The Ancient Library

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On this page: Cognatio – Cognomen – Cohors – Coinage



called from the fiction of a purchase sup­posed to take place on the occasion. In the presence of five witnesses and a librtpens, or holder of the balance, the bridegroom struck the balance with a bronze coin, which he handed to the father or guardian of the bride. At the same time he asked her whether she would be his wife, and she, in turn, asked him whether he would be her husband.

Cognatld. TheLatin word for relation­ship. Cognatio included relationship on both the father's and mother's side, while agnatto implied relationship on the father's side only (see agnatio). Agnatio in­volved legal duties and rights, while cog-natio, originally at least, brought with it only moral obligations. Cognati to the sixth degree had the right of kissing each other (ius oscull), and also the right of refusing to appear as witnesses against each other in a court of law. On the other hand, cognati were forbidden by custom, at least in the earlier times, to intermarry, or to appear in court against each other as ac­cusers. When a man died, his cognati were expected to put on mourning for him. In course of time the cognati gradually ac­quired the rights proper to agnati. But natural relationship did not win full recog­nition until the time of Justinian, by whose legislation the rights of agnati were abol­ished.

Cognomen. See names.

Cohors. A division of the Roman army. In the republican age the word was specially applied to the divisions con­tributed by the Italian allies. Down to 89 b.c., when the Italians obtained the Roman citizenship, they were bound to supply an infantry contingent to each of the two consular armies, which consisted of two legions apiece. This contingent num­bered in all 10,000 infantry, divided into : (a) 20 cohortfs of 420 men each, called cohortes aldres, because, in time of battle, they formed the wings (dice) of the two combined legions ; (6) four cohortes extra-orcKnarlae, or select cohorts of 400 men each.

From about the beginning of the 1st century B.C., the Roman legion, averaging 4,000 men, was also divided into ten cohortes, each containing three maritpull or six centuries. In the imperial times, the auxiliary troops assigned to the legions stationed in the provinces were also divided into cohorts (cohortes auxUKdrlce). These cohorts contained either 500 men ( = 5 cen- ,

turice), or 1,000 men (= 10 centurice). They consisted either entirely of infantry, or partly of cavalry (380 infantry +120 cavalry, 760 infantry + 240 cavalry). For the com­manders of these cohorts, see pr.^fectus. The troops stationed in Rome were also numbered according to cohortes. (1) The : cohortes prcetoriw, originally nine, but afterwards ten in number, which formed the imperial body-guard. Each cohort con­sisted of 1,000 men, including infantry and cavalry (see pr.etoriani). The institu­tion of a body-guard was due to Augustus, and was a development of the cohors prce-toria, or body-guard of the republican generals. Its title shows that it was as old as the time when the consuls bore the name of pr&tdres. This cohors prcetoria was originally formed exclusively of cavalry, mainly of equestrian rank. But towards the end of the republican age, when every independent commander had his own cohors prcetoria, it was made up partly of infantry, who were mainly veterans, partly of picked cavalry of the allies, and partly of Roman Squltes, who usually served their tlrd-titnlum, or first year, in this way. (2) Three and in later times four, cohortes urbance, consisting each of 1,000 men, were placed under the command of the prcefectus urbi. They had separate barracks, but ranked below the body-guard, and above the legionaries. (3) Seven cohortes vigllum, of 1,000 men each, were under the command of the prmfectus vigilum. These formed the night police and fire-brigade, and were distributed throughout the city, one to every two of the fourteen regiones.

Coinage. (1) Greek. As late aa the Homeric age, cattle, especially oxen, served as a medium of exchange, as well as a standard of price [11. xi 211, xxi 385). We find, however, that the metals were put to the same use, their value being decided by their weight as determined by a balance. The weight, as well as the balance, was called tdlanton. [It is probable that the gold talanton of Homer weighed two drachmae, and was equivalent in value to an ox; see Ridgeway, in Journal Hell. Studies viii 133.] The idea of giving the metal used in exchange a form corresponding to its re­quirements is no doubt an early one. The date of the introduction of a coinage in the proper sense, with an official stamp to denote its value and obviate the necessity of weighing the metal, cannot now be deter­mined. But as early as the 6th century b.c. we find a highly developed and artistic

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