Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
The Augustan Army ; the continuation of the manipel organization
#1
Statius Silvae 5

praeterea, fidos dominus si dividat enses,
pandere quis centum valeat frenare, maniplos          95
inter missus eques, quis praecepisse cohorti,
quem deceat clari praestantior ordo tribuni,
quisnam frenigerae signum dare dignior alae;

Moreover, should the Master distribute loyal swords, to make known who suffices to control a century, a knight sent among the companies of foot, who to command a cohort, whom the more excellent rank of illustriuous tribune befits, who is suited rather to give orders to a cavalry troop.
(Statius in Two Volumes I ; J.H.Mozley M.A. Loeb Library)

*
So cohorts organized by manipels in emperor Domitian’s timeframe.

*

Anonymus, Carmina Priapea, XLVI; 1 (opus c.100AD)

                O non candidior puella Mauro, sed morbosior omnibus cinaedis, pygmaeo brevior gruem timenti, ursis asperior pilosiorque, Medis laxior Indicisve bracis: manes hinc, licet ut liberet, ires; nam quamvis videar satis paratus, erucarum opus est decem maniplis, fossas inguinis ut teram dolemque cunni vermiculos scaturrientis.

*

10 manipels (digging?). Another example of the manipel organization.
Reply
#2
(10-18-2017, 01:20 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: cohorts organized by manipels in emperor Domitian’s timeframe.

This is a reference to the equestrian cursus - Statius refers first to the emperor appointing an equestrian officer to a legion centurionate, then to an auxiliary cohort prefecture, then a legion tribunate, then a cavalry prefecture.

The reference to maniples relates to the legions, although the cohorts are auxiliary.

I would suggest that poetry of whatever era, and even classicising literary history, is not the best evidence for contemporary military organisation. Writers of the 1st century AD did use 'maniples' as a synonym for the legions (which probably still maintained the old manipular system, for organisational purposes) or for soldiers generally, but so did Ammianus, Claudian and the panegyricist Pacatus.


(10-18-2017, 01:20 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: 10 manipels (digging?). Another example of the manipel organization.

Not in this case. erucarum... decem maniplis refers to 'ten handfuls of rocket' (the plant).

The poem is pretty smutty, as the name of the collection might suggest! In a decorous old translation, the last lines are: "For, though I may seem fully equipped, 'twould be the work of ten handfuls of rocket to [induce me to] scrub through the ditches 'twixt thy thighs, and bethwack the worms swarming in thy coynte!"

Rocket was apparently considered an aphrodisiac, or cure for impotence: the poet is saying he would need to eat ten handfuls of it to be 'fully equipped' [Image: shocked.png]
Reply
#3
Nathan Ross:The reference to maniples relates to the legions, although the cohorts are auxiliary.

So centuries, maniples and cohorts indeed.

*

Nathan Ross:Not in this case. erucarum... decem maniplis refers to 'ten handfuls of rocket' (the plant).

How flowery!

*

Fronto to Lucius Verus:

I subjoin Cato’s very words, in which you can detect the express counterpart of your measures: Meanwhile I tested each separate squadron, maniple, cohort, to gauge its capabilities…

*

https://archive.org/stream/correspondenc...earch/cato
*

Why would Fronto write this to Lucius Verus? Does this not imply that there are still manipels in Fronto’s time?
Reply
#4
(10-21-2017, 03:10 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Why would Fronto write this to Lucius Verus? Does this not imply that there are still manipels in Fronto’s time?

Not particularly - Fronto is quoting Cato, a writer of the 2nd century BC.

Maniples may still have existed as a part of the legion structure in the 2nd century AD - the maniple titles were still used to distinguish the different centuries in the cohort. But the word seems to have been used more loosely by writers as a synonym for legionary troops, long after the maniple ceased to be the principal tactical or administrative subunit of the legion.
Reply
#5
Nathan wrote:

But the word seems to have been used more loosely by writers as a synonym for legionary troops, long after the maniple ceased to be the principal tactical or administrative subunit of the legion.
 
What time frame do you believe the maniple ceased to be an integral part of the legion’s military organisation?
Reply
#6
Iuvenalis, Saturae, 5, 16; 6 (auctor c.60-c.130AD)

*

et procul a signis. iustissima centurionum
cognitio est igitur* de milite, nec mihi derit
ultio, si iustae defertur causa querellae.
tota cohors tamen est inimica, omnesque manipli    20
consensu magno efficiunt curabilis ut sit
vindicta et gravior quam* iniuria, dignum erit ergo

Of course, where a soldier is concerned, the decision of the centurion will needs be most equitable; nor shall I lack my just revenge, provided only the ground of the complaint I lay be just and fair. Yet the whole cohort is your sworn enemy ; and all the maniples, with wonderful unanimity, obstruct the course of justice.

*

Cohorts and maniples again.
Reply
#7
(10-22-2017, 05:57 AM)Steven James Wrote: What time frame do you believe the maniple ceased to be an integral part of the legion’s military organisation?

We've discussed this before, principally in this thread.

In brief, I believe that some sort of 'vestigal' manipular structure endured throughout the 1st-3rd centuries AD, in terms of the internal organisation of the cohort. 'Manipular' titles are still used, particularly in the Severan era it seems, and perhaps as late as the 290s going by the Aurelius Gaius inscription. At a guess, I'd say the last traces of this structure might have died out around the era of Diocletian, although the word endured for some time after that as an approximate synonym for legion or army units generally.

But the maniple probably ceased to be an important tactical unit at some point in the 1st century BC. When regular auxiliary units first appear under Augustus, they are organised in centuries and cohorts, not maniples.


(10-22-2017, 12:01 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Cohorts and maniples again.

Poetry again! [Image: wink.png]

'Cohorts, maniples and centuries' (or some combination of these terms) is used often in Roman literature to mean 'the army' generally. This does not mean, I think, that it necessarily reflects the contemporary military structure of the day.

Poetry in particular is difficult, as the verses are written in meter - manipli might scan in a way that centuriae (or whatever) does not. Poets are not obliged to use proper terminology.
Reply
#8
Nathan wrote:

When regular auxiliary units first appear under Augustus, they are organised in centuries and cohorts, not maniples.
 
Yet Tacitus (Annals 12 56) mentions maniples of the Praetorian Guard. The question as to why the auxiliaries were not organised into maniples had caused me years of angst, and this meant revising my research and re-examining the information. My mistake was I followed the doctrine, as Polybius tells us, of three maniples made a cohort. Caesar provided the answer with his grading list of centurions, primi ordines, superiores ordines, inferiores ordines and infimi ordines. What this means is a cohort was now made up of ordines. This does not mean that maniples was made redundant, but did continued in the legion organisation and the praetorian guards. After that, it was a matter of comparing the praetorian and legion organisation with the auxiliary troops to find the answer as to why the auxiliaries did not have maniples. Basically, the Romans did a major reform of the centurion ranking and bought it in line with the ordo system. It was a great find as I had given up on ever understanding how Caesar’s five ordo rankings worked. And all I had to do on my legion diagram was change a maniple to an ordo and an ordo to a maniple.
Reply
#9
(10-22-2017, 02:34 PM)Steven James Wrote: Yet Tacitus (Annals 12 56) mentions maniples of the Praetorian Guard.

He does - and in 14.59 he has a maniple (probably also Praetorian) numbering 60 men and commanded by a centurion! Yet he very seldom (if ever?) mentions centuries...
Reply


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Legion organization and Organization Charts Lothia 11 2,027 08-29-2007, 07:09 PM
Last Post: D B Campbell
  Heraclius army organization and units names comitatus (Marco) 3 1,037 03-07-2007, 01:36 PM
Last Post: Robert Vermaat
  Heraclius army organization and units names comitatus (Marco) 3 1,171 03-06-2007, 07:59 PM
Last Post: comitatus (Marco)

Forum Jump: