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For about 250 years or so of the Imperial Legions, who qualified as Roman citizens eligible for the legions (what providences specifically) and what providences were people considered Peregrini by 212 when all the Peregrini were granted citizenship.(We could include the Republic Legions as well, if anyone has the info, though I suspect they'd nearly all be Italian).

Ross Cowan's Imperial Legionary 58BC-69AD states that by 200AD, only 30% of new recruits were actually Italian.

So basically I want to know what peoples were considered Roman citizens (beside the Italians, its hard to tell what area held citizens or not) and could apply for the legions before 212 AD.

Hopefully I made that clear, I understand it may sound a little complicated. Thanks
There were citizen communities throughout the empire, largely based on veterans colonies founded by Caesar and Augustus, who by some estimates settled over 300,000 veterans abroad (examples include Corinth, Carthage and Beruit and the ill-fated Colchester). Men descended from these veterans, although living far from Rome, could and did enlist in the legions. Citizenship or Latin Rights were expanded to various loyal provincial communities over time, usually through grants of coveted colonial or municipal status. Also, loyal provincials were often enfranchised for their services (e.g. Paul). Thus well before 212 AD, there were many citizens living in the provinces.

The most important pool of non-Italian recruits, however, were sons of Roman soldiers and veterans born to provincial women. While technically not Roman citizens (being born to non-citizen women and to fathers who were forbidden to marry in the first place), these sons were often times given fictive Roman citizenship upon their enlistment. Also, the sons of enfranchised auxiliary veterans were eligible to join the legions, although most were generally recruited into the same auxiliary regiment, and so auxiliary units by 100 AD consisted of both 2nd and 3rd generation citizens as well as non-citizens.
Actually, the main citizen body in many provinces would have been merchants and other businessmen such as tax farmers, along with men involved in the civil service and some somewhat poorer citizens (but still of reasonable means) who may have acted as agents for businessmen in import or export businesses. Added to them would be an assortment of retired soldiers and enfranchised locals.
It is worth noting that the wars against Mithridates in the first century BC began after Mithridates ordered a St Bartholomew's Day style massacre of thousands of Roman citizens living in Pontus and conducting business there.

It would be likely to have been the sons of provincial citizens of modest means who joined the army. They would probably have ended up joining the legion based in their own province but if their were no legions based in the province (as was the case with a number of provinces), they would travel to join a legion elsewhere. Only citizens could become legionaries. Rather than joining the army, the sons of wealthier citizens would be likely to continue in the family business or aspire to political prominence at a local or provincial level. Some might involve an element of military service at an officer level in their political career, as was common.

Non citizens wishing to join (or coerced into joining) the army would join auxiliary cohorts.

"being born to non-citizen women"

A citizen woman would be an anacronism. Woman in the ancient world were not citizens. Their status was dependent on that of their husbands or male relatives. There was nothing legally to stop a former legionary soldier from marrying, and any resultant sons would be citizens. The sons of an auxiliary soldier would become citizens at the same time as their father when he was granted citizenship on completing his twenty five or twenty six years of military service.


As to qualifying to be a 'legionnaire', the normal way to do it was (and still is), to join the French Foreign Legion. :wink:

Crispvs
Quote:As to qualifying to be a 'legionnaire', the normal way to do it was (and still is), to join the French Foreign Legion. :wink:
I thought it, but I did not want to write it... Big Grin Big Grin
It is interesting to note that a citizen presenting himself to join a legion, would not necessarily get into a legion. Correspondence from Egypt shows that one young man tried to get into a legion, but was turned away and put into the fleet instead, since he, presumably, was otherwise fit for military service. His complaint was that his letter of recommnendation was not good enough. He did eventually get into a legion after a period of service in the fleet.

Recruits to the legions in Egypt mostly came from the towns, not from the countryside, and also from towns in certain districts with greater concentrations of Roman citizen residents. That would likely also be true for the other legions based in the eastern provinces.

The eastern legions appear to have been recruiting locally earlier than the western ones. From a doctoral thesis about centurions' careers that I viewed on the British Library's online thesis website, it appears that in the 1st Century AD, it was rare for a western-serving centurion to be transferred east, whereas eastern centurions were transferred to the western provinces. The author suggests it had to do with being able to speak Greek. Eastern legionary centurions presumably were bi-lingual Greek and Latin and possibly other eastern languages, too, whereas their western counterparts were much less likely to speak both Greek and Latin.
Quote:From a doctoral thesis about centurions' careers that I viewed on the British Library's online thesis website, it appears that in the 1st Century AD, it was rare for a western-serving centurion to be transferred east, whereas eastern centurions were transferred to the western provinces. The author suggests it had to do with being able to speak Greek.
Was that Summerley's "Studies in the Legionary Centurionate"? He claims this distinction broke down around the Hadrianic era - I wonder why that should be? Perhaps either a) more western centurions learning Greek (Imperial influence?), b) the common language of the eastern legions increasingly switching to Latin, or c) a rise in the number of ex eques romano centurions, who would have been educated in Greek prior to their military service.

As for recruitment, I put up a post a while back (Legionary Origins) about an inscription from 2nd-century Moesia giving the origins of a large number of discharged veterans. Almost all of them were from the immediate area, many had 'imperial' nomen, and several had local 'ethic' cognomen, suggesting that they had been either recently enfranchised or given citizenship on enlistment. The date of enlistment (AD 169) might suggest an extraordinary levy related to the Marcomannic war. What's interesting in this case might be that there were so many non-citizens in Moesia, Dalmatia, Macedonia and Thrace shortly before this in the mid second century.

Recruits to Legio XIIII Gemina in Britain, on a number of inscriptions fairly securely dated to the mid first century, are all from Italy. I believe Italian recruitment slackened off considerably soon after that though - perhaps because legions could draw on large pools of settled veterans from former bases on the Rhine and elsewhere, and it was easier to send a centurion there to collect groups of recruits, rather than have them trawl through the towns of northern Italy?

- Nathan
A citizen woman would be an anacronism. Woman in the ancient world were not citizens.

I must strongly disagree.

Roman women were indeed considered citizens, although they did not partake in a number of the privileges and obligations of citizenship reserved for men (military service, voting, etc.), and had certain disabilities under the ius civile (e.g. Digest 1.5.9). By the time of Augustus, they were even registered in the census. A woman's citizen status was critical for determining the status of her children. A child born to a citizen male (i.e. a legionary soldier) and non-citizen woman (i.e. provincial woman) would under Roman law be a non-citizen, as under the ius gentium a person outside of a Roman marriage took his citizenship from his mother. (The exception being if the non-citizen woman enjoyed the right of conubium, held by Latins and steadily expanded into the provinces).


Thus, if a legionary veteran fathered a child with a provincial woman, chances are the child was technically a non-citizen. This does not seem to have been a major hurdle if that child eventually wished to join a legion, but it did required that the young man either be formally granted citizenship prior to his enlistment, or more often, that the authorities simply looked the other way.

That the term civis Romana was in use to very literally describe a female Roman citizen, see many examples in Gaius 1.71-84.
Quote:A child born to a citizen male (i.e. a legionary soldier) and non-citizen woman (i.e. provincial woman) would under Roman law be a non-citizen, as under the ius gentium a person outside of a Roman marriage took his citizenship from his mother... Thus, if a legionary veteran fathered a child with a provincial woman, chances are the child was technically a non-citizen.

But if the veteran in question had served out his 25 years and left the army, surely he would able to contract a legal marriage, and therefore the offspring would take citizenship status from him rather than from their mother, whether she be citizen or not? Or does it not work like that either? :?

That the citizenship status of recruits caused confusion is proved by Pliny's correspondence with Trajan. In one letter (XXXVIII) Pliny says that two men recently recruited in his province of Bithynia and given the military oath have been discovered to be slaves; he asks Trajan what should be done about them. Trajan replies (XXXIX):

Quote:If they were chosen, the officer is guilty; if they are substitutes, the blame rests with those who deputed them; but if, conscious of the legal inabilities of their station, they presented themselves voluntarily, the punishment must fall upon their own heads.

The punishment in this case being death. This suggests not only that it was possible (if risky) for non-citizens for enter the legions on false pretenses, but also that recruiting officers had a duty to enquire into the status of potential recruits - a duty some of them apparently upheld poorly.
Quote:As to qualifying to be a 'legionnaire', the normal way to do it was (and still is), to join the French Foreign Legion. :wink:

Crispvs

Corrected Big Grin

So at no point was an entire province who had been under Roman dominion for generations such as Spain or Greece given citizenship? And the only Roman citizens of far provinces would be descendants of Romans who had migrated there?
Hi Matt,
Quote:So at no point was an entire province who had been under Roman dominion for generations such as Spain or Greece given citizenship? And the only Roman citizens of far provinces would be descendants of Romans who had migrated there?
Client states could be awarded with limited citizenship, but Italia was the only 'full citizen' province until Caracalla decided in 212 to extend citizenship to all people within the Empire. Until 212, Italians and of course veterans were the only 'source' of citizenship within the provinces.

Tiberio

Isn´t so that people had to serve 25 years in the legion to get roman citzenship? If they really relaid on citzens alone, I very much doubt they would have been able to set up so many legions as the did.


Martin
Quote:Isn´t so that people had to serve 25 years in the legion to get roman citzenship?
Hi Martin,
A non-citizen could earn citizenship by serving at least 25 years in the auxilia. The legions only admitted citizens.
Freedmen of citizens gained Roman citizenship as well. These numbers may not have been significant in the provinces, but presumably this could be another source of recruits.
Freedmen were barred from the army. The only "military service" they could join was the Vigiles in Rome. Their sons, however, as long as born after their freedom and with their mother also being a citizen, would be eligible for service in the legions.
"Isn´t so that people had to serve 25 years in the legion to get roman citzenship? If they really relaid on citzens alone, I very much doubt they would have been able to set up so many legions as the did."

As I said above, the army was only one of a number of sources of citizens in the provinces. The incident at the start of the Mithridatic wars show the huge numbers of Roman citizens who might well be present in a province or even a neighbouring kingdom (Pontus was not a Roman possession until after the defeat of Mithridates by Pompey). Also, the destruction of Colchester, London and St Albans more than a century later by Boudicca in AD60 may well indicate that a large number of Roman citizens had moved to Britain in the wake of the invasion to conduct business or to be involved in the civil administration. The same was probably the case elsewhere.

Crispvs