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Heraclius army organization and units names
Hello all.

How was organized the Roman army under Heraclius? He regrouped the forces of the Balkans and eastern provinces in Asia Minor? The names of ancient units, such as the Tertio Dalmatae, existed in his time?

I am very interested in the evolution of the roman army from Gallienus to Heraclius (c. 260-640)
Salue Marco,

I think you can discuss it better in the Greek/Byzantine section:


TITVS/Daniele Sabatini

... Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum
desinet ac toto surget Gens Aurea mundo,
casta faue Lucina; tuus iam regnat Apollo ...

Vergilius, Bucolicae, ecloga IV, 4-10
[Image: PRIMANI_ban2.gif]
Not really my period, but the unit, or detachment, of ‘Macedonians’ found at Heliopolis in c. 635 (IGLS 2828) is thought to be descended from the old legio V Macedonica. The ‘Scythae’ found a few years later at Gaza, may be connected with the old legio IIII Scythica, though this is disputed. A few other units with origins in the field armies of the third or fourth centuries survived into the later eighth century and perhaps beyond. See J. F.Haldon, State Army, and Society in Byzantium: Approaches to Military, Social, and Administrative History, 6th-12th centuries (1995), article V.

For the organisation of fifth to early seventh century frontier ‘legions’ in Egypt, see P. Keenan, 'Evidence for the Byzantine Army in the Syene Papyri,’ Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists 27 (1990), 139-150. Also, B. Porten, The Elephantine papyri in English. Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (1996), has a chapter dedicated the relevant papyri.

The papyri are most interesting, indicating the survival of centurions into the early seventh century (IIRC, a document of AD 613 is the latest to mention a centurion). Other papyri also refer to draconarii, a campidoctor etc. (the Latin titles being transliterated into Greek), but remember, these are frontier units. For example, the 'Legion of Syene' was probably a traditional legionary vexillation sent to the First Cataract by Diocletian and stayed there for more than 300 years, retaining the essential features of its original organisation.

I'm sure some of our Late Roman specialists could add more.


Daniele, many thanks for your recommendation, although I consider Heraclius as a roman or late roman.

Ross, many thanks. Your answer is very good. Do you know more units names (of the field armies or the frontiers) surviving in this time? Finally, these units were regrouped in Asia Minor?
I am very interested in the evolution of the roman army from Gallienus to Heraclius (c. 260-640)

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