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Late Roman Unit Sizes
I have recently discovered in this article (see below) an early(?) obscure military text called the Lexicon militare. This source was completely unknown to me, prior to this article:

https://www.academia.edu/39251194/The_Ne...rum_AD_904

"The first treatise (that I know of but there may be others) that may specifically mention numbers for the massive cavalry wedge is the so-called Coisliniana Manuscript which contains a military treatise called Definitiones which dates from the period ca. 120-240 AD according to Dain (1967, 332, 338). This text is also known as Lexicon militare, and which is the same text as the later Hermeneia dating from the period before the sixth century. The Coisliniana text includes confused referrals to the combat units of elephants, other military units and chilia and delta (p.513) after the text which is accepted as the Definitiones (pp.505-513) and just before a list of military instruments/weapons/equipment (pp.513-4). I leave out the units of elephants and the list of military instruments and include only the rest. After the units of elephants, the text lists the military units which are:
oulamos (400 men),lochos (500 men), falags/ phalanx (120), six/stix (140), pyrgus (360),nekas (1,200), and moira (2,400). After this, follows the chilia and delta which are confused with the inclusion of mathematical formulae including the figure pi in these. However, these still appear to have meant actual combat formations (probably cavalry ones at that) in which the 1,000 menchilia was actually an oblong array 100 men wide and ten deep, while the delta was the wedge array which had 1666 men if my assumptions regarding it are correct. "

These numbers, are they for the Greek type armies or Macedonian type armies or perhaps Roman in origin?
Do these numbers ring any bell to anyone?

Whatever the case, better study this rather sooner then later because Roger Pearse says: While going through the Academia page, I noticed increased signs that the owners intend to monetise the site – containing content, remember, that they did not create. I fear that the greed of the Academia.edu owners will kill the site. But I imagine that people will just migrate to another.
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(12-16-2019, 01:58 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Do these numbers ring any bell to anyone?

I'm afraid not - they do sound rather Greek or Hellenistic...


(10-23-2019, 03:00 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: a document that seems to equate a legion with 1000 soldiers... under Diocletian, so this legion might refer to that period.

The number seems about right for that era, anyway.

On a similar note, I thought I might just float a theory about the development of legions and their constituent subunits:

Theory: In the later third century, imperial campaign armies were commonly assembled from two-cohort detachments (vexillations) of frontier legions. These were traditional cohorts, with 6 centuries of 80 men each, totalling 480 men excluding officers and ncos. The double-cohort vexillation would be 960 men (or close to 1000 including officers). The commander was a centurion given temporary rank as Praepositus.

At some point, perhaps under Diocletian or early in the reign of Constantine, these mobile vexillations were reconstituted into new 'mini legions', distinct from their parent formations. The two cohorts were combined into one large unit, which was then newly divided into 10 subunits - copying the arrangement of the traditional legion into 10 cohorts. These subunits would each be 96 men, led by centurion-grade officers, now called centuriones ordinarii, or just ordinarii. The subunits were perhaps still called centuries, but could have been renamed ordines, or perhaps cohorts (i.e. 'mini-cohorts', as this is a 'mini-legion'), which might explain why Vegetius says that each 'cohort' had a draco standard.

The commander of this new-style legion gained the official rank of Tribune (though sometimes still called Praepositus). Legion strength was still 960 men; with officers and others it would be around 1000.

Later, probably still in the reign of Constantine or his sons, extra men were added to the command of the ordinarii. These were senior soldier grades, first Flaviales, then (perhaps at the same time, or soon afterwards) Augustales. These ranks are unknown before the very late 4th century, but the names suggest they date from the Constantinian dynasty.

These extra men (20 per subunit) bring the size of each 'ordo' or 'cohort' up to 116 men, and the total strength of the legion to 1160, or 1172 inclusive of officers. This could have been rounded up to c.1200 in historical literature.

This later enlarged legion may have been the basis of the unit described in the Perge tablets, from the end of the 5th century. Legions on campaign may have operated with fewer 'cohorts', or with reduced men in each subunit, which perhaps explains some of the varying sizes given in our sources.

All very hypothetical - but does it sound valid?
Nathan Ross
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(01-08-2020, 02:16 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: All very hypothetical - but does it sound valid?


Very much so. Of course we can't tell when such changed were made - maybe later in the 4th century? Would this also influence the seniores/iuniores problem?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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(01-09-2020, 12:25 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: maybe later in the 4th century?

I would say the name Flaviales points to a Constantinian date (perhaps the dynasty of Constantine anyway). Augustales may have been a bit later, perhaps?


(01-09-2020, 12:25 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: Would this also influence the seniores/iuniores problem?

I doubt it, actually - that division would appear to date initially to the 350s at least, which would perhaps put it in the same era, but I would guess it was more about army reorganisation than unit reorganisation. I think we're looking at a series of changes coming in over about 50-75 years or so, perhaps not all as part of the same connected plan!
Nathan Ross
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(01-09-2020, 11:40 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote: I doubt it, actually - that division would appear to date initially to the 350s at least, which would perhaps put it in the same era, but I would guess it was more about army reorganisation than unit reorganisation. I think we're looking at a series of changes coming in over about 50-75 years or so, perhaps not all as part of the same connected plan!


In your description you see what is also described as the process for the creation of iuniores units - a smaller part detached from a parent unit and being enlarged afterwards.
If the process happened as in your model, how would you propose those detachment were named? And wouldn't we see that somehow in any records?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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(01-09-2020, 03:28 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: the process for the creation of iuniores units - a smaller part detached from a parent unit and being enlarged afterwards.

Oh, I suppose so, yes. But I suspect it was a different, if similar, process.


(01-09-2020, 03:28 PM)Robert Vermaat Wrote: how would you propose those detachment were named? And wouldn't we see that somehow in any records?

I would suggest the process went something like this:

In the late 3rd century, Legion I Italica, based at Novae in Moesia, sends a two-cohort vexillation to join the imperial army on campaign (in North Africa under Maximian, for example).

Returning from campaign, this detachment is stationed in Aquileia, and takes the name Prima Italica Moesiacae (CIL V, 914) - at this point it's still a 12-century 960-man legion detachment, but already operating independently.

At some point - maybe c.AD300, the two-cohort detachment is reconstituted as a 960 (or 1000) man 'mini-legion'. It is now known officially as the Moesiaci.

At some later point still, the Moesiaci unit is either divided or duplicated (from a cadre of the older unit, perhaps), or a new detachment taken from the parent Legion I Italica and also called Moesiaci - the two different units are renamed Moesiaci Seniores and Moesiaci Iuniores respectively, to distinguish them.

Some time prior to the compilation of the Notitia Dignitatum, however, the Moesiaci Iuniores is either destroyed or disbanded. The senior unit maintains the name.

But all of this process is (as we all know) pretty obscure!
Nathan Ross
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I dont really understand it either Nathan Ross. Perhaps these numbers are for the Persian Army. Oulamos means rear-(rank),(error: actually ouragos, read incorrectly, my mistake) so what if a oulamos is a unit called in this exact manner because it attacks the rear of the enemy army.

Eunapius: Then a squadron (ίλη) of heavy cavalry (kataphrakton)over four hundred strong crashed into the rearguard.(56) (fragment 27.8 (Suda I 311)

(56)Perhaps from the account of the retreat from Ctesiphon, either the attack launched by the Persians between the villages of Danate and Synce (Zos. 3,27,4 ; Amm. 25,1,5) or the opening attack in the battle in which Julian was killed (Zos. 3,28,4 ; Amm. 25,3,4).

From: The fragmentary classicizing historians of the later Roman Empire ; R.C.Blockley, 1983

I have found one Late Roman Army source for the year 572 AD that calculates a moira:

John of Epiphania: After Marcian crossed the Euphrates and reached Osrhoene, he sent 3,000 armoured soldiers ( ὁπλίται ) against Arzanene, in what is called a moira, setting as their commanders Theodore and Sergius who drew their birth from Rabdion, and Iuventius, commander of the squadrons (tagmata) in Chalcis. (Fr. I 3 (Dindorf 1870: 378, lines 21-28) )
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(01-09-2020, 07:33 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Eunapius: Then a squadron (ίλη) of heavy cavalry (kataphrakton)over four hundred strong crashed into the rearguard.(56) (fragment 27.8 (Suda I 311)

Yes, I came across that one a while back, also in Blockley. An ίλη would be a Roman ala, of course, which would suggest c.500 men, but the phrasing here suggests that this one was unusually large! Mind you, we've seen how hazy these late sources could be with terminology. Actually, I'd assumed the squadron was Roman, but you're quite right that it's more likely Persian.


(01-09-2020, 07:33 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: 3,000 armoured soldiers ( ὁπλίται ) against Arzanene, in what is called a moira

That would seem close to the Lexicon Militare's estimate of 2400 above. But aren't these terms (and the unit sizes they describe) connected to the reorganisation of the 'Byzantine' army towards the end of the 6th century? I don't know much about that, but I believe there were some major changes from the older Roman system.
Nathan Ross
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Some time ago I can faintly recall reading something saying that Urbicius reorganized the army under Anastasius, also Andronicus (?) in the sixth century also seems to have reorganized the army by studying the ancient Greek army manuals. I am not really sure about all of this, since it has been some time, so I should find the appropriate primary sources. Whatever the case, there is one other army reorganization that I am pursuing right now, that is the so called modular brick tagmatic system of Marcel Frederik Schwarze. This system can be seen in the Sylloge Tacticorum of emperor Leo VI and also presumably in the Strategicon of emperor Mauricius (did this system perhaps start with him?). The tagmatic modular brick system is quite some novelty, which I cannot yet place, should it be 6th century or 5th century, is this system seen in the Anastasius Perge list? I don't know.
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(01-10-2020, 09:32 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Andronicus (?) in the sixth century also seems to have reorganized the army by studying the ancient Greek army manuals... is this system seen in the Anastasius Perge list?

The source sounds interesting, although most claims (throughout history) that some person or other has reorganised their army based on studying old books tend to be rather fanciful! But clearly some sort of reorganisation did go on around that time.

I would think the 'Perge legion' was rather a survival of the older system though; there are so many direct links (in terms of rank/grade titles and positions) between it and the legion of Vegetius or even the principiate. The fact that the rank titles are Latin transliterated into Greek suggests that we are not looking at a 'Hellenised' military system just yet.
Nathan Ross
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Hi.
Butting in here. I don't know much Greek or Latin, but I do know some maths. The "century" probably should have a size that could be arranged somewhat sensible. If we assume depths between 4 and 16 we would have some options. Looking at ranks*files we could have:

80 men can be arranged as 4*20, 5*16, 8*10, 10*8, or 16*5.
96 men can be arranged as 4*24, 6*16, 8*12, 12*8, or 16*6.
100 men can be arranged as 4*25, 5*20, or 10*10.
116 men can be arranged as 4*29, and if not all are in the line of battle 10*11+6 or 11*10+6.

Of course it should be taken into consideration if all members of a century would serve in the line of battle. And who you count. Don't know if this makes any sense.
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(01-11-2020, 04:04 PM)halstein Wrote: depths between 4 and 16

Yes, I recall some of the calculations of the 'Perge Legion' were about trying to find patterns of 8 and 16 in the numerical systems - you can see them if you fancy wading through the very long Late Roman Army Grade/Rank List under Anastasius thread.


(01-11-2020, 04:04 PM)halstein Wrote: 116 men can be arranged as 4*29, and if not all are in the line of battle 10*11+6 or 11*10+6.

Aha, yes - I see now that my calculation for the Perge Legion was a core subunit of 110 men (following Vegetius's note (II.14) that a centurion commanded '110 men under one ensign') - and it's the additional men not in the ranks that bring the number up to 116. You can see something of the way I tried to work this out in the second part of this post.

You can also see in that post my proposed layout for a subunit of 116 (110 men arrayed 10x11, plus 6 'others'). The files break down as 8 standard infantrymen, 2 Flaviales and 1 Augustale each, making up a Vegetian 10-man 'contubernium' with the Augustale as 'decanus'.
Nathan Ross
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I have recently found a new fragment that is useful for calculating the size of the Roman army in the 6th century in this book called: Theophilus of Edessa’s Chronicle and the Circulation of Historical Knowledge in Late Antiquity and Early Islam. Robert G.Hoyland. 2011.

Theophilus was perhaps born in 695 AD and died within a few days of the Caliph Mahdi (775 – 85). His chronicle presumably starts in 590 AD and stops at 754-55 AD.
His chronicle has not survived the times, but there are others who have quoted him.

Here is the new fragment which can be found in the Chronicle of 1234. (And perhaps Michael the Syrian (MSyr: very similar to the account in Chron 1234.))

(Page 51 For the year 590-591 AD)

Msyr 10. XXIII. 386 – 87 / 371 – 72.
Chron 1234, 216 – 217

Chron 1234: When Maurice received Khusrau’s letter, he convened an
assembly of leading Romans and ordered the letter of Khusrau to be read
out loud. Then he sent John, (34) the general of the division of Thrace, with
an army of 20,000, and the general Anastasius (35) with 20,000 men from the
Armenian and Bucellarian (36) divisions.

34 Presumably the John Mystakon who Theophanes and Theophylact Simocatta (4.15.2 - 4) and Sebeos (77) say was sent by Maurice to help Narses in recovering Khusrau’s kingdom. He would seem to have been commander in Armenia at the time, though he had previously been a commander in Thrace; see PLRE , Ioannes qui et Mystacon 101.

35 A mistake for Narses according to PLRE . ‘Anastasius’ (at the end of the list after Anastasius 4T).

36 Bwql’ryw: from Greek boukellarioi , meaning privately hired soldiers rather than state recruited troops, though the term came to designate, perhaps already by the seventh century, an elite unit of the Opsikion army ( ODB , Boukellarioi). Bar Hebraeus, CS, 92, probably wrongly, writes bwlgryw/ ‘Bulgarians’.

A little more information:

Warren Treadgold says (Byzantium and its Army p.28): The Opsician Theme backed another revolt in 766, when it was probably punished again by having its eastern half made into a new Bucellarian Theme, first mentioned in 767. (30) (30. Theophanes, 438 and 440.)

According to Treadgold the Army of the East had 20,000 men in 531 (Procopius Wars , I.18.5.)), reinforced by 15,000 men called Federates by Tiberius in 577 (578) AD. (Theophanes, A.M. 6074, p. 251). The Army of Armenia in 530AD had half as many soldiers as a Persian force of 30,000, so 15,000 men. (Procopius, Wars, I. 15.11).

Treadgold guesses additionally that the Army of Thrace had 20,000 men and the two Praesental Armies also each 20,000 men.

On page 24 Treadgold says: The one source to date the creation of the themes attributes it to “the men after Heraclius,” an apparent reference to Constans II and his advisers. (The reference is in Constantine VII, De Thematibus, p.60.)

Now we can interpret the primary source.

First of all, there was no Buccelarian theme during the reign of Maurice. Did Theophilus conflate this with one of the Praesental Armies? We can also ask what does he mean by ‘the division of Thrace’? This division could be the Army of Thrace, but it might also be, in hindsight of the Buccelarian Theme, the so called Thracesian Theme in western Anatolia.

Did Theophilus transpose the Theme System of his own day on the original source?

Whatever the case might be, this fragment is an important piece to reconstruct the Roman Army in the sixth century.
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Ubicius' treatise is a theoretical work like Vegetius', etc. It's the basis in part for the Strategikon of Pseudo-Maurice, but it's not until the Strategikon (c. 584 or later) that an actual standardization takes place.

I use a set of numbers for my book going something like 256 for Tarantiarchiai/Cunei, 512 for Alae, 480 for Cohorts, 640 for Numeri and unspecified infantry units, and 960 for Legions. But I basically conclude that the army in the 5th century just wasn't standardized, that there were a variety of units of varying sizes going under the same labels and that it's probably impossible to figure out the precise number.

Also fuck I forgot to include Eunapius in my book. I read that passage in Blockley but forgot about it.
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My eureka moment happened on the 10/9/2020 concerning the seniores in the Late Roman army. Originally the seniores were those over the military age (46 years and over) that guarded the walls of Rome.
 
In the Late Roman army the seniores relate to a “mathematical element.” The seniores in the Late Roman army introduce a new organisation and battle array that functions in unison with the old or standard Roman array and organisation. Some of Ammianus’ unit sizes include the seniores, other just the iuniores.

Ok, update. After checking to make sure it is right, it belongs to the Pythagorean circle, or the circle of fifths. Modern circles of fifth have a closed circle, whereas the Pythagorean circle was open ended.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UxzDjU3...aid%20out.
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