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Full Version: Late Roman Aquilifer
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Hello,

this is my first post in this forum. I've been trying to track down information on the use of the aquilifer in the late roman army. We all know that the draco was in use then, as well as the vexillatio, but what of the eagle. Vegetius does give some insight, but he can be unreliable and often refers to earlier times.

So, can anyone enlighten me on whether the aquilia was still in use in the late roman army.

Thanks Smile

julianus heraclius
Quote:can anyone enlighten me on whether the aquilia was still in use in the late roman army.
When Julian was appointed Caesar by Constantius in AD 355, "a platform was erected on a lofty scaffolding, surrounded by the eagles and the standards" (Amm. Marc. 15.8.4).
Maurikios, Strategikon, 12.7:
"It is also very important, if possible, to have two eagle bearers."

Maurikios, Strategikon, 12.11:
"If a meros is being drilled, nobody should be out in front except the commander of the meros, mounted, with two heralds, two drill masters, one strator, one spatharios, and two eagle bearers."

Maurikios, Strategikon, 12.17:
"Nobody should march out in front of the battle line except the merarchs, mounted, each accompanied by two heralds, two drill masters, one strator, one spatharios, and two eagle bearers."

This late 6th-c source is the last occasion that the eagle is mentioned as Roman standard. The word used is 'ornithoboras', meaning literally 'bird-bearer'.