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Anonymous

Does anyone know what this officers (?) role was? Also, what does optio mean and is the word option / optionis similar?<br>
<br>
....Gil <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
There were several different sorts of <i> optio</i> in the Roman army whose tasks and rank differed. The word itself means 'chosen man' and it was used for various soldiers and non commissioned officers.<br>
<br>
In the infantry, both legionary and auxiliary, and the navy each <i> centuria</i> had an <i> optio</i>, at times called the <i> optio centuriae</i> or <i> optio centurionis</i>, who judging by his Greek name of <i> ouragos</i> served as a rearrank officer and took over the centurion's responsibilities when this officer was unavailable. This was a noncommissioned officer, an <i> optio principalis</i>, and received as <i> duplicarius</i> twice basic pay. Along with that of <i> signifer</i>, standardbearer, and that of <i> cornicularius</i>, administrator, this was one of the positions commonly held by soldiers before promotion to the centurionate. Individuals who were up for promotion could be called <i> optio candidatus</i>, - <i> spei</i>, - <i> ad spem</i> or - <i> ad spem ordinis</i>.<br>
<br>
The duties of the <i> optio</i> as thus described in Vegetius:<br>
<br>
<i> Epitoma rei militaris</i> 2.7<br>
<br>
<i> ... Optiones ab adoptando appellati, quod antecedentibus aegritudine praepeditis hi tamquam adoptati eorum atque vicarii solent universa curare. ...</i><br>
<br>
'The chosen men are called after their selection, for these use to take charge of all tasks in case of sickness and impediments of their superiors as the latter's men of choice and lieutenants'<br>
<br>
Some of these tasks that were taken over are described later on:<br>
<br>
ibidem 2.14<br>
<br>
<i> ... sicut centurio eligendus est magnis viribus, procera statura, qui dimicare gladio et scutum rotare doctissime noverit, qui omnem artem didicerit armaturae, vigilans sobrius agilis, magis ad facienda quae ei imperantur quam ad loquendum paratus, contubernales suos ad disciplinam retineat, ad armorum exercitium cogat, ut bene vestiti et calciati sint, ut arma omnium defricentur ac splendeant ...</i><br>
<br>
'... just as the centurion is to be chosen with great strength, of a tall stature, who has learned expertly to fight with the sword and turn with the shield, who has learned every trick of the skill-at-arms, vigilant, sober and agile, more ready to do wat he is told than to speak, holds his squaddies under discipline, keeps them at training with weapons, ensures that they are well dressed and shod, that the arms of all are being cleaned and are shining, ...'<br>
<br>
The <i> optio</i> was distinguished by the use of a tipless spear with a round or mushroom shaped head used to keep the troops in order. Though in some publications it is stated that he was also recognisable by the use of two sideplumes there are no indications in the available sources that this was so. Depictions of Roman soldiers show that sideplumes were used by troops of differing rank, including rankers and cavalry standardbearers, and hardly limited to - or associated with the <i> optio</i>.<br>
<br>
Other <i> optiones</i> with different responsibilities include:<br>
<br>
<i> Optio carceris</i> (in charge of the prison)<br>
<i> Optio equitum</i> (NCO in the legionary or praetorian cavalry)<br>
<i> Optio fabricae</i> (in charge of workshop)<br>
<i> Optio navaliorum</i> (in charge of boats)<br>
<i> Optio praetorii</i> (in charge of headquarters)<br>
<i> Optio speculatorum</i> (NCO of elite cavalry bodyguards)<br>
<i> Optio statorum</i> (NCO of military constabulary)<br>
<i> Optio tribuni</i> (assistant to tribune)<br>
<i> Optio valetudinarii</i> (in charge of the hospital)<br>
<br>
It is not known whether all of these were true NCO's or rankers with special responsibilities. Some functions in the Roman army were filled by men of varying rank and paygrade and until more evidence comes to light (eg an inscription with a more extensive career) for some of these <i> optiones</i> it remains uncertain how they fit in the hierarchy. The rank of <i> optio</i> seems to have been peculiar to citizen cavalry, the <i> equites legionis</i> and <i> equites praetoriani</i> and the <i> speculatores</i>, whereas in the <i> auxilia</i> comparable noncoms were usually simply named <i> duplicarius</i> after their pay grade.<br>
<br>
Some publications of interest:<br>
<br>
Breeze, D.J., 'Paygrades and ranks below the centurionate' in: <i> Journal of Roman Studies</i> 61 (1971) 130-135.<br>
Breeze, D.J., 'The career structure below the centurionate during the principate' in: <i> Aufstieg und Niedergang der Römischen<br>
Welt</i> II-1 (Berlin-New York 1974), 435-451.<br>
Breeze, D.J., 'The organisation of the career structure of the immunes and principales of the Roman army' in: <i> Bonner<br>
Jahrbücher</i> 174 (1974), 245-292.<br>
Breeze, D.J., 'A note on the use of the titles Optio and Magister below the centurionate during the principate' in: <i> Britannia</i> 7<br>
(1976), 127-133.<br>
Speidel, M.P., <i> The framework of an imperial legion</i> (Cardiff 1992) 47p.<br>
<br>
Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showLocalUserPublicProfile?login=sandervandorst>Sander van Dorst</A> at: 1/29/02 3:49:09 pm<br></i>

Anonymous

Interesting...The office of <i> optio centurionis</i> sounds like that of the original intention of the office of lieutenant...one who sits in lieu of the captain. <p><BR><p align=center><font color=gold><font size=3>
_________________________________<BR>
CASCA TARQVINIVS GEMINVS<BR>
<a href=http://www.legio-ix-hispana.org> LEG IX HSPA COH V CEN VIII CON III </font></font><BR> <font color=gold> <font size=3>
_________________________________</font></font></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
That is correct. A more direct parallel, ie within the Roman officer corps, for the captain/lieutenant can be found among the centurions, who differed in seniority. Among the centurionate the junior officers stationed at the left of a maniple, the <i> posteriores</i> of Latin sources, acted as the lieutenants of the senior officers at the right, in Latin the <i> priores</i>, according to Polybius (Book six). The senior centurions were originally selected first and the junior ones appointed by their superiors.<br>
<br>
In the navy there is also a <i> suboptio</i>, 'under-optio', attested, but Jasper may have more to say about that.<br>
<br>
Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showLocalUserPublicProfile?login=sandervandorst>Sander van Dorst</A> at: 1/29/02 3:58:47 pm<br></i>
Reddé has nothing to tell about the suboptio, aside from naming the rank as one below optio (duuh!). Starr suggests the suboptio and optio might be 'nco's' in command of parties of marines on the prow and stern of the ship, with a centurio in overall command. <p>Greets<BR>
<BR>
Jasper</p><i></i>

Anonymous

Wow!<br>
<br>
That was great information.<br>
<br>
..Gil <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
<br>
Perhaps it was a submariner<br>
<br>
The collection from the Frankfurt university yields a couple of texts with the term:<br>
<br>
<i> AE</i> 1896, 0021 = <i> AE</i> 1897, 0051 = 1922, 0135.<br>
<br>
C(aius) Fabullius Macer optio classis praetor(iae) Misenatium III(triere) / Tigride emit puerum natione Transfluminianum / nomine Abban quem Eutychen sive quo alio nomine / vocatur annorum circiter septem pretio denariorum / ducentorum et capitulario portitorio de Q(uinto) Iulio / Prisco milite classis eiusdem et triere eadem eum pue/rum sanum esse ex edicto et si quis eum puerum / partemve quam eius evicerit simplam pecuniam / sine denuntiatione recte dare stipulatus est Fabul/lius Macer spopondit Q(uintus) Iulius Priscus id fide sua / et auctoritate esse iussit C(aius) Iulius Antiochus mani/pularius III(triere) Virtute / eosque denarios ducentos qui s(upra) s(cripti) sunt probos recte / numeratos accepisse et habere dixit Q(uintus) Iulius Priscus / venditor a C(aio) Fabullio Macro emptore et tradedisse(!) ei / mancipium s(upra) s(criptum) Eutychen bonis condicionibus / actum Seleuciae Pieriae in castris in hibernis vexilla/tionis clas(sis) pr(aetoriae) Misenatium VIIII Kal(endas) Iunias Q(uinto) Servilio / Pudente et A(ulo) Fufidio Pollione co(n)s(ulibus) / Q(uintus) Iulius Priscus mil(es) III(triere) Tigride vendedi(!) C(aio) Fabullio Macro optioni / III(triere) eadem puerum meum Abbam quem et Eutychen et re/cepi pretium denarios ducentos ita ut s(upra) s(criptum) est / C(aius) Iulius Titianus(?) <b> suboptio</b> III(triere) Libero Patre et ipse rogatus pro G(aio) Iulio Antihoco(!) manipulario III(triere) Virtute qui negavit se lit(t)eras / scire eum spondere et fide suam et auctoritate esse Abbam cuen(!) ed(!) Eutychen puerum ed(!) pretium eius denarios ducentos / ita ut s(upra) {S} scr[ i ]ptum est / C(aius) Arruntius Valens <b> suboptio</b> III(triere) Salute signavi / G(aius) Iulius Isidorus |(centurio) III(triere) Providentia signavi / G(aius) Iulius Demetrius bucinator pri[n]cipalis III(triere) Virtute signavi<br>
<br>
<i> AE</i> 1961, 0257 = 1985, 0401.<br>
<br>
]s / [3 Ma]cer / [3] Valens / [3] Valens / [3]s Macer / [3]nius Severus / [3]nnius Prudens / fabr(i) / C(aius) Petronius Celer / Aufidius Valens / C(aius) Valerius Victor / C(aius) Epidius Celer / Laelius Bassus / C(aius) Valerius Fuscus / T(itus) Terentius Valens / beneficiari / L(ucius) Statilius Bassus / C(aius) Epidius Romanus / M(arcus) Silius Iustus / Q(uintus) Charius Saturninus / L(ucius) Valerius Severus / L(ucius) Novellius Pudens / C(aius) Domitius Valens / C(aius) Avillius Macer / M(arcus) Paccius Super / M(arcus) Mumius Verus / C(aius) Valerius Velox / L(ucius) Manlius Mag[nu]s / C(aius) Sosius [3]s / C(aius) Titius [3]nus / C(aius) Cassius [Fi]rmus / T(itus) Masuriu[s] Rufus / [ // ]es / [3]ius Rufus / [3]nneius Verus / [1] Aufidius Romanus / vexillari / C(aius) Cornelius Valens / C(aius) Vettius Fuscus / C(aius) Caecilius Maximus / M(arcus) Licinius Valens / Q(uintus) Mucius Germanus / corn[ i ]c[ i ]nes / M(arcus) [D]idi[us? 3]nus / C(aius) Vettius Priscus / tubicines / M(arcus) Masurius Pudens / L(ucius) Didius Pudens / C(aius) Maetilius Procl[ u ]s / bucinatores / M(arcus) Munnius Buccio / C(aius) Mettius Maximus / Q(uintus) Cominius Silo / C(aius) Remmius Severus / Q(uintus) Cassius Quadratus / Q(uintus) Marcius Crescens / <b> suboptiones</b> / C(aius) Terentius Clem[en]s / M(arcus) Muacidius Pudens / M(arcus) Aemilius Blandus / L(ucius) Geminius Gemellus / C(aius) Cassius Longinus / C(aius) Terentiu[s] Teres / P(ublius) Volum[n]ius Celer / L(ucius) Attius [Pr]iscus / M(arcus) Artorius Rufus / M(arcus) Cornelius Capito / A(ulus) Cusinius Clarus / <b> munifices</b> / A(ulus) Helvius Priscu[s] / M(arcus) [3] / [1V]alerius Va[lens] / C(aius) Iulius Val[ens] / L(ucius) Lollius Longin[us] / L(ucius) Saenius Ma[3] / M(arcus) Furius Lo[3] / L(ucius) Decius Va[lens] / M(arcus) Aebucius Sa[3] / [ // ] / C(aius) [3] / C(aius) Di[3] / M(arcus) Dom[itius 3] / L(ucius) Valer[ius 3] / L(ucius) Buriu[s 3] / A(ulus) Didi[us 3] / C(aius) Curti[us 3] / D(ecimus) Iuli[us 3] / [1] Sar[3] / [1] Decc[ius 3] / C(aius) Domi[tius 3] / M(arcus) Benn[ius 3] / T(itus) [3] / C(aius) Masur[ius 3] / L(ucius) Lolliu[s 3] / A(ulus) Lucan[ius 3] / M(arcus) Host[ilius 3] / C(aius) Ves[3] / P(ublius) [3] / [6] / M(arcus) Cassiu[s 3] / L(ucius) Muciu[s 3] / T(itus) Vibius [3] / C(aius) Baebiu[s 3] / C(aius) Herenn[ius 3] / M(arcus) Rosciu[s 3] / M(arcus) [C]assiu[s 3] / Sex(tus) Laeliu[s 3] / T(itus) Sosius [3] / M(arcus) Turra[nius 3] / Q(uintus) Tullius [3] / M(arcus) Gemin[ius<br>
<br>
They are listed in the second text before persons classed as <i> munifices</i>, making it likely that they were classed as what were eventually named <i> opera vacantes</i> or <i> immunes</i>, though whether they belong to the <i> principales</i> cannot be determined with certainty.<br>
<br>
Other titles with the prefix <i> sub-</i> such as <i> subpraefectus</i> are very rare.<br>
<br>
Regards,<br>
<br>
Sander van Dorst<br>
<p></p><i></i>