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EQUITES 100.00%
The equites were originally a real division of the Roman army. At the beginning of the kingly period they were called celeres, and their number is said to have been 300, chosen in equal parts from the three tribes of the Ramnes, Tities, and Luceres. A hundred formed a centuria, each centuria being named after the tribe from which it was taken. Thirty made a turma, and ten were under the command of a decurio, while thewhole corps was commanded by the tribunus celerum. During the course of the kingly period the body of equites was increased to six centuriae, and the constitution of Servius Tullius finally raised it to eighteen. When the twelve new centuries were formed, consisting of the richest persons in the state, whose income exceeded that of the first class in the census, the corps of equites lost the exclusively patrician character which had hitherto distinguished it. At the same time its military importance was diminished, as it no longer formed the first rank, but took up a position on the wings of the phalanx (see LEGIO). The equites, however, retained both in the state and in the army their personal prestige. In the comitia they voted first, and in centurioe of their own. They were the most distinguished troops in the army. No other soldiers were in a position to keep two horses and a groom apiece, a costly luxury, although they received an allowance for the purchase and keep of their horse. After the introduction of the pay system they received three times as much as the ordinary troops; on occasion of a triumph three times the ordinary share of booty; and at the foundation of a colony a much larger allotment than the ordinary colonist. The 1,800 equites equo publica, or equites whose horse was purchased and kept by the state, were chosen every five years, at the census. The election was carried out in the republican period originally by the consuls, but in later times by the censors. After the general census was completed, the censors proceeded to review the equites (recognitio). They were arranged according to their tribes, and each of them, leading his horse by the hand, passed before the tribunal of the censors in the forum. All who had served their time, and who were physically incapacitated, received their discharge. If an eques were judged unworthy of his position, he was dismissed with the words: "Sell your horse" (Vende equum). If there were nothing against him, he was passed on with the words Traduc equum ("lead your horse past"). The vacancies were then filled up with suitable candidates, and the new list (album equitum) read aloud. In later times, the eques whose name was first read out was called princeps iuventutis (see PRINCEPS). During their time of service (aetat. 17-46) the equites were beund to serve in a number of campaigns not exceeding ten. Their service expired, they passed into the first censorial class. The senators alone among the equites were, in earlier times, allowed to keep their equus publicus, their name on the roll, and their rights as equites unimpaired. But of this privilege the senators were deprived in the time of the Gracchi. The number of the equites equo publico remained the same, as no addition was made to the sum expended by the state on the horses. Young men of property sometimes served on their own horses (equo privato) without any share in the political privileges of the equites. After the Second Punic war the body of equites gradually lost its military position, and finally ceased to exist as a special troop. In the 1st century B.C. the members of the equestrian centuriae only served in the cohors praetoria of the general, or in the capacity of military tribunes and praefecti of cohorts. The wealthy class, who were in possession of the large capital which enabled them to undertake the farming of the public revenues, and who consequently had the opportunity of enriching themselves still further, had long enjoyed a very influential position. In 123 B.C. the lex iudiciaria of Gaius Gracchus transferred to the possessors of the equestrian census (400,000 sestertii, or about £3,500) to right to sit on juries, which had previously belonged exclusively to members of the senate. Thus an ordo equester or third order, standing between the senate and the people, was formed, which began to play an important part in politics. Its members were called equites even if they were not enrolled in the centuriae equitum. The contests between the senate and the equites for the exclusive right to sit on the juries, continued with varying fortunes until the end of the Republic. Augustus allowed the ordo equester to continue in existence as a class in possession of a certain income; but the old fiscal and judicial system came to an end, and the ordo accordingly lost all its former importance. On the other hand, the equites proper rose into a position of great consideration. They were divided into six turmae, headed by an imperial prince as princeps iuventutis. True, they had no further standing as a corporation: but the emperor employed them in a variety of confidential posts. The title eques equo1 publico was necessary for the attainment of the office of military tribune, and for a number of the most important military posts. The power of conferring or withdrawing the title came at length to rest with the emperor alone. The review of the equites, which used to take place every five years, now became a mere ceremony, and was united by Augustus with the ancient annual parade (transvectio) of the 15th July. The equites, in full uniform, rode through the Forum to the Capitol, past the temple of Mars or Honos. After the transference of the seat of government to Constantinople, the turmae equitum sank into the position of a city corporation, standing between the senate and the guilds, and in possession of special privileges. The insignia of the equites were a gold ring and a narrow purple border on the tunic (see TUNICA). At the transvectio they wore the trabea, a mantle adorned with purple stripes, and crowns of olive. From 67 B.C. the fourteen first rows were assigned to them honoris causa.
LEGION 65.54%
In the time of Romulus the united armed forces of Rome went by this name. The legion consisted of 300 knights (celeres) under the command of a tribunus celerum, appointed by the king, and 3,000 foot soldiers, under the command of three tribuni militum. Each of the three ancient tribes provided a third of this force and one tribune. With the increase of the military forces of Rome the name of legio was given to each of the sub-divisions equivalent in numbers to the original army. The military system of king Servius Tullius made the infantry the most important part of the military forces, instead of the cavalry as heretofore. The five classes included in the census (q.v.) were obliged to serve in the army at their own expense; those who were not comprised in these classes, viz. the proletarii, were freed from service, and, when they were enlisted, received their equipment from the State. The iuniores, those who were from 17 to 46 years old, were appointed for field service, and the seniores, those from 47 to 60, for the defence of the city. The first and second lines of the legion, drawn up in unbroken order like the Greek phalanx, consisted of citizens of the first class, equipped with helmet, cuirass, round shield (clipeus), and greaves, all of bronze. The third and fourth lines were from the second class, and had no cuirass, but had the helmet and greaves and large oblong shields (scutum). The fifth and sixth were armed similarly, but without greaves, and were drawn from the third class. The fourth class was armed with the scutum as its only weapon of defence, but, like the others, provided with spear (hasta) and sword. It either filled the seventh and eighth lines, or, with the fifth class, formed the rorarii, who opened the battle with slings and other light missiles. An impontant alteration, ascribed to Camillus (about B.C. 390), was the abolition of the phalanx and introduction of the manipular formation, which prevailed till the time of Marius (end of the 2nd century B.C.). In the flourishing days of the Republic, the normal strength of a legion, which could be increased in time of need, consisted of 300 knights (equites), and 4,200 foot soldiers (pedites). In respect to the weapons used, the latter were divided into four kinds, according to their length of service and familiarity with warfare. (1) 1,200 hastati, all in early manhood; (2) 1,200 principes, in the full vigour of life; (3) 600 triarii, who were proved veterans; and (4) 1,200 velites, who were lightly armed, and were drawn from the lowest classes of the census. The three first classes had a bronze helmet (cassis) with a lofty plume of feathers, a scutum, a leathern cuirass (lorica, q.v. ), greaves and a sword (gladius), which, after the second Punic War was of the Spanish kind, being short, strong, and two-edged, fitted for thrusting rather than cutting, and worn on the right side. There was also a spear, which in the two first divisions was a pilum (q.v.), and among the triarii a lance [Polyb. vi 23). The velites were armed with a leather helmet (galea), a light shield (parma), and a sword and several light javelins. The 3,000 heavily armed men were divided into 30 manipuli, numbering 120 men each among the hastati and principes, and 60 each among the triarii, and were again subdivided into two bodies called centuriae, and led by centurions (q.v.). Of the 1,200 velites, 20 were allotted to each century, and they formed the final complement of each maniple. On the field of battle the maniples were drawn up in open order, separated laterally from one another by intervals corresponding to the breadth of each maniple in front. The arrangement of the maniples would thus resemble that of the black squares on a chessboard. They fell into three divisions; the hastati in the front rank, with the principes behind them, and the triarii in the rear. If the first division, the hastati, were compelled to give way, then the second division, the principes, advanced through the intervals t by the maniples of the first division; if the principes in their turn had to retreat, then the third division, the triarii, who had been previously kneeling, protected by their shields, allowed the hastati and principes to fall back into the intervals separating the maniples of the triarii, and themselves closing their ranks pressed forward to meet the enemy. The 300 knights of the legion were divided into 10 turmae of 30 men each, and were equipped with a bronze cuirass, leathern greaves, helmet, shield, a long sword for attacking, and a long lance provided at both ends with an iron point. Each turma was under three decurions and three underofficers (optiones). The legion as a whole was under the command of six tribuni militum (q.v.) The consular army consisted of two legions. Four legions were regularly levied in each year; in other words, 16,800 foot soldiers and 1,200 cavalry. This levy of citizens was further swelled by the Italian allies (socii), a body of 20,000 foot soldiers and 3,600 cavalry, thus adding to each of the two consular armies 10,000 foot soldiers and 1,800 cavalry. The former were in twenty cohorts (see COHORS), each consisting of 420 men. Ten of these cohorts fought on the right wing, and ten on the left wing of the legions. Besides these, four cohorts of 400 men each were formed into a picked body. The cavalry were in six squadrons (See ALA, 1) of 300 men each. Four of these belonged to the main army, and two to the picked body. In wars beyond the limits of Italy there were also auxiliary forces (auxilia), consisting either of soldiers raised in the country where the war was being carried on, or of light-armed troops furnished by allied kings and nations. Besides the ordinary component parts of the legion there was also the bodyguard of the commander-in-chief, the cohors proetoria. (See COHORS.) In the course of the 1st century B.C. the organization of the legion was essentially altered. In the first place, in the time of Marius, the census ceased to be the basis of the levy, and all the citizens collectively were placed on the same footing in respect to their military service and the uniform which they wore. All the soldiers of the legion alike received the heavy equipment and the pilum, while the light-armed velites were done away with. After the right of citizenship had been conferred on the Italian allies, these no longer formed a separate part of the legions, but were incorporated with them. Thus the Roman army now consisted only of heavy-armed legions and of light-armed auxiliary troops. The latter were partly raised in the provinces and divide into cohorts, and partly enlisted as slingers and archers. The cavalry of the legions ceased to exist. Like the light-armed soldiers, the whole of the cavalry consisted of auxiliary troops, who were partly enlisted and partly levied from the provinces, while some were supplied according to agreement by allied nations and princes. A further important novelty introduced by Marius was the use of the cohort-formation, instead of the maniple-formation, which broke up the front too much. The legion was now divided into ten cohorts, in each of which there were three maniples of hastati, principes, and triarii, designations which now only concern the relative rank of the six centurions of the cohort. The customary battle array was in three divisions, the first being formed of four cohorts, and the second and third of three each. Again, while in earlier times the obligation of service extended at the most in the infantry to twenty campaigns and in the cavalry to ten, from the days of Marius the soldier remained uninterruptedly for twenty years with the army; an earlier dismissal being only exceptional. For this reason the well-to-do classes sought to withdraw themselves from the general military service, and it thus came to pass that the legions were for the greater part manned by means of conscriptions from the lowest strata of the burgher population of Italy, in which the service was regarded simply as a means of livelihood. Thus from the original army of citizens there was gradually developed a standing army of mercenaries. Under the Empire we find what is really a standing army, bound to the emperor by oath (see SACRAMENTUM); apart from the legions this army consisted of the auxilia (q.v.), the guards stationed in Rome and the neighbourhood (see PRAeTORIANI), and the city-cohorts (see COHORS), the artillery and the corps of workmen (see FABRI), the marines (see CLASSIARII), and the municipal and provincial militia. The legions are now once more provided with a corps of cavalry 120 strong, and are designated not only by numbers, but also by distinctive names. Together with the auxiliary troops they form the garrison of the imperatorial provinces under the command of the imperatorial legati legionum (see LEGATI), whose place was taken in the middle of the 3rd century by the praefecti legionum (see PRAeFECTI.). The strength of the legion now amounted to 5-6,000 men, raised partly by a regular levy, partly by drawing recruits from the Roman citizens of all the provinces beyond the bounds of Italy. As under the Republic, it was divided into 10 cohorts of 6 centuries each; the first cohort was, however, twice the strength of the remainder. It was not until the second half of the 3rd century A.D. that a now division of the 10 cohorts into 55 centuries came into use, with 10 centuries in the first cohort, and 5 in each of the rest. At the death of Augustus, the number of the legions was 25; it was then increased to 30, and this number was maintained until the end of the 2nd century, when three new legions were added by Septimius Severus. From the beginning of the 4th century it gradually rose to about 175, each of them, however, mustering a considerably smaller contingent. Incourse, of time, and especially after the 2nd century, owing to the conflicts with the barbarians, the legion was drawn up more and more after the manner of the Greek phalanx, without intervals in its line and with a division of troops in its rear. In its equipment there was an important alteration beginning with the second half of the 3rd century, when ad the soldiers of the legion carried long swords (Spathae), and the first five cohorts two pila, one larger and another smaller, while the last five had lanceae, or javelins serving as missiles, and fitted with a leather loop to help in hurling them with precision. The military music of the Romans was provided by tubicines (see TUBA.), cornicines (See CORNICEN), bucinatores (see BUCINA), and liticines (see LITUUS, 2). On standards or ensigns, see SIGNUM and VEXILLUM. On levy, oath of allegiance, pay, and discharge from service, see DILECTUS, SACRAMENTUM, STIPENDIUM, and MISSIO. The accompanying cut (from the Column of Trajan) represents the soldiers of a legion on the march, carrying their helmets close to the right shoulder, and their kit at the top of a pole resting on the left.
Type: Standard
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