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During the Roman Republic, where the Praefectus Socii full Roman citizens appointed to command the Socii infantry cohorts or were they holders of the Latin Rights from native contingents?
This is a very tricky question and I am not sure that I have the answer yet. I'd be very interested if other folks on the forum can think of any passages I am missing.

That said, I am currently inclined towards the notion that the prefecti sociorum were in fact allied citizens, probably chosen from the local leaders who commanded allied cohorts (the prefecti cohortium in Sallust).

As far as I can remember, we do hear of at least two allied officers with the rank of prefect: Vibbius Accaus during the 2nd Punic War, although prefect may be his municipal title, rather than marking him out as a praefectus sociorum. Turpilius Silenus is also listed as a Latin prefect, although it is unclear if he is a prefect of the garrison at Vega, or a prefect of a single Latin cohort (of the sort described in Sallust iug. 46.5) or the Prefect Fabrum, as Plutarch (Marius 8) seems to think.

But, both men could also be praefecti sociorum. I also wonder if perhaps the consuls simply took 20 cohort commanders elected by local Italian towns, took 4 of them to command the extraordinarii pedites, another 2 to command the extraordinarii equites and then selected 12 as praefecti sociorum, with the remaining two serving as the allied equivalent to the primi pili centurions.

These are all however very tentative thoughts. I need to check the MRR to see if there are any Roman citizens listed prosopographically as prefect sociorum.
What got me thinking about it was the Social War. Suddenly you have all these military leaders from the Marsi, Samnites, etc. popping up and commanding successful armies. I'm wondering what roles they had previously, considering they weren't Roman citizens. If suddenly they are competent enough to defeat Roman armies, they must have had extensive military service previously in command positions.
Sorry to dredge up an old thread, but this one interested me!

Preafecti socium appear (s.v. Suolahti's The Junior Officers of The Roman Army in the Republican Period) to have been Roman officers, but I've never questioned Suolahti's conclusion. I'll have a check to see if there are any easily attested individuals.

The Roman command structure for the auxilia (socii or not) would pretty much require them to be Roman, I would have thought. The general Roman policy of integrating auxiliaries (sv Plutarch) was to let the auxiliaries select their own leader - in charge of pay, internal discipline, etc. - and then integrating those leaders into the Roman command structure.

This created a Romanised elite among allied nations who were more likely to be loyal to Rome (although Jugurtha and Arminius weren't the system's biggest successes). It also meant that the Romans could meddle in allied politics by cultivating favourites while staying out of the day-to-day power plays that took place amid their allies, manoeuvres which required 'local knowledge' to successfully navigate.

Equally importantly, it meant that the Romans controlled the relationships between allies, and between the allies and themselves. This was a key point of most of Rome's Italian diplomacy as well - preventing the development of factions and power blocs that might prove difficult. Rome didn't just want to control its allies, it wanted to mediate the relationships they had with each other.

Purely my opinion, but placing one allied contingent under the command of an allied leader from a different state or group doesn't seem the Roman way of doing things. It makes the situation too politically delicate. Even if the allied contingents came from similar places, there's no row like a row between neighbours. It means that a unit from city A might be under the command of someone from hated-city B, and who knows what orders they might follow. They were used to obeying the Romans, overlords will lord it over you, but might well baulk at being given an order by a rival.

As for how they developed experience, that's a very interesting question. Offhand, I would guess that they did so in exactly the same way that young elite Romans seem to have acquired most of their knowledge: they learned by being members of the commander's retinue, playing the same military games and with the same exposure to war and strategy, watching and learning from experienced leaders.
I've been doing some digging of my own since my last post and found some evidence that the Praefectus Socii were not Roman.

Sallust describes a praefect, Titus Turpilius Silanus, who commanded the Italian cohort garrison of Vaga during the Jugurthine War and identifies him as a Latin citizen, not Roman (Sall. DBJ. 66,69). Plutarch (Marius 8) also describes him as a praefect.Likely, since the Latins and Italians were considered Socii, Turpilius was a Praefectus Socii.

Romans who served as contubernales (tent mates) of the generals did so to gain experience of their own for when they would command armies. If Latin and Italian leaders (many of whom would be rich and powerful magistrates in their own cities) didn't have a future prospect in commanding armies, which was reserved for Roman magistrates, I doubt they would have been included as much, unless they were clients or friends with a Roman aristocratic military leader. But Socii were recruited as cohorts from their city states and it makes sense that they would include Praefectus Cohortis to command those contingents. My guess is that it would have worked out something like for a Roman consular army being formed, they would hold the citizen dilectus in Rome to recruit the two legions, and whichever Latin and Italian city states were called up, whether it be the Samnites, Marsi, Paelignians, etc., they would each have to perform a dilectus of their own in their home towns, formed as cohorts (based on similar age and wealth troop class differences), and march to meet up with the legions at a specified time and place, led by their own commanders, and then placed into the Right and Left Ala of the army, with the praefectus socii commanding them the same way Roman military tribunes commanded the legions.
Is it possible that the very upper echelons of allied society held dual citizenship? There is the mention in Livy 8.11 of 1600 Campanian equites being granted Roman citizenship in 340. We are familiar with the concept of multiple identity in later periods, e.g. the prefect at Vindolanda addressed as "my king" in correspondence who may have been a tribal king, or Alaric as Goth leader and Roman magister militum, and so it seems possible that the Italian aristocracy could have lead their own local contingents and been granted some form of Roman identity too.

The evidence for individuals who served as the Prefects of the Allies is likely to be thin, but do we know of Italian non-Roman aristocracy with Roman as well as local citizenship? If so, the answer would be that the Prefects could potentially be both Campanian (etc) and Roman, in a sense. When an Imperialist power recruits soldiers from colonised peoples, one of the key things it ideally needs to achieve is elite participation in the project. Rome would have wanted the elites of its allies to be committed to its military alliance ("empire" is probably a bit too strong a word for Republican Italy) and the way to achieve this would be to assimilate the aristocracy.

Do we have any examples of known Roman citizens who were aristocrats from allied cities?
From my understanding, and this is during the Republic period, if someone held the full Roman citizenship they could not also hold magistracies in Latin Rights or Socii city states, nor city states allied to Rome as Socii or Foederati, only in actual full Roman cities and colonies. They could live in an non-Roman city but they wouldn't hold any local formal magistrate position, though their clout would probably be higher than most other locals, even the very rich.

More so, if someone became a Roman citizen and served militarily they would do so only in the Legions as rankers, officers, or as contubernales to the general or other senior officers. It wasn't until the mid 1st Cent. BC when all of Italy became Roman that citizens could hold dual roles, being a Roman citizen for the city of Rome, and also be a citizen of a distant Roman municipium.

Also, Campania is a region, not an actual city to be a citizen of. It would be like calling someone a Latin or Samnite or Marsi, defining their race and the locale they lived in, not what city they represent. To be specific, those 1600 cavalry probably came from a city state like Capua, which at the time of the 2nd Punic War, held the Latin Right.

As for the use of Rex in the Vindolanda letters, I think it was common for the ancient Romans to address their patrons with that title.

I think one of the most famous non-Romans was Ennius of Rudiae, who was a Socii centurion during the 2nd PW, who later was made a Roman citizen. When this occurred he was no longer a full citizen of Rudiae, as Roman law did not allow for dual citizenship at that time.