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Late Roman Unit Sizes
#1
Hi everyone,

I am looking for references in primary sources to Late Roman army and unit sizes. I already recall Zozimus who writes about the 5 Illyrian legions of 6000 men total, and I am looking for others, especially concerning all unit types (Limitanei, Comitatenses, Equites, Palatina, etc).

Thanks.

And I do no intend to start a discussion, I am merely asking for sources.
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#2
You'll want a copy of T. A. Coello's 's 1995 thesis on this very topic: 'Unit Sizes in the Later Roman Army'. He lists all the source material for this period. I am sure you can order a copy through your academic library?
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#3
Probably. I'll try and find it on JSTOR too.

EDIT: Not on JSTOR. Have to see if I can get it thru inter-library loan. I may have to wait until august when I have access to the College Library System.
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#4
No, it's a PhD thesis. It won't be on JSTOR.
Francis Hagan

The Barcarii
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#5
Coello's work was published as a BAR publication, I obtained a copy via Amazon a few years ago so it might still be available for sale.

Coello does put in a caveat in that he cannot state with any certainty the size of Late Roman military units, and yet everyone treats his work as cast in stone, baffling really...
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#6
I saw the amazon sale too. 100 bucks for a used copy :dizzy:
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#7
The original thesis can be downloaded for free: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=u...hos.241073
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#8
Antiochus actually emailed me a copy. Thanks for the link though.
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#9
Would it be correct to presume that in the "Taktika of Leo VI" Arithmoi can be used as a synonym for bandon (ca. 300 men)?
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#10
EDIT: I stand corrected (See Below).
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#11
Quote:Would it be correct to presume that in the "Taktika of Leo VI" Arithmoi can be used as a synonym for bandon (ca. 300 men)?

Yes,

In Leo's Tactica, a usual tagma, arithmos or vandon (bandon) consists of 200-400 men, an average of 300 men and is led by a comes.

The same information (but as regards cavalry alone IIRC) is given by Maurice. His tagma, arithmos or vandon is 200-400 man strong, led by a comes or a tribunus and gives the additional information that one of Optimates can have more.
Macedon
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#12
Macedon wrote:
Yes, In Leo's Tactica, a usual tagma, arithmos or vandon (bandon) consists of 200-400 men, an average of 300 men and is led by a comes. The same information (but as regards cavalry alone IIRC) is given by Maurice. His tagma, arithmos or vandon is 200-400 man strong, led by a comes or a tribunus and gives the additional information that one of Optimates can have more.

Thank you Macedon. Much appreciated. Smile This question had arisen from a discussion on another forum. Julian (Letters to the Athenians 280D) himself writes that he dispatched four, then another three arithmoi of infantry to Constantius.

Now I understand arithmoi here could mean a contingent, but the fact Ammianus mentions bodies of 300 men being selected had raised my curiosity. The Pythagorean etymology for arithmoi means a purity composed of units – at least two units. I’m still trying to track down the source for this (Arixonthes?) but somehow I don’t believe the Pythagoean arithmos applies to Julian’s arithmoi.

Could the mathematical gap between the organisation of Vegetius and Maurice be smaller than we think?
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#13
Well hopefully the Perge Tablets will shed some light, but nobody knows when they will be published. I don't know if ValentinianVictrix has access to the research, but he has several times suggested that the tablets might suggest a Legion of 2000 men in 470 AD.
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#14
Evan wrote:
Well hopefully the Perge Tablets will shed some light, but nobody knows when they will be published. I don't know if ValentinianVictrix has access to the research, but he has several times suggested that the tablets might suggest a Legion of 2000 men in 470 AD

The first thought that came to my mind was let’s kidnap ValentinianVictrix and torture him for the information. :twisted: But alas, we can’t do that. Cry

A legion of 2000 men….hmmm, which could be 2400 rounded down, it could include cavalry or one detachment of auxiliary, or it could number 2000 men.
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#15
I was hoping the Perge Fragment information would have been published by now so that I could used them as a reference in my book but too late now.

I know Fatih Onur has given various talks and lectures on the fragments but I do not believe the full translation has been published yet. Unless Francis knows any different as he was the person who alerted me to their existance.

I have argued that the size of the Late Roman field army legions were approximately 2000 men strong, and 2400 would not sound out of place either.

I'm not sure where the 1200 man Late Roman legion figure comes from, Coello does warn against taking his work as an exact guide to establishing the size of Late Roman infantry and cavalry units.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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