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Roman Legionary Recruitment/Armor
#1
I was hoping someone could help shed some light on the subject of legionary recruitment. Is it true that after Augustus legionaries were not recruited in the province of Italia proper? I'm aware of exceptions such as the I Italica but I was wondering if this was the accepted norm during the imperial period.

Also, when did the classic imperial segmentata armor become widespread throughout the army?

Thank you all for the help.
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#2
(07-24-2017, 08:49 PM)Harrisonfletch Wrote: Is it true that after Augustus legionaries were not recruited in the province of Italia proper?

No, legionaries continued to be recruited in Italy throughout the first century, although the percentage compared to provincial recruits declined steadily. This is probably because, once legions established permanent fortresses on the frontiers, they tended increasingly to draw their manpower from the citizen population of those areas. By the early 2nd century a little over 90% of recruits seem to have come from outside Italy.

There were exceptions to this - the various 'Italica' legions you've mentioned (although these were not all recruited in Italy), and occasional mass conscriptions (dilecti) within Italy, usually assumed to be at moments of extreme manpower depletion - the Marcomannic wars, for example, or the Bar Kokhba war of AD132-35, when legion II Traiana, itself used as a pool for recruits, appears to have enlisted a large number of Italians alongside Africans and Syrians.

Prior to Severus, the praetorian guard was always recruited principally from Italians, and many praetorian evocati went on to serve as centurions in regular legions.

Webster's The Roman Imperial Army of the First and Second Centuries AD has a handy graph (on page 108 here) showing origines of legionaries from inscriptions: under Augustus 65% came from Italy, under the Julio-Claudians nearly 50%, under the Flavians just over 20% (although I've seen a figure of 33% elsewhere), down to 0.9% under Hadrian. These figures are taken from an older source, however, and could have been somewhat revised since then.


(07-24-2017, 08:49 PM)Harrisonfletch Wrote: when did the classic imperial segmentata armor become widespread throughout the army?

The earliest certain find of segmentata comes from Kalkriese, probably dated to AD9. There's some possible earlier fragments from Dangstetten dated 9BC, I think, but a general 'late Augustan' date for introduction is most likely.

As to widespread, nobody's really sure. Trajan's Column shows it in general use by legionaries, but the Adamklissi Metopes show men in the same campaign wearing mail and scale... But enough bits of segmentata have been found here and there to suggest that it was in pretty general use, at least in the western legions, from the Augustan through to the Severan period, and perhaps on into the late 3rd/early 4th centuries in some areas.

You might like to take a look at Bishop & Coulston's Roman Military Equipment for an excellent survey of weapons and armour of the period.
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#3
Again, thank you very much for your help. I certainly appreciate it!
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