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In the older constitution of the Roman army, the accensi were men taken from the lowest assessed class to fill gaps in the ranks of the heavy-armed soldiers. They followed the legion unarmed, simply in their clothes (velati, or accensi velati). In action they stood in the rear rank of the third line, ready to pick up the arms of the fallen and fill their places. They were also used as assistant workmen and as orderlies. This last employment may have caused the term accensus to be applied to the subordinate officer whom consuls and proconsuls, praetors and propaetors, and all officers of consular and praetorian rank had at their service in addition to lictors. In later times officers chose these attendants out of their own freedmen, sometimes to marshal their way when they bad nolictorsor had them marching behind, sometimes for miscellaneous duties. Thus the praetor's accensus had to cry the hours of the day, 3, 6, 9, and 12. Unlike the subordinate officers named apparitors, their term of office expired with that of their superior.
Type: Standard
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