Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Centenarius protector domesticus
I need to know, is there a primary source for the existence of a centenarius protector domesticus?

Studies in the later roman army Hepworth, J. R. says:

Ducenarius was apparently the lowest rank which qualified for the title of protector.

But this book was written in 1963.
(04-16-2017, 09:36 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: I need to know, is there a primary source for the existence of a centenarius protector domesticus?

I don't think so - but there's a lot we don't fully understand about the officer ranks and grades of the later Roman army!

Hepworth makes a few guesses about the rankings, although I tend to think he makes things unnecessarily complicated.

We know that Flavius Abinnaeus 'from the rank of ducenarius' entered the Protectores; he had previously served in a vexillatio of equites. Whether this means that he held the cavalry rank of ducenarius, or was first promoted to ducenarius in order to allow entry to the Protectores, we don't know.

In some units of the later field army (cavalry and auxilia) centenarius was apparently the equivalent of the legion centurion - by that time renamed ordinarius. According to Vegetius, a ducenarius commanded 200 men, so must have been a step higher.

However, there was an alternative use of centenarius and ducenarius, dating back to the old honorific grades of the equestrian order. The lowest of these grades was egregius, which by the later 3rd century seems to have been held by all centurions (ordinarii). So centenarius might have been the honorific grade of a senior centurion, perhaps.

Ordinarii and others promoted into the Protectores may therefore have been given or acquired the grade of ducenarius to elevate them above the level of a centurion. Florius Baudio (CIL 11,4787) is described on his tombstone as viro ducenario protectori ex ordinario.

It might be significant that all the epigraphic mentions of protector ducenarius as a title seem to date from the earlier 4th century; by the time the protector domesticus title comes in (around mid century or a bit before?) the additional term seems to have become superfluous; these new-style 'household guards' were no longer promoted centurions, but often directly commissioned sons of military officers or barbarian potentates, with an established position in the court hierarchy that needed no further qualification.

But if you manage to track down any centenarii of the protectores I'd be interested to know!
Nathan Ross
From: Klaus-Peter Johne (Hg.): Die Zeit der Soldatenkaiser. Krise und Transformation des Römischen Reiches im 3. Jahrhundert n. Chr. (235-284), Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2008

(page 688) Ein Centenarius Protector: SEG 42 (1992) , 1264
(02-04-2018, 08:17 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Ein Centenarius Protector: SEG 42 (1992) , 1264

That's Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum 42. Do you have the Greek text of the inscription?
Nathan Ross
No, only the footnote.
(02-05-2018, 06:40 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: No, only the footnote.

Ah, that's a shame. All I can find about it is this catalogue reference.

So it's the 'Epitaph of the protector Maximus' - and Maximus presumably describes himself (in Greek) as centenarius. But unless we have the whole text, and the Greek words that are used in it, I don't think we could draw any further conclusions.

Does anyone else have access to SEG 42?
Nathan Ross

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Horse eye protector from Herrera de Pisuerga Iagoba 5 1,327 11-12-2010, 06:30 PM
Last Post: Vindex
  Hariulf, protector domesticus Jona Lendering 3 1,275 05-27-2009, 12:02 AM
Last Post: Jona Lendering

Forum Jump: