damaged by wet; their lances (δόρατα) were so light and the shaft so thin, that they vibrated from the action of the horse; could not be directed to their object with a steady aim, and were constantly snapped in a charge merely by the rapid motion. Moreover, not being furnished with a point at both ends, they served for one thrust only, by which they were broken, and then became useless. In the time of Polybius, however, they had adopted the Greek equipment, — a breastplate, a solid buckler, and a strong spear, fashioned in such a manner that the end by which it was held was so far pointed as to be available in case of necessity.

  9. After the soldiers had been thus divided and officered, the tribunes having given the different classes instructions with regard to the arms which they were to provide, dismissed them to their homes, having first bound them by an oath to assemble again on a day and in a place fixed by the consul. Then and there accordingly they did assemble, no excuse for absence being admitted except inevitable necessity or the appearance of evil omens.

  10. The infantry furnished by the socii was for the most part equal in number to the Roman legions, the cavalry twice or thrice as numerous, and the whole were divided equally between the two consular armies. Each consul named twelve superior officers, who were termed Praefecti Sociorum (πραίφεκτοι), and corresponded to the legionary tribunes. A selection was then made of the best men, to the extent of one fifth of the infantry and one third of the cavalry; these were formed into a separate corps under the name of extraordinarii, and on the march and in the camp were always near the person of the consul. The remainder were divided into two equal portions, and were styled respectively the Dextera Ala and the Sinistra Ala (καλοῦσι τὸ μὲν δεξὶον τὸ δ’ εὐώνυμον κέρας) [Ala].

    It will be observed that we have implied a doubt with regard to the number of cavalry furnished by the allies. Polybius (III.107), when giving a sketch of the Roman forces before the battle of Cannae, after stating that the legion under ordinary circumstances consisted of 4000 infantry and 200 cavalry, but that in circumstances of peculiar  p498 difficulty and danger it was augmented to 5000 infantry and 300 cavalry, adds distinctly that the allies supplied a force of infantry equal to that of the legion, and generally thrice as many cavalry (τῶν δὲ συμμάχων, τὸ μὲν τῶν πεζῶν πλῆθος πάρισον ποιοῦσι τοῖς Ῥωμαικοῖς στρατοπέδοις, τὸ δὲ τῶν ἱππέων ὡς ἐπιπαν τριπλάσιον). When treating more formally of the same subject (VI.26) he repeats the above observation in nearly the same words, but when he came to τὸ δὲ τῶν ἱππέων τριπλάσιον, many of the MSS. present διπλάσιον; and a little further on (VI.30), in the passage where he explains the manner in which the troops were quartered in a camp, his expressions, when interpreted according to their natural meaning and their connection with the preceding clause, must signify that the total number of the allied cavalry was double that of the Romans, and not, as the Latin translation attached to the edition of Schweighaeuser has it, double that of the Romans after deducting one-third for the extraordinarii equites. Livy, when referring to the position of affairs between the Romans and their allies before the great Latin war of B.C. 340, after specifying the ordinary strength of the Roman armies, adds (VIII.8) "alterum tantum ex Latino delectu adjiciebatur." When recounting the preparations for the campaign of Cannae, although he appears to allude directly to the narrative of Polybius and to copy his words, he contradicts him directly with regard to the allied cavalry (XXII.36), "socii duplicem numerum equitum darent." At a somewhat later period (B.C. 189), when four legions were raised, the socii were required to contribute 15,000 infantry and 1200 cavalry XXXVIII.35), and nine years afterwards the consuls were ordered to levy a new army of four legions "et socium Latini nominis, quantus semper numerus, quindecim millia peditum et octingenti equites" (XL.36), which exactly corresponds with what we read in a former chapter (XL.18). The truth seems to be, that although the contingent which each state was bound to furnish, was fixed by treaty, it was seldom necessary to tax all the allies to the full extent, and hence the senate used their discretion as to the precise number to be supplied, according to the circumstances of the case, the proportion of confederates to Roman citizens becoming of course gradually larger as the limits of the Roman sway embraced a greater number of cities and districts (see Lips. de Milit. Rom. II.7).

  11. Agmen or Line of March. — The Extraordinarii Pedites led the van followed by the right wing of the infantry of the allies and the baggage of these two divisions; next came one of the Roman legions with its baggage following; next the other Roman legion with its own baggage, and that of the left wing of the allies, who brought up the rear. The different corps of cavalry sometimes followed immediately behind the infantry to which they were attached, sometimes rode on the flanks of the beasts of burden, at once protecting them and preventing them from straggling. If there was any apprehension of an attack from behind, the only change in the above order consisted in making the Extraordinarii bring up the rear instead of leading the van. As far as the position of the two legions with regard to each other, and also of the two wings of the allies, was concerned, it was understood that the legion and the wing which took the lead upon one day should fall behind upon the next day, in order that each in turn might have the advantage of arriving first at the watering places and fresh pastures. When marching in open ground where an attack on the flanks was anticipated, a different disposition was sometimes adopted. The Hastati, Principes, and Triarii marched in three columns parallel to each other, the baggage of the first maniples took the lead, the baggage of the second maniples was placed between the first and second maniples, and so on for the rest, the baggage in each case preceding the maniple to which it belonged. If an attack was made then the soldiers wheeling either to the right or to the left, according to circumstances, and advancing at the same time a few steps, by this simple and easily executed movement presented at once an even front to the enemy, the whole of the baggage being now in the rear.

    Generally, when advancing through a country in which it was necessary to guard against a sudden onset, the troops, instead of proceeding in a loose straggling column, were kept together in close compact bodies ready to act in any direction at a moment's warning, and hence under these circumstances was said agmine quadrato incedere (e.g. Sall. Jug. 100; Senec. Ep. 59; comp. Cic. Phil. II.42, V.7).

    It is to be observed that Polybius, at the outset, promises an account of the order of march, of the encampment, and of the battle array of the Roman armies (πορείας, στρατοπεδείας, παρατάξεις; Agmen, Castra, Acies); but that while he has redeemed his pledge with regard to the two former, he has left the last topic untouched, unless, indeed, it was included in a section now lost. It is, moreover, comparatively speaking, a subject of little consequence, for while we know that a camp was always the same so long as the constitution of the army remained unchanged, and while the order of march was subject to few modifications, the marshalling of the troops for an engagement must have varied materially in almost every contest, depending necessarily in a great measure on the nature of the ground, and on the aspect assumed by the foe.

    Some doubt exists with regard to the force of the term Agmen Pilatum as distinguished from Agmen Quadratum. The explanation quoted from Varro by Servius (ad Virg. Aen. XII.121), "Quadratum, quod immixtis etiam jumentis incedit, ut ubivis possit considere: pilatum, quod sine jumentis incedit, sed inter se densum est, quo facilius per iniquiora loca tramittatur, has not been considered satisfactory, although it is difficult to understand how Varro, himself a soldier, should have been inaccurate upon such a point. Where the phrase occurs in poetry as in the passage in Virgil referred to above (comp. Martial X.48), it probably denotes merely "columns bristling with spears."

Polybius being our most copious and pure source of information, before passing on to the fourth period, it may be fitting to enter more fully upon certain topics which he has either touched very lightly or passed over in silence. We shall, therefore, make a few remarks: —

  1. On the levying of soldiers.

  2. On the division of the legion as a body into cohorts, maniples, and centuries, of which the cohort and the century are not named by Polybius in the above description.

  3. On the distribution of the soldiers into Triarii, Principes,  p499 Hastati, Velites, Antepilani, Antesignani, &c., and on the original import of these terms.

  4. On the officers of the legion, the tribunes, the centurions and subalterns.

1. The levy (delectus, καταγραφή) was usually held in the Capitol (Liv. XXVI.31) by the consuls seated on their chairs of state (positis sellis, Liv. III.11); but sometimes in the Campus Martius (Dionys. VIII.87), which was beyond the jurisdiction of the tribunes of the plebs, who, in the earlier ages of the commonwealth especially, frequently interfered to prevent an army from being raised.

According to the principles of the constitution, none were enrolled in the legion, except freeborn citizens (ingenui) above the age of seventeen, and under the age of forty-six, possessing the amount of fortune specified above (Gell. X.28); but in times of peculiar difficulty, these conditions were not insisted upon. Thus, in consequence of the scarcity of men during the second Punic war, it was at one time ordained, that lads under seventeen might be admitted into the ranks, and that their time should be allowed to count just as if they had attained to the legal age (Liv. XXV.5), and on the other hand, when strenuous exertions were made for the campaign against Perseus, the senate decreed that no one under fifty should be excused from enlisting (Liv. XLII.33). Moreover, not only were all freeborn citizens without distinction of fortune called out on such occasions, but even freedmen were armed (Liv. X.21, XXII.11) and after the battle of Cannae, eight thousand slaves who had declared themselves willing to fight for the republic, were purchased by the state, and formed into two legions, who, under the name of Volones, displayed great bravery, and eventually earned their freedom (Liv. XXII.57).

In moments of sudden panic or when the necessity was so pressing as to admit of not a moment's delay, all formalities were dispensed with, and every man capable of bearing arms was summoned to join in warding off the threatened danger, a force raised under such circumstances being termed subitarius s. tumultuarius exercitus (Subitarii milites, Liv. III.4, XLI.17; Subitarius exercitus, III.30; Legiones subitariae tumultus causa scriptae, XXXI.2, XL.26; Tumultuarius exercitus raptim conscriptus, VIII.11; Legiones tumultuarias scriberet, XL.26).

If citizens between the ages of seventeen and forty-six did not appear and answer to their names or contumaciously refused to come forward, they might be punished in various ways, — by fine, by imprisonment, by stripes, by confiscation of their property, and even, in extreme cases, by being sold as slaves (Dionys. VIII.87; Liv. VII.4; Varr. ap. Gell. XI.1, ap. Non. s.v. Tenebrionem; Val. Max. VI.3 §4). At the same time, causes might be alleged which were recognised as forming a legitimate ground for exemption (vacatio justa militiae). Thus, all who had served for the full period of twenty years in the infantry or ten in cavalry, were relieved from further service, although they might still be within the regular age; and so, in like manner, when they were afflicted by any grievous malady, or disabled by any personal defect, or engaged in any sacred or civil offices which required their constant attendance; but these and similar pleas, although sustained under ordinary circumstances, might be rendered void by a decree of the senate "ne vacationes valerent," and hence in the case of a Gallic war, we read that Aemilius Mamercinus, then consul, was instructed "scribere exercitum sine ulla vacationis venia (Liv. VIII.20), and one of the measures urged by Cicero upon the senate in the contest with Antonius was "delectum haberi sublatis vacationibus" (Philipp. V.12). So, also, if the soldier, after being enrolled, failed to appear at the place of muster appointed by the consul, his absence might be justified by various "excusationes," a list of which will be found in Gellius (XVI.4), the most important being severe bodily ailment (morbus sonticus); the death of a near relation (funus familiare); the obligation of performing a stated sacrifice (sacrificium anniversarium), or some other religious impediment.

While those who had served for the stipulated period were entitled to immunity for the future, even although within the legal age, and were styled Emeriti, so on the other hand, it appears from some passages in the classics, that persons who had not completed their regular term within the usual limits, might be forced, if required, to serve between the ages of forty-five and fifty (Liv. XXVII.11, XLII.34; Senec. de brev. Vit. cap. ult.; Quintil. IX.2 §85). Towards the close of the republic, and under the empire, when the legions became permanent, the soldier who had served his full time received a regular discharge (missio) together with a bounty (praemium) in money or an allotment of land. The jurists distinguish three kinds of discharge:— 1. Missio honesta, granted for length of service. 2. Missio caussaria, in consequence of bad health. 3. Missio Ignominiosa, when a man was drummed out for bad conduct (Macer in Dig.49 tit. 16 s13; Ulpian in Dig. 3 tit. 2 s2, comp. Hirt. B. A. 54; Suet. Jul. 69, Suet. Octav. 24). It frequently happened that emeriti were induced to continue in the ranks, either from attachment to the person of the general or from hopes of profit or promotion (Appian, B. C. V.3), and were then called veterani, or when they joined an army, in consequence of a special invitation evocati (ἀνακλήτοι, Dion Cass. LV.24). Dion Cassius states (l.c.) that troops bearing this last denomination were first employed by Octavianus, when he called out (ἀνεκάλεσεν) the veterans of Julius Caesar to aid him against Antonius, but we read of them at an earlier period (Caes. B. G. VII.65, B. C. I.17, II.88). [Evocati]. They must in no way be confounded with the volunteers mentioned by Polybius in his description of a Roman camp (τινὲς τῶν ἐθελοντηδὸν στρατευομένων τῇ τῶν ὑπάτων χάριτι), who seem to have formed part of what may be termed the personal suite of the general (comp. Sallust, Jug. 84). We shall make some further remarks upon the Veterani and the changes introduced by Augustus with regard to the term of service, when we speak of the Vexillarii, who belong to our fifth period.

2. We next proceed to consider the division of the legion into Cohortes, Manipuli, Centuriae, Signa, Ordines, Contubernia.

Cohortes.— It will be observed that Polybius takes no notice of the Cohort, a division of the legion mentioned so often in the Roman writers. Hence Salmasius and other distinguished scholars have supposed that the cohort had no existence until the time of Marius, and although named by Livy almost immediately after the expulsion of  p500 the kings (II.11), and repeatedly afterwards (e.g. XXVII.13, XXVII.41) he may be supposed to speak proleptically. But in a quotation preserved by A. Gellius (N.A. XVI.4) from the treatise De Re Militari of Cincius, who is generally admitted to be Cincius Alimentus, the annalist contemporary with Hannibal, we find the cohort not only named but specifically defined, In legione sunt centuriae sexaginta, manipuli triginta, cohortes decem; and Polybius himself uses the Latin word κοόρτις twice in his history of Scipio's Spanish campaigns (XI.23, 33), giving in the first of these passages an explanation of the term, καὶ λαβὼν . . . τρεῖς σπείρας, τοῦτο δὲ καλεῖται τὸ σύνταγμα τῶν πεζῶν παρὰ Ῥωμαῖοις κοόρτις . . . where it must be borne in mind that Polybius uses the words τάγμα, σημαία, and σπείρα indifferently, to denote the maniple. On the other hand, the later Greek writers generally designate the maniple by λόχος, and almost invariably employ σπείρα as the representative of cohors. Hence considerable confusion is apt to arise; and Livy has rendered his description of the order in which Scipio marshalled his army at Zama unintelligible by translating τὰς σπείρας in the text of Polybius by cohortes instead of manipulos (Liv. XXX.33; Polyb. XV.9); while Polybius himself is guilty of an inconsistency in the same chapter when he uses the expression ταῖς τῶν γροσφομάχων σπείραις, for the γροσφομάχοι or Velites were not divided into maniples, as he most distinctly states elsewhere.

When the soldiers of the legion were classified as Velites, Hastati, Principes and Triarii, the cohort contained one maniple of each of the three latter denominations, together with their complement of Velites, so that when the legion contained 4000, each cohort would consist of 60 Triarii, 120 Principes, 120 Hastati, and 100 Velites, in all 400 men.

The number of cohorts in a legion being always ten (Cincius, l.c.; Cic. Philip. IV.27; the words of Isidor. Orig. IX.3 §47, are evidently corrupt), and the cohorts, during the republic, being all equal to each other, the strength of the cohort varied from time to time with the strength of the legion, and thus at different periods ranged between the limits of 300 and 600. They were regularly numbered from 1 to 10, the centurion of the first century of the first maniple of the first cohort was the guardian of the eagle, and hence the first cohort seems always to have been regarded as superior in dignity to the rest (Caes. B. C. III.64, Cic. ad Att. V.20). From some expressions in the description given by Caesar of the battle of Pharsalia, it has been inferred that even then the first cohorts in the legions were more numerous than the rest; and this was certainly the case under the empire, when they were termed cohortes milliariae, and contained twice as many soldiers as the others. Thus the legion described by Hyginus amounted to 5280 men, divided into ten cohorts; and of these, the first, which had the charge of the eagle, consisted of 960 men, while the remaining nine had 480 each.

The word cohort lasted as long as the word legion, and even longer, for not only does Ammianus (XXI.13, XXIII.5) speak of centuries and cohorts in the army of Julian, but cohors, as a military term, is met with in authors after Justinian. But although cohortes is found occasionally in the writers of the later empire, they for the most part prefer the somewhat vague term numeri, which appears in Tacitus and Suetonius, and perhaps even in Cicero (ad Fam. XI.10, XII.13). Numeri seems to have signified strictly the muster roll, whence the phrases referre and numeros, distribuere in numeros (Plin. Ep. III.8, X.30, 31), and thus served to denote any body of legionaries. In the Digest and the two Codes it is used sometimes for a century, sometimes for a cohort; by Suetonius (Vesp. 6) for a detachment selected from three different legions. Nor is it absolutely restricted to legionaries, for we read in inscriptions of Numerus Britonum (Orell. 1627), Numeri Dalmatarum (Grut. DXXVIII; Orell. 3410; Crud. de Ville 101), while Ammianus applies it to cavalry as well as infantry, and to auxiliaries as well as legionaries (XXIII.5).º In like manner the later Greeks introduced ἀριθμοὶ or νουμεροὶ for cohortes, the former being the explanation given by St. Chrysostom in his exposition of the tenth chapter of the Acts for the word σπείρας, while Suidas interprets σπείραι by νούμερα.

Whenever Cohors occurs in the Latin classics in connection with the legion, it always signifies a specific division of the legion; but it is very frequently found, in the general sense of battalion, to denote troops altogether distinct from the legion. Thus in Livy (IV.39) it is applied to a body of dismounted cavalry, to the force of the allies (alariae cohortes, X.40, 41; cohors Peligua, XXV.14; cohortem Marsorum, XXXIII.36, &c.), to the troops of an enemy (VII.7, X.40, XXX.36), with various other modifications; and we shall be called upon to speak under our fifth period of Cohortes praetorianae, Cohortes peditatae, Cohortes equitatae, and several others.

Manipulus.— The original meaning of this word, which is clearly derived from manus, was a handful or wisp of hay, straw, fern, or the like, and this, according to Roman tradition, affixed to the end of a pole, formed the primitive military standard in the days of Romulus —

Pertica suspensos portabat longa maniplos

Unde maniplaris nomina miles habet.

(Ovid, Fast. III.117; compare Plut. Rom. 8). Hence it was applied to a body of soldiers serving under the same ensign (see Varr. L. L. V.8, VI.85, who connects it in this sense directly with manus): when the ponderous mass of the phalanx was resolved into small companies marshalled in open order, these were termed manipuli, and down to a very late period the common soldiers of the legion were designated as manipulares or manipularii, terms equivalent to gregarii milites. By whom this momentous innovation upon the tactics of a Roman army was first introduced, it is impossible to determine with certainty; but from the remark of Livy (VIII.8), that a change in the equipment of the heavy-armed soldiery took place at the period when they began to receive pay, compared with the words of Plutarch (Camill. 40), we may conjecture that the revolution was brought about in part at least by the greatest general of whom the infant republic could boast — Camillus.

When the phalanx was first broken up, it appears (Liv. VIII.8) that each of the three classes of Hastati, Principes, and Triarii, contained fifteen maniples; but before the second Punic war (see Cincius, as quoted by Gell. above) the number of maniples in each of these classes was reduced  p501 to ten, as stated by Polybius. Hence it is easy to calculate the number of soldiers in each maniple, according to the varying numbers in the legion, it being always borne in mind that the Triarii never exceeded 600, and that the Velites were not divided into maniples, but distributed equally among the heavy-armed companies.

Some writers, especially Le Beau, in his "Mémoires" on the Legion, maintain that, after the distinctions between the Hastati, Principes and Triarii were abolished, and the legion was marshalled in cohorts, the division into maniples was no longer practised, and that the term manipulus must from this time be understood to indicate either a small number of men indefinitely, or a mass of ten soldiers quartered in the same tent. No one, however, who reads without prejudice the words of Caesar "adeo ut paucis mutatis centurionibus, iidem ordines, manipulique constarent" (B. C. II.28, comp. B. G. II.25, VI.33) and of Tacitus, "assistentem concionem quia permixta videbatur discedere in manipulos jubet" (Ann. I.34), together with the still more explicit expressions of Ammianus, "omnes centurias et manipulos et cohortes in concionem convocabat" (XXI.13 §9), repeated in almost the same words in two other passages (XVII.13 §25, XXIII.5 §15), can doubt that the manipulus continued to the very last to form one of the larger subdivisions of the legion. Indeed, the whole system of classifying and naming the centurions upon which Le Beau himself bestows so much labour and ingenuity is unintelligible upon any other supposition. At the same time it cannot be denied that manipulus must sometimes be taken in a general sense, as when Tacitus gives this name to the detachment of sixty men, sent into Asia by Nero, for the purpose of putting Plautus to death (Ann. XIV.58, 59). As to the identity of manipulus and contubernium, no doubt Vegetius states very distinctly that the centuries were divided into contubernia, and adds "contubernium autem manipulus vocabatur," but an assertion proceeding from such a source is as worthless as the etymology by which it is followed up.

Centuriae.— The distribution of soldiers into centuriae must be regarded as coeval with the origin of Rome. Plutarch, as noticed above, speaks of the force led by Romulus against Amulius as formed of centuries; and from the close connections between the centuries of Servius Tullius, and the organization of the military force, we cannot hesitate to believe that the term was communicated to the ranks of the phalanx. For a long period after the establishment of the manipular constitution, the legion contained invariably sixty centuries, and even after the introduction of the cohors milliaria, we have no good evidence to prove that any change took place in this respect except we choose to adopt the statements of Vegetius.

Signum.— There is much doubt with regard to the import of the word signum, when used to denote a division of the legion, in such phrases as signi unius milites ferre scalas jussit (Liv. XXV.23); and postero die cum unius signi militibus . . . pergit ire ad urbem (Liv. XXXIII.1). The question is, whether in these passages we are to understand that a maniple is meant or a century. On the one hand, it is admitted that after the legion was marshalled by cohorts, each century had its own standard, and in so far as the earlier ages are concerned, Polybius expressly tells us that there were two standard-bearers (ἄνδρας σημαιοφόρους) in each maniple (see also Liv. VIII.8). On the other hand, one of the names given by Polybius to the maniple is σημαία, which seems to correspond exactly with signum, and Varro in his glossary of military terms, "Manipulos exercitus minimas manus quae unum sequuntur signum," to which we may add Liv. XXVII.14, "ni C. Decimius Flavus . . . . . signo adrepto primi hastati, manipulum ejus signi se sequi jussisset," and as to the ἄνδρας σημαιοφόρους, although there were two standard-bearers, it does not follow that there were two standards.

Ordo generally signifies a century, and ordinum ductor is synonymous with centurio, and ducere honestum ordinem means to be one of the principal centurions in a legion. On the other hand, in the celebrated chapter in Livy (VIII.8), discussed above, ordo undoubtedly denotes one of the original maniples, and when we read in book XLII.34 "Mihi T. Quinctius Flamininus decumum ordinem hastatum adsignavit," the speaker seems to declare that he had been raised from the ranks to the post of a centurion in the 10th maniple of the Hastati. These must, however, be regarded as exceptions.

Contubernium.— This was the name given under the empire to the body of soldiers who were quartered together in the same tent; the captain of the mess, decanus or decurio, is called by Vegetius caput contubernii, and Ammianus designates the mess-mates by the word concorporales.

3. Hastati, Principes, Triarii, Pilani, Antepilani, Antesignani, Principia.— No reasonable doubt can exist that the Hastati were so called, from having been armed with a hasta (Hastati dicti qui primi hastis pugnabant, Varr. L. L. V.39), the Principes from having occupied the front line (the etymology of Varro, l.c. is here not distinct, Principes qui a principio gladiis), the Triarii, otherwise named Pilani, from having been ranged behind the first two lines as a body of reserve and armed with the pilum (Pilani, qui pilis . . . Pilani Triarii quoque dicti quod in acie tertio ordine extremis subsidio deponebantur; quod hi subsidebant, ab eo subsidium dictum, a quo Plautus,

Agite nunc subsidite omnes quasi solent triarii,

Varr. l.c.; comp. Liv. VIII.8), while the first two lines were termed collectively Antepilani, from standing in front of the Pilani. In process of time, it came to pass, that these designations no longer expressed the actual condition of the troops to which they were attached. When Polybius wrote, and long before that period, the Hastati were not armed with hastae, but in common with the Principes bore the heavy pilum: on the other hand, the pilani carried hastae and not pila, while the Principes were not drawn up in the front, but formed the second line. The origin of this discrepancy between the names and the objects which they represented, is somewhat obscure, but perhaps not altogether beyond the reach of a very simple conjecture. The names were first bestowed when the Roman army was disciplined according to the tactics of the Grecian phalanx. At that time the hastati were the skirmishers armed with a light javelin (the hasta velitaris), who were thrown forward in advance of the main body, and it is with reference to their ancient duty that Ennius in the eighth book of his annals uses an expression no longer applicable in his day.

"Hastati spargunt hastas, fit ferreus imber."

 p502  In corroboration of this, it will be seen from the celebrated chapter in Livy (VIII.8), which we have discussed at length above, that after the open order had been established, and the majority of the hastati had become hoplites (scutati), one-third of the men in each maniple were equipped as light troops "manipulus leves vicenos milites . . . leves autem, qui hastam tantum gaesaque gererent." The Principes were the front ranks of the phalanx, men in the full vigour of their years and strength, clad in complete defensive armour, and hence distinguished by Livy (l.c.) as "insignibus maxime armis." The Pilani were in the rear of the phalanx, and as the opposing hosts approached each other, before they were required to give weight and momentum to the mass, threw the heavy pilum over the heads of their comrades, in order to break, if possible, the continuity of the enemy's line.

Vegetius uniformly places the Principes in front (I.20, II.2, 15, III.14), and it is only necessary to read the sentences in which they are mentioned, to perceive how hopeless is the confusion which pervades his statements.

Antesignani.— While the Hastati and the Principes, taken together, were sometimes termed Antepilani, in contradistinction to the Triarii, so the Hastati alone were sometimes termed Antesignani, in contradistinction to the Principes and Triarii taken together. That the Antesignani were the soldiers who fought in the front ranks, is manifest from almost every passage in which the word is found (e.g. Liv. II.20, VII.33); that they were so called from being placed before the standards, is proved by the description of the confusion which prevailed in the engagement at the Thrasymene lake, "Non illa (such. pugna) ordinata per principes, hastatosque ac triarios, nec ut pro signis antesignani, post signa alia pugnaret acies" (Liv. XXII.5); that they were not the Velites is clear from the marshalling of the troops before Zama, "vias patentes inter manipulos antesignanorum velitibus complevit" (Liv. XXX.33, who here translates Polybius); that they were the soldiers who formed the first line as distinguished from the second, appears from the narratives of the battles against the Latins, "caesos hastatos principesque, stragem et ante signa et post signa factam, triarios postremo rem restituisse" (Liv. VIII.11), and against the Tuscans, "cadunt antesignani, et ne nudentur propugnatoribus signa, fit ex secunda prima acies" (Liv. IX.39); and from these two quotations, it is further evident that the position of the "signa was behind the hastati and before the principes. These signa must have been the ordinary standards of the maniples, for we know that the aquila was in the custody of the first maniple of the triarii. The term Antesignani having become established as denoting the front ranks in a line of battle, was retained in this general sense long after the Hastati, Principes, and Triarii had disappeared (see Caes. B. C. I.43, III.84, where they are the oldest and best soldiers, who now led the van. Comp. Varro ap. Non. s.v. Antesignanorum).

Another term employed to denote the front ranks of an army in battle array is Principia, in the sense must be carefully distinguished from the Principia or chief street in the camp, and from Principia, which in the later writers, such as Ammianus and Vegetius, is equivalent to principales milites (Liv. II.65, III.zzz, VIII.10; Sisenn. ap. Non. s.v. mandare; Sall. Jug. 50; Tac. Hist. II.43; comp. Varr. ap. Gell. III.4; Terent. Eun. IV.7, note of Donatus; Senec. de Vit. beat. 14).

Postsignani does not occur in any author earlier than Ammianus Marcellinus (XVIII.8 §7, XXIV.6, § 9), and therefore need not be illustrated here; the Subsignanus miles of Tacitus (Tac. Hist. I.70, IV.33) seems to be the same with the Vexillarii, who fall under our next period.

Rorarii, Accensi, Ferentarii, Jaculatores, Velites, Procubitores

Light-armed troops (levis armatura) were, from the first, associated with the hoplites, but under different circumstances and different names, at different periods.

When the Hastati had, in a great measure, ceased to act as tirailleurs, their place was supplied by the Rorarii (Rorarii dicti ab rore, qui committebant bellum ante, ideo quod ante rorat quam pluit, Varro, L. L. VII § 57), whose method of fighting has been described above (p495). The Accensi, as described by Livy (VIII.8), were inferior in equipment to the rorarii, although employed in a similar manner, and seem to have been camp followers or servants (Accensos ministratores Cato esse scribit, Varro, l.c. and ap. Non. Marcell. s.v. accensi), and hence the name is given to those also who attended upon magistrates or other officials (e.g. Cic. ad Fam. III.7, ad Q. Fr. I.1 §4, 7). At a later period the accensi were supernumeraries, who served to fill up any vacancies which occurred in the course of a campaign (Accensi dicebantur qui in locum mortuorum militum subito subrogabantur, Festus, s.v.), persons to whom Varro gives the name adscriptivi (quod olim adscribebantur inermes, armatis militibus qui succederent, L. L. VII § 56); and, according to Festus (p198, ed. Müller), accensus was the name given, originally to the optio or lieutenant of the centurion, a fact to which the Pseudo-Asconius, perhaps, refers, when he says (in Verr. II.28), "Accensus nomen est ordinis et promotionis in militia, ut nunc dicitur princeps, vel commentariensis aut cornicularius. Haec enim nomina de legionaria militia sumpta sunt."

Another ancient term for light-armed soldiers was Ferentarii, a word found in the Trinummus of Plautus (II.4.55), where ferentarius amicus signifies a friend nimble and prompt to lend assistance; in Sallust (Catil. 60), "Postquam eo ventum est, unde a ferentariis proelium committi posset;" and even in Tacitus (Ann. XII.35), "ferentarius gravisque miles." The term is twice explained by Varro, who, in his treatise De Vitas Populi Romani, after defining accensi, adds (ap. Non. Marcell. s.v. Decurio), "Eosdem etiam quidam vocabant ferentarios qui depugnabant pugnis et lapidibus, his armis quae ferrentur, non quae tenerentur;" and, again (L. L. VII § 57), "Ferenatirum a ferendo . . . aut quod ferentari equites hi dicti qui ea modo habebant arma quae ferrentur, ut jaculum," whence it appears that horsemen as well as foot-soldiers were sometimes known by this appellation. Rorarii and accensi stand together in a line quoted (Varro, l.c.) from the Frivolaria of Plautus.

Ubi rorarii estis? en sunt. Ubi sunt accensi? Ecce! —

"Rorarius velox" occurs twice in the fragments of Lucilius; and even Symmachus, in one of his  p503 epistles (VIII.47), draws an illustration from this source "tamquam levis armaturae miles Rorarios aemularis."

The Velites, called also Procubitores, because they were employed on outpost duty when the Romans were encamped before an enemy (Festus, s.v.), were first formed into a corps at the siege of Capua, B.C. 211, as we are informed by Livy (XXVI.4, cf. XXXVIII.21, and Val. Max. II.3; Frontin. IV.7), who gives a minute description of the circumstances which led to their institution, and of the manner in which they were armed. It is true that the historian uses the term Velites before the epoch in question (e.g. XXI.56, XXIV.34); and Polybius, in like manner, speaks of γροσφομάχοι from the time of the first Punic war; but these expressions must be understood to indicate the light-armed troops as they then existed, and which, after the name Rorarii fell into disuse, were styled jaculatores or πεζακοντισταί. We must not conclude from the narrative of Livy, that it was customary for the Velites to mount behind the cavalry; on the contrary, the above passage is, perhaps, the only one in which they are represented as employed in the manner, although, in later times, it was by no means uncommon for light-armed troops to mingle with the horsemen, to keep pace with them, and to support them in their operations (Caesar, B. G. I.48, VIII.19, B. C. III.84; Sall. Jug. 91).

The foreign light-armed troops will be noticed under the next epoch.

The Officers of the Legion

Tribuni.— The chief officers of the legion were the Tribuni Militum, rendered by the Greeks χιλίαρχοι. Tribunus is, unquestionably, derived from tribus; and, according to Varro (L. L., V § 81), in ancient times three were sent to the army, — one from the Ramnes; one from the Luceres; one from the Tities, — who would then be the commanders of the original legion of 3000. In the time of Polybius, the number in each legion was six; but when and under what circumstances this increase took place, is unknown. Two passages from Livy (Liv. VII.5, Liv. IX.30), to be more particularly adverted to hereafter, by which Sigonius endeavoured to throw light upon the question, admit of an interpretation totally different from that which he has assigned to them, and they leave the matter altogether in doubt. After the number six was once established, it does not appear to have varied for many centuries, nor do we know what changes were introduced, in this respect, during the decline of the empire. The case in Livy (Liv. XLII.35), where four military tribunes are represented to have been chosen from the senate to command four legions, supposing the text to be faultless, is manifestly quite special.

It must be understood that the authority of each tribune was not confined to a particular portion of the legion, but extended equally over the whole. In order, however, to prevent confusion and collision, it was the practice (Polyb. VI) for the tribunes to divide themselves into three sections of two, and each pair undertook the routine functions for two months out of the six, during which active operations in the field usually lasted (Cf. Liv. XL.41, "Secundae legionis Fulvius tribunus militum erat, is mensibus suis dimisit legionem.") In addition to the duties specified by Polybius, and already detailed under Castra, and to the general superintendence which they must have exercised, we perceive that they nominated the centurions, and assigned to each the company which he was to command. They presided also at courts-martial, and had the power of awarding the highest punishments.

Up to the year B.C. 361, the tribunes were chosen by the commanders-in‑chief, that is, by the kings in the first instance, and afterwards by the consuls, or a dictator, as the case might be. In the year above named the people assumed to themselves the right of electing either the whole or a crypt number, it is impossible to say which (Liv. VII.5), but they seem to have allowed matters to return to a great extent to their former state until B.C. 311, when it was ordained that they should choose sixteen for the four legions (Liv. IX.30); but whether this embraced a whole or a part only, is a point upon which we are again left in doubt. From this time forward, in virtue of the rogation then passed, the people continued to elect the whole, or, at all events, the greater number until B.C. 207, when the consuls, Claudius Nero and Livius Salinator, appointed the tribunes to nineteen out of the twenty-three legions of that year, the people taking to themselves the nomination of the first four only (Liv. XXVII.36). When war was declared against Perseus B.C. 171, a special act was passed that the military tribunes for that year should not be elected by the votes of the people, but should be nominated by the consuls and praetors (Liv. XLII.31); the same arrangement probably was adopted the following year, for it is particularly mentioned that in the third year of the war (B.C. 169), the people named the tribunes of four legions, which were kept in reserve (Liv. XLIII.12); and, finally, in the fourth and last year of the war (B.C. 168), the senate resolved that the tribunes for the eight legions should be named one half by the people and one half by the consuls, Aemilius Paulus being allowed to select out of the whole body those whom he considered best fitted for serving in the two legions which he was about to transport into Macedonia. Polybius (VI.19) refers incidentally to the fact that some of the tribunes were chosen by the people, and some by the consuls, but without specifying the proportions, and this division of patronage probably subsisted so long as the forms of the constitution were maintained, for even under Augustus the people retained some power, nominally at least, in the military elections; but from the reign of Tiberius these offices were held to be in the gift of the prince exclusively. It is clear that in the later ages of the republic the nomination of tribunes, not elected by the people, was vested not in the consuls alone but in proconsuls also, and generally in those who held the chief command in an army. Thus Cicero, when in Cilicia, offered, at the request of Brutus, a tribune­ship to Scaptius (Cic. ad Att. VI.3); and the orator, at another time, gives a hint to Caesar, when in Gaul, that he might bestow a tribune­ship, or some such office, on Trebatius (Cic. ad Fam. VII.5); while Caesar himself found, to his cost, that he had attended too much to the claims of friendship in granting these appointments (Caes. B. G.). Those tribunes elected by the votes of the people were termed Comitiati, those chosen by the general Rufuli; because, says Festus, their privileges were fixed by  p504 a law of Rutilius Rufus (Liv. II.5; Pseud. Ascon. in Verr. Act. I.30; Festus, s.v. Rufuli). That all tribunes were not upon an equality is clear from the expression of Livy (Liv. XLI.3), "L. Atius, tribunus primus secundae legionis;" and, from the Cornelian law quoted by Cicero (Pro Cluent. 54), where the tribunes of the first four legions are evidently regarded as superior to others. How this precedence was regulated, whether by seniority, by the mode of election, or by some other principle we cannot determine.

We have seen from Polybius that no one was eligible to the office of tribune who had not served for ten years in the infantry or five in the cavalry. This rule admitted of exceptions, for we find that the elder Scipio Africanus was tribune of the soldiers at the battle of Cannae (Liv. XXII.53), although certainly not twenty years old; and Hortensius rose to the same rank in his second campaign. Augustus introduced certain regulations altogether new. He permitted the sons of senators to wear the tunica laticlavia as soon as they assumed the manly gown, and to commence their military career as tribunes, or as commanders (praefecti) of cavalry (Suet. Octav. 38). Such persons were the Tribuni Laticlavii (Suet. Dom. 10), whom we find frequently commemorated in the inscriptions of the empire (Orelli, n133, 1665, 2379, 3113, 3143, 3441), and to these we observe allusions in Horace (Sat. I.6.25), and in Statius (Sylv. V.1.97). We find also, in one passage at least, the phrase Tribunus Augusticlavus (Suet. Otho, 10). We can scarcely suppose that raw youths entering the army for the first time were actually allowed to exercise the authority which the name implies; and hence we may conclude that in their case it was a mere honorific title. By the later emperors, tribune­ships were bestowed without regard to the birth of the individual; and, in order that they might have an opportunity of obliging a greater number of applicants, the post was frequently conferred for six months only. Hence, we read in Pliny (Ep. IV.4.1), "Hunc rogo semestri tribunatu splendidiorem facias," and in Juvenal, "Semestri vatum digitos circumligat auro," where there is an allusion to the gold ring which formed one of their insignia.

Tribunes were, from a very early period, distinguished by their dress from the common soldiers (Liv. VII.34), and their equipments and rations in the middle of the third century may be seen from a curious letter written by Valerian, when he bestowed the command of certain battalions of Saracens on Probus (Vopisc. Prob. 4). Under the empire they were attended by a certain number of apparitores, or of soldiers who walked before them (Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 52), by a Vicarius, or aide-de‑camp (Vopisc. Aurelian. 7.10), and by a person termed Cornicularius Tribuni (Val. Max. VI.1; Frontin. III.14; Orelli, Inscripp. Lat. 3465), who was probably a sort of fugle-man who gave certain signals according to the orders which the officers wished to communicate — thus we meet with the Cornicularius of a centurion (Val. Max. VI.1 §11), of a propraetor (Orell. 3486), and others (Orell. 3487, 3522, cf. 1251, cf. Suet. Dom. 17).

Tribuni Cohortium.— It has been maintained by some critics, that in addition to the six tribunes of the legions there were ten inferior tribunes, each of whom commanded a cohort. We have no reason to believe that any such tribunes existed even so late as Hadrian; for Hyginus, in his minute description of a camp, and of the accommodation required for the officers, makes no mention of them. It is true that we read in Caesar (B. C. II.20), and in Pliny (Ep. III.9; cf. Juv. I.58; Stat. Sylv. V.96) of tribunes who commanded cohorts; but those in Caesar were not legionary but auxiliary cohorts, and such, in all probability, was the cohort alluded to by Pliny.

Under Augustus and his successors Tribunus was employed with reference to many military offices. Thus Velleius Paterculus tells us (II.104), that he discharged the duties of Tribunus Castrorum, and in inscriptions we meet with Tribunus Praetorianus (Orell. 1133), Tribunus Fabrum Navalium (Orell. 3140), and many others.

Centuriones.— Next in rank to the Tribunus was the Centurio, who, as the name implies, commanded a century; and the century, being termed also ordo, the centurions were frequently designated ordinum ductores (hence, adimere ordines, offerre ordines, ordines impetrare, &c.), words represented in the Greek historians by ἑκατοντάρχης or ταξίαρχος, and more rarely by λοχαγός. The number of centurions in a legion was sixty, that being at all epochs the number of centuries (Dionys. IX.10;º Tac. Ann. I.32).

The moral qualities desired in a centurion are described by Polybius (VI.24), who tells us that those regarded as best adapted for the office were persons not so much remarkable for their daring valour as for calmness and sagacity; men not eager to begin a battle at all hazards, but who would keep their ground although overwhelmed by a superior force, and die rather than quit their post. Their chief ordinary duties were to drill the soldiers, to inspect their arms, clothing, and food, to watch the execution of the toils imposed, to visit the centinelsº and to regulate the conduct of their men, but in the camp and in the field. They sat as judges also in minor offences, and had the power of inflicting corporal punishment, whence their badge of office was a vine sapling, and thus vitis is frequently used to denote the office itself (Tac. Ann. I.23; Plin. H. N. XIV.1; Martial. X.26; cf. Juv. VIII.247, XIV.193, vitem posce libello; Spartian. Hadrian. 10).

According to the system described by Polybius, the centurions were chosen according to merit by the tribunes (ἐξέλεξαν ταξίαρχους ἀριστίνδην), subject, however, it is evident, to the control of the consuls (see Liv. XLII.33, 34); during the decline of the republic, it was notorious that these posts were made an object of mercenary traffic (Quem enim possumus imperatorem aliquo in numero putare, cuius in exercitu veneant centuriatus et venierint? Cic. pro Leg. Manil. 13. Quid? centuriatus palam venditos? Cic. in Pison. 36); and under the empire, the greatest corruption prevailed (Tac. Hist. I.52, III.49; Plin. Ep. VI.25), although many laws, as may be seen upon reference to the codes, were promulgated from time to time to remedy such disorders.

The regular pay of the centurions is considered under another head [Stipendium]; but, in addition to this, their income was increased by the money which they received from the soldiers for leave of absence, exemption from fatiguing or disagreeable duties, and other indulgences. This abuse, so subversive of all discipline, probably arose during the confusion of the civil wars, and gradually became  p505 so intolerable that Otho, to satisfy all parties, granted to the centurions a fixed sum out of the imperial exchequer as a compensation for these emoluments; and his example, in this respect, was followed by the most worthy of his successors Tac. Hist. I.46; cf. I.17). Even the tribunes appear to have derived perquisites, called stellaturae, from the rations of the soldiers, and these, although for a time strictly prohibited, were eventually recognised as lawful (Spartian. Hadr. 10; Spartian. Pescenn. Nig. 3; Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 15; Cod. 12 tit. 38 s12; Cod. Theod. 7 tit. 4 s28).

It will be seen from Polybius that of the two centurions in each maniple the one first chosen took the command of their division (ὁ μὲν πρῶτος αἱρεθεὶς ἡγεῖται τοῦ δεξιοῦ μέρους τῆς σπείρας), the other of the left. The century to the right was considered as the first century of the maniple, and its commander took precedence probably with the title Prior, his companion to the left being called Posterior, the priores in each of the three divisions of Triarii, Principes, and Hastati being the ten centurions first chosen (Polyb. VI.24). So long as these divisions were recognised, all the centurions of the Triarii appear to have ranked before those of the Principes, and all the centurions of the Principes before those of the Hastati. Moreover, since the maniples were numbered in each division from 1 to 10, there was probably a regular progression from the first centurion of the first maniple down to the second centurion=centurion of the tenth maniple=maniple.

The first centurion of the first maniple of the Triarii, originally named (Liv. VII.41) Centurio Primus, and afterwards Centurio Primipili, or simply Primipilus, occupied a very conspicuous position.​a He stood next in rank to the Tribuni militum; he had a seat in the military council (Polyb. VI.24); to his charge was committed the eagle of the legion, whence he is sometimes styled Aquilifer (Val. Max. I.6 §11; Tac. Hist. III.22; Dionys. X.36), and, under the empire at least, his office was very lucrative (locupletem aquilam, Juv. XIV.197; Mart. I.32, VI.58).

A series of terms connected with these arrangements are furnished by the narrative which Sp. Ligustinus gives of his own career in the 34th chapter of the 42d Book of Livy. He thus enumerates the various steps of his promotion: "Mihi T. Quinctius Flamininus decumum ordinem hastatum adsignavit . . . me imperator dignum judicavit cui primum hastatum prioris centuriae adsignaret . . . a M'. Acilio mihi primus princeps prioris centuriae est adsignatus . . . quater intra paucos annos primum pilum duxi." The gradual ascent from the ranks being to the post of centurion: 1. In the tenth maniple of the Hastati. 2. In the first century of the first maniple of the Hastati. 3. In the first century of the first maniple of the Principes. 4. In the first century of the first maniple of the Triarii.

But even after the distinction between Hastati, Principes, and Triarii was altogether abolished, and they were all blended together in the cohorts, the same nomenclature with regard to the centuries and their commanders was retained, although it is by no means easy to perceived how it was applied. The cohorts being numbered from 1 to 10, and the first cohort having unquestionably the precedence over the others, we may suppose that the rest took rank in like manner in regular order, each containing three maniples. The first maniple in each cohort may have been considered as representing Triarii according to the ancient arrangement, the second maniple in each cohort as representing Principes, the third as representing Hastati. If this hypothesis be admitted, the Primipilus, whom we find mentioned down to a very late date, was, under the new system, the first centurion of the first maniple of the first cohort, and as such had as formerly the charge of the eagle; thus also, when Caesar says (B. C. III.64), "Hoc casu aquila conservatur omnibus primae cohortis centurionibus interfectis praeter principem priorem," he must intend to designate the first centurion of the second maniple of the first cohort, who would at full length have been denominated primus princeps prior; in like manner, "Cretensi bello octavum principem duxit" (Ep. ad Brut. I.8) will denote the second maniple of the eighth cohort, "Q. Fulginius ex primo hastato legionis XIV. qui propter eximiam virtutem ex inferioribus ordinibus in eum locum pervenerat" (Caes. B. C. I.46), and "Cum signifer primi hastati signum non posset movere loco" (Cic. de Div. I.35), the third maniple of the first cohort.

That great differences of rank existed among the centurions is evident from the phrases primores centurionum (Liv. XXVI.5), primi ordines (i.e. chief centurions, Caes. B. C. VI.6), as opposed to inferiores ordines (Caes. B. C. I.46), and infimi ordines (Ibid. II.35); and that promotion from a lower to a higher grade frequently took place, is evident from the career of Ligustinus as detailed by himself (Liv. XLII.34), of Scaeva, who was raised "ab octavis ordinibus ad primum pilum" (Caes. B. C. III.53) for his gallant conduct at Dyrrhachium, and from many other passages of which it will be sufficient to quote one from Caesar (B. G. VI.42): "Centuriones quorum nonnulli ex inferioribus ordinibus reliquarum legionum virtutis causa in superiores erant ordines huius legionis traducti;" but we are ignorant whether in ordinary cases this promotion proceeded regularly, or was conducted according to any fixed principle. While on the one hand we should be led to infer that there was some regular progression, from such observations as "Erant in ea legione fortissimi viri centuriones qui jam primis ordinibus appropinquarent" (Caes. B. G. V.44), and while it is probable that such was actually the case when the legion became permanent, so on the other hand it is difficult to see how promotion could have been systematic during the long period when the legions were disbanded annually, since the choice of the centurion depended entirely upon the discretion of the tribunes subject to the control of the general, who was himself changed from year to year, so that those who served together in one season might be in different legions and different countries the next. Nor was it unconstitutional for a centurion who had commanded one of the higher companies to be called upon subsequently to fill lower stations: this was not common, as we perceive from a case in which strenuous resistance was offered by twenty-three centurions "qui primos pilos duxerant" to enrolling unless their former rank was guaranteed to them (Liv. XLII.32, 33), but this resistance was overcome, and it was held, that the consul ought not to be prevented from assigning that post to any individual in which his services were likely to prove most  p506 valuable to the state. It was not until the year B.C. 341, that a law was passed by which it was ordained, that no one who had held the office of military tribune should be eligible as a centurion (ne quis, ubi tribunus militum fuisset, postea ordinum ductor esset, Liv. VII.41), and at that time the regulation was made in consequence of the dislike entertained by the soldiers to a particular individual who during a succession of years had been alternately a tribune and primipilus.

Optiones.— In like manner as the tribunes named the centurions, so each centurion named his own lieutenant, who is called by Polybius οὐραγός, because his station was in the rear of the company. By Livy (VIII.8), a subaltern of this kind is named subcenturio, but the individual there mentioned was selected for a particular purpose, and it seems clear from Varro and Festus that the regular term was optio, which signifies in general a person chosen (optatus), by another as an assistant. They agree as to the etymology, but the former (L. L. V.91) confines the term to the lieutenant chosen originally by the decurio in a troop of cavalry, and adds that the tribunes had assumed to themselves the patronage, "Quos hi (sc. decuriones) primo ad ministros ipsi sibi adoptabant, optiones vocari coepti, quos nunc propter ambitiones tribuni faciunt," while the words of the latter (p198, ed. Müller), although very corrupt, seem to imply that they had been originally appointed by the tribunes, and the nomination afterwards transferred to the centurions: "Optio qui nunc dicitur, antea appellabatur Accensus, his adjutor dabatur a Trib. Militum, qui ex eo tempore, quem velint, centurionibus permissum est optare, etiam nomen ex facto sortitus est." The explanation in the Excerpta of Paulus Diaconus, is somewhat different from either: "Optio est optatio, sed in re militari optio appellatur is, quem decurio aut centurio optat sibi rerum privatarum ministrum, quo facilius obeat publica officia" (p184, Müller).

Fourth period: From the times of the Gracchi until the downfall of the Republic.— The century which immediately preceded the destruction of the Roman constitution, was above all others a season of restless excitement and revolution. A vast number of organic changes was introduced into the army, the greater number of which are commonly ascribed to Marius, but, although he was undoubtedly the author of many most important modifications, others not less vital were the result of the new position assumed by the Italian states; and some must have required so much time for their full development, that they could scarcely have been the work of a single individual. We shall call attention very briefly to the leading features of the new system, in so far as they can be gleaned from the pages of Sallust, Caesar, and Plutarch, who must be here regarded as our chief guides.

1. In the first consul­ship of Marius, the legions were thrown open to citizens of all grades, without distinction of fortune. (See above.)

2. The whole of the legionaries were armed and equipped in the same manner, all being now furnished with the pilum; and hence we see in Tacitus (Ann. XII.35) the pila and gladii of the legionaries, opposed to the hastae and spathae of the auxiliaries.

3. The legionaries when in battle order were no longer arranged in three lines, each consisting of ten maniples with an open space between each maniple, but in two lines, each consisting of five cohorts with a space between each cohort.

4. The younger soldiers were no longer placed in the front, but in reserve, the van being composed of veterans as may be seen from various passages in Caesar.

5. As a necessary result of the above arrangements, the distinction between Hastati, Principes, and Triarii ceased to exist. These names, as applied to particular classes of soldiers, are not found in Caesar, in Tacitus, in the treatise of Hyginus on castrametation, nor in any writer upon military affairs after the time of Marius, while Varro explains them as terms no longer in use. The words Hastatus and Princeps occur at a later period, in connection with the legion, but are used only with reference to the precedence of the centuries and of the officers by whom they were commanded, as we have pointed out when treating of the centuriones.

6. The Velites disappeared. The skirmishers, included under the general term levis armatura, consisted for the most part of foreign mercenaries possessing peculiar skill in the use of some national weapon, such as the Balearic slingers (funditores), the Cretan archers (sagittarii), and the Moorish dartment (jaculatores). Troops of this description had, it is true, been employed by the Romans even before the second Punic war (Liv. XXII.37), and were denominated levium armatorum (s. armorum) auxilia (Liv. l.c. and XLII.65, where they are distinguished from the Velites), but now the levis armatura consisted exclusively of foreigners, were formed into a regular corps under their own officers, and no longer entered into the constitution of the legion; indeed, the terms legionarius and levis armatura became opposed to each other in the Latin writers, just as ὅπλιται and ψιλοί among the Greeks (e.g. "ceciderunt ex levi armatura CCCXXIV ex legionariis CXXXVIII," Auct. de B. Hispan. 24, cf. Tacit. Ann. II.16). The word velites is not found in Caesar, and that they had ceased to exist when Livy wrote is clear from the expression in the description of the battle of Zama, where after having used the word "velitibus," he adds the explanation "ea tunc levis armatura erat" (XXX.33). When operations requiring great activity were undertaken, such as could not be performed by mere skirmishers, detachments of legionaries were lightly equipped, and marched without baggage, for these special services; and hence, the frequent occurrence of such phrases as expediti, expediti milites, expeditae cohortes, and even expeditae legiones.

7. The cavalry of the legion underwent a change in every respect analogous to that which took place in regard of the light armed troops. Whoever reads with attention the history of Caesar's campaigns in Gaul, will perceive that the number of Roman equites attached to his army was very small, and that they were chiefly employed as aide-de‑camps, and on confidential missions. On the other hand, it is evident that the bulk of his cavalry consisted of foreigners, a fact which becomes strikingly apparent when we read that Ariovistus having stipulated that the Roman general should come to their conference attended by cavalry alone, Caesar feeling no confidence in his Gaulish horse, dismounted them and supplied their place by soldiers of the tenth legion (B. G. I.42). In like manner they ceased to form part of the legion, and from  p507 this time forward we find the legions and the cavalry spoken of as completely distinct from each other (e.g. Caesar, B. G. V.11, 18; App. B. C. V.5). Whether there was not to a certain extent a return to the ancient system under the empire, is a question which will fall to be considered in the next section.

8. When, after the termination of the Social War, a large proportion of the inhabitants of Italy were admitted to the privilege of Roman citizens, the ancient distinction so long maintained between the Legiones and the Socii at once disappeared, all who had formerly served as Socii became as a matter of right incorporated with the legiones, and an army during the last years of the republic and under the earlier emperors consisted of Romanae legiones et Auxilia s. Auxiliares, the latter term comprehending troops of all kinds, except the legions and the imperial guards, whether infantry or cavalry, light armed or heavy armed, mercenaries in the pay of the state or contingents furnished at the cost of kings and cities in alliance with Rome. The infantry, not legionary, was for the most part organised in battalions called cohortes, the cavalry in squadrons called alae, the numbers in each cohors and ala varying according to circumstances, and hence such phrases as alae auxiliaque cohortium (Tacit. Ann. IV.5); agmen legionum alae cohortesque praeveniebant (Tacit. H. II.11). Whenever the word socii is applied to troops after the date of the Marsic war, it is generally to be regarded as equivalent to auxiliares, although a distinction is occasionally drawn between socii in the sense of the civilised allies or subjects of Rome, and the barbarian Germans, Numidians, Spaniards and others who are more specially termed auxiliares (Auxiliares dicuntur in bello socii Romanorum exterarum nationum, Paul. Diac.). In the description of the army of Germanicus, as marshalled to encounter Arminius, sociae cohortes is used in the most extended signification, for we are told that the army was composed of auxiliares Galli Germanique, pedites sagittarii, quatuor legiones, duae praetoriae cohortes ac delecti equites, quatuor legiones, levis armatura, equites sagittarii, CETERAE sociorum cohortes.

9. The manner of levying troops in Italy must necessarily have changed with this change of circumstances. We are destitute of any definite information, but, in all probability, a system of conscription was established and carried out by means of Conquisitores, such as were occasionally appointed in ancient times when difficulty was experienced in finding men (see Liv. XXII.11; cf. Cic. ad Att. VII.10; Hirt, B. Alex. 2); and we find that the Emperor Tiberius was not satisfied with obtaining volunteers, whom he regarded as, for the most part, an indifferent class of soldiers, and insisted upon the necessity of recruiting the legions "delectibus" (Ann. IV.4).

10. The most important change of all, in so far as society at large was concerned, was that to which we have already adverted, the establishment namely of the military profession, and the distinction now first introduced between the civilian and the soldier. This naturally led to the abrogation of the rule, still in force when Polybius wrote, by which no one could hold any magistracy (πολιτικὴν ἀρχήν) until he had completed ten years of military service, a rule which had fallen so completely into desuetude in the course of sixty or seventy years afterwards, that we see Cicero passing through all the highest dignities and attaining to the consul­ship, although his experience of a military life was limited to a single campaign under Pompeius Strabo.

Fifth period: From the establishment of the Imperial government until the age of the Antonines, B.C. 31 — A.D. 150.— We shall be enabled to form a correct idea of the materials which constituted an imperial army during the first two centuries of our era by passing under review the various kinds of troops for which Hyginus proposes to provide accommodation in the camp, whose construction he describes [ Castra]. We shall not take these precisely in the order in which they are named by him, but shall endeavour to arrange them systematically.

A regular army during this period consisted of a certain number of Legiones and Supplementa, the Supplementa being again divided into the imperial guards, which appear under several different forms, distinguished by different names; and the Auxilia, which were subdivided into Sociae Cohortes and Nationes, the latter being for the most part barbarians.

  1. The Legiones, as we have already had occasion to point out, although still composed of persons who enjoyed the privileges of Roman citizens, were now raised almost exclusively in the provinces; and hence Tiberius, when about to undertake his long projected progress through the provinces, alleged as one of his excuses for quitting Italy, the necessity of recruiting the legions by a regular levy or conscription (Tac. Ann. IV.4). The legion was divided into ten cohorts, and each cohort into six centuries; the first cohort, which had the custody of the eagle, was double the size of the others, and contained 960 men, the remaining cohorts contained each 480 men; and consequently each ordinary century 80 men, the total strength of the legion being thus 5280 men.

  2. Legionum Vexillarii. The term Vexillarii or Vexilla, which is found repeatedly in Tacitus, has proved a source of the greatest embarrassment to commentators, and a vast number of hypotheses, all of them highly unsatisfactory, have been propounded in order to reconcile the statements of the historian, which at first sight appear replete with contradictions. But the difficulty has arisen entirely from almost all critics having entered upon a wrong path from the very first, starting upon the supposition that Vexillarii, in every case, denoted troops of the same kind, whereas, in reality, the word is a general term; and we must ascertain is signification in each particular case from the words with which it is immediately joined or the general context of the passage. Vexillum is used in the earliest account of the manipular legion (Liv. VIII.8) to denote the standard of the ordo or maniple, vexillarius being the standard bearer; and in process of time, vexillum was employed to denote any military standard whatsoever, except the sacred eagle of the legion. By a careful examination of the various passages in Tacitus where Vexillarii are mentioned, it will be seen that he designates by this appellation any body of soldiers serving apart from the legion under a separate ensign, or even an army collectively. In this sense we must understand such expressions as Vexillum tironum Tac. Ann. II.78); Germanica vexilla Tac. Hist. I.31); Germanis vexillis Tac. Hist. I.70); vexillis inferioris  p508 Germaniae praeventus est Tac. Hist. I.53); Equitum vexilla Tac. Hist. II.11). Compare, Manipuli ante coeptam seditionem Nauportum missi . . . vexilla convellunt Tac. Ann. I.20). But when Vexillarii or Vexilla are accompanied by any word which denotes an immediate connection with a legion, as vexillarii discordium legionum Tac. Ann. I.38); quarta decima legio cum vexillariis vicesimanis Tac. Ann. XIV.34); cum vexillis nonae secundaeque et vicesimae Britanniarum legionum Tac. Hist. III.22), then they bear a specific meaning connected with certain changes introduced by Augustus. We have seen that under the republic a citizen might be called upon to serve for twenty years in the infantry; when the legions became permanent the full period was generally exacted, and those who chose to remain after their time was completed, were termed veterani. Augustus, in the year B.C. 13, limited the period of service to twelve years for the praetorians, and sixteen for the legionaries, after which they were to be entitled to an honourable discharge (missio honesta), and to receive a bounty (praemium, commoda missionum); but not long afterwards, A.D. 5, it was found necessary to increase the period to sixteen years for the praetorians, and twenty for the legionaries. At this time it appears probable that the practice was first introduced of discharging the soldiers from the legion at the end of sixteen years, and keeping them together under a vexillum with peculiar privileges during the remaining four years of their service. Abuses, however, crept in, and many soldiers, instead of being pensioned off at the end of twenty years, were compelled to remain for a much longer period, and the discontent caused by such oppression gave rise to the formidable mutinies in Pannonia and Germany, which burst forth immediately after the accession of Tiberius. The soldiers then demanded that the original arrangement by Augustus should be restored, and that they should receive a full discharge and the bounty at the end of sixteen years; while, in order to calm their wrath, Germanicus proposed to put an end to the disorders of which they complained, and to carry honestly into effect the second arrangement according to which they were to serve in the legion for sixteen years, and then being embodied under a vexillum by themselves to be relieved of all irksome labours, and to be required only to face the enemy in the field (Dion Cass. LIV.25, LV.23; Suet. Octav. 49; Tacit. Ann. I.17, 36, the proposal contained in the last passage being in these words: missionem dari vicena stipendia meritis; exauctorari, qui senadena fecissent, ac retineri sub vexillo, ceterorum immunes nisi propulsandi hostis). The vexillarii or vexilla legionum, then, were those soldiers who, after having served in the legion for sixteen years, became exauctorati, but continued to serve in a company with that legion, under a vexillum of their own, until they received their full discharge. Hyginus states the number attached to each legion as usually about hand or six hundred.

  3. Evocati (ἀνακλήτοι). Dion Cassius tells us that Augustus began to employ troops bearing this denomination when he called out (ἀνεκάλεσεν) the veterans of Julius Caesar to aid him against Antonius. They still, says Dion, form a peculiar corps (σύστημα ἴδιον), and carry sticks in their hands like centurions (Dion Cass. XLV.12, LV.24). Galba gave the name of Evocati to a body of life-guards instituted by himself, who are described by Suetonius Suet. Galb. 10), "Delegit et equestris ordinis juvenes, qui, manente annulorum aureorum usu, Evocati appellarentur, excubiasque circa cubiculum suum vice militum agerent."

  4. Cohortes Praetoriae. To these a separate article is devoted. [Praetoriani.]

  5. Equites Praetoriani. [Praetoriani.]

  6. Primipilares. These, according to the arrangements of the Hyginian camp, were placed close to the person of the emperor, and must have been a small corps, consisting of persons who had discharged the office of legionary Primipilus, and who now acted as guards or aide-de‑camps to the commander-in‑chief. Primipilares is met with frequently in Tacitus and in inscriptions (e.g. Tacit. Ann. II.11, IV.72, Tac. Hist. I.31, 87, II.22, III.70, IV.15, Ann. XIII.36; Orelli, No. 517, 748, 3568).

  7. Officiales. These appear to have been public servants. Thus were read in Appuleius of the officialis of an aedile, and in Ulpian of the officialis of a praefect (Dig.36, tit. 4 s5; cf. Grüter, Inscr. p. ccccxxii; Orelli, No. 2952, 4013).

  8. Equites Singulares Imperatoris. These are classed by Hyginus along with the Equites Praetoriani, were like them quartered in the Latera Praetorii, and equalled or slightly exceeded them in number. The only classical author by whom they are noticed is Tacitus, who, in that portion of his Hists (IV.70) where he is describing the confusion that arose upon the death of Vitellius, mentions among the troops "ala Singularium excita olim a Vitellio, deinde in partes Vespasiani transgressa," but they are very frequently commemorated in inscriptions, as Equites Singulares s. Singularii Imperatoris — Augusti — Caesaris — Domini Nostri, &c. (Orell. No. 3525, &c., 3100, 3496, 1576), and on stone we read T · Flavius · Quintinus · Eq · Sing · Aug · Letus · Ex · Exercitu · Raetico · Ex · Ala · Flavia · Pia · Fideli · Milliaria (Orell. No. 3409), which may lead us to suppose that they received their appellation in consequence of being selected individually from other corps, and thus they may belong to the same class with the Equites Electi (Orell. 3155) and the Eq · Cust · Aug · (Orell. 4453).

  9. Statores.— Hyginus assigns a place for two "Centuriae Statorum" immediately in the rear of the Praetorium which they protected, and allots to them, as to the Praetorians, twice as much space, in proportion to their numbers, as to the troops of the line. Hence, it is evident that they were ranked among the life-guards, although members of their body may have been employed in the capacity of couriers, as persons bearing the same designation certainly were employed both under the republic and the empire by those invested with military command (Cic. ad Fam. II.17, 19; "ut ad te statores meos et lictores cum literis mitterem;" cf. X.21; Vulcat. Gallic. Avid. Cass. 9; Lamprid. Alex. Sev. 52; Ulpian, Dig. 1 tit. 16 s4). In inscriptions we find Stator · Civitatis · Vienes · (Ib. 2780), and once Statorum · Evocati (Ib. 3422).

  10. Speculatores, although not provided for by Hyginus, ought to be mentioned here, since they also occupied a place among the personal attendants of the emperors (Ipsum Othonem comitabantur speculatorum lecta corpora, Tac. Hist. II.11, cf. Tac. Hist. I.24; Suet. Octav. 74). They were the executioners of the army (Senec. de Ira, I.16;  p209  St. Mark, vi.27, and comment. of Chrysost.; cf. Suet. Cal. 32), and seem to have acted as couriers likewise (Tacit. Hist. II.73). They formed a regular corps with officers of their own (Tacitus speaks of an optio speculatorum, H. I.25), and must have been numerous, as appears from such expressions as "praetoriarum cohortium et speculatorum equitumque valida manus" Tac. Hist. II.33); and from inscription where mention is made of a sixth cohort of speculatores (Orell. 3518); while from another inscription, in which a certain L. Veturius is styled PRAEF·TURMAE·SPECULAT·, it is manifest that there must have been mounted speculatores. The word is used also by Tacitus to denote an ordinary scout (Ann. II.12).

  11. The scouts, however, formed a distinct body under the name of Exploratores, and Hyginus quarters them appropriately at the extremity of the camp nearest to the Praetorian gate, and close to the Pioneers.

  12. Alae. — From the time when the cavalry were separated from the legion they were formed into bodies called alae, which varied in number according to circumstances. Hyginus provides accommodation in his camp for four Alae Milliariae, and for five Alae Quingenariae,

    The Ala Milliaria was divided into 24 turmae, each of which, according to the conjecture of Schelius, consisted of 40 men except the first which had 80. The commander of the whole was the Praefectus Alae, the inferior officers were 24 decuriones, 24 duplicarii, and 24 sesquiplarii, that is, a decurio, a duplicarius, and a sesquiplarius for each turma.

    The Ala Quingenaria was divided into 16 turmae with a decurio, a duplicarius and sesquiplarius for each, and we may suppose that each turma consisted of 30 men except the first, which thus would have 50.

    Each decurio had three horses allowed to him, each duplicarius and each sesquiplarius two horses, so that the total number of horses in the Ala Milliaria was 1090, and in the Ala Quingenaria 504, exclusive of those belonging to the Praefecti.

    It is evident that the duplicarii and sesquiplarii here named were subalterns; according to the ancient signification of duplicarius, as interpreted by Varro (L. L. V. § 90), it denoted a soldier who on account of his valour was allowed double rations (cf. Liv. XXIV.47, II.59), which must of course have been convertible into increased pay (Orelli, C. I. 3535). Such presents are frequently presented to us in inscriptions under the cognate forms duplarius, duplicarius, and dupliciarius. Thus we have Dupl · N · Explor · (Duplarii numeri exploratorum, Orell. 206); Duplario Leg · I · (Ib. 3531); Duplarius Alarius (Ib. 2003); Duplicarius (Ib. 3533); Dupliciar · (Ib. 3534). Sesquiplarius, which evidently denotes a soldier who received a ration and a half, appears in no authors except Hyginus and Vegetius, of whom the latter gives them gold collars and styles them Torquati duplares, torquati sesquiplares (II.7), but the title is met with in inscriptions (Orell. 3470).

  13. Mauri Equites. Pannonii Verderarii. — The Alae were raised in the Roman provinces and consisted, probably, for the most part, of citizens, or at least subjects. But in addition to these every army at this period was attended by squadrons of light horse composed entirely of barbarians; and the chief duty performed by those named above was guarding the pioneers as they performed their labours in advance of the army. When Tacitus speaks of "Alares Pannonios, robur equitatus" (Ann. XV.10) he must mean cavalry of a different description from the Pannonii veredarii of Hyginus, who, probably, resembled the Cossacks of modern warfare.

  14. Cohortes peditatae, were battalions raised chiefly in the provinces, composed of Roman citizens, of subjects and allies, or of citizens, allies, and subjects indiscriminately. They were, it would appear, not bound down by the same strict rules with regard to the period of service as the legionaries, not so heavily equipped, and not subjected to the same exhausting labours. Vegetius, in the chapter where he endeavours to account for the decay of the legionary force (II.3), throws some light upon these points. To this class of troops belonged the cohortes auxiliares, the auxilia cohortium, and the sociorum cohortes, of whom we read in Tacitus, together with a multitude of others recorded in inscriptions and named for the most part from the nations of which they were composed. The expression cohortem decimam octavam (Tacit. H. I.64) indicates that these cohorts were numbered regularly like the legions. Hyginus provides accommodation for Cohortes peditatae milliariae tres, and Cohortes peditatae quingenariae tres.

  15. Cohortes Equitatae differed from the Peditatae in this only, that they were made up of infantry combined with cavalry. A Cohors Equitatua Milliaria contained 760 foot soldiers divided into 10 centuries, and 240 horsemen divided into 10 turmae. A Cohors Equitata quingenaria contained 380 foot-soldiers divided into six (?) centuries and 120 horsemen, divided into 5 turmae. There is an inscription in the collections of Gruter (p. MCVIII) to the memory of L. Flavius, who among other military titles is styled Praef · Coh · Primae · Equitatae · Civ · Roman · in · German · Inferiore ·; Pliny, in one of his epistles (X.108), and Trajan in his reply, make use of the terms Cohors equestris, the former mentioning a centurion in connection with it, which proves that it contained infantry. Tacitus (Hist. IV.19) speaks of cohorts of the Batavi and Canninefates, who, among other demands, insisted that the number of horse should be increased (augeri numerum equitum); and Josephus, in describing the army of Vespasian, notices 10 cohorts (σπείραι) of 600 infantry and 120 cavalry, a series of passages which evidently refer to Cohortes Equitatae. The Cohortes Peditatae are not mentioned under that name except by Hyginus, but are indicated by Tacitus in the words (Ann. XIII.35), "ex Germania legio cum equitibus alariis et peditatu cohortium." Hyginus allows space for Cohortes equitatae illiariae duae, and Cohortes equitatae quingenariae quatuor.

  16. Classici, which we may fairly render Marines, were employed, according to Hyginus, as pioneers. They corresponded to the Navales Socii, under the republic, who were always regarded as inferior to the regular soldiers, and were recruited, as we learn from Polybius, among those persons whose fortune did not entitle them to enlist in the legions. After the establishment by Augustus of regular permanent fleets at Misenum, Ravenna, and on the coast of Gaul, a large body of men must have been required to man them, who, when their services were not required afloat, were called upon, at least in great emergencies, to serve as  p510 ordinary soldiers. Tacitus mentions at the commencement of his history (I.6), that Galba found in the city a legion "quam e classe Nero conscripserat" (cf. Dion Cass. LXIV.3; Suet. Galb. 12; Plut. Galb. 15), which he subsequently (I.31, 36) terms "legio classica" and "classicorum legion" (cf. II.11, 14, 17, 22, III.55), and elsewhere (II.67) we hear of the "prima classicorum legion." In the Annals classiarius is the form which he generally employs, as classiariorum copia (Ann. IV.27), and centurione classiario (Ann. XIV.8).

  17. Nationes. — These occupied the same position with regard to the sociae cohortes, that the Mauri and the Pannonii Veredarii did with regard to the regular Alae of cavalry. They were battalions composed entirely of barbarians, or of the most uncivilised among the subjects of Rome, and were probably chiefly employed upon outpost duties. Hyginus allows space for 3300, consisting of Palmyreni; Gaetae; Daci; Britones; Cantabri.

Urbanae Cohortes.— We may take occasion to notice in this place two bodies of men established during the first years of the empire, who held a station intermediate between regular troops and an armed police, their services being, properly speaking, confined to the city. These were the Urbanae Cohortes and the Cohortes Vigilum.

Dion Cassius (LV.24) informs us that Augustus, in addition to the praetorian cohorts, instituted a force of city guards, amounting to six thousand men divided into four battalions; to these he elsewhere gives the name of ἀστικοί (LIX.2), with, by the Latin writers, they are usually distinguished as Cohortes Urbanae or Urbana militia, their quarters, which were within the city, being the Urbana Castra. According to Tacitus, who states the number of cohorts at three only, they, like the praetorians, were levied in Latium, Umbria, Etruria, and the ancient Roman colonies (Tacit. Ann. IV.5), and were under the immediate command of the praefect of the city, whence it was urged upon Flavius Sabinus (Tacit. Hist. III.64), "esse illi proprium militem cohortium urbanarum."

Cohortes Vigilum.— Augustus organised a large body of night-watchers also, whose chief duty was to act as firemen (Adversus incendia excubias nocturnas vigilesque commentus est, Sueton. Octav. 30). They were divided into seven cohorts, in the proportion of one cohort to each two Regiones, were stationed in fourteen guardhouses (excubitoria), and are called νυκτοφύλακες by the Greek, Cohortes Vigilum by the Latin writers. They were commanded by a Praefectus Tacit. Ann. XI.35), who was of equestrian rank; but the corps, in consequence of being raised among the class of libertini, was regarded as occupying a position inferior to that of regular soldiers (Dion Cass. LV.26, LIX.2). In Tacitus (Hist. III.64), they are termed the servitia of the aristocracy, and Suetonius (Octav. 25) alludes to them as "libertino milite" (cf. Dig. 1 tit. 15 s3).

Equipment of the Troops under the Empire.

Josephus has transmitted to us a description of the equipment of the Roman troops, and his testimony is peculiarly valuable, proceeding, as it does, from a competent eye-witness (B. J. III.5 §5).

The infantry wore cuirasses, helmets, and two swords (θώραξί τε πεφραγμένοι καὶ κράνεσι καὶ μαχαιροφοροῦντες ἀμφοτέρωθεν), that is, a long sword on the left, and a short dagger (σπιθαμῆς οὐ πλέον ἔχει μῆκος) on the right side. The select infantry in attendance upon the general carried a long spear (λόγχην, hastam), and a round shield (ἀσπίδα, clipeum); the rest of the legionaries (ἡ δὲ λοιπὴ φάλαγξ) a pilum (?) (ξυστόν), and a scutum (θυρεὸν ἐπιμήκη). In addition, each man had a saw and a basket (πρίονα καὶ κόφινον), a mattock and a hatchet (ἄμνη καὶ πέλεκυν), a leather strap, a hook and a chain (ἱμάντα καὶ δρέπανοι καὶ ἅλυσιν), together with provisions for three days, — so that, says Josephus, the Roman infantry differ little from mules of burden.

The Equites wore helmets and cuirasses like the infantry, with a broadsword at their right side (μάχαιρα μακρά), and carried in their hand a long pole (κοντὸς ἐπιμήκης); a buckler swung at their horses' flank (θυρεὸς δὲ παρὰ πλευρὰν ἵπποι πλάγιος), and they were furnished with a quiver containing three or more javelins (ἄκοντες), with broad points, and as large as spears (οὐκ ἀποδέοντες δὲ δοράτων μέγεθος). Those selected to attend the general differed, in no respect, in their appointments from the regular cavalry (τῶν ἐν ταῖς ἴλαις ἱππέων).

The Jewish historian has moreover given an account of the Agmen or line of march in which the army of Vespasian entered Galilee (B. J III.6 §2), this being, he adds, the regular arrangement followed by the Romans.

  1. The light-armed auxiliaries and bowmen (τούς μέν γε ψίλους τῶν ἐπικούρων καὶ τοξότας) advanced first to reconnoitre, to examine woods and suspicious localities, and to give timely notice of the approach of an enemy.
  2. A detachment of Roman heavy-armed troops, horse and foot (Ῥωμαίων ὁπλιτικὴ μοῖρα, πεζοὶ τε καὶ αγωγεῖς).
  3. Ten men out of each century carrying their own equipments and the measures of the camp (μέτρα τῆς παρεμβολῆς).
  4. The pioneers (ὁδοποιοί). The baggage of Vespasian and his legati (τῶν ὑπ’ αὐτῷ ἡγεμόνων) guarded by a strong body of horse.
  5. Vespasian himself attended by Selecti Pedites, Selecti Equites, and a body of spearmen (λογχοφόρους).
  6. The peculiar cavalry of the legion (τὸ ἴδιον τοῦ τάγματος αγωγικὸν), for, he subjoins, each legion has 120 horse attached to it. This we perceive was a return, to a certain extent, to the ancient system.
  7. The artillery dragged by mules (οἱ τὰς ἑλεπόλεις φέροντες ὀρεῖς καὶ τὰ λοῖπὰ μηχανήματα).
  8. The legati, praefects of cohort and tribunes (ἡγεμόνες τε καὶ σπειρῶν ἔπαρχοι σὺν χιλιάρχοις) guarded by a body of picked soldiers.
  9. The standards surrounding the eagle (αἱ σημαίαι περισχουσαι τὸν ἀετόν).
  10. The trumpeters (οἳ σαλπιγκταί).
  11. The main body of the infantry (ἡ φάλαγξ) six abreast, accompanied by a centurion (ἑκατοντάρχης), whose duty it was to see that the men kept their ranks.
  12. The whole body of slaves attached to each legion (τὸ οἰκετικὸν ἑκάστου τάγματος), driving the mules and beasts of burden loaded with the baggage.
  13. Behind all the legions followed the mercenaries (ὁ μίσθιος ὄχλος).
  14. The rear was brought up by a strong body of infantry and cavalry.

Josephus seems to designate the legati by the word ἡγεμόνες, the Tribuni militum by λοχαγοί or χιλιάρχοι, the centuriones by ταξιάρχοι or ἑκατοντάρχαι; whether he means by οὐραγοί (in III.6 §2) the optiones who are so designated by Polybius, or intends to comprehend the whole rear-guard under the appellation, may admit of doubt. Four words are used to denote  p511 weapons of the spear kind, — ξυστόν probably intended to represent the pilum, for which ὑσσός is generally employed; ἄκων the light javelin; λόγχη and δόρυ, pikes of different kinds. It was appear from Arrian that the λόγχη was sometimes used as a missile.

Finally, some additional light will be thrown upon the constitution of a Roman army about half a century later by the instructions issued for the line of march to be observed by the force despatched against the Scythian Alani, preserved in the fragment of Arrian, of which we have spoken above.

The force in question consisted of the fifteenth legion, which was complete, and of the twelfth, which appears to have been a fragment only, these legions having both cavalry and skirmishers attached to them exactly as under the republic — of several cohortes equitatae, composed of Italians, Cyrenians, Armenians, and others, each of these battalions containing heavy and light infantry together with squadrons of cavalry — of cohortes peditatae, including infantry only, both light and heavy, and of light cavalry of the allies and of barbarians. The order in which they were to advance was as follows: —

  1. Horse scouts (κατασκόπους αγωγέας), horse archers and slingers (ἱπποτοξότας καὶ πετραίους), commanded by their own decurions (δεκαδάρχαι).
  2. Various corps of foreign cavalry, Cyrenians, Ituraeans, Celts, and others, of whom the names are doubtful.
  3. The whole of the infantry archers, followed by different bodies of heavy-armed infantry, not legionaries, Italians, Cyrenians, Bosporanians and Numidians, the flanks of this division being covered by cavalry.
  4. The equites selecti and the equites of the legion (οἳ ἀπὸ τῆς φάλαγγος αγωγεῖς).
  5. The artillery (καταπέλται).
  6. The standard (σημεῖον) of the fifteenth legion, and around it the principal officers, namely the commander of the legion (ἡγεμὼν τῆς φαλάγγος), the legatus?) (ὑπάρχος), the tribunes (οἳ χιλιάρχοι), and the centurions of the first cohort (ἑκατόταρχαι οἳ τῆς πρώτης σπείρης ἐπιστάται(. Here, it will be remarked, we meet with an officer called the ἡγεμὼν τὴς φάλαγγος and his deputy or ὑπάρχος.
  7. The infantry of the legion, four and four, preceded by their own skirmishers (πεζῶν οἳ ἀκοντισταί).
  8. Foreign (τὸ συμμαχικὸν) infantry, both light and heavy.
  9. The baggage (τὰ σκευοφόρα).
  10. The rear brought up by an ala of Getae under their praefectus (εἰλάρχης).

The centurions were to march on the flanks of the infantry, keeping the men to their rank: for the sake of greater security a body of horsemen was to ride in single file along the whole length of the line; the commander-in‑chief, Xenophon, was to march in front of the infantry standards, but to move about occasionally from place to place, watching everything, and preserving order everywhere. It appears that of the cavalry some were archers (ἱπποτοξόται), some lancers (λογχοφόροι), some pole-men (κοντοφόροι), some sword-men (μαχαιροφόροι), some axe-men (πελεκοφόροι); these and many other curious particulars may be extracted from the detailed account of the Agmen, and from the Acies or scheme of battle by which it is followed; but unfortunately we are so much embarrassed at every step by the uncertainty of the text that it is scarcely safe to form positive conclusions.

A great many topics connected with a Roman army are discussed under separate headings; thus, much that belongs to the cavalry is necessarily included under Equites; the position of the allies in the service under Socii; the life-guards under Praetoriani; the pay of the soldier under Stipendium; a detailed account of his armour and weapons under Galea, Lorica, Ocrea, Caliga, Hasta, Pilum,º Gladius, Scutum, &c.; of his dress under Chlamys, Paludamentum, Sagum; of the standards under Signa Militaria; of military processions under Fustuarium, Decimatio; of military rewards under Torques, Phalerae, Corona; of military engines under Tormentum, Aries, Vineae, Plutei, Helepolis, Turris, &c.


Thayer's Note:

a the primipilus: An interesting account of the career of one military man, including his initial appointment as primipilus, is found in Dionysius, X.36.

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Page updated: 20 Aug 17