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Late Roman Unit Sizes
#46
Is it possible it referred to the "Senior" centurions or the "Senior" cohorts within each Legion?

I would not argue that they "swithced to the Auxiliary organization" so much as they took the best traits of the Legionary and Auxiliary organization and tried to combine them.
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#47
Another Legion Split up: Secunda Italica appears to have been split between 1 Limitanei Garrison in Raetia, the Lanciarii Lauriacenses in the Comes Ilyricum and the Secundani in the M.M. per Illyricum.
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#48
Evan wrote:
I would not argue that they "swithced to the Auxiliary organization" so much as they took the best traits of the Legionary and Auxiliary organization and tried to combine them.

In my research there is no real difference. What draws me to the auxiliary organisation is the ratio of infantry to cavalry because the cavalry numbers are in close vicinity to the numbers I have collected from the primary sources. I believe finding the rationale as to why the Romans called units Seniores will produce insights. For now I am going to explore the ratio of iuniores to seniores from the Servian constitution to see if anything can be determined. The ratio of iuniores to seniores if very different by the time of Diocletian began his rule. I will follow this up with a tally of the number of iuniores to seniores in the ND. It may be inconsequential but I won’t know until I try.
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#49
'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. '

I was actually reading about this very topic this week. It appears that one idea is that the Seniores contained the troops with the most experience, whilst the Iuniores were originally made up of newly recruited men. So when the legion was divided into two halves, the half containing the Seniores would have had the veterans, the Iuniores would have contained those with less experience.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#50
'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.'

I'd agree with you Nathan if it were not from evidence within Julian and Ammianus that suggests the legions still contained dedicated skirmishers. I am aware the ND appears to have units made up of skirmishers, because their unit name implies as such. But that does not mean the legions lost their light troop component.
Vegetius was not writing an entirely original work, he was basically taking what he considered to be the best bits from the military manuals he had access to, many of which are now sadly lost to us. As such the 'Ancient Legion' he refers to is an odd mixture of previous practice mixed with the troops being armed with new weapons and the officer class being a bit different. If he stated that the legion had its own integral artillery thats because he had read it in one of the manuals he had to hand.

I'm not so sure that Vegetius or Ammianus call the artillery anything other than ballistarii, there were dedicated units called this in the ND. If they were crossbowmen then the episode where Julian travelled with the six hundred Catafractarii and a unit of Ballistarii along the same route Silvanius had taken previously with 8000 auxilia troops would not seem very odd. Julians force was deemed 'not suitable' for such a venture, which one can only agree with, unless you feel field artillery and Catafractarii were a viable battlefield combination? (A caveat here- I argued many years ago that the text of Ammianus could have been corrupt at this point and a medieval copiest may have only a few letters to work with. Being more familiar with Ballistarii in light of perhaps a possible term for crossbowmen may have prompted the copiest to put that down if say there last four letters were '...arii'. However, it could equally have been 'Sagittarii', which would have made a lot more sense as Catafracts supported by horse archers was a combination known to the Romans due to the Parthians and Sasanids using that combination).
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#51
I don't know much about the late Roman Army and its makeup and I must admit I get confused with the Late Roman Army naming conventions ( I am a bit more of a 1st to 2nd century follower) but I was reading on JSTOR a paper written in 1923 by E.C. Nischer titled The Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine and their Modifications up to the time of the Notitia Dignitatum. I know it is probably a bit dated but I thought I would post a few of his insights. I have no idea if his theories still hold water though. Smile
Firstly he relates how Diocletian was the last emperor who believed in the larger legions.
Quote:In order to understand how Constantine proceeded in forming the field-army, we must first of all attempt to reconstruct from the data given in the Notitia the constitution of that army at the time when it was brought into being. The field-army consisted of regiments of the guard (palatini) and regiments of the line (comitatenses). These differed only in status, not in the manner in which they were employed. The palatini were divided into vexillationes, legiones and auxilia, the comitatenses into vexillationes and legiones. The vexillationes were cavalry regiments 500 strong; the legiones were infantry regiments I,ooo strong (each two battalions of 500); the auxilia were independent infantry battalions of 500 men each.
Secondly below is his theory on Seniores and Iuniores.
Quote:When the field army was first constituted each half of the empire contained only a single unit bearing the name to which the title was attached. When similarly named units were subsequently raised in the same half of the Empire, the latter were distinguished as "iunores" while the original units naturally became "seniores".
I apologise if this is all "old hat" in regards to Late Roman Army. :?:
Regards
Michael Kerr
Michael Kerr
"You can conquer an empire from the back of a horse but you can't rule it from one"
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#52
This article here discusses the terms Ballistarii and Tragularii heavily:

Quote:Hello,

I just came across [hide]Philological Notes on the Crossbow and Related Missile Weapons[/hide] ("In the following I shall investigate the possible connection of arcuballista and [i]manuballista[/i] with archery and the crossbow.").

So if you are interested in the Roman crossbow, you should have a look at the text.

The Comitatus reenactment group did reconstructions of mounted crossbowmen, and found that ballistarii would be better as crossbowmen than artillerymen, but still ineffective when coupled with catafractarii due to its slower rate of fire and that it wasn't as powerful as an asymmetric bow.
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#53
I just finished an analysis of the Western Half of the Notitia Dignitatum, this is what I got:

I used the following numbers:
- 1200 for a "half legion" (any unit that did not have iuniores or seniores in its name was treated as 2400, with exceptions of course)
- 800 for a Milites unit (as 3 milites units of the Fortenses from across Africa = 2400 man legion, and 2 milites and 1 cohortis of Ursarienses from Armorica, Raetia, and Pannonia would equal a 2200 man Ursarienses)
- 600 for a Cohortis or Auxilia
- 300 for a Numerus (or in the case of Palatina where an Iuniores or Seniores is not mentioned, 600)
- 350 for cavalry units (going on Ammianus and a bit on the Panopolis Papyrii)

This gives in the year 419:

17250 men in Britain
76360 men in Gaul
25400 men in Spain
57250 men in Africa
27750 men in Italy
58900 men in Dalmatia

Totalling: 262,910 men

When compared side-by-side, Gaul seems unnecessarily large, and Italy unnecessarily small; Gaul did have a massive field army, but also a portion of Limitanei and a chunk of British units as well. Unlike the other armies, Italy has almost no Limitanei. This gives the West quite a formidable defence force: this paper strength number was probably more in the range of 185,000 (about 2/3 of the above total) in 419.

EDIT: I will soon begin the Eastern Half


Attached Files
.pdf   Less than 1 minute ago">AnalysisoftheNotitiaDignitatumintheWest.pdf (Size: 506.99 KB / Downloads: 5)
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#54
Very curious......we don't agree on methodology, but are the latter two really correct?

Quote:.....................
- 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).

Yes - quite agree

Quote:.- With the 4800 men legion each of the six military tribunes command 800 men organised into 10 centuries each of 80 men.

I didn't think there was much disagreement on the Later Republic legion consisting of 10 cohorts each of 480 (500 incl 'officers')? :errr:

Quote:. 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.
...........

I was fairly sure we all were on the same page in an earlier thread that the Vegetian legion (whether it actually existed or not) consisted of 10 cohorts each of 555 men + 66 cavalry; with the first cohort being of double size and the possibility of further double strength cohorts

In cases of legion organisations post-Augustus I also believed it was also generally accepted that there were not 6 'military tribunes', but a 'senior' Tribunus Laticlavius Patrician-rank on his first posting to military life effectively as 'second-in-command' to the Legatus; plus 5 Tribuni Angusticlavii Equestrians on their second tours having commanded small auxiliary cohorts.

If anything there is far stronger evidence that, whilst the senior centurion commanded the cohort, one of the 5 junior Tribunes was placed in charge of a pair of cohorts when on detachment.

A query for all - having followed the thread with interest.....

Are you all really happy with the idea that the 'full strength organisation' of all these units is as flexible/changeable as many comments here posted would suggest? It doesn't seem much of a way to run an army, I must say - and the Romans were rather good at that.
Mark Hygate - yes, I really am!
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#55
I guess, one problem is, that many ancient authors are not talking about paper strength. If somebody reports 12.000 soldiers from 5 legions, this just means, that these 6 legions had in average a strength at this point of time of 2400 men. Perhaps one was 5000 men strong but others just 1000, but the author was too lazy to mention that these 1000 men were just a vexillatio of 2 cohorts. We also know from some morning reports, that 50% strength was not unusual. So I am not surprised, if a 5000 men strong legion appeared with just 2500 on the battlefield.

So imho it makes not that much sense to calculate paper-strength based on battle reports which use probably current strength.

Nevertheless, there are a lot of good arguments, that units in late empire became smaller. Also the legion. It also seems that the legion lost its role as organizational main unit. It was never a tactical or a strategic unit, but an organizational one. The tactical unit was the vexillatio or the cohort and the strategic the exercitus. It became just another tactical unit of perhaps cohort millaria size
Ut desint vires, tamen est laudanda voluntas
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#56
Quote: there is far stronger evidence that, whilst the senior centurion commanded the cohort, one of the 5 junior Tribunes was placed in charge of a pair of cohorts when on detachment.

Going back a little to this thread, I'd still say that there is no evidence from the principiate period (for which we have far more epigraphic and literary detail) that legionary cohorts were commanded by anybody!

In the later empire, both 'tribune' and 'cohort' seem to shift in meaning (along with 'legion' and most other things...), and we have tribunes commanding legions, numeri of auxilia and old-style cohorts...

To answer your question, Mark, I'm fairly happy with the idea of a flexible arrangement, yes. Although I suspect, in this discussion at least, I may be alone in that view! I believe there is a difference between a 'paper strength' and a 'theoretical strength', both of which are different from actual strength - in theory a milliary cohort should have 1000 men, on paper it may have had 800, in fact recorded strengths for these units vary wildly. And so on.

But perhaps this is largely because I have never enjoyed mathematics. Confusedmile:
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#57
I am also in favor of flexible arrangements: Many Legions I found were will suited to have 1200 men, while others were suited to number 2400. The Illyrian Pacatienses are a good example, drawn from 2 cohortes in Tingitania and Hispania (and numbering 1200 men) and then sent to Italy (number 1200 men) where they are destroyed in 408/409

Several others are divided between 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 stations, indicating their vexillations could have been cohorts, milites, centuries, or numeri.
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#58
Adrian wrote:
I was actually reading about this very topic this week. It appears that one idea is that the Seniores contained the troops with the most experience, whilst the Iuniores were originally made up of newly recruited men. So when the legion was divided into two halves, the half containing the Seniores would have had the veterans, the Iuniores would have contained those with less experience.

I would find this method of indentifying who was a veteran and who wasn’t a bit cumbersome. If a veteran gets more pay, then well, I’d tell the officer I was a veteran. If he questioned me about what war was I involved in, I would tell him the scar across my stomach I got from a Gallic whore, the one across my face was from a Frankish whore, and my missing ear was from a Germanic whore.

But returning to army numbers.

Adrian wrote:
'Stilicho made ready for war the most famous strengths in Mars (in the army), selecting there from special maniples from selected youth: he further prepared the fleet in the harbours of Etruria. Alcides himself commands the Herculean cohort; the king of the gods leads the Jovian. The Nervian cohort follows and the Felix, well deserving its name, the legion, too, named after Augustus, called the Unconquered, and the brave Leones (Lions) with the witness shield.”

Now Orosius (7 36) gives the size of Mascezel’s force at “5,000 men, so if you believe a legion numbered 2400 men, taking the premise the above force has two legion, the figure of 4800 men does not allow for the other units to be included.
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#59
Quote:Now Orosius (7 36) gives the size of Mascezel’s force at “5,000 men, so if you believe a legion numbered 2400 men, taking the premise the above force has two legion, the figure of 4800 men does not allow for the other units to be included.

Can someone post the units mentioned again? I think it's the Herculani Seniores and Iovani Seniores, Felices Iuniores, Augustans, (presumably the Augustei?), and the Leones Iuniores?
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#60
Evan wrote:
Can someone post the units mentioned again? I think it's the Herculani Seniores and Iovani Seniores, Felices Iuniores, Augustans, (presumably the Augustei?), and the Leones Iuniores?

Here is Adrian’s translation:
'Stilicho made ready for war the most famous strengths in Mars (in the army), selecting there from special maniples from selected youth: he further prepared the fleet in the harbours of Etruria. Alcides himself commands the Herculean cohort; the king of the gods leads the Jovian. The Nervian cohort follows and the Felix, well deserving its name, the legion, too, named after Augustus, called the Unconquered, and the brave Leones (Lions) with the witness shield.”
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