Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Contubernium, centuria and manipulus
#1
We know that the contubernium was the group of 8 soldiers who slept under the same tent. I have generaly assumed that the contubernales were all from the same centuria, but I never came across a source that states that clearly, so maybe the men of the same contubernium could have been both from the centuria prior and the centuria posterior of the same cohort. 
Of course this is just an assumption, but I wonder if some ancient source could give me some more informations about the actual composition of a contubernium.
Francesco Guidi
Reply
#2
(01-07-2019, 02:36 PM)Cesco Wrote: I have generaly assumed that the contubernales were all from the same centuria, but I never came across a source that states that clearly

The 8-man 'tent group' is found in (Pseudo)-Hyginus's De Munitionibus Castrorum:

Papilio unus occupat pedes X... tegit homines VIII. Plena centuria habet milites LXXX: erunt papiliones X

which means something like: "One tent occupies 10 feet... and holds 8 men. A full century has 80 men, therefore ten tents"

This certainly implies that the 8-man group is part of the 80-man century!

Note that Hyginus does not call the tent group a contubernium here.


(01-07-2019, 02:36 PM)Cesco Wrote: I wonder if some ancient source could give me some more informations about the actual composition of a contubernium.

Hyginus probably dates from some time in the 2nd Century AD. Vegetius says that the centuries were divided into contubernia of 10 men each, and each contubernium shared a tent under the charge of a soldier called the decanus, or caput contubernii; he also mentions that these 10-man contubernia were called maniples. He goes on to say that the full century comprised 110 men (10x10, plus 10 decani) under a centurion. (Vegetius, Epitoma, II, 13-14)

Some historians have assumed that Vegetius, writing in the late 4th or even early 5th century, was mistaken in his numbers. But his estimates have some support - the biography of Pescennius Niger in the Historia Augusta (itself probably late 4th century) mentions that ten commanipulones had shared a stolen chicken and had been punished for it - implying that ten (or eleven, including the thief?) comprised a tent party. The 6th-century Strategikon also refers to a contubernium as a dekarchy or group of ten.

An inscription from Perge, dated to c.AD500, gives figures for a military unit that can be reconstructed to suggest centuries of 110 men, divided into subunits of 11 - although this is very hypothetical, it might give some support to Vegetius's claims.
Nathan Ross
Reply
#3
A few years ago, I offered a breakdown of Vegetius' numbers for the legion:

https://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/showth...#pid311753

A few posts later in the same thread, I did the same for Hyginus:

https://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/showth...#pid311836

In both cases, I took  the decanus to be additional to the 100 or 80 men in the contubernium and the figures worked out quite nicely.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
Reply
#4
CGL Vol. 5

Placidvs 5.54

Centurias dicimus partes exercitus in centenos milites diuisos unde et qui his presunt centuriones dicuntur ergo succenturiati sunt non qui in prima sed qui in secunda centuria sunt quasi sub prima centuria tamen structi etiam ipsi in speculis positi in bello sunt ut si primi defecerint isti quos subesse diximus laborantibus primis subueniant unde et ad insidiandum ponitur succenturiatos quasi armis dolosis instructos.

https://archive.org/details/corpusglossa...ft/page/54
Reply
#5
(01-08-2019, 06:41 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: CGL Vol. 5

Placidvs 5.54

Centurias dicimus partes exercitus in centenos milites diuisos unde et qui his presunt centuriones dicuntur ergo succenturiati sunt non qui in prima sed qui in secunda centuria sunt quasi sub prima centuria tamen structi etiam ipsi in speculis positi in bello sunt ut si primi defecerint isti quos subesse diximus laborantibus primis subueniant unde et ad insidiandum ponitur succenturiatos quasi armis dolosis instructos.

https://archive.org/details/corpusglossa...ft/page/54

Happily translated by Google into this perfect English for poor barbarians such as myself:

"Companies we say that the parts of an army in the hundreds, the soldiers, bands, wherefore he that is his charge of the captains of hundreds are said to be, therefore, the suprarenal, not to them that are in the first, but one who in the second century as it were, under the first century, however, built also themselves in the mirrors, if set in the war with a nature that if the first should fail men whom you are to be subject to we have said, from which the subsidiary, as it were, and to watch his opportunity is placed with the working firsts with arms full of guile, they relieve their formation."
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
Reply


Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Did the contubernium really have two extra men musterion 3 861 05-02-2018, 11:42 AM
Last Post: Renatus
  How to sleep in a contubernium Jori 72 8,687 09-08-2013, 05:43 AM
Last Post: Mark Graef
  Contubernium - Exactly How Many? Mithras 29 6,098 05-09-2006, 08:18 AM
Last Post: adamparsons

Forum Jump: