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Late Roman Unit Sizes
#16
Quote:I was hoping the Perge Fragment information would have been published by now so that I could used them as a reference in my book but too late now.

I know Fatih Onur has given various talks and lectures on the fragments but I do not believe the full translation has been published yet. Unless Francis knows any different as he was the person who alerted me to their existance.

I have argued that the size of the Late Roman field army legions were approximately 2000 men strong, and 2400 would not sound out of place either.

I'm not sure where the 1200 man Late Roman legion figure comes from, Coello does warn against taking his work as an exact guide to establishing the size of Late Roman infantry and cavalry units.

The 1200 man Legion comes from Earlier in this thread in reference to the Illyrian Legion; the 800 number from Ammianus where he records 5 legions numbering 4000 men. The 1000 number from... somewhere I can't remember, maybe Zozimus.

On the Bright Side, I learned the Roman word for Hunnic Foederati was Unnigardae (Lit: Unnic Guard) from Coello's work

Hopefully the Perge Tablets will be published in time for my work on the Battle of Chalons. I have to cover the Roman army (still...) and it would be amazing.
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#17
Quote:
ValentinianVictrix post=351957 Wrote:I was hoping the Perge Fragment information would have been published by now so that I could used them as a reference in my book but too late now.

I know Fatih Onur has given various talks and lectures on the fragments but I do not believe the full translation has been published yet. Unless Francis knows any different as he was the person who alerted me to their existance.

I have argued that the size of the Late Roman field army legions were approximately 2000 men strong, and 2400 would not sound out of place either.

I'm not sure where the 1200 man Late Roman legion figure comes from, Coello does warn against taking his work as an exact guide to establishing the size of Late Roman infantry and cavalry units.

The 1200 man Legion comes from Earlier in this thread in reference to the Illyrian Legion; the 800 number from Ammianus where he records 5 legions numbering 4000 men. The 1000 number from... somewhere I can't remember, maybe Zozimus.

On the Bright Side, I learned the Roman word for Hunnic Foederati was Unnigardae (Lit: Unnic Guard) from Coello's work

Hopefully the Perge Tablets will be published in time for my work on the Battle of Chalons. I have to cover the Roman army (still...) and it would be amazing.

I think your find it was Zosimus who I quoted as the source for the 5 units totalling 6000 men. An why think they were legions, why not Auxilia units?. I have argued that the 1200 man number is too low because there are several references within Ammianus where detatchments of 300 and 500 men from each legion were made. If the legion was only 1200 men strong then both of these figures would have seriously weakened their strength. If the Legion was between 200-3000 men strong then those figures would have had a much lesser effect on the parent legions strength.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#18
I would agree with you, except that 700 men is quite a formidable number still, especially considering the Palatina units supposedly numbered 500.

I have to personally say that you cannot accurately measure or determine the strength of any unit of this era based on Coello's work.

Based on the Panopolis Papyri (whose numbers are controversial), Zozimus, and Ammianus, the estimate of roughly 1200 men for SOME Legions seems to make sense. However, the Panopolis Papyri also indicates an approximate strength of 1700 men for III Heraclea.

I think you're seeing several unit strengths for the same unit type.
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#19
Magister Militum Flavius Aetius wrote:
Quote:On the Bright Side, I learned the Roman word for Hunnic Foederati was Unnigardae (Lit: Unnic Guard) from Coello's work

Evan, Maenchen-Helfen covers the unnigardae on pages 255-257 in his book World of the Huns.
Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#20
Wow I must have missed that. One Minute

EDIT: You have to be kidding... can you send me part 6 again Michael? The File is Damaged and Can't be repaired, must have happened during the download. That explains why I missed it.
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#21
Adrian wrote:
I'm not sure where the 1200 man Late Roman legion figure comes from, Coello does warn against taking his work as an exact guide to establishing the size of Late Roman infantry and cavalry units.

I hope Nathan doesn’t get upset about his thread being diverted. In regard to the 1200 man legion, the king of Armenian Papa, with a body of 300 cavalry charged and put to flight a whole legion with its tribune. (Ammianus 30 1 5) For this to happen, the legion must have been small in number. In 398 AD, Stilicho ordered his brother Mascezel to suppress a revolt from Gildo. Claudian, (The War against Gildo 1 415-423) writes:

“When this advice had been accepted by his son in law, Stilicho made ready for war the most famous strengths in Mars (in the army), selecting there from special maniples from selected youth: he further prepared the fleet in the harbours of Etruria. Alcides himself commands the Herculean cohort; the king of the gods leads the Jovian. The Nervian cohort follows and the Felix, well deserving its name, the legion, too, named after Augustus, called the Unconquered, and the brave Leones (Lions) with the witness shield.”

Orosius (7 36) gives the size of Mascezel’s force at “5,000 men,” which would again indicates a legion was small in number.

When recording the restoration to the throne of Hiberia, Ammianus states that he was accompanied by “12 legions under the general Terentius. (Ammianus, 27 12 16) 12 legions at 2000 men = 24,000 men or 14,400 men at 1200 men per legion. Would a force of 24,000 legionaries be too large for this campaign?

Yesterday I discovered I had made a fundamental oversight and that is I have not calculated the size and organisation of the auxiliary units in conjunction with the Vegetius legion time frame. This is because when I research one time frame I find something relevant to another time frame so I end up jumping all over the place. My research has the size and organisation of the auxiliary units and the Praetorian Guard has found these are all based on the original extraordinarii detailed by Polybius. The same ratios that governed the extraordinarii continue through to the principate, and many of the numbers are confirmed by the sources and especially Hyginus. What I have done in the last 12 hours it to take the organisation of the auxiliaries (cohort equitata miliariae, ala miliariae etc.) for the principate and expand them in accordance with the Vegetius legion. As everything in the Roman army is governed by ratios (infantry to cavalry, legionaries to auxiliary infantry, and legionary cavalry to auxiliary cavalry), the end result has left with me with the conclusion than the Romans, when they reformed the army, have adopted the organisation and ratio (infantry to cavalry et.) of the auxiliaries for all forces in the army. And it all still points to legions of 1200 men, or with the removal of certain centuries, reduced to 1000 men or 800 men.

Another factor establishing the Romans abiding by their military ratios is the 200 men accompanying Julian at Strasbourg. In 501 BC, Dionysius (5 75) writes that when Flavus distributed the army into four bodies, he “kept one, the best, about his person.” These are his bodyguard cavalry and the number of bodyguard cavalry selected is governed by the same ratio from Flavus to Julian. The bodyguard cavalry are not additional to the cavalry force available, but are taken from the available number of cavalry. So by applying the ratio to Julian’s cavalry one’s gets a good indication of the size of Julian’s cavalry force.

So to correct a previous post of mine, it’s not about chopping the Vegetius legion up (which funny enough gets the same result), it’s about substituting the old organisation for the Late Roman army (to 400 AD) with the organisation of the auxiliary forces.
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#22
Quote:I hope Nathan doesn’t get upset about his thread being diverted.
I have attached all posts after your question about Leo's taktika to the 'Late Roman Unit Sizes' thread, because it nearly continued where we ended 3 days ago. :-D
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Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR: Forum rules
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#23
Quote:I have attached all posts after your question about Leo's taktika to the 'Late Roman Unit Sizes' thread.

Thanks! I was about to suggest doing just that, in fact... Confusedmile:



Quote:Ammianus states that he was accompanied by “12 legions under the general Terentius. (Ammianus, 27 12 16) 12 legions at 2000 men = 24,000 men or 14,400 men at 1200 men per legion. Would a force of 24,000 legionaries be too large for this campaign?

That's an interesting point, yes. Terentius would seem to be the dux Armeniaca, and in the ND this official commands three legions (XV Apollinaris, XII Fulminata and I Pontica). The first two of these are old principiate formations, and formed the main military force of the old senatorial governors of Cappadocia (Arrian being the most famous one - both appear in his 'array against the Alans' - his presumed order of battle (see below) might suggest a good comparison for Terentius's expedition). The third is probably a tetrarchic foundation.

So it seems that Ammianus is using 'legion' here to refer to a much smaller unit, perhaps a cohort or a pair of cohorts - thinking off the top of my head, if the two old legions were c.5000 men and the new one c.2000, that would maybe provide 12 units of c.1000 men each for Terentius's force - but it almost certainly isn't as simple as that!

[url=http://s_van_dorst.tripod.com/Ancient_Warfare/Rome/Sources/ektaxis.html][/url] (can't seem to get this link to work!)
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#24
Quote: That's an interesting point, yes. Terentius would seem to be the dux Armeniaca, and in the ND this official commands three legions (XV Apollinaris, XII Fulminata and I Pontica). The first two of these are old principiate formations, and formed the main military force of the old senatorial governors of Cappadocia (Arrian being the most famous one - both appear in his 'array against the Alans' - his presumed order of battle (see below) might suggest a good comparison for Terentius's expedition). The third is probably a tetrarchic foundation.

Ammianus gives a number for the army of Procopius in Persia during 363 AD as 30.000 (AM XXIII.3.5), though others set this at a lower number: 20.000 (Lib. Or. 18.214), 18.000 (Zosimus III.12.5) and 16.000 (Malalas Chron. XIII.21). No mention of the number of units involved though.
This is all much smaller than the main army in persia by 363 (65.000 - Zosimus III.13.1), but corresponds slightly to other such armies later:
25.000 - the army of Galerius in Persia, 298 AD (Festus Brev. XXV)
20.000 - the Roman army in Mesopotamia, 531 AD (Proc. Bella I.18.5)


Quote: So it seems that Ammianus is using 'legion' here to refer to a much smaller unit, perhaps a cohort or a pair of cohorts - thinking off the top of my head, if the two old legions were c.5000 men and the new one c.2000, that would maybe provide 12 units of c.1000 men each for Terentius's force - but it almost certainly isn't as simple as that!
Ammianus is unfortunately not the best source for terminology, as he uses both old and new words in his text. On the one hand we could se this as similar to his archaic use of 'gladius' (for a spatha) or 'Parthians' (for Sassanid Persians), but on the other hand the term 'legion' could aslo already have become a generalitic description of a Roman infantry unit, which even continues to the British monk Gildas in the early 6th century.
_________________________________
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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#25
@Nathan Ross

I would somewhat disagree. It seems that yes, although the Legions at one point numbered 5000 men a series of detachments to guard frontiers or reinforce the rising field armies of Gallenius and Diocletian resulted in their decline.

V Macedonica (Roughly 43 BC - 613 AD if I am correct) is a prime example. They are still mentioned, in the Notitia, as being headquarted in Oescus. However, they have vexillationes in Aegyptus (The Thebaid - Memphis and Heliopolis if I am correct) and in Syria as part of the field army.

V Macedonica may have numbered 5000 men (not including cavalry), but let's assume they sent a cohort to each of the two cities in Egypt they garrisoned. For all intensive purposes, we'll say that cohort is 500 men.

Legio V Macedonica now numbers 4000 men, with 500 in Memphis and 500 in Heliopolis. Now they send a detachment to Syria: let's say 2000 men for Legion strength. Now they number 5000 men, but it's not 5000 men in one place.

The same thing happens with XI Claudia - the Legion is still based in Durostorum (Silistra) but has a Vexillation in Chersonesos (In the Crimea) and a portion in the Gallic Field Army under the Comes Hispaniae.

I think that's what happened to VI Ferrata: either they were destroyed in a war against the Parthians, or so many Vexillationes were demanded from them and spread out across the frontier that it lost its cohesive identity.
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#26
Quote:25.000 - the army of Galerius in Persia, 298 AD (Festus Brev. XXV)

This was Galerius's second force, and it was apparently formed or reinforced by troops drawn from the Danube legions, and also a substantial group of Gothic allied troops. The others you mention (I think) are also specific expeditions made up of troops drawn from other places.

My point was that Terentius was probably using the establishment force available to him as a provincial dux - quite possibly very similar to the numbers and composition available two centuries earlier to a governor like Arrian.


Quote:the term 'legion' could aslo already have become a generalitic description of a Roman infantry unit, which even continues to the British monk Gildas in the early 6th century.

Yes, quite! I don't think there's any doubt that later writers are using 'legion' to mean a much smaller unit than those of the principiate. Excepting Vegetius, with his interesting 6000-man 'Herculiani' legion...
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#27
Actually I think that Vegetius "6000 man Herculani and 6000 man Iovani" Legions are a mistake - that these two legions TOGETHER numbered 6000 men, not 6000 men each. I'd have to look at the latin text of course.

Isn't he referring to the same Iovani and Herculani of Diocletion - the two Illyrian legions famed for their use of the Mattiobarbulus?
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#28
This is turning into quite a stimulating debate.

Some points raised I would like to look at and I take them in no particular order.

The 6000 man legions that Vegetius speaks of appears to be 6000 men per legion, at least thats my reading of the latin anyway. Now, of course one has to take into account that this 6000 number includes not only the heavy infantry, but also the light infantry attached to the legion, the men attached to the various artillery pieces and the legionary cavalry. Your probably looking at nearer 4800 if you take just the legionary infantry and their officers into account (a nice, neat number that divides into the magic 2400 figure for Seniores and Iuniores!).

'Stilicho made ready for war the most famous strengths in Mars (in the army), selecting there from special maniples from selected youth: he further prepared the fleet in the harbours of Etruria. Alcides himself commands the Herculean cohort; the king of the gods leads the Jovian. The Nervian cohort follows and the Felix, well deserving its name, the legion, too, named after Augustus, called the Unconquered, and the brave Leones (Lions) with the witness shield.”

I am sure Stephen noted that apart from the Augustian legion, all the rest of the units are Cohorts, so the legion could well have been over 2000 men strong.

If you look at Ammianus' account of the Battle of Argentoratum in AD357 then a strict interpretation of the numbers of men present could be, based on Vegetius's unit numbers and Ammianus' figures plus that found in Zosimus-

Legio Palatina Primani- 6000 men
Auxilia Palatina Cornuti-1000 men
Auxilia Palatina Bracchiati- 1000 men
Auxilia Palatina Batavi- 1000 men
Auxilia Palatina Regii- 1000 men
Julian's cavalry bodyguard- 200
Catafractarii- 600 men

Total infantry= 10,000
Total cavalry= 800

Overall total at this point ,10,800

If we allow another 800 cavalry who represent the cavalry of all other types that are hinted at being at the battle then that brings the total to- 11,600, which is only 400 short of the claim by Ammianus that Julian's army only numbered 12,000 men in total.

My research would appear to indicate that the typical field army size during the 4th century was 25,000 men strong. Cavalry made up a smaller percentage of the army total, typically only between 4%-12% of the army total were cavalry of all types.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#29
If it helps any, I'm working on a complete compilation of the units of the Notitia Dignitatum - I am eliminating redundancies and correcting for unit transfers, built upon the work of Ueda-Sarson, who makes some ingenious suggestions but sadly still leaves some mistakes.

Not something for publishing or anything of course, but it will be available on my website when finished.
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#30
Quote:The 6000 man legions that Vegetius speaks of appears to be 6000 men per legion

Yes, he says they 'had 6000 men apiece' (I.17). He then goes on to talk about Diocletian and Maximian coming to the throne, so the numerical figure is pre-tetrarchic; the emperors renamed these legions Herculiani and Ioviani 'and preferred them to all other legions'. This is possibly Vegetius's gloss on the tetrarchic foundation of legions I-VI Jovia and Herculia - as we know that at least two of the Herculia legions had ten cohorts, these were possibly all traditionally-sized legions (unless a 'cohort' meant something different by this point?)


Quote:a nice, neat number that divides into the magic 2400 figure for Seniores and Iuniores!

I confess that I'm not especially a believer in magic numbers of any sort in this debate! I suspect that unit sizes were fairly random within certain parameters (and probably had been throughout Roman history...) The relative differences in unit nomenclature - between a 'cohort' and a 'legion', for example - from the 4th century to 1st might be more useful to try and establish... But that doesn't help much... ;-)


Quote:apart from the Augustian legion, all the rest of the units are Cohorts, so the legion could well have been over 2000 men strong.

Actually I tend to think that none of these units are cohorts - Claudian is using poetic terms. The Ioviani and Herculiani are palatine legions, the rest are palatine auxilia, each an auxilium or a numerus... whatever that means!


Quote:11,600, which is only 400 short of the claim by Ammianus that Julian's army only numbered 12,000 men in total.

13,000, according to A.M. 16.12. The Primani might have numbered 6000 at full strength, but I'd suggest that it had been a long time since a full legion had taken the field anyway - a strong detachment would have been more likely, even if we aren't talking about a new-style smaller legion...
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