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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 cohortes of 420 men each, called cohortes alares, because, in time of battle, they formed the wings (aloe) of the two combined legions; (b) four cohortes, extraordindrioe, 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 manipuli or six centurioe. In the imperial times, the auxiliary troops assigned to the legions stationed in the provinces were also divided into cohorts ( cohortes auxillarioe). These cohorts contained either 500 men (=5 centurioe), or 1,000 men(= 10 centurioe). They consisted either entirely of infantry, or partly of cavalry (380 infantry + 120 cavalry, 760 infantry + 240 cavalry). For the coinmanders of these cohorts, see PRAeFECTUS. The troops stationed in Rome were also numbered according to cohortes. (1) The cohortes proetorioe, 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 PRAeTORIANI ). The institution of a body-guard was due to Augustus, and was a development of the cohors proetoria, 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 proetores. This cohors proetoria 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 proetoria, it was made up partly of infantry, who were mainly veterans, partly of picked cavalry of the allies, and partly of Roman equites, who usually served their tirocinium, or first year, in this way. (2) Three and in later times four, cohortes urbanoe, consisting each of 1,000 men, were placed under the command of the proefectus urbi . They had separate barracks, but ranked below the body-guard, and above the legionaries. (3) Seven cohortes vigilum, of 1,000 men each, were under the command of the proefectus vigilum. These formed the night police and fire-brigade, and were distributed throughout the city, one to every two of the fourteen regiones.
Type: Standard
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