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This soldier was active from c.65-107AD. Can anyone tell me the dates of his military appointments up to and including his command of the Ala Singularum c. 77 AD? He held a number of later appointments under Domitian and Trajan but began his career leading the Cohors Gallorum, Breucorum and Vacaniorum. He seems to have served in the Batavian revolt but I do not know with which unit, and it was as leader of the Ala Singularum that he was decorated by Vespasian for his bravery in the Bructeri war 77-78 AD. In between his appointment as a cohors commander and then leader of an ala he was a tribune in Legio VI Victrix.


Working out the dates for equestrian careers is a bit of a guessing game, mainly as we don't know how long each grade in the equestrian tres militiae was held for, or even if there was a set term. Three years is often suggested, I think, but on little evidence, and neither do we know if the holders of these posts returned to civilian life between periods of military service.

The dona appear at the end of Italus's list of military posts - this is quite usual - and so don't necessarily refer to the last post listed. The only firm date we have for him is the governorship of Egypt in c103, but it's likely that his unusual procuratorship of Asia 'mandatu principis vice defuncti proconsulis' was in AD87-88, after the execution of the senatorial governor Cerialis by Domitian.

He was previously procurator of the Hellespont, and this post would have followed directly from the third grade of the militiae, putting his service as cavalry prefect some time in the early-mid 80s.

Quite possibly, then, he won his dona for earlier service as legion tribune or cohort prefect. Valerie Maxfield, in 'Military Decorations of the Roman Army', suggests that his awards are appropriate for the first grade, and that Italus probably won them during the Bructeri war of AD77 as prefect of Varcianorum Equitata. Although it could equally have been one of the other cohort commands, I suppose...

So if we assume approx three years in each position (which is a big assumption!) with some longer posts at the end, we get something like this:

praef(ecto) coh(ortis) V Gallor(um) equit(atae) c.71
praef(ecto) coh(ortis) I Breucor(um) equit(atae) c(ivium) R(omanorum) c.74
praefecto coh(ortis) II Varc(ianorum) eq(uitatae) c.77 (won dona for the Bructeri war)
trib(uno) milit(um) leg(ionis) VI Vict(ricis) c.80
praefecto eq(uitum) alae I sing(ularium) c(ivium) R(omanorum) c.83
proc(uratori) provinc(iae) Hellespont(i) - c.86
proc(uratori) provinciae Asiae - c.87-88
procurat(ori) / provinciarum Luguduniensis et Aquitanicae item Lactorae - c90
praefecto annonae - c95
praefecto Aegypti - c100

If you give him four years in each post then his career could stretch back to c.AD65.

What's the reference to Italus serving in the Batavian revolt? If he did, it was surely during one of his first two posts.
Cheers Nathan. I think the Batavian Revolt mention is in Wikipedia so it's a bit suspect. Although as you say there's a possibility that it's an event during his early career. Unfortunately I can't find a mention of any of his Cohors being involved in that conflict. That said they were all in the general area so it is possible. I did read somewhere that he was leading Ala I Singularum in 77 which is why I assumed an earlier start to his career. Possibly around 65? He does seems to have had a civil post as a junior magistrate in his own town before beginning his military career. I don't know if there was some form of age qualification required for a civil service post other than the toga virilis Wink
(06-18-2016, 06:26 PM)keith A Wrote: [ -> ]I don't know if there was some form of age qualification required for a civil service post

Italus was quattuorvir iure dicundo of Aquileia, which I think was one of the top four civil magistates of the city; a man had to be 30 to serve as duumvir, so I would guess this might be the same. There's an inscription to a 'duumvir designate' aged only 20 though, so the rule was clearly ignored at times! But Italus was probably one of the older set of equestrian officers who came from the decurionate, starting his first post around his early 30s (the younger set seem to have started in their early 20s, and were mostly sons of centurions who had entered the equestrian order, I believe.)

V Gallorum Eq turn up later in Britain, I think, so it's possible that they were one of the units brought to the province by Cerealis and had served under him previously in the Batavian war. However, if there's no evidence that Italus was in that war we probably shouldn't take this idea too far!

The only reference I can find to Italus fighting in Batavia comes from one of Stephen Dando Collins's books, and is entirely fictitious.