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Sacramentum
#1
Two questions about the 'military oath'...

From Webster's 'Imperial Roman Army':

Quote: Before the recruit was officially enrolled... he had to take the oath (sacramentum). The recruit was then officially a legionary serving his emperor and could now receive his viaticum, literally travelling money, to take him to the unit to which he was posted.

Webster then goes on to discuss training. However, this seems to imply that the oath was taken before training commenced, immediately after the first muster. Vegetius, meanwhile, has this to say:

Quote:The recruits having thus been carefully chosen with proper attention to their persons and dispositions, and having been daily exercised for the space of four months at least, the legion is formed by the command and under the auspices of the Emperor... (A)s their names are inserted in the roll of the legions they take the usual oath, called the military oath.

Which clearly means that four months of training elapsed between probatio and sacramentum. So, when exactly was the oath taken - after four months of training, or straight after the levy?

Second question - can anyone suggest what form the oath might have taken? Vegetius gives a general summary of the sacramentum in the late imperial, Christian era, but how about under the republic or principiate? Have any reenactment groups come up with a suitably worded 'military oath'?
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#2
Hi,<br>
<br>
According to Cincius quoted in Aulus Gellius 16.4 there were two oaths. I think this is the same Cincius in Ciccero's correspondence so it places the composition of the De Re Militari around mid first century BC<br>
<br>
'Also, in the fifth book of the same Cincius On Military Science we read the following: "When a levy was made in ancient times and soldiers were enrolled, the tribune of the soldiers compelled them to take an oath in the following words dictated by the magistrate:<br>
<br>
'In the army of the consuls Gaius Laelius, son of Gaius, and Lucius Cornelius, son of Publius, [190 BC] and for ten miles around it, you will not with malice aforethought commit a theft, either alone or with others, of more than the value of a silver sesterce in any one day. And except for one spear, a spear shaft, wood, fruit, fodder, a bladder, a purse, and a torch, if you find or carry off anything there which is not your own and is worth more than one silver sesterce, you will bring it to the consul Gaius Laelius, son of Gaius, or to the consul Lucius Cornelius, son of Publius, or to whomsoever either of them shall appoint, or you will make known within the next three days whatever you have found or wrongfully carried off; or you will restore it to him whom you suppose to be its rightful owner, as you wish to do what is right.'<br>
<br>
Moreover, when soldiers had been enrolled, a day was appointed on which they should appear and should answer to the consul's summons; then an oath was taken, binding them to appear, with the addition of the following exceptions:<br>
unless there be any of the following excuses:<br>
<br>
a funeral in his family or purification from a dead body (provided these were not appointed for that day in order that he might not appear on that day), a dangerous disease, or an omen which could not be passed by without expiatory rites, or an anniversary sacrifice, which could not be properly celebrated unless he himself were present on that day, violence or the attack of enemies, a stated and appointed day with a foreigner; if anyone shall have any of these excuses, then on the day following that on which he is excused for these reasons he shall come and render service to the one who held the levy in that district, village or town.'<br>
<br>
...in libro eiusdem Cincii de Re Militari quinto ita scriptum est: 'Cum dilectus antiquitus fieret et milites scriberentur iusiurandum eos tribunus militaris adigebat in verba haec (magistratus verba):<br>
<br>
C. Laelii C. fili consulis, L. Cornelii P. fili consulis in exercitu, decemque milia pasuum prope, furtum non facies dolo malo solus neque cum pluribus pluris nummi argentei in dies singulos; extraque hastam, hastile, ligna, poma, pabulum, utrem, follem, faculam si quid ibi inveneris sustulerisve quod tuum non erit, quod pluris nummi argentei erit, uti tu ad C. Laelium C. filium consulem Luciumve Cornelium P. filium sive quem ad uter eorum iusserit proferes, aut profitebere in triduo proximo quidquid inveneris sustulerisve dolo malo, aut domino suo, cuius id censebis esse, reddes, uti quod rectum factum esse voles.<br>
<br>
Militibus autem scriptis, dies praefinibatur quo die adessent et citanti consuli responderent; deinde concipiebatur iusiurandum, ut adessent, his additis exceptionibus:<br>
<br>
nisi harunce quae causa erit: funus familiare feriave denicales, quae non eius rei causa in eum diem conlatae sint, quo is eo die minus ibi esset, morbus sonticus auspiciumve quod sine piaculo praeterire non liceat, sacrificiumve anniversarium quod recte fieri non pissit nisi ipsus eo die ibi sit, vis hostesve, status condictusve dies cum hoste; si cui eorum harunce quae causa erit, tum se postridie quam per eas causas licebit, eo die venturum adiuturumque eum qui eum pagum, vicum, oppidumve delegerit.'<br>
Item in eodem libro verba haec sunt:<br>
Miles cum die, qui prodictus est, aberat neque excusatus erat, infrequens notabatur.<br>
<br>
Cheers<br>
<br>
Muzzaguchi<br>
<br>
<p>It is an unscrupulous intellect that does not pay Antiquity its due reverence - Erasmus of Rotterdam<br>
<br>
'Modern history, like a deaf man, answers questions no one asks' - Tolstoy War and Peace Ep. ii.1</p><i></i>
Murray K Dahm

Moderator

\'\'\'\'No matter how many you kill, you cannot kill your successor\'\'\'\' - Seneca to Nero - Dio 62

\'\'\'\'There is no way of correcting wrongdoing in those who think that the height of virtue consists in the execution of their will\'\'\'\' - Ammianus Marcellinus 27.7.9
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#3
Avete,
We are using in our Roman group following form of an oath:
SACRAMENTVM
ME OMNIA IMPERATORIS IVSSA FACTVRVM ESSE
CONTRA HOSTIS SVMMA VI IN ACIEM PVGNATVRVM
NVMQVAM AB SIGNIS DECESSVRVM
NVLLO MODO IMPERIVM POPVLI ROMANI LAESVRVM
NISI HANC FIDEM CONSERVABO
IVPITER ME DELEAT

english translation:
The oath:
I will always fulfill commands given to me,
I will fight with an enemy in phalanx,
I will never abandon standards,
I will not harm to the Roman empire and nation of Rome,
if I do not keep it,
Ivpiter (Jupiter) will destroy me.

I am not sure that this sacramentvm was really used in the empire period, so I have to ask my friends, how it is. But my private opinion is that this sacramentvm is taken from historical sources.

vale and regards :-) )
Radka Hlavacova A.K.A Titvs Iventivs Martivs
Tesserarivs Legio IIII FF
Castra Romana, Czech republic
"Concordia militvm"
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#4
Was there a difference between the oath given by the recruit and the oath given by an officer?  Would a newly enlisted tribune be required to give the same oath as a soldier of the line?
AKA Tom Chelmowski

Historiae Eruditere (if that is proper Latin)
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#5
(08-13-2004, 09:37 AM)Nathan Ross Wrote: Two questions about the 'military oath'...

From Webster's 'Imperial Roman Army':

Quote: Before the recruit was officially enrolled... he had to take the oath (sacramentum). The recruit was then officially a legionary serving his emperor and could now receive his viaticum, literally travelling money, to take him to the unit to which he was posted.

Webster then goes on to discuss training. However, this seems to imply that the oath was taken before training commenced, immediately after the first muster. Vegetius, meanwhile, has this to say:

Quote:The recruits having thus been carefully chosen with proper attention to their persons and dispositions, and having been daily exercised for the space of four months at least, the legion is formed by the command and under the auspices of the Emperor... (A)s their names are inserted in the roll of the legions they take the usual oath, called the military oath.

Which clearly means that four months of training elapsed between probatio and sacramentum. So, when exactly was the oath taken - after four months of training, or straight after the levy?

Second question - can anyone suggest what form the oath might have taken? Vegetius gives a general summary of the sacramentum in the late imperial, Christian era, but how about under the republic or principiate? Have any reenactment groups come up with a suitably worded 'military oath'?

Nathan - I've done a bucketload of work on this (I have a book chapter coming out next year on this subject) - drop me a PM and I'll hook you up with it...
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#6
In Rome and her Northern Provinces - Alan Sutton publishers, 1983, ed. B. Hartley and J Wacher, is a chapter called Sacramentum, p. 179-. In this the author, H. von Petrikovits, makes a good case for a connection between the military oath and the raised hand found atop many Roman standards. The hand on the standard being a physical reminder of the raised hand of the soldiers taking their oath.
Martin

Fac me cocleario vomere!
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