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Late Roman Army - seniores and iuniores
#1
Quote:I really appreciate the work of Hoffmann, but one has to use it VERY carefully.

But the real big problem with Hoffmann is his assumption, that the partition in seniores-iuniores took place in 365, and that all seniores originally were sent west and all iuniores east. That is proven wrong, at least one partitioned unit mentioned in 356 AND it being a seniores in the east (A Fourth-Century Latin Soldier's Epitaph at Nakolea, Thomas Drew-Bear, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 81, 1977 (1977), pp. 257-274). So all theories of Hoffmann regarding when and where a later seniores/iuniores unit could have been in the past are no longer valid.

Jens, I really think you are reacting too strong here.

You make it sound like Hoffmann’s study is some pseudo-scientific work – it most certainly is not! Sure, the book is more than 30 years old, and hence there have been new discoveries. Sure, Hoffmann knows where he wants to go – but it is a work based on very decent study and a mountain of source-material! That only would be enough reason to use the book.

Sure, the existence of a seniors unit prior to Hoffmann’s Great Army Division of 364 at Naissus proves that such divisions of units existed before 364. I agree with you Hoffmann is wrong there, but only in the sense that he thought that the seniors and iuniores went back on the two Imperial brothers.
But the existence of a seniors unit in 356 does not prove Hoffmann’s big army division wrong. By no means. His evidence for such a division may not be absolute, but it is overwhelming, and anyone would be hard put to find another occasion where this could have taken place.
I would say that such a practise did already exist in the Roman army, and that Valens and Valentinian did not invent it on the spot. There is a lot we don’t know about late Roman army practise. However, we know that larger units are becoming smaller and smaller, ‘old style’ legions are being split up into cohort-size formations, and new style units may also have been divided like that, before 364.
Hence the inscription of 356 does not necessarily deny an army division of 364.

Also, the occurrence of seniores in the West and iuniores in the East may not be all due to such an event, but then it would be extremely coincidental to find these units where we find them in all the sources that Hoffmann used for his study.

I would not conclude that all of Hoffmann’s conclusion about the presence and movements of units prior to 364 are to be regarded as invalid. Most are based on sources.
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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Late Roman Army - seniores and iuniores - by Robert Vermaat - 02-14-2007, 08:26 PM

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