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Late Roman Unit Sizes
#31
For my Estimates of the Notitia, this is what I use:

A "Legionis" mentioned without a "Seniores" or "Iuniores" in its name: 2400
A "Seniores" and "Iuniores" divided Legion: 1200 for each half
An Auxilia Palatina "Numerus" without a "Seniores" or "Iuniores" Division: 600
A "Seniores" and "Iuniores" divided Auxilia Palatina Numerus: 300 for each half
A "Cohortis": 600
A "Milites": Perhaps an old "Milliaria" Cohort? 800 men if so
An "Equites", "Ala", or "Cuneus": 350 Men

Reasons:

Zozimus describes the Palatina units coming from Constantinople totalling 4000 men and would average 666 men a piece, not accounting for variations.

Zozimus and Ororsius also describes Legions of 1000. 1200, and 800, and I am going to go on VV's suggestion that these were 1/2 of a total unit of Seniores and Iuniores

Ammianus describes two Alae at 350 men each

EDIT: Using these estimates would give me 76360 Men Stationed in Gaul (Field Armies AND Limitanei), which includes 10200 men transferred from Britain and 1800 men from Spain. This Excludes 4 units which are impossible to extrapolate unit strength from, but may have been graded as either Milites or Numeri given their position in the list, adding an additional minimum of 1200 men or maximum of 3600 men to the Gallic army.

It would also leave 17250 Men in Britain assuming the Comes Britanniarum and its units were established in 405, left in 408, and incorporated into the Gallic Army in 413.

Interestingly enough, it would also result in Legio VII Septima Gemina totalling 3600 men spread across the Empire (1200 in Spain, 600 in Gaul, 600 in Italy, and 1200 in the Oriental Army)
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#32
Adrian
If you look at Ammianus' account of the Battle of Argentoratum in AD357 then a strict interpretation of the numbers of men present could be, based on Vegetius's unit numbers and Ammianus' figures plus that found in Zosimus

Julian’s army is given at 13,000 men. I have played around with the Julian’s OB and come up with the figure of 13,200 men. I have based it on the mathematical principles of this time, which is governed by the number 600.

12,000 infantry
1200 cavalry (of which 200 are allocated as Julian’s bodyguard).

antiochus wrote:
Ammianus states that he was accompanied by “12 legions under the general Terentius. (Ammianus, 27 12 16) 12 legions at 2000 men = 24,000 men or 14,400 men at 1200 men per legion. Would a force of 24,000 legionaries be too large for this campaign?

Nathan replied:
That's an interesting point, yes. Terentius would seem to be the dux Armeniaca, and in the ND this official commands three legions (XV Apollinaris, XII Fulminata and I Pontica). The first two of these are old principiate formations, and formed the main military force of the old senatorial governors of Cappadocia (Arrian being the most famous one - both appear in his 'array against the Alans' - his presumed order of battle might suggest a good comparison for Terentius's expedition). The third is probably a tetrarchic foundation.

Please understand this is only an exercise in playing with numbers. Three legions of the principate number 4800 men (60 centuries each of 80 men), thereby giving a total of 14,400 men and when divided by 12 legions amounts to each legion numbering 1200 men.

Nathan wrote:
Yes, he says they 'had 6000 men apiece' (I.17). He then goes on to talk about Diocletian and Maximian coming to the throne, so the numerical figure is pre-tetrarchic;

I’m 100 percent in agreement. At when the legion of 6000 men was abolished to smaller legions has everything to do with the secular games. Diocletian’s reign coincides with the time frame with the end of a secular age and this allows him to legitimately make any changes both social and military to the Roman system without violating one religious principle or law. According to Zosimus, “from the consulate of Chilo and Libo, (204 AD) in which Severus celebrated the secular games, or rites, to the ninth consulate of Dioclesian, (304 AD) and eighth of Maximianus, (304 AD) was a hundred and one years.”

Zosimus claims a secular age was 110 years and then has 100 years. The primary sources either have 110 or 100 years. Censorinus states for his time (298 AD) and in the past, the Romans were not sure what the time frame of a secular age should be. According to my research, which accords with the Pythagorean ages, Severus introduces the 6000 man legion that Vegetius describes. I believe during his reign, Diocletian abolished legions of 6000 men for smaller legions. After all, as I previously stated, he is permitted to make these reforms. This would mean the 6000 man legion (or the 5500 or 5000 man legion is can convert to) only lasted less than 100 years. However, the question is did the 6000 man legion come into full effect throughout the empire or did the legion of the principate remain in some sectors of the Roman empire (see previous “playing with numbers.”).

History has shown us that when a government replaces another, the new government wants to make its mark and introduce their own concepts and ideas on how things should be run. New CEO’s are the same and can sometimes destroy something that was working. So Diocletian was no different and used the end of the secular age to make his changes.

Nathan wrote:
I confess that I'm not especially a believer in magic numbers of any sort in this debate! I suspect that unit sizes were fairly random within certain parameters (and probably had been throughout Roman history...)

The concept of random unit sizes implies a system of chaos. The primary sources show the Romans were extremely organised. Between the writings of Gellius’ legion of 10 cohorts, 30 maniples and 60 centuries and Isidore’s 6000 man legion of 10 cohorts, 30 maniples and 60 centuries tells us the same organisation prevailed over a wide time period. The fact the 4800 men legion and the 6000 man legion can be divided by 10 cohorts, 30 maniples and 60 centuries should be obvious to any historian. Also in Ammianus and Zosimus, there is a pattern of the number 300 being dominant, which to me is a strong indication of a precise military organisation being adhered to.

Nathan wrote:
Actually I tend to think that none of these units are cohorts - Claudian is using poetic terms. The Ioviani and Herculiani are palatine legions, the rest are palatine auxilia, each an auxilium or a numerus... whatever that means!

With all due respect Nathan, I do not understand your reasoning. If there is no understanding of what a auxilium or numeru is, then it cannot be ruled out that they could be organised into cohorts. So far I have no proof that Claudian is wrong in using the terms maniple or cohort. What I have been presented over the years with is just personal opinions about the trustworthiness of some ancient historian. Academia has their list of favourite ancient historians based on who is reliable and who isn’t. I refuse to work this way as I believe it is extremely negative and restrictive. If Claudian uses the terms maniple and cohort then I am more than happy to work with Claudian rather than against him. And why not, what have I got to lose?
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#33
Quote:A "Legionis" mentioned without a "Seniores" or "Iuniores" in its name: 2400

This is an interesting theory. Are you suggesting that a limitanei legion and an undivided legion of the comitatensis were the same size then? (no reason why they shouldn't be).

The question would be how the legion got to be so small an established size - we might assume the detachment of the legion cavalry (c.500 men?) as separate units of equites promoti, the detachment likewise of the lanciarii of the legion (c.1000 men?) as separate formations - but then we'd still have to somehow cut the numbers by half. Assuming detachments sent off as field army vexillations would work, but the theory goes that these detachments in turn became 'new' legions on a smaller scale. Tricky.... or is it? I suppose we could assume that each of the old principiate legions, minus its cavalry and lanciarii, was effectively split in two, with one half being sent to join the comitatensis. These field army 'legions' were later subdivided into seniors and juniors. It's neat - but is there evidence...? hmm...


Quote:The concept of random unit sizes implies a system of chaos. The primary sources show the Romans were extremely organised.

Oh, they were certainly organised! So there was a system, not total chaos - but I prefer to see the system as being rather more flexible, with large units ('legions') being composed of smaller subunits (cohorts, maniples, centuries) of varying sizes - these sizes and compositions also varying between periods. This sort of organisation is paralleled in many other armies throughout history - the varying strength of a 'battalion' in the modern British and US armies, for examples - and although drawing such parallels can be misleading, I prefer to assume a system that allows for variable evidence. I know you have your own theory on this, Steven, so we'll have to agree to our contrary interpretations!


Quote:If there is no understanding of what a auxilium or numeru is, then it cannot be ruled out that they could be organised into cohorts. So far I have no proof that Claudian is wrong in using the terms maniple or cohort.

There are currently so many contrary estimates for the numbers in a unit of auxilia (anything from 200 to 2000!) that I don't believe accuracy is yet possible. In earlier centuries numerus seems to have been used to describe an irregular unit of variable size - I suspect that the use of the word far more widely in the later period indicates the increasing mutability of unit size and definition in the later empire.

I would actually love to see some evidence for the use of the cohort in later auxilia or field army units - so far there isn't anything conclusive, beyond Ammianus's (stock?) phrase to describe the whole army drawn up together. So while I could accept that numeri might have been divided into cohorts, they were not themselves cohorts, which is what Claudian calls them here. So I suspect he was using the word as a metonym, or as a poetic archaicism - not 'wrong' for his purposes, just not accurate military terminology for ours.
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#34
Quote:The question would be how the legion got to be so small an established size - we might assume the detachment of the legion cavalry (c.500 men?) as separate units of equites promoti, the detachment likewise of the lanciarii of the legion (c.1000 men?) as separate formations - but then we'd still have to somehow cut the numbers by half. Assuming detachments sent off as field army vexillations would work, but the theory goes that these detachments in turn became 'new' legions on a smaller scale. Tricky.... or is it? I suppose we could assume that each of the old principiate legions, minus its cavalry and lanciarii, was effectively split in two, with one half being sent to join the comitatensis. These field army 'legions' were later subdivided into seniors and juniors. It's neat - but is there evidence...? hmm...

The Septima Gemina were. They were split up between 4 field armies: the 'Iuniores' in both Italy and Gaul (assuming 600 men in each rather than 1200), the 'Seniores' in Spain (1200) and the 'Septimani Gemina' in the Oriental army (1200 men presumably).

Other examples include: the Quinta Macedonica, the Secunda Britannici (II Augusta), and also the Undecimani (Undecima Claudia).

I'm still looking for hints of finding out what happened to VI Ferrata - hopefully the Lejjun fortress will shed some light.

Quote:cohort in later auxilia or field army units

In my anaysis of the Western Field Army (so far) I found two units, upgraded to Palatina from "Tribunis Cohortis." These are the Latini (Tribunis Cohortis Tungrecanorum Civitatas Latinorum in Britain as a Tombstone found fully reads) and the Raeti (Cohortis Raetorum, one or several of them under the Dux Raetiae)

I've also found Legions upgraded from Milites units and from Cohortes as well. My Estimates of 800 men in a Milites unit would bring the Fortenses, drawn from two Milites units in Tripolitania and One in Mauritania and sent to the African Army, to 2400 men on the nose.
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#35
Quote:The Septima Gemina... Quinta Macedonica, the Secunda Britannici (II Augusta), and also the Undecimani (Undecima Claudia).

Yes, that might work - although it's still a hypothesis, not evidence per se (I'm hard to please!). There are also the Moesiaci and Pannoniaci, presumably drawn originally from legions in those provinces (a tombstone from Aquiliea of a soldier of Primae Italicae Moesiacae suggests this sort of detachment). The link between II Augusta and II Britannica is conjecture, although it sounds plausible.


Quote:I found one unit, upgraded to Palatina from "Tribunis Cohortis.".

That's a rank, not a unit title - which bit are you referring to?

EDIT - ah, I see you've added the info - Latini (Tribunis Cohortis Tungrecanorum Civitatas Latinorum in Britain as a Tombstone found fully reads) and the Raeti (Cohortis Raetorum, one or several of them under the Dux Raetiae)

Hmm, not sure. The palatini units could be entirely different - there are plenty of auxilia with archaic-sounding ethnic names (Sabini, for example), and both Latini and Raeti would fit with that.
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#36
I mentioned it when I edited my post. 2 units: the Latini and the Raeti were both Cohorts in Britain and Raetia respectively.

The Latini Coming from Britain is conjectural though, I am looking for alternatives.

Luke Ueda-Sarson suggests the Solenses were Legio XX Valeria Victrix, renamed during one of the Early 4th century Rebellions in Britain by an Usurper who worshiped Sol Invictus, and he supports this with coins with XX Victrix on it from Usurpers.
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#37
Just saw your amendment above - thanks!


Quote:Luke Ueda-Sarson suggests the Solenses were Legio XX Valeria Victrix, renamed during one of the Early 4th century Rebellions in Britain by an Usurper who worshiped Sol Invictus, and he supports this with coins with XX Victrix on it from Usurpers.

Hmmmm not sure. Some of Ueda-Sarson's suggestions I find a bit of a stretch! XX VV certainly appears on Carausius's legion coins, and disappears subsequently. However, Constantine was a devotee of Sol Invictus, and if anyone were to form a unit later named Solenses it would likely be him (or perhaps even his father). No reason, as far as I can see, for assuming that they were a renamed principiate legion...
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#38
That's what I thought. I think they may have been disbanded or destroyed under Carausius, and the Solenses are not related.
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#39
I'm a bit more controversal on this topic I'm afraid!

My view is that Diocletian, and then Constantine the Great, reorganised the legions by removing their cavalry and artillery elements, which in turn were formed into their own, separate units.

This left each legion as being composed soley of its infantry and officers. My view is that this legion strength would have been approximately 4800 men strong.

Diocletian and Constantine then divided each of these legions into two halves, one the Seniores, the other the Iuniores. Each of these new legions was 2400 men strong. Taking men on leave, sickness and other absences, I would say that a 2000 man strength is a more reliable figure. These new legions were then divided between the Western and Eastern halves of the Empire as was needed.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#40
If I put 2400 men strong "half" Legions into the Gallic army it would number 120,000 men.

EDIT: With 1200 strong half-legions it numbers 75,000 men. That compares to only 40,000 for the Italic army, and also ups the African Army to 57,000 men. (These numbers include Limitanei)

Granted in Africa there are 27,000 Limitanei (assuming they were all Milites as there are only 4 units with titles).
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#41
Quote:removing their cavalry and artillery elements, which in turn were formed into their own, separate units.

Cavalry and lanciarii (light infantry?) might be a better bet. We know that (some?) legions of c.300 had lanciarii elements (see Beatty papyrii for II Traiana), and lanciarii turn up as separate units in the ND. However, we don't know if the legion artillery ever had a dedicated 'artillerymen' - it seems that the various ballistae etc were served by the regular troops of the legion.


Quote:These new legions were then divided between the Western and Eastern halves of the Empire as was needed.

This is a bit problematic, I think - imagine the logistical nightmare of dividing all the legions of the army in half and sending half of each marching off to the other end of the empire... presumably passing the troop from the other end coming in the opposite direction! Far easier to keep the divided units together, or simply give the different names to units already stationed in the relevant part of the empire, surely?



Quote:If I put 2400 men strong "half" Legions into the Gallic army it would number 120,000 men.

Funnily enough, perhaps, the orator of Panegyric XII claims that Constantine invaded Italy with only a 'fourth part' of his total army (XII,3,3). The same orator (XII,5,1) later says that this force numbered 'fewer than forty thousand men'. If we assume this meant 30,000 (any less and he would have said half!), then the total army in Gaul could have numbered 120,000...

However, as we all know, panegyrics are not to be trusted! ;-)
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#42
Nathan wrote:
I know you have your own theory on this, Steven, so we'll have to agree to our contrary interpretations!

I’m still open to other influences, so mine is not set in concrete just yet….

Nathan wrote:
I suspect that the use of the word far more widely in the later period indicates the increasing mutability of unit size and definition in the later empire.

From what I have been reading I would say this also applies to the term tagmata. Oh how I miss Livy. With him it’s all black and white.

Evan wrote:
I found one unit, upgraded to Palatina from "Tribunis Cohortis.".

Nathan replied
That's a rank, not a unit title - which bit are you referring to?

It’s also relates to the men under the command of a military tribune. In Romulus day a military tribune commanded 1000 men (10 centuries). With the 4800 men legion each of the six military tribunes command 800 men organised into 10 centuries each of 80 men. In the Vegetius legion, each of the six military tribunes commands 1000 men (10 centuries each of 100 men). So the Vegetius legion has six tribune cohorts each of 1000 men, and 10 standard cohorts each of 600 men. Both these cohort organisations overlap.

Evan could you email me the source of the Tribunis Cohortis?
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#43
Quote:Cavalry and lanciarii (light infantry?) might be a better bet. We know that (some?) legions of c.300 had lanciarii elements (see Beatty papyrii for II Traiana), and lanciarii turn up as separate units in the ND. However, we don't know if the legion artillery ever had a dedicated 'artillerymen' - it seems that the various ballistae etc. were served by the regular troops of the legion.

Dedicated Artillerymen were called Tragularii. Ammianus and Vegetius both describe this, while Ballistarii meant something else - as they are listed with archers and slingers, they could have been crossbowmen or operated handheld mobile torsion engines.

Quote:This is a bit problematic, I think - imagine the logistical nightmare of dividing all the legions of the army in half and sending half of each marching off to the other end of the empire... presumably passing the troop from the other end coming in the opposite direction! Far easier to keep the divided units together, or simply give the different names to units already stationed in the relevant part of the empire, surely?

It also proves to be much more convoluted than that. The Septima Gemina Seniores and Iuniores are both in the same half of the empire: likewise with the Secunda Augusta (Assuming the Secundani Iuniores and Secundani Brittanici are the same as it). The Quinta Macedonica are not divided with the West.

However, the Undecimani, the Septimani Gemina (another unit of the Septima Gemina, which must have been split off prior to the Diocletianic Era, maybe during the reign of Gallenius?) are divided between east and west.

Quote:Funnily enough, perhaps, the orator of Panegyric XII claims that Constantine invaded Italy with only a 'fourth part' of his total army (XII,3,3). The same orator (XII,5,1) later says that this force numbered 'fewer than forty thousand men'. If we assume this meant 30,000 (any less and he would have said half!), then the total army in Gaul could have numbered 120,000...

However, as we all know, panegyrics are not to be trusted! ;-)

Not always. I generally agree that Sidonius Apollinaris and Claudian are *fairly* reliable.

However, 4800 men for the era of Constantine is not a number I find unlikely; it is for the Era of Stilicho and Constantius III that I do find it unlikely. A number of Gallic Army Regiments had not yet been created when Constantine invaded Italy, but if you counted Spain and Britain and the Ripenses and Limitanei (which, in Gaul, were established under Constantine I think) that number makes sense.
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#44
Quote:Evan could you email me the source of the Tribunis Cohortis?

Notitia Dignitatum In Partibus Occidentis under the Dux Raetiae and the Dux Britanniarum

http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/notitia1.html

The Auxilia Palatina Latini is presumably derived from the British unit Cohortis Tungrecanorum Civitatas Latinorum, as inscribed on a Tombstone dating to the Mid-3rd Century at the same post as its stationing, at least according to Ueda-Sarson. I find it conjectural, but possible. It would have had to have left Britain at the same time as the Tungri and the Seguntienses in that case, prior to when the Notitia was drawn up in 395 - coin evidence in Segontium suggests after 390. However, it could not have been after 402, or at least not after 408.

The Auxilia Palatina Raeti could be any of the Cohortis Raetorum units. If it was divided into Juniores and Seniores it could have been drawn fro two Cohortes (and therefore 1200 men strong?)

Possibilities:

Tribunus cohortis sextae Valeriaae Raetorum, Venaxamodorum.
Tribunus cohortis primae Herculeae Raetorum, Parroduno.
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#45
Adrian wrote:
I'm a bit more controversal on this topic I'm afraid!

Oh I’m afraid not. Stick in some esoterical religion based on mathematics and welcome to the club.

Adrian wrote:
My view is that Diocletian, and then Constantine the Great, reorganised the legions by removing their cavalry and artillery elements, which in turn were formed into their own, separate units.

I’m going with the theory the Romans switched all units to the auxiliary organisation in operation before Diocletian wore the purple. Comments from Nathan and Evan are further reinforcing this.

Adrian wrote:
Diocletian and Constantine then divided each of these legions into two halves, one the Seniores, the other the Iuniores.

You have my vote on the splitting into Iuniores and Seniores. But why name them Seniores? It originally described those over the military age who were levied to garrison Rome.
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