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Late Roman Army Grade/Rank List under Anastasius
#1
I thought I would bring to the attention of the members here an interesting development I stumbled over while doing some research online. It is in regard to the discovery back in the early 80s of an Anastasian edict at Perge. Fatih Onur has made some preliminary details of the writings and published some extracts. He is hoping to publish in full later. As well as ‘The Roman Army in Pamphylia: From the Third to Sixth Centuries A.D.’ which is available online and was what first alerted me, he has also graciously sent me a follow-up paper entitled ‘The Military Edict of Anastasius from Perge’ which elaborates in more detail the edict itself.

What follows is a précis of his work, nothing more.

The Edict.

The stone fragments discovered over 30 years ago formed 3 slabs erected in the city of Perge in the reign of the emperor Anastasius. Each of the 3 slabs recorded a separate element (A, B and C) detailed as follows:

A] This is a Greek translation of the sermo of Anastasius detailing a legislation of a military disposition

B] This is a Greek translation of the praeceptum of a Magister Militum endorsing the emperor’s edict

C] This is a Greek notitia listing the numbers of men and their ranks/grades and their annona

Fatih Onur concludes that C represents legio palatini units stationed in Perge under the command of the Magister and notes that the sizes of the men indicate double-sized units.
Now the bulk of A is devoted to curtailing abuses in the army revolving around promotion, length of service, corruption, and greed. The last section details punishments which include for example being fined 50 pounds of gold (3600 solidi or 600 annona). B echoes these edicts but in the words of the Magister Militum Praesentalis and adds a few details to do with banishment and the death penalty.

It is C however which really grabbed my attention. This is a notitia in Greek that records the numbers of men in each grade group (scholae) and their provisions in kind and the amounts of commutation. Faith Onur argues that C was already prepared before B due to a reference in B and therefore is linked to the emperor’s original sermo. The information is provided in tabular form with each row recording a grade group and again Fatih Onur argues that the details indicate the data was taken directly from the praetorian prefecture. The key to the edict is the enumeration of the number of soldiers and their units in the muster rolls (matricula). C is an abridged list designed to prevent abuse of the military system to do with corruption. It is an attempt to record and fix rewards and pay.

Fatih Onur brings to attention the most interesting part of the inscription which is on the last slab ©. Here is a list of the grades in the Roman army and the rewards due to each grade and their numbers within a unit. In the article he has sent me, he presents the list of the grades alongside a comparative list by Vegetius and a subsequent one by the later Lydus. What Fatih Onur finds remarkable is the similarity of grades from circa 430-55 (Vegetius) to AD mid-sixth century (Lydus). This Anastasian edict (491-500) details very similar grades.

Alas the paper Fatih Onur sent me does not go into detail regarding the actual unit sizes (what first piqued my interest!) but there is an attached photo of slab C of the notitia. Of course I have no Greek translation skills at hand.

What I am going to do now then is the grade breakdown as presented on C. Those familiar with Vegetius and Lydus will be able to see the similarity and also differences. I hope this is of interest!

Inscription of Perge Slab C:

Tribunus Maior
Tribunus Minor
Ordinarii
Augustales
Augustales alii (1)
Augustales alii (2)
Flaviales
Flaviales alii
Signiferi
Optiones
Veredarii
Veredarii alii
Vexillarii
Imaginiferi
Librarii
Mensores
Tubicines
Cornicines
Bucinatores
Preaco
Armaturae Duplares
Beneficiarii
Torquati semissales
Brachiati semissales
Armaturae semissales
Munifices
Clerici and Deputati

He has advised me that he presented more details at the last Roman Army Congress at Lyon which will be published at the end of summer. I was really hoping that I would be able to get access to the unit sizes as I know this is a matter of some interest but the article he forwarded on to me does not go into those details – despite the photo of C in its entirety.

Anyway, I thought I would pass this on – it certainly got my attention when I came across it and then contacted him for more detail!
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#2
Hi Francis,

Very interesting, and thank you very much for bringing to our attention.
Looking at the list it indeed shows similarities with the grades mentioned by Vegetius. It is immediately clear that this is not a list of ranks, but one of grades with a few actual ranks inbetween - many grades and most ranks are missing, though. It's clearly a pay scale. Do you perhaps have the amounts of annonae corresponding to each grade? It would be very interesting to compare this late 5th c. list with the other lists we know, that of Hironymus ((Jerome, Contra Johannem Hierosolymilanum episcopum 19, writing ca. 386-7) and the edict of Justinian (Justinian Code, I.27) of 534.

The list is of the grades on the lower end of the scale: a tribunus command a new-style 'legion'of perhaps a 1000 men, but an ordinarius is already down to 80 men (new-style centurio), but the bulk of these titles seem to be soldiers or lower nco-s with a higher pay due to some specialist function or task.

My article about Late Roman ranks and grades: http://www.fectio.org.uk/articles/ranks.htm
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#3
Hi Robert,

Thanks for heads-up on your article (which is already book-marked in my Late Roman Army folder!).

The list is the only breakdown I have from Fatih Onur except for the extant slab as a photo at the end of his second article. It is ironic that that is the part I was really hoping to get a peak at (the units sizes and annonae amounts). Much of the extant script of A and B is presented in the article in its Greek original - as well as some translations - but again the bulk of C, except for the grade list already detailed, is absent.

If you would like to read both articles I can forward them to you in an email.
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#4
Hi Francis,

My pleasure. And yes, I'd like to read those articles ([email protected])

Of course Fatrih does not want to spill the beans before he's published his article. It might be in his phd, but that's in Turkish I believe. Big Grin The laws are nice, but it's the hard numbers he can publish something with.. (I do the same with my plumbata research). :mrgreen:

I know Lydus' De Magistratibus, but I was under the impression that his officials were named differently: do you have a list of these?
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#5
Hi Robert,

I can do better than that. The second article I am sending you which has the lists of the Army grades ennumerated by Fatih Onur also contains the Vegetian and Lydian ones side by side for comparison.

I would appreciate any comments you may have after studying the articles!
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#6
Hi Francis,

The list is not complete: not only (I wrote this already) am I missing several ranks and posts which we fully know existed, but the list from Lydus is also not complete: I know there's a draconarius in that one. I wonder why Onur left it out, because the discussion about the continuity of the standard bearers is so interesting.. I will have to check Lydus and Vegetius again for a more complete list, but there are a great number of similarities already.

I’ve made a table with most corresponding grades. There are a number mentioned by all three lists, some by two, but also a number mentioned only by one of the three.

Some of these are not differing much (Lydus switches the order of the Bucinatores and Cornicines), some more (Vegetius has the Beneficarii much higher up than both Anastasios and Lydus, and vice versa with the Mensores). One, though, is particularly striking: the Imaginifer makes an almost free fall from among the signiferi (Vegetius), just above the musicians (Anastasios) down to the lowest grads (Lydus). I wonder why? Some changes are arbitrary, perhaps down to a mistake (Vegetius’ signiferi and Lydus’ musicians). Some clearly change place such as the Mensores (up) or the Beneficarii (down), but the evolution of the Imaginiferi is more striking. I wonder, perhaps this could be due to their link with the Imperial family, and the image(s) of the emperor(s) also being a pagan cult? Perhaps this downward move is due to the influence of Christianity.

Having said this, we should look at the lists themselves and wonder whether they can be compared. Vegetius is clearly writing theory, and he is often know to err when it comes to details. The Perge inscription indeed has military connections, but we are not sure what this list is all about. Military yes, but why only these names? Lydus is writing about offices, and I’m not sure where this one comes from. None compares fully to the lists we know from Hieronymus and Justinian, which show pay grades for the military (Jerome, cavalry) and civil servants based on the military in Africa (Justinian). Which is also why I’d like to be able to read the annonae…
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#7
Thanks for the feedback, Robert.

The list is provocative indeed and it is a shame that the numbers are not detailed also but I expect (as you suspect) that Fatih Onur is holding that back until the full paper is released later in the year.

He makes a number of claims which relate to the original sermo of Ananstasius - that the detail is in regard to the army as a whole (this is speculation) but also the legio palatinae in particular billeted in and around Perge (Onur makes a convincing claim for that, I think) - that it is a specific response to a grievance raised by the troops/grades referred to in the C list (unproven but convincing) - that the notitia itself and the numbers/annonae are drawn directly from the Praetorian Prefect's office and are at least accurate in relation only to the paper accounts as understood at 'head office' as it were.

We may then infer that Anastasius is attempting to correct abuses and restore levels of numbers and grades/annonae as oppossed to ratifying was is actually happening 'at ground level'. His record as an emperor in this regard is exemplary so we may infer that the levels/grades were at least accurate as to what the Roman Army should be at regardless of what was happening at the local level.

To be honest, the grades themselves remain somewhat obscure to me as I still have some difficulty separating rank from grade as my knowledge here is still provisional! Jerome as I understand it lists ranks of the cavalry not grades and Vegetius is reconstructing the archaic legion or rather filtering it through the contemporary one and so presenting a somewhat ananchrontisic list which is both of grades and ranks. Lydus I am not that familiar with at all and would appreciate a source reference I can track down!

And again thanks for your valuable input here. I appreciate it.
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#8
The full paper comes later this year? I'll look forward to that. I saw an interim presentation of this inscription in 2007 at CIEGL. I'm ashamed to say, however, that what impressed me most (and I hope is available online!) is a full 3D autocad piece-by-piece reconstruction of the inscriptions: it's one thing to pan around a photo, another to fly around a 3D replica Smile
Tom Wrobel
email = [email protected]
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#9
Hi Francis,
Quote:To be honest, the grades themselves remain somewhat obscure to me as I still have some difficulty separating rank from grade as my knowledge here is still provisional! Jerome as I understand it lists ranks of the cavalry not grades and Vegetius is reconstructing the archaic legion or rather filtering it through the contemporary one and so presenting a somewhat anachronistic list which is both of grades and ranks. Lydus I am not that familiar with at all and would appreciate a source reference I can track down!
I find it very difficult to seperate ranks from posts, grades (pay difference), titles and functions, if not impossible. After all, the Roman army (like the Roman state) did not function quite as ours do.

Jerome lists both ranks and grades, Justinian has a nearly similar list of military clerks, which makes a conclusion possible that this was a list that’s useful for the entire army.
Vegetius, Anastasius and Lydus have less ranks, but a lot more ‘others’ in-between. The comparison of the three sources however makes me wonder whether these names were indeed still in use from the later 4th century (I follow the school dating Vegetius to the 4th, not the 5th c.). Vegetius may be looking to reconstruct an older army, but he may (as he does in other aspects) be using contemporary information. The chances that both Anastatius and Lydus are also using anachronistic titles are very slim.

What I think that we see here is a mix of New-style ranks (although we know that centurions and optiones continued, they are not mentioned here) such as the tribunus and the ordinarius, some functions (such as the standard-bearers and musicians of several types), plus what seems to be a number of titles (such as those augustales and armaturae) which denote a difference in pay scale or perhaps in privileges based on a system we don’t know. Lydus enhances the other two lists with all kinds of extra functions, such as some weapon manufactures, specialist troops and more of those. I would love to have a pay scale added to Lydus’ list, but the one from Anastasius will do for now.

As for the text of Lydus:

http://www.archive.org/details/joannisla...00hasegoog or

http://books.google.nl/books?id=KVQMAAAA...&q&f=false
_________________________________
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#10
Quote:Lydus I am not that familiar with at all and would appreciate a source reference I can track down!

There is a parallel translation, A.C. Bandy (trans.), Ioannes Lydus on Powers or the Magistracies of the Roman State, Philadelphia, 1983. I can give you the list of offices from that translation, if you wish.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#11
Quote:There is a parallel translation, A.C. Bandy (trans.), Ioannes Lydus on Powers or the Magistracies of the Roman State, Philadelphia, 1983. I can give you the list of offices from that translation, if you wish.
Yes please! Is the book in itself worth the buy? (although unavalable these days I noticed).

The 'A' in A.C. Bandy stands for 'Anastatsius', btw.. ;-)
_________________________________
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
#12
Quote:
Renatus post=294275 Wrote:There is a parallel translation, A.C. Bandy (trans.), Ioannes Lydus on Powers or the Magistracies of the Roman State, Philadelphia, 1983. I can give you the list of offices from that translation, if you wish.
Yes please! Is the book in itself worth the buy? (although unavalable these days I noticed).

The 'A' in A.C. Bandy stands for 'Anastatsius', btw.. ;-)

Here is the list from Bandy's translation, including an introductory passage that seems relevant (Lyd.1.46):

"However, since the entire populace from the beginning served as soldiers, they decided to set up a definite, action-ready force: units of three hundred shield-bearers, which they called cohortes, and alae, namely, 'troops,' of six hundred horsemen; vexillationes of five hundred horsemen; turmae of five hundred archer-horsemen; and legiones of six thousand foot soldiers and the same number of horsemen. The legiones, however, had the following parts:

alae, of six hundred horsemen
vexillationes, of five hundred horsemen
turmae, of five hundred archer-horsemen
legiones, of six thousand infantrymen
tribuni, tribunes
ordinarii, company commanders
signiferi, standard-bearers
optiones, chosen men or registrars
vexillarii, ensigns
mensores, camp-surveyors
tubicines, infantry buglers
bucinatores, cavalry buglers
cornicines, hornblowers
andabatae, mailed troops
metatores, land surveyors
arquites and sagittarii, archers and arrow-bearers
praetoriani, praetorians
lanciarii, lance-throwers
decemprimi, heads of cavalry troops of ten
beneficiales, those who are charged with giving medical aid to the veterani
torquati, those who wear necklaces
brachiati or armilligeri, bracelet-wearers
armigeri, arms-bearers
munerarii, servants
deputati, those appointed for a specific task
auxiliarii, auxiliary troops
cuspatores, gaolers, for the Romans call wooden fetters cuspus, custodes pedum, as it were, that is to say, foot-binders and foot-wardens
imaginiferi, image-bearers
ocreati, infantrymen whose calves are fortified with iron greaves
armatura prima, first arms practice
armatura semissalis, advanced arms practice
hastati, spearmen
tesserarii, those who announce the watchwords to the soldiery at the time of encounter
draconarii, bearers of the dragon standard
adiutores, adjutants
samiarii, the polishers of the arms
vaginarii, scabbard-makers
arcuarii, bow-makers
pilarii, javelin-men
verutarii, quoit-throwers
funditores, slingers
ballistarii, catapult-men (a catapult is a kind of siege-engine; it is called by the soldiery 'wild ass')
vinearii, wall-fighters
primoscutarii, defenders, who are now called protectores
primosagittarii, first archers
clibanarii, those who wear coats of mail, for the Romans call iron coverings celibana, namely, celamina
flammularii, those at the end of whose spear scarlet banners were suspended
expediti, well-girt, lightly clad, ready for battle
ferentarii, skirmishers
circitores, those who go about the fighters and give them arms since they themselves do not yet know how to fight
adoratores, veterani, tirones, about whom, I believe, I must explain in detail"

Lydus goes on to define the last three at length (Lyd.1.47). The following are excerpts:

"The Romans call the honorably retired soldiers adoratores . . . but they call those who have grown old in arms veterani . . . the so-called tirones give themselves for service to those who are truly soldiers because they are not, in fact, worthy up to this point to be called soldiers . . . on account of the beggarliness of their station in life and inexperience in fighting . . ."

It seems clear that Lydus is labouring under a number of misconceptions deriving, presumably, from his attempt to combine several disparate sources, both Roman and Greek, ranging from the Republic to the 5th century.

As to whether it is worth buying the translation, Lydus is a frequently cited source and I would have thought it is worth having, if it can be bought at a reasonable price. I see that there is a used copy available in the States for $197 - more than I am prepared to pay! I do not have the whole book myself: only a few pages that I copied in a library many years ago. Fortunately, they include the passages quoted above.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#13
Thanks for that!

I never realised the late Romans utilised 'quoit throwers' . . . Confusedhock:
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#14
Quote:Thanks for that!

I never realised the late Romans utilised 'quoit throwers' . . . Confusedhock:

The Greek text has diskoboloi. I must say that I would have expected a verutarius to be armed with the verutum and I have never seen that as a discus. Perhaps Lydus knew something that we do not!
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#15
Thanks Renatus! Very interesting indeed. I agree with your view on Lydus and his work: from the list alone we can infer several lists combined into one. We see several tasks mixed with specialisms, some of which are very much comparable to e.g. Vegetius.
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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