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Chaps,

Advice from you scholars, please. Can anyone shed any light on whether there were any requirements of social class to qualify for command of a legion vexilation? Did one have to be of the senatorial class, or an equestrian (or either)?

Any and all help much appreciated.

Thanks,

Tony.
Depends on the size, make-up and function of your vexillation.

E.g. a single legionary vexillation during wartime might be placed under the command of a primipilaris (in practice, the praefectus castrorum, as the nearest available primipilaris), or a legionary centurion, although the well-known example of Roscius Aelianus in AD 83 shows that the job might be given to a tribune. (Auxiliary vexillations appear to have been commanded by auxiliary decurions or centurions.)
Thanks very much, as on the ball and erudite as ever.

As it happens I'm in Glasgow this week. Where's all that wet stuff that usually falls from the sky got to? It's almost like summer! Almost...

A follow up question: do you know if it was normal for a vexilation to be given a title, such as the name of the commanding officer? I just wondered if the Romans were in the habit of doing what the Americans do, and giving names to their 'task forces'? I suppose that might be a feature of modern battlefield communications, and the need for identification, just a curiosity and not important.

Thanks and regards,

Tony.
There's also the temporary position of praepositus vexillationis ('commander of detachment(s)' ), which was usually held by a primipilaris centurion, as Duncan says, or less commonly an auxiliary officer. There are, I think, very rare cases of senators holding this position, but it's more usually a role given to a responsible military man of proven experience. Aeternius Fronto, who led vexillations of the Egyptian legions to the Jewish War, was praefectus castrorum of the Egyptian legions, a prestigious post, and later became Prefect of Egypt. A primipilaris, or praefectus castrorum, would hold equestrian status by that point in his career, of course, and auxiliary officers would usually be equestrians anyway.

{Edit} Vexillations seem to have been given fairly straighforward descriptive titles (or appear as such on inscriptions, anyway), depending on their constituent units or purpose. Thus, vexillationum legionum III Britannicarum ('detachments of the three British legions' I think), vexillationi classis praetoriae Misenensis (Naval detachment of the Misene fleet) , vexillationis legionis in expeditione Britannica (legion detachments for the British expedition), vexillationi exercitus Moesiaci (detachments of the army of Moesia), and so on. In the field, I'm sure it's possible that they were referred to by the name of their commander, though!

- Nathan
Quote:Where's all that wet stuff that usually falls from the sky got to?
Wait until tomorrow ..! :wink:
Quote:A follow up question: do you know if it was normal for a vexilation to be given a title, such as the name of the commanding officer?
Again it depends on the make-up of the vexillation, but in general, those drawn from a single unit were named after that unit (e.g. vexillatio legionis XXII Primigeniae, or vexillatio alae Augustae), while those drawn from several units were named accordingly (e.g. vexillatio exercitus Germaniae utrius, "detachment of the army of each Germany"; or vexillatio sagittariorum exercitus Syriaci, "detachment of archers from the Syrian army"). They don't appear to have been given any other kind of name.
Thanks Nathan - helpful stuff.

Best regards,

Tony.