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Anonymous

Avete,<br>
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I have been under the impression that the unit known as a Cohort varied from around 400-800 men, depending on the time and place.<br>
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However, recently I have heard the term 'Cohort' used to indicate a group of soldiers whose sizes varied greatly. In Latin, does Cohort mean anything else? What is a translation of the word 'cohort?'<br>
Though mainly used to indicate a unit of 400-800, was the term 'Cohort' used to describe any number of men? Like the modern term, 'detachment.' Or as in the German army, 'Kampfgruppen.'<br>
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Valete,<br>
<br>
-Spandau <p></p><i></i>
Ave<br>
<br>
One breakdown I'm aware of is:<br>
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8 Legionaries= 1 Contubernium<br>
10 Contubernia= 1 Century<br>
6 Centuries= 1 Cohort<br>
10 Cohorts= 1 Legion<br>
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From these basic divisions, although not by exact number of soliders, I would say that the rough equivalencies are:<br>
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Contubernium= Squad or Section<br>
Century= Company<br>
Cohort= Battalion<br>
Legion= Regiment<br>
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All more-or-less of course as the modern unit types don't exactly have universal standard sizes anyway; in the Wehrmacht, for example, an Infanterie-Regiment could have as many as 15 Kompanien of something like 120 combat troops each (WWII Germany is my other hobby )<br>
<br>
Vale<br>
<br>
Matt <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Ave Matt!<br>
<br>
Nice! The German Army is my primary field, the Roman army only a recent interest! You should visit the forum at www.feldgrau.net/phpBB2/index.php<br>
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Vale,<br>
<br>
-Spatha <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I was under the impression that "Cohort" is where we get the English word "Cohesion", "Coherent" - keeping together of things.<br>
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So, Cohort basically means "group" or "grouped together", and I've always read it as 4-5 Centuries put together. (up to 480 men)<br>
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I also understand it that "Cohort" is where the term comes from today meaning you're in a "good group of people/allies". (He's in good Cohorts with those friends).<br>
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<p>Titus Vulpius Dominicus ~ Your Friendly Neighborhood Roman Dude.<br>
<br>
Svaviter in Modo, Fortiter in Re (Soft in Manner, Strong in Deed)<br>
<br>
www.higgins.org <br>
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Anonymous

Cohort means a group of persons at the same age.Exampel: Thous at the age of 20, or thous at det age of 20- 25. <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Early Republican Army:Legions had about 4200 men and were made up of maniples, each containing 120 men. Legions usually formed into a quincunx formation with three ranks of soldiers. maniples fought in the front and were called hastati because of the spears they carry. The second rank was made up of 10 maniples of <em>principles</em> armed with plenty of weapons and large shields. At the rear was 5 maniples of triarii, very experienced soldiers. 10 maniples of the poorest, youngest men fought separately from the quincunx and were called velites.<br>
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Late Republican army:<br>
You are right about the 6 centuries in one cohort, but you forget about the prima cohort which contained 10. The other nine held 6 centuries. Making one legion hold around 5000 men.<br>
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Hope this helps<br>
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P.S.: i just had a really bad itch to put that early republic info in there<br>
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<p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://p200.ezboard.com/[email protected]anarmytalk>praetorianguardsman</A> at: 2/26/05 7:36 am<br></i>
<em>Cohors, cohortis</em> comes from an Indo-European root <em>*gher-</em> meaning "to bind" or "enclose". This particular form means in the primary sense an enclosure (Incidentally this same root gives us English "yard"). It also means more generally a throng of people, from which it comes to mean the attendants of a provincial governor - e.g. Catullus uses it in this sense rather than a strictly military one.<br>
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But as for the origin of the military sense, we can look in two ways: a <em>cohors</em> could just be a group bound together. But we would also do well to look to Livy's account of the Samnite military practice (Liv. 10.38):<br>
Quote:</em></strong><hr>The whole of the army was summoned to Aquilonia, and 40,000 men, the full strength of Samnium, were concentrated there. A space, about 200 feet square, almost in the centre of their camp, was boarded off and covered all over with linen cloth. In this enclosure a sacrificial service was conducted, the words being read from an old linen book by an aged priest, Ovius Paccius, who announced that he was taking that form of service from the old ritual of the Samnite religion. It was the form which their ancestors used when they formed their secret design of wresting Capua from the Etruscans. When the sacrifice was completed the captain-general sent a messenger to summon all those who were of noble birth or who were distinguished for their military achievements. They were admitted into the enclosure one by one. As each was admitted he was led up to the altar, more like a victim than like one who was taking part in the service, and he was bound on oath not to divulge what he saw and heard in that place. Then they compelled him to take an oath couched in the most terrible language, imprecating a curse on himself, his family, and his race if he did not go into battle where the commanders should lead him or if he either himself fled from battle or did not at once slay any one whom he saw fleeing. At first there were some who refused to take this oath; they were massacred beside the altar, and their dead bodies lying amongst the scattered remains of the victims were a plain hint to the rest not to refuse. After the foremost men among the Samnites had been bound by this dread formula, ten were especially named by the captain-general and told each to choose a comrade-in-arms, and these again to choose others until they had made up the number of 16,000.<hr><br>
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If you don't want to bother reading that, basically they enclosed a certain area with rope and mustered the army inside it. The Samnites were related linguistically and culturally to the Romans, so this practice of mustering may be an old Italic one. Livy does call it an "old ritural", and although he's not always the most reliable authority, this would seem an unusual tale to invent from whole cloth, as it were.<br>
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As for "cohesion" and the like: they are etymologically related to <em>cohors</em> but not descendants of it. <p></p><i></i>
"maniples fought in the front and were called hastati because of the spears they carry."<br>
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The hastati stopped to use the heavy spear "hasta" when the pilum was introduced, The triarii are the ones who use the real hasta.<br>
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"You are right about the 6 centuries in one cohort, but you forget about the prima cohort which contained 10. The other nine held 6 centuries. Making one legion hold around 5000 men."<br>
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The 1st cohort contains 5 centuries at double strenght. I'm not so sure if they even existed in the late republican periode. The 1st cohort was an imperial invention, if I remember that correctly, and the question is if it was ever standardized, especially because the legions were understrenght most of the time anyways.<br>
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<p></p><i></i>