Full Version: Scouts for the Legion
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Being a new member here, I thought the best way to introduce myself was to ask a question.
Several times in my research of the Roman Armies on campaign, I come across references to scouts traversing the area before the army. I was just wanting to know if these were a specially trained Army unit, Auxiliaries from the region, or just locals in the pay of the Legion Commander.

Keith Bragg/Longhunter
Hi Keith,
Being a new member here, I thought the best way to introduce myself was to ask a question.
Welcome. Asking questions is always a good thing here.
The next best thing however is to add your real (first) name to your signature. It's a forum rule. :wink:
Welcome Keith Smile
Hm, i believe that Cavalry (from a legion, Auxilary-alae or Cohors equitata) done this task in campaign. They can quickly reach their own army if an enemy army is advancing.
It's often been mentioned on this board before, but probably your best start would be the book Exploratio: Military and Political Intelligence in the Roman World by Austin and Rankov. They mention the procursatores - scouts sent out ahead of the army on the march, and exploratores (one of whom they identify on Trajan's Column IIRC), who were more wide-ranging.

I don't know whether the procursatores are suggested as an actual independent body of troops, or just a position held by members of the legion cavalry, but the exploratores seem to have been a select and particular group. There are units of them attested at some of the northern British forts, and presumably elsewhere too.

There's a preview on Google Books, but buy or borrow it if you get the chance:


- Nathan
Type "Frumentarii" into Google too. They weren't scouts, but they're relevant here. They kept an eye on things.
I thank you all for your help, this was most informative!