Ranks

The people, conflicts, and daily life of the Roman army.

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Ranks

Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Tue Jun 17, 2003 5:58 pm

Salvete Romani,

the only ranks in the Roman army that I know of are: decurion, centurion, flag bearer and a few others of which I don't know the Latin name.

And that is about it I'm afraid. So I would like to ask if anybody knows any other ranks, and what they mean (e.g. decurion leader of 10 men).

Valete,

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one, two, three, etc.

Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Tue Jun 17, 2003 6:45 pm

Salve,


I'm not very sure, but:

Tiberius Dionysius Draco wrote:(e.g. decurion leader of 100 men).


:oops:

As far I can remember a CENTurion is a leader of 100 soldiers and a DECurion one of 10. :shock:

You must consider yourself lucky I discovered this fault first, before the feared "latin inquisitor"! :twisted:

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Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Tue Jun 17, 2003 9:25 pm

Salve Locate,

ah yes, I wasn't too sure about that. I have already corrected it.

Thanks for saving me from the dreaded Latin Inquisition :wink:

So does anybody know any other ranks?

Vale bene,

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Ranks

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Jun 18, 2003 12:29 am

Avete commilitones!

Well, well...so someone got their hide saved from the Latin Inquisitor. But ya failed to cover his *other* flank...and he now stands, naked as a jaybird, before...the Master of the Horse!!! [Fiendish Evil Grin]

Ranks: I have a fairly comprehensive Rank, Pay and Benefits table on the tail-end of my Catullus essay (Life with the Legions by 'cub' reporter Catullus Tumultuosus, freely available in the Collegium's Contributions section). Just for grins, though, and because I already white-tornadoed your barracks this morning [another feg], I'll save you from digging it up. Here, I'll start you off with the enlisted ranks:

Miles gregarius - Ordinary Legionary.
Contubernalis - Squad-leader/dorm chief for his tentful of eight men. His responsibilities included teaching any of his men to read if they weren't literate to begin with.
Immunis - somewhat longer-serving Legionary who has been excused from the nastier chores (i.e., latrine duty and some others)
Optio - Centurion's understudy. Wore feathers in tubes on the side of his helmet and carried a distinctive knobbed staff.
Optio ad spem Ordines - an Optio who is actually in line for a promotion to Centurion.
Tesserarius - Keeper of the watchwords and minor administrative assistant for HQ staff.
Cornicen - one of the Legion's musicians; also did admin stuff.
Centurio - Centurion. As name implies, commanded between 80-100 men including his Optio. Equivalent to a modern-day senior NCO or field-grade officer. Promotion of Centuriones was a little complicated; some *did* outrank others, but whether they moved forward line-by-line or cohort-by-cohort is still a matter of much scholarly debate. In my games I use a hybrid system which is probably as good a guess as anyone else's.
Signifer - Standard-bearer, always a Centurion, for a maniple (two centuries) or a cohort (three maniples).
Primi Ordines - Centurion of the First Cohort, considered the best troops in the Legion.
Aquilifer - carried the Legion's Eagle. Had to be an exceptional fighter (YOU try it with a metal bird on a twelve-foot pole!!). May also have had some religious functions as guardian of the numen legionis or Spirit of the Legion.
Primus Pilus - Centurion of the First Century of the First Cohort, and thus the chief Centurion of the Legion.

Next installment: Officers and Cavalry (in which at last you will find your "Decurion")...

In fides (and not as ferocious as he used to be, heh heh),
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Re: Ranks

Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Jun 18, 2003 10:14 am

Marius Peregrine wrote:Avete commilitones!

Well, well...so someone got their hide saved from the Latin Lector. But ya failed to cover his *other* flank...and he now stands, naked as a jaybird, before...the Master of the Horse!!! [Fiendish Evil Grin]


*chuckles*

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* chuckles *

Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Jun 19, 2003 3:14 am

Indeed, mi Draco, we sound a bit like comic-book villains, don't we?? >({|;-p

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Postby Anonymous on Thu Jun 19, 2003 12:40 pm

Chaírete hérautes,

the Roman Army ranks are everywhere to find, but what about the Greek? I can't find them anywhere. It seems in all my litterature (which is quite a lot) there is only mention of the leaders. The strátègos, nauárchoon, ...

can anyone help me out,

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Thu Jun 19, 2003 1:18 pm

Perhaps there is little mention of ranks because the military organisation for each city state was different? Just a thought.

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the real reason ...

Postby Anonymous on Thu Jun 19, 2003 2:29 pm

Chaîre Drákoon,

what an interessting thought :!: :idea: 'cause ofcourse, not even did every pólis have it's one pecularities and furthermore were just different, but there are only two póleis who are quite good documented on the ancient times. Yes, that's good.

But I would like to kniw, maybe just from Athens, for sooner or later, I won't be a Greek Hoplite anymore (it goes faster than one could imagine!) and I (but maybe you do Drákoon ;)) don't know what a Greek optio would be. It's not enough tot translate it, one should be able to find a simulae funtion.

Athènâ enlight one of my friends!

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Postby Anonymous on Fri Jun 20, 2003 12:04 am

Athènâ must be pulling my leg here! Anyone?
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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Fri Jun 20, 2003 11:24 am

Salve Alexander

Your rank structure depends on how your military units are organized. As Marius pointed out, Roman ranks were dependent on the military units they commanded. The Contubernalis, Primus Pilus, Centurio, could not exist in a Greek phalanx as it was organized differently. There cannot be a Greek counterpart to an Optio because you would not have a Greek counterpart to a Centurian, because Greeks did not organize their units into centuries.

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Postby Anonymous on Fri Jun 20, 2003 2:36 pm

Caîre Piscine,

certainly! Therefore I mean counterparts strictu latu, and not strictu! I've looked around for a few days now, but no luck. And apparetly, there's noone who can say something from the top of his head, must be a very occult topic ;)

chairetísmous,

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A bit of encouragement

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Jun 21, 2003 4:33 am

Salvete commilitones...

I have written Dionysius Hellenos privately, encouraging him to research the matter of rank structures in the Greek army on his own if someone else doesn't post an answer for him in the next day or two. While I'd really prefer this thread to stick to the Roman side of things, his subject is military in nature, and a separate thread for it should not have to be banished to the Collegium Graecum. >({|;-)

Looking forward to whatever comes of it,
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get of my back :P;)

Postby Anonymous on Sat Jun 21, 2003 1:41 pm

Chaîre Marius,

If you really were planning on making several posts here on Roman ranking, I'm sorry I made the thread withen the subject. And if it's any comfort to you, it happens in the best collegia :wink: . It's natural, so please don't go picking out me, I'm kind of a hypersensetive, paranoid fellow 8). That's kind of the reason I didn't reply you at once, in order not to have an overheated reaction. (Athènâ knows it's not that of a silly idea! :P ) You really give me the idea a Romanofil doesn't support filhellens, that would be kind of denying history, now won't it ;).

However if we were to start a discussion on Greek ranking, it would -I believe perfectly fit here I would say beeïng the Rector of the Collegium Graecum, not that I couldn't bear it to be over there, but this is where we talk about Military subjects, don't we.

As to the researsh of Greek ranks, my dear friend, I am a scholar, I've been there, there's no harm in asking if anyone knows something. The next step will be seminar for me. And I have spent somany hours in library's and seminars. It's shocking that you say in your private message that I think the SVR is to do my researsh! I'm not threating you all as my personal researchers!

So please, stop this meaningless inquisation, and do conyinue, your essay on Roman Army Ranking, for we are all eagerly awaiting, your next update!

Héllenos
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Postby Tiberius Dionysius Draco on Sat Jun 21, 2003 2:00 pm

Salve Hellenos,

I don't know if you've already noticed, but the Aediles have enabled posters to edit their posts, so you don't have to make an extra post to correct your mistake.

And about the subject of Greek ranks where it should belong, well that is actually quite difficult. I sometimes don't really know wether to post something at the Collegium Historicum or the Collegium Vitae Quotidianae because it is a thin line dat makes the difference. But then again, CQ si more specifically about the daily life and Historicum more about, well, history (quite logical really :))

Personally, I think that the subject of ranks in the Greek army does belong here, but maybe you should (as already suggested) create another thread that handles about your subject. Because there are many differences between the Roman and the Greek army and I'm afraid that if we mix these two into one topic there may be some confusion.

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Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Sat Jun 21, 2003 3:42 pm

Salvete,

Don't be too fast, amici, the new rectores only take place at the 1st of july, and that's still ten days away.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Jun 21, 2003 4:18 pm

Salvete viri,

Al. Dionysius Hellenos wrote:If you really were planning on making several posts here on Roman ranking, I'm sorry I made the thread withen the subject. And if it's any comfort to you, it happens in the best collegia :wink: . It's natural, so please don't go picking out me, I'm kind of a hypersensetive, paranoid fellow 8). That's kind of the reason I didn't reply you at once, in order not to have an overheated reaction. (Athènâ knows it's not that of a silly idea! :P ) You really give me the idea a Romanofil doesn't support filhellens, that would be kind of denying history, now won't it ;).


Well... we should all be aware that each one of his has their sensitivities. Like I told you before mi Hellene, don't read more into postings than there actually is. Marius feels as Roman as you feel Greek. In the "real world" there are silly debates about which civilisation was the better or more advanced of the two, debates in which even scholars disagree.

Alexander, let me assure you that there is no anti-Greek feeling here whatsoever. But Societas Via Romana mostly deals with Rome, and discussion about Greek civilisation should usually be confined to the collegium Graecum.

So. Just relax.

Valete,
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Correction...

Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Jun 23, 2003 12:00 am

> However if we were to start a discussion on Greek ranking,
> it would -I believe perfectly fit here [...] not that I couldn't bear it to be
> over there, but this is where we talk about Military subjects, don't we.


Thus Hellenos, in a public reply to a private message. And I agree with him, despite his poor 'Nettiquette; I said so last time, even as I requested that said discussion take place in a different thread:

> While I'd really prefer this thread to stick to the Roman side of things,
> his subject is military in nature, and a separate thread for it should not
> have to be banished to the Collegium Graecum.
(Extra emphasis added.)


And then he raps me on the snout thusly:

> You really give me the idea a Romanofil doesn't support filhellens,
> that would be kind of denying history, now won't it .


Now, rapping a Wolf on the snout is generally considered a bad idea, in Rome as in Greece I'm sure. But since he's got my attention and I have yet to swallow him (Roman Discipline, y'know--handy thing, not going off until you can see the points of their pikes), I will tell him exactly how I feel about Grecophiles in a Roman place, and he has only himself to blame for drawing it out of me:

No, Alexander, I personally--key word personally--do not "support" philhellenes, philodendrons, Reconstructed/Reformed Mayans, or even my fellow dog-lovers in a Roman place, ** if ** their main or sole contribution to my experience there is to derail any ongoing Roman discussion and try to make it Greek, houseplantish, religiously Mesoamerican, or canine instead of Roman. There is room in a Roman forum for discussions on Greeks, houseplants, dogs (we have a Pets thread), and arguably Mesoamerica (depends on how strongly you believe in ancient ships being blown off-course). But in no case will I appreciate those or similar topics becoming the *main focus* of any thread I have started or have majorly participated in.

The strength of my feeling on this stems from my experiences in other classical organizations (not the OP, btw; they never spent enough time on classics to have this happen to them). What I have seen in these places is that, when any Greek element is introduced, it tends to swamp and very quickly take over the Roman element, to where there's nothing left for a Roman-in-Spirit to do but sit and listen to the Greeks prattle about how we of Rome owe them Everything and can't do Anything as skillfully as they. Is this the "history" you suspect me of wanting to deny...? Rather, I am sick of having my face rubbed in it, and I came here thinking that was much less likely to happen.

Right up until the discovery of Troy, Classical Studies itself basically meant Roman Studies in this country--dunno about others. Afterwards, everyone went Greco-lunatic, and now it is difficult to find Latin classes west of the Rockies, or real Roman majors offered west of the Mississippi. At best there may be a few Roman classes every other semester; at worst you can take a correspondence course. And this is at the University level. I own Latin primers that were issued to sixth-graders. But that was early in the last century, and you'd almost have to go Ivy League to get to read the same books now. What an embarrassment; and what a poverty of soul this can lead to, if one is indeed a Roman-in-Spirit.

I do not want to see this happen to me, and I do not want it to happen to the SVR. It is no part of my mission here to make anyone feel unwelcome, and if I have done so I apologize. But there are protocols to be observed anywhere on the 'Net, and customs that have arisen, and it is very wrong for someone who hasn't learned the houserules first to try to make the place into his own idea of what it ought to be.

So join us, Alexander; and share your research; and answer private mail privately, and don't put Greek words in a letter to a man who has already told you he doesn't know any, and remember, always, that most of those around you are Romans, and here to talk about Rome. With such small courtesies can you make your presence here enjoyable to all, and not incidentally mend fences with a certain Wolf who has still refrained from Biting you.

In amicitia et fide (In friendship and faith),
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Postby Anonymous on Mon Jun 23, 2003 12:47 am

Chaîre Marius,

I do not agree to everything you have said, but the only thing I've been trying to say, is that my aim is not to turn this discussion Greek, but neither to what it is now, because it is not contributing to our friendship at all!!! Now please! do continue your postings on Roman ranking! not only for you but for me aswell since I am sincerely very interested!

hoping to see you finally able to carry on,

Héllenos

MG: I'ld like to talk Latin aswell, furthermore, I invite you here: http://www.societasviaromana.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=325 at the "sona si Latine loqueris"-thread in the ColLat. Which I by the way started :twisted:
MMG: If filhellenoi are pushing away romanofiles in Texas, you must move to Belgium, where the oppisite is true 8)
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Cancel Christmas

Postby Aldus Marius on Wed Jul 02, 2003 1:34 am

Avete iterum, commilitones...

I regret to announce that, due to a personal tragedy, I will not be posting the officer and cavalry ranks as planned. I simply haven't the heart to put into the project at the moment. For the officers of the Legion, please see my essay, "Life with the Legions", in the ColMil's contributions section; the subject is given adequate coverage there. For the cavalry, you're on your own.

In fide, or best close approximation thereof...
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