Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Roman unit transfers
During the early principate, was there any evidence of transfer of military units to other legions? Such as Cohorts or Centuries?
Is it possible that even smaller number of individual soldiers could be randomly transfered for any reason? 
Also could higher ranking men in the army be transfered alone to a new legion. Say a centurion in one legion, can he be sent to be a Centurion in another legion if there is need for him?
Roman officers were normally posted in different units during their career.
I've not heard of group being posted in other units, and a century or cohort was never attached to a completely different unit afaik.
Robert Vermaat
FECTIO Late Romans
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
As Robert says, it was common for centurions to be transferred between legions. In the pre-Claudian period these transfers were apparently arranged by provincial governors, and always seen to have been between legions in the same province, or in neighbouring provinces.

Later the process was arranged by the central government in Rome and could involve many successive transfers to legions all over the empire - in one case, a centurion was transferred to 17 different legions in the course of a long career! The best source on all this is JR Summerly's thesis Studies in the Legion Centurionate.

It was unusual for lower ranking men to be transferred, and this only seems to have happened as an emergency expedient. What did happen at times - and perhaps increasingly from the mid 2nd century - was for detachments of different legions (vexillationes) to be combined into ad-hoc field forces, operating together during a particular campaign. The size and composition of these detachments seems to have varied greatly.

In one instance, we know of a vexillation sent to reinforce another legion in (probably) peacetime: Hadrian's address to the men of III Augusta at Lambaesis in c.AD128, recorded on an inscription, mentions that "two years ago you gave a cohort and five men from each centuria to the fellow third legion" - the word used (supplementum) suggests these were intended as reinforcements for the legion, perhaps a depleted III Cyrenaica based in Egypt, Palestine or Arabia at that point.
Nathan Ross
So what reason then would a centurion be needed in another legion? Maybe to replace a deceased or retired centurion?
See i always thought that when a centurion dies or retires the legate would promote one of the common soldiers to fill the role

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Legion transfers Protectores Donutici 3 1,149 10-19-2017, 10:53 AM
Last Post: Nathan Ross
  Ile or ala? : the unit size of a Roman ile Julian de Vries 3 1,583 05-18-2017, 09:36 AM
Last Post: Julian de Vries

Forum Jump: