Thread Rating:
  • 1 Vote(s) - 5 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Late Roman Army Grade/Rank List under Anastasius
That's a good proposition but Maurice's Strategikon is specific that the cavalry unit can only form up 4 deep. He states that any more is pointless as the lances of the subsequent ranks cannot impact the battle or equally archers further back will have to fire overhead which is not very effective. The chevron or diamond formation above would seem to be more for rapid movement or charging across the battlefield rather than the standard deployment within the main battle-line prior to battle.

However, Mauricius then makes a curious addendum to this principal when he states that due to the lack of sufficient file-leaders of proven quality certain units form up seven or eight deep, including servants. These are the units known as the Vexillations, the Illyriciani, and the Federati. He continues on and to be honest looses me in terms of what is going on re file depths. The result is that enemy spies cannot determine the strength of the overall army due to this variance in file depth. Previously, they had merely counted the standards and reckoned on ten deep. Now, that assumption could no longer hold water.

The Anonymous writer of the earlier Justinianic tract entitle 'Strategy' is ambiguous on the relationship between the file leaders and the others. In English, there is a clear division between the file leader and the four cavalry troopers behind him. However, he also then mentions the rear guards, and the flankers, and the men next to them as all possessing equal characteristics. It remains unclear if these latter types are part of the four or separate from them.

Given that Mauricius is clear that beyond four deep there is no tactical advantage but that due to historical and recruiting reasons certain units exceeded that, I think the general principle is for cavalry turmae to be four deep not including the troop commander, standard-bearer and signaller. It would be easy for a line abreast, either head to shoulder or head to flank to move rapidly into a chevron or column formation if the main line was never that deep. Less confusion among the horses/riders in executing that move.

On a side note, and not to put a spanner in the works, Onur makes the suggestion that the Veredarii Alii were awaiting promotion into the Veredarii which would imply that they might not be cavalry but candidates awaiting an opening into this role. This would relegate the Veredarii back into a highly elite courier and field recon role. Also, in the Theodosian Code (8.5.17) a ruling from Valentinian and Valens dated to March 14, 364 explicitly refers to Veredarii as couriers which would again suggest fast messengers or scouts rather than main line cavalry skirmishers. That, again, would fit with a 50-strong number in this legion . . .

That hurt in my head is never going to go away, I suspect . . .
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
Reply
That's an interesting theory. Do we have any other examples of using Alii to mean some sort of candidate ?
Timothee.
Reply
(07-01-2017, 06:18 PM)Longovicium Wrote: Maurice's Strategikon is specific that the cavalry unit can only form up 4 deep.

Uh. Well, you'd think that Maurice and this Anonymus dude could at least agree with each other, to do us all a favour!

If they're four deep then we're back to the 4 x 7 structure, maybe - but with only the five Veredarii as file leaders, which isn't exactly ideal...

I'm seriously tempted to imagine the cavalry just galloping about in some random clump. They are 'light horsemen' after all. Infantry are so much easier to sort out!


(07-01-2017, 07:43 PM)Timus Wrote: Do we have any other examples of using Alii to mean some sort of candidate ?

Not as far as I know - it just means 'others' doesn't it? I was a bit mystified by Onur's comment about this - if the Veredarii Alii are 'candidates' then surely the Augustales and Flaviales Alii would be too - what were they doing while they were awaiting promotion?

Anyway, as a respite from cavalry-headaches, and to indulge my love of drawing diagrams, I had another go at arranging the infantry ordo-thing. This one solves the problem of the file closers at least.

Set at 359 munifices, for a total legion size of 1472. I've added the beneficiarii, librarii and two extra tubicines to the semissales, and the poor old praeco to the ranks of the munifices. This gives us 36 munifices and 44 semissales and armaturae per ordo.

   

It's basically a 10x10 infantry phalanx, Flaviales at the front and back, with an additional front rank of Augustales Alii. The two senior Augustales act as deputies to the Ordinarius, and a sort of 'colour guard' protecting the signifer and cornicen at the front.

Funnily enough, this resembles Vegetius's much-derided notion that the contubernium had 11 men - the Augustales Alii here act as both file leaders and caputs contubernia... [Image: shocked.png]

(We could, of course, take one or even two ranks of munifices out, reducing the legion number by 100 each time and reducing the depth accordingly).

(Another thing I've just noticed - if you take away the Augustales and Flaviales ("added to the legion", acc. Vegetius) we're left with a traditional 80-man century, 8x10...)
Reply
Oh very nice. I like it.

Can we put this century through some stress-testing, as it were?

So, as I see it, the diagram above contains 118 milites per century and this accounts for the different grades listed in the Perge Edict. Apart from the officers and super numeraries, you have the first rank filled with the Augustales of different grades, and the second and rear ranks filled with the Flaviales, again of different grades. Ranks 3 to 6 are the semisalles, 7 - 9 the remaining and unknown number of munifices, with four Armaturae filling the middle positions. The officers and supernumeries include the Ordinarius in charge, his administrative deputy, the Optio, the signifer (or Draconarius), the Cornicen, and finally the Imaginifer.

Both the Anonymous author writing under Justinian and Mauricius state that the Roman infantry had a one/two file numbering structure: Mauricius calls it the primani and the secundani while Anonymous calls it the protostrati and epistrati, respectively. If we stay with the Latin for now, this means that the front rank Augustales are the primani, the second rank flaviales are the secundani and so on until we get to the final rear rank of Flaviales who will be termed Primani. Now that is interesting because it means that if the order to split the century into a double or opposing fulcum is shouted out by the Ordinarius then each of the reverse-facing files is now led by an armoured Flaviales who is also a Primani. That would create a double-fulcum of uneven depth where the rear fulcum is five deep as opposed to the front main fulcum being six ranks deep but it does mean were the order to double the line come, then the rear Secundani step out as usual to slot in beside the rear-facing Primani.

Equally, with the century facing as normal, if the order to double the ranks is shouted out, all the secundani step out to the right and down one so that the century now occupies a 20-man frontage. The Flaviales in the second rank now step into the front alongside the Primani. As these are higher graded milites wearing armour, that works too. In the rear, it is slightly weaker in that the final rank Flaviales (the Primani) step into the penultimate rank of mixed munices and Armaturae. 

If the century were to then face a rear attack (poor sods) and have to perform a double-fulcum command, that rear fulcum is slightly 'softer', as it were, than the front rank - but those Flaviales and Armaturae will be able to stiffen it I suspect.

Following on from Vegetius, Anonymous and Mauricius, all grades save the Munifices will be equipped with heavy armour whereas these latter will be more-lightly equipped and able to provide javelin and arrow support to the front ranks when engaged.

The weakness, I think, at the moment is the flanks - or more specifically, the rear file ranks. This is a soft-spot should the century be flanked. However, if we are talking about a number of centuries positioned all along a main battle-line in one, two or three lines deep then the left and right centuries en-mass could be equipped as heavy infantry to protect the battle-line from flank attacks.

Again, maths is not my strong suit - but can I ask why 36 munifices? If you reduced the century from  the 11 depth here to 8 (Anonymous and Mauricius favour the usual 4, 8 and 16 file depths), you will lose 30 men - all munifices - and this will bring the century back into the often-accepted 80 strong (not including supernumeraries) figure. Ah, wait, no I have shot myself in the foot here: this would be a century with only 6 normal milites graded as munifices. That doesn't work at all, does it?
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
Reply
(07-02-2017, 06:13 AM)Longovicium Wrote: the diagram above contains 118 milites per century

116, plus one Ordinarius - 110 men in the ranks.


(07-02-2017, 06:13 AM)Longovicium Wrote: the front rank Augustales are the primani, the second rank flaviales are the secundani and so on until we get to the final rear rank of Flaviales who will be termed Primani.

I hadn't thought about it like that - but yes, it does seem to work out ok!



(07-02-2017, 06:13 AM)Longovicium Wrote: The weakness, I think, at the moment is the flanks - or more specifically, the rear file ranks.

Easily solved - one of the advantages of this setup is that we can move the different troops around within the main phalanx and keep to regular ranks and files of 6 / 8 / 10 / 16. Here's a revised version with protected flanks, two groups of 16 semissales on each side:

   

Alternatively, we could move a couple of full ranks of semissales to the rear of the formation, or have a single 8-man file of semissales at either flank.


(07-02-2017, 06:13 AM)Longovicium Wrote: can I ask why 36 munifices?

The number we have for the Munifices is -59. Presumably we have one man missing as he occupies a higher grade or position - I've called him the praeco, as he's the only available single soldier! - which would bring us to -60. That can be reconstructed as 160, 260, 360, etc. So the number of munifices in the ordo (assuming ten infantry ordines) would be 16, 26, 36, etc.


(07-02-2017, 06:13 AM)Longovicium Wrote: If you reduced the century from  the 11 depth here to 8 (Anonymous and Mauricius favour the usual 4, 8 and 16 file depths), you will lose 30 men

We're constrained (in this particular sort of arrangement) by the necessity of including all the grades within the ordo. The minimum number of munifices is 160 - 16 per ordo - but the numbers of semissales etc remains constant: 136 + 256 + 20 + 20 + (I think) the 4 double-pay beneficiarii, 2 librarii and 2 remaining tubicines, who would have to occupy positions within the ranks of the senior soldiers. This gives us 440 semissales, duplares and others - 44 per ordo.

So any arrangement would have to find places for 44 senior soldiers and at least 16 munifices. Conveniently, this means the basic century size steps up in tens: 60 is the minimum, then 70, 80, 90, 100... But we also have to allocate places within the array for the 3+7 Augustales Alii and the 6+14 Flaviales and Flaviales Alii. That cuts down the possible options in terms of arrangement.

The proposed arrangement above is the minimum, I think, that allows the semissales and munifices, if required, to keep files of 8, or double files of 16, within the phalanx. There's also a balance between semissales and munifices, which may or may not be important!

As I suggested above, this particular array could represent an old-style legionary century of 80 men (semissales and munifices alone), to which have been added three extra ranks of Flaviales and Augustales. The internal structure of the phalanx still allows the old 8 / 16 / 32 breakdown, but it's protected front and back by additional senior troops.
Reply
(07-02-2017, 09:37 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote: As I suggested above, this particular array could represent an old-style legionary century of 80 men (semissales and munifices alone), to which have been added three extra ranks of Flaviales and Augustales. The internal structure of the phalanx still allows the old 8 / 16 / 32 breakdown, but it's protected front and back by additional senior troops.

The actual quote from Vegetius for further reference:

Quote:Ordinarii dicuntur qui in proelio (quia primi sunt,) ordines ducunt. Augustales appellantur qui ab Augusto ordinariis iuncti sunt. Flauiales item, tamquam secundi Augustales, a diuo Vespasiano sunt legionibus additi. Aquiliferi qui aquilam portant. 
http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/vegetius2.html Lib II.VII
This whole business of adding the augustales and flaviales to the ranks might finally makes sense.
Timothee.
Reply
(07-02-2017, 11:25 AM)Timus Wrote: This whole business of adding the augustales and flaviales to the ranks might finally makes sense.

Yes, it could well do. The comment that they were 'added to the ordinarii' might make sense too - these men were not common soldiers, but a sort of NCO grade, and absorbed some of the command responsibilities of the ordinarii. That might explain why, as the 'century' got larger, the pay (and prestige?) of the ordinarius was reduced: the old-style centurion was sole commander of his century, but maybe the new-style ordinarius, while keeping the role of tactical leader, delegated a lot of his subunit command role to the Augustales and Flaviales.

I think Milner's idea that the Flaviales were introduced by Constantine or his dynasty (rather than Vespasian, as V believes) seems quite convincing. Although they might have been just renamed, and the role existed before that, perhaps, as part of an enlarged century. I don't think either Augustales or Flaviales are attested before Vegetius's approximate time of writing though (a late 4th century Egyptian papyrus seems to be the earliest appearance of the Flavialis). So 'some time in the 4th century' might be the best we can say!
Reply
(07-01-2017, 06:18 PM)Longovicium Wrote: The Anonymous writer of the earlier Justinianic tract entitle 'Strategy' 

If you are referring to the 'Military Compendium of Syrianus Magister, formerly the Sixth-Century Anonymus Byzantinus', that source is no longer dated to the 6th century but to the 10th.


https://www.academia.edu/3676997/_The_Da...07_701-737
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
Thank you, Robert, a very engaging and persuasive work by the renowned Rance. That pretty much scuppers the mid-Justinianic date then. I then found another writer who encapsulates Rance's dating provisio as 'waffling' between the 9th and 10th centuries: http://www.casa-kvsa.org.za/ScholiaUpdat...-10whi.htm

That led me to a further internet search and now - thanks to you - I have Rance's 1994 PhD thesis sitting on my desktop: 295 pages entitled 'TACTICS AND 'TACTICA' IN THE SIXTH CENTURY :TRADITION AND ORIGINALITY'.

There goes my quiet evening of watching 'Alien: Covenant' . . .
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
Reply
(07-03-2017, 10:01 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote: I think Milner's idea that the Flaviales were introduced by Constantine or his dynasty (rather than Vespasian, as V believes) seems quite convincing. Although they might have been just renamed, and the role existed before that, perhaps, as part of an enlarged century. I don't think either Augustales or Flaviales are attested before Vegetius's approximate time of writing though (a late 4th century Egyptian papyrus seems to be the earliest appearance of the Flavialis). So 'some time in the 4th century' might be the best we can say!

Which of course begs the question why neither appears in both Jerome's Contra Johannem Hierosolymilanum episcopum 19 (PL23, 370), written c.390, nor in Justinian's Codex (I.27.2:20-21).
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply
(07-04-2017, 10:40 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: neither appears in both Jerome's Contra Johannem Hierosolymilanum episcopum 19 (PL23, 370), written c.390, nor in Justinian's Codex (I.27.2:20-21).

What does the Jerome passage say?

As far as I can tell, the passages in I.27 of the Codex give a list of payments (?) to various men in the officia of provincial ducates - I.27.2.22 has what appear to be military ranks, although those listed seem to be cavalry/auxilia rather than legion: primicerius, numerarius, ducenarius, centenarius, biarchus, circitor, semissalis. But do we know that these are actual soldiers? The agentes in rebus held military ranks as well, for one.

It does raise the question of whether the Augustales and Flaviales only appeared in the legions, or right across the military structure. Are they attested anywhere else? It's interesting that the only tombstone from Concordia that mentions either (as far as I can tell) is the one I mentioned above - Fl(avio) Fortunato Augustali / ex n(umero) milit(um) Iovianorum (assuming 'Augustalis' isn't part of his name!) - which also appears to be the only legionary one.
Reply
Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft

RE:Augustales 4


4) Im späteren Militärwesen werden A. unter den principia legionis von Veget. r. mil. II 7 genannt: Augustales appellantur qui ab Augusto ordinariis iuncti sunt, Flaviales item, tamquam secundi Augustales, a divo Vespasiano sunt legionibus additi. Ein Οὐρσάνους Αὐγουστάλις λανκιάρις IGI 157, vgl. damit die lanciarii Augustenses Not. dign. or. IX 36 (Augustenses auch ebd. VIII 52).

https://de.wikisource.org/wiki/RE:Augustales_4

*

Academic article about the numeri:

http://www.academia.edu/5577234/A_numeru...n_Pannonia
*
publication: CIL 03, 12257 = IK-22-01, 01239 = IK-22-02, p 34 = IK-68, p 90 = AE 1890, 00111          EDCS-ID: EDCS-29100304
D(is) M(anibus) / Flavio S[e]v<i=E>ro / militi c[o]hortis / Lusitanorum vixit / annis XX[1]X militavit / stipendia XIIII memo/ria(m) num[e]r[us] posuit
*
publication: CIL 03, 01607          EDCS-ID: EDCS-27300111
D(is) M(anibus) / Valerius Lo[ng]i/nus vet(eranus) n(umeri) C/ampestror(um) v/ix(it) ann(os) XXXXV/III Aurel(iae) Pirusi / virginio b(ene) m(erenti) p(osuit) / m(arito?)
*
publication: CIL 13, 08818 (4, p 145) = Grabstelen 00294          EDCS-ID: EDCS-11100908
D(is) M(anibus) Valenti / Bititrali / vet(erano) ex n(umero) ala(e) I / [Thr]ac{h}um h(eres) f(aciendum) c(uravit)
*
publication: MAHierapolis 00035 = Montana-02, 00151 = AE 1927, 00095          EDCS-ID: EDCS-16200746
 [I(ovi) O(ptimo) M(aximo)] / [pro salute Imp(eratoris) Caes(aris)] / [divi Traiani Parth(ici) fil(ii)] / divi Nervae nepotis / Traiani Hadriani Aug(usti) / domu<s=I>que ei{i}us / senatu<s=I> populiq(ue) R(omani) / et coh(ortis) Cl(audiae) S<u=Y>gambrum / veteranae equitatae / M(arcus) Iulius M(arci) f(ilius) Fabia / Pisonianus qui et Dion / praef(ectus) fabrum et praef(ectus) / coh(ortis) s(upra) s(criptae) domo Tyro / metropolis Phoenices / et Coeles Syriae qui a / Moesia inf(eriore) Montan(ensi) / praesidio numerum / in Asia(m) perduxit / v(otum) s(olvit) l(ibens) m(erito)
Reply
Hieron. * Contra lohannem Hierosol.* XIX = Migne L. XXIII,
p. 386: Finge aliquem tribuniciae potestatis suo vitio
regradatum per singula militiae equestris officia ad tironis
vocabulum devolutum, numquid ex tribuno statim fit tiro? Non,
sed ante primicerius, deinde senator, ducenarius, centenarius,
biarchus, circitor, eques, deinde tiro.
Reply
(07-05-2017, 12:28 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: primicerius... senator, ducenarius, centenarius, biarchus, circitor, eques... tiro.

Thanks - that's the 'cavalry/auxilia' list again.

It does seem peculiar that the Roman army of the 4th-5th century should apparently have maintained two almost entirely separate systems of military rank. As far as I know, nobody has explained why this might have happened.

Meanwhile, it appears that the old-style legion centurion still survived into the 4th century as well - assuming from the legion title that this is Constantinian or later:

CIL 08, 23181 (Africa proconsularis) ... Valentini centurionis / legionis secund(a)e Flavi(a)e Virtu/tis...
Reply
(07-04-2017, 09:10 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Academic article about the numeri:

The essay is good, but the most comprehensive report to this day about the early numeri is still that of of Marcus Reuter.
(see Studien zu den numeri des römischen Heeres in der mittleren Kaiserzeit. In: Berichte der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission 80, 1999, p. 359-569)

But it is not just Reuter who noticed that veredarii were always attached to the old auxillaries, respectively early numeri. The mounted units of classical legions were called ιππευς καταλογος, even ειλε, στρατιωτική ιππεύς or equites. The "K" in the Strategicon means καβαλαριος. It is also noteworthy that the capitum for the cavalry is completely missing at the Perge-slab, although this was given (or paid) in averted form until the 7th century - a fact surprisingly never questionized by anyone.
That's the reason why I said once that the numbering games are exciting (I personally love it), but they can be misleading if the circumstances and the biography of this unit are not clarified and the titles and its usage are little understood regarding the late 5th, 6th and early 7th century.

Also the issue of the paid annona and the stipendium (the latter one is completely missing at Perge) is an interesting issue. I also studied several papyri from egypt (6th cent.) from units which were indeed most likley linked to classical ancient legions... and here the "gap" between a κεντυριων (Centurio) and his κοντουβερναλις (Contubernalis) is much bigger regarding the paid annona. In those old units it seems unlikely that most of the internal tasks (jobs) were taken over by the tribunus or his vicarius (tribunus minor) and it seems that the old Centurio still maintained a very important position. I mean, Phocas was called centurion and not centenarius. Papyrological finds clearly show that the old centurion can be proved at least up to the 6th century. At the same time other units naming the centenarius only.

There is by the way a decree in the Codex Theodosianus, repeated by the Codex Iust., which regulates the conversion of the fodder-supply (the capita) to the municipality of the garrison-site. The provision of these open grazing areas was at the expense of the community and gave rise to criticism and letters of protest more than one time. In this case, the state did not pay the capitum. However, these cases never affected, to my knowlegde, units of the (mobile) field armies since their supply was implemented differently. 

The early numeri - those of the late 2nd and early 3rd century - were basically divided into two groups.
1. There were the ethnic-groups (which were surprisingly a minority) and
2. we find vexillations/detachments formed by several auxiliaries (esp. cohors and alae) - also named officially as numeri.

Marcus Reuter was also able to prove that even the so called barbarian "ethnic" numeri were quickly organized as a typically roman unit with roman (legionary) officers. In the attachment of his essay there are dozens of pages listing the primary sources (Papyri +CIL etc) which are showing the ranks and titles of these "barbarian" units, sometimes showing roman names on the grave stones.

According some epigraphical findings is becomes clear that (sometimes) all soldiers of such an auxillary-numerus were called "legionaries" in their entirety - even if just few legionaries were part of this numerus. This does not necessarily have to be the reason for the designation of our unit as "legio". But it already shows the beginnings of a certain mixture.
The evolvement of the 4th century shows a usage of the term numerus, finally rolled out to all units of the empire - from a colloquial term to a technical one. But that there was no ranking anymore between all the different units may be excluded. The Notita alone lists the units in their hierarchy up to the 5th century. 1.aux.pal. 2. legio 3. numeri...cohortes... etc. (in the praesental army the legio palatina was still the no.1). Another 50 or 60 years later all new (!) units were just called "numerus" plus the name of the city or the name of the emperor without further classification.

In one of my older comments, I have already shown that units could be promoted in their entirety. It is basically proved that various numeri from the 3rd century were promoted to cohortes and alae. Thus I was able to collect empirical material which clearly shows that legions were promoted to an auxilium (the new Aux.Pal) while another detachment of the same legion was still classified as legion. Furthmore old auxillaries were most likely promoted to a legion also. The unit of Perge was doubtless a legion when the slabs were eracted. The soldiers are called legionaries at Slab B. Furthermore we see the titles of honor which were given in an inflationary manner to the soldiers, like the flaviales and augustales (as far as I know those titles are always referred to members of the legions). Hidden behind those titles we can expect the caput contuberni, the decurio, also remnants of the tesserarius (just to give an example) or two deputies of the cavalry centurion like the duplicarius and sesquiplicarius from the old turmae. The unit of Perge was most likely a static limitanei troop of good quality, but after my studies I'm sure that it was originally not deployed as a legion.
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  References to late Roman army??? Steven James 111 10,890 10-15-2017, 05:07 PM
Last Post: Nathan Ross
  Late Roman Army - seniores and iuniores Robert Vermaat 34 9,869 04-19-2017, 04:38 AM
Last Post: Steven James
  Late Roman Army Questions Legate 22 6,481 12-01-2015, 05:10 PM
Last Post: Flavivs Aetivs

Forum Jump: