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Where was the Roman Army in AD408?
#16
Quote:Maybe so - but can we be confident about the meaning of 'Roman' by that point?

Fair enough. Most of Aetius' troops were Alemanni and Alans serving in professional Roman regiments, according to Drinkwater.

Quote:If Honorius could pull 6000 troops from Dalmatia to 'defend Rome', I would think Stilicho's original force at Ticinium could hardly have been much larger.

Honestly I've always thought that this references the 5 comitatenses units (4 legions and 1 numerus) under the Comes Dalmatae command in the Notitia. The majority of units there were Limitanei, not Comitatenses or Palatinae, so that might have been all that was available.

Quote:I would think it more likely that the Italian field army did not exist, than that a force of thirty thousand trained and disciplined Roman regular troops stood idly by at some depot in northern Italy while Alaric and his Goths rampaged up and down the peninsula for nearly three years!

Yes, but how many cities did Alaric and Athaulf sack? Isn't it entirely possible that because Italy didn't need Limitanei, that they were forced to garrison the field army regiments in walled towns as a deterrent against Alaric? After all, Italy is entirely undefended in 440 until Sigisvult begins garrisoning presumably some field army units and foederati. Even in 451, Aetius didn't bring any troops from Italy across the alps. Sidonius implies that the only troops Aetius left Italy with were his personal bodyguard (his army was stationed at Arles).

If 4000 men was considered enough to defend the walled circuit of Ravenna, then you could easily end up with just as many troops in a handful of cities alone. Rome's walled circuit was huge, and I'd imagine it had at least the Protectores and the Schola stationed there (much good they were, considering they were placeholder and parade units). Milan was important, and we've already mentioned military depots and towns such as Ticinum or Aquileia. Those three alone, assuming Ravenna's number was the average, eat up 12,000 men. Assuming the same unit composition too, that's 18 of Stilicho's 30 regiments.
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#17
(01-22-2017, 05:42 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: because Italy didn't need Limitanei, that they were forced to garrison the field army regiments in walled towns as a deterrent against Alaric?

Yes, that could be right. Keeping a large force billeted in one place for lengthy periods when there isn't a campaign imminent would have been tricky, so dividing the army among various billeting cities would be probable - plus there's the mention of 'troops both horse and foot, which were in the different towns' (above)...

I think the Goths remained mostly in Etruria, when they weren't besieging Rome or menacing Ravenna, and Rutilius Namatianus in de reditu suggests that they trashed the countryside pretty thoroughly - walled cities like Luna (which Namatianus mentions) could presumably have resisted them with only a light garrison.

Still, it would only have taken a decent commander to draw together the scattered units and lead them decisively against Alaric for things to have turned out differently...


(01-22-2017, 05:42 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: I'd imagine it had at least the Protectores and the Schola stationed there

I doubt that - there seems to have been no military force in Rome at all. The scholae and protectores would have accompanied the emperor and his court, which had departed the city for Ravenna and Ticininum in early summer 408.



(01-22-2017, 05:42 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Milan was important, and we've already mentioned military depots and towns such as Ticinum or Aquileia. Those three alone, assuming Ravenna's number was the average, eat up 12,000 men. Assuming the same unit composition too, that's 18 of Stilicho's 30 regiments.

He had 37 if we include the cavalry. But yes, depots and other cities could have accounted for a large-ish force - but to leave such a force in garrison while an enemy was devastating your country, and to have to call troops from elsewhere and even hire mercenaries, still implies that for some reason the army was not in any sort of effective state or mood.
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#18
Quote:I doubt that - there seems to have been no military force in Rome at all. The scholae and protectores would have accompanied the emperor and his court, which had departed the city for Ravenna and Ticininum in early summer 408.

I don't think so, although the Schola followed the Emperor (who would regularly transit between Rome and Ravenna) the Notitia indicates that despite the Capital was in Milan and then Ravenna, the Protectores are stated as being stationed in Rome.

And IIRC, Sidonius says Majorian was in Rome when he was appointed Comes Domesticorum and took command of the "Palatine bands" (palatinis turmis) as well.

Although like I said, the Protectores were a placeholder unit for future bureaucrats and officers at this point, not an actual military regiment. The Schola seem to have been mostly a parade unit too.

Quote:He had 37 if we include the cavalry. But yes, depots and other cities could have accounted for a large-ish force - but to leave such a force in garrison while an enemy was devastating your country, and to have to call troops from elsewhere and even hire mercenaries, still implies that for some reason the army was not in any sort of effective state or mood.

Well the sudden toppling of Stilicho if you read the primary sources pretty clearly indicates that much of the army did not wish to follow him. We also see this with Felix who was hung by the army in 430 and Sebastian in 432, where as soon as Aetius returned the army backed him and Sebastian was exiled.
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#19
(01-22-2017, 09:32 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: The Notitia indicates that... the Protectores are stated as being stationed in Rome.

Are you sure? As far as I know, it mentions only the domestici pedites and equites (ie protectores domestici), and doesn't say anything about where they're stationed - but they're commanded by the comes domesticorum, who accompanies the emperor, of course.


(01-22-2017, 09:32 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Sidonius says Majorian was in Rome when he was appointed Comes Domesticorum

Not surprisingly, as he was appointed by Petronius Maximus, who was acclaimed in Rome and stayed there for his whole short reign - the court (and the domestici) had been there since before the death of Valentinian III.

Since we know that Honorius was in Ravenna during the sieges of Rome in 408-410, there is no reason to think that any of his guard troops or bodyguards would have been in the city.
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#20
It's interesting to note though that at this time the Palace guard seems to have been commanded by the Cura Palatii, not the Comes Domesticorum as the Domestici no longer functioned as an imperial guard, merely a placeholder unit.

The Candidati were the 40 personal guards of the Emperor, and were part of the Scholae.

My questions on this sort of actually surround the development of the Spatharii... we know they come into existence by the reign of Anastasius and my guess is that by the early 5th century the Spatharii were appearing as the real palace guards, commanded by the Cura Palatii.

But then again, that still doesn't make sense. Could Comes Domesticorum and Cura Palatii have become the same title? Could the primary sources be confused as to Aetius' appointment in 423?
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#21
(01-22-2017, 10:50 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: at this time the Palace guard seems to have been commanded by the Cura Palatii, not the Comes Domesticorum

At which time? There's no cura palatii in the ND, and Zosimus's account of the events of 408-10 seems to to support the Comes D as the most important bodyguard commander - what's the earliest date you have for the 'cura palatii' as a guard commander?


(01-22-2017, 10:50 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: The Candidati were the 40 personal guards of the Emperor, and were part of the Scholae.

Which would surely put them under the command of the magister officiorum, who was in charge of the scholae after 395?



(01-22-2017, 10:50 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Could Comes Domesticorum and Cura Palatii have become the same title?

Unlikely, I think. I'd never heard of the cura palatii, but it sounds like it would originally have been a civilian role, similar to the castrensis sacri palatii ('marshall of the sacred household') perhaps. Is your source a much later one which uses anachronistic terminology, perhaps?
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#22
It's a theory by Meghan McEvoy because there's no logical sense for Aetius to have been appointed as Palace Caretaker in 423 AD by Ioannes and then sent to fetch an army of Huns.

I don't remember the primary source that records he was. But it's always thought to have been a bureaucratic role, not a military one.
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#23
Evan wrote:
The Candidati were the 40 personal guards of the Emperor, and were part of the Scholae.

Is there a reference to this that explicitly states 40 guards?
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#24
Yeah, somewhere. I'd have to look it up.
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#25
(01-23-2017, 03:13 AM)Steven James Wrote: Is there a reference to this that explicitly states 40 guards?

Constantinus Porphyrogenitos, de ceremoniis aulae 1.86.

This is a very late source, of course, and various other types of bodyguard are mentioned in the later centuries - spatharii, excubitores, etc - but the candidati are attested by Ammianus in the mid 4th century. I do wonder whether at that date the word might have been a sort of nickname used as a synonym for those men of the protectores domestici assigned to the emperor's personal protection, though.

Interesting that Olympius, the infamous magister off of Honorius, is described by Zosimus at one point as 'commander of the court guards' - clearly he (or the translator!) means the candidati.
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#26
That would make sense, since the Candidati were handpicked by the Emperor from the Scholae Palatinae regiments, all of whom were under the command of the Magister Officiorum.

So Zozimus is not wrong.
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#27
Nathan wrote:

Constantinus Porphyrogenitos, de ceremoniis aulae 1.86.
 
Thanks Nathan. Another neutral coming your way, which, I am sure Robert will convert to a positive.
 
Is there a translation of this around?
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#28
(01-24-2017, 09:13 AM)Steven James Wrote: Is there a translation of this around?

Only into Latin (from the original Greek) - section 86 starts on p.389 here.
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#29
Nathan, I am sure there is an English translation, I think I downloaded one from the jolly old internet a couple of years ago.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#30
Constantine Porphyrogennetos: The Book of Ceremonies
aka T*O*N*G*A*R
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