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On this page: Exercitus

EXERCITUS.

On this we may remark —

1. That several legions bore the same number: thus there were four Firsts, five Seconds., and five Thirds.

2. The titles were derived from various circum­stances ; some indicated the deity under whose patronage the legions were placed, such as Minerma and Apollinaris ; some the country in which they had "been levied or recruited, as Italica, Mace-donica, Gattica; or the scene of their most bril­liant achievements, as Parthica, Scyiliica ; some the emperor under whom they had served or by whom they had been created, as Augusta, Flavia, Ulpia,; some a special service, as Glaudiana Pia Felix, applied to the 7th and llth, which had remained true to their allegiance during the rebellion of Camillas, praefect of Dalmatia, in the reign of Claudius (Dion Cass. Ix. 15) ; some, the fact that another legion had been incorporated with them ; at least, this is the explanation given by Dion Cassius of the epithet Gemina (AiSujua), and there seems little doubt that he is correct. (See Eckhel, vol. iv. p. 472.)

3. The same legions appear in certain cases to have been quartered in the same districts for cen­turies. Thus the Secunda Augusta, the Sexta Vie-trix, and the Vicesima Victrix, which were stationed in Britain when Dion drew up his statement, were there in the age of the Antonines, as we learn from Ptolemy (ii. 31), and the first of them as early as the reign of Claudius. (Tac. Hist. iii. 22, 24.)

4. The six legions of Augustus which had dis­appeared when Dion wrote, were probably the fol­lowing, whose existence in the early years of the empire can be demonstrated: Prima Germanica; Quarta Macedonica; Quinta Alauda; Nona His-pana; Decima Sexta Gallica ; Vigesima Prima Rapax ; besides these, it would seem that there was a second fifteenth and a twenty-second, both named Primigenia, and one of these ought, perhaps, to be substituted for the second twentieth in the above table, since the words of Dion with regard to the latter are very obscure and apparently corrupt.

5. We find notices also of a Prima Macriana Liberatrix raised in Africa, after the death of Nero, by Clodius Macer ; of a Decima Sexta Flavia Firma raised by Vespasian ; and of a Vigesima Secunda Deiotariana, apparently originally a foreign corps, raised by Deiotarus, which, eventually, like the Alauda of Caesar, was admitted to the name and privileges of a Roman legion.

6. It will be seen that the numbers XVII., XVIII., XIX. are altogether wanting in the above lists. We know that the XVIII. and XIX. were two of the legions commanded by Varus, and hence it is probable that the .XVII. was the third in that ill-fated host.

7. The total number of legions under Augustus was twenty-five, under Alexander Severus thirty-two, but during the civil wars the number was far greater. Thus, when the second triumvirate was formed the forces of the confederates were calcu­lated at forty-three legions, which, after the battle of Philippi, had dwindled down to twenty-eight (Appian, B. C. v. 6) ; but a few years afterwards, when war between Octavianus and M. Antonius was imminent, the former alone had upwards of forty legions, and his adversaries nearly the same. (Appian, B. C. v. 53.) In order that we may be able to form some idea of the magnitude of these and other armies, we must next consider

EXERCITUS. "4H3

T/ie number of fool soldiers in a Roman legion.— Although we can determine with tolerable certainty the number of soldiers who, at different periods, were contained in a legion, we must bear in mind that at no epoch does this number appear to have been absolutely fixed, but to have varied within mo­derate limits, especially when troops were required for some special or extraordinary service. The permanent changes may be referred to four epochs.

1. Under the Kings.—Varro (L. L. v. § 89) and Plutarch (Rom. 13), both of whom describe the first establishment of the legion, agree that under Romulus it contained 3000 foot soldiers. The words of Plutarch indeed, in a subsequent passage (Rom. 20), would, at first sight, appear to imply that after the junction with the Sabines the num­ber was raised to 6000 ; but he must be.understood to mean two legions, one from each nation. It is highly probable that some change may have been introduced by Servius Tullius, but, in so far as numbers are concerned, we have no evidence.

2. From the eocpulsion of the Kings until the second year of the second Punic War. — The regular num­ber during this space of time may be fixed at 4000 or 4200 infantry. According to Dionysius (vi. 42) M. Valerius, the brother of Publicola, raised two legions (b.c. 492), each consisting of 4000, and Livy, in the first passage, where he specifies the numbers in the legions (vi. 22, b. c. 378), reckons them at 4000, and a few years afterwards (vii. 25, b. c. 346) he tells us that legions were raised each containing 4200 foot soldiers, and 300 horse. The legion which possessed itself of Rhegium (b. c. 281—271) is described (Liv. xxviii. 28) as having consisted of 4000, and we find the same number in the first year of the second Punic War (Liv. xxi. 17, B. c. 218). Polybius, in like manner (i. 16), fixes the number at 4000 in the second year of the first Punic War (b. c. 263), and again in the first year of the second Punic War (iii. 72, B. c. 218). In the war against Veii, however, when the Romans put forth all their energies, ac­cording to Dionysius (ix. 13), an army was raised of 20,000 infantry and 1200 cavalry, divided into four legions ; and, according to Polybius (ii. 24), in the war against the Gauls, which preceded the second Punic War, the legions of the consuls con­sisted of 5200 infantry, while those serving in Sicily and Tarentum contained 4200 only, a proof that the latter was the ordinary number.

3. From the second year of the second Punic War until the consulship of Marius. — During this interval the ordinary number may be fixed at from 5000 to 5200. Polybius, indeed, in his treatise on Roman warfare, lays it down (vi. 20) that the legion consists of 4200 foot sol­diers, and in cases of peculiar danger of 5000. However, the whole of the space we are now con­sidering, was in fact a period of extraordinary exertion, and hence from the year b. c. 216, we shall scarcely find the number stated under 5000 (e. g. Polyb. iii. 107, Liv. xxii. 36, xxvi. 28, xxxix. 38), and after the commencement of the Ligurian war it seems to have been raised to 5200 (Liv. xl. 1, 18, 36, xli. 9, but in xli. 21 it is again 5000). The two legions which passed over into Africa under Scipio (b. c. 204) contained each 6200 (Liv. xxix. 24), those which served against Antiochus 5400 (Liv. xxxvii. 39), those employed in the last Macedonian war 6000 (Liv. xlii. 31, xliv. 21, comp. xliii. 12), but these were special cases.

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