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Faculty of Arts University of Blrmthgham Edgbaston Birmingham B15 2TT October 1991


This thesis was written without access to Hoffman's Die Sptrmische Bewegungsheer das Rmischen Heeres (1967), which addresses several of the points discussed concerning the late Third Century. It is recommended reading. p.24 'Julius Verus' should read 'Lucius Verus'.

MAP 2: I am grateful to Dr Roger Tomlin for clarifring certain points: Aquileia (unit #3) was a vexillation staging post, and the reference probably alludes to this; Unit #5 dates from the reign of Marcus Aurelius; Unit #7 is most probably numeri from a Constantinian battle. This in no way invalidates my central point that the so-called 'flying columns' were more likely to have been part of a long-standing tradition of ad hoc vexillation for defensive purposes than a systematic precursor to the Comitatus. p.159 The Equites Campani actually date from the Fourth Century BC (Tomlin pers. ref). p.190 1RT88 is the same inscription as that discussed by Goodchild. p.214 cf. Kennedy in Britannia 14 about Vellius Rufus. p.303 itauta is more likely to read ircxu'rcov.


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Syr.cp Current thinking concerning the third century Roman army is coloured by en over-reliance upon fourth century sources. This dissertation rectifies that imbalance by examining each individual institution from a third century viewpoint. Part 1 examines the math trends, with a necessarily speculative look at the role of manpower, and a refutation of the concept of a mobile cavalry field army. Parts 2 and 3 describe how these trends affected individual troop types within the Roman army; in particular the extent to which late Roman institutions, such as the equites of the Notitia Dignitatum, limitanei and barbarian foederati, can be identified in the third century. They also chart the rise of 'ethnic' units during the period, Part 4 discusses the rise of the viz-i militares and their encroachment into provincial government. It outlines the development of the protectores within this background. Finally, virtue Illyrici is placed into its proper context. In military terms, the reign of Gallienus is seen as the turning point of the century. He streamlined the Roman career-structure, allowing experienced equestrians to rise into vital military posts, and integrated cavalry and permanent vexillations into the existing army, utilising a strategy of defence-in-depth. The unconscious adherence to his principles by his successors is seen as a major factor In the restabilisation of the empire.


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To Mum, for faith.


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Ac K ri cwl d mri t
The structure and function of the Roman army, and the monumental changes that were occurring within Roman society during the third century AD, have long been a subject of fascination for me. It seemed only natural, therefore, that Dr Simon Esmonde-Cleary should suggest the development of the Roman army during the third century as a fit study for his supervision of my Doctoral dissertation. Throughout the subsequent five years of research, the freedom he has given me to follow my instincts have been greatly appreciated. Always freely available with advice, suggestions and exhaustive criticism, his wholehearted support of some of my more controversial attitudes has at times added courage to my convictions which might otherwise have been lacking. I would also like to express my thanks to Dr Martin Goodman, whose continued encouragement was at times an anchor which held me to my task. Dr Stephen Halliwell was kind enough to read several of the more important Greek inscriptions in order to clarify some detailed points of translation which had troubled me, though any errors of interpret&ion which arise from this are mine alone, Dr Nick Mimer in Oxford showed great patience at my constant barrage of questions concerning Vegetius, and Andy Briggs provided chats beyond number, always therapeutic, at times inspirational. Many members of the School of Antiquity at the University of Birmingham maintained a friendly interest in my work, most especially Dr Chris Wickham, Dr Susan Limbrey, and our stalwart secretary, Valerie. Special thanks is due to Dr Susan Fischler, who since her arrival In the department has provided every support and who was Instrumental in introducing me to the postgraduate community at Oxford. From Oxford, Dr Hugh Elton read and commented upon some of my material and kept me informed of events which were to prove both interesting and useful. The members of the Oxford Late Roman Seminar and the Birmingham Ancient History Postgraduate Seminar heard and discussed a draft version of my chapter Contra Comitatum. Their stimulating conversation was to prompt some of the points made in my chapters on the cavalry. Outside the academic world, I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Lynn Jackson, whose encouragement and friendship have been the mainstays that held me to my course. To her and the many friends who expressed an interest in my "essay thingy", I give my heartfelt thanks. Finally, I would like to thank Miss Adams, my old maths teacher; RJ. Unstead; Peter Connolly; Mary Renault; Rosemary Suttcliffe; Henry Treece and Messrs. Goscinny and Uderzo, each of whom played no small part in setting my feet upon the road down which I have embarked.

M.C. Ibeji.

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Introduction PART 1: THE TRENDS I: Historia II: Manpower III: Contra Comitatum PART 2: THE TRADITIONAL UNITS IV: Legiones V: Auxilia Numerique PART 3: THE 'NEW' UNITS VI: Vexillationes VII: Equites VIII: Limitanei IX: Foederati PART 4: THE OFFICERS X: Viri Militares XI: Protectores GENERAL CONCLUSIONS XII: Virtus Illyrici Gallieni APPENDICES 1: The Antiqua Leglo of Vegetius 2: Traianus Mucianus Addendum BIBLIOGRAPHY & Abbreviations

26 42 57

76 96

135 159 182 194

202 244


306 309 312


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Al: Auxiliary units first appearing after AD 161 A2: A3: Auxiliary units of dubious date or provenance

124 127

Auxiliaries surviving into the notitia Dignitatum 128

A4. : Units in the Notitia possibly related to earlier Auxilia_132 AS: Results from Tables A3 & A4 Vi: Vexillatioris prior to Marcus Aurelius V2: Vexillations of Marcus and Commodus V3: Vexillations of Severus & Caracalla 134 154 156 157 158

V4: Vexillations from AD 217-284 - El: Equites units in the

E2: Equites

Notitia Dignitetum per Orientern_179

units in the Notitia Dignitatum per' Occidentezn_180 181 235 241 242 243 287 288 289 290 291


The equites Promoti and the Legions

VM1: Provincial Governors VM2: Praefecti Legionum VM3: Duces VM4: Survey Results P1: P2: P3: P4: Protectores Gallieni Augusti Nostri The Generals of Galllenus Ducenar'ii Protec'tores Centur'io Protector

PS: Protectores Diocletiani P6: P7:

Other protectores for whom some career record survives2g2 Non-protectorate Equestrian Careers c.250-284 293


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Map 1: The Roman Empire and it Neighbours in the C3 AD preceding p.1

Map 2: The Garrison of Italy In the Late C3 facIng p.66

Map 3: Attested Garrisons and Fortifications AD 253-c.284 between pp.300 & 301

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A History of Rome by M, Cary and H.H. Scullard is a standard student text, over 500 pages long, spanning the period from Pre-Roman Italy to the deposition of Romulus Augustulus In AD 476. The third century, from the reign of Septimius Severus to the accession of Diocletian (AD 193-284), is covered in Just twenty-six short pages, from page 490 to page 516. Yet within that span, the Roman empire had undergone such an earth-shattering crisis that In order to survive it had been forced to modify the very foundations upon which it was based. Not least among them was the Roman army, the development of which was to have direct repercussions upon other institutions, most notably taxation and provincial government. That the history of such a transitional century should receive such cursory treatment is hardly surprising given the nature of the evidence. Only two contemporary histories are extant, both of which terminate after the Seven, and their contlnuators survive only


fragments or in epitomes.

Other methods of investigation are equally unrewarding. Archaeology has yielded little until recently; the epigraphic record remains a mainstay, but is much sparser than for previous centuries; and numismatics, while lauded by some, remains severely limited as a tool of research 1 . Faced with such a dearth of material, early investigators were forced to rely on later sources of information, dating mainly from the fourth century but extending as far as the twelfth, with predictable consequences.

1, All types of evidence are discussed below, p 4ff1 1--

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Scholarly interest among military commentators turned to the third century


the early 1900s. The German historians most active in the field

were especially concerned to identify the roots of the later Roman army in this period. They saw a military institution transformed under Diocletlan and Constantine from a predominantly infantry force arranged along the frontiers, into a two-tier structure, with mobile elite troops stationed in the hinterland (the comitatenses) and second-class soldiers remaining on the frontiers (the limitanei and ripenses). Naturally, given the nature of thefr sources which freely used late Roman terminology when talking about earlier institutions, they assumed that this structure had taken shape 1n the midthird century. Two seminal works, by Ritterling and Grosse', gave voice to that assumption and were swiftly followed by other scholars 2 until the ideas they embodied became the orthodox canon. That canon has been transmitted to the present day by a series of eminent historians, who did not think to question the basis upon which it was made. That basis is unsound, though through no fault of those early pioneers. Ritterlthg and Grosse had meagre resources upon which to rely. The

authorship of the Historia Augusta had only Just come into question, and the debate about its date and historical reliablility was still raging into the 193Os. Their only other useful sources were the Greek epitomators, Zosimus

1, Ritterling, 'Zue rmischen Heerwesen des ausgehenden III Sahrhunderts', (1903), 345ff; Grosse,

Raische Militrgescli/chte on ealileiws b/s


Pest, 0, Hirsc/?feIds BegLn der byzantin/shen

Theaenverfassung (1920),
2, eg: Alfldi, 'Der Usurpator Aureolus und die Kavalleriereform des Gallienus', Z(N37 (1927), 156ff; Aitheim,

Ole Soidatenkaiser (1939), Heaes 24 (1889), 337ff, & Heraes 27(1892), The Historla Augista, its date and

3, For an indication of the confused state of thought in 1939 cf, CA//UI (1939) 710f & 730, Key papers in the argument of the time are: Dessau in

561ff; Mommsen in 6e5, Scrift, 7 (1909), 302ff; and N, Baynes,

pwrpose (1926), 2-

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and Zonaras, whose work was coloured by later Roman thinking. It was little wonder, then, that they were to take those typically late Roman documents, the Notitia Dignitat urn and the Epitoma Rei Militaris of Vegetius 1 and swallow them wholesale, transporting their institutions back into the third century. Current thinking concerning the third century is therefore coloured by an over-reliance upon fourth century sources. This dissertation has set out to rectify that imbalance by examining each individual institution from a third century viewpoint, before looking to see how it relates to the later Roman empire. Part 1 is an examination of the main trends which dominated the century, with a necessarily speculative look at the role of manpower in the third century equation, and a refutation of the concept of a mobile cavalry field army. Parts 2 and 3 describe how these trends affected

individual troop types found within the Roman army. They are particularly concerned with the extent to which late Roman institutions, such as the equites of the Notitia Dignitat urn, and the

and barbarian foederati,

can be identified in the third century. As a secondary theme, they chart the rise of 'ethnic' units during the period. Part 4 discusses the tangential topic of the rise of the vir-i milit ares and their encroachment into provincial government. It outlines the institution and development of the protectores within this background. Specific conclusions have been reached throughout the document. A general conclusion rounds it off by placing
virtus Illyrici into its proper context. Various

topics proved outside the

scope of this study in its final form, most especially the effect of the army on the economy of the empire and the development of the Primipilate with

1. Vegetius had not yet come into question, Ct, App 1: 'The Antiqzia Leg/c of Vegetius',


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reference to the annona mi1itarie I hope to pursue these studies at a later date.

With such a premise as Its starting point, the first task of this study must be to examine the source material in an effort to determine what can be trusted, what cannot, and just how much different types of evidence can tell us about the subject in question. A note of caution Is in order, best expressed by Millar In the introduction to his Study of Cassius Dic
In plain terms, we do not know enough about how ancient historians worked, We have no grounds

for general assumptions about what an ancient historian would do when using one or more existing

works as sources of material, or how he would redeploy that material in composing his own

narrative,,,,,,Source-criticism is mere speculation, and its results often no more than the

product of the assumptions with which the examination of a text was begun.1

This was never more true than in the postulation of lost sources upon which extant ancient historical texts are thought to have relied. Five such sources are suggested for writers about the third century. Three are named, with independent corroboration, and can therefore be inserted into the chronological framework on which this discussion will hang 2 . The two

remaining anonymi require a brief discussion now, before they can be used with reference to later, known, works. The first of these is the lost Kaisergeschichte ( KG) postulated by Enmann In 1883. This has been seen as the main source for Aurelius Victor,

1, Millar,

Study of Cassius Dio

(1963), viii,

2, Marius Maximus, discussed below p,1Of Dexippus, ph: Eunapius, p13?,

Enmann in

Deutsche Literuturzeitung4 (1883), 861, & Philoiogus, Supp,4 (1884),



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Eutropius, and the Histoi-ia Augusta. It also seems likely that it was known by Festus, Jerome and the Epitome of Victor. The argument hinges upon a comparison of Victor and Eutropius, whose work is so similar in content and form that one must either have copied the other, or both must have been relying on a single main source. Victor cannot have copied Eutropius, who was writing after him, and since Eutropius contains the bare bones of Victor's account without any of his accretions, the existence of the KG seems the most likely hypothesis. It probably went as far as AD 337, since the similarities between Victor and Eutropius stop at the death of Constantine, Nor was it entirely accurate, its most blatant mistakes being the existence of two Gordians instead of three, and a fictitious battle at the Milvian Bridge in AD 193 (which strongly advocates its placement after 312)1, The influence of the KG upon the Latin epitomators seems to me proven; but I am less convinced that it was known to the Historia Augusta. Barnes' arguments are unconvincing, proving only that, contrary to his unsupported assertion, the Histor'ia Augusta probably did know Jerome 2 . Only his third point, the independently corroborated extra information in the I-Li st aria Augusta's account of Carus' Persian war, can be used to prove that it had an independent source. Since "Victor, Eutropius, Festus, Jerome and the Histaria Augusta describe Carus' expedition in closely similar wording, It should be

1, The best and most convincing summary of this argument can be found in Barnes,

Sources of the Sources


//istoria Augusta, Collections Latcius 155 (1978), of the HA,


2, Barnes states baldly that 'there is no sign that the

Historia Augusta

knows Jerome':

91, However, Syme had already demonstrated that, while one could not prove the


extensively from Jerome, it was likely that it was familiar with his work:

Aaiianus and the Historia

Augusta (1968),

80ff, With the single exception of S//A

Aur, XXXV 4,

all references cited by Barnes in

his first two points merely strengthen the view that the

had read Jerome and the other Latin

epitomators, Barnes' statement that this reference 'may be accepted as authentic even in default of explicit confirmation,' simply will not do, given the S/IA's proven track record, 5-

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deduced" not "that the Historia Augusta has consulted the KG directly" 1 , but that any information not common to all four epitomes (believed to have used the KG) came from a completely different source, and that the Hist aria Augusta used the epitomes as the basis for the account, onto which it grafted the added information it had gleaned. The other lost source, Ignotus, also relates to the Historia Augusta. Syme and Barnes maintain that the early Vitae of the H/st aria Augusta contain a core of sober and conscientious biography which must have been drawn from a "good biographer" writing up to the death of Caracalla, whom they have styled as 'Ignotus' 2 . The main challenge to their hypothesis comes from a school of thought which believes that Ignotus is rendered unnecessary by the known biographer, Marius fvlaximus, and that it was he who was the main source for the early Vitae3 . The proponents of Ignotus have

demonstrated convincingly that this was not the case. Marius Maximus was a secondary source grafted onto the early lives to liven them up, and any assumption to the contrary requires "a large number of ad hoc hypotheses if its inherent difficulties are to be surmounted" 4 , However, the argument in favour of Ignotus and against Marius Maximus also requires a number of ad hoc hypotheses and is in places both thin and contradictorys.

1, Barnes, 2, Syme, 3,

Source5 o1 114 97, ,aaianus and the MQ,



A, Birley,

Severus (1971),

&iperors and Biography (1971), 30ff; Barnes, op. cit,, 101ff, 308ff: A, Cameron in IRS 61 (1971), 262ff: J


4, Barnes, locc, cut,; Syme, Rubin in

Die Epitoie de Caesar/bus (1974), 124ff, 4aianus and the 114

(1974), 233 summarises both arguments,

Eaperors and Biography, 45ff

and the

& 112; Z,

IRS 64

5, Compare Syme,

The provision of dates by

Eaperors and Biography, 46f to Barne5 lOif on Marius Maximus Ignotus is 'to be presumed accurate', except where they are


manifestly wrong

(ie, the birth of Severus: Syme, op. cit,, 42; Barnes, 19f), and the erratic nature of his genealogies are automatically put down to abridgement, NB: Ignotus is never named as a source by the SHA, which names Maximus 29 times, This discrepancy cannot just be ignored. 6-

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Perhaps the most dangerous of these hypotheses is best expressed by Barnes:

,,Given his observable inclinations, he (the

Scriptor Historiae Q/gustde3 will

probably have

transcribed a single source, or series of sources, to which he added as he pleased, often from

his own head, sometimes on a later revision, and sometimes from another source or from the

recollection of what he had read or heard,

This hypothesis, attributing a minimum number of sources to a 'bad' ancient historian, seems to me simply illogical when applied to the Historia Augusta. Both Byrne and Barnes have demonstrated that the author of the Historia Augusta was erudite and highly literate, with a wide-ranging taste and a classical education which included all the major Latin poets along with Greek poetry and most of the main historical writers of the third and fourth centuries. Despite paring the Historia Augusta's main sources down to six major works in his conclusion, Barnes' entire study demonstrates that Its author had knowledge of, and was probably drawing upon, a vast number of other histories 2 . Therefore it seems to me Illogical to claim that while Ignotus "could no doubt consult archives, documents, inscriptions. The habit of erudite enquiry was nothing novel", the author of the Historia Augusta is

assumed to have relied on this one unkown and unheralded source --

especially since he names his secondary source, Marius Maximus 29 tirnes. As Green said:
It is certainly neater for Ignotus to be the HA's main source and Maximus a quarry for addition5,

but perhaps too neat for a writer who in the


of Hadrian can not merely duplicate but

1, Barnes,

$ouces of HA, 18,

41 & 461 Barnes, lOU, 7-

2, For the main sources of the SHA see below, p,14f. 3, Syme,

Eiperors and Biography,

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quadruplicate material, and who uses Victor both in his main narrative and for additions


I find it difficult to reconcile the the concept of a single main source for the early Vitae of the Historia Augusta with the idea that for the later Vitae, their author is assumed to have used at least six named sources and can be argued to have knowledge of almost every known historian from the third and fourth centuries AD (even writing in opposition to the annalistic history of Ammianus Marcellinus) -- especially since he is so obviously familiar with the poets of the early Principate. Would it not be neater to discard the ad hoc hypothesis of Inotus


favour of a simpler

hypothesis which takes into account the Scriptor Historiae Augustae's obvious erudition? Millar observed that:
It was indeed the attempt at originality of form, as opposed to that of content, which was

characteristic of ancient historians; the essential thing was not the discovery of new facts 1 but

the retelling of known facts in a certain style,2

Is this not exactly what the Historia Augusta has achieved: the retelling of known facts


the new form of 'historical romance'? Perhaps Ignotus was

the Scriptor Historiae Augustae himself; a "sober biographer" who discovered that his dry and lifeless accounts were better received when the salacious material of Marius Maximus was grafted on. After trying his hand at some sensationalism of his own, he found he had a taste for it, getting "bolder and better, ending with elegant parody of erudition and polite letters." This,


essence, is Syme's view, with the postulate of Ignotus removed. In

1, Green, review of Barnes in JRS69 (1979), 227f,

2, Millar, Study of Cassius Di4 28, 3, Syme

liperors and Biography,



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deference to the scholarship of both he and Barnes, Ignotus as a source for the His toria Augusta cannot be discounted out of hand, but the evidence in favour of him is not yet strong enough to eradicate all doubt. Having examined the likelihood and influence of these lost histories, we can now begin to look at the known sources for the period. The literary authorities will be examined In chronological order, by century, and will be followed by a discussion of other types of evidence.


Cassius DIO Coccelanus was a senator whose conservative and uncontroversial attitudes gained him a series of important posts during the reign of Severus Alexander. Born at Nicaea In Bithynia circa 163/4, he

received a classical education and entered the Senate in the final years of Commodus. His history, in eighty books, composed between 197 and 219 (the first ten years were spent making notes> covered the history of Rome from its foundation up to AD 222, with a brief epilogue going up to AD 229, and was written in his native Greek. He was


a position to witness events at

Rome from c.180 until 214 (when he spent the winter at Nicomedia) and from 216-218. His account is that of a politically aware man, circumspect enough to curry favour with the power of the time 1 , and Is concerned mainly with the actions of emperors. Detailed expositions of policies and wars are only undertaken where he disagreed with them, and are often subject to hearsay evidence (though he does seem to have made some effort at verification). As such, he is a good indicator of the opinions of a conservative senator in the

I, He sent a pamphlet of prophetic dreams and portents predicting Severus' accession to the emperor on his coming to power: i11ar, Study of Ca5sius Duo (1963), 16 & 24,


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early third century AD. The text of his history is preserved only in books XXXVI-LXIV. Books LXXIII-LXXX, which narrate events after 180 survive only in fragments and epitomes. Exerpts appear in the

Exerpta of Constantinus

Porphyrogenitus and the epitomes of Xiphilinus and Zonaras, of which Xiphilinus is the more literal but Zonaras seems the more reliabl&. I-iERODIAN was a contemporary of Cassius Din, who wrote a history of his own time, from the death of Marcus Aurelius to the accession of Gordian III (AD 180-238), also in Greek. He specifically states that he had a personal share


some of the events he portrays during his imperial and public

service, which has prompted some debate as to his position and status. He was probably an equestrian civil servant of some indeterminate intermediate grade. His place of origin is equally obscure, and "by an unsatisfactory process of elimination" western Asia Minor presents Itself as the least unlikely location. Despite his claim to have checked all his information, his chronology is at times confused, and he contains some errors of geography and fact. Nevertheless, certain parts of his text are demonstrably superior to Dio2. The lost biographies of MARIUS MAXIMUS are independently attested in Ammianus MarcellInus and elsewher&'. A senator and general of Septimlus Severus against Pescennius Niger, he achieved high office, gaining the consulate for the second time


AD 223. He began writing after March 222,

and is believed to have written twelve biographies of the main emperors from

I, i11ar, Study or Cassius D14 passim; Barnes, Sources of //4 Blf; on the date of writing cf, Bowersock in 6noion3l (1965), 471ff contra Millar, 2, Whittaker, Introduction to the Loeb edition of Herodian (1969); Barnes, op, cit,, 82ff, 3, Ammianus XIYIII . 4 . 14, him 29 times, 10The scholiast on Juvenal mentions him in IV53, and the SHA mentions

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Nerva to Elagabalus. The contention that he was the main source for the
Historia Augusta up to Elagabalus has been disproven by Syme and Barnes, who

have shown that he was used in a secondary capacity, though it seems that he was probably the main source for the HaZiogabalus'. P. Herennius DEXIPPIJS was prominent in Athenian city politics during the mid-third century. Probably an equestrian (he was styled xptwto by IG

112 3670), he held several posts, the most important of which was Eponymous Archon. He wrote three works, of which the latter two, the Chronica and the
Scyt hi ca, were accounts of the history of his day. The Chronica was an

annalistic history as far as the reign of Claudlus (or possibly Aurelian), while the Scythica was an account of the Gothic wars in which he himself had played a minor part 2 . Sadly, both only survive in fragments and epitomes, and "we have to proceed largely on a priori assumptions to determine which fragments of Dexippus relating to this period come from which of his two major worksltB. His work forms the basis of the epitome of Zosimus down to 270, when his continuator Eunaplus takes over. Eunapius praised him for his analytical methods in the writing of his history4.

THE FOURTH CENTURY Sextus Aurelius VICTOR, an African probably of equestrian birth, was the first and most independent of the fourth century Latin epitomators. He

1, Syme, A,ii,ianus and the I/A 89ff;

Eaperors and 8iography,

45ff & 113ff; Birley, Septialus

Seei'us,' the African taperer

(1971), 309ff; Barnes, Sources of the HA, 99ff.

2, He led a small band of 2000 Athenians in a guerrilla war against the Heruli after they had sacked Athens in AD 267, Dexippus frag,28 reproduces an address to these troops attributed to himself: Millar, 'P, Herrenius Dexippus', IRS 59 (1969), 26ff1 speech translated on 27f, 3, Millar, op. cit, 1 23, 4, Eunapius frag,l; on Dexippus, Millar, op. cit, 1 12ff esp,2Off; PLREDexippas2, 11-

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composed his Liber de Caesar-i bus some time between AD 358 and 360. Dufraigne does not believe that he drew upon the KG, but can offer no concrete refutation. A pagan and an admirer of Julian, his main

preoccupat ions were the decline of moral standards and the barbarisation of the army, which obtrude strongly from his work. His villains were the

persecutors of the Senate (except Severus who was a fellow African), though he does not hesitate to blame the Senate for its own downfall. Often

sloppy, he added to the mistakes of the KG, most obviously with the attribution of the Constitutio Antoniniana to Marcus Aurelius1. EUTROPIUS, a fellow pagan, served under lulian and attended his eastern campaign. He dedicated his Breviariurn ab Urbe Condita to the emperor Valens no later than 369 (deduced from the office held, given on the title page). It is believed that he reproduces the text of the KG virtually unchanged2. FESTUS OF Tridentum produced a Breviarium also dedicated to Valens. Eadie believes that Eutropius was the only possible main source for the entire Breviarium, which dates it to the late 360s; possibly as late as 372, since Tomlin has shown that the ommission of Valentia from his provincial list proves nothing about the dating, there being no allusion in the work to events after the accession of' Valens in AD 364. Books XX-XXIV cover our period, and probably used the KG among other unspecified sources3. Two other epitomes deserve mention. Jerome's Chronicle is a translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius, produced


380/1. He has added to the church

history by excerpting passages from Victor and Eutropius. Barnes' arguments

Aurelius 'ictor,' Livre des Csars (1975), Introduction, xvff, 2, Watson, Justin, Cornelius Nepo5 end Eutropius (1897), Introduction, xivff Dessau in /Iree5 24 (1889), 361ff; Barnes, Sources of H 90ff esp,90 n2, 3, Eadie, The 8reviuriui of Festu5 (1967), 1ff, 70ff & 88ff; reviewed by Barnes in /RSS8 (1968), 263ff; Tomlin, 'Date of the 'Barbarian Conspiracy'', Britanp ia5 (1974), App,B, 308f, 121. Dufralgne,

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concerning the KG and the Historia Augusta seem to me to show that the Historia Augusta was drawing on Jerome, who had probably independently used the KG 1 . Finally, the anonymous Epitome de Caesaribus is a series of

biographies from Augustus to Theodoslus, which draws heavily upon the Liber of Victor for its early biographies, often simply transcribing him. Its later sources are arguable, but probably included the KG and Marius Maxlmus among others2. Two lost histories are known from the century; one of them being the lost books of Ammianus Marcellinus. These were written between 382 and 397, continuing the annalistic history of Tacitus down to Aminianus' day in thirty one books. Books I-XIII have perished, and Book XIV begins


AD 353, which

suggests that his treatment of the history before his time was cursory at best. In the preface to Book XV, Ammianus states that he had related events he himself had been able to witness or he that had ascertained by careful questioning; the inference being that prior to Constantine, his knowledge (and therefore his history) would have been sketchy. There is no hint of the lost books' survival in any other sources. The other lost history was by EUNAPIUS of Sardis. A pagan apologist, he wrote a Vita Sophistorum in direct opposition to the popular Lives of the Saints, which continued Dexippus from AD 270-404. Two versions of his

history were known. Barnes would like Eunapius to be a source for the

1, Barnes,

SoQrces of /1

90, 94 & esp,96 point I,

t'ita Aiexano'd IV . 5,

XXlY3 & XXVI.9

correspond almost directly with Jerome


p215i & p,215d in Helm's edition, but differ slightly

from the other epitomes, According to Barnes, the first clause of XXVI 9 corresponds word for word with Jerome, 2, Dufraigne,
3, Syme,

Livre des Csars, xvii;

Barnes, op. cit,, 94,

4aajanus and the

H,, chil, Sf f; Matthews,

Roaan Lap/re of

Aaiiarnis (1989), ch,II,

esp,27ff, he rejects the Tacitean connection, 4, Photios




M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Historia Augusta, and so argues that the first of these works was completed circa AD 380, and acted as a source not only for the Historia Augusta but for Aznmianus. The latter case had been argued by earlier scholars 1 . The argument is sound, and I can find no reason to doubt the hypothesis. One need not even demolish the two references to events following AD 380, as Barnes endeavours to do, since it is equally valid to maintain that Eunapius added these to his second version. As the continuator of Dexippus, Eunapius was used by Zosiinus to continue his history after 270,

THE HISTORIA AUGUSTA It is now generally accepted that the professed date and authorship of the Sc.ript ores Historlae Augustae (SHA) cannot be trusted. They were

probably all the work of one man s', writing during the late fourth century, perhaps some time after 395. A series of sensationalist biographies

stretching from the emperor Hadrian to the emperor Car-us, their author has been characterised as "a kind of rogue scholiast", both mischievous and erudite, with an eclectic taste in literature and an audacious sense of humour. A man of his time, he may have been writing in direct opposition to the recent sober history of Anunianus, claiming to be a serious researcher vindicating biography against history. As such, he delights in the parody of other biographers, scourging them for their follies and fraudulence while liberally inventing sources and creating bogus names which are at times

1, EA, Thompson in the 2, Barnes, Sources of

Oxford Classical Dictionary

(1970), 52; WR, Chalmers in CQNeW Series 10

(1960), 156ff; A, Cameron in CQ13 (1963), 133,

the H,

114ff; Matthews, Eipire of ,qasaianus, 504 n, 67,

3, The computer studies of Marriott, 'Authorship of the HA', IRS 69 (1979) are accepted as conclusive, but see the cautionary note of Sansone, 'The Computer & the HA', .1R580 (1990), 14-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


little more than deliciously erudite puns 1 . Yet it would be wrong to discard the SHA out of hand. Behind the historical romance, there lurks a core of fact which can be extracted through rigorous examination, Barnes has

dissected the SHA for Just such a purpose, and while he himself admits that he cannot always have been right, his work forms a good platform from which to view the SHA 2 . Overall, a healthy scepticism should be maintained. The SHA makes little effort to hide its mendacious nature, and faced with such blatant falsehood, we are right in mistrusting Its information except where independent corroboration can be achieved. Nevertheless, the list of sources which can be attributed to it is impressive. It Is known to have used In addition,

Herodian, Menus Maximus, Dexippus, Victor and Eutropius.

influences have been detected from Eunapius and Jerome, and it was probably familiar with the works of Dio and Ammianus Marcellinus, Two things should be remembered. The first is that the SHA became bolder as time progressed: the

Vitae of Hadrian and Antoninus Pius are quite sober biographies, with no Vita Aur'eliani of

more than two fictitious names between them, while the

'Vopiscus' has been hailed as a masterpiece of historical fiction s . Secondly: "Season and society at Rome fostered fraud and imposture as well as erudition. Combining both, the author of the great hoax concords with his own time."4 One should always bear in mind that, like most fourth century


eg, S//A 6ord, XXY 6 perverts the name of Timisetheus into


'God Hater', obviously

Juxtaposing him with Philip the Arab, who murdered Gordian and was notoriously tolerant of the Christians: Barnes,

Sources of HA, 37,

97ff & 192f;

2, Barnes, op. cit,, ch4: 'The Factual Content of the 3, Syme,

AMM12QUS and the HA, 2f,

Historia Augusta', 38ff faperors end 8iography, 14,

36ff & 76 Barnes,

Sources of HA, 38ff, NB: even in the


Beneath much fluent fiction, there is a factual

framework' which can be Independently corroborated: Barnes, op. cii,, 75,

4, Syme,

Eperors and Biography, 77,


M.C.Ibeji; C3 Army.


writers, the

Scriptor Historiae Augustae was prone to interpret things in

terms familiar to himself and to his audience, Where the relaxed attitude of the SHA is concerned, such terms should be treated with the greatest of caution1.


Among the most important of the post-fourth century historians is the Greek epitomator ZOSIMUS. Photios, the bibliophile, tells us that Zosimus was a

comes and

advocatus fisci,

and was renowned for his militant

paganism2 .

He wrote his

Nea Historia in the late fifth or early sixth

century, using Eunapius as his source for events between 270 and 404. Since Eunapius was the continuator of Dexippus, it is assumed that Dexippus was the source for events prior to 270, and there does seem to be a marked emphasis in Zosirnus' history of the mid third century on the Gothic wars in which Dexippus had such a personal interest. Photios charges him with being a slavish copyist, and there are several examples within his work of this mindless approach leading to contradictions. This serves us well, for it suggests that what Zosimus has chosen to record is close to his original sources. Unfortunately, the carelessness of his compilation at times makes it difficult to construct a clear chronology. His major themes are the

I, The most useful and informative bibliography of research on the SHA is to be found in Barnes,

Sources of //

ch,3: 'Bibliographical Excursus', 23ff,

My own view of the SHA has been defined by Ny

Barnes 1 op. cit,; and Syme, Qtwianus and /e HA (1968), and Eeperors and 9iograp/iy (1971), disagreements with them on sources have been outlined in the text above & p,Gff, Honor&,


//isforiae Augustee', IRS

2, Phot, 8Th), 98,

77 (1987), 156ff argued that the SHA was a sort of Aesopian history, writing

political fables, Such a possibility fits easily with the mischievous nature of the SHA,

3, Most markedly his critical opinion of Stilicho in Book V, when he is drawing on Eunapius, contrasted with the mildly eulogistic approach of the same subject In V34 after he had switched to Olympiodorus,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


decline of paganism and the barbarisation of the empire, both of which he saw as contributing to the downfall of the western empire. The close

similarity of some of his passages to parts of the SHA is best explained by the reliance of both on Dexippus. There is no indication that Zosimus was using the SHA as a source1. loannes ZONARAS produced an epitome of history from Creation to AD 1118, which drew upon Dio and Eusebius among others. Direct comparison between his work and Dio shows that he was adept at condensing his material whilst retaining the sense. The contents of his Book XII, covering events in the mid third century, serve as a useful confirmation of other histories2. Other later historians with information pertinent to our subject are: Giorgius Syncellus, writing in the ninth century and drawing on Dexippus and Eusebius; Giorgius Cedrenus (Kedrenos), writing


the late eleventh century;

loannes Malalas from the sixth century, who contains some useful information about the east; and his contemporary Jordanes, whose Getica provides material concerning the Gothic wars. Confirmation of related events can be found from a host of minor historians, among them Orosius (C5), Petrus Patricius (C6) and loannes Antiochus (C7).


At first glance, the Notitia Dignitatum and the Epitoma Rel Militaris of Vegetius would seem a godsend to military students of the third century,

1, Ridley, 711; Paschoud,

Zosii,us,' New


History, Byzantina Australiensia 2 (1982), Introduction; CAM Histoire Nouvelle (1971), Introduction; Barnes, Sources of HA, 111,
722f; Millar,
Cassius Oi

XII (1939),

2, CAM XII, 712 & 3, CAMXII I 711ff,

2f & App,1 on 195ff,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


yet they should both be treated with the utmost caution if the mistakes of the pioneers in the field are not to be repeated.
The NOTITIA DIGNITATUM Oranlurn tam Civiliurn quam Miii tai-ium is in

essence a fourth century army list, probably compiled just after the division of AD 395'. It lists the administrative and military posts within the

empire, giving the titles of all units under each specified military command, and has long been a standard point of reference for late Roman military specialists. For our purposes, it suffers from several disadvantages. The first and most obvious is that it is a late fourth or eary fifth century document, coming after the reforms of Diocletian and Constantine. As such, its value for third century research is severely limited. It is invaluable as an indicator of the survival into the later Roman army of units independently corroborated in the third century, but it can tell us nothing about the origins of any units in its lists. This seemingly obvious caveat has all too often been overlooked


the quest for the army of the third

century. Its second major disadvantage is that it is incomplete, and what we have Is an agglomeration of entries from disparate and indeterminate dates. It is also simply a bare list of unit names, which can tell us little about their composition. It is a useful corroborative tool, allowing us to project what we know about the third century army into the later Roman empire, and to see how It developed; but it cannot be used as a starting point in the

1, A comparison of 5hield devices for the two western Praesental armies shows that their division had occurred recently enough for an almost exact correlation between them to remain, This split fits neatly with the division of the army for Theodosius' campaign against Eugenius in 394: Matthews, pers, coim, cf, also van Berchem, 4r,e de Dioc/fien,,, (1952), 7 and Jones, LRE III (1964), App2,


M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


search for the army one-and-a-half centuries in its past1. The

Epitorna Rel Militaris

of VEGETILJS is a military manual produced some

time after AID 383. It has extremely limited value, and is notable only for its representation of an question in recent decade&2.
antiqua legio

which has only come into serious

EPIGRAPHY Given the second-hand nature of most of our literary information, the evidence of inscriptions has taken on paramount importance in this study. A thorough review of CIL, ILS, AE and IGRR has been supplemented with the more parochial collections of RIB, IGBR and other local corpora. In all

cases, reference has been made to the major collections in preference, so that the material presented In this study is easily accessible to everyone. Only when important evidence would otherwise be missed has recourse been made to the local archives. The material gathered is most useful when examining military careers, terminology or unit deployment; but even here its information is limited. For example, when talking about vexillations, it can be used to chart their developing importance throughout the century; but it can shed little light upon the vexed question of numbers, nor can it give any but a general indication of the age of the units concerned. The presence of a unit on a datable inscription gives a usable terminus

quem, but this is no

I, Van Berchem, Praefatio; Jones, S15 (1976),

Ariie de Diocltien,,,, 7ff, 94ff & 117; Seeck, Notitia Dignitatuas (1962), LRE III, App 2; ed, Goodburn & Bartholemew, Aspects of the Notitia Oignitafua. BAR Antique Leg/oaf Vegetius',


cf, Appi: 'The

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


more than a date of first appearance.

Simply because, for instance, a

vexillat ion appears in Aquileia under Philip the Arab, we cannot say with any certainty that it was placed there by that emperor. The presence of

different vexillations in the area prior to Philip might indicate that, at some time between their attestation and the attestation of the units under Philip, they were replaced; however, it might equally be true that the units existed side-by-side with one another, and that one is simply not mentioned on the other's inscription. The greater probability is that the units

changed, given the known penchant of the Roman military for naming all units present in the area on such dedications. This probability increases when we have separate instances of multiple units named on inscriptions, and the names of these units change. Therefore, we can say with some degree of certainty that units A and B were


Aqulleia under, say, the Seven, and

were probably replaced by the time of Philip by units C and D. However, if the inscription is fragmentary (as, in fact, all vexillary inscriptions from Aquileia are), we can never be sure that the names of units A and B have not simply been lost, though the odds are against this. The above discussion highlights two of the main problems with third century inscriptions. Most are fragmentary and at times difficult to

interpret, and this exacerbates the already awkward problem of dating. For the early Principate, a whole series of useful markers have been established to aid the dating of inscriptions, especially tombstones. The development of formulas such as IOM, DM and HSE on early imperial tombstones has been charted and enables one to say with a certain degree of accuracy into what era a stone can be fitted'. No such complementary conventions developed

1, On such criteria cf, Holder 1 Studies in the Auxilia of the Roaan Arsiy, BAR S70 (1980), 16Sf, 20-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


during the third century, other than the placing of the imperial gentilicium in the genitive after the name of a military unit, While this can be a very useful aid to dating, often placing an inscription within the limited span of a third-century emperor's short reign, it has its limitations. Units were sometimes tardy at changing the

gentillc.ium, and in the case of the

gentilicium 'Antoniniana', It could date anytime from AD 198, when Caracalla

became co-emperor with Septimius Severus, to AD 222, the death of Elagabalus who may also have used the name. It does not help either that several emperors suffered the

damnatio memoriae during our period, so that we

sometimes find the name of an emperor erased from an inscription, and have more than one option when trying to restore it. Attempts to date Inscriptions on stylistic grounds have been accepted within this study only as a last resort, and with severe reservations. The characteristics of stonecutting which are used for such dating, in particular the degenerate, ligature-strewn style which is often associated with third century inscriptions, are not of themselves a strong enough basis upon which to date most stones. Bad workmanship can be as much a function of regional variation as It can of the era in which the stone was produced. While It is true that the quality of stoneworking seems to have degenerated during the century, sloppy inscriptions are not unique to the period by any means. Such problems have combined with a decline in the number of inscriptions extant for the century to make statistical surveys almost impossible. Discussion of the

protect ores under Gallienus, for instance, Is based on less

than 10 InscrIptions. The exact number cannot even be firmly set because doubts concerning two of the inscriptions still remain 1 . Though this is the

1, Cf. C h, XI Pro tec tores, -21-

M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


most severe example, the problem is universal. In no area of discussion within these pages is the body of epigraphic material large enough to be seen as a statistical sample, Yet, for the study of the legions, the Auxilia, vexillations and equestrian officers, the epigraphic corpus Is the best and at times the only body of evidence which we have. Even for the cavalry and the limit anei it provides a valuable source of information divorced from the fourth century perspective of the literary sources1.

PAPYRI Where available, papyri can form an invaluable adjunct to information gleaned from inscriptions and histories. Their occurrence is so rare and usually so parochial that the information they provide can tell us little about general trends (except


localised terms), but it is their very detail

that is most valuable. Virtually all our information about unit pay and numbers comes from papyri. Usually this information occurs in Isolation with single chance finds, but we are extremely fortunate


having a large archive

of military records from the fortress town of Dura Europos on the eastern frontier, which came to prominence under Septimius Severus and was destroyed in AD 256. This archive gives us a unique insight into the composition and activities of its main garrison unit, the cohors XX Palmyrenorum. Another important find was a series of correspondence from the military commander of

1, The decline in epitaphs during the century may be as5ociated with the decline in the value of citizenship according to Meyer, 'Explaining the Epigraphic Habit in the Roman Empire: the Evidence of Epitaphs', IRS 80 (1990), though this will not explain the falling numbers of imperial dedications or career inscriptions (especially considering the rising status of the equestrians), Cf. also MacMullen in .PhIj 103 (1982), 233ff and Mann in IRS 75 (1985), 204ff, -22-

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


Panopolis in the Thebaid (Egypt), dating to the reign of Diocletian, which tells us how units in the province stood immediately after our period1.

LEGAL CODES The rescripts of third century emperors and their jurists (mainly dating from the Seven), preserved in the codex of Justlnlan, give us some direct access to the thought processes of imperial policy makers. They can tell us something about status and privilege, but are provided in a slightly abbreviated form which sometimes makes them difficult to interpret. Nor is it entirely clear to what extent the constant repetitition of a law was a testimony to its waning efficacy. The Codex Theodosianus is less useful, providing laws from 312 to 437 of which the first fifty years are incomplete. Reading these back into the third century can cause confusion2

The great champion of numismatics was Andreas Alfdldi. Imperial coinage was in his view a consistent tool of imperial propaganda and as such provided a direct insight into imperial policy, and even the movements of imperial troops. Such views can be taken too far. Numismatics has a

limited value, defined by a whole set of variables. The simultaneous minting

I, Diira Final Report V'l: The Parchments and Papyri (1959); Skeat, Papyri froi Panopol/s (1964); cf, also Fink, Rwan Military Records on PapyrUs (1971) Grenfell & Hunt, Greek Papyri II (1897); Duncan-Jones, Pay and Numbers in Diocletian's Army', Chiron8 (1978), 541ff, 2, Most especially with reference to 1in.itanei, cf, ch,VIII: Liiitanei for more deiail, 3, Alfldi in ZIN37 (1927), 158ff; Nuti, Chron,, ser,5 vol,9 (1929), 218ff; C4H XII, 713ff, cf, also surnary of Maria Alfldi (1957) in Cooper, C3 Origins of the Ne' .tiperial 4raty (1967), 234ff & 266ff, -23-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


of different coin issues in separate mints does not prove any link between the two, and the imperial propaganda stamped onto their reverses does not necessarily depict the true state of affairs. Gallienus, for instance, was minting coinage that styled him Restitutor Gal.Uarurn even as the Gallic Empire slipped from his grasp 1 . Coin evidence is exceptionally useful in telling us what individual emperors and usurpers deemed as important to them, but it can only be used to tell us of the cornpostlon of armies and the status of the empire in the most general of terms.


Archaeology and art are of very limited use in a study such as this which is concerned primarily with the organisation of the army and imperial motivation. Work such as that of Strickland at Chester can give some

indication of the detailed effect of certain trends or imperial reforms that occurred within the century, while more general surveys of archaeological work can provide useful information, such as the detailed changes in Roman military equipment, or an empirewide overview of fortification trends. Like papyri, most archaeological evidence is extremely parochial

in nature2.

The artistic record is only really useful when talking about Roman military equipment. It is dominated by the monumental art of the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius, and the triumphal arches of Sept imius Severus, Constantine and Galerius; but often more useful information can be gleaned

1, Orinkwaier, The 6allic Eapirej 1/istoria 52 (1987), 157, 2, Strickland, 'Third Century Chester', BAR S109, 415ff; Coulsion, 'Roman Military Equipment on Third Century Tombstones', BAR S336, 143f & nil concentrates on the archaeological record von Petrikovits, 'Fortifications in the North-Western Roman Empire', JRS61 (1971), 180ff, -24-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


from depictions on tombstones and elsewhere. Of specific usefulness is the graffito of' a Persian clibanar'ius from Dura Europos, and some of the illustrations in the Notitia Dignitatum depict late Roman equipment1.

This has been a brief overview of the main sources of evidence for the Roman army in the period under discussion, examining their usefulness and limitations. Certain pieces of evidence, such as the testimony of Galeri on the plague of Marcus Aurelius, or the Res Gestae Dlvi Saporis, have been left out of the equation as pertaining only to very specific circumstances (such as a discussion of the plague, or the capture of Valerian). Our examination of the trends begins with a narrative history, which outlines the paramaters of' the period under discussion and seeks to place the major trends and events within their chronological framework.

1, Couleton, op. cit. (above), 25-


C3 Army


Th TrrkcI



On 28 March AD 193, the emperor P. Helvius Pertinax was murdered by the Praetorian Guard, who immediately put the empire up for auction, The highest bidder was one M. Didius Julianus, an elderly senator whose ambition was only exceeded by his wealth. His price was 25,000 sesterces to each member of the Guard, Julianus was not a popular emperor. Within a month, both the governors of Syria and Pannonia Superior had been proclaimed in opposition by their legions 1 and the latter, L. Septimius Severus, was marching on Rome. The city mob stood by and watched as Julianus desperately barricaded himself in the palace, not even commanding the power to arrange the city's defence, and was finally condemned to death by the Senate and executed. A deputation of 100 senators met Severus in his camp at Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, of ferring him the purple, which he graciously accepted. He

*, To avoid endless repetition, the main secondary works referred to for this history are cited
here: Aitheim,

Die $ojdatenkaiser (1939); van Berchem, L'Ar,e de Dioc.ltien,, (1952), pt,I; L'Eapire Roiain de l'avennet#ent des &vres au Candle o'e Nfte (1937), 169ff; Birley, A, R,, Marcus Aurelius (1966), The African Fiperor,' Septiiius Severus (1988); The Ceabridge Ancient History
(hereafter CAM), vol,XI (1936) & vol. XII (1939), esp, Alfldi, Enssljn, Mattingly & Miller in CA/I X11

The Policy of the Eperor Gaiiienus (1976), ch,1 & 2; Dc Regibus, La Monarchic Militare di Gallieno (1939); Demougeot, La foreation de l'Europe (1969); Drinkwater, The eallic Eipie, Historic 52 (1987); Grosse, Roat/sche Militrgeschichte von 6aliienus bis zuat Beginn der 8yzantinischen Theaverfassung (1920); Jones, A,H,M,, The Later Roatan Lipire (1964) (hereafter LRE), 'The Anarchy' & Decline of the Ancient florId (1966), ch,2; Jones & Martindale, Prosopography of the Later Roatan (aspire (1971) (hereafter PLRE); Luttwak, The 6rand Strategy of the Roasan Eapire (1976), ch,3; MacMullen, Enea'ies of the Roatan Order (1966); Manni, L'Iepero di Gallieno (1949); Mocsy, Pannonia and (/ppe Hoesia (197fl, 184ff; Platnauer, The Life and Reign of the Emperor Lucius Septimius Severus (1918); Syme, Emperors and 6'iogaphy (1971), ch,9-15; Williams, Olocletian and the Roman Recovery (1985), ch,1,
Dc Blois,

2 & 7, All primary sources discussed in the introduction have also been used, Further reference to inor works both primary and secondary, will be found in the relevant sections of the main thesis, Cross reference has only been made here to the most controversial subjects, - 26 -

M.C,Ibeji: 03 Army.


entered Rome at the head of his Danube legions, making a point of changing from military regalia Into civilian dress at the gates of the city, and set about the consolidation of his position. The Praetorians, who had been the fickle arbiters of the empire's fate, were disbanded and punished, with selected veterans from the loyal Danube legions taking their place. So began the reign which officially heralds the start of the third century; but the roots of that century's troubled history lie some thirty years before, with the reign of Marcus Aurelius. What follows Is a general history of the major events in the third century which pertain In some way to the development of the Roman army. In essence it is a bare bones account. No effort at analysis has been made, for it is simply intended to provide a chronological background against which the discussion that follows can be set, avoiding continual historical asides. Marcus Aurelius was a conscientious ruler. A stoic, a philosopher, and peaceful man, he inherited an empire on the brink of crisis. After years of peace, the empire's complacency was about to be shattered by a wave of disasters which would send it staggering into the third century poorly prepared for the troubles that lay ahead, Within a year of his accession, the Parthians had invaded Armenia, there were disturbances on the Antonine Wall and in Germany, and the Marcomanni had begun stirring on the borders of the Upper Danube. Remaining In Rome, presumably to oversee events


the west, Marcus

despatched his co-emperor, Julius Verus, east to deal with the Parthian threat, Despite his lack of experience, Verus was able to push the Parthians out of Armenia and pursue them to the gates of their capital, Ctesiphon, but in the ensuling seige his army contracted a plague which forced him to withdraw, bringing the pestilence back into the empire, where it was to rage - 27 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


sporadically for the next 15 years, almost certainly weakening the empir&. In the wake of this disaster came the uprising of the Marcomanni which had been looming since the start of the reign. Prompted by population pressures from within and exacerbated by the southward movement of the northern barbarian tribes, the Marcomannic movement took advantage of the recent weakening of the frontiers and poured over the Danube 2 , penetrating as far as Italy, and prompting the recruitment of two new legions, II and III

Italica, as well as the conscription of slaves and gladiators into the

province's defence, The ensuing wars dragged on for 13 years (AD 167-180), and were fought by Rome largely with legionary detachments (vexillations) commanded by equestrian officers3. Marcus died in 180 -- just before the final push intended to settle the Marcomannic question once and for all. His work was abandoned by his son, Commodus, whose reign witnessed another

His successor, Pertinax,

ruled for 87 days before his murder by the Praetorian Guard and the events which ushered in the reign of Septimius Severus. After a series of wars in which he eradicated his opposition and bloodied the nose of Parthia, which had laid seige to Nisibis in 196, Severus set about reorganising the empire to meet the challenges that faced it. In the east, he created the new province of Mesopotamia, placing it into the charge of equestrian officers instead of senators, and garrisoned it with two

1, On the severity of the plague, cf, chil:

Manpower, p,47ff,

and Duncan-Jones,

Structwre and

caie in the R,ien Econoiy (1990), 72ff; (1961), 227ff Roiian Any Papers (1986)
3 cf, chh,VI & X:

contra Gilliam, 'The Plague Under Marcus urelius', 14/Phil 73 229ff who doubts its severity,

2, On the causes of the Marcoannic wars, cf, Mcsy, op. cii, (p26 n,1),

Yex/Ilationes & Yi p ! Militares

for further discussion,

4, Dio LXXIII . 14 . 3-4 (Loeb ed), - 28 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


of his newly raised Farthian legions 1 . The third, II Part hi ca, he brought back to Italy, and placed in Albanum, just outside Rome, where it complemented the newly revamped and increased Praetorian Guard 2 . He increased the garrison of Africa, possibly in response to trouble from the native tribes, and revitalised the Auxilia with ethnic units mainly drawn from Moorish and Osrhenian contingents. In order to make army service more attractive, he granted several new privileges to soldiers, among them the right to marry and to wear the gold ring. He also began to split the larger provinces, ensuring that no governor had more than 2 legions under his command, in an attempt to prevent the events of 193-199 recurring; though this was done in a haphazard fashion and was probably not completed until the reign of Caracalla (see below). After 199, his reign was relatively peaceful. There was some trouble in Africa and possibly Egypt, and he had to deal with the depredations of a brigand named Bulla Felix in 206/7, but his final campaign in Scotland may have had as much to do with keeping his bickering sons occupied as it did with any serious trouble d . He died in York in 211, adjuring his sons not to disagree among themselves, give money to the soldiers, and despise everyone else. The animosity between the siblings made the first injunction impossible to uphold. Caracalla murdered his brother Geta at the feet of their mother

1, Cf. chh,IV & I: equestrians. 2, On II

Legiones & 'iri Mu/fares

ci, ch,IV:

for the Parthian legions and the role of the



p,85ff; on the Praetorians cf, Durry 1


Roman Army',

(1938), 81ff.

3, In addition to various works cited above (p26 n,1), see Birley, 'Septimius Severus and the

Ep, Stud, 8

(1969), 63ff,

4, Her, 111 . 14 . 1; Murphy 1 Miller, CAI/XII, 38f; Saiway,

The Reipn of $'everus fro the E yidence of Inscriptions (1945), 77; Poean Britain (1981), 223 & 227,

29 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


in 212; but he religiously followed the rest of his father's advice. Donatives and pay increase8 were given to the soldiers, and he surrounded himself with a German bodyguard called the Leones. It was probably he and not Severus who oversaw the partition of Britain and Pannonia', while the most important act of his reign was the institution of the Constitutlo
Antonin.Lna, which granted the citizenship to almost all members of the

empire and which was to have unforseen long-term effects upon the army2. Apart from a short German war, the first Roman contact with the new Alemannic confederation, Caracalla's main military concern was an abortive invasion of Parthia. After several false starts, he was murdered on the march towards the Euphrates, and for want of a better candidate, the purple was conferred by the army onto his Praetorian Prefect, Macrinus. The reign of this, the first equestrian emperor, was as ignominious as it was short. Apart from experimenting with the armour of his Praetorians 3 , he did nothing of note. He suffered a reverse against the Parthians near Nisibis, and when a young scion of the Severan dynasty, the priest-king Elagabalus, was raised in opposition by the women of the Severan household, he was defeated, captured arid executed. Elagabalus reigned for 4 short years (218-222) before he too was maneovred out of the purple by the Severan matriarchs who had tired of his excesses, transferring their favour onto his cousin, Severus Alexander. The relative peace during the reigns of these last two

1, Graham, 'The Division of Britain', /R556 (1966), 92ff; Miller, CAHIll, 48; Murphy,

Irca Inscriptions, 43f; Mcsy, Pannonia 50ff; cf, ch,V: Auxilia, 21f,
ser,3 sec,2 (1958), 56fl watson,

Ipper Iloesia,

198f; Fitz,

Severus Great Age of Pannonia (1982), Trans. R, 5cc, Can,


2, Salmon, 'The Roman Army and the Disintegration of the Roman Empire',

The Rop ian Soldier

(1969), 137,

3, Dio LXXIX'37 . 4, This is indicative of the changing style of Roman armour, first seen in AD 211: Coulston, 'Roman Military Equipment on Third Century Tombstones', Robinson,

BAR 3336

(1987), 141ff esp,143;

Ar,our of Iriperial Poaie

(1975), 183, NB Maximinus still seems to be using the old Roman

order of battle in 238, Her, VIIl12-3, -

30 -

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


representatives of the Severan dynasty was the calm before a storm of mounting crises. Forces in the east had been massing against the empire since the start of the third century, exacerbated in part by the actions of the Roman emperors themselves. The waning prestige of the Parthian Arsacid rgime had not been helped by its reverses against Verus and Septimius Severus, and the activities of the Seven and Macrinus had served to distract the Parthian emperor's attention from vital events occurring within his southern provinces. The new Sassanid dynasty of the kingdom of Persis in southern Iran had been consolidating Its power base to such an extent that in the years between 224- and 227, the Sassanid Ardashir I was able to defeat the Parthian emperor Artabanus V and replace the Arsacid with the Sassanid empire. This was much more dangerous than the complacent Parthian empire had been. Centred around the state religion of Zoroastrianism, the Sassanid state was vigorous and expansionist, dedicated to regaining the lands of Syria and Asia Minor which it regarded as Persia's by right, since the great days of the Achaemenid hegemony. This aim was to be pursued with singleminded purpose from AD 232 onwards, interrupted only by internal struggles and events on the eastern frontiers of Persia. Meanwhile, the northern barbarian tribes had rearranged themselves into large confederations of Marcomanni, Alemanni and Franks, seemingly intended to coordinate attacks against the Roman empire 1 . This was prompted in part by pressures from the northern steppes, as Gothic tribes, themselves pushed

1, PrestIge accrued through contact with the eapire may have had something to do with the confederating process also, as tribal groups gathered around particularly influential leaders,

31 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


west by a realignment of the Hunnic Hsiung-Nu and Sien-Pi in Mongolia, penetrated to the Roman frontiers, pushing Vandals, Cerpi and luthungi before them. The late Antonines had encountered the first of these realignments in the Marcomanni. Now groups of Goths, Carpi and Vandals flooded over the Danube looking for loot and land, prompting the reinforcement of Illyricuin from other frontiers, which in turn were penetrated by opportunistic raids of Franks and Alemanni. The whole Rhine and Danube limes became a series of unpiuggable salients over which barbarians would pour the minute their defences were relaxed, Severus Alexander was murdered by his troops in the wake of an unsuccessful Persian war for trying to negotiate with the Alemanni. His death and its aftermath exemplified the forces which were to dominate the empire's fate for most of the century. His successor, Maximinus Thrax, was a soldier proclaimed by the troops, and was frustrated In his attempts to curb the barbarian invasions by the advent of civil war. From 235 onwards, the leaders of the empire were to spend most of their time on campaign, either against barbarians, Persians, or their own subjects. Until Gallienus came on the scene, they were to have no time in which to reform the defences of the empire, and many of their successes would be rendered null and void by the actions of their Immediate successors, Maximinus Thrax (235-238) was forced to cut short a successful Danube campaign to fight the Senate in Italy. Their ultimate candidate, Gordian III (238-244) was a minor dominated by his Praetorian Prefect, Timesitheus, whose successes against the Persians were thrown away by his successor, Philip the Arab, who abandoned all Rome's gains in the east to rush west and secure his claim to the purple. Philip (244-249) saw the millennium of Rome ushered in by a domino sequence of barbarian invasions, usurpations and - 32 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


mutinies all along the Danube.

When his agent, Decius, succeeded In

restoring order, he had the purple forced upon him by the mutinous troops he had been sent to discipline and Philip proved unable to stand against him. Decius (249-251) was outmaneovred and killed by a dangerous new confederation of the Gothic tribes, led by the charismatic Kniva. His

successor, Trebonlanus Gallus (25 1-253), was in no position to stop the Goths returning home loaded with booty. During his reign, plague hit the empire once again, and was to recur at regular intervals over the next 25 years killing one emperor and forestalling at least one campaign. In 253, the usurpation of


Aemilius Aemilianus was swiftly followed by the

usurpation of P. Llcinius Valerianus, and in the civil war that followed, Valerian came out alive. He inherited chaos. The abandonment of the Rhine and Danube In pursuit of civil war had left the floodgates open for Franks, Marcomanni, Quadi, lazyges and Goths, which poured into Germany and Illyricum. In the east, Armenia, which had been abandoned to Persian attack since Philip's
volte face,

hcid finally caved In, allowing Shapor to launch a prolonged offensive against Rome's possessions, spearheaded by his son, Hormizd. Dura-Europos on the Euphrates was destroyed, and the Persians punched through into Syria, taking Antioch by treachery. The chronology Is so confused that it is unclear

whether there were two separate Invasions, with Antloch sacked twice, or whether this was one long war lasting from 253 to c.264. The only firm anchor-point seems to be the sack of Dura, which is generally fixed at AD 2562.

1, Vict,

Caes, XXX . 2,

On the plague and other disasters at this time cf, ch,II:

2, Gilliam, 'Garrison of Dura', nn,5 & 6,

Dura Final Report V . 1,


27; De Blois, Policy of

Manpower, p,50f, 6allieruis, 2 &

33 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Va].erian is believed to have been in the east from 256 at the latest, but had done nothing, egonised by indecision caused by an inability to trust any of his generals. Persian activity forced him into action, which may have been partially successful, but his army was wracked by plague and he was In no position to fight. Seeking a peaceful solution, he was lured into a meeting with Shapor and taken prisoner in AD 259. An emperor had fallen into Persian hands. He had left the defence of the west under the supervision of his son, Gallienus, who proved to be an able and innovative ruler. I-fe had partially solved his father's problem concerning trustworthy generals by promoting equestrian officers to the fore under imperial patronage. These vfrl

militares were career soldiers and capable commanders able to command armies in their own right, with a debt of loyalty to their patron arid (for the moment) without the prestige to get themselves independently proclaimed by their troops. With their help, and using a series of strategic innovations designed around the concept of defence-in-depth, Gallienus was able to achieve some measure of stability in the west1. This stability was shattered in 259 with the news of Valerian's capture. Gallienus had been distancing himself from his father since 257, now he broke completely with his memory, but the empire-wide reaction against the disaster-tainted rgime was violent and hostile. In the east, the commanders of Valerian's army united with Odaenathus, king of Palmyra, to rally against the Persians, before usurping and marching into Pannonia where they were defeated by Gallienus' most trusted general, Aureolus. Odaenathus remained

1, The measures of Gallienus and their significance have proven to be the main topic of this study, See especially chh III, VI, X & XI:

Conira Coiitatirn,

'exiIJationes, V/ri MilUares J

Pro fec fores, - 34 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


in the east, ostensibly loyal to Gallierius, but now the de facto ruler of the eastern Roman empire. Even before the coming of the Macriani from the east, the Pannonians had expressed their resentment against what they perceived to be the neglect of the Danube frontier in favour of the Rhine by raising two pretenders of their own, Ingenuus and Regalianus, also put down by Aureolus. Ironically, a similar resentment welled up in the Rhine provinces when Gallienus was forced to move his army into Italy to deal with a dangerous Alemannic invasion that overran the Agri Decumates and penetrated as far as Milan. Sparked by a dispute, the causes of which are not entirely clear, Postumus, the commander of the Rhine legions, rebelled, beseiging Gallienus' son Saloninus in Cologne and killing him. It was a blow Gallienus was not to forgive. The situation in Africa also seems to have become quite serious at this point 1 . When the smoke cleared, Gallienus found himself in charge of a sundered empire. Gaul, Spain, Britain and Germany were in the hands of the Gallic Empire of Postumus, and the east was under the 'protection' of Odaenathus. Only the Danube provinces, Achaea and Africa remained in These were in a state of

legitimate imperial hands, along with Italy. turmoil.

By 263, Gallienus had stabilised the situation enough to attempt a reckoning with Postumus. Penetrating deep into the Gallic Empire, he defeated him on the field of battle, but the Gallic Emperor was allowed to escape by Aureolus, It seems that only Gallienus was not convinced of his general's guilt. Postumus was bottled up in an unspecified Gallic city, and it seemed only a matter of time before he would be forced to surrender. However, Fortuna was on his side. Gallienus was struck by a chance arrow,




Viri Miiitares1

p226 for discussion & references, -

35 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


and forced to withdraw, seriously wounded.

He would never regain the

opportunity to force the Gallic Empire back into the fold. Postumus was to remain independent, faced by his own fair share of barbarian incursions and employing remarkably similar concepts to Gallienus 1 , until killed by his troops in 269. He was followed by a short-lived series of successors, the last of whom, Tetricus, quite literally handed the Gallic Empire back to Rome under Aurelian. Gallienus seems to have been militarily quiescent in the years between 263 and 267 2 . As well as recuperating from his wound, he had a host of reforms to put in operation. It must be at this time that the

equestrianisation of the provinces was put into motion s , and in the military sphere he strengthened the garrisons of Italy, Pannonia and Achaea, largely at the expense of Dacia, while fortifying whichever parts of the empire seemed to need it. Many of his measures were continued by his successors4. In AD 267, Odaenathus of Palrnyra was murdered with the connivance of the local Roman officials. Gallienus seemed to have been about to launch a bid to regain control of the east, when he was forestalled by an invasion of the Goths which swept over the Black Sea and ravaged the provinces of Asia Minor and Achaea. Gallienus marched to meet them, defeating them at Nassus in Moesia, but was prevented from following this up by the fateful news that Aureolus, left in command of the cavalry at Milan to guard against the Gallic

1, Drinkwater, 'Gallic Empire', 89 cites some dubious literary evidence for Postumus' use of barbarian mercenaries, XII: His concept of fortification closely matches that of Gallienus, cf, chhIX & 3,

Poederati & Virfus Ilipici, plus Map

2, Though continued skirmishes may have occurred on the borders of the Gallic Empire: De Blois,

Policy of 6aJ)ienus, 7 & n21, 3, cf, ch,X: V/ri Militare5, p220f, 4, cf, chIll: Virtus Ilipid, 36 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army,


Empire, had rebelled and declared in favour of Postumus. crucial campaign had been stalled by treachery.

Once again a

Leaving command of the

Gothic war in the capable hands of his general Marcianus, Gallienus rushed west to deal with the revolt, but was murdered in AD 268 by a cabal of his officers as they laid seige to Milan. An excellent judge of ability,

Gallierius had proved a terrible judge of character. The man he had trusted to defend Gaul for him had rebelled and killed his son. The man he had trusted to guard Italy against this man's depredations had instead gone over to his side. Now, the men he had raised from nothing to command his armies turned against him, perhaps tired of his mistakes, perhaps feeling that now their time had come. The Illyrian soldier-generals of Gallienus shared a sense of comradeship and purpose which was to serve them well. Even Aureolus surrendered to the mercy of his peers once Gallienus was dead. Whether his execution was a just and angry punishment for his disloyalty, or whether it was a salve to pacify the angry troops remains unclear. Despite his successful continuation of the Gothic war, Marcianus did not rebel either. Perhaps the troops did not force the purple upon him, as they had done so many other emperors, because there was an obvious soldiers' choice among the generals of Gallienus. The candidate of the cabal, Claudius Gothicus, certainly proved his worth against the Goths in the next two years, but was sadly cut down by the plague in AD 270. The soldiers' choice for his successor was his compatriot, Aurelian, who ousted Claudius' brother, Quintillus, to carry on the line of Gallienus' generals, employing the techniques they had developed with their mentor. During his rule, Dacia was finally abandoned and two new provinces, Dacia Ripensis and Dacia Mediterranea, were carved out of Moesia and Thrace. With - 37 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


this move, he was able to pacify the Balkans and Pannonia, rationalising the frontier and preparing the ground for the reconquest of Palmyra. Pairnyra had openly split with Rome after the death of Odaenathus. His son, Vaballathus Athaeriodorus, was little more than the pawn of his mother Zenobia, who had extended direct Palmyrene control throughout much of Asia Minor, and southwards into Egypt, That the Palmyrenes were setting themselves up as an alternative Roman empire seems in little doubt. Vaballathus adopted Roman forms and Roman manners, maintaining a hostile posture towards Persia and even striking coins in his name, They seem to have enjoyed extensive support in Syria and Egypt, though the troops of Mesopotamia joined Aurellan against them. Aurelian marched east in 272, defeating the Palmyrene army in two pitched battles at Irnmae and Emesa. Palmyra surrendered after a short seige and was placed under the control of the praefectus Ivlesopotamiae, Marcellinus, with the title rector Orientis. The city was initially treated with leniency, but when it attempted to subvert Marcellinus, without success, Aurelian returned at his call and sacked the city with a vengeance, destroying its walls and carrying off its populace into slavery. In 273, after suppressing a revolt in Egypt, Aurelian marched Into Gaul. There, Tetricus surrendered the Gallic Empire to him without a fight, though some token resistance was put up by Tetricus' betrayed generals. By 274, Aurelian was able to style himself restitutor orbis, and lead the captive heads of both breakaway empires through the city of Rome in triumph. His attention immediately turned eastwards, where It seems he intended to deal with the Persian menace, but he was assassinated before he could do so. A group of officers, tricked into believing themselves on an imperial hit-list by Aurelian's scribe (himself fearful for his life after some misdemeanour) - 38 -

M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


took preemptive action. It is a measure of the soldiers' firm belief in the wrongness of his murder that they reacted to It with such revulsion, shying away from immediately choosing a successor themselves. It is also a measure of the weakness of the Senate that the only candidate It could come up with at this juncture was an aged senator, Tacitus, with his half-brother Florian. Their brief interlude was ended in 276 by the natural successor to Aurelian, his protege, Probus, who had been In Egypt when the emperor was murdered. He was immediately called to Gaul in response to a series of German invasions, probably prompted by the neglect of that frontier over the last two years, since Tacitus and Florian had been occupied In Illyricum against the Goths before marching east to meet Probus. He was so successful there that it is claimed he could have established a new Roman province across the Rhine, had he not been called away to deal with troubles In Raetia and Illyricum -- the repeat of an old refrain. In 279, he suppressed brigandege in Isauria and put down a series of revolts in Gaul and Germany, before celebrating a triumph In Rome In 281 and turning his attention east as Aurelian had done. However, the soldiers were disaffected by his strict reimposition of discipline and his Implication that their usefulness was nearly over. He was not a soldier's soldier as the generals of Gallienus had been. They killed him at Sirmium, en route to the east. The year was 282. Within 2 years his successor, Carus, was dead, along with his sons, and the purple had been taken by Diocletian. Tradition has made Diocletlan commander of the pro tectores domes tici at the time of his accession; but the

dornestici did not exist until 350 at the earliest 1 , so this must be

1 Haldon,

Byzantine Praetarians (1984), 134ff; 39 -


LRE 636ff,

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


historical interpolation. He was probably a


with the title of


in command of part of the army, which would explain his popularity1. He inherited a military machine which had been extensively reshaped to meet the new needs of imperial defence, and had withstood all the tests thrown against it, The task was not yet over: there were uprisings in Gaul and barbarian incursions along the Danube; but the worst was past. If he could refine the structure he had inherited and bring an end to the pernicious cycle of usurpation, he would guide the empire intact out of the darkest century it had yet experienced. A better judge of character than Gallienus, he was able to establish the Tetrarchy with loyal colleagues, so removing for a time the prime cause of strife within the empire. This bought him the time to initiate the

refinements of state military structure that were so vital. Hard times were still ahead. Within 2 years, Carausius had set up a rival state in

Britain. In Illyricum, the barbarian threat had only partially abated, and in the east the Persian empire had achieved a revival of its own under Vahram III and was to remain a thorn in the side of Rome. Still, thanks to the unstinting work of his predecessors, Diocletian was now in a position to face these threats with new vigour and an army which only vaguely resembled the one which had carried Septimius Severus to power some ninety years before. It had been shaped by internal pressures as much as external, forced to respond to the new demands of defence-in-depth at the same time that its

1, He was

600'Mrsa', probably under Probus: Zon, XII31,

- 40 -

M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.

Hist or ia

traditional bases of manpower were drying up. It had also become more politically aware, recognising its ability to make and break emperors, who often came from its own ranks. Not all of the changes it underwent took the form in the third century to which they had evolved in the fourth. What they were, and how they developed, is what this thesis is about.

- 41 -

Throughout this dissertation, one recurrent theme underlies the whole work. It has developed out of the individual study of each aspect of the Roman army in the third century, and simply put, it is this: that shortage of manpower, and the compromises which this entailed, was a unifying factor which can be identified in almost every aspect of third century military reform. By this, I do not mean to argue that it was the

factor; nor

that it was the most important. As we shall see, countless forces reforged the Roman army into the shape in which it emerged from the third century AD. Yet underlying them all was the constant awareness, mainly implicit, that the army was stretched to its limit and that the reforms which needed to be made, for whatever reasons, had to be implimented with this in mind. The thesis demands a certain circularity of argument, mainly due to the nature of the evidence. Direct demographic evidence with which to chart such a lack of manpower is hard to come

and largely unreliable; so Eie

possibility of such a shortage is first brought to our attention by observing its effects on Roman military reforms. These effects have been manifold. We shall see that large-scale use of the

came into being during the 160s, almost as a direct result of

the plague of Marcus Aurelius'. It became the standard strategic unit of the third century because of the need to spread the limited resources at the

1, Ch,VI:

Vexiilationn, p,I3Bff,

Since the campaign of Lucius Verus which is universally blamed

for bringing back the plague was the last campaign of the Antonines to employ full legions rather than vexillations, this conclusion seems inevitable,

- 42 -

M,C.Ibe,ji: C3 Army.


army's disposal over an increasingly large area within the hinterland'. Coupled with this was the growth in importance of cavalry, The equitea Dalmatae of Gallienus came into being partly as a reconnaissance in force, by which the movements of the enemy could be located and at least partially controlled, and partly due to a lack of any other available resources within his truncated empire 2 . Other units of equites, most notably the promot.4 the stablesianl and perhaps the


were drawn from existing units and

converted into independent cavalry formations 3 . These and the ethnic units such as the equites Mauri and sagittarli, along with various units of ethnic numeri, seem gradually to have replaced the Auxilia of the early Principate, which had gone into a drastic decline, caused at least in part by endemic attrition and the unpopularity of military service4 . Efforts were made to counteract this unpopularity by increasing military pay and introducing new privileges, but the decline continued, to the extent that no new legions were raised after the creations of Septimius Severus until the reforms of Diocletian; and ethnic units and barbarians continued to replace the AuKiliaS. Reforms among the officer classes, resulting in the rise of the
militares, yin

were also undertaken because of a failure of the senatorial order

to live up to its military responsibilities, and an increasing need for competent military men in positions of importance throughout the empire6.

1, Ch,VI:

Yexi1Iatione Contra Coaitatui, Equites& 'exi1Jationes,

The Both factors are representative

2, Chh,III, VII & VI:

of a stretching of resources with which adequately to defend the empire, 3, Ch,VII:



seem to have retained some sort of link with the legions from

which they were drawn.

4, Ch,Y: uxi)ia. 5, Ch,IV:

6, Chh,X & XI:

Legione on barbarians cf, Ch,IX: Foederati, 1/fri Ifilitares & Protectores, - 43 -

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


Taken in isolation, each of these admits to other, equally valid, interpretations not directly linked to a shortage of manpower. The vexillation provided greater flexibility with which to face the changing circumstances of the later Roman empire. Cavalry came to the fore because of its mobility, enabling it to catch and harass barbarian invaders within the new strictures of defence-in-depth. Furthermore, the
equltes promoti,

for which the strongest argument concerning a redistribution of military resources can be made, seem unlikely to have been created earlier than the reign of Diocletian, by which time other new units were being raised1. Ethnic units can be seen as a resurgence of the early imperial practice of military diversification around the core force of legions, replacing the outmoded Auxilia which had lost its original ethnic Identity. Even the use of barbarian troops can be viewed less in the light of manpower resources than in terms of political expediency 2 . Political expediency of a different sort has also been seen as the driving force behind the rise of the within the officer class, though this is less convincing3. Yet throughout, there remains a constant and consistent refrain: that each of these measures, taken for a variety of reasons, was implemented under the implicit understanding that resources of manpower were at a premium. A.E.R. Boak was severely criticised for laying too much emphasis on the role of manpower shortage In the fall of the western Roman empire, and rightly


Lack of human resources was never the cause of the problems of

1, Ch,VII: Equites, 2, Ch,IX: Foederati, 3, Ch,X:



Mi1itiu contra the traditional view of imperial animosity towards the senate,

4, Boak, Manpover review by Finley, IRS

Shortage and the FaIl of the Roaan Eapire (1955);

cited as Finley, IRS,
- 44 -

scathingly criticised in a

48 (1958), 157ff: herefter

M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


the third century 1 nor for that matter the later Roman empire. In fact, I would go so far as to quote Finley when speaking of the later Roman economy:
Merely to invoke a formula, manpower shortage declining production impoverishment, will

explain neither the fifteenth century nor the very different fourth (or fifth) century,

difficult and sophisticated analysis is necessary, involving prices, wages, productivity -- and

social and political factors too -- before even tentative relationships can be established,

Jones, Indeed, argued the antithesis to Boak's concept 2 . In his view, late Roman Imperial reforms generated an excessive economic burden which weighed down the peasantry and dragged them below subsistence level, creating a vicious downward spiral which brought about famine, depopulation, Inflation end all the other factors associated with the decline of the empire. In this model, shortage of manpower was not the cause of the

empire's decline, but rather an exacerbating effect. The empire's problems were not created by a lack of manpower, but by the failure of the Roman government to recognise that its resources were finite, so overburdening them. This model, in a military context, can be transferred to the third century, where by changing the variables we can demonstrate how an imperial recognition that the resources were limited staved off the subsequent decline. Not even Finley would deny "that the plagues and disorders of the third century cut the population of the western empire" 3 . Warfare was so endemic that it would be pointless to chart the civil wars and invasions of the century. More instructive are the periods of relative peace to be found

I. Finley, IR


2, Jones 1 L,W(1964), 1040ff; cf, also Jones, A/7cient Econoaic History (1948), 14ff, 3, Finley, /R 162, - 45 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


in the ninety years between AD 193 and 284. In all, only

seventeen years

can be safely construed as 'peaceful', and even this number can only be arrived at by ignoring known periods of brigandage and counting interregnal years arid periods of special celebration (such as the celebration of the Millennium) 1 . In this period, only one emperor, Sept imius Severus, was to die a timely death of natural causes. Claudlus Gothicus died of plague in 270, and Decius and Valerian were killed by the enemies of Rome. The remaining 20 'legitimate' emperors were all killed by assassination or civil war2. Indeed, if we were to include all known usurpers throughout the century, the average life-expectancy of someone who had taken the purple in the third century was approximately 2 years. When one considers that this includes the reigns of Septiinius Severus, Severus Alexander and Diocletian, which account for 52 of the 112 years between 193 and AD 305, the truly horrific nature of civil unrest throughout the century becomes apparent3. The plague statistics are not much better. Three great plagues hit the empire between the years 165 and 275, raging for a combined total of more than 40 years. The first and most famous was the plague of Marcus Aurelius, otherwise known as the Plague of Galen, which was brought back from the east after the campaign of Julius Verus. Fourth century sources say the plague began among the army at Seleuceia on the Tigris In the winter of 165,

1, AD 199-203: Severus in Egypt and Rome; AD 205-207: Severus returns to Rome from Africa (Bulla Felix terrorises 8, Italy in 206/7); AD 212: Caracalla withdraws from Britain, murder of Beta: AD 222231: period of relative peace under Severus Alexander AD 247: Millenary celebrations at Rome, After the Gothic invasion of 249, the empire was troubled by civil war and invasion on a continuous basis until the end of the century (with one possible respite in the year 290), 2, Counting ioint emperors as a single entity, 3, Severus ruled from AD 193-211 (18 years), Alexander from AD 222-235 (13 years) and Diocletian from AD 284-305 (19 years), Diocletian was the only emperor ever to retire (along with his colleague, Maximian), and these three emperors were the only ones whose reigns reached double figures, -

46 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


though epidemics were reported at Nisibis and Smyrna in that same year. Certainly, the plague had reached Rome by 166, and was raging among the soldiers at Aquilela in 168/9, when the physician Galen noted its effects1. Gilliam has expressed doubts over the severity of these effects. He notes that Galen seemed unperturbed by the pestilence, though he referred to the plague as a great and long-lasting one 2 . Yet, as one recent commentator has put it "Gilliam's rigorous discussion carries agnosticism to extremes"9. His main objections seem to be that the plague was taken far less seriously by contemporary commentators than by later Roman historians; that there is little demographic evidence for the plague; and that what evidence there is is open to alternative explanation. On the first count, Gilliam's main objection lies in the comment of Cassius Dio, that the epidemic which broke out in 189 was the worst he had experienced 4 . He combines this with comments from Galen, Lucian and Aristides to show that the plague was not the major preoccupation of contemporary authors. Aristides was far more concerned with the earthquake which hit Smyrna in 178, and Lucian makes no mention of the plague in his description of the Olympic Games in

Yet in the mid-160s, Dio was an

infant in Bithynia, far from the pestilential confines of Rome. Even though the plague of Galen continued into the 170s, its effects were uneven, so it

I, S//A Aristidea, Aurelius',

It pus

Y1II . 1-3; Aim, Marc, IXXI . 624;



XVI . 3; Calpurnianus, Fe// 118, N9 208; Gilliam, 'The Plague Under Marcus 229ff for a full chronology and 98(M);


XXXIII'6, XLVIII38-9, 1 . 9, 11 . 25 (K); 73(1961), 227ff Rotan Arty



Papers (1986),

further references, For its effects on the army cf, Galen XIX in

Scripta Ninora 11,


X1II'3-6, XVII . 2 & XXI 6-7; Eutropius YI11 . 12; Jerome C/iron, p.205; Qrosius VII'I5'5-6, 2, Gilliam op. cit., 227f, 3, Duncan-Jones,

Structure and Scale in the Roaan Econoty (1990),

72, n,37,

4, Dio LXXII'14'3-4 (LXXIII in the Loeb edition); cf. also LXXI.2.4, 5, Gilliam, 227ff, esp, nn,16, 18 & 19, -

47 -

M,C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


is hardly surprising that a major epidemic


the crowded capital of the

empire, witnessed with the full understanding of adulthood, should affect the historian more deeply than the sporadic pox with which he had grown up1. Furthermore, it is not impossible that the plague of 189 could have been a recurrence of the plague of Galen, though it is treated as the second of the major plagues discussed here. Equally unsurprising are the preoccupations of Aristides and Lucian. The Smyrna earthquake may well have been a worse calamity to hit the city than the plague. Even if it were not, Aristides is making a rhetorical point in his repeated juxtaposition of the city's prosperity before the earthquake and the devastation after, and we should not expect him to mention the plague, which would only have blunted his argument. The same can be said of Lucian, who only seems to have referred to disease when he could turn it to dramatic advantage s . Neither was a historian, so neither should be expected to sacrifice good rhetoric in the interests of historical accuracy. It is also of interest that while Galen's reaction to the plague has been portrayed as almost blas, the physician declined to accompany Marcus on his Marcomannic campaign because Asclepius forbade him to go. Whether this was out of fear of the plague, or because he was required to stay and treat it is not clear, though he is known to have left Rome soon after the plague reached it and returned to his native Pergamum4. Demographic evidence of any value concerning the Roman world Is

I, Boak,

Manpower Shortage1

19; Duncan-Jones,

Structure and Scale, 72;

Millar, A

Study of 'asius

Dic (1963), 13 & n4,

2, Aristides XVIII-XXII, He does comment on the plague elsewhere, cf, above p47 ni 3, cf, Lucian


XIX, - 48 -

3, All

references in Gilliam, 'Plague of arcus', 227f nn, 10-13; Duncan-Jones, bc, cii,

M.C,Ibeji: C3



extremely difficult to come by, therefore it is hardly surprising that what little evidence exists for depopulation at the time of the plague is open to alternative explanation. Certainly warfare could have as much to do with the unusually high enlistment figures for legionaries at the end of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. Gilliam himself makes the point that recruitment figures fluctuated drastically due to a whole series of variables, and that the seven examples he provides cannot actually prove anything 1 . He is on firmer

ground when he suggests that evidence for depopulation in Egypt in the late 160s could have more to do with with the plague.

(the abandonment of land) than

Wilcken, who first suggested that the dramatic decline

exhibited in the Mendesian nome could have been caused by the plague, retracted his explanation when
P. Graux

2 was published by Henne in 1923,

showing that a similar decline in At) 55/59 was due entirely to desertion2. Yet there is one crucial detail In the Mendeslan papyri which may suggest that abandonment was not the sole cause. The format of the figures given states the number of villagers originally In occupation, followed by the

I, Gilliam, 111 . 6580; 111 . 14507

'Plague of Marcus', 236ff citing 111 . 6178; AE,1955,238; 111 . 8110; YI1I18067; VIlI'18068 which list legionary veterans at time of discharge for the legions ' postulated average of 100 men disharged per

Macedon/ca, II T,afana, VII CJadja & III Augusta, His

year Is slightly low, and if it is going to be used as a benchmark, it should be fixed at 126, On this benchmark, the latter three Inscriptions, listing men who 5etVed from 168-194, 169-195 & 173-198, give figures of 100, 240+ & 330, This indicates that the survival rate of men recruited into

Legio II

Tralana in 166 was slightly (but not significantly) below average, into Vii Claudia & III Augusta in 169 & 173 was significantly above

while the number of men enlisted average, As indicated in the text

above, the figures are statistically worthless and may have as much to do with warfare as with plague. However, if these figures are going to be used to refute the plague, Gilliam has failed to explain why the number of men recruited at the epidemic's height was below the norm, while the numbers recruited in its aftermath, to replace losses from both plague and warfare, were way above ii, NB: Gilliam, 239 on XI


showing that fluctuations in recruitment are such that average assessments are

virtually meaningless; cf, the table In ch,V:


p104 which illustrates the point.

2, Wilcken on 8811 902 & 903 In Fast, 0, HirschfeJds (1903), 123ff; retracted in Arch/v fur Fapyrusforach, VIII (1927), 311; Henne in Bali, Inst, Fr, Arch, Or, XXI (1923), 189ff; cf, Gilliam,
op. cit., 239ff for a full discussion and further references, - 49 -

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


number now extant, of whom a certain number had fled! '. This number usually included the whole of the remaining populace. If the picture was one of agri deserti created by abandonment, would not the numbers who had 'fled' be included among the figure for 'former occupants'? By

differentiating 'former occupants' from 'those fled', the papyri are explicity stating that the desertion of the villages has been caused by something other than the flight of the peasantry, This could have been the plague. In this picture, the plague ravaged the village populace to the extent that only a handful of villagers remained. Faced with the overwhelming burden of taxation not just for themselves, but for their dead compatriots, this handful then took the only other option open to them, and abandoned the land. A recent analysis of Egyptian document totals has shown a virtual collapse in output under the reign of Marcus Aurelius, which indicates that the pestilence may have had a great effect 2 . It would seem that the coinoutput of Marcus Aurelius also suffered a severe drop in 167, immediately after the recorded arrival of the plague at Rome3. The plague of Marcus Aurelius has exercised so much interest among commentators, both ancient and modern, that other natural disasters during the following century have often been overshadowed. The plague which Dio described at Rome in AD 189 killed as many as two thousand people


single day 4 . The earthquake at Smyrna was followed in 242 and the early 260s by a massive series of 'world-quakes' which rocked large tracts of the

1, Figurem given by Gilliam, op. cli, 240: formerly 55, now 10, of which 8 have fled; formerly 27, now 3, fled 3; formerly 54, now 4, fled 4, 2, Duncan-Jones, Structure and Scale, 71ff, 3, Duncan-Jones, op. cit., 73ff, 4 Dio LXfl'2'4 & LXXII . 14'3-4, discussed above, p.47, - 50 -

M,C.Ibe,ji: C3 Army.


Mediterranean 1 . Famine swept the empire In the wake of these disasters2, the most devastating of which was the great plague of 25O-275. Whether this was one great plague which reccurred sporadically throughout these twenty-five years, or whether it was a series of separate epidemics is still open to debate 4 . The fact still remains that plague ravaged the empire during the reigns of Trebonianus Gallus, Gallienus and Claudlus Gothicus, killing the latter, and leaving witnesses shaken by its severity6. The effect on the population of these combined disasters, coupled with the depredations of constant warfare, cannot have been slight. Burn equated the mortality rate of Roman Africa with that of early twentieth century India (among others), and was followed by Jones 7 . Here, infant mortality was high, and the life expectancy of males was significantly greater than females, Burn declines to give proper 'expectation of life' figures for

reasons of statistical purity, but the figures he does provide show that the probable duration of life in Roman Africa did not exceed the age of

Soldiers in the Roman army also had a generally lower life expectancy than

1, Dc Blois,

2, flacNullen, Eneties

The Policy of f/ic Esperor Gallienus of the Rosen Order (1966),

(1976), 10; 8/14 Gord, XXVI . 1-2, Appendix A, 251ff,



3, Zos, 1 . 26 . 2, 37'3 & 46 . 2; Zon, XII 21; Vict, Cees, XXX2 & XXXIII 5; S//A Gail, V 5; Eusebius Mist, (cci, VII21-22: Joh, Ant, frag, 151; Cedrenus I p.452; Jerome C/iron, p.219; Orosius VII.21'4-5, 22 . 2-3 & 2?1O; Iordanes Get/ca XIX'104 IM); Pontivs 1 Cypt, 1X Cyprian Dc Hart, XIV . 16, Ad Dci.', V'lO,
4, Boak,

Manpover Shortage,

136 n,11 Alfldi, CA//XII, 1671 & 227f; Jones, IRE, 1043,

5, los, I46 2; S//A Claud, XlI'2-3, 6, Contemporary accounts come from Cyprian and Eusebius, Zosimus, drawing on the contemporary account of Dexippus, graphically illustrates the shock felt by those who experienced the plagues: refe in n,3 above, 7, Burn, 'Hic Breve Vivitur', Past end Present4 (1953), 11ff; Jones, LRE 1041, 8, Burn, 1411, esp, Table I on p.16, Half of the inhabitants of the civil districts of Africa could expect to reach the age of 4811 they were male, and 44 ii they were female, Among the imperial slave population of Carthage, the duration of life drops to 38 and 33 respectively, In Europe and on the Danube, probable duration was between 40f33 and 44/36 for males/females, Of those tha , those ages, half could expect to reach the age of 600r more in all categories except souther ched

M.C.Ibe,ji: C3 Army.


their civilian counterparts, though their chances of reaching middle age were significantly higher, presumably due to the rgime of fitness required of them'. The important factor here is the high female mortality rate. To maintain its numbers, the Roman population would have needed a very high birth rate2 , According to Finley:
Low life expectancy obviously restricts the rate of reproduction by the mere fact that a large

percentage of women do not live through the entire period in which they are biologically fertile,

Given that limit, however, In a stable life-expectancy pattern (whether high or low) the

reproduction rate can vary greatly from generation to generation according to many factor5, The

argument must proceed from these factors to the population curve, not the other way round,

In the third century, these factors -- war, pestilence, famine, catastrophe -- seem incontrovertibly calculated to disrupt the normal pattern. Even after discarding Boak's assumptions about the long-term effects of plague upon the population base 4 , we find the empire still faced by a continuous series of disasters, both natural and man-made, which progressed with almost no let-up to a feverish crescendo in the middle of the third century. From 240 onwards, the empire suffered the depredations of earthquake and plague at regular ten-year intervals, linked by continuous warfare, until the cycle of disaster (but not warfare!) ceased after 275. Iones spoke of the resilience of the Roman population, highlighting its rapid recovery "from any but the severest checks caused by massacres, famines or epidemice lls . If thirty-five years, something like a generation, of continuous

1, Burn, op. cit. (above, n,7), 10 & 16, 2, Jones, bc, cit 1 (above n,7), 3. Finley, IRS, 157, 4, Boak, Manpove Shop tage, 19, 31, 56 & 113; refuted by Finley, IRS, 158 & 162, 5, Jones, bc, cit. -

52 -

M.C.Ibe.ji: C3 Army.


attrition was not a 'severe check', what is? Thanks to a recent study, it is now possible to make some crude comparison of life-expectancy in the early and later Principate. Figures produced by Duncan-Jones from an, admittedly dubious, statistical base purport to show that expectation of life within the Roman empire in the early third century could have been slightly below 20 years for the servile population, and slightly above 30 years for the urban middle classes 1 . Both these figures are very low when compared to Burn's calculations. Direct comparison can be made only with one of Burn's tables: that for the slaves and freedmen of the imperial household in Carthage. All others are either too late, or include figures from the third century


their calculations.

Since Burn's figures are not 'expectation of life' statistics, a more valid comparison may be between the infant mortality rates assessed by both studies. Duncan-Jones has estimated this at between 278 and 329 per

thousand for the middle classes in the third century, while Burn approximated a minimum of 200-250 per thousand for the Principate as a whole, believing it to be proportionately worse for the slaves of Carthage 2. What this tells us is that the life-expectancy of the middle-class in the third century may have been little better than that of imperial slaves in the early Principate.

I, Duncan-Jones, Stucturi and $j/ 91ff, His figures are based upon the Album of Canusiva, which lists a town council of 100 members, of whom 68 had held a magistracy by AD 223; and a comparison of the Ulpian Table (listing official calculations for life-annuities in the early third century) with the models of the Princeton series, 8y dividing the Canusium figures by the regular magisterial intake of 2, he arrives at a mean life-expectancy from age 0 of 32 years; the Ulpian Table is less simple, arriving at a life-expectancy from 0 of under 20, which may be due to the inaccuracy of the Table's own calculations, The Album of Canusium therefore provides figures for the magisterial classes of an Italian town, while the Ulpian Table provides a Roman estimate of life for the servile population, Neither is very reliable, 2, Duncan-Jones, 94; Burn, 14,

- 53 -

M,c.rbeji: C3 Army.


The picture drawn so far equates with Boak's image of a declining population, which may have plummetted in the mid-third century as natural disasters took their toll 1 . However, a manpower shortage in military terms does not necessarily require such a drop. In fact, I do not believe that the empire sufferred any significant long-term 1086 in manpower until the period of crises which followed the great quake of AD 242. Previously, the empire had enough surplus manpower with which to create five new legions within the space of some thirty years, despite the plagues of Marcus Aurelius and Gommodus. It was these creations which in my belief stretched citizen

manpower to its limit, as evidenced by the reforms of the Seven and the fact that no further legions were recruited until the reign of Dlocletian2, The reforms may have had a dual purpose, increasing the popularity of the emperor in the soldiers' eyes as well as increasing the attractiveness of military service, but it was the latter which was of greater long-term importance, and which ultimately failed. With regard to non-citizen

manpower, the recruitment of auxiliary units does not tail off significantly until after the reign of' Caracalla, and does not die out until the mid-third century. Yet it is noticeable that even among these there is a large number of 'ethnic' troops, drawn mainly from the eastern and African provinces4. Even if there was no decline in population, the third-century Roman army was obviously stretched to its limit and forced to look to new methods of defence in order to cover the ground it had to protect.

I, Soak, Manpower Shortage, 109ff, 2, Cli, LY: Legiones, 3, Ch,IV: Legiones, 4, ChY: 4uxi)ia, Table Al,
- 54 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


This is what prompted the activities of Gallienus. By his reign, there Is no gainsayirig that the empire's human resources were a].rnost exhausted, Quite apart from the hammer-blows which the population had sufferred up to that point, Gallienus was left with an empire that had lost control of both Its eastern and western provinces, and with them that valuable source of oriental troops upon which the empire had been drawing since the late second century. Simultaneously, he had gained an extra frontier, looking westwards towards the Gallic Empire, which required defence and which had removed the troops dedicated to that part of the empire. With the death of Odaenathus, he was also forced to look east. He had lost two of his main recruiting grounds, gained two extra frontiers, and within them was faced with rebellion, Invasion, famine and plague. The full burden of maintaining his present army at its current level had fallen on his Illyrian and African recruiting grounds, yet to hold this truncated empire together, he had to find enough new troops with which to hit back. His solution was to

reorganise the way the army worked, and we shall see how he drew upon the equites Dalma tee, as his only source of fresh manpower, to create a coordinated cavalry/infantry strategy which could be built upon by his successor&. Cheesman has been quoted as saying: "The extent to which a ruling race can safely use the military resources of its subjects and the effect on both parties of such a relation is a question of universal historical lnterest." In its limited scope, this work cannot answer the second question, but it can

1, Chh, iii a vii: Con Crc Coal Ca tua a 2, Cheesman, 1/ic

Eqwi tes AwxiJia of the Roam Icperial Arir (1914), 7,

55 -

M.C.Ibejl: C3 Army.


endeavour to answer the first. The military resources of the empire in the third century were limited. The repeated disasters which afflicted the

empire during that century must have limited them even further. Yet by their tacit acceptance of these limitations, and by working around them, rather than by legislating against them, the emperors of that century were able to weather the storm and bring the empire into calmer waters. The damage done to the population was not irreversible, and by the time of Diocletian it had recovered enough for him to essay his reforms. It is generally believed that he increased the size of the army, though what this meant in numerical terms is debatable 1 . Since the recent findings of

Duncan-Jones suggest that the size of Diocletianic units may have been considerably smaller than was previously believed, all earlier estimations may have to be revised 2 . It may be that the actual number of men in the army under Diocletian was not significantly greater than those under the standards in the mid-third century. If this is the case, then he had enough manpower with which to cope, but only because his predecessors had astutely juggled the resources at their disposal to stave off the manpower crisis which had been looming throughout the entire century.

1, Van Berchem believed that Diocletian doubled the size of the aray, Jones estisated a figure of approx, 600,000 men, and Boak arrived at a figure anywhere between 400,000 and 650,000: Van Berchem, Arme de Qlocltien, 113; Jones, LRE 679ff; Boak, /Yanpover Shortage, 86ff, 2, Duncan-Jones, 'Pay and Numbers in Diocletian's Army', Chiron8 (1978), 541ff, - 56 -


This chapter is deliberately controversial.

It examines the evidence

both for arid against one of the most cherished preconceptions of third century military studies: that of the mobile cavalry field army believed to have been created by Gallienus. The subject is inextricably linked to that of the

equltes Dalmatae

and the introduction of cavalry vexillations which

occurred at some time in the latter part of the century. On the following pages, I shall review the evidence concerning the mobile field army. I

intend to illustrate the meagre foundations upon which the hypothesis has been based, and to explore alternative possibilities equally supportable by the present evidence. I shall end with an history of the growth of the units termed


The idea of a mobile field army arose from an assumption made by Emil Ritterlthg army 1 .


his excellent article, of 1903, on aspects of the later Roman

Identifying Gallienus as the creator of the

equites Dalmatae,


which Ritterling had the greatest interest, he made the following statement:
Gallienus ist in der That der Schpfer einer siets kampfbereiten, von den Besatzungen der

Provinzen und aus den alten Verbanden Iosgelsien, fr den Krieg im grossen verwendbaren Reiterei

ii rmischen Heere geworden,2

His evidence for this was slim 1 but sufficiently convincing to persuade others to search for more. This seemed forthcoming


1927, when Andreas

1, Riiterling, 'Zurn rmischen Heerwesen des ausgehenden dritten Jahrhunderis', Pestschrift zu Otto Hirsch!elds (1903), 345ff, 2, Ritterling, 349: 6allienus is in fact the creator of an always battle-ready unit, resoved !ro,. provincial garrisons and old units, turning the Rosan ai'ey in to a versa tile cavalry force,

57 -

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatum

Alfldi produced numismatic evidence of a cavalry force present in Milan under the generalship of the usurper Aureolus 1 . Since then, the existence of a mobile field army ha8 achieved the status of accepted fact, such that respected scholars can refer to it en passant when discussing topics upon which it touches; and its very existence can be seen as an answer to some of the knottier problems of the period. Indeed, the idea of a Gallienic field army has become so ingrained that it is now legitimate to search for its precursors In the reigns of earlier emperors3. At its most extreme, the field army is seen as an elite force of cavalry under an independent command, with its operations completely separate from either provincial forces or the imperial army and "wholly independent of the Infantry"4 . More conventional opinion still emphasises the mobility of the cavalry, and its freedom of action under an independent cavalry commander. The field army Is seen as "a landmark In the development of the Roman army...anticipating the fourth century system for which Diocletian and Constantine between them had previously been given the credit"6. In effect, It Is viewed as a precursor of the comitatus with its substantial components of shock cavalry. Both views essentially rely on the assumptions made by Ritterllng:


Alfldl, 'Der Usurpator Aureolus und die kavallierereform des Gallienus', (1967), 1ff

Stud/en zur Die

fieschichfe der Ueitkrise de5 3 Ialirlwnderts nach Christus

2, Alfldi,

XIXYII (1927), 156ff,

XII (1939), 216f (who attributed to it praeiorian status); Aliheim,

Soldatenkaiser (1939), 178f; Protectores', C/i/ron 7 (1977),

(1974), 541ff 202ff army),

Christol, 'La CarriIre de Traianus Mucianus et l'Origine des 393ff (who viewed the

protectores as

centurions in the field army)

Eadie, 'Developffient of Roman Nailed Cavalry',

57(1967), 168; Speidel1 'Stablesiani', Ethnic Units',


Cu/ron IV

Rotan Arty Studies I (1984), 391ff, and 'Rise of Ro4an Arty Papers, 117ff (who assumed that the equites had

II'3 (1975),

elite status as part of the field

3, E, Birley, 'Septimlus Severus and the Roman Army',


Ep, $two 8

(1969), 661 discussed further



4, So Alfldi, locc, citt, (above), 5, So Birley, bc, cit. (above), - 58 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army. assumptions which have never been questioned. primarily with the development of the
origins of the Dignitatur&,
equites Illyriciani

Contra Comitatum Ritterling was concerned

He saw in them the

equites Dalinatae.

listed among eastern units in the Notitia

Working with the minutest of scraps from the histories, he

pieced together a convincing picture of the equites Dalmatae in existence under the emperor Gallienus, and commanded by the general Aureolus. However, he immediately assumed that they were part of a field army, on no stronger grounds than that they had their own commander and a few equites

were comita tenses in the

Notitia2 .

It is this assumption which has

created the present orthodoxy. Remove this assumption, and the evidence -both that with which Ritter] was working, and all that has been produced since -- takes on a very different colour. There seems little doubt that the equites Da1matae in whatever form they took, were the creation of Gallienus. With the single exception of the
Vita Albini,

which must be historical interpolation on the part of the SliP,

they do not appear in the sources until this emperor's sole reign, The medieval historian, Cedrenus, claimed that:
Pi.1avo rpro tflsAT ra'fiara xrrcv,'1( 1(o1




Zonaras described their crucial role in the campaign against Ingenuus, while Zosimus spoke of their operations both before and after the battle of

I, Ritterling, op. cit. (above, p.57), 2, Ritterling, 34Sf, Only 6

3, S/M ,Qlb.

equite5 Daliatae out

of 37 in the

VI . 2; Ritterling, 345 n,3: Albinus is said to have been

Notitia were coiitetenses, 'trthunus equites Daliatas

(sic) Such an early date runs contra to all other evidence, and given the SHA's penchant for importing institutions from its own time, it cannot simply be taken on face value,
4, Cedrenus 1, 454(B):

Gallienus first introduced units of hor5e: for the Roean soldiers began -

lainly as infantry.

59 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatuni


In both commentaries, the name of Aureolus figures highly.


Zonaras calls him

and claimed he was appointed steward of the

'Royal Horse' 2 . He was in command of the cavalry stationed at Milan when he rebelled against Gallienus, setting frito motion a series of events which were to end

th the deaths of both himself and the emperor 3 . The passages which in unravelling the nature of

describe his status at this time are important the cavalry: Zonaras XII'25, P I 633(D): aQ#s

ft hcpr xart ro rAqvo, ha'virtTra'o rcrovv iv ApsoAo

0Pv(cll/cIrO, tarq 1tv riiq tiiov Xd'i /1('i iova'pcvo,

ZO51NUS I'40'1 ,,,lyyAlza's f'a'L1sqv c rpo !xok Iyrqupoovri roAqi, ro y rc hrov rac s TOPflcvoY Apaoov, h /fiioav rp roAi rqv

rv 1za'A:a'v iipodov lloro,ioo rra'yjicvov

iapq'Aarusv d ro vcsrc,scav rcrpapks xaa pvijcla'i rqv ra y 3A&v Ipiiv It.rp, Victor Ccci, XXXIII'17: Masque Aureolus, cut per Ractias legionibus praesset,,,,suipto i.perio,
Roses con tendeba t,'

Aureolus is depicted as a powerful general, in charge not only of the Milan cavalry, but also the forces

in Raetia. Alfldi has demonstrated that

he had control of the mint in Milan, which extolled the virtues of the cavalry, first for Gallienus and later on behalf of F'ostumus 7 . His study has proven that Aureolus did not

in fact revolt in his own name, but declared

I, Zon, XII . 24, P I 631(D); Zo5, 1.43.2, 2,Zon, ktI 24, P 1 631<8) & 631(0), 3,Zon, XII'25, P 1 633(D); Zos, 1 . 40 . 1; cf,


Vict, Caes, XXXIII 17-18; 5H44 Gall, 11 . 6, 111.1

& XIV'6-7, Trig, Tyr, XI I & XII'2, 4, Zonaras: igain there arose another rebellion against 6'allienus, to which Aureolus, cossander of all the cavalry end a very powerful tan, linked /,iaself,,, 5, 2osi,aus: ,, , Nit's t'as not' brought to 8aJJiernis, involved in f/ic war against the Scythians, that aQureolus, cosiander of all the cavalry posted at Milan to prevent Postusus invading Italy, had revolted and was seeking suprese power, 6, Victor: Now Aureo!u5, cossander of the Raetia, legion5,,,, took up the purple and Rate,
7, Alfldi, 'Usurpator Aureolus', 4ff, esp,l2ff, - 60 sarched


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatuni

for the Gallic Emperor, and indeed the vast majority of his coins were struck in the name of Postumus' Earlier in the reign, he led the cavalry against Ingenuus, and also campaigned against PostumuB and the Macriani2. Yet we must not fall into the trap of automatically linking Aureolus to the cavalry. All too often, the presence of Aureolus is seen to signify the field army in action. In fact, the names of Aureolus and the equites

Dalmatae are never explicitly linked. True, Zonaras named him as the

commander of the cavalry ('tv tnov) which put Ingenuus to flight at the battle of Mursa and pursued him to his death, but it was the Moorish troops which that author singled out for praise when he came to name forces from the campaign 3 . In the war against Postumus, though Aureolus was acting like a cavalry commander, pursuing the Gallic emperor after his defeat by Gallienus 4 , no explicit mention of cavalry is made. Nor do they figure in his expedition against the Macriani, and it would be certain folly to assume that he fought this campaign with nothing but a force of horsemen 5 . Even in Milan, he is historically attested to have controlled the Raetian legions, and it is likely that his authority extended to the legionary vexillations in Aquileia. So similarly, when campaigning against the battle-tested eastern army which had salvaged the situation after the capture of Valerian, he

1, 20 dIfferent types were struck in Milan in the name of Postumus, as opposed to 2 in the name of Gallienus: RIC V, Posttrnus, 366-389 (excl,382-384) EaJllenws (sole), 445


472, I have not

included the a1acitatus coin cited by Alfldi, since it does not seem to me that the presence of a flying Pegasus and the verso ALACRITATI are in themselves strong enough indicators to link it to the cavalry: the assumptions implicit in its Inclusion serve only to confuse the issue, 'Usurpator Aureolus', 13f. 2, Zon, XiI . 24, P1631(D), 632(B) 3, Zon, XII . 24, P I 631(0), 4, Zon, XII . 24, P I 632(8), 5, Zon, XII . 24, P I 632(0), 6, III'954 V 808; cf, ch,VI: VexilIaiones, p,142f, - 61 cf, Alfldi1



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatum

can hardly have been anything other than a dux exercitus in charge of a powerful combined force of western troops loyal to Gallienus. In this

respect, he was no different to other generals campaigning on behalf of the emperor. Marcianus taking over the emperor's Gothic war in AD 268

immediately springs to mind'. Simply because Aureolus was linked to the cavalry at certain times, it does not follow that the cavalry was always linked to him, nor that he was always linked to the cavalry. It is equally mistaken to make too much of the hipparchos references Zonaras.


The historian calls Aureolus hipparch in the campaign against

Irigenuus. Elsewhere, he says he was steward of the 'Royal Horse' and also commander of "all the cavalry"2 . Yet in this very same chapter we find

another general, Aureliani, following the emperor to Milan "with the cavalry" (auv t int eua t )2 , so it is obviouB that not all the cavalry were under the control of Aureolus. The cavalry brought up by Aurelian were, by inference, part of the army Gallienus was leading against the Goths when he heard of Aureolus' rebellion. Why they did not accompany him immediately is unclear. Perhaps they took some time to reorganise, or maybe they were needed to complete some crucial manoeuvre before being freed for the emergency. It is almost certain that they were in part equites Da1matae since tradition has it that a tribune of this corps played a direct role in Gallienus' murder4. On top of this, Aureolus is not the only hippar'ch named in Zonaras' account. The same term is applied on behalf of' the Macriani to their fellow

1,Zos, 1.40.1,
2, Zon, XII'24, P I 631(C): ,,, m y Aaxv h,Gv /oYrio'v,i ,poxqciporc XII . 25 P1633(D):



r roAsopA'oPvw TOD PJnACO fil IfroAa'va QpiiAsvo ay

Note also Zon, X1I . 26, P I 635(B) which calls Claudius hipparchos,

3, Zon, X1I25, P I 634(A):

,por g' y hr&,

4, Zos, I'40 2-3; Zon, XII'25, P I 634(A-B); SHA Gall, XIV 6-7, which names the man Cecropius and call5 him dux Daliatarua, Note that he could have been on secondient away from his unit, -

62 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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conspirator and Praetorian Prefect, Callistus 'Ballista' 1 . This may, In fact, have some substance, since Ballista's tactics in wearing down the Persians possessed the flavour of a mounted guerrilla campaign. At any rate, no matter how highly he figures in the recorded tradition, Aureolus was not unique in his titles, nor in his command of cavalry. Are we then to credit the claim that he was steward of the 'Royal Horse'? I think we can do so In at least two ways, without applying elite status to the equites Dalma tea The first possibility is that he was commander of the equites singulares at some point in his career. The title is known to have been held by another of Gallienus' favourites, L. Petronius Taurus Volusianus3 , so the idea is not unprecedented. Equally probable,

considering the circumstances, is a command of the Moorish javelinmen. Two units of equites iteinque pedites Mauri are known, organised into formations of seniores and luniores. The epigraphy strongly suggests that this command was given to a praepositus

the rank of a former tribune of the urban

cohorts, before proceeding on to the praetorians 4 . The unit therefore had some sort of 'household' status, and indeed the Mauretanian horse are ranked alongside the praetorians in at least one commentary 5 . This makes tharn equally, if not more, likely to have been t

trffot of Zonaras than

the equites Dalma tee which were, no matter what their status, always regular units of the later Roman army.

I, Zon, 111 2, Zon,

. 24, P1632(D): S/IA Sal!, 1 . 2-3 & III'2, Trig, Tyr, XII, XIV . l & XVIII'13, X1123; S//A Va), IV'S. Tr/g, Tyr, X1I'1 but remember that he had command of the
IL$9479 :


of Yalerian's army which cannot have all been cavalry,

3, XI'1836 ILS 1332, 4, VI1I . 20996 ILS 1356: l6RRI'1496 5, Zos, I52'4; Alfldi believed they

A19O8,259, 215; Speidel,

on the other

had praetorian status, CAM XII,

hand, claimed their elite status came from their position in the cotitatus, 'Ethnic Units', 215,

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M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatum

In fact, the equltes Dalmatae do not appear in the sources until AD 268, when Zosimus place8 them at the battle of Naissus 1 . They are only explicitly named by this author and the Hlstoriae Augustae and while it is likely that they made up the bulk of the equites at Milan, they are specifically attested only in the beseiging force2, What, then, of the equltes in Milan? Such a strong body of evidence for their presence indicateB that they must have been important 3 . Alfdldi believed Milan was the headquarters of the mobile

but if this

convenient explanation is not to be taken for granted, how else can we explain the presence of such a large concentration of cavalry? Zosinius provides us with a clear answer. He explicitly states that the cavalry were: ". . .posted at Milan to prevent Postumus invading Italy." The numismatic material confirms this, since the first types extolling the virtues of the equites appear at Milan in AD 259 s . This was a year of great events. Not only did Postumus rebel, but earlier a large force of Alemanni, which had been on the rampage in Gaul, crossed the Alps and were eventually caught outside Milan6. Alfldi was convinced that this was the first year of production for the Milanese mint, making it impossible for these coins to have appeared any earlier 7 . However, typological evidence strongly suggests that the

1, Zos, 1.43.2 2, Zos, I4O2-3; S/IA Gall, XIV'4 & 9, In spite of this, other evidence from the Notitia and
non-literary sources suggests that the

Equites Dalaatae made

up a significant proportion of the new

cavalry units available to Gallienus and his generals: ci, chYIl: 3, Zon, XII'25, P I



Zos, I'40 . 1 Vict,


XXXIII'17-18, discussed above, p,60f:

numismatic evidence supplied by Alfldi, 'Usurpator Aureolus', llff RIC equivalents cited above, p.61 n, 1, 4, Alfldi, op. cit,,
5, RICV,

3, Gall, sole, 445 & 472,

6, Alfldi, CAM XII, 154f, 7, Alfldi, 'Usurpator Aureolus', 4. -

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M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.

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Viminaciurn mint in Moesia was moved wholesale to Milan at around AD 255 or 256 1 , suggesting that plans for the protection of Cisalpina had been underway some time previously. It is obvious that until 259 Fostumus was not the enemy against whom such preparations could have been made. Instead, they were to provide for the defence of northern Italy against incursions by the Alemanni. This Germanic people had been troubling the empire since the time of Caracalla, and had become a serious menace following the troubles of the early 250s. Around AD 256, they overran the Agri Decumates, and followed this with the extended campaign which Gallienus brought to an end outside Milan2 . Their main line of attack was southwards through Raetia and across the northern Alps, to enter the Po Valley at precisely those points covered by Milan and Verona, which were fortified circa 265 g . After 259, the Alemanni did not attempt to penetrate into Italy until a full decade later. This is crucially significant since it came ,Just at the time when the defences of northern Italy and Raetia had been plunged into turmoil by the usurpation of Aureolus4 . That the Alemanni remained historically quiescent throughout the period in which cavalry are attested at Milan must be an indication of the effectiveness of the garrison. It is worth bearing in mind that measures for the defence of northern Italy had been under way since approximately 255, and while cavalry probably formed a part of that picture from the very beginning, they do not come to prominence until after the usurpation of Postumus. From this, the purpose of the Milan cavalry is clear. It was part of a

1, RICV1, pp.21-22, 2, 1f1di, CAM XII, 153ff. 3 ILS 544 & 6730; V'3329 4, Alfldi, op. cii,, 156; Vict, (p/t, XXXIV'2,

65 -



\ I
.c -



3_J; --.. S.


I - -

- Pt '4


D b 5' "'

KEY: Fortified city 1. S Garrison



Milan: fortified city with cavalry & possibly legionaries; Cedrenus I 454(B); Zos. I401; Zon. X1125 P I 633 CD); Alfldi, ZfN 37, 156ff; Vict. Caes. XXX11117; RIC V1, Gall. (sole), 447, 475, 477-48 1. Verona: fortified city, garrison unkown. Aquileia: vexx, of Legg. XIII Gernina & 11111 ?J; V'808. Poetovio: vexx. of Legs'. V Macedorilca & XIII Gernina; A1936,53, 54 &

2. 3. 4.


Praetentura Ita.Uae et Alpiurn: line of fortlets;

Eporedia: vex,



catafractariorurn; V'6784.


Turin: numerus Deirnatarum; V'7000 & 7001.

Map 2

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatum

static garrison providing for the defence of northern Italy and tied to the Clsalpthe territories. After the revolt of Postumus, its initial brief

against Alemannic raids was by necessity widened to include the Gallic Empire, tying the garrison even more firmly to the Po Valley, since It was now forced to keep watch in two directions. The force In Milan was only part of the whole package. Eastern access Into Cisalpina was covered by vexillations stationed at Aquileia 1 and screened by a line of forts called the praetentura Itallae et Alplum2 . A garrison at Poetovio further protected the route from the Pannonian limes into northern Italy 3 . To the west, a unit of cataphracts was stationed at Eporedia on the exit from the St. Bernard Pass4 , and a numerus Deliiatarum was eventually stationed at Turin, guarding the Mt. Genvre Pass, though this may have been at a later date 9 . The existence of fides militum, exercitum and legi on urn series from the mint under Gallienus also suggests that the Milan force was Itself a mixed one6, The Raetlan troops also figured in this defensive scheme. Aurelius Victor is emphatic upon this point, claiming that Aureolus not only commanded the 'legions' In Raetie, but that he W85 present In the province at the time of his rebellion'. Considering the initial purpose of the Cisalpine garrison, this claim should hardly come as a surprise. Raetia In fact formed the first line of defence against Alernannic incursion. Yet, given the

distances involved, it would be ludicrous to assume that the units in Milan

I, V.808, 2, ILS 8977, 3, 4E,1936,53, 54 & 57, 4, V6784, 5, V . 7000 & 7001: dated to the late empire by the presence of an exarch in the unit, but the dating can be no more precise, ci. Fiebiger, Exarc/ios, RE 1554, 6, RJ'CV . I, 6a1!, (sole), 447, 475, 477-481, 7,Vici, Caes, XXXIII.17, - 66 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Couiitatum

were able to react across the Alps in response to a message from Raetia, before the Alemanni had themselves taken one of the Alpine passes. Unless we are going to believe that the 'mobile field army' split itself into two parts and advanced down the passes above Milan and Verona simultaneously, we cannot assume that the force in Milan was expected to advance into Raetia. Even without these logistical problems, once the Gallic Empire came onto the scene, its ominous presence would have served as a deterrent to mobility. With the Gallic Empire on its doorstep, Cisalpina had become in effect a frontier province. If the 'field army' reacted into Raetia, it would leave northern Italy wide open to invasion from the west; even more so If the above point about speed of communication is rejected, since this applies as equally to the Gallic Empire as it does to the Milan garrison. Aureolus' jurisdiction in Raetia must have been intended to coordinate the defensive scheme. Such a unified command will have ensured that no conflict of purpose existed between the operations on either side of the Alps. Some communication will have existed, if only to warn the Cisalpine troops that a raiding party was on its way. The testimony of Aurelius Victor implies that at the very least he was required to inspect the Raetian 11me in person, and may have been responsible for punitive expeditions to keep the Germanic tribes under control. Yet the fact that the commander of the troops in Milan was also the nominal commander of the troops in Raetia was not In Itself an indication of the mobility of the former. In that case, why was the Milan garrison made up of cavalry? The coinage of Aureolus so obviously labours the point that no genius is required to identIfy it as his crucial bargaining chip. If they were not a mobile field army, why were the cavalry in northern Italy so important? The answer, in my opinion, lies in the geography of the situation. The Alpine - 67 -

M,C.Ibe.Ji: C3 Army.

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passes all debouched into the Po Valley which was dominated by two main geographical features. The first was the River Po itself, which combined with the River Adige and its own large tributaries to dissect the north Italian plain, providing a series of natural obstacles which could only be forded at specific points. Herodian testifies to the inconvenience this

caused an invading army'. The second was the very flatness of the terrain making it perfect cavalry country. On the approach of any invasion force, the cavalry could race ahead of it, destroying the vital bridges and interdicting the fording places, constantly harassing the enemy


an attempt

to wear it down and influence it into a position of disadvantage where it could be brought to battle. This is the way we see the Dalmatian cavalry acting before and after Naissus, when they were credited with destroying over 50,000 barbarians in a series of ambuscades 2 . To this extent, and to this extent only were the Milan cavalry a mobile force. intents and purposes, the cavalry stationed For all other


Milan and northern Italy were

no more than a highly specialised provincial garrison, tailored to take the maximum advantage of their local environment with the minimum necessary manpower. No wonder, then, that the single engagement attempted by the usurper Aureolus before he hid himself in Milan was to interdict a bridge which was later to bear his name9. As a provincial garrison, the Milan cavalry were largely independent. Like legionary forces elsewhere, they would have come under the control of the emperor or his representative whenever a large-scale campaign was conducted in the region. The material above indicates that the Imperial

1, Her,
2, Zos,


I'43'2, 3,Vici, Caes, XXXIII'18, - 68 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatuni

representative was Aureolus himself, who sacrificed overall command only in the presence of the emperor. This did in fact happen in AD 259 and 269 when Gallienus and Claudius campaigned against the Alemanni 1 . So even this 'independent provincial garrison' became an adjunct of the imperial army when the emperor commanded in person. It is also clear that the Milan cavalry cannot have been the same force of equ.ites Dalinatae that was present at Naissus, since it was the emperor's very preoccupation with that campaign which afforded Aureolus the opportunity for rebellion2 . Could it be, therefore, that the force at Naissus was the 'mobile cavalry field army', which later became confused in the sources with the 'Independent cavalry garrison' of Aureolus? To find out, we must attempt to discover how the cavalry operated outside northern Italy, by looking at the pattern of its use in the third quarter of the century. Our most important source i.n this respect Is the sixth century epitomator, Zosimus. He gives detailed accounts of every major cavalry battle in the period, which are generally upheld by the incidental references of other commentaries. Unfortunately, his treatment of the battle of Naissus Is not one of his more impressive achievements. His chronology seems to have become muddled during the chaotic circumstances of 259, causing him to confuse the events at Naissus with similar incidents that occurred under the emperor Claudlus IL As a consequence, the two accounts which come out of this jumble should be taken not to describe individual engagements, but as a general representation of the battles which occurred during the campaign.

1, Alfldi, CAM XII, 15Sf 1 Note that Aureolus was dead by 269, but his successor (Aurelian?) was subordinate to Claudius, 2, Zos, 1 . 40 . 1; Vict, Caes, XXXIII'1S-17, -

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M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.

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At 'Naissus', the Dalmatian cavalry constantly harassed the enemy on their approach to the battle. The engagement itself was lost by the Romans, but the Gothic raiders were seriously weakened and worn down by continued cavalry harassment in the wake of the defeat 1 . Similar events preceded 'Mt. Haemas'. Once again the cavalry skirmished with the raiders, driving them towards the chosen battleground. Once there they were engaged by the Roman infantry, for whom the battle went disastrously, and the Romans were only able to escape due to the timely intervention of the cavalry2 . The picture is of a series of unsuccessful engagements, mitigated only by a mounted guerilla war carried out in coordination with the imperial army. A couple of comments from the Historla Augusta serve only to add to this impression2. Aurelian's campaigns against the Palmyrenes are depicted in a more successful light. If we were to hazard any reason for this, it must be due to this emperor's superior experience in command of cavalry, since Zoslinus makes it clear that the Palmyrenes were certainly no easier to defeat. At both Immae and Emesa, Aurellan attempted the same tactic. He knew that his cavalry was outclassed in every respect by the Palmyrene cataphracts. They were less skillful, less well armoured and fewer in number. Therefore, he ordered his cavalry to skirmish with the Palmyrenes, avoiding engagement for as long as possible, in an attempt to exhaust their heavier armoured cli.banarii and turn the superior manoeuvrabillty and endurance of his cavalry to advantage. At Immae, the tactic worked. Once the Pa].myrenes had been worn down, the Romans turned on them and destroyed them. However, at Emesa,

1, Zos, I.432, 2, 3, Zos, 1.45, S//A, Ga/I, XI1I . 9 & Claud, IX.1-2, -

70 -

M,C.Ibe.ji: C3 Army.

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the Palmyrene cava]ry was able to catch the retreating Romans, and a disaster was only averted by the timely intervention of the infantry'. Several points of interest arise from these depictions. Most important is the overriding impression that the Roman cavalry were lightly armed skirmishing troops, which excelled at harassing their enemy but were less capable of facing them in a knock-down, drag-out fight. Even at Mt. Haemas, when they are supposed to have rescued the Roman infantry from disaster, it seems probable that they engaged the Gothic force from the flanks and rear, In the time-honoured tradition of ancient horse soldiers. In addition, Zosimus consistently states that the Roman cavalry was inferior, both qualitatively and quantatively, to their Palmyrene counterparts. Therefore, the cavalry contingent cannot have been a large one. Nor was it likely to have been an elite force, with the notable exception of the Moors (and perhaps the Osrhoenians) for whom the sources seldom have anything but praise2. In most cases, neither the cavalry nor the infantry proved strong enough to win an engagement by themselves. One usually had to support the other. Even at Immae, it seems likely that the cavalry were actually trying to draw the Palmyrenes towards the infantry who had been placed In reserve 3 . The infantry should certainly not be discounted. True, it proved less than successful against the Goths, but it was infantry which turned the tide at

1, Immae: Zos, I . 5O'2-4 Festus Breviariva XXIV'3-6, Emesa: Zos, 1 . 52 . 3 - 53 2; SI/A, Aur, IXV3 tells the same story, especially if one replaces the 'supernatural agency' which is 5upposed to have heartened the cavalry with 'Infantry support', 2, cf, Alfldi, CAM XII, 21Sf for a list of references and a somewhat over-eulogistic appraisal of their merits, 3, But note that Zosimus says they were set apart somewhere over the Orontes River, and believes that the cavalry achieved this victory independently: Zo5, I 50 3 & 4, - 71 -

M.C.Ibe.ji: C3 Army.

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Emesa; and an earlier incident at Antioch, when the infantry was forced to storm the heights of the suburb at Daphnae, proves that the Roman legions were still capable of disciplined, close-order manoeuvres under fire1. The pattern that emerges is of a lightly armoured cavalry contingent, linked to the imperial exercitus and acting as a powerful skirmishing force. Nobody would deny that cavalry were being used in greater numbers and more extensively than they had been previously, but it seems clear that they were not acting independently. They were constantly linked to the infantry

operating under imperial command, arid were most successful when operating in conjunction with these. In this respect, the new equites of the third

century were neither independent, nor mobile, since they were always tied to the army on campaign. The vast bulk of the evidence comes from Zosimus, albeit with independent confirmation. So it is vital to establish that the pattern he has described was not a literary

nor a reflection of the situation


his own day. Zosimus was essentially an epitornator. According to the ninth century bibliophile, Photius, he copied his sources slavishly; an observation on which modern scholars agree 2 . In this we are fortunate, since his first major source was the contemporary Athenian historian, Dexippus. Unfortunately, the history of Dexippus only goes down to 270, and his
Scyt hi ca

covered only the wars against the Goths,

So for Aurelian's

campaigns against the Palmyrenes Zosimus turned to Eunapius, the selfproclaimed continuator of Dexippus from 270 onwards. This explains the

1,Zos, I'52.1, 2,Phot, &bJ, cod,98; Ridley,

3 Ridley, bc, cii,


8yrntina flustroliensia 11(1982), intro, xiif,

- 72 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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distinct change of style which occurs in the history at approximately this Juncture. From our point of view, the emphasis on the use of the cavalry switches abruptly, changing focus from its activities off the battlefield to its activities on the battlefield. Yet the image it produces remains a

consistent one of lightly armoured skirmishing troops. One further check can be run, Eunapius was the main source for Zosimus up to AD 404, so a quick scan of the battles described himself employing a formula. Four battles are described between AD 312 and 324: the Milvian Bridge1; Campus Ardiensis, called Cibalis by Zosimus2 ; Hadrianopolis, called the battle of the River Hebrus by Zosimus 3 ; and Chrysopolis 4 . Since fourth century cavalry was


book II should tell us whether Eunapius was


general well armoured, we would expect mounted engagements

to be pitched battles, rather than the hit-and-run skirmishes favoured by third century equite& This is exactly what we do find. At the Milvian Bridge, both cavalry wings engaged one another, swiftly followed by the infantry. The battle continued until Maxentius' cavalry broke, fleeing onto the bridge which collapsed under their weight. Even though he was

outnumbered 10:1, according to figures given earlier by Zosimus, Constantine did not skirmish with Maxentius' cavalry, but met them head-on. The figures are obviously exaggerated, but the point remains the same; the cavalry simply charged home. Events at the Milvian Bridge bore no resemblance to the sophistication of Inimae or Emesa. At Campus Ardiensis, the cavalry did not

1,Zos, 11.16,
2, Zas, 11.18-19,

3, Zos, I122'3-7. 4, Zos, I1.26'3, 5, 2os, fl.)5'1-2, - 73 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Contra Comitatuni

even line up on the flank, but was placed in front of the infantry and engaged the enemy with arrows, spears and javelins. The last two accounts are confused and lacking in comprehensible detail. Yet we have learned enough. Eunapius was not repeating himself. Each battle was being treated on its own relative merits, and the patterns we have established are not the result of a literary

The equites Dalmatae outside Milan were, if

anything, less independent

than the cavalry under Aureolus. They operated under the direct orders of the commander in the field, supporting and supported by the infantry on the battlefield, and maintaining a reconnaissance in force off it. A very definite change in the role of cavalry had indeed come about, but it has been misinterpreted and obscured by images of the fourth century

The mobility of this new cavalry was certainly of very high importance1. However, the

were not yet powerful enough to carry out the


interception role which the cavalry of the Instead, the major innovation

were later to achieve.

the third century use of cavalry was to

integrate existing methods into the traditional Roman order of battle, employing their capacity for extended reconnaissance and swift strikes in combined cavalry/infantry strategy, Faced with barbarians seemingly raiding at will along the borders of the empire, Gallienus was forced to restructure the way in which the existing army worked. The cavalry was expanded and

1, Ii should be noted that the mobility of the barbarian invaders is not a 5ignificant factor in the equation, Only the luthungi (Vandals) of Dexippus are depicted as having a large cavalry The Goths were more

contingent, and even this was outnumbered by the infantry at a ratio of 2:1,

noted for their seaborne raids, and It is significant that when they were on land they were often engaged in prolonged seiges, They are also depicted as having large baggage trains, which will have slowed them down enormously, as an army can only march as fast as its slowest component: Zos, 1.24.2, 42-43 & 45'1 Dexippus frag,6; Zon, XII . 26 Syncellus p. 717ff, - 74 -

M,C,Ibe.ji: C3 Army.

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organised into new units of equltes, charged with the Job of finding the enemy and goading it in the direction of the main imperial army. It was mobile in that it ranged far afield to find its target. It was independent in that it had the traditional freedom of an extended scouting force. Yet it was not a field army. It was a loose agglomeration of individual units subordinated to and operating from a traditional Roman army on campaign.

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C3 Army



Trditicri1 Uri1t


In the earlier chapters, we established the general trends of development which came about during the third century. Now it is time to examine the effects of these trends upon individual troop types within the Roman army. In the traditional manner, we shall begin with the legions. Existing studies of later Roman legionaries usually contain the implicit assumption that their importance was somehow diminished by the changes that occurred within the Roman army. The image conjured up is of the empire switching to a defensive posture for which the legion was unsuited, causing it to lose its predominant position. As cavalry rose to the fore and the vexillation became a permanent feature, splitting the legion into several parts, the legion began to lose its tactical supremacy and consequently its status. The argument is best summarised by Alfldi


his indispensible

article on the crisis of the empire; though it is put most forcefully by Cooper, who went so far as to see this as the end of the legion, and by MacMullen, who blamed the reforms of Septimius Severus for precipitating the decline 1 . On the following pages, we shall examine the validity of this assumption for the legion of the third century, merging it with the themes of lack of manpower, the role of vexillations and the increased importance of

*, cf, also Appendix 1: 'The Antiqua Legioof Vegetius', 1, Alfldj, CMXII (1939), 208ff; Cooper, C3

Origins of the New Roean Arwy, unpub,

Oxford diss,

(1967), chapter VII, entitled 'The End of the Legion' views the rise of the vexillation as the harbinger of the legion's demise; MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian (1963), 21f, 154ff & 161ff was concerned more with the long-term effects of the legion's decline, but believed the rot set in at the start of the third century,

- 76 -

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


cavalry, which will be established later1. A good starting point would be to determine how many new legions were raised within the nominal timespan of our study. The end of the second century saw a drastic need for troops, brought about by prolonged warfare and the first (and probably worst) of a series of plagues which were to strike the empire2 . This manifested itself


part with the recruitment of

five new legions: II and III Italica, and the three Parthian legions of Sept imius Severus. Each series was raised for different reasons; the Italian legions were a desperate measure in response to the great barbarian invasion of AD 167, while the Parthian legions were by comparison a less hectic recruitment in preparation for Septimius' Parthian wars. Ritterling observed that the raising of the Parthian legions was the largest single recruitment of troops yet witnessed in the empire, with the notable exception of the measures taken during the Year of the Four Emperors 4 . On the face of it, such massive recruitment would seem to

contradict the picture of manpower problems painted in the earlier chapters, but a deeper analysis hints at complications probably caused by the difficulty in finding the number of men required to fill the complement of three entirely new legions. Mommsen believed that Leglo I Parthica was raised prior to the other two legions, basing his assumptions on the inscription of C. Iulius Pacatianus, probably the first commander of the legion. This cites Pacatianus as:

I. ci', chh, II, VI & VII: Manpower, Vex//la tiones & Equites, 2, ci', ch,II: Manpower, 3, Ritterling, 'Legio', RE 13001, 4, Ritterling, op. cit., 13081, - 77 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


praefectus legionis Parthicee, the omission of the numeral suggesting that no

other Parthain units had yet been raised 1 , This would explain Septimius' extended pause in Rome after his defeat of Clodius Albinus, since it would be at this point that the other two legions were raised. While Septiinius' only objective had been the subjugation of Osrhoene and Adiabene, only one extra legion may have been felt necessary; but the goalposts were moved by the punitive action of the Persian king, Volgaeses, who had overrun Mesopotamia and laid seige to the city of Nlsibis 2 . Suddenly, a full scale expedition had become necessary in response to Volgaeses' activity. However, Septimius did not immediately march east, but remained in Rome for a period of at least six months 3 . He cannot have been occupied with reprisals

against the senate for so long, and if he had already raised the troops needed for the campaign he is hardly likely to have tarried in face of the seige of Nisibis. His vigorous response to all other threats encountered during his reign runs counter to such a delay. Only if he was forced to wait for the recruitment and training of more men can we explain this lack of decisiveness, The raising of a further Italian legion,
IV Italica,

has been posited in

the reign of Severus Alexander, however evidence for such a legion is

1, XII . 1856 & p230; but cf, Murphy 1

Reign of Severus froe the Evidence of Inscriptions


66 for an argument against this on technical grounds, which I believe is invalidated by the chronology outlined in my text, 2, Dio LIIV . 9; Miller,

XII, 16,

3, Albinus was defeated on 19 Feb. 197, Septimius may well have celebrated a triumph on his return to Rome, as well as the 204, Both Dio and the


though the


SeecuIere5 were

not celebrated until May

refer to reprisals against the supporters of Albinus while in Rome, and the

coinage of 191 shows that Septimius departed sometime during the year, presumably for the relief of Nisibis at the end of the summer Her, IlI 8-9; Dio LXXY 84; IY . 1, 103ff; Miller, bc, cit. S/IA

XIIl . l-7; VI . 32326-32329;


- 78 -

M,C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


extremely tenuous. The only explicit reference to a Leglo IV Italica is in the Notitia Dignit at urn, where it is listed among the legiones
pseudocornitatenses of

the magister miUturn per orIentem 1 . Herodian spoke of

special levies from Italy and all the Roman provinces In preparation for Alexander's Persian campaign; there is also epigraphic testimony of a

dilectus in Transpadanum during the reign2 . The

Historia Augusta


that the later emperor Maxiininus was made tribune of a legion numbered IV at this time by Severus Alexander3 . Ritterllng took this to refer to either a Legio IV Italica or IV Parthica, and plumped for the former on the basis of

478, which refers to the novae Italicae suae of Maxirninus4 . Yet this

inscription must surely be referring to the reign of Maximinus Thrax himself, and has no valididty for the reign of Severus Alexander. If any credence Is to be given to the Historia Augusta whatsoever, we should follow Megle In assuming that it has confused this tribunate with Maximinus' command of troops on the Rhine and is referring to Legio IV F1avia, Without this to give it direction, the other evidence could equally well indicate the creation of an exercitus from forces in Italy and the provinces, or even more likely an extraordinary levy to cope with the emergency. Since another inscription attests to a recruiting drive in Italy which was definitely not linked to a legion, the likelihood of a IV Italica having been raised at this time seems extremely slim6.

1, Not, 01g. Or, VII54,

2, Her,

V13 1; X . 3856

ItS 1173,

S/IA, Mix, V.5,

4, Ritter1ing RE 1329f, 5, Magie Scrlptores Hlstoria Augustae III, Loeb ed,, 323 n,2, 6, XIII6763 ItS 1188,
- 79 -

M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


Ritterling also believed that Legio I fllyricorum was raised in the third century, by the emperor Aurelian. It appears in the Notitia alongside the
equites Illyriciani, Dignitatum

which Ritterlirig assumed were placed in

the east by that emperor following his defeat of Palmyra in 272 1 . However,
I Illyricorum is not epigraphically attested until 316, and until firmer

evidence comes to light, I see no reason for dating it earlier than the military reorganisation which took place under Diocletian2. On similar grounds, I am lath to attribute .Zegio I Noricorurn and the three Legiones Isaurae to a date earlier than Diocletian. I Noricorurn does at least have one inscription which can be dated stylistically to the third century 3 , though since all tegulae referring to the legion are of indisputably late origin, there seems no reason to place it earlier than this emperor 4 . However, the earliest reference to the Legiones I&aurae comes from Ammianus Marcellinus, who says Isauria was garrisoned by three legions in AD 354 g . In view of this, Ritterlirxg's assumption that these legions were raised by Probus for his Isaurian campaign seems somewhat fanciful6. Diocletian, as we well know, initiated a massive restructuring of the Roman army. Contribution to the debate on the number of new legions he created is outside the scope of this discussion, and has been dealt with in greater detail elsewhere 7 . Cooper named eight new legions definitely

1, Ritierling, RE 1406 and 'rmischen equites Illyriciani cf, ch,VII: Equites, 3. 111.4803, 4, III . 4655a, 5756, 6489 & 11349. 5, Ama, Marc, XIV'2'14,


Fest, C, Hirsch!elds

(1903), 347; on the

2, III6661; C/C 11 . 2941 = 1LS8875; ILS 8882,

RE 1348, L'Arse o'e Oioc]tien et la Re/one Consta/tinielrne (1952), 24ff; Parker, 'Legions of Diocletian and Constantine', IRS XXIII (1933), 175ff; A, H, M, Jones, Later Rosan Eepire (1964), 56ff; Seston, Diochtien el/a Tetrarchic (1946), 302ff; Williams, Diocletian and the Rosan Recovery (1985), cap,7, 91ff,
6, Ritierling,
7, Van Berchem,

- 80 -

M.C.IbeJi: 03 Army.


created by him, and included three more probables1. It would seem that, until Diocletian, no fresh recruitment of legions occurred after the creations of Septitnius Severus. Even In the darkest hours of the third century, the emperor looked elsewhere for troops with which to meet the crisis, The question we must now attempt to answer is whether this was due to a lack of willing citizen manpower with which to construct new legions, or because the legions had had their day. There were two main Incentives to join the legions: money and the social status inherent in a lifetime career in the army. Money came in the form of pay, regular donatives and a gratuity on discharge; the praemia mi1itia&. The chronology of Herodian suggests that the reforms instigated by Septimius Severus to improve conditions of service were introduced during the short period between his defeat of Clodius Albthus and the start of the second Parthian war3 . This is highly suggestive of measures taken to increase the attractiveness of enlistment at precisely the point where Septimius needed large numbers of legionary recruits. necessary. Such measures were indubitably

Salmon has demonstrated that the Roman army was constantly

plagued by problems of recruitment 4 , and by the late second century these problems had become exacerbated by hopelessly outdated rates of pay and restrictive terms of service, not least the prohibitive length of enlistment. Septimius could not do away with the latter if he wanted to retain a viable fighting force, but he could and did come to terms with the other problems

1, Cooper,

2, Watson, Roaan 3, Her, 111.8-9,

Origins, Appendix IV, Soldier (1969),

89ff, 108ff & 147ff,

4, Salmon, 'Roman Army and the Disintegration of the Empire', Trans. Royal Sac, Canada 52, ser, 111 . 2, 43ff, - 81 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


of service.

Pay was increased for the first time in 100 years, and the

soldiers were granted a whole series of privileges, among them the right to marry'. By the time of Caracalla, it would seem that both legionary pay and the
praemia rnilitiae

had risen in line with inflation 2 . However, inflation is

a dynamic process, and by the late third century, soldiers' pay was largely worthless, Even as early as AD 217, free rations were being introduced to offset the declining value of military pay, and Dio speaks of the problems encountered by Macrinus and Elagabalus in trying to meet the wage bill of their army4. By contrast, the social standing of the average soldier seems to have improved during the chaos of the third century. advice, to 'enrich the troops and scorn everyone else'

Septimius' oft-quoted was indicative of the

underlying trend wherein the military had become the harbingers of the empire's fate. The social avenues this opened to the more able veterans were a reflection of this fact. In a later chapter I shall show how

Septimius Severus set into motion a snowballing process which turned the army into a springboard of advancement for anyone with the requisite ability 6 . It was now possible for the son of a peasant to enter the army and progress by this route to the very heights of power, even achieving the purple7.

1, Her, III8 4-5; Birley, 'Septimius Severus and the Roman Army', Murphy,

Ep, Stud,

8 (1969), 63f;

Severus fro. Inscriptions,

67ff; Wai5on,

2, Dio LXXVIII 36; Watson, bc, cii,;

Roisan Soldier, 91, Webster, Roisan lisper/al Any

(1979), 257,

3, Callu, 'Approches Numismatiques', A//RU 11 . 2 (1975), 602ff; Cravford, 'Finance, Coinage and Money', AiVRU 11 . 2 (1975), 568, 4, Dio LXXVIII 36 2-3; Birley, 'Economic Effects of Roman Frontier Policy',
41ff, 5, Dio LXVI'15'2, 6, cf, ch,X:

BAR S109


7, The best examples are Maximinus Thrax and Aureolus: CA/I XII, 72; PLRE 'Princeps and Equites', IRS 73 (1983), 48f; Gage,

Classes Soda/es

(1964), 259;

Wni Militares, Aureolu Brunt, MacMullen, Soldier and

Civilian, 96f,
- 82 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


There is another side to this coin, however. While, as Watson put it, "the direction of social mobility for the soldier was normally upward"1, especially in the east, where prior to 212 men were often granted citizenship on recruitment due to the lack of citizen manpower 2 ; service within the army was hard. Burn has shown that the average life-expectancy of veterans was lower than that of their civilian counterparts, indicating that the Roman army had "considerable success in squeezing the best out of its men before getting rid of them." 3 , adduced by Tacitus as one of the reasons for the mutiny of AD 14. Salmon has suggested that enlistment in the east suffered badly from the introduction of the Constitutio Antoniniana in 212, removing as it did the principal inducement to military services. His thesis Is in part borne out by what is admittedly an auxiliary example. A study of the Dura rosters by Gilliam showed a severe tailoff in recruitment for
cohors XX Palmyrenorum

which immediately followed the high

spate of Aurelii that heralded the introduction of the Constitutlo


This came in the wake of Caracalla's preparations



Parthian war of 2 14/16, and was in marked contrast to the continued regular recruitment which had followed the war of 203/4, seeming to indicate a lack of interest in military service once the citizenship became an automatic right, though it should be noted that even after 216 there was a constant trickle of Aurelli into the army6.

I, Watson, Soldier,


2, Salmon, 'Army and Disintegration', 49ff 3, Burn, 'Hic Breve Vivitu p ', 4, Tac,


(1953), 10 & 16,

,nn, I'17,

5, Salmon, op. cit,, 56, 6, Gilliam, 'Dura Rosters and the

Any Papers, (1986),

Discussed more fully in ch,V:

Con5titutio Antoniniana', llist pj 14 Auxiiiae p.lO4ff,

- 83 -

(1965), 7Sf & 83f

= Ro,an

M.C.Ibeji: 03 Army.


The reforms in the earlier part of the century seem to have been an acknowledgement of the unattractiveness of military service. That they ultimately failed Is clear from the introduction of compulsory service by Dlocletian 1 . While the improvement of career prospects for capable recruits may have served as inducement enough to maintain the legions at strength, with the majority of recruits now being drawn from the Illyrian provinces2, the system of voluntary enlistment still broke down in emergencies. At such times, the emperor was forced either to resort to dilectus, or to use even more drastic measures. The emperor Gallienus even went so far as to create a new form of cavalry. Yet it is by no means clear that this action was intended to replace the legion as the mainline unit of the Roman army. I have already shown that the cavalry of Gallienus was designed to operate In conjunction with, not instead of, the infantry of the legions. We shall see that the legionary vexilletion assumed exceptional importance in the defensive structure of the empire3. Cooper has argued that the emergence of the vexillation as the strategic unit of defence heralded the decline and disintegration of the classic legion of the Principate4 . From one point of view, this makes a lot of sense. As we shall see, the vexillat ion did play a key role in the latter part of the third century. Cooper makes the interesting point that no legions were recorded as destroyed during the century, despite the disastrous campaigns

1, Jones,

2, Cooper, 3, As we

Decline of the Ancient Vorid(1966), 213, Origins, 284, have seen above (p.79), dilectus were called

in Italy by Severus Alexander and during

the war against Maximinus, In the later part of the century, the usual response was to vexillate legions from elsewhere; Gallienus responded to the problem by creating the
chh, III, VI & VII:

equites DaJaatae


Contra Coiitatwi, 'exillationes



4, Cooper, op. cit., chapter VII: 'The End of the Legion', 288ff, - 84 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


of Severus Alexander 0 Decius and Valerian, indicating the universal use of vexillat ions since the Marcomannic wars1. However, the predominance of the vexillation does not automatically prove the disintegration of the legion. In the Notitia the majority of legions are posted wholly in the same province, though there are numerous exceptions 4 , Furthermore, even when vexillated, they usually retained the unit title , indicating that the Roman military mind was still thinking in terms of 'leglo' rather than 'vexillatid 3 . Nor should we forget that the standard vexillation was a detachment of legionarles, so that even if the legion was indeed losing its supreme position, the legionary soldier was still the standard 'grunt' of the Roman army. Nevertheless, the role of the legion had changed, and the equipment used by its individual components had evolved with it, This is illustrated nowhere more graphically than in the history and function of a creation of the third century era itself; that of Leglo II Parthica. Recruited for the second Parthian war of Sept imius Severus, II PartMca did not remain in the newly created province of Mesopotamia as did the other Parthian legions, but accompanied Severus back to Italy, where Albanum was to be its official base for most of the century 4 . Modern scholars have read a great deal into this move, seeing It either as a means of browbeating the

I, Cooper, Origins, 246f, 2, eg, V Macedonica & XIII 6eaina whose vexillation had begun in the C3, They had components in Dacia Ripensis, Egypt and also two different comitatensian armies: Not, 01g. Or, XLII31-39; IXVIII . 14-15:

YIl39; VIII . 38,

The ratio of 'single-province' legions to 'multi-province' ones is

3, eg, the Dac Ian legg, P Mac, & XIII Gel,, can be found within the Notitia in Dacia Ripensis, Egypt, Italy, Thrace & the field army of the eagister ailitua per orientee, The title of XIII Gee, is omitted once, though it is cited 6 times (V//ac is cited 7): Not, Dig, Or, VII39; VIIl . 38; XXYIII14

& 15; XLII'31-39, Legio XIII is unnamed in VIII.38, 4, Dio LV . 24 . 4; Ritterling, RE 1308 & 1478; Durry, Cohorte5 Prtoriennes (1938), 35 & 169, - 85 -

M.C.Ibe.Ji: C3 Army.


senate and "depressing the status of Italy" 1 , or as a "significant foreshadowing" of the comitatensian armies of Diocletian 2 . Neither view is attractive, though it will be necessary to illustrate why before we can go on to examine its true function in the scheme of things. By AD 198, Septimius had nothing to fear from the senate. His purges following the death of Albinus had removed all those likely to stand in his way3 , and it is moot point whether the senate had ever posed any real threat to him. Even if such enforcement had been necessary, he hardly needed to bring a legion back from the east to do the job, since he had on his doorstep the men of the newly reconstructed Praetorian Guard, each of whom owed him a personal debt of gratitude for their advanceinent. On his

victorious accession, Severus had made a point of removing his armour before entering the gates of the city, despite the triumphant circumstances of his arrival. This was hardly the action of a man contemptuous of Rome, If Severus had wanted to snub the Senate, he had other more profitable means at his disposal than bringing a legion onto Italian soil. Platnauer in 1918 saw the existence of a legion at Albanum as a precursor to the defensive field armies created by Diocletian. The argument hinges upon the increase in numbers of the Praetorian Guard mentioned by Herodian and quantified by

It views this, coupled with the Parthain

legion, as a force of some 30,000 troops within easy reach of the emperor and acting as a central defensive reserve. The prosopographical records of

1, Miller, C.QH XII, 24; Fluss 1 'Septimius Severus', RE 1981; Besnier, 114, 2, Platnauer, Septilius

VEipire Rouin,,, (1937),

Severus (1918), 162f Birley, 'Severus & the Roman Army', 66ff, 3, Oio LXXV . 8; Herodian III8 . 6-8; SHA Severus XlII'1-7, 4, Ourry, Priioriennes1 81ff,
5, Herodian 111 . 13 . 4; Durry, bc, cit,

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M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


several of Septixnius' most prominent generals have been used as a "further indication of the de facto field army in being", and two passages from Dio are also taken to illustrate the Severan use of cavalry as an "independent striking force" in the manner of Gallienus and his successors1. The main factor against this argument is the sheer immobility of the Roman legion. The legionary was siinpiy not equipped to act as the member of a mobile task fore, his panoply being too heavy and cumbersonie 2 . Septimius and his successors were most successful against accessible enemies who either came out to meet them, as in the civil wars, or had an immobile focal point which could act as a strategic objective, such as Ctesiphon in Parthia. Against the more fluid tactics of the barbarians, they had to forgo the power of the legions for the mobility of native troops such as the Osrhoeni or the Moors. Only when the barbarians stopped to fight could the legions be put to good use 3 . If II Parthica had been intended as a defensive force, it would have been stationed In northern Italy, as was the cavalry of Gallienus some fifty years later, As it was, a force of heavily arinoured infantry stationed near Rome was in no position to provide quick help to any likely trouble spot. The prosopography cited In support of this theory merely names the dux of a particular army for a particular series of campaigns. They provide reasonable evidence for the use of vexillations during the civil wars, in much the same way that Trajan or Marcus Aurelius had used detachments in

1, Oio LXXV 7'4 LXXVI'6'8 Birley, 'Severus and the Army', 66ff, 2, cf, below (p.91) for a lull discussion of the changes undergone by Roman legionary equipment during the century, 3, Dio UXVIII . 14 on Caracalla's campaign against the Cenni in 213 AD, -

87 -

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


their wars. In no way do they suggest the permanent retention of such a force after the crisis had passed 1 . The passages from Dio are also concerned with the civil wars, and simply show L. Valerius Valerianus outflanking Pescennius Niger at the battle of Issus, a standard ancient cavalry tactic, and a certain Laetus In command of the cavalry holding back until he could see who was going to win the day, also standard practice if you take a cynical view of the world. executed for his pains2. The real function of
II Parthica

Later in the reign Laetus was

was, however, very similar to the idea

of a defensive reserve. As Luttwak showed, the old system of 'preclusive' defence on which Septimius was forced to rely assumed that all threats would be met by sufficient force on the outer cordon of the empire 3 . The campaigns of the Seven were mainly intended to defuse the threat of invasion by carrying the war to the potential aggressor 4 , but for this they needed troops. In bringing back II

to Italy, Septimius created not a

defensive reserve, but en offensive onet a nucleus of troops, sade up of the Praetorians and the Parthian legion, which could be taken by the emperor on campaign to satisfy the need for troops over and above those in the border provinces concerned. Of these, II

was by far the most important,

since the primary function of the Guard on campaign, even during the third century, was to safeguard the person of the emperor5.

I, P1,? II, C 823, C 878 & I 1566; 1L52935 & 1141; AE1957,123 all cited in Birley, 'Severus and the Army', 67, Also cf, ILS 1153 n,6 and AE 1890, 82 which go some way towards clarifying the problems identified by Birley with Claudius Gallus and C, lulius Castinus, 2, Herodian lII7 . 4 and note I, 3, Lutiwak, grand 5, Campbell,

Strategy of the Roean Lip/re (1976),


ch, 2,

4, With the probable exception of Caracalla's Parthian war, cf, Miller, CHXII, 48ff,

fiperor and the Roian 4ray (1984),

- 88 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Apart from the Parthian war, Septimius never needed to use this reserve himself. There were enough local troops available to satisfy the requirements for his British campaign, with additional troops being drawn from Germany, which was more convenient than transporting an entire legion from Italy 1 . His successors, on the other hand, made full use of the legion. its presence is attested at Antioch under Macrinus 2, where it must have been participating in Caracalla's Parthian war. Similarly, it was caught up in the conflict between Maximinus Thrax and the senate. Some of its soldiers were responsible for the assassination of the former3 , The legion had obviously been part of his Dacian army prior to h18 march on Rome. It would also seem to have been used across the Danube by Severus Alexander 4 . The legion was also one of four mentioned on the
V P(la) V

coinage of Gallienus,

which Maria Alfldi believed dated to that emperor's campaigns on the Rhine in 257/86. There are therefore good instances of II Parthica being used as an offensive core to which vexillatlons could be attached, and it is clear that its presence in Italy was not of paramount importance. Under Gallienus, a vexillat ion of the legion is found alongside a detachment from III Augusta, sub cura Au,-. Augustiani ducis iustissimi at Lychnidus on Lake Ochrid in Macedonia6 . It has been suggested that they were part of an exercitus campaigning against the Gothic invasion of AD2677.


XlII'3494; Her, III'14'3,


'a1eria Pictrix does

not seec to have been involved, Breeze,

Northern Frontiers of Rosaii 8ritain

2, Dio LXXIX'34,

(1982), 135ff,

3, Ensslin,

CAHXII (1939), 80,

4, Ensslin, op. cit., 71,


Liies Congress 1957 (1959), summarised in Cooper, Orig/ns, 234ff & 266ff, cf, Vexiliationes, p.147 for a full discussion, 6, AE 1934, 193; ,,, vex/il, leg, Ii Perth, III Aug. sub cure Aur, Atigustiani duds iustissiei et ', tRYJuII Syn for/an, praep, vex/I/a I 10 Inue,,, 7, PLRE, August/anus 2 Pflaum, Carripes Procuratoriennes (1960), 919ff,
5, M, Alfldi, -

89 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Yet while a vexillat ion of II Parthica could plausibly be involved in such a campaign, it seems inconceivable that the African legion could have been transported to the area fast enough to respond to such an emergency. The only reasonable explanation is that the vexillation of III Augusta was already at Lychnidus before the Gothic troubles erupted. If this is so, it is also more probable that II Parthica had been vexillated into the area at the same time, in accordance with the custom of stationing vexillations in pairs which seems to have been prevalent 1 . This then leads to the

inescapable conclusion that, far from being moved into the area in response to the Gothic threat, the force


Lychnidus was part of a garrison force Like Aureolus in Italy2,

established to defend the Illyrian passes.

Augustianus would have had responsibility for the protection of the Macedonian hinterland, charged with preventing incursion from Illyricum into Greece. As such, this marks a distinct change In the role of Leglo II

Parthica, with significant consequences for the role of legions as a whole.

II Parthice was the core of imperial offensive capability. By vexillating

this into a defensive mode, Gallienus had unconsciously signalled a fundamental change in imperial thinking. No longer was the army expected to protect the empire through a series of punitive measures. Instead, it was being converted into the first approximation of what Luttwak classified as 'defence-in-depth' s . The punitive wars of Aurelian were the last truly

offensive operations of the third century, and even these were in response to Gothic invasion and Pa].myrene usurpation.

1,111 . 954 & 3228; V808; 419O1,154; 41935,164; AE,193653,54 & 57, 2,Zos, I . 40 . 1 cf, chil: Contra Coiltatwi, 3, Lutiwak, 6rano' strategy, 132ff, 4,Alfldi, CA/IXII, 152 & 302ff. - 90 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


In response to these changes, the equipment of the legionary soldier evolved to meet the new demands. To date, the only systematic study of these changes has been In a short article by J. C. Coulston, though I am reliably informed that a thorough study of third century military equipment Is currently underway in Oxford'. Such a study Is long overdue. Coulston relies heavily on funerary monuments because, as he puts it:
The sculptural monuments of Rome are quite useless for thIrd century equipment studies, The

arches of Severus are very heavily stylised in the large panels and hopelessly conservative in The Constantinian panels on the Arch of Constantine are

the soldier-prisoner pedestal rel:ef5,

for the most part the product of sarcophagus sculptors and the style is not concerned with small


Where the Arch of Constantine is concerned, one can go further and show that certain of its representations were direct copies from the column of Marcus Aurelius, completely nullifying their usefulnes&. By contrast,

Coulston's study highlights the close parity between funerary monuments and the archaeological record. In particular, he noted the absence of round

chapes (scabbard trimmings) on British tombstone depictions, which do not occur in the province's archaeological record, though they are common elsewhere in the empire4. The rise of the vexillation seems to have coincided with the development of a new panoply, markedly different from that of the early Principate. The infantry paenula is replaced by the shorter cavalry cloak, the sagum. A

1, Coulston, 'Roman

ilitary Equipment on Third Century Tombstones', &QR $336 (1987), 141ff,

Simon James' study in London has never been published: Esmonde-Cleary & Tomlin perse, coma, 2, Coulston, op, cit., 145, 3, RobInson,

Ariour of J'speriai Roie

(1975), plates 498 & 499 on p.185,

4, Coulston, 143 & nil,

- 91 -

M.C.Ibe.ji: C3 Army.


long-sleeved tunic is worn, gathered at the waist by a wide belt (the

cingulura) which Is fastened at the front by "an almost ubiquitous 'ringbuckle" 1 , This buckle was to become the distinguishing feature of military dress to the extent that the Praetorians cashiered by Septimius Severus had their belts removed2. The sword was of variable length, though the spa tha may have become more prevalent as the century wore on. Of greater importance was its

method of attachment. No longer was it suspended statically from the right hip, but it was now slung on a baidric from the left, and was attached to the cingulum by a slide3 . Such a suspension suggests a more open style of fighting. Traditional Roman close order tactics required that the soldier put his weight behind the shield, which was obviously designed to shoulderbarge an enemy. When such a method Is adopted, it is clearly more sensible to suspend the sword from the right hip, where it will not be impeded by the pushing and shoving of the shield. Consequently, a shift of suspension to the left hip, coupled with the lengthening of the sword, is indicative of a change in tactics to a more open, fencing style of combat. Since the shields depicted progressively lose the distinctive shape of the scuturn becoming broader and squatter, and pila are gradually replaced by hastae or shorter, barb-headed weapons, such a switch of tactics seems assured4. Consistent with such a change would be the abandonment of lorica

segmentata. This classic suit of Roman armour seems always to have been

1, Coulston, op. cit (n,l above), 141f, 2, Her, II'13'1O Coulston, 149, 3, Coulston, 143 & 147f, 4, Couleton, 141 & 148, Note that the neck guards of legionary helMets also increased in size:

Robinson, Ariour of LeperiI Roae, - 92 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


more difficult to maintain than other types of lorica, and Robinson's study has illustrated how it had become increasingly less elaborate throughout its history 1 . Various furierary depictions suggest that lorica hamata (chain mail) was never completely phased out of fashion, and while Robinson is of the opinion that the Tropaeum Tralani depicts chain- and scale-clad legionaries because of the peculiar weaponry used by the Dacians 2 , my own personal belief is that it is a more accurate representation of the true state of affairs than the classic public monuments at Rome. The last depiction of a suit of lorica segmentata comes from the Arch of Severus dated AD 203, and the first datable evidence for the third century panoply comes from AD 211, on which the sagum and ring-buckle are represented4. Lorica segmentata seems specifically tailored to the classic Roman order of battle, wherein the lower part of the torso and the legs were covered by the scutum and therefore did not have to be protected. It is therefore highly likely that as a more open style of combat began to be practised, this somewhat quirky mode of protection should fall by the wayside. Certainly, by the late fourth century the only remnants of laminated armour were banded protections for the limbsB. As the history of II Part hi ca has illustrated, the function of the legions had changed dramatically by the later third century. No longer

I, Robinson,

Ariour of liperial Roae 177ff

& 181,

2, Robinson, op. cii,, 159f & 169ff, 3, For an article in support of my own particular prediudices, cf, Coulsion, 'The Value of Trajan's Column as a Source for Nilitary Equipment', 9AR S476 (1989), 31ff, Lepper & Frere concur with Richmond's view that the

Tropaeui was

roughly hewn by local sculptors, This does not negate its

value as evidence compared to Trajan's column in Rome 1 which despite the Maestro's conscientious approach still adopted 'artistic convention to clarify the narrative': 298ff, 4, Robinson, 183; Coulston, 'Equipment on C3 Tombstones', 143,
5, Not,

Trujan's Coluan

(1988), 266 &

Dig, Or, Xl'2;

Not, Dig, 0cc, IX'2,

- 93 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


expected to undertake continual punitive campaigns across the frontiers, they had become heavily vexillated, spread thinly over the empire


an attempt to

cover as many major routes of access into the hinterland as possible. The emperors were unable to rest on their laurels however. They were if

anything even more busy than they had been in earlier centuries, required to respond to incursions throughout the empire which gradually escalated to endemic proportions. To face these threats, they would hastily assemble an army of vexillations, later coupled with cavalry, and move to intercept the invader. It is worth reiterating that nowhere is there firm evidence that the same force of equites or vexillationes was being used for each campaign, In fact, what little evidence we have is precisely contrary to this assumption'. Nonetheless, the legions were required to change in response to their new circumstances, and their equipment became tailored to a freerflowing, more open style of combat. This should not be taken to indicate a fall


discipline or capability2.

Nor does it herald the end of the legion 9 . As late as 272, when combined cavalry/infantry tactics would seem to have become the normd, the emperor Aurelian was still able to command his infantry to storm the suburb of Daphnae


Antioch (a steep height occupied by Palmyrene soldiers) in tight

formation, with their shields held close togethers. This sounds extremely

I, All relevant material is cited and discussed throughout chapters III & VI: and

Vexillationes, in

which I have proven that the

equifes at

Milan were not the same

Contra Coaifatusi force of equites

campaigning in the Danube, and questioned the validity of numismatic evidence for determining the composition of armies, 2, MacMullen, bc, cit, (above p76), 3, Cooper,

4, ci, ch,III:

Origins, cap,VII, Contra Coiitatua 70ff,

5, Zos, I.52'l-2,

- 94 -

M,C.Ibeji: 03 Army.


like a test udo In action. Even If It is not, the success of the operation proves that the Roman legions were still capable of tightly disciplined close-order marioeuvres under fire. Cooper himself showed that as late as Valerian and Gallienus, the unity of the legion was still assured 1 . When
Legio III Augusta

was recalled, It set up inscriptions commemorating the

reintroduction of several of its traditions. A retiring Pr-linus Pilus dedicated a statue to Mars In the time-honoured way 2 , and the tabularium principis was restored by the optiones of the first cohort s . At the same time, a further inscription Illustrates that the system of shuffling optiones up the file of cohorts In order was still in operation 4 . This indicates that, despite being vexillated into Macedonia on a semi-permanent basisE, Legio III

still retained Its own unit identity and customs. The legion had

not come to an end, but It had come to a watershed, and had developed accordingly. The fact that Diocletlan was still creating units which styled themselves Legio (albeit of a possibly smaller size6 ) illustrates the continued importance of the legion into the fourth century, both as an organisation and as a fighting unit.

Origins, 2751, ILS 2296, 2, 3, ILS 2446, 4, ILS 531, linked to ILS 2446 above
1, Cooper,

by naming the lowest ranking


of the latter as an


in a different cohort, 5, Al,

1934, 193 discussed



6, Duncan-Jones has shown that the size of legions within the Panopolite nome of the Thebaid could have been as little as

500 men, One should remember that III Diocletiana, his main example It is entitled listed in five places within the Notitia (three within the Thebaid alone), Olocletiana Thebaeorwa in the coiltatus of the aagister cilifu, per Thracias which is more likely


have been a vexillation of the legion than a separate citation of the legion,

If each known

detachment of the legion was approx, 500 strong the legion would be half the size of a legion of the Principate, If, however, vexillations were of variable size (which seems more likely) the stump of Duncan-Jones, 'Pay and Numbers in Oiocletian's Army',

the legion could have been somewhat larger,

Chiron 8 (1978),

541ff; Not,

Dig, Or, YIII 37; XXVIII . 18; XXXI'31, 33 & 38. - 95 -


The development of the Auxilia following the reign of Trajan is a topic


such enormous scope that one cannot hope to do it just ice in the space of

a single chapter. Ideally, it should be the subject of an independent study, wherein the creations of Hadrian, Marcus Aurelius, the Seven and their successors would be discussed, and their movements along with those of already existing units could be charted. As it is, this chapter can only scratch the surface of the monster by trying to answer those questions which are pertinent to the subject in hand. No attempt has been made at comprehensivity, nor do I make any claim to definitiveness. I merely hope to have provided some general answers to general questions which have relevance to the third century as a whole. In his study of the Auxilia, Cheesman concluded that the pressures of the third century resulted in the breakdown of old distinctions between the legions and auxiliaries, as permanent field armies came to the fore and those units which remained on the frontier diminished in status'. In this vein, the Auxilia and the 'old style' numeri have become eclipsed In modern commentaries by what is variously termed 'the rise of the ethnic units' or 'the barbarisation of the army', so much so that by the time of Gallienus, they have been completely discounted in favour of the new 'elite' forces of ethnic cavalry which have become ubiquitous In any discussion of the later

1, Cheesman,

Auxilia of the Roian laperial Any

(l914) 133ff esp, 136f,

96 -

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


third century 1 . The main function of this chapter is to view this assumption from the perspective of the Auxilia, I shall attempt to ascertain when 'true' auxiliary units ceased to be recruited, where they were stationed, and how they were used. Some discussion of their size must needs be included, as must an analysis of the effect of the Constitutio Antoniniana upon auxiliary recruitment. I shall end by charting the survival of preDiocletianic units into the Notitia Dignita turn, before going further in a following chapter to use this document as a basis upon which to found a study of the equites supposed to have replaced the old order. As with the legions, I shall begin by identifying those units newly raised in the late Principate. Given the deplorable state of the evidence, it seems a minor miracle that any records of new units survive at all. Around the date AD 145, a drastic downturn occurs in the epigraphic record, and the previous flood of inscriptions concerning the Auxilia becomes a niggardly trickle. This is partially offset by the more detailed evidence now produced by third century papyri, such as the Dura archive and the Beatty papyri from Penopolis; but even here the evidence is perforce parochial, and largely limited to the first and last quarters of the century respectively. The emphasis provided by such a corpus is of heavy recruitment under the Antonines and the Seven, followed by a severe tail-off in the mid third century. If this is a truly accurate picture, it is an important confirmation of the generally held thesis outlined above. Yet it could be a view distorted by the lack of relevant material. A closer look is required before

M1di, C48 , (1939), 210; Cheesman, bc, cit. (p96); Dc Bbois, Policy of Me (iperor 6allienus (1976), 26ff; Speidel, 'The Rise of Ethnic Units in the Roman Imperial Army', ANR' 11 . 3 (1975), 202ff, RoianArayPupers(1984), 117ff, - 97 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


any conclusions can be reached. The high spate of units with the kaiser'beiname 'Aurelia' are mainly clustered in the south-eastern provinces of Illyricuni, centered upon Moesla
Superior 1 .

Why this should be so is a mystery. It cannot have been in

preparation for the Marcomannic war, since for that they should have been gathered in Pannonia, and it is clear that certain of these units remained in Moesia for decede8. The only known creation of Marcus in Pannonia was cob. II Aurelia Dacoruir1', and that was stationed in Poetovio, well away from the front. It is also unlikely that they were raised in response to losses from the greet plague of the 160s, for though we know that the plague swept throughout the empire, there is no indication that it was especially bad in Moesia. If, as is believed, it was brought back from Farthia by the expedition of Lucius Verus, we would expect the brunt of Its effect to have been felt in the eastern provinces, yet there is no indication of any great Antonine recruitment in the east, It is possible that since Moesia Superior was the closest wellgarrisoned province to Pannonia, its legions, IV Fla via and VII Claudia, were required to provide more troops to the Marcomannic war than was the norm.

I, cf, Table A1

Awxiiia first appearing after AD 16/,

and A2:

Auxilia of dubious date or


Due to the limited scope of this study, the units of the C2 have not recieved the The creations of Marcus Aurelius have recieved only the most

detailed analysis they deserve,

perfunctory treatment, and those of his predecessors have not been examined at all,
2, Coh, 11

Aur.Iia nova ii), eq.

CR, first appeared on the Moesian/Dal3atian border in 179, It

was still there, in Sto j nik ( j ust south of Singidunum) under Caracalla, though there are indications that at least part of the unit had been moved to Thracia by Marcus: 111 . 14537 & 14541; AF,1901,24; 1910,98 & 1955,65, Cob, II

Aurelia Dardanorwi iii, eq. was

in the area around Ravna (slightly north

of Naissus) from the time of Its first appearance until AD 242: 111 . 14556 & 14576; AF,1902,31; 1903,288 & 290; 1904,92; 1910,93, 94 & 97; 1952,189-191, 3, 1I115l84", Poetovzo in Pannonia Superior, 4, For a good synthesis if the sources on the plague, cf, Gilliam, 'The Plague Under Marcus Aurelius',

A/PM!, 73(1961),


Roean Any Papers (1986), - 98 -

229ff cf, ch,11:


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Despite being sheltered behind the buffer of Dada, the province was still open to barbarian incursion: the Marcomannic war had been ushered in by troubles all the way along the Middle Danube'. Marcus may have felt it prudent to replace the drain on Moesia's legionary garrison with newly created auxiliary units. This would explain the large proportion of milliary units found in the area1 and also the appearance of coh. II Aurelia nova inil.

eq. CR. in 179; which probably acted as the counterbalance to a suggested

extra levy of legionaries required for the push planned Just prior to Marcus' death2. By far the largest recruitment came under the Severan dynasty. Thirteen out of the twenty-six new units recorded come from the period between 198 and 238. Nine of these are 'ethnic', in that they have been drawn from recruiting grounds hitherto tapped only for numeri if at all. Prominent among them are the Moorish units and units of eastern archers, both of which first became part of the regular Auxilia at this juncture. Septirnius Severus

created the milliary units coh. I 1-lemesenorum sag. and cob. I nova Severiana Surorum sag., and probably recruited the series of Moorish cohorts
of which we know cohortes 11 and 1X 4 . Under his successors, these troops became so important that they may have gained household status, and even acted as kingmakers on more than one

In particular, Osrhoenian

1, Weber, 'The War in Germany', 2, Weber, op, cit. 3,


XI, 349ff,

This does not include 'dubious' units such as the Pamphylia and the

Atectorigiana in

cob, Partborui

on the

ala Paiyrenorui Jiies Tingitana, which

in Dacia, the


should probably be

dated to the Seven: AE,1974,565b; 1926,74 & 75; 1956,62,

4, Cl, Table Al,



Mauroriii is

first atested in 235, but must surely be part of the series

Haurorue from

AD 208,

5, Her, VI1'1 8 & VIlI 1 . 9; S//A iYa 'Ethnic Unhi g ', 211ff; on the

IIl; Syncellus p674; Alfldj,


73 & 199f; Speidel,

eqwite.c iteeque pedites Maur

cf, chh, III & VII

Contra Coeltatirn and

Equte5pp,63 & 164,


99 -

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


archers and Moorish Javelinmen figure promInently in the accounts of all wars from 213 onwards 1 . Yet the last known recruitment of these into the regular Auxilia is the coh. mi.Z, Maurorum eq. first attested in Aquincum i-n 235 2 . The lack of numerals for this and another less securely dated coh. quingenaria Maurorum eq. 3 suggest that they were not part of the sequence created by Septimius Severus. The milliary cohort bears the gentilicium Maxirni(nlian(a) on one of its corroborating inscriptions 1 which suggests that it may have been stationed in the area by that emperor in the wake of his successful Alemannic war, though it seems most likely that it was originally raised by Severus Alexander or his predecessors. Indeed, the high numerals on some of the Severan inscriptions are unusual. Throughout the early Principate, most large sequences were in the region of eight units strong: the only exception to this being the cohoi-tes Gallorum. Yet even these only went as high as XI 4 . In contrast, under the Seven we find the cohortes IX Maurorum, XII Palaestinorum and X.'( Palmyrenorum mu. In the latter case, the large numbers, especially linked to a milliary unit, have prompted commentators to posit a composite series in support of which not only the units already mentioned are cited, but even alae and cohortes from the Notitia Dignitatuffls.

1, Dio LXXVIII'J41; 32; Her, 1I13 4-5; 92; IV'lS I; VI7 8; VlI'2 . 1-2; Vl1l 1'3; Zon, XIJ24; Zos, 1 . 15; 20 5l'2-3, 2, IIL3444, 3542, 3545, 20673 & 10375, 3, 111 . 3324, Lusonium, Pann, Inf, Mention should also be made of 111 . 9539 from Dalmatia,

containing the title ,.,Hairorus,,,, though without any further corroborating evidence ii is impossible either to date it or state what kind of unit these Moors were,
4 Holder,

Appendix III, esp, 221,

Sfiio'ies in the Auxilia of the Roaeii Any fros Augustus to Ira/an, BAR S70 (1980), I have discounted the many cohortes Yolwntanioniia which were recruited at Cohors IX PaThyrenorut its Rocan Any Papers (1986), 212;

different times throughout the history of the empire, 5. Gilliam, 'The

Oura Final Report V . 1: The parcheents a

Papyri (1959),


E, Birley, 'Septimius Severus and the Roman Army',

(p. Stua 8 (1969), 68,


M.C.IbeJi; C3 Army. Gilliam claimed that: ,,,it


is quite Incredible, first, that so many cohorts would have been raised at one time from

the territory of Palmyra, especially sinc, it continued to supply men for units of other types

and, secondly, that nineteen other Palmyrene cohorts should have left no trace of their


Yet we know from its later history that Palmyra was quite capable of raising an army which could see off the Persians and challenge the Romans, proving that its manpower base was strong2 . Southern has shown that while occasional levies of Pelmyrenes may have been sent to maintain the eastern flavour of numer'i elsewhere in the empire, troops in these units were also recruited locally3 , so that Palmyr&s commitments to units of other types was negligible in terms of manpower. Mann made the suggestion that the cohort was a native Palmyrene unit stationed at Dura which was seconded into the Roman army when Syria was split into two, and Dura and Palmyra found themselves In different provinces 4 . This has the virtue of explaining why there are no other extant
cohortes Palmyrenorum, as well as giving a reason for the unusual

organisation of the cohort 6 . However, it does not explain why coh, XII Palaestinor'um, recorded in P.Dura 30, should be the only extant unit in

1, Gilliam, bc, cit (n,5 above), 2, Zos, 1 . 39; l'44 & 1 . 50-61, while it is clear that the raising of an army for campaign is something of a different order to providing a permanent standing force of 10,000-20,000 men, Zosimus doe5 make it clear that the Palmyrene army was itself a sizeable force before its combination with the remnants of Valerian's eastern troops, 3, Southern, 'The Numeri of the Roman Imperial Army',

Britannia XX

(1989), 90 & 91,


Litits of Eapire (1990), 144 Leglo XXII Delotariana from 2 native legions
4, cf, Isaac,

n,221, In a similar vein, Augustus cobbled together created by King Deiotarus of Galatia, to aid Caesar

against Pharnaces after the battle of Pharsalus: Caes, Bell, Qle. XXXIV . 4; Parker, &88f, 5, cf, below p,T21f 101--

Roaa Legions,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


the Palestinian series1. A composite series is certainly not the answer, since it creates more problems than it solves whilst

directly in the face of Roman


convention. Why, we must ask, were the cohortes I Septimia Bel&arvm, I

Hem esen orum and

mu, nova Severiana Surorum sag. not included in the

composite sequence, especially since the latter two are found in the same province? How does this explain does not. My own point of view favours a partial acceptance of Mann's hypothesis. The suggestion that the unit was part of the native Pa]inyrene militia simply solves too many associated problems to be overlooked. The hypothesis assumes that at some point at least nineteen other units existed under the Palinyrene standard. In view of what has already been said about Palmyra's capability for warfare, I do not see this as a problem, especially since the city had maintained a long-term military presence to secure its caravan routes as early as AD 54. Nor need its units have been all as large as XX
Palmyrenoz-um, since we are not dealing with a Roman convention here 2 . In

Palmyrenorum being a milliary unit? It

view of the discussion in earlier chapters about the third century military situation, it would seem only natural for Septimius Severus to incorporate Palmyrene forces into the Roman army on Its elevation to a coloni&. As to

1, A

co/,ors /111 ?alaestinorus is cited

in the

this into account, we must also explain the presence of an XXXI . 49, the Thebaid,

Notitia (Or, XXXIV . 46, Palaestina), and if we take ala VIII Palayrenoru. in Not, Dig, Or,

2, On the Palmyrene presence along the Euphrates, both before and after Roman intervention 1 cf, Isaac,

Liiits or Eapire (1990),

150f, esp, n,239,

Only on their incorporation into the Roman army

would the units need to be organised along vaguely Roman lines, as was IA' PaIiyrenorue, ISRR 1033 mentions a vex, below p.121, 3, cf, chh,Il, VI & IV

Paliyrae a'egentibus in

the city itself in AD 242/3, On the internal structure, cf,

Manpower, Vexillationes a Legiones,


Palmyra was given the

colonia tuna

Ita/ici some time during the late 190s, though whether this was before Severus' Parthian war or after


debatable: Isaac,

Liiits of Empire, 144; Miller,


M.C.Ibe,Ji: C3 Army.


their survival into the epigraphic record, approximately 510 auxiliary units are recorded throughout the first two centuries AD, When, compared to this, only 26 unequivocal references can be found to units created in the third century, it seems to me more inconceivable that we should expect to find records of other Palmyrene units than the fact that we do not, Indeed, we should consider ourselves lucky that the Dura rosters have revealed to us another two hitherto unknown series, rather than begrudging the dearth of information concerning them. We shall see later that only one post-Hadrianic unit is actually recorded as having survived into the

Notitia Dignitatum, and

even that only tentatively 1 . To reiterate my comment at the start of this section, it is a minor miracle that any records survive at all. Nevertheless, the relatively high influx of auxiliary units posited under the Seven remains unusual. There may have been a heavy recruitment to replace the losses of the late second century. In the forty years between 160 and the end of the century, the empire had experienced two great plagues, a civil war, two Persian wars and a barbarian war which had dragged on for fifteen years; not to mention the internecine raids and usurpations which had to be stamped out. Parts of the army were probably battered almost beyond recognition, and Sept imius Severus was the first emperor since Marcus Aurelius who either cared enough or had the time to put it back together again. Added to this general state of decline, new recruits were probably needed to meet with the strategic requirements created by Septimius' actions in the east and


Africa. He had already raised three


Coh, I


which was possibly the coh, Piaasens(iva) iure(1iana) of 19O8,136: Not,

01g. Or, XL48. -103-

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


new legions to cope with the situation, and the high numerals of his auxiliary levies probably reflect the large amount of new troops brought in to support these and fill the gaps elsewhere. We shall see later how this related to Africa. The effect of the Constitutio Antoniniana is of importance here. Thanks to the sterling work of Gilliam on the Dura rosters, Salmon's thesis that the grant of citizenship removed the principle inducement for service can now be tested 1 . An analysis of Gilliam's figures show the following enlistment pattern:2 DATES MAJOR IV1ENTS


12 19 0

192-196 civil wars & let Parthian war 197-201 second Parthian war 202-206 Severus in Africa 207-211 Severus in Britain
212-216 Constitutio & Caracalla's PW 217-221 Macrinus and Elagabalus

16 29 135
53 282 14

12 2
1 1 13 1

Too many external factors are in operation for any definitive statements to be made. Caracafla's Parthian expedition was abortive, so that despite the heavy recruitment of AD 214 to 216 there was no corresponding upswing in casualties, meaning that the unnaturally low enlistment figures for the five year period 217-221 may be simply the cause of the unit's natural recruitment patterns. On the other hand, the emperor Macrinus did suffer a

1, 6ilIiam, 'Dura rosters and the Cons^iiutio

Antoninalana', H/uto pia

14(1965), 74ff =

Any Papers (1986), 289ff; Salmon, 'Roman Army and the Disintegration of Empire',

Rosan Trans. Royal Soc,

Canada 52, ser, 111 . 2, 43ff,

2, Based


the figures extrapolated by

Billiam from P,Dura 100 -104-

& 101,

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


reverse near Nisibis in Mesopotamia soon after his accession 1 , so some casualties may have been incurred, It should also be borne in mind that even after the unit had recovered from the losses of Septimius Severus' wars with the recruitments of 202-206, it was still recruiting over 50 people while Severus was otherwise occupied in Britain. What cannot be ignored is the fact that the figures for 217-221 are the first post Cons titutlo statistics which were not directly affected by the preparations for Caracall&s Parthian war, and they show the lowest rate of enlistment in the entire sequence. According to Gilliam's calculations 2 , the figures for the equites are lagging ten years behind those for the pedites, so that they actually represent the state of a specific group of veterans and should be removed from the calculation, Even were this not the case, the rate of enlistment for equites in AD 222, the last year covered by the rosters, has still not increased above zero. The number of pedites enlisted in 222 was 10. Prior to the Constitutio, only the years 192, 194, 197/8 and 211 had worse figures, and of those all the dates in the 190s are times at which the unit was likely to have been away on campaign, unable to concentrate on enlistment 9 . The annual fluctuations downward are only

significant in the extended period immediately following the death of Caracalla, and these exhibit a marked shortfall which may be explicable in terms of the Constitutio Antoniniana, though certainty is sadly unobtainable, We can only lament the lack of any firm figures for the five year period following 221, which would have indicated whether this trend was

1, Miller, CAHXII, 50, 2, Gillia., 'Dura Rosters', 76ff, 3, Gilliam, op. cii,, 751,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army. temporary or permanent1.


The latest period at which new units are recorded in the regular Auxilia is during the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus. Most of the units at this point are first attested circa 253, and it should be noted that two

numbered VII & VIIi Fida are known, implying a sizable influx of new

troops2 . Following this, references to new auxiliary units dry up completely until the reign of Diocletian, when three new auxiliary units appear in the Beatty papyria. Since the papyri date from late in the reign, we can assume that Diocletian had completed his overhaul of the army by this point, and that the units were probably his own creations4 . These observations lend some validity to the idea that the role of the Auxilia was being usurped by the new 'ethnic' units of the later third century, especially since their disappearance from the record coincides so neatly with the appearance of Gallienus'


Yet before we condemn the Auxilia to

obscurity, we should take note that new units were appearing under Diocletian. We should also bear in mind that over 100 units termed
cohortes elae


appear for the first time



Not itia Diffnita turn,

with no

1. Since we do not know the purpose for which the partial roster of AD 222-228,

P,Dura 102,


written, we cannot use this with any confidence to continue the sequence, On the other hand, a compari5on of

P,Dura 3, 9,

100 & 101 show that the strength of the unit had dropped steadily from over

1000 to 781 by AD 239, Once again, external factors may be to blame, 2, 41979642-644; 1902,46 cf, E1895,l7, All units for this period are listed on Table Al,

3, Ala I Hiberorue, P,Beatty II 37; ala II Herc, Droiedariorua P,Beafty 11 . 29 & 169; co/i, Xl Chaiavoruai P,Beatty I1'292, As a point of interest relating to the survey later in this chapter, both the alae survive into the Not/tie Oigiiitatue, occupying the same station as in the Beatty papyrus, No co/iortes Chaiavorwi survive, though the cob, I Apaaenoru. of P,Beatty 1 . 46 is also found In the NotitM Not, Dig, Or, XXXI'46, 54 & 60, 4, The papyri are dated to AD 298 & AD 300 respectively, P,Beatty intro,viii, On the reforms of Diocletian, cf, Ensslin, CAN XII, 396ff; il1lams, Dioclet/an and the Rosen Recovery (1985), 91ff, On the reforms as they related to the Thebaid, Cf. van Berchem, L'Arie de Oiocltien ef la Rtoree Cons fanfinienne (1952), 66f, 5, cf, ch,III: Contra Cositatus,

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


discernible link to any units of the first two centuries AD 1 , so the Auxilia did not simply roll over and die. To understand what was actually happening, we must now begin to look at how these units were being used. This is best done through examples. We shall look at the nature of the Roman military presence in three areas attested to have recleved specific attention at varying times throughout the third century. Starting with Mesopotamia and the east, we shall go on to examine the Roman presence in Africa before finishing on the reorganisation of the Pannonian garrison. In his new study of the eastern frontier, Isaac has laid great emphasis on what might be called the non-military responsibilities of the Auxilla in the area. In particular, he has highlighted the importance to Rome of controlling the eastern trade routes, most notably the caravan route which ran through Dura-Europos to Palmyra2 . A direct Roman military presence was maintained In Pa].myra from approximately AD 165, when a-la I Ulpia Singula.rium was in occupation, to be replaced early in the third century by cob. I Fla via Chalci den orum eq. 3 . Once Septinhius had extended Roman

suzerainty into northern Mesopotamia, Dura became the keystone to the Roman frontier with Persia, as the strength of its garrison implies4 . Prior to this, cob. II Ulpia eq. had been stationed there under Coinrnodus, and some

1, The precise figure is 119, counting the units in the Beatty papyri as fourth century units, since they are essentially a part of the post-crisis revival, The figure is extrapolated from the calculations made in Tables A3 to AS, discussed later in this chapter.
2, I5aac,

Lisits of Eipire,



3, Isaac, op. cit., 143f, 155 & nn,217 & 218 for references, 4, It contained vexillations of the Syrian legions and III Cyenaica from Arabia, along with accompanying auxiliaries, cf, Gilliam, 'Garrison of Dura' Dun Pine.! Report V . 1, 24ff Roaan /r1y

Papsrs (1986), 209ff

& ch,VI:


nn,1 & 2 for references,

5, Isaac, 151, It was accompanied by a native unit of Palmyrene archers,


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army. time before AD 245, Dura became the headquarters of the new The main function of the
dux ripae

dux ripae1.

seems to have been to monitor the

trade routes mentioned above, though the size of the garrison at his disposal lends force to Gifliem's conclusion that his was the first line of defence against a sudden Persian attack 2 . An important part of that monitoring brief must have been to keep himself informed of Persian movements along the Euphrates, and for this the extended watchposts spread along the Euphrates beyond Dura will have fulfilled a dual role: traffic control and forward observation. Gilliam seems to have viewed this

espionage function as incidental, but he himself admits that despite its garrison, Dura could not delay a determined Persian force for long; so the main military function of the
dux ripae

must needs have been

reconnaissance4 . His situation on the trade route will have facilitated this, since such routes are historical lines of communication for spies, and much incidental information could be learned simply by keeping an ear to the rumours brought in by passing merchants. Similar reasons have been put forward by Isaac for the presence of coh, IX Naurorum in Hatra under Gordian

Many of the auxiliary units attested in this area were either new or native. The frontier posts of Ana and Gamla seem to have been occupied by

1, Gilliam, 'flux Ripae at Dura', Trans, J Frocs, iaer, Philological A5s, 72(1941), 172ff 4riy Papers (1986), 38ff, 2, Isaac 1 iSif & 155 Gilliaa, op. cit., 168ff, esp, 171, 3, On these fortlets ci, Isaac, 147ff & ISOf, 4, Gillia. 171, 5, Isaac 1 152ff,



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


detachments of Palmyrenea, as were possibly the forts of Biblada and BiJan1. Of the known Roman auxiliary units in the area, three units from the early Principate accompanied XX Palmyrenorum in or around Dura at different times 2 , and another was stationed in Osrhene 3 . New units in the area were
XX Palmyrenorum, XII Palaestinorum and 1K Maurorum, all discussed earlier.

Another new unit appears in the 250e at Dumeir in Syria 4 . What we know of the pre-third century units suggests that they were constantly chopping and changing 5 . However, the only force in the area for which we have much information Is XK Palmyrenorwm With the evidence as it stands, all we can say is that a large proportion of the garrison covering the new Severan frontier in the east was made up of units first attested during this period, possibly reinforced by detachments of native troops. Dura was destroyed in AD 256 by the invading Persian army, graphically confirming what has been said above about Its inability to hold the PersIans 6 . With the capture of Valerian, defence of the east fell under the auspices of Palmyra 7 . The Palmyrene army seems to have been a combination of the Roman garrison in the east and native Pelmyrenes, who formed an indeterminate but highly important proportion of the force 5 . It is unclear

1, Isaac, 1501, esp, nn,239 & 241,

2, Cob, 11 i.iipia eq. was in the fort under Commodus, and may have still been present in 251, though the altar attesting the presence of a oicpa $ rixq light be referring to co/i, 11 Equestris, Co/i, 1! Pap/ilagoni. Is also attested in 251 by a twin altar set up in the Dolicheneum, and III Aug. Thracua is known from P. Dura 26 to have been on the Lower Chabur in 227: 6illiam, 'Garrison of Dura',

3, Co/i, I 6eeiu1opua V111.7039, 4, Ala Epuo(lui?), 111.130,

5, Gillia., bc, cit, 6, Gilliam, op. cit., 27, 7, Alfldl, CAHXII, 171ff, 8, Zos, .39; I 44; 1 503; 1 . 523-532; Festus, 8reiariui, XXIV . 3-5; SHA, Aur, IXV.3, 109-

what new troops Aurelian brought in following his destruction of Palinyra. Ritterling believed he established units of equites drawn from the Iflyrian army 1 but we have no firm evidence for their existence prior to the reign of Diocletian 1 . By this point, the nature of the garrison had changed radically, to the extent that only three pre-fourth century units can be found among the Auxilia of the eastern provinces2 . A large proportion of the remaining twenty-eight lend weight to the idea of the 'barbarised' army, bearing titles
such as Saxonum, Alamannorum, luthungorum, Gothorurn and so on3.

Fentress has commented at length upon the superficial similarities between the Syrian limes and that of Nunildia, sounding several notes of caution in the process 4 . With the new view of the eastern frontier espoused by Isaac, many of her objections have been laid to rest, and indeed the similarities are quite striking. Both frontiers were essentially porous, designed, as Fentress puts it, as "a system of customs and surveillance posts" rather than a preclusive defensive network. Each was garrisoned by a collection of auxiliaries and numer.4 with backbone provided by legionary detachments, and while the nature of the Persian menace was certainly more threatening than the Moorish tribesmen, each had its own bugbear with which to come to terms. This was never more true than in the third century. Roman colonisation of Africa existed side by side with native

1, Ritterling in

Pest, Li, Hirsthtelds (1903),

346f, For a full discussion cf, chYIl:


All we know for certain of Aurelian's arrangements are that he placed the area under the temporary
control of the

practectus Mesopotaiiae, with the title of rector Urientis Zos, I60I, 2, Coh, / 8aetuiorie, still in Osrhene, Not, Dig, Or, XXXV32; coh, I Wpia Dacoriiaj and an ala Parthorus, Not, Dip, Or, XXXIII'33 & XXXV'30: van Berchem, Qrie Qe Diocltiem 10ff, 15ff & 26ff,, 3, Cf. Not, Dig, Or, chapters XXXII, XXXIII, XXXV & XXXVI I for Foenicia, Syria, Osrhene and
4, Fentress, Nuiiaia


and the Roac,, Qray,


(1979), 117.


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


'unpacified' tribes occupying the mountains, and relied as much on their support for the maintenance of its defensive structure as it was designed to defend against them 1 . This seeming paradox was resolved by the permeable nature of the fosatum Afrlcae, and reinforced in the reign of Septimius Severus by a series of watchstations extending into the Saharan Atlas as far as Castellum Dimmidi (Mesead), as well as a series of 'prestige' forts governing the oases in southern Tripolitania, most notably Bou Ngem. The system worked only as long as it was tolerated by the tribes whose movements it was designed to control3 , so that when rebellion flared, as it did in the 250s, extraordinary measures were required to put it down4. Auxiliaries and numeri played an increasingly Important role as the century progressed. The provinces of Mauretania seem to have been reinforced during the reign of Septimius Severus, suggesting that unrest was brewing there from the very start of the century. Work by Speidel has shown that a couple of units from Dada were transferred at this time, reinforced by 1000 Thracian recruits 6 , and to this company can be added the ala (Pia
Gernina) Sebastena from Syria, first attested in Africa in AD 2016.


latter seems to have been based In the fort of Cherchel, and is later

1, Matthews, 'Mauretania In Ammianus and the Notitia', BAR S15 (1976), 163ff, 170ff & 177ff, 2, Feniress. Nutidia, 111ff & 114ff esp, 116, 3, Matthews, op, cii,, 177, 4, A coalition of Berber tribes, under their leader Faraxen, 'prcvinc.iaa

Nwaida. vasfabant',


was so serious that the praeses of Plauretania Caesariensis was made dux per Atricat Mutidiat Maureaniaique, and was only able to fully pacify the area by 263: Pflaum,

Carr, Proc, II, 374bis,

905ff; YII1'21000 AE,1954,136; VIlI'12296 = iLS 2774; A1907,4; 1920,108; Fentress, Nutidia, 109f; Matthews, 'Mauretania', 16Sf, 5, Speidel, 'Numerus Syroru. Malvensium', Dada 17 (1973), 170f & 173f = Roman Arty Studies (1984), 150f & 153f; 'Ala I Claudia Gallorum Capitoniana', in Metoriat Con5tantini Daicovidu (1974), 319 Africaines 11(1977), 168 & 172

ft. Arty Studs, 221; 'A Thousand Thracian Recruits for Mauretania Tingitana', Antiquites ft. Arty Studs, 342 & 346, Her, VII'9'2 talks of Moorish raids,

6, Dip, Roxan 3; YIII17900; AE,1954,143b,

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


found participating in the suppression of the Berber revolt under Valerian and Gallienus' The forts in the Saharan Atlas established by Severus were occupied not only by detachments of leglo III Augusta and the eastern numez-.4 which had been garrisoning the fossatum Africae since at least the time of the Antonines 2 , but also by a vexillation of legIo III Gallica from Syria, and ala I Pannoniorum which had been in Africa since the JulioClaudjans3 . Numidia also recieved the new coh. II MaurorumL, Despite trouble In AD 227, Severus Alexander seems not to have altered the nature of the limes, but maintained the Severan structure, sending a vexillation of Pa].myrenes to Castellum Dimmidi6 . Even the removal of III Augusta under Gordian seems not to have affected it greatly. Fentress believed that the disbanding of the legion was marked by a withdrawal from the Saharan Atlas, rationalising the frontier to facilitate its defence by the Auxilia7 , but she stresses that there is no direct evidence for the legion's replacement by auxiliaries. It would seem that the remaining garrison was able to cope quite adequately, and it should be borne in mind that the

1, A1894,26; 1900,125; 1954,136, The unit is attested in Africa Proconsularis during the joint reign of Valerian and Gallienus, but apparrently was not permanently transferred, since it is later found back in Cherchel after Valerlan Jnr, had been raised to Caesar, 2, Fentress,


111ff & 117; Southern, 'Numeri', 90f,

3, Feniress, op, cii,, 116f; Southern, op. cii,, 127; Holder,

4, VlII . 4323 & 18528,

Stuo'ies in the AuxiJia,


5, ,W,1966,597 records a


turL')ai et

fact/one, in

the vicinity of Auzia in 227, For discussion of the

and further disturbances say have occurred in the 240s, VLil9288 = 20863, evidence for


in Alexander's reign, cf, ch,VII:

Li.itanei, Augute (1989)

453ff, w

6, Southern, op. cii,, 91, 7 Fentress, op. cit,, 117; but cf, Le Bohec, La Troisiae Legion cautions against arguments from silence, 8, Feniress, 119,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


more troubled Mauretania had never recieved much support from the legion'. Even after the troubles of the 250s, the African garrison remained largely unchanged. The new coh. VII Fida appeared in Tripolitania at Bou Ngem circa 253, presumably to bolster the forces in Tripolitania, and that province seems to have remained peaceful throughout the Faraxen uprising2. In the west, the nurnerus Surorurn was still at its post in AD 272. By the late fourth century, all this had been transmuted into a series of .Zirnitanei commanded by preepositi. Van Berchem believed this was the work of the emperor Diocletian4 , but an inscription dated to the emperor Philip suggests that the process may have been underway a great deal earlier5. The African frontier was unique in that despite its size and volatility It maintained only the one legion throughout the history of the Principate, and at times lost even that. This rendered the role of the Auxilia crucial

in maintaining peace within the country. Yet despite the influx of alae and
cohorts mentioned above, the overriding theme of the African garrison is the use of nurneri. Several detachments of Palmyrenes have already been mentioned. At El Kantara, they were accompanied by a nurnerus Hernesenorum, which is also attested under Caracalla occupying burgi In the southwest of Numidla7 . The numerus Suror urn guarded western Caesariensis, and was

I, Fentress,


109, Numerus Surorum on the western edge of Caesariensis was the only

military outpost within about 350km 1 and the size of the fort suggests a strong garrison (Speidel guessed 1000) expected to fend for itself: Southern, 'Numeri', 127ff; Speidel, 'Numerus Syrorum', 171, 2, AE 1979,642-644, 3, Speidel 1 bc, cit.

4, Van Berchem, Arie dE Oioci 3 tien, 39ff, 5, 4E,1950,128 discussed in ch,VI11:

7, Southern, 90f,

6, Apart from its disbandment by Gordian III, the legion was vexillated to Greece by the emperor Gallienus: QE,1934,193 cf, ch,VI:


M.C.Ibe,Ji: C3 Army.


possibly as much as 1000 men strong 1 , while Speidel has illustrated that Moorish lrregUlar8 may have been active in the suppression of the revolts in AD 227 and the 250s. At certain times and in certain areas, the numeri seem to have stepped beyond the role of "frontier police and customs guards" with which they are usually associated 3 , to take on the duties of the Auxilia and at times the legion. Once again, we can see 'ethnic units' coming to the fore. In Parinonia, on the other hand, it was the regular Auxilla which gained In importance during the first half of the century. As early as the reign of Marcus, a new cohort, II Aurelia Dacorwn, was located In the vital strategic crossing point at Poetovio on the banks of the Drava, where it was joined (or replaced) later in the century by vexillations of the Dacian legions4. Yet It was in eastern Pannonia that the greatest influx of auxiliaries occurred. The cohors III Alpinorum is known from tile stamps, but the vast majority were new units. The new coh. I mid. Hem esen orum sag. appeared at Intercisa as early as AD 198, where it was accompanied by a numerus Hosroenorum which may have been


occupation under the later Anton1nes.

They were Joined in the reign of Maximinus by the ala firma mu.

Katafractaria, arid the unit was still at Intercisa some time during the 240s
before it was moved to Cannstatt in Germania Superior 7 . In AD 230, the cob.

1, cf, n, 1 above, 2, Speidel, 'Ethnic Units' 1 216ff, 3, Sirley, 'Hadrianic Frontier Policy', Liies2 (1956), 25, E,1936,53,54 & 57, 4, 111.1518416; 5, 111 . 3759 & 4665; E,1966,301,

6, cf, Table Al for references; date provided by E,l973,437bis, 7, 111 . 99 ILS 2771; lII 10307 = ILS 2540, cf, Speidel, 'Ethnic unit5', 229 n,89a; XII1'7323 &

7328; AE,1931,68; Eadie, 'Roman Mailed Cavalry', .1RS57 (1967), 168 n87, -114-

M.C.Ibe,ji: C3 Army.


I mu. nova Severiana Surorum sag. was first attested in Ulcisia Castra,
though Nagy has shown that it was brought into the province by Caracalla and was redeployed to the east in AD 242', Just south of this, the legionary fortress of Aquthcum received the

mu. Maurorum under Maximlnus, and

coh. quin.

this may have been the time of arrival for the

Maurorum attested

at Lussonium 2 . The final influx of auxiliaries known came during the reign of Gallienus, when vexillations of the German and British legions were stationed at Sirmium
...cum auxilis


Unfortunately, there is no

indication of the units Involved, nor have any units from the German and British garrisons appeared in the later epigraphy of Pannonia Inferior. It seems most likely that the auxiliaries mentioned were themselves vexillations, since we have a reasonable corpus of evidence for auxiliary vexillations both before and during the third century4. A pattern can be discerned in this establishment, from which a couple of important points emerge. The first is the location of these reinforcements. Without exception, all of them had been stationed in eastern Pannonia, along the southward flowing stretth of the river Danube between Aquincum/Ulcisia Castra and the legioriary fortress of Sirmium. The second is their size,

With the single exception of XX Palmyrenorum, every milliary unit created after the death of Marcus Aurelius was stationed along this stretch of

1, Between 212 and 222 ii was engaged in camp construction, The unit was probably created by Septimius Severus for his Parihian expedition of 197: Nagy in

Budapest Rgisgei

23 (1973), 39ff;

AE1973,439; date provided by 111 . 3638; cf, Table Al for other references, 2, 111 . 10375; 111 . 3324; ci, above p.5 & Table Al for references, 3, 111.3228, 4, Two C3 exaaples shall suffice, XIII 6509 from Schlo5sau (Ger, Sup,) mentions the Of greater interest, a career yexil(Iatio)

coli(ortis) I $eq(uanorue) et Raw'(icorua) eq.,,,

inscription set up near Sarmizegetusa (Dacia) during the reign of Philip speaks of a


vexiil(atiornrn) auxiiiar(iorua) Pann(oniae) Infer(ioris),,,, AE


1980,758 cf, 111 1464,

M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


frontier at some point during the first half of the century, and if our chronology is correct, none of them was removed until the 240s. Such a strong reinforcement, at its height something In the region of 7,000 troops, including legionary vexillations 1 , suggests that the east Pannonian frontier was not as secure as its history throughout this period would have us believe. Following the Marcomrnanic war, no serious barbarian incursion occurred in Pennonia until the 250s, and even then it seems to have been limited to the upper province2 . Yet in AD 214 we hear of the emperor Carracalla "completing his business with the garrison of the Danube". This must have been the point at which he reorganised the borders of Pannonia Inferior to bring the legionary fortress of Brigetio, and all of northern Parmonia to the east of Arraboria and north of the Drava, into the province. The revision of the frontier was a massive undertaking: it split Pannonia in half, strengthening the lower province by the addition of a legion and up to 4,000 auxiliaries4 . To do this, Caracalla seems to have diverted from his journey eastwards to the Parthian war, The move has been seen largely as a measure for internal security; removing the third legion from Pannonia Superior to create a parity of forces between the upper and lower province, in accordance with his father's policy. However, the reinforcement we have charted does not look inward, but out towards the

1, AE,1901,154; cf, ch,VI: Vexi/latione5, p.144,

2, Alfldi,

XII, 139 speaks of raids by the Quadi, Sar.atae and Marcomanni which plundered

Upper Pannonia and even penetrated Into northern Italy as far as Ravenna: Eutropius IX'7; Jerome



Orosius VII

. 22 . 7

& Jordanes Rotana

28Th confuse

these raids with the Alemannic

incursions, 3, Her,

6reat Age of Pannosila (1982), 50ff,

4, Fitz,

5, Fitz, bc, cit,


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


barbarian threat. In a passage from Dio, Caracalla is heard to boast at having created hostility between the Marcomanni and the Vandals 1 . We have seen already that sometime during his reign,

Surorum sag.


appeared at IJicisia Castra, where it was busily engaged in fortification. All this evidence paints a picture, not of peace and harmony as Herodlan would have us suppose, but of a frontier preparing for war 2 . Caracalla would seem to have pre-empted a threat from the barbarian tribes on the north-eastern frontier of Pannonia, playing them off against one another whilst shoring up Pannonia's defences at the point of expected attack. The further reinforcement under Maximinus Thrax illustrates that the danger did not disappear, so the peaceful nature of the east Pannonian

must have been

a product of these measures. Barbarian raids only start to recur in the decade following the breakup of this garrison, resulting in similar preemptive measures by Gallienus3. Earlier in the century, Septimius Severus appears to have been anxious to retain the strength of the garrison despite the need to vexillate part of

Adiutrix into Aquileia4 , for we have seen that he not only placed


Hem esen or urn

into Intercisa, but used the Dacian legions to cover for its

departures . it should be noted also that the reinforcement of Sirmium by Gallienus was as much a protection agains the Goths, who were by now penetrating deep into Illyricum, as it was against the tribes of the Middle

I, Dio LIXVII'20'3-4, 2. Her, IY7 Is at pains to stress the friendly relations between Caracalla and the transDanubian tribes, The passage smacks of imperial propaganda at a time when all other evidence hints at Roman/barbarian relations stretched almost to their breaking point. 3, Alfldi, CAM XII, 214: A1935,164; III3228; cf, chh,X & IX: Viri Hi//fares, p.232, &

Foedera fi,
4, 111 . 954 discussed fully In chYl: 'exi1lationes, p 142ff, 5, cf, above p.114. 117-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army. Danube.


The auxiliaries in Pannonia Inferior were performing a very important function during the first half of the third century. A series of units, most of them milliary, were arranged along the Pannonian border to ward off barbarian attack. Despite, or most probably because of their effectiveness, they were drawn upon to provide troops elsewhere as the century reached its mid-point, so weakening the frontier. Gallienus, realising the importance of a strong Pannonian garrison, reinforced it with legionaries from Dacia, Britain, Germany and even Moesia. It is at this point, with permanent vexillatlon becoming the norm, that we find the Auxilia disappearing once again. Where once a cohort was found, now we find records only of a legionary vexillation 1 . More importantly, in the Notitia Dignitatum, we can find auxiliaries being replaced by units of equites which were themselves eventually replaced by the cunei and new-style auxilia of Constantine2. Throughout the empire, an important process was taking place wherein the Auxilia of the Principate was gradually disappearing to be replaced by new irregular units, often of 'ethnic' origin. The picture from the Notitia Dignitatum is not a pretty one. Little more than 137. of the Auxilia known to have been in existence before AD 250 can be found in its lists 3 . Such a massive shortfall is nothing short of cataclysmic, especially since pre-Diocletianic Auxilia account for just under

1, cf, n,3 above,

Whether these vexlllation5 superceded the units already in place, or simply

reinforced them Is not clear, Either event exhibits an erosion of confidence in the Auxilia 2, In Pannonia, this occurred at Ulcisia Castra, Intercisa and Lussonium, The process has been best illustrated by van Berchem, 4rae de Diocltien,,,, 95ff 3, The figure drawn from my own independent study is 71 out of approx, 536 units; cf Tables A3 A5, No units from the third century can be seen to have survived,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


38% of all auxiliary units listed In the document; meaning that the total complement of auxiliaries found in the Notitia 18 three times smaller than the establishment of the mid-third century1. A geographical breakdown of the results might help to explain this2. The lowest survival rate was In the areas which had endemic trouble throughout the century. In Illyricum, only 6 out of 85 units known to have occupied the area before AD 250 survived. Africa fared little better, with an equally bad survival rate of 7%. Raetia retained 11%, while the eastern provinces retained 10% (only one of these came from Osrhene). The best survival rate came from Asia Minor, where Isaurian brigandage forced an Imperial response only twice throughout the century 3 . Elsewhere, the relatively untroubled provinces of Britain and Egypt had survival rates of 25% and over, while the figures for Spain are too small to be of any statistical value. Little is known about the areas of the empire missed by the Notitia, though It Is worth noting that the dux Mogontiacensis had nothing but praefecti militum on his lists4. Given the limitations of our material, such an analysis of the Notitia can be little more than an academic exercise. Its lists are incomplete, and what we have may be a mish-mash of information dating from Diocletian until the end of the fourth

Our information concerning the pre-

Diocletianic Auxilia Is also nowhere near as complete as we would like it to

1, 188 a/ac and

co/ioHes are

listed by Seeck; 37 . 8% are pre-Diocletianic, and the total accounts

for only 35% of the 536 units known to have been in existence during the Principate, 2, cl, Tables A3-A5, 3, Once under Severus Alexander, and once under Probus cf, CAN XII. 68 & 31Sf,

4, Not, Dig, Oc, XLI, C3,

This part of Germany was constantly harassed by the Alemanni during the

5, On this very subject cf, van Berchem,

Arae de Dioc/tien,,,,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


be; to the extent that the figure we choose to extrapolate from, no matter what its exactitude, remains at best an educated guess. As if this were not enough, another far more important consideration must be addressed: the question of unit size. It appears that by the late fourth century, auxiliary units throughout the empire had suffered a drastic reduction In size. Where forts named In the Notitia can be equated to remnants on the ground, they have often shrunk to less than one fifth the size of those containing similar units under the Principate. In many cases, they have actually been built inside the remnants of an earlier site'. Material extrapolated from the Beatty papyri from Panopolis indicates that auxiliary units with a complement of 165 or less would seem to have been the norm in Egypt at the time of Diocletian 2 . This means that by the fourth century, not only had over 857. of units known from the Principate disappeared from the record, they had also shrunk in some cases to approximately one fifth of their original sizes . Whether this was a universal trend remains unclear. If the trend in fort sizes is anything to go by, the phenomenon was empirewide. What we know of XX Palmyrenorum suggests that the unit was in a good state of health during the first half of the third century. It should be stressed that the state of this unit cannot be taken to indicate the health

C/i/ron 8

1, All relevant evidence can be found in: Duncan-Jones, 'Pay and Numbers in Diocletian's Army', (1978), Appendix I esp, 553ff; Johnson, Late Rocan Fortification (1983), 53f James, 'Britain

and the Late Roman Army',

BAR 136

(1984), 165f,

2, Duncan-Jones, op. cit., 546ff, 3, Figures calculated by Duncan-Jones from P,Beatiy make the
co/i, II ala I

//iberorua 118

strong and the

C/iaaavorua 165

strong at most, The most recent calculations on auxiliary size in the early

Principate give between 436-512 men to an ala quingenaria, approx, 480 to a

approx, 600 to a

quingenaria and

coh, quin, eq.: Holder, Studies in ifle Auxilia, BAR S70


(1980), 7ff,

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


of all the Auxilia in the third century. The unit itself was an unusual one, in that it had 6 centuries and 5 turmae (plus dromedaril) instead of 10 and 8 which is believed to have been the norm for milliary cohorts 1 . Fink

believed it was impossible for 40% of the unit to have been on permanent detachment, such that it was never included in any of the Dura rosters. Considering the early date of the main rosters, he is probably correct. Permanent vexillation did not become the norm until the mid third century, and since the two main rosters of XX Palmyrenorwn give totals of 1210 and 1040 men respectively, the unit would seem to have been at full milliary strength despite its organisation 2 . In fact, the earlier figure, for AD 219, puts it seriously over-strength, best explained by recruitment for Caracalla's abortive Parthian expedition 3 . Despite this apparent good health, in AD 251, a partial list of the equites in the unit shows "a desperate state of affairs, with a fourth of the cohort's horses having to be replaced in a period of four months and a third of the personnel still lacking mounts.....the papyrus itself is evidence of strenuous effort by both government and the army to cope with the situation" 4 . Elsewhere, Holder cites a pridiarium of AD 215 which shows a
coh. quin. eq.

from the east with

an infantry complement of only 350, "below strength even for a century complement of 60 men". Its editors have pointed out that there were no new recruits due to heavy fighting3.

I, Fink 1

Dw'a Final Report V . 1,

28ff; Holder,

Studies in the Auxilia,


The unusual

organisation may be explained by the native origins sugge5ied by Nann above, p.101, 2, Fink, op. cit,, 30 on P,Oura 100 & 101 for AD 219 & 222 respectively, However, note Gilliam's observation that the cohort had nine centurions in P,Dura 82 of Ad 233: cf, Gillaim, 'Dura Rosters', 74 n,2, 3, cf, above, p,104f,
4, Fink,

Roaan Milifay Reco,d5 on Papyrus (1971),

N2 83

P,Dw'a 97,

5, Holder, bc, cii, on Thomas & Davies, 'A New Hilitary Strength Report on Papyrus', IRS 67 (1977), 50ff,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


The fate of cob. III Alpinorum may be of relevance here. Found in Dalmatia during the second century, it was moved to Pannoriia sometime during the third. From there its movements become confused, since the name appears three times in the Notitia Dignitatum, once in Arabia and twice in Pannonia Secunda. At one point it is called the cob. III Alpinorum Dardanorum. This has led scholars to posit two or even three cohortes III Alp.inorum while at present there remains evidence for only one'. Yet if, as we have already determined, auxiliary units were being vexillated in the third century2, might it not be most sensible to view these units as vexillations of the cob.
III Alpinorum?

Like other vexillat ions that became fossilised in the third

century, the detachments eventually took on their own identity, until by the time of the Notitia they could be seen as three separate units, distinguished in Pannonia by the attachment of a nickname, possibly relating to its location within the province. Other such vexillations could be the two alae
novae Diocletianae

found in the east; the two alae milliariae in Palaestina;

the ala II felix Velentiniana located in that province and in Arabia; the cob.
I Ituraeorum

found in Tingitena and Egypt; and possibly, though less likely,

the cobb. IV Gaflorum which appear in Britain and Rhodope in the Notiti&, It would seem that at some point between AD 250 and AD 395 the Auxilia of the early Principate suffered a severe decline. In view of the Egyptian evidence provided by the Beatty papyri, It seems most probable that this

Scient, //ungaricae

I, 111 . 14935; Not, Dig, Or, XXXVII . 35; Not, Dig, O, XUII'53 & 57 Alfldy, Qcta Qrch, Acad, 14(1962), 263ff; Wilkes, Daliatia (1969), 140ff; Roxan, 'Auxilia in the Not/tie',

66, 2, cf, above, p115 & n,4, 3, Not, Dig, Oj XXXII . 34 & UXV . 31; XXXIV'36 & XXX1V32; XXXIV'35 & XXXVI130; Cc, XXVI . 16 & Or, XXVIII 42; Oc, XL'41 & Or, XL.46, -122-

M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


decline had occurred prior to or perhaps during the reign of Diocletian. Its cause is unclear, but may have been a combination of ailing recruitment, permanent vexillatlon and the endemic attrition associated with the problems of the century. It seems likely that in the compromises which were made to overcome these problems, the lowly auxiliaries suffered worst, Not prestigious enough to be treated like the legions, and too inflexible to be as useful as the numeri, the Auxilia were neglected until gradually they became replaced by new units of

and other 'ethnic' troops more

suited to the support role which they had enjoyed 1 . The rescripts of Diocletian amply illustrate this new attitude towards the auxiliaries. Whilst deprived of the privileges accorded to the legions and the new-style vexillatioris of cavalry, the sons of auxiliaries were now tied by law to the career of their fathers 2 . These laws, and the appearance of new
cohortes alae


under Diocletian and his colleagues are evidence that the Auxilla

still retained some usefulness under the Tetrarchy. Yet by the age of Constantine, the Auxilia of the Prthcipate had become third-class frontier fodder, and their supercession by 'ethnic'



was complete.

1, Note there is no indication in the unit titles of the Not it/a that the Auxilia were being transformed into these new unit5, but cf, ch,YII: Equites for discussion,
2, Cod, Just,

X . 54 . 3 (55 . 3

in some editions); Cod, Theod, VII.22'I,



A 1: f1rt pptririg ftr- AD 161.


Dates given are dates of first and last firmly datable attestation. Where the creator of the unit is uncertai.n, It has been placed under the emperor in which its first attestalon occurs.

Mr i_i
N11Nfli Coh, Pimasens(ium)

At.ir1 i L1:
AureCliana) Thracia





Coh, I Aurelia Dardanorum (mu, eq?] Moesia Sup. Aurelia Dardanorum iii, eq. Moesla Sup.



Coh, II


111 . 14556 & 14576; 41902,31; 1903,288 & 290: 1904,92: 1910,93, 94 & 97; 1952,189-191

Coh, I Aurelia nova

Pas(i]natui CR iii, Coh, II Aurelia nova cii, eq. CR,

Moesia Sup,


111.14545; qE1901,23

Moesia Sup, Dalmatia Thrac ia

179 Caracalla 179 Marcus

111.14537 & 14541 E191O,98 E,19O1,24 AE,1955,65 111.142176;

Coh, II Coh,

Aurelia nova Sacorum

Moesia Sup,



II Aurelia Decorum

Pannonia Sup,


111.1518416; SHQ Marcus XXI'7,


i_ nii i._L

Germania Sup, REEL

Coh, I Septimia Belgarum


XIII'1042-1045, 6687, 7038, 11758 & 11759

Coh, I .11 Hemesenorum sag, eq. CR Pannonia Inf,

from 198

111.10303, 10304, 10306, 10307, 10315, 10316 & 10318; AE,1891,59; 1909,148-ISO; 1910,131, 133, 136, 137, 140, 141, 144, 147, & 148; 1912,7; 1914,99; 1929,49; 1971,334, 335, 345 & 476; 1973 437bis

Coh, I

cii, nova

Severiana Surorum sag,

Pannonia Inf,


111.3638,3639, 10518 & 15170; AE,1947,31; 1973,439

Coh, Coh,

II Maurorum



VIII'4323 & 18528

IX Maurorum

Mesopotamia 124-


A1958, 239 & 240

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army


Svr1.i H11N

t d: PROVINCE Syria 208/256 P,Dura misc, esp, 56, 100 & 101 A 1940, 240; 1948,124

Coh, XX PalayrenoUl El, (eq. mag,)

C r r VN11N Coh, I Athoetorum Coh, (I] Concord(ia)

1 1 : PROVINCE Dacia Thracla QI Caracal la from c,269


AE 1961,315 IGRRI'1496 = !L59479 1688 1112 1570 AE,1908,259 cf, Domaszewski, Rangordnung,
LVIII-LX, 185f1 also my Appendix

Trajanus Mucianus
Coh, II Conco(rldia Coh, Treverorum Coh, II Treverorum Moesia Sup, Germania Sup, Germania Sup, Caracal Ia 222/c, 238 c,211/c,235

AE 1934, 212
(XIII . 7612 & 11971 (XII17615-7619; AE1 1898,9, 10 & 63

S , r


Al - ___rid PROVINCE Pannonia ml, Germartia Sup,


Nova ala firma iii, Katafractaria

234/238 238/256

111.99 = JLS 2771; II1'10307 = ILS 2540 XIII7323, 7328: AE 1931,68 cf, Eadie, /RS 57 (1967), 168 n,37

Coh, XII Palaestinorum



P,Dzira 30

M>c I ml ri VN1IN


1h. r

OAT Maximinus 111 . 3444, 3542, 3545, 10673 & 10375 111.3324

Coh, iii, Maurorum eq. Coh, quin, Maurorum eq.

Pannonia ml, Panonnia ml,


V1riri & G1J_lriLi

1L Ni Ala Epuo(lum?) Coh, III Collect(arum) Coh, VII Fida PROVINCE Syria Moesia ml, Tripoiltania


253/9 c,253 c253

111.130 41957,340 AE,1979,642-644


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


V]riri NUNi Coh, VIII Fida


G11iri PROVINCE Palaestina

DRIB Gallienus Diocletian REFi
AE,1902.46 AE 1895 17

12 6-

U NflI Ala Sariatorum


Tb] A2: cf dtibici






VII229 & 230

Coh, I Sunicor(um)



Coh, I Aresac(um)


AE,1929, 173

C(o)h, Ruson(ianae)

Germania mt.

AE1956,169 cf, AE11939,130

Ala Fida Vindex

Germanla Sup,

XIII'8307 (probable renaming)

Ala Vallensium Coh, Hel(vetiorum)

Germania Su p .


Germanla Sup,


AE,l897,148 cf, Birley,

His toia-Qugusta-Coi1oquiva

(1972/74), hf Coh, V Spanorum Dalmatia ?pre C3 AE,1961,303 (probably II Cyrrhestarum, cf, III' 14934) Dada Ala Pal.(yrenorum) Dacia Dada 201 AE1SO1,46 (possibly I (Ulp,) Brittonum ill, CR eq,, cf, Holder, Lyc ia/Pamphyl ia Cappadocia ?late C3 f6VI187 cf, Speidel, C/,iron4 (1974), 545 Syria ?pre C3 AE,1940, 166 (probably (Thracue) Herculiana cf, Holder, Egypt 193 AE,1905,54; cf, Holder, Ala Herakliana Coh, Stablesianorum ?c,202 AE,1926,74: cf, AE,1926,75 Ala Atectorigiana post 124 A 19741 545b I AE,1957,331 Ala Elec(torum) Coh, II Crestarum Germania Sup,

?pre C3

4E 1899, 192 (probably V (Hi)spanorum)

Coh, I Aurelia Brittonum iii,

Atix//Ja, 217)

Auxilia, 227)
230 for a

Coh, III Cilicium eq.

I (Fla y ,) Cilicium eq, of AD 83- same series? Nauretania Nauretania ?pre C3 AE,1889,54 (reconstructed to Pomarensium, Shares inscription with Flavio-Trajanic II Sardorum) Mauretania 7 -12 7A195662 Coh, Parth(orum) I AE,1898,74 (probably II Hammiorum) Ala II Ammiorum

[ala Expl(oratorum)] Pomet,

Awci11ri ITc t i

t i Di gr I t t tim.

Tb] A3: i,irig iritc


The following are the results of my own Independent study on the survival of pre-fourth century auxiliaries into the Notitia. Most unit histories are derived from the excellent appendices of Holder's Studies in the Auxilia of the Roman Army from Augustus to Trajan, BAR S70 (1980), PP.167-240. Other sources (mainly those with relation to postTrajanic units) are cited where used. Unless a compelling link to an earlier unit can be shown, units with the praenomina Herculia and Valeria have been taken as fourth century creations and ignored. Since the completion of this work, a similar study by N. Roxan, entitled 'PreSevran Auxilia Named in the Notitia Dignitatum', BAR S15 (1976), pp.59-80 has come to my attention. It has the luxury of being able to go into greater depth than my own study would allow, and is highly recommended to anyone wishing to pursue this topic of discussion still further. Despite some minor differences in interpretation, I have deemed it best to keep both studies entirely separate since they were carried out independent of one another. Roxan includes several alae in the Notitia believed to have been upgraded from cohortes equitata, yet with these taken into account, along with the additional units provided to me by Holder, our results are substantively similar.

NQtiti DigrIittLIm pr
Ujjj ala veterana Gallorum PROVINCi IXVIII'lB Aegyptus

RECENT HISTORY Changed name to Gallica & moved to Egypt in 130.


coh, I Sagittariorum

Ac gy p tu S

Knovn in 6cr, Sup, under Julio-Claudians,


coh, I Augusta Pannoniorum


In Syria from 88,


coh, II Ituraeorum


Coh, eq. in Egypt from 83, cf, I Itur, on Table A4,


coh, II Thracum


Coh, eq. moved to Egypt in 105,

1111 . 58

coh, I Lusitanorum


I Aug. (Pr, ) Lusitan, eq. moved to Egypt by 105,


Thebaid coh, Scutata CR. Thebaid coh, I Apamenorum

In Egypt under Julio-Claudians,


Coh, eq. sag, moved to Egypt in 143,


coh, I Ulpia Dacorum


Coh, eq. in Syria from 156,


ala all, Sebasiena


In Africa from 201; cf, A!, 189426; 1900,125; 1954, 136 & 143b,

128 -

M.C.Ibejl: C3 Army Auxilia

Nc, t I t I D I gr I t t Lixn
VNLLNANE. XXXIV'44 coh, II Galatarum

p F

r tm c t d:




II Ulpia Galat, in Syria-Palaest, from 139


coh, I Flavia


Coh, eq, 1 cf, (6RR IV216; VIII'28,

XXIV'32 coh, I Gaetulorum Osrhene




coh, I ml, Thracum


Moved to Syria-Palaestina in 139,


coh, I Thracum


Probably I Aug, Thracum eq,, 1QE11947,171,


coh, VIII Yoluntaria


VIII Voluntariorum in Dalmatia since Jul io-Claudians,


ala I Aug, Colonorum


Moved to Cappadocia by 135,


ala Auriana


II Ulpia Auriana in Cappadocia from 1351


ala I Ulpia Dacorum


In Cappadocia from 135,


ala II Gallorum


Moved to Cappadocia in 135,


coh, III Ulpia mu, Peiraeorum Armenia Coh, eq, sag, moved to Cappadocia by 135,


coh, IV Raetorum


Moved to Cappadocia in 135,


coh, mil, Bosporiana


I Bosporanorum sag, moved to Cappadocia in 135.


coh, iii, Germanorum


I 6cr, mil, eq. in Cappadocia from 135,


coh, Apuleia CR


I Apula CR, moved to Cappadocia by 135,


coh, I Lepidiana


Coh, CR, eq, moved to Armenia by 199,


coh, I Claudia eq.


In Cappadocia, cf, 11.2958,


coh, I Aureliana


Coh, Pimasensium Aur, in Thracia under M, Aurelius 1 cf, AE,1908,136,


coh, III Valeria Brac araugustanorum Thrac ia Probably the III Bracaur, moved to Raetia in 156, 129-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


Nctiti pr Ocidrtrn:

U1(E. XXYI 14 VNIINAII.E. coh, II Hispanorum PROVINCE RECENT HISTORY Tingitana Coh, CR, eq, In Tingitana by 109,


coh, I Ituraeorum


Coh, sag, CR, moved to Tingitana in 109,


coh, III Asturum


Coh, CR, eq, in Tingitana from 109,

XXXII'57 coh, III Alpinorum Pannonia II

Coh, eq, moved to Pannonia in C3; cf, Wilkes,


l4Offl 6, Alfldy, AA$H

14 (1962), 263ff, Pannonia II Coh, CR, pf, in P, Inf, from 110,


coh, I Thracum CR,

coh, III Britannorum XXXV'25


Coh, eq, in Raetia from 107,

XXXV '27

coh, VII Valeria Raetorum coh, I Herculia Raetorum


Moved to Britain by 166,



Probably the I Raetorum in Raetia by 107,

XL'33 XL'36 XL'37 XL'39 XL'40 XL'41 coh, IV Gallorum Britannia Coh, eq, in Britain from 122, though attested in Raetia in 166, coh, I Tungrorus Britannia Coh, mu, in Britain from 103, coh, I Batavorum Britannia Coh, eq, in Britain from 122, ala Sabiniana Britannia I Pannonlorum Sab, in Britain from 122, coh, I Frisiavonum Britannia In Britain from 105, coh, IV Lingonum Britannia Coh, eq, in Britain from 122,


coh, I Asturum


Possibly II Asturum, known to be in Britain by 105, though attested on Dip,LXIX in P, Inf, 145/60,


coh, II Dalmatarum


Most likely II Dela, eq, in Britain from 105, though attested in Dalmatia along with I Delm, eq, on III'1979 & 6374 dated 170,

XL'48 XL'49 XL '50 coh, II Thracum Britannia 130Coh, eq, moved to Britain in 103, coh, I Hispanorum Britannia Coh, eq, moved to Britain under Flavians, coh II Lingonum Britannia Coh, eq, in Britain from 98,

M,C.IbeJl: C3 Army


Nc' t i t I Di ri I t t tim p r- C) I d r t m ct d:

coh, I Norinorum




I for, et, Cersiacorum in Britain from 103,

XL . 53

coh, III Nerviorum


In Britain from 122,


coh, VI Nerviorum


In Britain from 122,

Gallaecea XLII'30 coh, Celtibera

I Celtiberorum coh, CR, eq, moved to Spain by 132,



In t

Fib1 A4-: tli NtitI pib1y r1ir Ai,ci1I.


These include units which do not provide enough detail in their titles to be placed accurately, as well as units which are possibly part of an earlier known series but for which no preNotitia record survives. Cetain Units which may have been vexillations of prefourth century Auxilia are also included. Or-i r]:

ala VII Saritarum


POSSIBLE LLN& Ala Sarmatorum known in Britain, VlI . 229 & 230, date uncertain: part of series!



coh, III Galatarum


I & II Ulpia Galat, known in SyriaPalaestina from 139: part of series?


ala II Ulpia Afrorum


Ala Afrorum vet, known in Ger, Inf, from 78: part of series?


cot,, I Ituraeorum


Possible renumbering of II & III Itur, known in Egypt from 83, but NB, coh, I Itur, in Cappadocia by 135, cf, Table A3, 11 Itur,


coh, IV Numidiarum


I & II (Fl) Numid, eq (sag ) found throughout empire: part of series?

1111 . 45

ala IV Britonum


I Brit, known in Dacia from 110: part of series?

1111.49 ala VIII Palmyranorum Thebald

Ala Palm, known in Dacia some time after 124, ,QL1974,565b: part of series!

XXXI'66 coh, VI Sugambrorum


I & IV known in Noesia & Caesariensis from 26 & 107 respectively: part of series?

1111 . 57 1111 . 54 XIXI48

ala I Yaleria Dromedariorum ala II Herculia Dromedariorum ala III Dromedariorum Thebaid

(Possibly all derived as vexillations from (ala I Ulpia Dromedariorum ail,, last (known in Syria in 156,


coh, Palaestinorum


XII Palaest, in Dura in 232, P,Dw'a 30: part of series?


coh, II Cretensis


I Cretum sag, in N, Sup under JulioClaudians: part of series?

XXXV . 30

ala I Parthorum


Possibly any of 5 alae Parth, throughout the empire,


coh, III Alpinorum


Possibly a vex, of III Alp, in Pann, II,

Not, Dig, Oc, XXXII.57,


M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army


Or i
g L46

c t d:
coh, IV Gallorum PROVINCE POSSIBLE 111K. Moesia II Possibly either of the IV Gall, known in Thracia in 114 or in Raetia in 147,



XIXII . 53

coh III Alpinorum Dardano rum



Pannonia II

Pos5ibly a vex, of III Alp, in Pann, II

Not, Dig, Oc, XXXII.57,


coh, I Aelia Classica


Possibly the I Class, pf, in Ger, Inf, by 80,


coh Lucensia


Probably one of 4 cohh, Lucensium throughout the empire,




A : tb1




557. 118% 0 537.

Alee prior to AD 161 Cohorts prior to AD 161 Alee created after 161 Cohorts created after 161 Auxilia from Table A4 Other known pre-C4 units

6 45 0 1 19

109 380 3 23

c. 21

Total survivals




GEOGRAPHICAL BREAKDOWN (in descending rates of survival): I UNITS SURVIVAL


Qf Q 19 21 57 6 17 56

RATE 57'g% 333% 246% 16'7% 117% 107% 7% 597.

11/58% 19/90% 15/26% 2/33% 3/18% 12/21% 3 / 7% 6/7%

Asia Minor Egypt Britain Spain Raetia The East Africa Illyricum

11 7 14 1 2 6 3 5


(t) The calculation in this column includes units first found in the region in the Notitia, giving the number of units found before the slash and the survival rate this generates after it. The rest of the table utilises only those units known to have been in the region prior to the Notitia, and therefore to have survived as part of the area garrison since the second or third century.



C3 Army


Tl-i Nw' Uriit


Vci 11 t I cri

The history of vexillation can be divided into three distinct phases, two of which occurred during the turbulent years of the third century. Whereas the detachments of the first and second centuries AD had been used largely on campaign, and very rarely engaged in garrison duties outside the province of their mother unit, the manpower shortages of the third century nece sitated the increasing employment of vexillary garrisons outside their province of origin. By the end of the century, these garrison vexillations had become permanent fixtures in their new positions, and a mould-breaking evolution was taking place. As the permanent vexillation assumed an independent unit identity, new units of cavalry, probably originating in part as vexillary detachments, took on the term vexillatlo as a unit description. The development of the permanent detachment, and the semantic change in the term vexillati4 is what this chapter sets out to chart. To understand whet happened to the vexillation in the third century, it is necessary to have a clear picture of the nature of these detachments during their earlier history. The vexillations of the first and second centuries AD were detachments of up to 2,000 men 1 , largely used to reinforce a specific campaign. A cursory analysis of the epigraphic record reveals only 15 references to vexillations being used as garrison troops in the period before Marcus Aurelius, whilst on the same timescale there are 40 separate instances of

1, Hyginus V . 5i4; Saxer,


p, Stud, (1967), 119;


LR 680; X'582,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


vexillary troops in the field1. The practice of sending detachments of legionaries, often with attached auxiliaries 2 , from peaceful provinces to the war front became ever more prevalent during the second century. Prior to Trajan, campaign vexillations seem mainly to have been employed during the exigencies of civil war or revolt . Under his reign, they may have received far wider use, taking part in all his wars, whilst Hadrian employed detachments from the Danube, Syria and Arabia to quell the Jewish revolt in 132". By the time of the Antonines, expeditionary forces composed largely of vexillations seem to have become standard practices. Little can be said about vexillations as garrison troops during this period, since the corpus of evidence is too small to allow any meaningful analysis of their development. Yet one thing is absolutely clear. Whilst a

1, Refer to Table Vi listing the results of my own independent examination of C/L I AEand IGRR, Saxer,

VeAJJ/atlonen (1967),

gives an even more comprehensive list, but includes many references of

uncertain date which I was less prepared to include than he, 2, III19i9; XIII . 4623, 7697, 7715, 7716 all attest legions with attached auxiliaries, See also

the Brohi series in CIL XIII, These are a series of dedications to Hercules Saxanus by a variety of vexillations from the legions, the Auxilia, and even the c18551s


dating largely from the

Flavian period (the latest are most likely by units involved in Trajan's German campaign), The number and variety of units would suggest that Brohi, in Upper Germany, served as a staging post for vexillations about to embark on campaign, since garrison vexx tended to be less variable and more static than this: 1111 . 7693, 7695-7698, 7700, 7703-7706, 7714-7718, 7720-7722 & 7727, 3, Tacitus

Anna/es XIV38'1

and V . 1; Josephus V42-44; the Brohi inscriptions are most likely

dated to the Year of the Four Emperors (AD 69) and the revolts of Civilis and Saturninus, though they could refer to Domitian's German campaign, 4, 1111 . 7704, 7715, 7716, 7718, 7727 for legions involved in Trajan's German campaign, VI

'IctriA, I 6eina

and XXII


all recieved the title

during the revolt of Saturninus, but the lack of the

Pia Fidelis Doiitianae for their Cognoaen on the inscriptions, or of its

loyalty erasure

Ouanatio suggests

a date after his reign, Since all three legions were transferred out of Germany

by Hadrian, the reign of Trajan is most likely, None of the three legions is attested in either his Dacian or Parthian wars, so the campaign on the borders of their own provinces seem most likely, AE,1901,50 & 1934,223 for Trajan's Dacian wars, of 132, see 111.141552: VI3505; E 1894, 166 AE1912,179 for his Parthian war, For the revolt 162,

1896,53, also Parker,

Ronian Legions (1928),

5, Parker, 163ff; VI . 3185; VIII6i9; IX 2457; 1 . 5829; XI1I.3496,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


unit may have been vexillated to garrison the outlying areas of its own home province, there are only two instances prior to Marcus Aurelius of vexillations being used as garrisons outside these areas, Both were in exceptional circumstances, and both were only temporary measures. AE,1895,24 is from an aquaeduct constructed in Judaea by a vexillation of Leglo III Cyrenaica during the reign of Trajan. At this time,

Fret ensis,

the normal garrison of the province, was involved in Trajan's Parthian war,
so III Cyrenaica

had obviously been vexillated from neighbouring Arabia to

fill the gap. The same can be said of vexillations from Leglo X Fret ensis, II Tralana and XII Fuirninata found in Judaea at the time when detachments of


were in Africa, dealing with a serious Moorish incursion circa 144/51. An alternative explanation may be that they were concentrated here in response to the Parthian crisis whith had developed at the end of the reign of Antonthus. In support of this latter theory, IX'2457 shows one L. Neratius Proculus sent by Antoninus to command just such a concentration of vexillary troops established in Syria for this purpose. A marked change in the pattern of vexillary employment occurred at the end of the second century. It is difficult to define Its genesis, for while the early Seven seem to have been the main innovators, it was during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and his son that this switch of emphasis began. It is best illustrated during the Marcomannic wars, in which, as Parker puts it: "all of the legions on the Rhine-Danube front were engaged, but not
as complete units

(my emphasis). The permanent camps were not abandoned,

1, ,QL1904,91:

Parker1 Roaan Legions 165; VIII'2490 1 10230,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


but the main body of the legions remained to garrison them, and sent vexillationes to the actual scene of the fighting." In fact, there is epigraphic evidence for the participation of detachments from not only the Illyrian and Dacian legions, but of Legio III Augusta from Africa as well1. The point is emphasised by the column of Marcus Aurelius, on which the vexilla have taken the place of both the legionary aquila and the manipular signa, in marked contrast with the reliefs on Trajan's column2. AE,1910,161 is a different example of the phenomenon. It records the occupation of Armenia by vexillations of XV Apollinaris and XII Fuirninata during the reign of Commodus. Both legions were at the time stationed in Cappadocia to the west, and detachments were obviously put into the bordering province following its annexation by Lucius Verus in 161. Both examples are indicative of a chronic shortage of manpower during which the defence of the empire could only be achieved by the spreading of existing forces as thinly as was feasible. The cause of this shortage may have been the plague brought back from the east by Lucius Verus following the Parthian war. It can be no coincidence that the last campaign of the Antonines in which full legions were deployed was this conflicts. Vexillation was not the only imperial response to this problem. Marcus raised his two Italian legions, though both were immediately vexillated to guard the access routes into Italy 4 and the very use of Italian recruits is indicative of the severity of the crisis. It is also likely that he raised

1, Parker,

2, Parker, bc, cit, Saxer, 3, Ritterling, 4, 111.1980,


Roman Legions, 168; II1'14433; VI . 31856 t'exillationen, 124,


188866; YIII . 619; QI92O,45,

1427 & 1449; Parker, 166: cf, chIl:

Manpower, p46ff
52 (1958), ser,3 sec,2, 52,

5, Dio LV . 24; Ritterling, 1300f; Salmon in

r,ans, fl' Soc Can,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


several new auxiliary units and recruited heavily into exist thg ones1. However 1 the career inscription of L. lulius Iulianus 2 , who commanded vexillatioris during the Marcomannic wars, the British campaign of Commodus, led detachments in Spain against Moorish rebels, and also held two other vexillary commands, is a clear indication of the extent of Antonine vexillation. The manpower situation can only have been exacerbated by the wars of Septiinius Severus during the 190s. There are plenty of references to vexillary commands in the various exercitus of the civil wars, whilst the careers of L. Valerius Valerianus and L. Fabius Fulcianus 4 might point to their use in Septimius' first Parthian war. By 197, Septimius had raised three new legions with which to promote his second offensive against Parthia, and had taken steps to encourage enlistment and counter the negative effect on offensive capability which seems to have been inherent in the use of vexillary armies. For while vexillations were very effective in police actions against insurgents, the lack of' full legions does seem to have been felt during the Marcomannic wars, which dragged on without a satisfactory conclusion for fifteen years. To this end, the Praetorian guard was increased fourfold's and II Parthica

1, cf, ch,V: AuIia,

488866, VI14O8; AE,1944,80; 1971,476, The 4 German legions of iE,189O,82 = FIR2 1 566 must be involved in the war against Albinus, and not later as Birley suggests in (p. Stwo 8 (1969), 67, They are probably the 4 legions which replace Coh, XIII Urbana in Lyons (ILS 9493; cf, also 1143), ILS 3, 2319 & 2345 of Leg, II Tr(uimna) Qer(ianica) Fort(/s) suggest that this legion was also involved, 4, E,1971,476; 1926,79, If an alternative reading to Birley (bc, c/f) is being taken 1 the command of Claudius Gallus might also be dated to this war 1 cf, E',1957,123 & PIR2 C 878,
5, For a lull discussion of the chronology cf, ch,IV: Leg/ones, p,77f,
6, Durry, Co/iorte5

2, VI . 31856

Pr'foriennes (1938), 81ff,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


was established in Albanum. This provided a strong offensive nucleus, not tied to any frontiers, which could be used on campaign and to which the emperor could attach as many units and/or detachments as he deemed necessary1. Despite these measures, the empire was to remain stretched for manpower, exacerbated by periodic recurrences of plague d , which placed it firmly on the defensive and dominated the pattern of vexillary deployment throughout the third century. The only truly offensive wars of the third century were the British campaign of Septiinius and the Parthian war of Caracalla. The former had the pretext of pacifying the tribes north of the Maeta& 3 . In paradoxical fashion, these two campaigns were made possible by the tacit acceptance of the empire's defensive posture by both Septimius and his son. In Africa, Syria and on the Danube, vexillations began to appear in garrisons wholly divorced from the province of their mother unit 4 . One could also argue that the Severan policy of limiting each province to two legions might have been as much an attempt to spread available forces as it was a security measure; especially since it was carried out in such dilatory fashions. This shift in emphasis must in part be explained by the nature of the evidence. The wealth of material produced by Cagnat from Africa and by

I, cf, ch,IY: Legionesp,85ff, 2, cf, ch,II: Manpover, 3, Dio LXXVII 111; Herodian III'14 . 1-2; Miller, CAM XII (1939), 36ff; Murphy, St'verus Iroi .[175CP1pfiOfl5 (1945), 77; Saiway, Roaan Br/tain (1981), 223 & 227, Caracalla's war was, in itself, a bizarre and exceptional circumstance: Dio LXXVIII . 20-LXXIX; Herodian IV . 9 & 10; Miller, 48ff, 4, Vexillations of the Dacian legions are attested in Aquincum by AE,1901,154, Syrian evidence is discussed in more detail below, 5, It is highly likely that Septimius only supervised the reorganisation of Syria, and that Britain was divided by his son, The division of Pannonia may have had more to do with local circumstance than either policy: cf, ch,V: Auxilla, p. 116f 140-The African and

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


Rostovtzeff from Dura tends to overshadow the relative lack of anything else from other areas. In Germany, for instance, the only references to

vexillations under the early Seven are of woodcutting details from


XXII Primigenia'. Yet the picture even this unbalanced view provides hints at an empire-wide increase in the use of vexillary garrisons. In Africa, it would seem that the Numidian limes was garrisoned by small detachments of between 5 and 15 men, commanded by a decurion 2 , whilst the castella on the more active frontiers of Tripolitania and Mauretania housed somewhat larger groups. An epigrephical history of the cast ellum at Gholaia cBou-Ngem) in Tripolitania shows that between 201 and 238 it was occupied by a vexillation of Legia III Augusta with a numerus conlatus, under the command of a centurion. After the legion's dissolution by Gordian, the

numerus remained on its own commanded by a decurion, until 253 from which date it was replaced by cohors VII

Fid&. Meanwhile, in Castellum Dimmidi

(Messad, Mauretania Caesariensis), a vexillat ion of III Augusta co-existed alongside a detachment from the Syrian-based Leglo III Gallica throughout the reigns of Septiinius and Caracalla4. One might simply attribute this to the exceptional nature of Africa and its

were it not for comparable events at Dura-Europos and, at a Situated at the apex of Roman

later date, elsewhere in the empire.

expansion along the Euphrates, Dura had great strategic importance for the

1, XIII 6618, 6623, 11781; QE,191O,154,

2, 4E,1978,893, 3,

QE,1972,677; 1979,642-644,
Al, 1939,213 & 215; 1948,214 & 217,

5, For the nature of the African iiees Fentress, Nuisidia and the Roasan Any, BAR S53 (1979), 115 & 139, -141-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


Seven as a post of forward defence. Its garrison was drawn largely from the Syrian legions and from III Cyrenaica, based in Arabia, arid was usually 3 vexillations strong, with accompanying auxiliaries 1 . In addition, a dedication of 211/2 in honour of Septirnius' son Geta shows that vexillations from Europe were also part of the garrison2. This instance and that of III Gallica above, are indicative of the change that was occurring under the Seven. No longer were units being detached only to guard areas within their home province. With manpower at a premium, the emperors were finding it increasingly necessary to take detachments from areas which were adequately garrisoned and place them where they were most needed; or to deploy units where and when they became available. One possible example of this latter case comes from Aquilela, and briefly refers o vexillations from the Pannonian legions I & II Adiutri'P. The dating of this inscription is tentative at best. It has been

universally assumed that the approaches into Italy were not permanently garrisoned until the mid third century. At this time, Dornaszewski 4 maintains that garrisons were established at Concordia and Aquileia by Philip. His arguments for the Concordia garrison cannot be accepted, based as they are on the inscription of Traianus Mucianus', who served in xi'i r'i xovxop8(.a) at the start of his career. Even if we make allowance for Domaszewski's

1, 4E,1934,275, 276 & 280; 1937,239; 1940,220 & 240; 1948,124, 1934,276, revised by Speidel, Ro,san Any Studies I (1984), 301ff, 2, QE,984,921b

3, III954,
4, Domaszewski, Rangordming des rs,ischen Heeres (1967), 185ff,

5, 1LS9479



M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


dating 1 , the fact that coh. I Concordlensvm was recruited from Concordia does not prove that it was stationed there: if anything, it militates against the possibility 2 . His evidence for the Aquileia garrison is more reliable, and shows that the town was garrisoned by vexillations of a Leglo 11111?] and
XIII Gemina circa 244, Yet while this does show that two legionary

vexillations were guarding the eastern approaches to Italy in the mid-third century, it does not prove that the garrison was established by Philip, as Domaszewski believed; nor does it explain where the mysterious vexillations of the Pannonian legions fit in. It seems unlikely that they co-existed with the other two legions in Aquileia, since this does not fit the usual pattern of vexillary garrison, broken only at Dura, in which the maximum number of detachments present was two. Nor does it seem probable that they replaced the existing garrison at a later date, since the history of Illyricum in the latter part of the third century is one of constant barbarian incursion. Rather than withdrawing detachments from the Danube provinces, Gallienus and the soldier emperors were constantly on campaign with them and taking measures to strengthen the Danube 1imes'. The only remaining possibility is that they were in Aquileia

1, As it stands, Mucianus would be ' rpocrop .lq, r' r(I!

circa the reign of Gallienus, This

is hardly likely, since all securely datable references to the Protectorate in this reign follow the format protector Augusti nostri, and have a far higher status than that of centurion, Without further corroborative evidence, the inscription cannot be dated as early as Domaszewski would have us believe, 2, A quick perusal of Holder's Appendix III in BAR S70 (1980), 217ff will illustrate just how rare it was for units to be stationed in their province of origin following the Batavian revolt of AD 69, Even the two Italian Legions of Marcus, raised specifically for the defence of the province, were stationed on the opposite side of the Alps, 3, V . 808: dated by reference to V 8237, XIII Gealna came from Dacia, The origin of the other legion is more obscure, Mommsen suggested that the corrupted text should read


but Domaszewski preferred

likely, since the honorific of III 4, cf, ch,X:

Leg, 111(1?) P(Iaviae) Leg, III (Italicee) P,P. t/////////J, The former is more Italica was Copcors, not Pie Fidel is,

Viri Miiitares, p2301,

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


at an earlier date, and were themselves replaced by the units stationed there under Philip. It is possible that these vexillations were part of the army of Septimius in 193, and were left by him in Aquileia as a second line of defence, in case the weakened Danube frontier should be penetrated while his attention was elsewhere. At this time, two vexillations from Dada could

have been stationed at Aquincum to cover for the departed legions 1 . If this is the case, the vexillations are likely to have been removed back to Pannonia by Caracalla in 214, when he reorganised the province to bring Brigetlo into the sphere of Pannonia Inferior 2 . There is some minor

epigraphic evidence to support this-. The garrison of 244 could then have been placed In Aquilela any time from 214 onwards. In doing this, Septimius would simply have been following in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessor: just as Marcus Aurelius raised the Italian legions to protect Italy during the Marcomannic wars, so Septiraius was using the manpower available to similar ends. It was an ad hoc measure, taken at a time of stress. Such measures colour the history of vexillation throughout the century. Most affected by this were the Dacian legions V

Macedonica and XIII Gemina, which were continually weakened to provide

troops needed elsewhwere until the province was completely denuded by

2, This was probably done in response to tension on this frontier, Herodian IV . 8 . I speaks of him 'completing hs business,,,on the Danube', whilst in Dio LXXVII . 20 3-4 he claims to have created hostility between the Marcomanni and the Vandals, It is probable that he reinforced the Pannonian part of the Danube Iiaesat this time: cf, ch,V: Auxilia, p,llGf,
3, E,1944,121 shows I Qd, in Brigetio under Caracalla & three milestones from a later date list

the involvement of II d, on the Aquincum-Brigetio road: III.143544_6, are only talking in terms of detachments 144-

Though bear in mind that we

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


Gallienus to provide the strategic garrison at Poetovio 1 . It is at this point, with the empire threatened on two fronts, and the East under the de facto control of Palrnyra, that the crippling extent of the imperial shortage in manpower can be seen. No longer able to draw on the Dacian legions to fill his needs, Gallienus was forced to look elsewhere for the troops he needed. Vexillations from Lower Moesia were moved to Aquincum, and detachments of the German and British legions, which must have been In Illyricum prior to 259, occupied Sirmium. Most significantly, the main access from Illyricum into Greece was garrisoned by vexillations of Legio II Parthica and III Augusta. That Gallierius was reduced to drawing from the legion in Africa was bad enough; but by vexillating II Parthica, the core of imperial offensive capability, and placing it into a defensive mode, he proved beyond any shadow of doubt that he was at the absolute limit of his resources'. With the reign of Gallienus, there comes a turning point in the nature of the Roman military response. The vexillation of II Part hi ca was symptomatic of a greater change, one that had begun one hundred years previously. It symbolised the final end of the era in which whole legions were taken on campaign, and established the vexillation as the new strategic unit of the later third century. At the same time, Gallienus had found a

I, Alfoldi, CAM 1I (1939) 214 & n,6 for references, 2, AE,1935,164; 111.3228,

Also 14E,1936,53, 54 & 57

3, AE 1934, 193, These vxi/iationes were sub cira Aur, Augusizani duds iustissjii, which might
suggest that they were part of an


It has been suggested that they were campaigning against

the Goths in 267: PLRE, 4ugustianus 2' Pflae,, Car p, Proc., 919ff, While I can accept that II Pa p thjca was likely to have been involved, it is hardly likely that the African legion could have been
transported to the area fast enough to respond to the invasion, A more reasonable explanation is that, like Aureolus in Italy, Augustianus had responsibility for the defence of the Illyrian passes, and the two vexillations were part of this garrison force: on II Parth, cf, ch,IV: Legiones, p87ff; on Aureolus & the Nilan cavalry cf, chill: Contra Coaitatut, p 64ff,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


new source of manpower in the cavalry of Dalmatia 1 , and had set about integrating this into his existing military force 2 . The results are visible in the campaigns of his successors. Cavalry and infantry worked together to harass, wear down and finally bring to battle the opposing army, be it Goth, Vandal or heavily armoured Palrnyrene. Aurelian's army of reconquest against Palmyra contained leglonaries from all the provinces of Illyricum and Asia, which must perforce have been vexillations, unless he stripped over half the empire of its defences. One piece of epigraphy would seem to prove this point. CIL XII'2228 from Gallia Narbonensis (Grenoble) is a dedication to Claudius from the 'v xivatIones adque

which made a reconnaissance in force under the


command of lulius Placidianus, the Prefect of the

Though no unit

titles are given, the above wording suggests that it was a composite force of legionary vexillations and the new-style cavalry: the new exercitus of the late Principate. The new exercitus It may have been, but it was not a new comitatus. Various attempts have been made to use numismatics and some epigraphic material to show that the vexillatlon of the third century was a part of the assumed mobile field army. Birley argued that the prosopographical records of several of Septlinius' most prominent generals were an ". ..indication of the

1, Ritterling, 'Ro.ischen Heerwesen', Pest, 0, Hirschfelds (1903), 345ff;

lfldi, 'Usurpator

Aureolus', %f// (1927), 11ff, Cooper draws on Mann's thesis to show that this recruitment began under Marcus Aurelius, and suggests that Gallienus drew so heavily from Dalmatia because it was the only fertile recruiting ground remaining: Cooper, C? 2, cf, ch,III:

Origins of the flew Roan Ara y ( 1967),

284 & 373,

Contra Co,itatui,
I451; 1 . 50 . 3 & 1.52.3-53,

3, Zosimus I 43 2;

.IL$ 569, Saxer,

Vexillationen, 108 &


Rangordnwng, N2



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


de faca field army in being...". He was supported by Cooper, who took Maria
Alfldi's claim, that the 'Pia Fide.Us' coinage of 259/60 was minted to pay vexillatioris in Gallienus' field army, one step backwards and applied it to Septimius' coin issues of 1932. It has also been argued that the distinction found in some of the law codes between vexZlationes and the Auxilia was a distinction between the higher status comitatensian troops and their lower status counterparts on the frontiers. Birley's arguments cannot be credited. The records he cites each merely name the dux of a particular army for a particular campaign, or series of campaigns. While this has provided reasonably good evidence for the

continuing u e of vexillary armies under the Seven, there is nothing In them which can be construed as new or revolutionary. In no way do they suggest the permanent retention of the force once Septimius' wars were over; therefore in no way are they specials. The hypothesis of Maria Alfldi is more tenable, but does admit an alternative explanation. The argument stems from the problematic coinage of Gallienus, which comrnemmorated legions from the Gallic Empire, as well as imperial legIons'. AlfldI believed that since identical legions were

comemmorated on both the they were vexillations

P(ia). VI F(idelis). and the




an identical field army which defeated the

Alemanni, first outside Milan, then later in a battle near Verona which she

I, Birley, 'Severus and the Army', 66f, 2, Cooper, 0r191n5, 234ff & 266ff summarising M, Alfldi (1957),

3, FIR2 C 823; C 878

4, RICV . I

,1957,123; I 566;


1141 & 2935, cf, also above pnn,3 & 4


pp.92-97 & 34

cf, also Ritterling



M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army


inferred from a series of coin hoards. Furthermore, the V P. V F. issues which comrnemmorated four legions of diverse origin' were taken to indicate a similar field army operating on the Rhine between 257/8. Her chronology can hardly be faulted, merely her interpretation. That the legions involved in the Italian campaign were vexillations is not seriously in doubt, but the coinage of 259 lists every single legion from the Rhine and Danube, including
II Parthica and the Praetorians. Such a force was certainly not in Italy at

the time of the Aleinannic invasion. The Alemanni were only repulsed from Rome due to emergency measures taken by the Senate, and the force with which Gallienus finally defeated them is believed to have been numerically inferior2. A more probable explanation is that, like the Rstitu tar coinage of his reign, Gallienus was trying to minimise the loss In that year of the Gallic Empire . A similar propo8an da move comes from the Gallic Empire itself, with the coin series of Victorinus, which commemorate legions from as far afield as Syria and Egypt, whilst ignoring certain of the British and German legions known to be within Its borders 4 . The 193 issues of Septixnius were also

more likely designed to consolidate his position than to commemmorate the vexillations in his exercitus, especially since they omit Leglo III Augusta Vindex and X eiaina, two legions which were manifestly loyal to hiin,

I, 'III wgust
Noricum; and II

from Germania Superior; I from Albanum,


from Panonnia Inferior; II




2, Zosimus I . 37 Alfldi, CAN XII, 182, 3, On the

4, Cooper, 5, III

Restitutor coinage cf, Drinkwater, Gall/c Eapire, Hi5tor/a 52(1987), 167, Origins, 270, Augwsta gained the title Vindex for avengeing the death of Pertinax, and I Ge.*ina was one
93 p180 n,652,

of the Pannonian legione that elected him, R1C IV'1 pp,65


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army

Vexillat iones
V P. V F.

Conversely, the

coinage, with its mention of only four legions,

does seem to be commemorating a particular campaign, and is a very good example of

II Parthica

being used as the core for an expeditionary force

around which other units were vexillated. Gallienus was sent to Gaul in response to Gallic pleas for help 1 , and his taking an exercitus with him can hardly be seen as unusual. Turning to the law codes, which refer to the cavalry vexillationes of Dioclet Ian and the Tetrarchy, it Is true that one rescript granted immunities to those equites who served
in vexfllatione,

whilst categorically denying

them to those in the a1ae; but It is not until Constantine that such a distinction is drawn between comita tenses and ripenses3 , Rather than

serving in the field army, several of these equites can be found in the

as garrison troops, stationed there during the later third century4.

What the law codes do illustrate is the semantic change In the term

The Table of' Brlgetio provides us with a clear example of the

change in terminology when it extends privileges to: "...tam legionari.i milites

quam etiarn equites in vexillationibus constituti inlyriciani (sic)".

The change must have occurred some time in the last third of the century, since the Table of Brigetlo dates to 311, and the Placidianus inscription shows the old terminology still in effect at the time of

I, Drinkwaier, Gd//ic Eipire, 248, 2, Cod, .1(/5t, X.553 3, Cod, Theod, VII2O4: Cooper, Origins,


4, Ritterling, 'Romischen Heerwesen', 345ff who believed that the


garrisons found in the

Notitia Dignifatua were placed there by Aurelian view cf ch,VI1: Eqiites, 5, Cod, ,Twst, VII649; Cod, Theoo', V'6'l,

after his defeat of the Paleyrenes, Against this


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army Claudius 1 .


The clue lies in the status of the new cavalry units, as

indicated by the equites Promoti, Ritterling 2 believed that the equites Promoti were recruited from the cavalry of the legions. This would neatly explain their name, since he thought the eques in a legion was a pri.ncipalis and the ordinary miles

therefore had to be promoted to enter the legionary cavalry.

Cooper, following Gilliam-', corrected the status of the legionary eques to that of irnmunis, and pointed out that the same was true of the eques in a
cohors equitata4 .

The whole argument hinges upon a papyrus dated to 302, in

which one Aurelius Heron describes himself as:

riru irpopotaw ZExouvrav ciro As'yuLvo tno Mcixpa',8tov (rp.krLJrocn1.ov.6

$ piav Svixipevs v T&vtaup

Whatever reading of this passage you


the fact remains that

Heron had transferred from Legio II Tralana into the equites Prornoti Secund.Z proving that some link between the Prornoti and the legions existed. Such a measure is Just the sort of solution which Gallienus could have adopted in his search for manpower, vexillating the equites out of the legions and converting them from messengers and reconnaissance troops into fighting

1, XlI . 2228 discussed on p.146 above, 2, Ritterling, 'Rmischen Heerwesen', 346f, 3, Cooper,

Origins, 368 74,

following Gilliam in Hisfria (1965), 77ff,

4, 1LS2332, 5, P. Gre,,!,

6, Some controversy has existed about what It is the io is actually referring to, Ritterling believed it referred to the unit and showed that the

equies Proaoti were

closely affiliated to the

legion of their origin, However, Cooper follows van Berchem in believing that the io referred to Heron himself, who had just been drafted from the legion into the cavalry unit, For some reason, he believed this proved that the 369; van Berchem,

eqiites Proioii were not 4rie de Diocitien,,, (1952), 104 n,3;

recruited from the legions: Cooper, cf, ch VII:





M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


units. Though there is no evidenfce for the existence of equites Promoti prior to Diocletian, the nomenclatures, Armigerui, Scutarli, Sagittaril, are strongly suggestive of similar measures, and Speldel has argued convincingly that the Stablesiani were raised from the stratores of provincial governors1. If this Is the case, several of the new cavalry units could have started out as vexillat ions, colourfully named to denote their origins, and gaining their own unit Identity. Gradually the terminology and privileges which went with these units were subsumed into the equites as a whole. It was not uncommon for vexillatlons to take on their own identity after a protracted absence from the mother unit. Saxer dealt with this subject at great length2 , and produced an excellent example in the vex. equitum

This was a unit formed out of Illyrlan auxilliary detachments

during Trajan's Daclan war which lost contact with its origins and was even ually turned into an a1. From the third century, Legia II Ital(ica)
Divitensiurrtt ,

stationed on the Rhine, had assumed Its independent status

after a protracted absence from its parent, II Italica in Noricum. The same may be true of the legions commanded by Pompillus Piso, if Parker is correct In support of the equites Promoti, various attempts have been made to prove an increase In the legionary cavalry from 120 men to 726, to little

1, Speidel, 'Stablesiani',
2, Saxer,

C,iron4 (1974),

541ff: cf, ch,VII:



Vexii1ationei 124f,

3, Saxer, N2 48,

4, ILS 2316 & 2777, 5, IL$ 1l11 Parker, Roaan Legions, 164f,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


avail 1 . This only has relevance if vexillations are assumed to be of a standard, fixed size, at which point the legionary cavalry do not hcive enough men to vexillate. Yet all evidence points to the contrary. Far from being of any fixed size, vexillations seem to fluctuate according to the task in hand. Hunt's Pridianum is indicative of the extent of vexillation in even a small, quirigenary unit. Soldiers are listed on supply missions, garrison duty elsewhere, seconded as bodyguards and procuratorial staff, on reconnaissance, participating in an expedition across the Danube, and in vexillatione. The third century history of Gholaia 3 is another illustration, showing how the garrison of a fort could fluctuate with the circumstances of the century, and the small garrisons on the Numidian limes illustrate that a vexillation could as easily be five as five hundred men. Hyginus spoke of vexillations which Cooper worked out to be 550 strong. Based on this, he constructed an ingenious argument to show that the cohort size in the Antiqua Leglo of Vegetius, given as 550, was in fact the standard size of a vexillation 4 . Great emphasis was laid upon the passage In Cassius Dio when a junior officer promised to end the seige of Hatra with just 550 men, and Septimius is said to have snapped "And where am I going to find so many men?". Cooper went to great pains to explain why the number 550 was used, rather than a simple reference to a vexillation. He need not have worried. Five hundred and fifty Is a very fortuitous number to have fixed upon, since it was approximately one tenth of a standard legion. It

I, Besnier (1937), 194; Ensslin (1939), 379, based on the antiqwa /eioof Vegetius, cf, Appi,
2, Fink

Roaan Military Records on Papyrus (1971), 217ff,

3, cf, above, p,141f, 4, Hyginus V . 5 . 4; Vegetius 11 . 6 & 11 . 8; Cooper, Orzgins 40ff,

5, Dio LXXVII25


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army


may well be that whenever they needed a vexillat ion, the Rornans simply detached a cohort plus a few extra men (cavalry ?) and put them under the command of a senior centurion or military tribune. The request of the officer at Hatra was so exact precisely

there was no fixed

complement for a vexillation. The man in the story was a soldier. The comment may be apocryphal, but the implication is still there. He was asking for a finely Judged number of men, estimated to be the minimum required for his purposes. statement. Vexillations were exactly what the term implies: detachments of as many men as were required to do a specific duty. In the case of strategic detachments, they were almost certainly quirigenary and rnilliary vexillations, since these were the standard building blocks which Roman commanders were used to working with. Yet this did not preclude them from placing five men in an unthreatened border fort, or enough men on the Rhine to be classed as a legion by themselves. In the crisis of the third century, the very The moral of the story is in Severus' reaction to the

flexibility of the vexillary unit was its great advantage. Only when relative order had been restored, and the emperor had time to impose a rigid structure on the existing
status quo,

was the ad hoc disposition of the

third century restructured into the new order of the Tetrarchy.




rABL.E V 1: pr i r cr AL1r1 I






IN HOME PROVINCE: iClaudlus Flavians ?Tra j an Hadrian Anioninus Pius Uncertain date Vexx, in Thracia XV XIII Geuina Vex, L(eg) Tr(aianae ?) X Fretensis VI Ferrata VI Victrix IV Scythica & XVI Flavia III Augusta XV Apollinaris IM NEIGHBOURING PRO VINCE Trajan Antoninus Pius III Cyrenaica in Judaea X Fretensis, II Traiana, XII Fulminata in Judaea 4 1904, 91 15 Cmpi CIRCUMSTANCE ?CLAUDflJS: British expedition Vexill, Leg IlL,,,, in expe]diiione Briiann(,, VIII'14400 ri V<c: UNIT(SJ REFERENCES 1QIL

11.3272 4E,1903,218; 1910,66

XIII8082a 4E, 1928, 136; 1974,656 & 657 AE 1928,131 A1912,199; 1975,563 SE 1903, 252

4 3 2

1900,121 1975, 783

1895, 24

FLAVIAN: ?AD69 Civil war I Gemina Xliii Gemina XXI Rapax VexilatiLo] Germani[c]ianoruLi] ?AD69 revolt of Civilis AD89 revolt of Saturninus Leg, XVI ci vle]x, X Gemina VI Victrix XIII4624 E,l920,I18 X11I'4623 XIi'5733 XIII.7720 1111.7717 1111.8533 4

?German campaign Dacian war Unknown expedition HADRIAN: 'Adversus Armloricano]s' Exercitus Moesiaci clohort(es) alaru]m Britanici(n]iarum (sic) vexillationi exercitus Nloesiaci -154III' 1919 XII .1358 X Gemina + auxilia XXII Primig, + auxilia I lialica & V Nacedonica 4 Pannonian legions VII Claudia XIII'7697, 7716 & 7718 XIII 7704, 7715 & 7727 E 1901,50 QE 1934, 223 1912,179 6 2

M,C.Ibeji: 03 Army



AD132 Jewish war



V Macedonica & XI Claudia Trib, X Beam, missus

111 . 14155 2 ; AE,1894,l66; 1896,53 VI'3505 4

,,,,,ad vexilla(tiones

ANTONINUS PIUS: British expedition VII Gemina, VIII Augusta & XXII Primigenia XXII Primigenia X'5829 VII846; XIII'3496

II Augusta, VI Victrix, XX Valeria Victrjx coniributi cx 6cr, duobus Unnamed vexx, AD145 vs doors Parihian crisis VI Ferrata Unspecified vexx, E, 1903, 360 6 2 VII1I09 1110k VIII.2490; 10230 IX.2457

?A021 ?Pre AD89 Vexx Legg I, V, XX & XXI VI Victrix X Gemina XXI Rapax XXII Primigenia Pre C3, Leg XV XIV.3602 XIII.7695 & 7696 XIII.7698 XIII7714 XIII7703 XIII7700 5

C, Vellius Rufus, praef vexillariorum I Adiutrix, II Adiutrix, II Augusta, VIII Augusta, IX Hispana, XIII Gemina, 2 XX Victrix, XXI Rapax AE,1903,368


15 5-

Vci 11 t i c,x-i

TABL.E V 2: cf Mc1

iid GcrI1DdL1

Af,1910,5 AE1914,188 X1II7946

Hispania Britannia Germania Inf

VII Gemina VI Victrix I Minervia Ill lialica III Italica II & III Italica

garrison garrison garrison garrison garrison Frumentarius in charge suggests a supply

Raetia A1899 1 195 111.14370 2 Raetia 111 . 1980 1L82287 Dalmatia

41,1910,161 Armenia XV Appollinaris & XII Fulminaia Armenia annexed in 161.

C mp i
REFERNCE V1II . 7050 PIA2 1340 4E1920,45



c c:
UNIT(S) PURPOSE P. lul, arcianus leg, Augg, sulper] vexillationes in Capp(ado]cia praepositus vexillationibus ex Illyrico issus ad,..,expeditionem Germ, et Sari, Marcomannic war, Verus' Parthian war?


VIII'619 ILS 2747

praeposiius vexillationibus Ponticis aput Scythia et Taurica. + vex, III Aug. aput Marcorannos,

Danube & Marcomannic wars,

111 . 14433

Moesia Inf

I Italica & V Macedonica

'Tropa(e]i (agens)' During Marcomannic war?

YI'31856 41,1888,66

praep, vexx, tempore belli Germanici et Sarmat, praep, vexx, per Achaiam et Macedoniam et in Hispanis adversus Castabocas et Mauros rebel les, praep, vexx, tempore belli Britannici,

Marcommanic war,

Spanish war of Commodus,

British wr of 183/4,

15 6-

rABLE Vxi11tt icr cf

3: & Crc1 1


Qr-r W.E. III Augusta III Augusta

x-i PROVINCE Maur, Sitif, Maur, Caes, FUNCTION garrison of Messad under Severus garrison of Castellum Diromidi under Severus REFERENCE V1II8796 E,1939,2l3, & 2)5; 1940, 141; 1948, 214 & 217

& III Gallica

III Augusta


garrison of various forts under Severus

VIII2465; 2466 & 4322

AE 1909, 151;

1922,53 & 54 III Augusta Tripolitania vex, alongside coh, Syrorum Sag, under Severus III Augusta IV Scythica & XVI Flavia Firma Syria '(miUtes vex,] Ant, europa(eorum] AE 1934, 276; 1984, 921b cf, Speidel Rian 1qr,,y
Styd. (1984), 301ff, 4E 1962, 304

Tripolitania Syria

garrison of $u-Ngem under Severus garrison of Dura under Severus

4E, 1976, 698 & 700

AE 1940, 220


III CyreflaiCa & IV Scythica XIII Geilna V Macedonica Dacia garrison of Deva under Caracalla Syria garrison of Dura under Caracalla
AE, 1934, 275 & 276;

1937, 239, E1890,IO2; 1912,305

4E 1912, 73;

Dacia(!) 'vex, D(acorum) P(arihica) L(eg) V M(ac) p,f,' at Potais5a under Severus

cf, 1909,35

V Nacedonica & XIII Lemma XII Primigenia


garrison of Aquincum under Severus

4E 1901, 154

Ger, Sup,

'vex, leg, agens in lignaris'

XIII . 6618 & 6623; 4fi 1899, 194

XII Prmmigenia

Ger, Sup,

'vex, leg, agens ad abiegnas pilas secundas'


I Nmnervia & XXX Ulpia


tilestamps reading 'vex, ex(ercitus) G(e)r(manici)

AE 1898, 18



FUNCTION praep, vexx, exped, urbic(ae) itemque Asianae adversus hosies publicos p(opuli) R(omani) (campaigns in Italy & vs Niger] REFERENCE AE 1971, 476

PROVINCE Valerianus

Felix Castinus

praep, vex, agentium in Ital, dux vexx, advers(us) defectores et rebelles (Niger & Albinus]

E 1944, 80

4 1890, 82


dux vexx, per Italiam praep, vexx Illyricianis in expeditione orientali

VI . 1408 & 1409 4E 1926,79


praep, vexx, Daciscarum XIII G & V M, (in first Parthian war]

VIII'5349, 7978;
AE 1977, 858


praep, vexx, Germanicae expeditionis (Caracalla's German campaign]

X'5178, 5398;
AE 1985, 332

IV Flavia XI Claudia & I Italica?

agens expeditione Germaniae in German, epedit,

XIlI6104 AE 1985,37 cf, VI'lSSl & 1477,


ThBLE V 4: AD Vci11t1cri Grj ri Vcc:

fr-c,m NifiIE. hAlE.

2 17-284-

garrison of Castellue Dirimidi in Mauretania Caesariensis


III Augusta

8ev, Alex,

1940, 162
cf, 1929,183

III Augusta I Minervia III Augusta III Augusta I Italica XIII Gemina XIII Gemina & Legio 111(1?] I & II Adiutrix 11 Parthica & III Augusta V Macedonica & XIII Gemina XIX Ulpia XXII Priaigenia

8ev, Alex,

garrisons in Tripolitania

VIII . 10990;

1979, 645

8ev, Alex, Naximinus pre-Gordian Gordian AD 244 Philip?

garrison at Iversheia in Ger, Inf, garrison at Castellum Diramidi garrison of Bu-Ngem in Tripolitania vex, in Moesia Inferior garrison of Aquileia garrison of Aquileia

XIII'7944 AE 1940,153


1957, 341 V.8237 V.808 111.954



garrison of Aquilsia posted at Lychnidus in Macedonia

Gallienus late C3

1934, 193

in Poetovio, Pann, Sup, commanded by L, Flavius Aper

AE,1936,53,54 & 57
AE 1977, 560 XIII'6668

C3 C3

garrison of Euskirchen, Ger, Inf, garrison at mogontiacum, Ger, Sup,

Crnpl ri Tcc:

praep, vexx, expeditionis per Asiam, Lyciam, Pamphyliam et Phryiam



early C3 AD 238

11 . 484 :




vet, princeps vex, VII Gem,

A 1978, 440;
cf, I1'3688

Gradivus Galliar, ]nius


aput VII Cl,,,,missus cum vexx, Moe5iae Inferjoris,,,to Aquincum

4E 1935,164 VI . 31871 VII '212

C3 C3

praep, vexx, per Ital, ci Raei, ci Noric, bello Germanico, praep, vex, Raetor, et Noricor,


VII: Eqt.iit

During the late Roman period, a whole series of 'ethnic' units, many of them cavalry, came to the fore, distinguished from the alae and cohorte by a new nomenclature coupled to exotic names. Their titles were descriptive, often seeming to denote their origins, and in several cases implied that they had been vexillated from institutions already In existence. For some, such as the equites ArmlgerZ we simpiy have not unearthed enough material with which to construct a satisfactory history'. For others too numerous to mention, a single Inscription or a reference in the Notitia Dignitatum is the only evidence of their existence. They could have been named after the place they were stationed 2 , the peoples from whom they were recruited 3 , or the manner in which they fought 4 . Yet those which occur most commonly In the Notitia have in general left behind some sort of imprint from which to trace a sketchy picture of their creation. The ubiquity of the Notitia

the study of late Roman cavalry units is

a problem in itself. Ever since Ritterling's study of the equites Iflyriciani

1 Seven units are mentioned in the

Araigerorwi is

mentioned on the tombstone of a

tentatively dated to the early fourth century: Dig, Ccc, VI'54 & 80 VII . 173 & 198: V.8747,

Notitia, four of them comitatensian, and a nuaeriis ceiiturio protector in Concordia (Italia), which is Not, Dig, Or, V . 35, VIl'26, XXXIX'17, XL'14 & 15 Not,
Aegyssus (floesia): AE,I976,637,

2, Such as the equitas

vex/list/ones Aegissensisat

3, Such as the comitatensian equ.ztes ifarcotanni, possibly recruited by Aurelian: VI'GS = V1I . 183; 86'2074,II,5 (c,AD 286); Speidel, 'Ethnic Units', 224, 4, Such as the

Not, Dip, Dcc,

Hellenistic manner':

equites Caapa'7i, which are believed to have fought on AE 1963,81: Weege, ,Iahrbuch des Arch, fast, 24(1909), 99ff,

horseback 'in the


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


in 1903 1 , scholars have taken units from the Notitia Di&nitatum and tried to project them back into the previous century, sometimes successfully but more often not. It is a worthwhile endeavour only if independent evidence for the existence of such cavalry units can be attributed to the third century. Otherwise, extrapolation from the Notitia is a misleading and pointless exercise. In this chapter, I intend to explore the evidence for the most common cavalry units In the Notitia in order to show which units will reward such study and which units will not. I shall begin with some comments on the equites Dalmatae. Their history is so enmeshed with that of the supposed Gallienic field army that it is impossible to speak of one without the other, end most of what could be said has already been iterated above in my chapter Contra Comitaturri. An examination of their place in the Notitia only serves to reinforce those points. Forty-eight units of equites Dalmatae are listed In the Notiti&, almost as many as the total number of equites promoti, Mauri and scutarli put together4 . Thirty-one of these came from the west, of which only 2 were comitatensian and 3 were cunei. In the east, 8 out of 17 units were cunei and of the remaining 9, 4 were comita tenses. With no Palatinate units, and only 1 in 8 of the Dalmatae being comitatensian, it is difficult to envisage them as elite troops. There is little doubt that as vexillations of equites

1, Ritterling, 'Rmischen Heerwesen', 2, Above 1 ch,III, 3,

Pest, 0, Hirsch!elds (1903), 346ff.

Not, Dig, Ccc, YI . 174 & 175; XIVIII . 16; XXXII'23, 28, 29, 31, 33, 34 36 & 37 XXXIU'25, 29,

32-35 k 37 & 39-43; XXXIV'14, 18-20, 34 & 35; XXXVIII . 7 XL'19 Not, Dig, Or, V . 36 & 37; VI . 37 VII.27; XXXIl . 21: XXXIII . 25; XXXIV . 18; XXXY'is; XXXVIIl6; XLI . 15, lB & 19; XLII'13, 14 & 15-18; cf, Tables El & 2, 4 These are th. other types of equifes li/yriciani identified by Ritterling,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


they held a higher status than their auxiliary counterparts. This much is spelled out in two rescripts of Diocletian 1 . The Placidianus inscription from Grenoble in AD 269, with its reference to vexil.Zationes adque equ1tes shows that the distinction was in place even before the new nomenclature had become firmly established, and the

were classed as the equals of

legionary detachments 2 . Yet this is as far as the distinction goes. No one would dream of claiming that the vexillationes in Grenoble had elite status, and any attempt to paint this as anything other than an expeditionary force would be undoubtedly mistaken. Speidel has put forward the suggestion that the equites Dalmatae were not named for their national origin, but were vexillations of auxiliaries stationed in Dalmatia as a strategic reserve 3 . This is unlikely, since it involves the notion of an uninvolved rear-echelon force. We have already established that the Dalmatae were extremely active throughout the empire, and that the concept of a mobile field army to which this suggestion is tantamount is not tenable. In all probability, the recruitment of the
equites Dalmatae

was the act of an emperor desperate for manpower. We have

seen how Gallienus resorted to extensive vexillation in an attempt to cover all fronts with adequate forces 4 . He would seem to have been so short of troops that he was willing to recruit any fighting men he could find. Cooper was of the opinion that the recruitment of Dalmatian cavalry had


Cod, 1U5t, VII'64'9 & X . 54 . 3 (or 55 . 3 in certain editions),


2, XII'2228

3, Speidel, 'Ethnic Units', 22Sf, 4, cf, ch,VI:

Yexillationes, p



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


begun in the reign of Marcus Aurelius 1 1 and it is worth noting that this coincided with the start of large scale vexillation. The Dalmatian hill tribes had been heavily drawn upon in earlier centuries to provide a whole series of auxiliary units 2 , If they were no longer capable of providing anything but lightly-armed skirmishers, it is unsurprising that these resources should remain largely untapped until the third century. Skirmishers of exceptional quality could be obtained elsewhere, most notably from Mauretania. Only when necessity became the mother of invention were the equltes Dalmatae to come into their own. The equltes Mauri often seem to be lumped together with the Dalmatae, as aspects of the same thing, but their history is very different. Very few units appear in the Notitia Dignitatum; of those which do, most were equites
Illyriclani?. Two

units of equites Maurl are listed in the west, and the had two units of comita tenses4 . Nowhere in

magister equitum praesen tails

the Notitia is there mention of the equites item que pedites Mauri known from inscriptions 5 , which seem to have been a phenomenon of the third century. One cuneus equitum Maurorum scutar'iorum is known6. The Moors were a highly esteemed adjunct of the Roman army throughout

Origins of the 'New' Roian Any, Oxford DPhil (unpub. 1967), 284 & 373, coliortes are I, II, VI a VII Deliataru. eq., Jill Del,atarui, V Deliatarue CR, 11! Oal.aiarus p1, V Delia tarui and I Pannoniorui et Delia tarue CR eq. The sequences probably started in
1, Cooper, C3
Known 2,

the Jullo-Claudian period, since the earliest dated references come from the reign of Tiberius:

Xl I'11962, 1111 . 7581, 4E 1921, 31, VIII' 21040; Holder, Awgustu5 to Ira/an, BAR $70 (1980), 226 & 306f, 4, Not, Dip, 5, VIII'20996

Studies in the Auxilia of the Roian Any (roe


3, Not, Dig, Or, XXXII'18; XXXIII'26; XXXIV'21; XXXV17; XXXVII . 17; cf, Table
VI.58 & 61; XXXIII3l; XXXIV23: cf, Table E2, ItS 1356; IGRRI'1496 ItS 9479 = Ql908,259, Or, XXXI'23,

6, Not, Di;,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


the history of the empire, arid indeed before 1 . In the days of Trajan, the native commander of an elite Moorish contingent gained such a powerful position through this command that he achieved consular office and was eventually removed by Hadrian on grounds of treason 2 . A group of Maui-i

were raised by Antoninus Pius, as part of the tribute from his

Mauretarilan war according to Speidel, and were stationed in Dacia 3 . Another Moorish unit from his reign can be found in Moesia Superior 4 . These may have been the origins of the numeri Maurorum found in Dacia half a century later, but the link has not been

A distinct change may have come

with the Maui-i equites of Marcus Aurelius which, if Southern is correct, were clearly distinguished from the alae and were used in his Danubian wars. Moorish cavalry were certainly a fully-fledged arm of the Roman army by the time of the Seven. They fought for Pescennius Niger In AD 193, when their ferocity was remarked upon 7 . In AD 216 and 218 they took part in the Parthian campaigns of Caracalla and Macrinus 6 , and fought for Severus Alexander and Maxiininus against the Germans, invading Italy with the latter in

Under the Severan emperors, the Moors became a part of the regular

Auxilia 10 , while some units of mixed cavalry and infantry achieved household

I, Speidel, 'Ethnic Units', 208ff, 2, Lusius Quietus: Speidel, op. cii,, 212. 3, XVI . 108 Speidel, 209, 4, XVI'114, 5, 111 . 6267; AE,1944,74; Speidel 1 210; Southern, 'Numeri of the Roman Imperial Army', 11(1989), 93 sounds a note of caution, 6, Southern, op. cit,, 931, 7, Her, 111.4-5, 8, Dio LXX VIII'32, 9, Her, VI'7 . 8, VII2'1 & VIII . 13; 10, cf, ch,V:
Aixi1iae S//A Max,


11 . 1; Zos, 1.15,


M,C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


status1, In the mid third century, they defeated the Carpi under Philip and were part of Valerian's eastern army 2 . Speidel has argued that the


equitum Maurorum in terr.itorio Auziensi praetendentium during the 250s were detachments of the equites item que pedites 227.

!fauri which

were at Auzia In AD

Against this, Southern pointed out that the phrase in territorlo

Auziensi praetendentium strongly suggested a non-permanent garrison, and claimed that these units were instead detachments drawn from bodies of auxiliary cavalry 4 . The equites ite.mque pedites Mauri were probably sent to the area by Severus Alexander to quell riots in Tingitana early In the reign 6 , and it would seem strange for such an elite unit to have remained once the troubles were over. On the other hand, an extensive fortification effort In Caesariensis immediately followed these riots, so the unit may have stayed to aid In this6. An equally important contingent of ethnic troops drawn upon by the Seven was the Oshroenian archers. Osrhoene was annexed as a province by Sept imius for a very short while, with the town of Nisibis established as a colonia on its borders, but he was forced to abandon it in pursuit of the civil war against Albinus. On his return to the Parthian theatre, King Abgar forestalled its reannexation by submitting to the emperor as a client

I, The

equites iteique pedifes Mauri, 9045 & 9047; Speidel, 94,

discussed above, chill:

Contra Coaitatu


2, Zos, 1 . 20; Petrus Patricius, frag, 1,

3, VIII .

'Ethnic Units', 216ff,

Southern, 'Numeri',

5, Alfaldi, CA/IXII, 68, 6, Carcopino, 'Castella de la Plaine de Setif',

Revue Africaine LIX (1918), 5ff.


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


king'. The troops they supplied were therefore technically symmachiar-il and not part of the Auxilia. In fact, a numerus 1-losroenorum at Intercisa in Pannonia is the only 'regular' unit of these troops known prior to the

Even here, there is Just a single reference, listing the equites This

sagit tar-li indigenae primi OsrhoenP.

the Osrhoenians to the

larger series of equites sagittarli, of which they assumed the highest profile in the early decades of the century, Eastern archers have almost as long and chequered a history In the service of the empire as do the Mauretanians, The primary source of manpower came from Palmyra, which by the third century was supplying units to the regular Auxilia 4 . The Osrhonenians were a small part of the vast wells of specialist manpower In the east, first drawn upon in a systematic fashion by the Seven. By the time of the Notitia, the equites sagit tar-il seem to have adopted a similar role in the east to the equites Dalinatae in the west, making up the main bulk of the equites in the theatre. Indeed, the proportions are very similar. Thirty five units of sagittarii existed in the east as opposed to seventeen in the west. Of these, 13 (a large proportion) were comltatenses and only 2 were cune.L Most of the eastern units were
equites indigenae, Illyriciani

an epithet designed to differentiate them from the equites

found on the eastern frontier, which indicates that they were

1, Dio LXXVIII . 12 . 1-2; Her, III9 2; Miller, CAR XII, 9ff. 2, Nuae,'us Hosroenorui, IlI'1O3O7 equites Osrhoeni, Not, Dig, Or, XXXV23, 3, Southern, 'Numeri', 89ff, 4, Most notably co/i, Xl palsyrenorua sag,; AE,1940,240 & cf, chV: Auxilia


M,C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


indigenous elements of the eastern garrison1. Little more is known about the equites sagittariI Only one inscription mentions them; a brickstamp from Viminacium in Moesia 2 . Another inscription, in Greek, mentions a .,,J ypav, which has been expanded to (numerus]

sa8'ittarlorum, but the interpretation is uncertain. With the equltes sagittaril, we come to the end of the major cavalry nationes listed In the Notitia Dignitatum, and it is now time to turn our attention to the exotically-named units. By far the most numerous of these, and probably the most important for our understanding of' them, were the equites promoti Thirty-five units are listed In the Notitia, 2 palatine, 3 comitatensian and 3 cunei. showed how the term promoti related to legionary cavalrymen, and his thesis that the equites prornoti were drawn from these still holds s .

corrected the status of the leglonary eques

from principalis, as Ritterling had assumed, to that of .immunis and pointed out that such promoti could also be found in the cohortes equitatae6 . In this he was followed by Cooper, who took it to mean that the equites proinoti were not linked to the legions7.

I, Not, Dig, Or, VII33; VIII'30 & 31; IX . 19; XXXI 25-29; XXXII . 24-26 & 29; XXXIII . 18 & 20-22; XXXIV25-29; XlXV20-23; XXXVI'25 & 27-28; XXVII'20 & 23; XXXYIII 11 &12; XLI'14 & 17; 27 were indigenu Not, Dig, 0cc, VI . 67-73, 77, 83 & 84; XXXII . 32 & 35; XXXIII . 38 & 44: XXXIV . 17, 21, 32 & 33; cf, Tables El &

17, 3, 4,

2, E,l903,298,

The Moesian

quites sagittarii

in the


are cwiei Not, Dig, Or, XLI . 14 &

QE,l90O,29, Not, Dig, Or, V'28 & 39; VII'31 XXXI 30; XXXII'22 & 23; XXXIII'19 & 27; XXXIV'23 & 24;

XXIV'18 & 19; IXXVI'23 & 24; XXXVII'18 & 19; XLI'13 & 16; Not, Dig, 0cc, VI'44 & 76; XXXII'25, 30 & 38; XXXIII'30 & 36; XXXIV'16, 22, 31 & 36;


Tables El & 2,

5, Ritterling, 'Rmischen Heerwesen', 348, 6, Gilliam, 'Dura Rosters and the Constifufio Antoniniana', Britannia 14 (1965), 77ff, 7, Cooper, Origins, 369,


M,C,Ibeii: C3 Army,


This question of 'linkage' is, in my opinion, superfluous to the central thesis. The debate is centred around a papyrus from AD 302, in which one Aurelius Heron describes himself a8: ... rireu rpopoav oExovviv Loro Aeyunvo Tperic'vr...'. Ritterling believed this indicated that the equites promoti were themselves closely affiliated to the unit of their origin, but was contradicted by Van Berchem who argued that the word &Jro referred to Aurelius Heron himself, indicating that he had just drafted from the legion Into the cavalry unit 2 . misunderstanding. Cooper seems guilty of a fundamental

Simply because the equites promot.i secundi were not

necessarily linked to Leglo II Tralana i.n this passage, it does not automatically follow that the equites promoti had nothing to do with the legions. The papyrus as it stands is categorical proof that the prornoti did draw upon legionary equites for their manpower, whether formally associated or not. In fact, further evidence from the Beatty papyri in Panopolis

suggests strongly that Leglo II Trelana and the equites promoti secundi were linked. Two letters order the strategos of the Panopolite nome to pay out donatives to the "k,reucrt rpoparotc )teysvo TpxIirvrc", under the command

of the praepositus Leontius. Skeat's translation: "the equites proinoti of Legio II Tralana", seems the only one possible3. This brings us on to the vexed question of numbers. Besnier and Ensslin believed that to provide enough horsemen In the legions for the equites proinoti, the leglonary cava]ry was increased from 120 to 726. They had as

1,P. Gre,ii'. II, 74,

2, Ritierling, 'Rmischen Heerwesen', 348; Van Berche.

Larift de Oiocltien et l Rfoie

Constantinlenne (1952), 104 n,3, 3 P, Beattyil, 198 & 204,




M,C,Ibe.ji: C3 Army.


their sole evidence the antiqua leglo of Vegetius, which bears no relationship to the real world and should be discarded out of hand'. Since the promoti could technically be drawn from the cohortes equitatae as well as the legions, the problem would seem to solve itself. With legionary

cavalry as the core, the equites promoti could draw additional recruits from wherever they liked and still maintain a link to the legion8. It should also be borne in mind that according to Duncan-Jones, the very unit of promoti for which we have the most Information, the equites promoti secundi of Leglo .11 Traiana, was probably no more than 120 men strong in the first place2 Ritterlthg noted the regular spacing of the equites promoti in the Notitia Dignitatum. He assumed that, with the exception of the equites

prom oti Illyr'icianZ which were moved east from Illyricum, all the prom oti were split from their parent legions in situ and stationed in the same province 3 . In general, this holds true as the table below will show 4 . It falls down only in Thebaidos, where there would seem to be vexillations of six different legions; Palaestina, from where Legio VI Ferrata had been moved before the Notitia was compiled; and Osrhoene. The cunel are a different matter which will be dealt with in time. This does suggest that the equites promoti were created no earlier than the emperor Diocletian, especially since all of the eastern promoti were labelled as indigenae in their Diocletianic

1, Vegetius IL'G; Besnier,


L'eapire Roiain,,, (1937), 194: Efl55ljfl,

C// XII,


cf, App,1:

Ant/qua Legioof


2, Duncan-Jones, 'Pay and Numbers in Diocletian's Army', 3, Ritierling, 'Rmischen Heerwesen' , 4, Table E3:

Chi,'on8 (1978), 546ff,

348f, The equites proeoti and the legions.


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


provinces of occupation, and the earliest dated attestation of promoti is from AD 2931. In this picture, the equites promoti with the six remaining legions from Illyricum2. Legionarles would also seem to have been the source for another exotic unit: the equites stablesiani. Speidel has constructed a convincing argument to show that these units had been seconded from the strat ores of the
tribunus stab1ensis.

fit neatly

He is on less firm ground when he tries to date their He notes that no stablesiani are listed In the

creation to Gallienus.

eastern provinces of the Notitia, and suggests that this is because Gallienus did not have control of the east 4 . Yet we know for certain that the equites
Dalma tee

and Maui-i were In existence under Gallienus, and both of these crop

up in the east, so this cannot be the case. There were definitely very few of these cava]ry. Only 15 are extant in the Notitia, and of these only five were simple equites (four of them in the west). Four were comitatensian, and the rest were cunei8 . what little there is in the way of epigraphy militates for a later, rather than an earlier, date since the only extant inscription of a vex.illatio equitum stablesianorum is commanded by an exarchosE. Even less can be surmised about the equites scutarii. Their name

implies that their distinguishing feature was the use of the legionary

I, P, Grent, II, 110; P. Beatt,vIl date5 to AD 300, AEI9O7,143 & XIII'8332 are of no real help,
2, cf, Table E3, 3, Speidel, 'Stablesiani', Chiron4 (1974), 541ff. 4, Speidel, 545f,
5, Not, Dig, Or, VlI'29 & 30; XXVIII . 16;

XXXIX 14 & 15: XL 17: XLII . 19; Not, Dig, Oc, Vl'21 & 64; XXXV . 14, 15 & 16,

Y1 . 39=82 : VII . 180; VII182; XXVIII . 17; XXX1II27; XXXIV . 15; 6, V . 4376,

For exarchos see Fiebiger, RE 1552 who Ca115 it a junior cavalry officer of the SEe VI'187, cited on Speidel, 545, is of little help

later Roman empire, and can be no more precise, in corroborating dates,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


scutum instead of the cavalry parma. The existence of a cuneus equitum

Maurorum scutariorurn 1

can tell us little, except that a standard unit of the

equites could be equipped in this manner, Twenty two equites scutarii are

listed in the pages of the Notitia, most of them in the east. Six were
comita tenses and another half-dozen were cuneF. The earliest known

reference comes from the late third century, possibly Diocletian 3 . The only other inscription is post-Constantine4. Most Roman cavalry, certainly among the equites, were very lightly armoured. The obvious exception were the equites catafractarii and their heavier counterparts, the equites clibanaril. Only 14 of these units are listed in the Notitia 7 catafractariP and 7 clibanarii6 . Of these, of the cataphracts were comitatensian and 1 was a cuneus, while all except one of the clibanari.i were comitatenses, the exception being palatine. Only one of each type is to be found in the west. Eadie has cautioned that Roman catafractarli were not armoured cavalry In the proper sense of the term, being Instead mailed contaril astride unarnioured horses. This is borne out by the Tropaeum Traiani and the column of Marcus Aurelius, on which Roman mailed cavalry are depicted

I, Not, Dig, Or, XXXI'23, XXI . 23 & 24; XXXII 18; XXXIII'16; 2, Not, Dig, Or, V38; Vl 39; VII 28: XI'4, 5, 7 & 8 XXIIV . 20; XXXVI . 19; XXXVII . 14: XXXIX'12 & 13; XL . 11, 12, 13 & 16; XLI . 15; XLII'20 Not, Dig, Oc, VI . 2063; VI . 3477 : VII . l95; VI . 38 : 81 : VIl . 197 VII'209 IX'4, 5 & 8 XXXII'23 XIXIII 24: cf Tables El

& 2, 3, QE,1976,634, 4, E,1935,171,

5, Not, Dig, 0,, V . 34; VI 35 & 36; YII25; VlII'29; XXXIX16; Not, Dig, Dcc, XL 21; cf,

Tables El

& 2,
6, Not, Dig, Or, V . 40; Vl'32 & 40; VII'31, 32 & 34 Not, Dig, Dcc, VI 67 cf, Tables El & 2,


M,C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


wearing chain mall and wielding a lance (contu) from the backs of unprotected mounts, in stark contrast to the fully-armoured nature of their enemies'. The Tropaeum Traiani at Adamklisi suggests that catafractaril of this type were in existence from the early second century. The conventional argument, that this was artistic licence, does not convince. It hinges on three observations. First, it assumes that a convention existed wherein Romans were depicted wearing armour, while barbarians were not. Second, it maintains that the only known unit of con tarui from the period, the ala I Ulpia con tariorum miliaria, was not armoured and this is a better indication of the true state of affairs than artistic representation. Third, it cites Arrian, who confirms the existence of contaril under Hadrian, but does not indicate that they were armoured2. However, the recent study of Trajan's column by Lepper and Frere has pointed out that, while artistic convention was adopted, "to clarify the narrative", the column's depiction of war-horses was a remarkable exception. Cavalry mounts on the column were depicted in exceptionally subtle detail, which "must surely be the result of observation, however transmitted" 3 . On the other hand, the Roxolani cataphracts on the column were dressed impossibly in scale mail body suits which covered both horse and rider from head to toe4 . Even the graffito of a c.Zibanarius at Dura, which must have been sketched to convey the full enormity of this new kind of cavalryman,

1, Eadie, 'Development of Roman Mailed Cavalry', INS 57 (1967), 168 & plates. 2, The argument is best represented by Eadie, 167, who admits that it is not conclusive, 3, Lepper & Frere, rra/an'5 Coluin (1988), 269, 4, Lepper & Frere, op. cit,, pl,XXXI/76 & XXXVIII93-4,

-17 1-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


pays more attention to practicality than does the column 1 . Nevertheless, both representations indicate that, far from being conventionally depicted as more heavily armoured than their barbarian counterparts, the opposite is true of Roman cavalry. The Tropaeum Traianl is argued to have been sculpted by local military stonemasons, who depicted on the reliefs the opponents most familiar to them 2 . If this is the case, then it seems clear that they would also have depicted the Roman cavalry panoply as they knew it, and that the metopes of the Tropaleum Tralani are in fact a reliable indication of the equipment belonging to the Lower Danube army in the early second century. While I will agree that reconstructing equipment from artsistic evidence is dangerous, it cannot be any more so than arguments from silence, which Is essentially what the example of ala I Ulpia con tar.iorurn
This ala

amounts to.

may be the only example to date of Roman lancers fighting for

Trajan, but there is always the potential for new evidence to come to light. Nor can Arrian be cited as a trustworthy source, since his failure to speak of armoured cavalry under Hadrian, when our first firm indication of

comes in the ala I Gallorum et Pannoniorum catafractata from

this reign, is more prone to make this omission suspect rather than conclusive3 . On the whole, since the Tropaeum Traiani does depict a new departure in the Roman cavalry known to have occurred within that half of the second century, it ought to be trusted as a legitimate source.

I, For easily accessible photographs of all cavalry type5 mentioned here 1 ci, IRS 57 (1967), p1, I & XI and IRS 60 (1970), p1, XIV 2, Lepper XV,

Frere, op. cit,, 298f,

3, Arrian, ractica IV; XI.5632,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Herodian spoke of cataphracts in the army of Maximthus, and we have epigraphic testimony of one such unit 1 ; yet it was not until the later third century, arid possibly early into the fourth, that units termed equites

came to the fore 2 , Depictions of these resemble the

cataphracts from the column of Marcus Aurelius in that none wear full scale or ride armoured horses. A couple of numeri catafractariorum have also been epigraphically dated to the later third century on stylistic grounds3. Of greatest interest is a vexillatio catafractariorum stationed at Eporedia in the Po Valley4 . Eadie was at a loss to explain why this unit was not stationed

a frontier area 8 . Since Eporedia was situated at the

eastern exit of the St. Bernard Pass, the most likely explanation would seem to be that the unit was a detachment of the Milan garrison, stationed there to provide advanced warning of an incursion from the west. Eadie very tentatively suggested that one of the nuineri above, attested in Gallia Lugdunensis, may also have seen service In Cisalpina 6 . So it may be that the unit was, in fact, stationed in the area at the time when it formed a frontier with the Gallic Empire. At any rate, the fortuitous coincidence of the Milan cavalry, historically attested to guard against Postuznus invading Italy, and a cataphract garrison at one of' the major passes, should not go unnoticed.



nova Piria ailliaria catafraciaria Phiiippiana1

111 . 99

ILS 2771; 111 . 10307

ILS 2540;

XIII7323; Her, YIII . 1 . 3; Eadie, 'Mailed Ca y ,', 168 & n,37,

3495; Eadie, 1681, Note also 3, XIII . 1848 & 6238, 4, V.6784, 5, Eadie, 169, 6, Eadie, bc, cit,

2, Equites catafractarii Pictavenses, III . 14406a eqziites catafractarli qL'bianenses, XIII 3493 vexillatione Ii'! catafractafriorual froa Histria (Moesia), 4E 1919, 18,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Alfldi believed that the emperor Aurelian introduced clibanarii after his experience of them ifl his Palmyrene war. These cavalry, as depicted by Heliodorus and the 'charging c1ibanarius graffito at Dura, were much more heavily armoured than cataphracts, completely encased in banded scale armour and with a coat of scale mail draped over the flanks of the hors&. However, Eadie has pointed out that the 'dlibanarif depicted on the Arch of Galerius were little different to the catafractarll mentioned earlier: sporting scale mail instead of chain, but otherwise mailed riders on unarmoured horses2 . He is probably correct in arguing that Aurelian did not create the equites prom oti clibanarii (nor, for that matter, the equites
Palmirenorum clibinariorurn), clibanar.Li

This was not due to any lack of respect for the

on Aurelian's part. Zosimus makes it very clear that Aureliari's

tactics at Immae and Emesa were adopted to neutralise a cavalry force which he deemed to be superior to his own 3 . Unfortunately, the use of fullyarmoured cavalry will have required stronger horses and completely different tactics to those utilised by his own cavalry. The only handy proponents of such warfare were the Palmyrenes, and Zosimus makes it abundantly clear that they were not prepared to be either trustworthy or cooperative4. It was not until the reign of Diocletian, or later, that clibanarla

(armament factories) capable of producing the armour worn by clibanaril were

1, He1iodoru Aet/ilopica 1X15; Excavations at Dura Europos, Fourth Season (1933), 207ff & pl,XXII; Eadie, 170, 2, Eadie, 171, 3, Zos, 1'50 . 2-4 1 . 52 . 3 53.2, 4, Zos, 1.60-61,


M.C.tbeji: C3 Army.


attested. Since the Arch of Galerius is also dated to his reign, Diocletian must be the obvious person to whom the recruitment of equites cli banarli into the ranks of the Roman army should be attributed1. We now come to the equites Illyriciani. These were units of Dalmatae, promoti, scutaril and Mauri stationed along the eastern frontier and distiguished from the equites indigenae by the epithet IllyricianL Ritterling believed that they were drawn from the Illyriari army brought east by Aurelian on his reconquest of Palmyra, and were dispersed along the frontier to replace the disbanded Palinyrene forces. His only evidence for this was the presence of the equites Da1matae created by Gallienus, and Leglo I Illyricorunz which he believed had been created by Aurelian from his Illyrian troops 2 . Other historians have argued for a later date on various grounds. Alfldi could not bring himself to believe that Aurelian would break up the 'field army', so argued that it was done by Diocletian; while Seston was of the opinion that Carinus brought about the change for fear of the growing power of the cavalry commander, though he did not believe they were comitatenses. There are no firm criteria by which we can date these Illyrician.L The present arguments against Ritterling all rely on the mobile field army, which we have shown did not exist. Yet Ritterling's own arguments are fatally flawed. The presence of Dalamtae among the fllyriciani can provide a

terminus post quem, but can be used to prove nothing else. If I Illyricorum had been created by Aurelian, there might yet remain some grounds for dating

I, Eadie, 171 & n,56, 2, Ritterling, 'Rnischen Heerwe5en', 346ff. 3, Alfldi,


XII (1939), 217: Seston, Oiocitien t Ja retarchie (1946), 298ff & 305, 175-

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


the Illyriciani to him, though the argument just adduced against the Dalmatae remains pertinent in all cases. As things stand, I Illyricorum can only be

tentatively dated to the reign of Diocletian 1 . Since the same is true of the equites promoti which are among the I11yriciani their presence in the east cannot be placed any earlier than his reign. Galerius is known to have drafted in contingents from the Illyrian army for his war against Narses in

297/82, and this seems a propitious point at which to place the

Illyriciani. However, we can only confidently state that this Is the earliest date at which the

can be attested.

Before we finish this survey of the equites one final point needs to be addressed. Frequent mention has been made of the cunel equitum noted in the Notitia Dignitatum. With one exception 3 , these units always head the lists of the Notitia, taking precedence over other equites. In the Illyrian

provinces, they supercede the equites entirely4 . Van Berchem thought they were a separate group of units created by Constantine, but this view is over-simplistic as Southern has shown s , Troops such as the equites

Dalmatarum Divitiensium can be seen to have predated the Notitia, usually in the form of numeri6. As usual, the nature of these formations is a complex mesh of possibilities. Perhaps the cunei in the Notitia were the equites equivalent of milliary units, or maybe the reforms of Diocletian or Constantine


cf, ch,IV: Leg/ones, p.80,

Roianap,301(N); Orosius VII'25.9, 3, Not, Dig, Or, VII'34, 4, NoE, Dig, Or, XXXIX: Scyihia; XL: Moesia Secunda; XLI: Moesia Prima; XLII: Dada Ripensis, 5, Van Berchem, sraIe de 0ioc1tien,,,, 93ff Southern, 'Numeri', 115, 6, Southern, bc, cit.; Not, Dig, Or, XUI 14; V . 7000, 7001 & 7012,
2, Eutropius IX24; Jordanes


M.C.Ibe.ii: C3 Army.


introduced a more pedantic scheme of troop designation requiring that formations originally known by the blanket term numerus be redesignated to reflect their mode of combat more accurately'. On average, the number of

garrisoning a province in Illyricum was less than the number of to be found elsewhere, which might indicate that the cunel were


larger, but the difference is neither a significant nor a general one. Southern is to be heeded when he warns that each incidence of cunei should be taken on its own merits2. The history of the equites is a chequered one and not without controversy. Many of the horsemen involved would seem to have developed out of earlier experiments within the Auxilia. Others, most notably the

seem to have burst out of the blue. Cooper has put forward an

interesting theory that the Dalmatians were drawn upon by Gallienus because this was the only recruiting ground left open to him 3 . This makes a great deal of sense, especially if one examines the probable ethnic mix of his cavalry. Moors, Dalmatians and possibly some exotic units would seem to have made up the bulk of it. The Gallic recruiting grounds were closed to him by the advent of Postumus and his empire. The eastern troops were under the de facto control of Palmyra (and we have already seen that most

were equites indigenee). One glance at the Notitia will tell us

that the Moors could not provide manpower in the volume required to fill the emperor's needs. However, over-reliance on the Notitia can provide a stilted view. It is a snapshot in the history of the later Roman cavalry force and

1, It should be noted that no rnrneri exist in the lists of the Notitia, Also it should be borne in ind that cwisus could at least technically be applied to an infantry unit which adopted a wedgeshaped formation and was not the sole preserve of cavalry: Yegetius 111.17-18,
2, Southern, bc, cit,

3, Cooper, Origins, 373,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


should not be taken as a homogeneous whole. Equites Mauri were active within the Roman array decades before equites Dalmatae came onto the scene, while equites promoti probably did not make their appearance until the very end of our period. Stablesieni were a late addition, but cataphractarii of one form or another had been around since the reign of Hadrian. Without a
doubt, each type of equites, be they Dalrnatae, promoti, sagittarli or

cataphracts, were recruited gradually over a vast number of years, and the picture as we receive it In the Notitia Dignita turn is the culmination of this gradual and constantly dynamic process.


sj ,titi

Di FQ(/ITE$;

TABL.E E 1: In tIi L1r1it pr Or-iratm

CHAPTER V: NM, Praesentalis I: VI: NM, Praesentalis II: VII: N.M. Orieniem: VIII: N.M. Thracias: IX: MN, Illyricum:











c e

XXXI: Thebaid:

I I I I I i I I


Foenicla: XXXIII: Syria: XXXIV: Palaestina; XXXV: Osrhoene:

XXXVI: Nesopotamia;

i14 i14 j15 i14


iii Iii Iii Iii



ie Il




Arabia: XXXVIII: Armenia: XXXIX: Scythia: XL: Moesia Secunda: XLI: Noesia Prima;

ii ee




ccc c15




XLII: Dacia Ripensis:



Palatine Comitatenslan

equites 11Iyricini equJe5 equites indigenac same unit (eg, equites proloti clibanarli)

c = Cuneus e 1


1, equites Thaaudeni Ii!yrician 2, equites ducatore5 lilyriciani & equites feud Honoriani Iiiyridian4

The latter is an honorific

awarded for loyalty to the emperor honorius, and cannot be used for dating purposes.


TABLE E 2: Lrn1t In tI-i EqLlit Nc, t I t I Di I t t im p x C)c c I ci ri t m

CHAPTER Diii lia




Mi P14 px3,C13 C

Y: M, Eq. Praesentalis: Italia: Gailia: Britannia: Tingitana: Africa: kIVIlI: Lit, Saxonici:
lxxii: lxxiii: Pannonia: Yaleria;


cc C*C17 e
ceI7 celil e ee ee

c C CC e
cee ee c c c ccc cce


XIXIV: Panonnia Prima: XXXV: Raetia: XXXVIII: Belgica II: XL: Britannia:




c eee

e e e e

KEY: P Palatine

C ' Comitatensian c = Cuneus e = eqwifes z same unit (eq. equites clthanarii sagitarii)



Tb1 E 3: qL1ite Pr-mcti rid th


XXXI Thebaidos vexx,(?) III Diocletiana, II Traiana, I Yalentiniana, I Haximiana1 II Flavia & II Valentiniana,



I Illyricum1 III Gallica,



IV Scythica, XVI Flavia,



X Fretensis,



IV Parthica,



I Parthica, II Parthica,



II! Cyrenaica, IV Martia,


Moesla Prima

(2 cwnei)

IV Flavia, VII Claudia,

XXXII Pannonla 2 IV !ovla, VI Herculea,

(#1 cune5)
XXXII! Valeria 2 I Adiutrix, II Adiutrix,


Pannonia Prima

X Geeina, XIV Geina, II Italica, I Noricum,


XXXII Foenicia


I Io y ia (Scyihia)



II Herculia (Scythia)



I Italica (Moesia Secunda)



XI Claudia (Noesia Secunda)



V Macedonica (Dacia Ripensis)



XIII Gemina (Dacia Ripensis)

18 1-


I 1949 R. G. Goodchfld and I. B. Ward-Perkins published an inscription from Tripolitania which threw the discussion of the nature and origins of

lirnitanel wide open'. Previously, the view of scholars, best summarised by

Miller in the

Cambridge Ancient History, had seen the lirnitanei as a

militarised peasantry tied to the land by hereditary service and originating from the various reforms of Septimius Severus2 . This view had been

gradually losing ground, to the extent that van Berchem felt confident in asserting that

.Zimitanei did not appear until the reign of Diocletian; yet

his views seemed to run contrary to the evidence produced by Goodchild and Ward-Perkins which, as Matthews puts it: "...shows that the system of frontier

lirnites commanded by praepositi existed already in the mid-third century (at

least in Tripolitania) long before the Tetrarchic period with which it had been previously associated"4. The inscription In question came from a

structure at Gasr

Duib in Tripolitania, dated quite firmly to the reign of Philip the Arab (AD 244-246), and reads:

Imp(erator) Caes(ar) (M(arcus) lulius Phlilipus invictuis Aug(ustus)3 et M(arcus) Iul(ius) P(hilippus Cales(ar) n(oster) regionern .Zimit(is



'apd-PepkJns, 'The Lthe5 rrJpoiitanu5 in

the Light of Recent Discoveries', IRS 39

(1949), 81ff esp, 91f, Hereafter referred to as Goodchild, 2, Miller1


XII, 311 summarising the views of Lesquier, Cumont, Carcopino and Rosiovtseff

discussed below p.185ff, cf, also Momsen, 'Das rmische llilitrwesen seit Diocletian', (1889), 195ff,
3, Van Berchem,



4, Matthews, 'Mauretania in Ammianus and the

L'Arae de Diocltien et la Rforaie Constantinienne (1952), Notitia', BARS15 ( 1976), 171, 182-

21, 46-48 & 86,

M.C.Ibe,ji: C3 Army.


Tenitheitani partitarn et feiusJ viam incursib(us) barbairoirum constituto nova ce.ntenario (/////?////J//A/S praefdlluseru(ntl Cominio Cassiano leg(ato) Aug(ustorum) pr(o) pr(aetore) Gallicanto ...7 letters...J v(iro) e(gregio) praep(osito) limitis cura Numisii Maximi domo [...4 letters...Jsia trib (uni).1 The centenarium had presumably been erected by the tribunus Nuinisius Maximus under the orders of the praepositus limitis, Gallicanus, who was subordinate to the provincial governor. Goodchild commented upon its

construction by a tribunus as opposed to a centenarius as would be expected, and in the light of other inscriptions (discussed later) this may have been a peculiarity of Tripolitania 2 . Since the limes Ten theitanus actually appears In the Not

Dignitatum under a praepositus, the match between this

inscription and the percieved system of later Roman lirnitanei had been seen as conclusive3 . Yet several notes of caution have already been sounded. Fentress and le Bohec warned that no evidence for an organised military peasantry deserving the term limitanel is forthcoming at such an early date, while A.H.M. Jones has shown that the so-called limitanei of the African frontier were in fact made up of native African gentiles, first referred to in the early fifth century. The only evidence for limitanei existing within Africa in the mid-third century is this inscription and its close resemblance to the terminology of

I, Goodchild,



Cassianus is assumed to have been related to the N, Aurelius Cominius


Cassianus who was Legate of Numidia in 211/12: 2, Goodchild, 92 & n,36 cf below p191,

C 1265; YIII.2611,

3, Hot Dig, Awg,ste (1989),

recently, Isaac,

Cc, XXXI'19, limes Tenthetianus; Goodchild, 92; Matthews, 'Mauretania', 170f,

4, Fentress,

454; Jones, LRE

Nwiidia and the Roaaii Any, 84R S53 (1979), 1)8f; le Bohec, La Troisirie Lgion II (1964), 651ff; cf also Seston in Histonia 4 (1955), 286ff most 'The Meaning of the Terms Liaes& Liaitanei', /RS78 (1988), 125ff.

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


the Notitia Dignita turn. The infamous reference in the Vita Alexandri1 which seems to refer to limltanei during his reign and could have provided vital corroborative evidence has been cast into considerable doubt by Isaac, Jones and van Berchem, who quite rightly remarked upon the Historia Augusta's propensity for fabrication and interpolation 2 . So the existence of lirnitanel in the third century hangs entirely upon the implications of the Teritheltanus inscription. If it can be shown that the occupants of the cente.naria were not in fact a niilitarised peasantry under the control of Roman authority, then the case for limitanel prior to the fourth century collapses. The pioneering work of A.H.M. Jones has already paved the way for us3. He has demonstrated that limitanei, in Goodchild's sense of a peasant militia defending the land which they cultivated, do not appear in the source material until the early fifth century. Prior to this, the limitanei do not seem to have been much different to any other type of troops in the later Roman Army. Service for them was no more or less hereditary than that of the comitatenses, and like the cornita tenses they received recruits drafted through conscription: some units of 1.Lznitanei were even upgraded to comitatensian status. Most telling of all, the lirnitanei were wholly supplied by rations in kind until the year 364, after which they were supplied for nine months of every year. None of this seems at all compatible with the concept of a self-sufficient hereditary militia tied permanently to the

Alex, LYIII . 4-5, Loeb translation: The lands taken froa the enecy were presented to the leaders and soldiers of the frontier arcies (liiianei] with the provision that they should continue to be theirs only if their heirs entered .ilitary service, and that they should never belong to civilians, for, he said, ien serve with greater zeal if they are defending their own lands too, 650; van Berchem, Aree de Diocltien, 21 n, 1 2, Isaac, 'Liee5 & Liiitanei', 140; Jones, LR
1, $1/A

contra cf, MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian, 13 n,34, 3, Jones 1

LR 650ff,

M.C,tbe.Ji: C3 Army. frontiers.


Yet this view may have been created simply by a lack of evidence, and If the archaeological material from Africa actually does show limitanel in action during the third century, then a revision of the view is necessary. I think it does not; and furthermore, I believe that enough evidence has been accumulated from Africa for us to put together a skeletal picture of the development of limitanel in that part of the Roman empire, from the start of the third century to the end of the fifth. Contrary to the beliefs of Miller and his sources, the Seven did not create a peasant militia out of veteran soldiers. Carcopino, Cumont and Lesquier believed that veteran colonies were used as a defensive network founded upon vested interest 1 . Most specif1cally Carcopino showed that the

cast ella in Mauretania Sitifensis were built arid manned by veteran coloni
under government supervision, a conclusion later confirmed by Fvrier2. However, even if these colonies had retained much of their old functions from Augustan times, their purpose and arrangement was not primarily military. Isaac has demonstrated that the Augustan colonies in the eastern provinces "were incapable of defending themselves in times of full-scale warfare", and were hardly able to maintain Internal security on a local level 3 . Rather than being seen as military outposts, they were "instrumental in the consolidation of conquest and subjugation" as a "social, political

I, Carcopino, 'Lee


de la Pleine de Setif',

Rev, Af

59(1918), 5ff; 'Le


de Numidie

et sa Garde Syrienne', Srr ia 6 (1925), 30ff; Cumont, 'Une Dedicace de Dura-Europos, Colonie Romaine', Syria 5(1924), 351f; Lesquier, L'Arae Rota/ne o'Eqypte d'Qiiguste I Diocltien (1918), 330ff, 2, Carcopino, Ia Region de Setif', 3, Isaac,

'Castella de Setif', 8ff; Fvrier, IfI/anges P/genial (1966), 220ff, Litits of Eapire (1990), 311ff,

'Inscriptions Indites Relatives aux Domaines de

M.C.IbeJl: C3 Army.


and economic complement to military power." His view is mirrored by Fvrier on the Mauretanian castella, who argues against Carcopino's purely military interpretation of the structures and sees the circuit walls more as a sign of Roman urbanisation and its administration than as a defensive measure1. Matthews saw this as an overreaction against the traditional view and tempered it somewhat by pointing out the equal validity of a civil and a military interpretation2 . Yet he, too, made it clear that the defensive

capability of such colonies was largely dependent on the toleration of the population they existed to control s . The fact that these particular

castella are limited entirely to Sitifensis, and stop abruptly at the border with Nurnidia, suggests that any function they may have had in an overall defensive plan took second place to the administrative considerations associated with them. So, too, does their supervision by the imperial

procurator, whose function was civil rather than military 4 . A survey of veteran settlement


Nurnidia has shown that its distribution owed far more

to the existence of good farmland than to the exigencies of defences, In my opinion, the limited distribution of the castella in Sitifensis also invalidates any attempt to link them with the advance into the Saharan Atlas made by Septimius Severus 6 , The only true resemblance between the castella of Sitifensis and the cast ella in the Saharan Atlas is their name. The Saharan Atlas was garrisoned by the army with no recourse to veteran

I, Fvrier in

M1anges Piganiol,


2, Matthews, 'Mauetania', 164, 3, Matthews, 177, 4, Fvrier, 220ff, 5, Fentress,




6, Matthews, 164,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


settlement, and this occurred much earlier than the 'fortification' of Sitifensis which does not seem to have begun until the reign of Ceracalla. Even this military advance into the Saharan Atlas owed more to the administration of trade than it did to the defence of Africa1, Centenaria did not appear in Africa until the mid-third century, and most of these structures are not securely dateable before the fourth. At the outset, a definite distinction should be drawn between centenaria as military establishments constructed and occupied by the army, and the organic growth of civilian structures which copied the centenarium design. The centenarium at Gasr Duib stands on an isolated hillock overlooking a tributary of the Wadi Sofeggin approximately 200km south-west of Lepcis Magna



Its sister fort, Gasr iJames, lies twenty-five

kilometres to the east of this, forming a line of outposts which guarded the Roman road known to have run along the Upper Sofeggin from Zintan to Mizda. Positioned as they are, they formed the first line of contact between Roman Tripolitania and the nomadic tribesmen of the area. described by Goodchild as isolated, grim and barren 2 . The location is Their military

function as described on the Tentheitanus inscription was to guard the road against barbarian raiding parties, and to this end they were created by order of the governor. Most significantly, the inscription was in Latin, as opposed to the native Libyan script. Other cente.naria sporting Latin inscriptions testifying to their official creation can be found in equally strategic areas throughout Africa. At Aqua Frigida in Mauretania, a centenarium guarding the exit from the Petite

I, Fentress, Nuildia, lUff & 136, 2,Goodchild, IRS, 88ff, 93 & cf, ap p85, 3, ,,, v/al incursib(us) barbatrojru.,,,,,, ,praeciusarunt,,, -187-

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


Kabylie into the Choba strip was restored under the auspices of Aurelius Litva, praeses of Mauretania during the early 290s 1 . Another was built at Bir Haddada north of the Hodna mountains by a governor of Constantine and Licinius 2 . South of the Chott e]. Hodna, the centenarium Aqua Viva, discussed at length by Leschi, is attested In AD 303 and later under the control of


praepositus 1imiti Thubuniensis,

In northern Tripolitania, the

centenar'ium Tibubuci

was also built on the orders of two provincial

governors 4 . Like the centenaria on the Upper Sofeggin, these structures were generally isolated, often in barren locales, and were set up by the Roman authorities to serve a specific and local police function. This contrasts dramatically with the civilian centenaria, found mainly In eastern Tripolitanla, though a few have been identified in MauretanIa. Their distribution is best described by Goodchild:
These buildings do not stand isolated in grim and barren areas, as do the Upper Sofeggin and sometimes

outposts: they are found in chains along the banks of the more fertile wadis 1

grouped together as embryonic villages at the junction of several tributary wadis, Their density

varies according to the size and fertility of the wadi beside which they stand: sometimes we find

a long series scattered at intervals of only 1km but more often the interval is considerably


Many of the buildings are accompanied by elaborate and well-built mausolea, which

contrast vividly with the 'gsur' themselves; and they are invariably associated with a complex

system of terrace walls across the width of the wadi, and with catchment channels and cisterns,

bridge at Auzia VIIl . 904l =

ILS 6886: Matthews, 'Mauretania', 166 & 171, Litva also restored a war-damaged .IL$ 627, 2, C'entene p lui Soils, VIll . 8713 Matthews, 171, Etudes f, 87 (1943), 5ff 3, 4E,194213,81; Leschi, 'Le Centenariva d'Aqua Viva', Rev, d'Epigraphie (1957), 47ff; Matthews, bc, cit1 4, VIII22763 ILS 9352; Matthews, bc, cit & n71,
1, VIlI'20215 : 5, Matthews, bc, cit. 1886, Goodchild,


M.C.Ibe,Ji: C3 Army.


Of the "embryonic villages", the best example is Ghirza in the Wadi Zeriizem. This is a group of some thirty 'gsur' "set close together without communal planning or defences", containing a series of elaborate mausolea. Goodchild viewed it as a "reductio ad absurdum of the whole 'gasr' system"1, but he failed to recognise in this observation the key to the nature of these settlements. For the 'gsur' of the Tripolitanlan basins, and the

centenar.ia and castella of the Mauretanian populace, were exactly what he described them to be: a civilian reductio of a workable military structure. Matthews showed how, in Mauretania, a permeable limes was maintained by Roman authority through the cooperation of the local dynasts 2 . Most of

Africa was in effect a fronier zone, and this was especially true of Mauretania and Tripolitania, where tribal quarrels and nomadic raiding had merely been given Roman trappings by its colonial observers (in much the same way that the Roman occupation of Africa was given colonialist trappings by the early French historians who studied it). Therefore, Matthews was able to argue that the revolt of Firmus, described by Ammianus Marcellinus, was in fact a tribal dispute which spilled over Into the Roman sphere of influence precisely because it was a dispute between Romanised princes3. These princes aped Roman forms and utilised those Roman practices which superceded their own traditional methods. Among them was Roman Irrigation and settled agriculture. In such circumstances, the Roman-style castella had obvious security advantages in an area where feud and nomadic incursion was a way of life.

1 Goodchild, IRSI 93 n37, 2, Matthews 'Mauretania', 3, Matthews, op. cit.



M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Goodchild saw in the growth of 'gsur' villages, the seeds of what he called "incipient feudalism". He saw the natives building centenaria on the Roman model, and aping Roman forms by erecting inscriptions which, while in their native Libyan, were written In the Latin alphabet and contained the occasional Roman word such as CENTEINARI. All this evoked the aura of a militarised peasantry 1 . Not unnaturally, he and his colleague automatically assumed that the 'gsur' were the domain of

limitaneZ and

this assumption

was confirmed for them by the occasional (and very rare) relief depicting their Inhabitants at war. Yet the 'feudalism' exhibited was historical, stemming from the pre-Roman tribal structures of the Inhabitants. The clearest example of this comes from Bou AtellI

in the Grande Kabylie, Mauretania. Here a local dynast

calling himself M. Aurelius Masaisilen founded a centenarium at his own expense

in AD 328, which acted as the focal point for a settlement including

tombs and a christian chapeF, almost like a medieval village clustered around a Norman


In this context Masaisilen and his contemporaries built centenaria for two reasons. First, they were a sign of prestige exhibited In a hybrid form by a partially Romanised native aristocracy. Secondly, the cent enaria

themselves acted as the status symbol because of their obvious utility in the context of the African frontier. The very fact that they were still being used under the Islamic occupation speaks volumes for their functional economy, Goodchild believed that Roman engineers had taught the natives

1, Goodchfld, IRS, 92ff, 2, Matthews, 'Mauretania', 171, 3 Goodchild, 95, -igo-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


how to construct the buildings 1 , but the original construction probably was done by the natives themselves 2 . The existence of words such as centenarius or tribunus within several of the native structures is not particularly significant. Goodchild himself pointed out that the title tribunus in native Libyan use bore very little resemblance to its official Roman capacity, and Matthews has argued a similar case against the official recognition of a self-styled pr-aepositus and decurio from Mauretania3 . It seems likely that the local chiefs took on Roman titles which they believed best suited their native office, and this was tolerated as a function of Romanisation by the provincial authorities. As for the word can tenarius, its recurrence is no more significant than the present day use of the term 'pill-box'. A 'pillbox' structure is equally likely to house an electricity generator for civilian use as it is to contain a military gun emplacement. The name in itself does not imply an official military function, it merely describes the structure. We can therefore distinguish between official military cent enaria and organic civilian cent enaria, The latter arose separate from and anterior to the former in a completely unofficial capacity, as the haphazard nature of their distribution ought to Indicate. The very fact that each 'gasr' was an independent fortlet in its own right, even when clustered into a small communities, is testimony to the absence of Roman military planning. Goodchild wanted to date the growth of civilian 'gsur' to the reign of

I, Three 'gsur' wentioned by Goodchild are fronted by well-dressed ashlar, and have distinctive rounded corners, Goodchild saw thew as 'an early, official stage of 'gasr' construction"; Goodchild,
IRS, 93,

2, Barker

Jones, UNE8O Libyan 'aIJeys Survey 1979-1981 (1982), 3ff,

3, Goodchild, IRS, 95 & n44; Matthews, 'Mauretania', 172 & n82; 1RT886, 191-

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


Severus Alexander, on the basis of the proximity of certain centenaria to the fort of that emperor at Gheria el-Garbia 1 . Yet recent surveys of the Libyan valleys have indicated that the principal development of native 'gsur' occurred during the second century, long before the centenarlum structure was put to official military use2, In the third and fourth centuries, 'the 'limitanel' in

such as

Gasr Duib were probably garrisons of Auxilia and numeri, much like the occupants of casteflum Dimmidi discussed in the previous chapter. Following Yones, we should see them as regular units of the Roman army, drawing pay and supplies of men and materiel like any other unit. However, as pressure increased on the frontier in the later fourth and fifth century, Roman authority was forced to rely more heavily on the cooperation of the native

and we should see Matthews' picture of an integrated tribal limes

gradually coming into effect. By the early fifth century, the law codes show that this transformation was complete and a iimitanei made up of native African en tiles had taken the place of the Auxilia and numeri which had defended the frontier during the Principate3. Studies of the

like studies of other late Roman institutions

have sufferred at times from a failure to recognise that such institutions could and did change. It is likely that there never was an official policy of militarising peasantry within the Roman administration: it just happened. In Africa, as a process of gradual attrition wore down the forces which had

1, Goodchild, 93f,

2, UNESCO Libyan Valleys Survey 1975-8/, 6, 3, Coo Theoo VII . 15 . l (AD 409); VII . l52
an organisation distinct from that of the



Isaac, 'Lii,es & Liaitanei', 144

is more

circumspect: "It is clear that we are faced with the organisation of some sort of militia, but it is


who are not mentioned in this text,


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


originally carried the burden of defence, what had begun as a grass-roots movement towards greater security among native agricultural settlements found itself shouldering more and more responsibility for the protection of the frontiers they cultivated. Whether the existing status quo was finally recognised by Diocletian or Constantine, or in the later fourth century is unclear, and will remain so until more and better evidence is forthcoming, though the trend would seem to indicate a later date at present 1 . What is clear from the inscriptions at Gasr Duib and other sites, is that a definite distinction existed in the third century between the military function of centenarium sites, and the civil one. Van Berchem believed that limitanel existed by the time of Diocletian, and I would concur that by his reign we can find limitanaei In Iones' sense of dedicated non-comitatenslan frontier troops garrisoning the military cent enaria of Africa and the Strata Diocletiana in the east. The Tentheitanus inscription indicates that this system was in place by the mid-third century, but as Fentress puts it: "The fact that one element of the Diocletianic reorganisation has been shown to have its origins


the mid-third century does not necessarily imply that all

others might be similarly redated." 3 As with most Roman institutions, the 'limitanel' of the third century were a very different organisatlon to the lirnitanel of the fifth. They were not a militarised peasantry, and until the term was coined by Diocletlan, they probably did not even think of themselves as limitanel.

I, Remember that until 394, the

'Liaes & LThitanef, 148,

mid fifth century, 2, Van Berchem, 3, Feniress,

concluded that

ililtanel were wholly 5upplied by !12/taPei who worked their own

10ff, 17ff & l9ffl Jones,

the army: Jones 650f,


land did not appear until the

,4pie de Oiociitie fiuiidia, 119,

LRE 650ff;

Isaac, bc, cit,



It has been argus in some texts that the third century saw the start of the Roman practice of bringing barbarian tribes into the empire and Unofficial at first, the practise of using settling them under foedus. barbarians is seen to h' become increasingly more common, until they began to supercede the regular Auxilia, so that "the contingents bought from the Germans under the cloak of a foedus gradually became indispensable".' In order to determine how accurate a picture this Is, it will be necessary to review all aspects of the Roman use of barbarians during the century. The Roman use of 'barbarian' troops, that is troops drawn from outside the technical limits of the empire, has a long history. Not forgetting that the original purpose of the Auxilia, as early as the second century BC, was to incorporate the national characteristics of Rome's allies into its military pantheon2 , the systematic recruitment of ethnic troops into bodies of numeri was developed under the Flavians'. Trajan made extensive use of such Irregulars during his wars4 , but it is with Marcus Aurelius that what has

I, Alfldi, CAM XIII 218f; Aliheim, Soidatenkai5er (1939), 188 & 204; Boak, Manpower Shortage and the Fall of the Eipire (1955), 97 & 115ff; MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian (1963), ch,8, More cautiously NOcsy, Pannonia and Upper Hoes/a (1974), ch,6; Speidel, 'Rise of Ethnic Units', ANRU 11.3 (1975), 145ff; De Blois, Pa/icy of 6allienus (1976), 34f, 2, Cheesman, Auxilia of the Roian laperial Aray (1914), 8ff, 3, Southern, 'Numeri of the Roman Imperial Army', Rritannia XX (1989), 131, 4, He maintained an elite force of Moorish cavalry whose native commander, the sheikh Lusius Quietus, was powerful enough to gain consular office and was eventually disposed of by Hadrian for political reasons: Speidel, 'Rise of Ethnic Units in the Roman Imperial Army',

ANRU 11 . 3

(1975), 212,

He may also have used Palmyrene and German irregulars in his Dacian and Parthian wars: Southern1 'Numeri', 89; Alfldi,

CAM XII (1939),


Marcus Aurelius also used irregulars in the Marcomannic

ears, most notably Moors, A group of

equites Afrorut et Haurorwa e/ectorua is attested under one nirnerus Maurorwm Awrelianorwa was raised which must date from Marcus and Valerlus Maximianus, and a not Caracalla as was suggested to Speidel, since the kaiserbeinaae of the latter was Antoniniana:
AE,1956,124; R182042; Southern, 'Numeri', 86 & 93f Speidel, 'Ethnic Units', 210f & n,36, 194-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


been seen as a large-scale incorporation of barbarian tribes Into the empire is generally thought to have begun. The reasons behind this are still open to discussion. Finley sounded a well-argued note of caution against the unthinking assumption of a manpower shortage, as did Gilllam 1 ; though one should not forget that during the Marcomannic wars, the empire was still suffering the effects of the great plague which began in 165 and to which the wholesale employment of vexillations can almost certainly be linked. This indicates that manpower was not in great supply 2 . On the other hand, Mcsy showed that the impetus for settlement under Marcus Aurelius came not from the empire, but from the barbarians themselves. actually fighting for He argues that many of the German tribes were

lebensraum within the empire, away from the pressures

of the Lomards, Obil and Vandals which were coming down from the north 2 . To this end, he cites several passages from Dio. The Marcomanni were required to vacate a small strip of land which they had occupied along the Danube; contingents of Quadi, Cotini and Naristae were allowed to settle within the Danube provinces; and even a group of Vandals were admitted into Dacia 4 . In his view: "the settlement of barbarians in a threatened province was

1, Finley, /RS 48 (1958), 160f & Gilliam, 'The Plague Under Marcus Aurelius', A/Phil, 73(196)),

Ro.aii Any Papers (1986), 246ff contra Boak, Manpower S/x'rtage and the Pall of the Roean Empire (1955), 97 & 115ff, Gilliam's point that settlement of barbarians within the empire was

nothing new bears reiterating, but despite the size of such settlements, it was never on such a large scale as that under Marcus: Gilliam, 245 n,71 & 246 nn,72 & 73, 2, For the most recent analysis on the effects of the plague 1 cf, Duncan-Jones, Structure and Scale in the Roman Econo.y (1990), 71ff; on vexillations, cf, Ritterling, RE 1427 & 1449; Parker, The Roian Legions (1928), 166; Cf. also chh,VI & II: ('exiJlationes p.138 and Manpower, p,46ff, 3, MOcsy, Pannonia and Upper Ifoesia (1974), 184ff, 4 Dio LXXI . 15; 11'1-6 & 13 3; 121-2; Mcsy, op. cit,, 189ff,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


permitted only when their pacification could be ensured by the very fact of their admission", and here lies the crux of the matter. Under Marcus Aurelius, the settlement of barbarians equated almost directly with their pacification. This was not simply a matter of weakness, The empire was not being forced to accept a fait accomp1i since Marcus usually permitted such a settlement only after he had established the empire's position of superiority by military means. Under Marcus, the barbarians were always supplicants, usually in defeat, and their settlement was not just a matter of political expediency (designed to keep the peace), but one of tribute to a victorious empire. When settlement was not the question, this tribute could take the form of contributions to the imperial army. The lazyges were required to provide 8,000 men to the army, and the 5,500 Sarmatians sent to Britain by Marcus may have been the result of this treaty 2 . Similar measures were taken by Aurelian and Probus after their defeat of the various tribes which invaded the empire in the late third century. Two thousand Vandals were drafted into the army in the wake of the great Invasion of AD 270, while Probus Is supposed to have scattered small pockets of Frankish troops, 16,000 in all, throughout the empire, as well as sending a group of Burgundlan and Vandal captives across to Britain. Such contingents, formed into permanent units of numer'i and vexillationes, performed much the same function as the national numeri raised by foedus in the late Republic and early Empire, and

I, MOcsy, op. cit, (above n,3), 189, 2, Dio LXXI 16; Southern, 'Numeri', 88, 3, Vandals: Dexippus
8e11, Scyth,

1 . 2; Zos, 1'46'2 & 48 . 2; Petrus Patridus frag,11



Orosius VII . 23 . 4, Probus: Zos, 1 . 68 . 3; S/f4ProL', XIV.7-XV, -1 Y6-

M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


their echoes can still be found in the pages of the Notitia Dignitatum1. While some may have broken faith 3 , others can be seen to have served the empire well and faithfully 3 , Some even volunteered4. It is with Gallierius that a shift in emphasis can be found. Some time after 255, he made an alliance with a German chieftain across the Rhine, whereby the man created a buffer between barbarians and empire along his part of the frontier, relieving the pressure on that part of the
Precisely what the terms

of this agreement were, Zosimus fails to tell us,

but we do have quite detailed information concerning another such treaty made circa 258/9 between Gallienus and a Marcomannic chieftain on the Danube. The information is confused and coloured by the bias in the sources against Gallienus, yet it is possible to piece it together to form a coherent picture. He is depicted as a debauched lecher, obsessed with the love of a barbarian woman, variously named Pipa or Pipara 6 ; and it is from the Epitome of Victor that we gain the additional information with which we can slot the whole puzzle into place:
Victor Epitome XXXIII1:

Gallienus.....amori diverso pellicum deditus

Saloninae coniugis et concubinae, quam per pacationem con cessa parte Superioris Pannoniae a patre, Marcomnannorum rege, matr'imonii specie

I, Southern, 'Numeri', 86;




V , 18162=VII . 13

Not, Dig, Dc, VI . 22 : 65 : VII . 183 (equites Marcoaanni) XL . 54 & XLII'46(gentiJes)); V . 49 : 198 & 50 : 199, YI1 . 38 & XXXIV . 24 (pedifes Marcoianni) (pedites Heruli); & Or, XXIX 22 & 24 (pedites Scythici), CAHIll, S/IA

2, Alfldi,

299; Zos, I 48 2; Petrus Patricius (rag, 12 (p.188),

3, Zos, 1 . 68 . 3; 4, Dexippus

Ciauo', IX . 4; Dio

LXXI . 16 on which Southern, op. cii,, 88,


1 . 2 (frag,6),

5, Zos, 1.30.3,
6, S//A

Gail, XXI . 3;


Trig, Tyr, 111 . 4;


Cees, XXXIII'6,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


susceperat Pipam nomine.1

From his L.iber' de Caesaribus we learn that the man was called Attalus. Here, he is depicted not as a Marcomannus, but as a German, and it may be that the whole affair ha8 become confused in the histories with the agreement on the Rhine mentioned above, and that in fact the two incidents could be one and the seine. Clarity in this matter is sadly unobtainable. All we can be sure of is that Gallienus seems to have made some form of marriage alliance with a barbarian chieftain concerning the protection of the frontier, which probably involved the ceding of land to the man's tribe. This has been interpreted as some form of foedus, and there is little else that it could be. Aitheim would see a policy of incorporating barbarians into the empire


these moves, but De Blois is almost certainly right In his view

that such moves were made on an ad hoc basis, as circumstance demanded. However, a subtle shift in emphasis had taken place. The position of Attalus was not as a supplicant, but as an equal. Perhaps it would be

better to view him as a form of client king, yet even so it was Attalus who was in the position of strength. The emperor had come to him, not the other way round. The reason is not hard to find. With Valerian occupied in the east, Gallienus had found himself faced with a prolonged Alemannic raid which was threatening Italy at the same time as the revolt of Ingenuus in Panonnia4.

1, Vict, Epit, XXXIII'l: fiallienus,,,,,was enticed by love different to that of his devoted 'ife,

Salon/na, and took a concubine in the sesbiance of larriage, by the naee of P/pa, for vhoe he conceded by treaty part of Pannonia Inferior to her father, the king of the Marcocanni, 2, Vict, Cees, XXXIII.6, ickert, RE 'Licinius', 355; A1fldi CAM XII I 219; Altheim, Soldatenkaiser (1939), 188 & 3, 204; De Regibus 1 Monarch/a Mi//tare di Gailieno (1939), 22f; Nanni, Inpero di 6allieno (1949), 21f & 26; De Slois, Policy of the (aperor a1Iienus (1976), 4 n,13 & 34, 4, Alfldi CAN XII, 158ff; De Blois, Policy of 6ailienus, 4 & n, 12, who believes the raid was
Marcoannic, -198-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


It is possible that the revolt had been triggered by news of Valerian's death, which would mean that this burden and the secession of the Gallic Empire should be added to the list of the emperor's woes 1 . Quite simply, the emperor could not be everywhere at once. Even with Aureolus acting

independently to put down the revolt of Ingenuus'-, events were moving too fast for imperial forces to keep pace. The revolt of [ngenuus had been symptomatic of a deep dissatisfaction inside Pannonia with the emperor's preoccupations elsewhere. Hot on the heels of Ingenuus' demise came a

second pretender, Regalianus, bearing the same grievances as his predecessor. These stemmed from a deep-rooted fear of the trans-Danubian tribes, which had never truly ceased to trouble the empire s . De Blois believes that the threat of invasion was the spark that ignited both the rebellions at this time4 . Gallienus could not afford to be continually looking over his

shoulder for the next Pannonian conflagration, nor did he have enough leeway to mount a trans-Danubian expedition, yet he had to make some move to pacify the Pannonian populace while he worked to stabilise the empire-wide crisis. The agreement with Attalus was part of the solution. It was probably a short-term measure designed to stabilise the situation until he could effect a thorough reorganisation of the province s , though it may have had more lasting consequneces. At any rate, the province remained relatively

untroubled for the rest of his reign.

I, Alfldi,
2. Zon,



1I.24, 3 Alfoldi, CA/III, 181; MOcsy, Pannonia, 198f ch,V: Auxilia, p,2lff, 4, De Blois, Policy of Gallienus, 4ff 5, Made circa 262, cf, Alfldi, CAM XII, 186 & chh,VI & X Vexillationes, p145 p.232 for references, 199-

& Viri Militares,

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


De Blois saw in Gallienus' actions a policy of barbarian alliances (albeit an opportunistic one), and sought to extend it to cover his relations with Palmyra 1 . However, it seems clear that the situation in the east was not one of the emperor's making. Gallienus was never in any positon to challenge the authority of the Palmyrene king, and could do little but cloak the fact of Palmyra's supremacy in the guise of Roman clientship. The implication of Roman officials in the assassination of Odaenathus probably reflects the bitterness of Roman authority towards the situation it was forced to endure. That it was Palmyra which eventually chose to drop the pretence only serves to illustrate where the strength lay in the assoc1ation. The agreements of Gallienus were individual treaties made at a time when the empire was under its greatest strain. They seem to have been extraordinary measures in response to equally extraordinary circumstances, and were probably never intended as permanent or even long-term solutions. Once the empire had regained its balance, the agreements we see being made by Gallienus' successors have returned to the position of strength from which Marcus Aurelius was bargaining. Claudius and Probus are credited with bringing large numbers of Gothic tribesmen and Vandals onto Imperial soil. Some are seen to have settled peacefully, while others are depicted as breaking faith and ravaging the empire4 . Since both events occur equally in the work of individual ancient writers, we can discount any suspicion of political bias, though how much later Roman thinking colours their

1, De Blois, Policy of 6i1ienus 34f, 2, Zos, 1 . 39; S/IA Val, IV 2-4, Gail, X'1-8, Trig, Tyt, 111 . 946; Alfldi, CANXII, 174ff,

XV .


& XXX'6; CISem, II 3971; BG(J

3, Zos, 1 46 2; S/IA Claud, IX 4-7; S/IA Prob, XV.2-4, 4, Zos, 1 71 2; S/IA Prob, XV1II1-4, -200-

M,C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


interpretation of events remains a moot point. It would seem that from the late second century barbarian migrations, prompted by pressure from the north and east 1 , brought individual tribes across the borders of the empire in search of a place to live. Whether they were granted i-eceptio depended heavily upon the individual circumstances of both tribe and emperor, and more often than not they were turned back, becoming yet another raiding party in the catalogue of invasions that colour the third century. Only when it was to the empire's advantage was such settlement allowed, and at times, as with all human decisions, the emperor could get it wrong. These barbarians were seen as another potential source of 'ethnic' manpower, and were treated as such, yet their recruitment was piecemeal and opportunistic2. Not even under Gallienus was there any systematic attempt by the empire to create a body of foederati. That would come later.

I, cf, Alfldi, C/1XII, Cap, III: 'The Barbarian Background'1 96ff. 2, Alfldi, CQH XII, 218 is wrong when he speaks of the lasting effects of barbarians upon the army, We have seen that Germanic dress (namely trousers) were adopted for reasons of convenience (ch,IV:


p,lGff), and there is absolutely no evidence for the adoption of any other Germanic

customs during the century, The


of Caracalla may have continued serving as an 'ethnic' unit

following that emperor's death, and seem to have retained their privileged status, though this is no more indicitive of the 'barbarisation' of Roman emperors than the presence of boors within the Guard, I agree with Speidel that their continuation is more likely than disbandment, but his suggestion that they returned to Germany and survived there as a unit to be re-recruited by Naximian 50 years later is too far-fetched to be credible, It is far more likely that they remained within the empire, to be

incorporated into the barbarian auxilia after its creation by Constantine: Speidel, 'Ethnic Units', V . 26171 : VII . 65 & ,%'f, Oc, Her, Dig, LXIIX . 64 226f; Dio LXIVIII . 5, & V . 4 8; I.XXX 45; y. 27 : 172 : VII . 19; On the Moors cf, ch,II:

Contra ColitatuR,


20 1-


C3 Army


TI-i Off icr





The rise of the


into posts previously reserved for senators is a

phenomenon of the third century which has prompted great debate. So much has been achieved since Keyes produced his seminal work on the subject' that few questions can still be asked 0 and even fewer permit answers. All that remains is to reiterate old arguments and bring together relevant strands in the tapestry of our understanding; confirming what we do know and highlighting what we do not. Some aspects of the debate retain interesting angles of approach. Where enough information survives, I have tried to fill these gaps. Furthermore, I deemed it useful to combine the evidential material provided by Keyes, Petersen, Malcus and Gilliam into one homogeneous whole upon which a full study could be based 2 . Most of the material

tabulated under the title Provincial Governors has been drawn from these four sources, as well as from the Prosopography of Iones and Mart indale. Likewise, the analyses of this material merely echo what has gone before. Only in the analysis of vexillary commands, and the incorporation of duces into the picture, does this chapter take up threads that have not been unpicked previously. As with so much in the third century, a pivotal position is occupied by the emperor Gallienus. Aurelius Victor, in two celebrated passages, claimed

1, Keyes 1 The Rise of the Equites, Princeton (1915), 2, Keyes, op. cit.; Petersen, 'Governors in the C3', IRS 45 (1955), 47-57; Halcus, 'Systme Administratif', Opuscula Rosana 7 (1969), 213-237; Gilliam, 'Governor5 of Syria Code', Roeeii Army

Papers (1986),


A/Phil 79(1958), 225-242; all collected in table YM 1: -202-

Provincial 6overnors,

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

that he incensed the senators "by the outrage done to their order, since .....
fearing their indolence and wishing to pass power onto the best of the nobility, he barred the senate from military service and access to the
army. "

This 'edict' could have been revoked under Tacit us had not the

senators been so apathetic. As it was, they missed their chance. In the past, the 'edict' has been taken to indicate imperial antipathy towards the senate. Gallienus, like Septirnius Severus, was seen to have resented senatorial opposition to his reign, and sought support among the equestrian classes. It was thought that he deliberately replaced senators with equites in key military positions, and even sought to deny the senate a role in provincial government 3 . Such a view is no longer tenable. A quick glance at the material compiled by Petersen and Gilliam proves that senators remained in control of three times as many provinces as those given over to equestrians by Gallienus4 , while the whole notion of an anti-senatorial policy has come into question. From the start, the concept of imperial enmity towards the senate has been based on shaky foundations, drawn as it was from the anti-imperial tradition of the histories 5 . These reflected the hostility of the senate, both contemporary and subsequent, towards an emperor deemed to have

1, Vict, Caes, XXXIII'33-34: ft patres quidee, preeter coesune Rocani orbis ia/ui, stiau/abat proprii ordinis contuielia, quia priaws ipse (Ga/i/anus), iett.' socordiae suae, ie iiperiu. ad opt/sos nobiliva transferre fur, senutu. ill/flu ye tuft ci adire exercitui,
2, Vici, Cues, XXVII'5-7, 3, Alfldi, CAM XII (1939), 183f; Den Boer, Lou H/nor Rosan Historians (1972), 7Sf; Homo, 'Galijen et la crise', Rev, Mist, (1913), 250ff & 257ff, and 'Privileges administratives du snat',

Rev, Mist, (1921), 197ff; Jones 1

51. 4, cf,
table YM 1:

Later Rouan Lap/re (1964), 24; Nannl, L'iupero di 6'aiiieno, (1949),

Provincial Governors and table YM 4: Survey Re5uIfs,

5. Alfldi, 223ff discusses this at length,


M.C.Ibejl: C3 Army.

Viri. Militares

deprived senators of their traditional rights 1 . As such, they attest the strength of senatorial feeling against the prince, but they do not naturally indicate a reciprocal animosity from his person. De Blols has pointed out that Gallienus enjoyed personal friendships with several senators and drew around himself a cultured coterie2 . In fact, apart from the testimony of Victor, there is nothing in the histories to substantiate a theory of hatred. True, Gallienus faced several revolts early in his reign, either by senators or with senatorial support, but there is no indication in the sources of purges similar to those of Septimius Severus4. Even had there been, equestrians would have featured prominently in the death toll. The idea that the senate opposed the autocracy of the

while the equites benefitted from an unholy alliance, is a fantasy belied by the facts. In a study of the first two centuries AD, Brunt has established that equites were implicated in as many plots as were senators, and both classes equally paid the price of failure s . The same is true of the third century. To illustrate the point, we need look no further than the reign of Gellienus himself.


Victor and the 8/14 vilify Gallienus, while at the same time evincing disdain for the

5enatorial forefathers who forfeited their power, Here they must be voicing the general feeling among the senators of their day, harking back to lost glories: cf, Ilalcus, 'Systme administratif', 215f, Vici, Cats, XXXIII . 31 & 34 tells of the persecution of Gallienus' family and friends after the news of his death, a chilling testimony to the anti-imperial feeling among the senators of the day It is also worth noting that while the Latin (senatorial) tradition generally excoriates the unfortunate emperor, the independent Greek tradition prai5es him as cultured and humane: cf, Alfldi, bc, cit. (above, n,5), 2, Dc

3, Alfldl, C4/IXII, 184ff De

Blois, Policy of the Eapero 6ailieiws (1976), 58, Blois, 82,

4, And it is doubtful whether, following these purges, Severus himself had anything more to fear from the senate, Indeed, the purges themselves were indicative of the dominant position of the emperor: cf, ch,IV: Legiones, p.86, 5, Brunt, 'Princeps and Equites', IRS 73 (1983), 63ff,


M.C.Ibe.Ji: 03 Army.

Viri Militares

Equestrians actually outnumbered senators at the head of the rebellions which followed Valerian's capture. There can be little doubt about Callistus 'Ballista', prime instigator of the eastern revolt, or about L. Musslus Aemilianus, the praefectus Aegypti who joined it 1 . The Prefect of Egypt was, by definition, an equestrian, and it must be significant that Ballista did not have the prestige to claim the purple for himself, but was forced to rely on the Macriani. It would seem by this that he was an obscure equestrian who could only achieve the Praetoriari Prefecture through rebellion 2 . T. Fulvius Macrianus himself was possibly of equestrian stock. A confusion of titles are attributed to him, which Alfldi interpreted to mean Quartermaster General 3 . As Jones and Martthdale correctly assumed, he was most likely designated 'a rationibus', which, according to Pfleuin, was one of the most prestigious posts in the equestrian cursus. It is worth noting that he deemed it prudent to pass the purple over himself in favour of his sons, on the grounds of physical infirinitys. The situation in the west is more confused. The two Pannonian usurpers, Irigenuus and Regalianus were probably senators. Ingenuus was definitely the governor of a Pannonian province 6 , and the likelihood is that Regalianus was the same 7 . Epigraphic testimony suggests that Pannonla was ruled by

1, Alfldi,

CAM XII, 17211,

Ballista Is known only as


who emerged after the


disastrous capture of Valerian to fight a successfull guerrilla campaign against the Persians: Va!, IV'4,

Trig, Tyr,

XII'l; Zonaras XII.23,

2, Though it is possible that he was PPO of Valerian: S//A XIV . 1 & XVIII . 13; Zon, XI1'24, 3, Alfldi, S//A

Gall, 1 . 2-3

& 111 . 2,

Trig, Tyr, XII,

frag, 159;



Mist, Fcc!, VII . IO . 5-6;

Petrus Patricius

Exc, de sent,

Trig, Tyr, XII 1; Zon, 4, PLREMacrianus2;

5, Alfldi, 6, 7,

XII.24, Pflaum,

Proc, Eq., 294, Mist, Fcc!, VI1'1O'8-9 Zon, XII'24; $84 Tr/g, Tyr, XII4-12, Alfldi, 184; Vict, Cacs, XXXIII'2 quei curantei Pannonio S//A Tr/g, Tyr, IX.I, Alfaldi, bc, cit.; S//A Trig, Tyr, 1 . 1 & 9, This refers to dux and ducatiia1 but given
bc, c/f,;



S//4'5 propensity to borrow terms from its own time, I am disinclined to credit it without independent support, 205-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

equestrian praefectl while Gallienus was in power 1 yet this can hardly apply at the instant of his accession. Regalianus was married to Sulpicla Dryantilla, the daughter of an important senatorial gens, and is most likely to have been a senator himself. If this was the case, the province was still under senatorial control at that time. No confusion exists over Aureolus, who rebelled in 267 and was possibly the most favoured and influential of Gallienus'


Yet debate

still surrounds the man in whose name he turned against the emperor: M. Cassianius Latinius Postumus. Postumus was probably of humble origins and rose through a military career to an important command in Gaul 4 . This command had obvious military undertones, yet its nature is unclear. Victor says: barbaris per Gafliam praesidebat; Zosimus calls him &pv and the
Historla Augusta

claims he was: Transrhenani limitis dux et Galliae praesess.

He seems to have been subordinate to Silvanus, the tuotor of Gallienus' son Salonthus, who directed the government of the Rhine provinces in his name. Drinkwater thinks that he acted as the military counterbalance to SilvanusG, If this was the case, he is likely to have held a special command, such as
dux Transrhenani limitis,

rather than the provincial governorship which

Alfldi and Drinkwater think he possessed. Such a command would have matched the nature, if not the prestige, of Silvanus' position. On the other hand, if Silvanus gained influence merely from his post as tutor to

I 111 . 4564; III'3424

1L5545: 111 . 15156; but cf, Petersen, 51 nn,60 & 65 contra.

2, Alfldi, bc, c/f, (above, n,1), 3, His career as given in 4, Eutropius


shall suffice,

Rrev, IX9,

5, Vict, Cues, XXXIII . 8; Zos, I'38'2;

Trig, Tvr,


6, Alfldi, CA/I XII, 185: Drinkwater, The 6uliic (spire, Hi5tor(u 52(1987), 25,


M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

Saloninus, it is possible that Postumus was simply a praeses provinc1ae and that the former had no official counterweight. A third possibility is that Postumus was a dux or praeposltus In command of an exercitua campaigning on the Rhine. This is the option which I favour for several reasons. First, despite their confusion, the sources are unamimous in their belief that Postumus held a military command. This command brought him into

conflict with Silvanus over the matter of some booty, an isolated incident over which Post umus took the side of his soldiers'. The incident was a catalyst for widespread disaffection with Silvanus' mode of government, and it was his position as commander of the troops involved in the dispute which transformed Postumus into the figurehead of the rebellion. In other words, Postumus was proclaimed Gallic Emperor in opposition to the legitimate government almost by default. This, at rock bottom, is the general consensus of the histories, Secondly, the military bias in the material suggests strongly that Postumus was a career officer. Hints of humble origins and heavy emphasis on the man's military prowess are the standard indicators of an equestrian career made in the army. If this was the case, it is highly unlikely that Postumus would have been made praees of a German province, since both provinces appear to have remained senatorial until late in the third century2 . Finally, the sources are completely silent on the nature of Silvanus' command, other than to name him as the guardian of Saloninus. This makes me loth to invest him with an important and prestigious official position against which Postumus could have been the counterwei8ht, though I

1, Alfldi, bc, cit.; Eutropius IX'9; Epit, XXXII'3; Zos, 1.38.2, 2, cf, table YM1: Provincial Goveppors,


Sail, IV . 3, Trig, Typ, II1 2-4; Vict, Caes, XXXIII'8,


M.C.Ibeji C3 Army.

Viri Militares

will concede that both men may have held unofficial influence. In view of these points 1 I am most ready to believe that Fostumus was an equestrian officer who held some important military position coinbatting barbarian incursions on the Rhine. If he was a senator, it can only have been through adlection (unless we discount Eutropius' statement), and will have followed a successful career in the army. All but one of these men rebelled at the start of Gallienus' reign, providing him with ample reason to distrust equestrians as much as he may have distrusted senators. Such considerations have prompted some historians to doubt the credibility of Victor's statement. Arnheim and de Regibus believe the edict to be a fictional device 1 , while a critique by Malcus has indicated that the sources Victor drew upon were not entirely trustworthy2. Victor produced the
Historlae abbreviatae

between 358 and 36O, and was

heavily influenced by the predjudices of resurgent paganism centred around the emperor Julian4 . For his earlier history, he used an anonymous source which he shared in common with Eutropius and possibly the Historia

Where these could not help, it seems likely that he filled the gaps himself. His account is loaded with moral ,judgements culled from his own time, and makes several elementary mistakes which cast grave doubt on his independent

I, Ce Regibus, 'Decadenza del senato',

Aft! Ac, Lig,

IX'l (1953), 234ff points out that Victor's

is the only testimony we have of such an edici Arriheim, that ii was a device of Victor's to explain gradual changes. 2, Malcus, 'Systme administratif', 214ff.

Senatorial Aristocracy (1972),

37 suggests

3, He met Julian at Sirmium in 361: Malcus, 315; ed, Dufraigne, p,xi, 4, On Julian, cf, Browning,



Csars (1975),


361, and made such an impression that he was appointed 5, On this subject cf,

The Eaperor Julia,, (1975), esp, cap, 9, Victor met Julian late in preeses Pannoniae SecundaL Browning, 120, Introduction, p4ff, The common use of a taisergesc/,ichteby Victor and

Euiropius seems to me proven, but I am not convinced it was known to the 6, Malcus,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army. trustworthiness.

Viri Militares The 'edict' could be discounted were it not patently

obvious from the epigrephic record that a great change had taken place. Malcus shows the way forward. He admits that some kernel of truth must exist within Victor's story, if only to explain the hatred of the senate towards the emperor, and it was linked in some way to the increasing importance of the equestrian class. Yet senators still held military commends under Gallienus, and were never properly excluded from provincial government with all the military responsibilities that implied 1 . He posits that Gallienus did not exclude senators from military life, but instead opened the way for the equestrian class to enter those offices which had previously been the sole preserve of the senate 2 . The exclusion of the senate became a de facto affair as senators lost posts for which they no longer held much competence to the eager, career-conscious equites (promoted, of course, by the emperor). By the time Aurelius Victor was writing, the split had become as rigid as law. Gallienus did not pass a negative edict agathst the senate, but created a positive one in favour of the equites3. Eric Birley pointed out long ago that a military career was no longer an essential prerequisite for senatorial advancement 4 . More recently, de Blols has added substance to this by establishing a trend in senatorial curricula

I, T, Flavius Postumius Yarus and C, lulius Sallustius Saturninus Fortunatianus were both


under Gallienus; though it is worth noting that they were simultaneously

Jegutus legatiis AugiI5ti pro

praetore Nalcus, 'Systme administratif', 226 & 228, citing VIl'95 = RIB 1764 &

ILS 2413. Note also

that praefecti legionis were technically subordinate to the provincial governor: Malcus, 227, 2, Malcus, 216, 3, Ii is possible that he simply employed equestrians without legislating, Nowhere does Victor explicitly mention an edict, this is simply an assumption of modern historians, Since these governors were the personal appointees of the emperor, legislation was not a prerequisite of the change 4, E, Birley, 'Senators in the Emperor's Service', PBA3( (1953), 207f, 209-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

away from military posts and into an increasing number of civil appointments, which may not simply be a trick of the extant material 1 . In essence, it would seem that most senators held the bare minimum they could get away with in military terms, and that as the third century progressed, this requirement diminished. The last pure Laetinianus at Caerleon in the
25062. Two legatus leglanis

was Vitulasius



postdate him in the

reign of Gallienus, but both held their posts in conjunction with the provincial governorship; a point to which I shall return 3 . More indicative of senatorial attitudes were the last senators to hold the military tribunate. lunius Tiberianus was Balsamius Sabl.nianus was

leg. X Geminae

under Decius4 , and P. Both were minors. was a

trib. inil. laticlavius



The essential fact to note is that the post of

tribunus laticlavius

sinecure long before Gallienus came on the scene. Indeed, de Blois lists a series of inscriptions from the collection of Dessau which show senators pursuing careers with no military posts whatsoever, most of which predate the edict6. By the

therefore, the senate would seem to have abdicated its

military responsibilities in favour of civilian careers. Campbell made the point that the most prestigious posts in the senatorial

had long been and

the least active ones militarily. In the second century, Syria, Spain

1, De Blois, Policy of 6allienus 68ff & 72ff, 2, RIB 334 & ILS 537; leg, leg, II Aug. 3, Varus and Fortunatianu5, given above, p.209 n,1,

4, 111 . 4558 & p.23284 5, 111.8571, 6, Os Blois, 70 n,197,


M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.

Virl. Militares

Britain, relatively peaceful unless the emperor chose to campaign in the area, were the provinces most sought after by senators1. The real prestige was to be gained in the Eternal City Itself2. The senate was becoming less suitable and less enthusiastic for military command. Part of the problem may have been a steady reduction in the numbers of born senators eligible to take on available posts. De Blois believes that the pool of senators was shrinking even as the number of vexillations and other units they were required to lead expanded3. If this was the case, it will have been another contributory factor to their decreasing significance in the militia. This is not, however, the whole story. In the procuratorial service, a precedent already existed where equestrian officers impinged on areas technically under the jurisdiction of the senate. By the second century, procurators were found exercising legal powers within imperial estates4. In general, this was only fiscal jurisdiction, and while they could usurp extralegal powers when dealing with privati or even in criminal cases, such action was only possible where the case arose out of fiscal claims (disputes between the fiscus and privati, and hearings over the sequestration of goods pertaining to capital charges)5. The procuratorial service was expanded by the Seven, and much of the power mentioned above was given their official

1, Campbell 'Who were the 2, Campbell, 27, 3, De Blois, Policy of

yin silitaresV, .IRS 65 (1975),





68, I am not entirely convinced, As we shall see,

equestrians were equally able to command vexillations, even prior to Marcus Aurelius. and 5enators were never required to lead auxiliary units or praetorian troops, Nor were they required for the new legions of Septimius Severus, which were placed under the command of equestrian p216, For the growth of vexx, cf, ch,VI:


cf, below,


4, Millar, 'Imperial Procurators: Further Evidence',

5, MIllar, locc,



H/stan/a 14(1965), Roaa,', lipenial T/ieies (1990), 169ff,



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

yin. Militares

sanction'. Significantly, appeals in such fiscal cases were directed over the head of the governor to the emperor himself, though this decision was reversed by Severus Alexander. Yet, despite the dismantling by Alexander and Gordian of several Severan measures regarding procurators, their right to hear fiscal cases seems to have become Of importance here is the timing.

de Jur.
Equestrians in the procuratorial

service were operating outside their legitimate sphere of influence long before these activities were given the sanction of law. When Severus

created a series of new sexagenariate posts, there was no lack of equestrians ready to fill them 4 . The equestrian class was willing and eager to undertake any job the emperor might provide, arid to exploit it to the full. In the military sphere it was well suited to the task. Jarrett's work on Africa has much to tell in this respect, for he has shown that as military service came to involve more fighting, recruitment of equestrian officers shifted into the militanised areas. Simultaneously,

equites from the

more civilian localities entered the equestrian service at the level of

advocatus fisci and pursued a 'civilian' career5.

A dichotomy was forming, between military men and civilians. Jarrett's African material emphasises the parallel between the equestrian cursus and the senatorial


this respect. Where they differ is that senators still had

legitimate areas of non-military advancement, whereas ambitious

equites were

ever more forced to rely on the army as their ladder to power. Even as the

1, Pflaum, 2, Brunt, 3, 4,

Les Procuratelr5 Equestres (1950), 176, Brunt, bc, cit. Pflaum, bocc, cit t,

90ff; Brunt,

Theaes, 171 & 18211,

5, Jarrett, 'African Contribution to the Imperial Equestrian Service',

Historia 12(1963), 225

2 12-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

proportion of ex-centurlon procurators remained no more than 25% throughout the second and third centuries, men from the Prinilpilate could realistically aspire to high office if they remained in the army and proved their worth in the equestrian cursus militiae 1 , In one celebrated case, a man actually accepted a demotion so that he could switch to a military career 2 . Men with military experience were becoming valuable. Campbell tells us of the men under Marcus Aurelius who were frequently re-posted at times of crisis to positions on the northern frontier where they had firsthand experience, He comments on the sense of the move, and we can only concur 3 . In the midthird century, the men with the experience were equestrian yin mill

I do not want to get bogged down in definitions. That a number of excenturions can be found rising via the Primipilate into posts of military responsibility is a fact of the third century.
praefecti cestrorum

They became tribunes,

and preepositi vexillationum. Eventually, they took over

command of certain legions and provinces, and some advanced even further4. Certain of them gained the title protector, though discussion of its meaning must waite . They were ambitious, experienced 1 and quite ready to fill the vacuum left by the senate's indifference. At the same time other equestrian officers with no record of service in the ranks can be found advancing into similar posts. Yet even these seem to have pursued a predominantly

I, Brunt 1 'Princeps and Equites', IRS 73 (1983), 48f; Gage,


CJasse5 Sociaies (1954),


2, III 6075; Pflaum, 3,

Soldier and CiviIiai Procuratew's, 261; MacMullen, bc, cit, Campbell, ' y in ailitares', 22, In the same vein 1 Severu5

would seem to have posted a

procurator skilled in intelligence work to northern Britain in preparation for the Scottish campaign; the man eventually became PPO of Caracalla: Rankov, 'II, Oclatiniu5 Adventus in Britain', (1987), 243ff, 4, Pflaum, 'Procurator', RE col, 1278; Domaszewski, Rangondnung (1967), 81; Gage, bc, cit, Nagy, 'Aelius Aelianus', Kilo 46(1965), 339ff; a handful of examples will suffice: Marianus VI1636 Mucianus 4E1908,259 = 1159479; Volusianus XI'1836 = /151332; cf, also AE1968,413 & 5, cf, ch,XI:

Britannic IS



M.C.Ibe.ii: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

military career. Few of the equestrians named in the Provincial Governors survey give a record of earlier posts held. All who do had seen active military service, and most had no other posts to speak of 1 . While not yin militares in the strictest sense of the term, these were military men in that they exhibited a tacit recognition of the value to be gained by experience in the army. For these men, a conjunction of circumstances was to make their services invaluable, for the senate seems to have retreated from military affairs at precisely the time (and possibly because) the empire entered a state of virtually endemic warfare2. The militarisat ion of the equites was a gradual process throughout the first half of the third century. Its roots must lie partly in the growing importance of vexillatlons. The tradition that legions should remain under the command of senators was never a hard and fast rule 3 . Experienced

would sometimes be called upon to command substantial legionary

detachments. We know of one man who was put in command of nine vexillations from different named legions, and who later went on to command an exercitus In Africa under Vespasian 4 . At times of emergency, it seems that veteran military men were a precious commodity, regardless of their class. This was never more true than during the wars of Marcus Aurelius.

I, Table YM 1: Statilius Ammianus was

preef, dee,

111 . 90



C, Iul,Priscus


pruep, vexx, & praep, leg, prior to becoming proc. prov, vice pracs,, VI 1638; Aur, Valentinus was trib, Batavorua, AE,1900 1 169; Flavius Aper was preep, vexx,, 111 . 15156, AE,1936,53,54 & 57 Fl, Val, Constantius was protector et trib,, Excerpt, Pales, I . 2 an anonymous preeses ee,', Sup, was Ypruef, a/ce et praef, ye/ic,, VI . 1641; Sabinius Timesitheus was preef, co/i,, In all the above mentioned
cases, the entire known career prior to the governorship, both military and civilian, is cited,

2, Dc Blois, Policy of Gallienus, 60ff; CAHXII (1939), chapters 2,6 & 9, 3, Saxer, Vexillationen, Ep, $tuo I (1967), 120ff 4. C, Velius Rufus, priasus p1/us of Leg, XII Pu/a, and later trib, co/i, XIII 1/rb,, E,1903,368 cf, also X'5829 = 1LS2726; and possibly Y1.3505, 2 14-

M.C,Ibejl: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

Marcu8 relied on vexillatlons heavily. Circumstance had cursed him with such a chronic shortage of manpower that he was forced to use any means at his disposal, regardless of the traditional niceties'. He enlisted Italians into two new legions 2 , he dragged vexillatlons from all over the empire to fight his wars and defend his borders 3 , and in three cases he ignored precedent to place equestrians in command of legionary forces 4 . Nor was this simply the customary transferral of command into the hands of capable primipili The men whom Marcus chose were equites from the procure tela. Two of them, Ti. Plautius Ferruntianus and L. lulius lulianus, had both been praeIectus alee and tribunus militum In between procuratorial posts, and had a wealth of military experience 5 . The third seems to have been the

Procurator of the province involved, acting vice legati in nominal command of the unit, though actual command in fact rested with another praefectus alae named


the same inscription 6 . The break is clear and dramatic. Marcus

had ceased limiting the command of legionaries to senators and veteran centurions. Presumably, he had no-one else he could rely on. All his other commanders must have been tied down. Yet he needed more troops with reliable men in charge of them. The very range of his actions speaks

volumes for the pressure he was under. Ferruntianus, for instance, was withdrawn from a Tribunate in Moesia to lead part of III Augusta out of


Ritterling, RE 1427 &

1449; Parker,

Rosan Legions (1928),

166; cf, chh,V1, IV &


Vexillationes p. 138ff, Legione5 & Auxilia

2, II1'1980 Dio LV . 24; Ritterling, 13001; Salmon, 'Army and Disintegration',

Trans, R, Soc,

Canada 52

III 11(1958), 52, 3, 111 . 14433; VI'31856 AE,I888,66; VI1I'619 =

11,52747; AE1910,l61; AE,1920,45; Parker, 168;

'exiIJationen, 124,

4, VI'31856 AE,1888,66; VIII'6I9 = 1LS2747; AE1910,5, 5, VI'31856 & YII1'619 above, 6, A1910,5 from Villalis in Spain. 215-

M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.

yin Militares

Africa against the Marcomanni! In another instance, a centurlo frumentarius from Egypt was put in commend of a garrison force in Dalmatia, drawn from the new Italian legions'. This broke with further tradition, that centurions (as opposed to primipili) only be placed in command of vexillations from their own unit 2 . Both practices continued under Commodus3. Marcus had established a new precedent. Members of the procuratorial service were now eligible for legionary command. The next logical step was to be taken by Septimius Severus who, on his creation of the Parthian legions, did not place senatorial legati in command, but instead put them under equestrian praefectL C. lulius Pacatlanus, the procurator of Osrhoene, was probably the original commander of the first legion created 4 . He was well qualified for the post, having served his time in the equestrian tres
militiae ('...militiis


prior to the procuratio. Above

all else, his appointment must have been a matter of expediency. Severus wanted to make a settlement of the eastern frontier, but he had more pressing problems to attend to 5 . Alblnus was massing troops in the west, with strong senatorial support s . Severus had to respond and, like Marcus before him, he could not afford to detach any of his available officers to an

Cor/cor5, the cognac/na of II Tralana was fortis' Webster, Pocan leper/al Arty (1979), Marcus' Italian legions, The cognosen of
I, lIl'1980 ILS 2287; the vexx, were from Legg, 11 Pta ef II!

lb. 2, This rule was bent in ju5t one case prior to 161, where an H, julius Cossutus is found making a dedication to Herculius Saxanus on behalf of units from Yl V/ctr/x (his legion), A Gee/na, IV!!

Pricigenia plus the alae and cohortes attached to them,

3, AE,1910,161, 4, XII . 1856
ILS 1353.

The whole force was in fact s(Lth)


Acut(io), whose rank is not given: XlII 7715; 7716 & 7697 (Brohi, Germany),

5, Miller, CAM XII, 9f, 6, Miller, 10ff,

-2 16-

M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

eastern command. Yet a new legion was under recruitment in preparation for the future and needed a commanding off icer. Since it had become politically advisable to relinquish Rome's direct claim to Osrhoene 3 , the obvious candidate for the post was the now redundant, and militarily competent, procurator of that province. Once he had made the decision to place the legion under equestrian command, Severus apparently saw no reason to reverse it when the crisis was over. Inertia cannot be a full explanation, for the other Parthian legions, recruited later, were arranged along similar lines. Two of them were placed in the new province of Mesopotamia, itself governed by an equestrian 4 . Yet the standard assumptions of antipathy towards the senate are not in themselves entirely satisfactory. As I have argued earlier 6 , Severus had eradicated all active senatorial opposition by AD 198; those who remained either supported him, were indifferent to him 1 or were afraid of him 6 . Nor had the senators yet begun to abdicate their responsibilities, so the whole answer does not lie here either 7 . It must be a complex mix of all these

1, The vast majority can be placed with certainty in command of units against Albinus: X5178, 5398 & El985,332; AE,1890,82; ILS 2935; PIR 2 C 823, Of tho5e who cannot, one was occupied in Africa with Dacian detachments, cf, AE,1977,858 & YII 5349,7978; while the other commanded detachments from Italy against the Parthians in 197 (A1926,79), and was

praepositus vexiIlatioIli5 perinthi per

The argument is somewhat


prior to this, VI.1408,

2, cf, ch,IY:


for a full discussion of the chronology,

circular, due to the sparsity of the evidence, but makes sense in context, It assumes that Plommsen is correct In his theory that the legion number on XII . 1856 has been omitted because the other two Parthian legions are not yet in existence; but cf, Murphy, Philadelphia diss, (1945), 66 for an argument against this, 3, Miller, CAHXII, 10, 4, 111 . 99; VIII'20996 XIV'3626 Dio LXIVIII'13 . 4 all show equestrian commanders of the Parthian legions: Keyes, Sep flilus

Severus hoe Inscriptions,

Equites, 30ff,

For the governor of Mesopoiamia cf, Keyes, 30: Kennedy, 2PE36 (1979),

255ff identifies the first known governor as Ti, Claudius Sabutianus Aquila, 5, cf, ch,IV:

Legiones, p86, Severus XIII . 1-7;

Miller, AH XII, 15,

6, Oio LXXV'8 Herodian III . 8'6-8 SM

7, It is worth noting that all the men referred to in note I above were senators, Excluding Pacatianus, only 2 equestrians are know to have recieved extensive military commands from Severus, both In AD 193: AE,1944,80; A1971,476, 217-

M.C.Ibejl: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

possibilities. We have already seen that Severus expanded the procuratorial service and gave it a wider range of legal powers (above p). He also opened up the equestrian service to men from the ranks, granting principales the right to wear the gold ring'. These were measures designed to give the equestrian order greater experience of government and increase recruitment into it. Keyes has established an increase in the use of imperial procurator'es vice praesidum arising out of Severus' measures, which paved the way for equestrian praesides later in the century 2 and illustrated the active role equestrians had begun to take in the administration of the empire. As Miller put It 3 , Severus set in motion a 'systematic' unification of imperial administration through the displacement of senators by equestrian officers, and accelerated a process which had begun in the early Principate4. His reasons for doing so must have been part fear -- a desire not to return to the system which had created the chaos of the 190s -- and a partial reluctance to rock the boat. Equestrians were faring well in the commands they had been given. More men were required to restore order throughout the empire after the upheavals of the civil war, and the equites were ready to hand. Severus was above all a practical man. The practical thing to do was to make use of them and ensure that there were enough of them to do the job. The long-term consequences of his actions may never have occurred to him. These consequences had a knock-on effect. The procuratorial service was

1, Miller, CAHXII, 16; Birley, 'Severus and the Roman p ray', Ep, Stid, 8 (1969), 75f for a full discussion of the evidence, The earliest dated instance he cites is 111 . 3237 from AD 212, 2, Keyes, Equite5, 4ff, 3, Miller, 26, 4, For the best dicussion of the earlier part of this process, cf, Brunt, 'Princeps and Equites' 218-

not exploited to its full potential till the reign of the first 'soldier emperor'; who had achieved the purple through a prestigious equestrian career 1 . Keyes showed that the Seven used procuratorial


Dada had two under Severus and Caracal].a, but Keyes himself warned that Dacia was a special case 2 . Severus Alexander seems to have preferred senators to equestrians, as did Septiniius Severus In the early part of his reign 3 . In only one case can a Severan procurator outside Dada be found acting

praesidis4 . Vicar-li caine Into their own following the death of

Severus Alexander 5 , Men such as Timesltheus and C. tulius Priscus were imperial favourites employed extensively throughout the empire 6 . ordinary cases of
procurator-es vices praesidum


underwent an explosion

between 235 and 25O. In the military sphere, no senatorial


are recorded after 217, though the use of vexillations

increased6. Onto this scene came Gallienus. His actions In the five years preceding his sole reign illustrate an intuitive grasp of the importance of the

I, Maxielnus Thrax, Cf. Ensslin, 2, Keyes,


XII, Ch, II, 72,

(quites 5 & lOf,

In the third century, Dacia consisted of three 'provinces' under one

governor, Each individual province had a procurator, of which the procurator of Dacia Apulensis acted

vice legati

in the absence of the legate,

3, Keyes, 5 N9s 1,5 & 6; also Keyes, 7, 4, Keyes, 5 N2 2, 5, Keyes 1 5ff, 6, XIII 1807; VI 1638; Keyes, 5 NQs 7 & 11, Timesitheus was a form of financial troubleshooter used extensively by Maximinus and Gordian III, He was eventually made Praetorian Prefect in 241 and exercised


control over the running of the empire till his death two years later: Ensslin,

85ff, Priscus was the brother of the emperor Philip, and recieved appointrients accordingly: Ensslin, 87, 7, Keyes, 6ff, Fully two thirds of his procuratorial material dates after 235, The remaining,

Severan, material has already been discussed in the text above, 8, In chronological order: 11 . 484 111 . 3228; AE1934,193 5223; AE,1935,164;

ILS 1372;

Q(,1978,44O; VI'1638; 1908,259

ILS 8870

E,1936,53,54 & 57

9479 =

I6RR III481: 1611R I'1496;

only the first three date prior to Gallienus, Cf. also ch,VI



M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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equites. Campaigning in Gaul, he began to draw around himself a circle of

talented equestrian officers capable of independent action, on whom he could rely to conduct a war successfully in his absence'. Foremost among these was Aureolus, who proved his worth against the uprisings of Ingenuus and the Macriani. The circumstances of these uprisings can only have confirmed the young emperor in his assessment of equestrian prowess. For while the senatorial revolts in Pannonia were a direct consequence of the chaos caused by barbarian invasions, rectified only once the usurpers had been eradicated 9 , the equestrian pretenders in Gaul and the east were always victorious commanders thrust to prominence by virtue of their success. His 'edict' must have been introduced in the breathing space which followed these rebellions, for its first direct evidence is the appointment of an equestrian pr'aeses Arabicae either in 262 or 263. Evidence for Its Immediate application in the empire is minimal, but very illuminating. Under Gallienus himself, only four provinces were definitely affected: Arabia, to which we shall return; Cilicia, which had no provinces. The Pannonian material Is fascinating, since it provides a clear

and both the Pannonian

1, Certainly recruited it this time were: Aureolus, SHA Gail, 111 . 3,

V . 6 Trig, Tyr, XI'l; Zon,

XII 24; Alfoldi, 'Usurpator Aureolus', Stud/en (1967), 1ff: Postumus, S//A Trig, Tyr, 111 . 9; Vict, Cae5, XXXIII . 8; Zon, XII 24; Zos, I'38'2: and Volusianus, XI'1836 ILS 1332, It is pO5sible that he also appointed Claudius to a command in Illyricum at this time: S//A Ciawo', XIY'2 & XV'1-2 attribute this appointment to Valerian, but if they are to be given any credence what5oever 1 the appointee must

have been Gallienus who had control of the Danube at that time; Alfldi,

CAN XII, 181 & 'Krise',

Studie, 361,
2, Zon, XII 24; S//A flail, 1I6-7; Trig, Tyr, XI . 2, XII'13-14, XIV'l & XV'4, 3, de Blois, Policy of Gallienus, 4f, 4. lunius Olympus in 262 may be senatorial or equestrian depending on the interpretation of ro 6saf--.7,uora'roo q'yqiovo, Petersen, 48 & n8, Statilius Ammianus was definitely equestrian governor in 263, 1&S'RIII'1287, For a further discussion of Arabian pracs/des, see below, p222f, 5, A, Voconius Zeno, AE,1915,51,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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indication of the piecemeal nature of Gallienus' reform,

A plethora of

inscriptions show that the legiones adiutrices came under the command of equestrian agentes vice legatorum at this time and remained so for the rest of the century, but there is no positive evidence for a similar takeover of legions in Pannonia Superior. Simultaneous with this, Pannonia Inferior

seems to have come under the aegis of an equestrian praeses. T. Clementius Silvius In AD 267, was v(ir) e(gregius) a(gens) v(ice) p&-aesidisP. Petersen believes he was a procurator acting on behalf of a senatorial legatus pro praet ore, since he lacked the rank of vir perfectissiinus9 . semantically correct, his interpretation misses the point. Gallienus was using the old procuratorial vicariate as the agent of a more far-reaching change, just as Severus had used the vexillary command structure to enable the introduction of praefecti legi on urn. As was the nature of such reforms, the emperor took whatever was to hand and remoulded it to suit his own purposes. )ust, as Keyes pointed out, the formula a.v,1. came to differentiate a ducenariate legionary commander from the lowly preefectus (castrorum)", so the formula a.v.p. was appropriated to signify an equestrian officer who had taken over the position of governor 5 . In the early years of the change, Gallienus may have


advanced men from the the same way that

procuratorial service into independent positions,


111 . 3529, A1965,9; Marcellinus, 111 . 3424 AE,1944,85; Victorinus, 111 . 3426 111 . 10406,

I, Comaanders of I! Adiutrix in their probable sequence (with dates, where known) were: e1ianus, ILS 2457 ILS 545; Frontinus (268AD), 111 . 3525 = AE1964,13; Paternianus (283/lAD), III 3469; Firminus (290AD),

Aur, Superinus was tpJrtaeJ, leg, I Adi, a, v.1, in 269AD: 111 . 4289

ILS 3656,

2, 111 . 3424 115545, cf, also 111 . 10424 & 10492. 3, Petersen, 'Governors in C3' 51 & n,60, 4, Keyes, Equites, 19ff & 36ff, 5, Cf. Keyes, 37,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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Severus had advanced the procurator Osrhoenae into the command of I

Farthica1 . It is significant that Silvius has ommitted the term proc(urator)

from his title, when it is to be found in all the Latin examples of

procurat ores vice praesidum provided by Keyes 2. As the 'independent

vicariate' gained importance and became more widely accepted, its holders recieved the rank of viz' perfectissirnus. Eventually, this was all that was required to differentiate the equestrian office from the senatorial, and the formula a (gens) v (ice) p (raesidis) was dropped in favour of the more urbane

v (ir) p (e.rfectissimus) p (raeses) p (rovinciaeP.

Returning to the Pannonian evidence, an a.v.p. was also appointed in Pannonia Superior by Gallienus', but on the semantic grounds above, the v.p.

praeses named in III'15156 cannot have been installed in the lower province
by him. Petersen is playing safe when he dates the man to the early 280ss, since the term was in use at least a decade earlier. If we are to identify the man with the L. Flavius Aper who was praepositus vexillationis under Gallienus s , a date


the 270s would seem equally apposite, especially since

M. Aur. Valentinianus was almost certainly the governor of Parinonia Inferior at the time of Carinus and Diocletian 7 . Valentinianus was a senator. So was an anonymous praeses pro vinciae of Pannonia Superior sometime in the

1, Cf, above p,216f 2, Keyes, Equites, 5ff, 3, ci', table VM1, There is a definite chronological progression from v.p a, v.p. to v,p,p,p,, as was noted by Keyes, 37, The term priests seems to have been generic throughout the period, 4, N, Aur, Naximus: 111.4564, 5, Petersen, 'Gov's in C3', 51 & n65, 6, AE,1936,53,54 & 57, cf, PLREAper 2 & 3 whom I believe to be the same man, He progressed

v,e, preep, ' (fec et XIII

7, 111 . 3418

Gei, Gull, in the 260s to v.p.

priests Penn,

In!, in the 270s, and

finally became PPOof Numerian,

ILS 3654: v,c,

leg, aug,

p. pr, (sic,)


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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late third century'. These men provide the most tangible, and possibly the only clear, proof of a reversion to senatorial control in the later third century 2 . That this occurred in Pannonia is unsurprising, since it was the only province containing more than one legion placed under equestrian control prior to Diocletian 3 . investigation. The motive for Gallienus' action needs no deep

The senatorial guardians of Pannonia had proven both

untrustworthy and incompetent. Pannonia was a key province for the defence of the Danube and the protection of Italy. It required the competent

military government which experienced equestrians could give it. Therefore, Gallienus gave it to them. It is worth reiterating here that Pannonia was the only multi-legion province to have come under equestrian control until the wholesale reforms initiated by Diocletlan. According to Campbell, it was the least popular of the consular provinces because of its military requirements both the most obvious province to give to
viz-i militar'es, 4.

This made it

and the province

least likely to be missed by senators. Nonetheless, we can see from Victors that the placing of such a province under equestrian control was offensive to the senatorial class. Perhaps it was restored to their control by

1, A 1957, 325; A 1959, 204b PLRE aQnonyioiis 55, 2. cf. table VMI, Despite Petersen's arguments to the contrary (50 n,65, & 55), Pannonia does Nacedonia and Dalmatia may also

exhibit a clear reversion from equestrian to senatorial governors,

have reverted, but they depend heavily on the dating of the Anonymous 55 and N, Aur lulius: 11.1938 8565 : ILS 3710, The overall pattern would be least disturbed if the Anon, 55 dated circa 275, but without corroboration it would be inadvisable to assume this, discussed in the text above; Numidia Is dicussed below p224, 3, cf, table VMI, Germania Superior came under a v.p. praeses in Diocletian's reign: V11641 Britain had a v.p. praess in 297: AE,1930,114, Since Britain came The circumstances of Arabia are

(cf, Petersen, 53); XI1I'5249,

under the control of Carausiu g In 296, the appointment must have been early in Diocletian's reign, 4, Campbell, bc, cii, 5, Vict, Caes, XXXIII'33-34 & XXXVlI5-7


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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Tacitus, though the idea is somewhat fanciful.

At any rate, even after

Gallienus, while single-legion provinces were considered fair game for equestrians 1 the big consular provinces remained sacrosanct. The situation in Arabia is slightly confused, appointed at least one senatorial governor. The Before 262, Gallienus

praesidium of Vfrius Lupus

is also likely to have been held at this point, and not after 270 as Malcus believes 1 . Petersen is undoubtedly correct in attributing equestrian status to the Bassaeus Rufus who governed the province sometime in the 26062, which establishes a probable, if uncertain, line of continuity for equestrian officers from 262/3 onwards. So why did Gallierius appoint equestrians here? Arabia seems to have remained untouched by the depredations of invasion and civil war


the early 260s. Even the events Its legion, III


Egypt seem not to have

concerned it s .

Cyrenaica, had provided vexillations to

garrison Dura Europos, which were presumably destroyed in the seige of 256g. Perhaps the legion was not brought back up to strength due to manpower shortages, and it was felt beneath the dignity of a senator to govern the province. The supposed loyalty of the equestrian class can hardly have been a consideration, since equestrian officers of Valerian had initiated the trouble. More personal loyalties may provide an alternative explanation.

1, Coc, Rufinus was 47yqi9v under Sallienus: PLR( Ru/'1nu5 13, Lupus was preetectus un'! 278-80,

consul ordinanius


pontifex Del Soils post

274 and charged with special judicial missions in the

east, probably under Aurelian, He was therefore

pnaees Synlee Coeles

sometime before 272, and will

have held his Arabian governorship during the 260s: VI . 31775

ILS 1210; Keyes,

Equites, 16f;

Gilliam, 'Gov's of Syria', N2 16; but contra cf, Malcus, 'Systme administratif', 222, 2, Petersen, 'Gov's in C3', 48 & n,12, contra FLRE Astur 1, citing Bassaeus Astur, 3, Alfldi, CAM XII, 1731, The Egyptian revolt was put down by a naval expedition under Aurelius Theodotus, 4, AE,1934,275, 276 & 280; A1937,239; A194O,220 & 240; AE,1948,124, 5, SInce these most likely caused the vexillation In the first place, cf, ch,VI; 6, See above, p.205, 192O,73, who call him



M.C.Ibeji: 03 Army.

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If our chronology is correct 1 , the senator Virius Lupus was Gallienus' chosen replacement for Coc. Rufinus, who was governor at the time of the Egyptian revolt. Shortly after, he was moved to Syria Coele, and is the only known governor of that province for Gallienus. GilUam believes he took up this post circa 2652, but his

praesidium may have started earlier, Is it not

possible that, at the time of the edict, Lupus was moved to Syria where a trusted senator was needed and was replaced in Arabia by an equally trusted equestrian? Numidia presents another problem, and at the same time exposes another facet of the argument. It has been claimed that the province shifted to equestrian governors at the very end of Gallienus' reign, and later reverted to senators. This is based on the identification of a Numidian governor, Tenagino Probus, with a certain
the same gentiJlcl urn3 .

praefectu Aegypti of Claudius II


In support, another

praeses of the province, an

equestrian called Severthus Aprorilanus, is Linked to Probus through a man who occurs in both their inscriptions4 . Petersen disputes this claim on the grounds that the governorship of Numidia ranked above that of Egypt at the times . Yet the evidence he cites can only prove that this was the case from 278 onwards. He is on firmer ground placing Apronianus


the last quarter

of the century due to the terminology used, and is certainly Justified in arguing that the existence of a man common to both inscriptions does not

1, See above, n, 1, 2, Gilliam, 'Gov's of Syria', N9 16, 3, VlII . 2571 + 18057; E,l936,58; E1941,33; 4E1934,257; Stein, 'Tenagino Probus',


(1936), 237ff; Halcus, 'Systme administratif', 222, 4, Severinus Apronianus, YIII'2661 5, Petersen, 'Gov's in C3', 54f,

5788, linked by Domitius Secundinus to


1936, 58,


M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.

yin Militares

automatically date them to a similar period 1 . Aprorilanus to any point following


At best, we can date

and we simply cannot be certain

whether Probus was an equestrian or a senator. If he was an equestrian, we have a similar situation to that in Arabia, but with a different emphasis. Unlike Arabia, the African

was not at

peace. It had been troubled by Berber tribesmen since the early

Around 258 the situation became so serious that Gallienus despatched a dux
per Afri cam Numidiam Mauretaniamque to oversee the defence of the

provinces 2 . The measure seems to have worked in part, since at some point after
260 III Augusta

had reverted to the control of the provincial legate,

though this man may also have been entrusted with a military portfo1io (in itself an indication that Gallienus was not averse to placing competent senators in military positions). We know that once some measure of peace had been restored in Africa, Gallienus stationed detachments of III

in Greece'. Tenagino Probus took over near the end of the reign. Could it be that, like Arabia, once its legion was vexillated Numidia was no longer thought worthy of senatorial dignity? In that case, we would expect it to revert to senatorial control when the legion was returned to full strength. The first such opportunity came after the successful campaigns of Aurelian, when he could proclaim himself

and indeed the next to

senatorial governor is attested at this time 6 . If the

Historia Augusta is

1, Petersen, 'Gov's in C3', 55, 2, Pflaum,

Carr, Proc. II,

374bis, 905ff; YIII21000 ILS 2413 which calls him

1954,136: VIII . 12296 = IL$2774,

3, 41917/18,52; VIII 2797 4, QE,1934,193; cf, ch,VI: 5, Hunter coil,

coies et leg, iig, p,, pr, 1, Aurellin,




QureJian, 8,

100,108,111,112/3,114 ' RICY

6, L, Ovinius Pudens Capella Malcus, 'Systme administratif', 222 & n,7;



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army. be believed, another

dux .Zimitis Africani duces

Viri Militares was appointed along with hi.ni1

The position of

in this new order is a highly important

consideration. The thesis so far has been that, as senators abdicated their military responsibilities, the emperor was forced to look to the equestrian order for experienced people to replace them, In militarily delicate

provinces, competent equestrian officers were placed in command arid remained there until the crisis was over. Elsewhere, the emperor was happy to retain the
status quc

and even took account of senatorial sensibilities as long as

the security of the empire was not at stake. Yet the first priority was always the army. So long as the commander in the area was a capable

officer, the emperor was unconcerned whether he was an equestrian or a senator and had little stake in which class actually governed the province. The ideal way to test this theory would be to review the early careers of every governor concerned, but in this we are frustrated by the evidence, All equestrians for whom some record survives had military experience, as did some, but not all senators 2 . A quick review of the known dates of changeover for the provinces provides some general confirmation for the thesis 3 , Yet large areas of the empire were governed by senators despite military pressures, and all the major provinces, with the exception of Pannonia discussed above, remained under senatorial control. If these areas were controlled by for the
duces will duces,

then the thesis remains sound,

have had overall military control: not In the formally


SHA Fin, et a!, 111 . 1, uncorroboraied,

2, Equestrian5: I6RR III1287; 111 . 90;, AE,1900,169: AE,1936,53,54 & 57; 111 . 9860; Ex, Va!, I2; VI'1641, Senators: X 1705: VII95; AE,1957,325; AE,1959,204b, 3, cf, table VII , and text below, cf, table VN 1,


M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

delineated terms of Diocletian, but in more ad hoc, localised measures tailored to parochial circumstance. We have already seen this in effect for
Numidia under Gallienus, where a dux per .Africara Numidiam Mauretaniamque dealt with Berber incursions and afterwards handed over military control to the provincial legate 1 . It will now be necessary to review the rest of the

empire in search of similar circumstances. By the last quarter of the third century, the eastern provinces had already undergone major sea changes. Mesopotamia had been established as an equestrian province from its inception; its circumstances and those of Arabia have been previously discussed 2 . In Asia Minor, Cilicia was equestrianised by Gallienus, while the dual provinces of Pontus et Bithynia and Lycia et Pamphylia were changed by Probus once his attention was drawn to them


278. Each conversion, even that of Arabia, was internally consistent with the priorities of security. Mesopotamia was the new frontline province with Persia; Arabia's governor, and troops, were transferring to Syria; and the Asia Minor provinces, though they had no legions, covered the main thoroughfares over the Taurus mountains and across the Hellespont. In

addition, Lycia et Pamphylia had been the battleground over which Probus had fought the Isaurian brigands 3 . On the other hand Syria, the most important and prestigious of the eastern provinces, remained a firm senatorial preserve, even after its reorganisation by Septimius Severus4 , since the dux

ripae at Dura-Europos seems to have held a position subordinate to the

1. See above, p.226, 2, See above, pp.217 & 224ff,

3, S/iA Prob,

XVI4; Zos, 1.69-70,


3, Keyes, Eqiiites, 14; Petersen, 'Gov'5 in C3', 49 & n,30; AE,1900,128 =



1915, 53, 4, Syria Phoenice: Petersen, 48 & nn,18 & 19, Syria Coele: Gilliam, 'Gov's of Syria', 176ff, 5, Gilliam, 'The

ripas at Dura', Roan Any Papers, 23ff.


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

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governor, However, the situation was altered radically in the late 250s by the destruction of Dura and the rise of Palmyra. Here is where the military control lay. Odaeriathus of Palmyra had been feted by Valerian following his rejection by the Persian king, and remained loyal to the former's son during the revolt of the Macriani 1 . In 261 he assumed military authority in the east under the auspices of Gallienus, who had little choice but to exploit his implacable hostility towards Shapor 2 . The titles Alfldi credits him with are merely literary devices, though he is UJcely to have been styled
corrector totius Orlentis

in the same manner as his son, Vaballathus

dux Romanorum

Athenodorus, and may have been

since Vaballathus is hailed

with the Greek equivalent 3 . For ten years Palmyra lorded over the eastern provinces, even breaking with Rome after Odaenathus' death, until its defeat by Aurelian 4 . Aurelian originally made little change to the military situation, placing control into the hands of the
praefectus Mesopotamiae,

with a similar title to that of the Palmyrene klngs s . He may have scrapped this arrangement after the sacking of Palmyra, though the loyalty of his man was never in questions . At any rate, military responsibility seems to have reverted to the governor of Syria, if not at the end of Aurelian's reign, at least sometime during that of Probus, While the Historia Augusta must be overstating when it attributes the
ilinitis ducatum

to Julius

Saturninus, the man was the governor of Syria and is called

CISea, II'3945 ' IGRRIIII031; S//A Gall, 111 . 1-2; S//A Trig, Tyr, XIV 1, XV'4, & XVIII'l, 2, Alfldl, CAM XII, 174ff; Zos, I'39; S//A Yal, IY . 2-4, Gall, X . 1-8, Trig, Tyr. XY . 2-4 & XXX.6, 3, Alfldl, 175; CiSea, 11 . 3971; B6'1II946, 4, Alfldl, 302ff: Zos, 1 . 50-56; Zon, XII 27; S//A Aur, XXV'2-3, Trig, Ty,', IXX . 2-3; Jer, Chico,

s.c. 273; Syncellus p.721, 5, His title was rector Orienti Zos, I'60'1,
6, Marcellinus stalled the Palmyrenes while warning the e.peror of their revolt: Zos,I'60,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

exercitus or its equivalent in several independent sources 1 . If, as Jones and Martindale believe, the man was identical to the lulius Saturninus Fortunatianus who was leg. Aug. pr. pr. of Numidia under Gallienus, his military competence is unquestioned2. Illyricuni remained unchanged throughout the century, Moesla staying under senatorial legati. Da].matia, on the other hand, switched to equestrians after the death of Aurelian, since Petersen makes a convincing case for dating the senator M. Aur. lullus prior to 277. Macedonia had an equestrian governor in 276 g . Keyes has shown that Dada remained technically under senatorial control 1 but was governed largely by imperial procurators 5 . This may have been for similar reasons to those posited for Arabia and Numidia, with heavily vexillated legions. The anonymous senator believed to have governed Pannonia Superior, Dalmatia and Macedonia simultaneously is most likely to have done so around 27415 6 , since the pattern of government is least disturbed by fitting him here. Why he was given such a widespread command is unclear. He had some military experience, so the appointment might be viewed as a form of ducatus. illyricum received personal attention from the emperor under Gallienus, Claudius and possibly Probus 7 . When the emperor was elsewhere, a series of eminent

were deputed to take his

place. Aureolus is said to have commanded an army in Illyricum during the early 26Os. Marcianus pursued the war in the emperor's name late in 268,

1, SHA Fire eta!, VII . 2; 205, 1 . 66; Jer, Chron, s,a,281; 2, PLRE $etiirnimis 12 & Fortunatianus 6,
3, Petersen, 'Gov's in C3', 50,


Roe, p.293;



4, AE,1900,169, 5, Keyes, Equites, 101, 6, A 1957, 325;


7, Gallienus, Zos,

1959, 204b PLRE Anoflylou5 55, 1'39'I & 40 i; fi/M Gail, XII1 . 9;

Claudius, Zos,

I'43'2 & 45 Zon, XII . 26; S/IA

Claud, vi-Xi; Probus, XII178; Zos, 1.68.2. 8, $114 Gail,

III'3 & V . 6, Trig, T,vr, XI'!,


M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

until he was relieved by Claudiu&. Diocletian was under Probus 2 .

No duces

5ou Muuia'c,


were to be found in Illyricum under Aurelian, which

is hardly surprising, since the area remained uncharacteristically quiet during his reign. This must be a direct consequence of the abandonment of Dada and the relocation of its remaining troops around Serdica, The

measure so strengthened the Illyrian border that trouble was reduced to sporadic raids and Aurelian was able to carry the war across the Danube to the Gothic tribes. Under Gallienus, an Aur. Augustianus was charged with guarding the passes into Macedonia 5 .
dux lustissimus

His brief will have

extended into northern Greece as a matter of course, and may have included preemptive maneouvres into Illyricum. Pan)athenaeus was

In Achaea itself, a certain

under the same emperor, with the task of

fortifying endangered cities 5 . Such circumspection was vindicated during the great naval raid of the Goths in 268/9 w . Claudlus campaigned here until his death 5 , and the measures of Aurelian in Illyricum seem to have made Greece secure. The entire area was therefore under imperial control, or that of the emperor's personal agents, for most of the century's third quarter. Only once the military crisis had abated were the provincial governors left to their own devices, and this is approximately the point at which equestrian

were first attested.


l965,1l4; Zos, I . 40'l


$1/A 6a11,

VI . 1 & XIII'lO,

Claud, VI . l & XVIII'l,

2, Zon, XII.31, 3, Alfldi, 4, Alfldi, XII I


S/IA Aur,

1521 & 301; SMQ Au,', XXXIX . 7; Malalas XII, 301: Eutrop, IX'IS, XX11'1-2; Orosius VII 23'4; Eutrop, IX'13'1: Jord, Roe, 290; Vexillationes, p.145
n,3 for the reasoning behind this,

Aiim, Marc,

5, A11934,193, Cf, ch,VI:

XIII'6 Zon, 7,Zos, 1'43'2 & 46'l, 8,Zos, 1.45-46.

6, SHA 6aII,

XII'26 19111 ed, mm,



M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri Militares

With the possible exception of the anonymous senator mentioned above, Pannonla was devoid of duces throughout the period. Gallienus set out to make a thorough settlement of the province's security. Not only did he 'equestrianise' the province, he garrisoned it with vexillations from Britain, Germany, Dada and Moesla 1 . At the start of his reign, he also came to a defensive agreement with a chieftain of the Marcomanni 2 . His measures were so effective that apart from an Invasion of Vandals which was summarily crushed by Aurelian3 , the province was not troubled by serious barbarian incursions for the rest of the century, though Diocletian may have been forced to take some preemptive action early in his reign4. It is difficult to determine when Raetia and Noricum were returned to equestrian governors, as none of the important inscriptions is securely dated. The form and content of the known equestrian praesides of Noricurn suggest a date under Gallienus or his immediate successors 5 . The opposite is true for the governors of Raetia, whom Petersen must be correct in dating to the later third century 6 . These provinces were avenues for Alemannic incursions which penetrated south into Italy, so their defence was a matter of priority to most emperors7 . Gallienus placed Aureolus in Cisalpina with jurisdiction over northern Italy and Raetia, specifically to defend the Alpine passes5 . The pretender, Bonosus, was also dux limitis Retici under either

1, Alfoldi, CAMXII, 214; AE,1935,164; 111.3228, 2. De Blois, Policy of 6allienus 4 & 34; Vict, Cat's, XXXI1I6, Epit, XXX1II1; cf, IX:

3, Dexlppus frag,6 & 7; Zos, I'48; Petr, Pat,, P1/6' IV 188,

4, Alfldi, CAM XII, 327 & 328, 5, A1955,119; Petersen, 'Bo y 's in C3', 51 & n,69 who disagrees, 6, Petersen, 52. 7, Zos, 1 . 38 . 1 & 481; 51/4 Au,", XVIII, Prob, XVI t; Alfldi, 299f 8, Vict, Cat's, XXXiii . i7; cf, also Zos, 1 . 40 . 1; Sf14 Gall, IV . 6 & VII . 1, Irig, Tyr, XI3,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Viri. Militares

Aurelian or Probus1. Gaul, Germany and Britain fell out of imperial control for a large portion of the later third century 1 and their defence under the Gallic Empire Is a matter for debate elsewhere. Once they had returned to the imperial fold, they seem to have remained under senatorial control at least until the 280s. Only Germanla Superior has attested equestrian governors, and these both date to Dioclet Ian 2 . According to Alfldi, Aurelian left Probus in Gaul after the surrender of Tetricus, and only moved him when an emergency in Egypt required hi8 able attention 3 . Probus himself was campaigning against the Germans from 277-8 g . He may have left Bonosus in charge of more than just the Rhine fleet, for when the man went into revolt, he was only defeated after a difficult struggle 6 . At any rate, the emperor's German

campaigns had cowed the Transrhenian tribes to such an extent that they were paying tribute to the Roman Empire 6 . There was therefore little need for militarily experienced governors In the short term. Spain was also part of the Gallic Empire. It was permanently

'equestrianised' by Diocletian, though the only known governor of Beetica was a


under Florianus and Probus7. Where

It would seem that the material above upholds the thesis.

senators retained control of key frontier provinces, military responsibility

I, S/IA Fin, etal, XIV'2,

2, VI . 1641, ci, Petersen, 'Gov's in C3', 53; XI1I'5249, 3, Alfldi, CAHXII I 316, 4, Zos, 167-68; S/IA Frob, X11I.5-XIV,
5, S/IA Fir., et a!, XY . 1-2; Vict, Cees, XXXVII'3,

6, Alfldi. 315, 7, Spain1 11 . 4104; Baetica, 11 . 1115 & 1116,


M.C.Ibeji; C3 Army.

Viri Militares

lay in the hands of the emperor or his representatives. This is perfectly Illustrated in Raetia, where equestrian governors reappeared only once duces were no longer attested, but in general the situation holds true throughout the empire. Of particular Interest are those few senators, such as Fortunatlanus/Saturninus and the Anonymous 55, who were left to their own devices

militarily delicate provinces. They Indicate categorically that

the emperor was quite prepared to entrust the empire's security to senators, as long as they had a record of military competence. Malcus must be correct. Senators were not debarred from military service, they simply lost interest. In the face of such apathy, Gallienus had only one real choice. He opened the door to the men capable of defending the empire, and gave senatorial posts to the yin milit ares. For this he was vilified by the very class which had let down both empire and emperor

their hour of need. Yet

the history of Pannonia, the achievements of Odaenathus, and the survival of the empire prove that in his actions he was justified.


CIbei: C3 Army

Yin militares






The following lists the changes in provincial governors from the reign of Philip till that of Diocletian. Philip provides the starting point since he is in several cases the last named emperor to whom a senatorial governor can be attested. Governors of uncertain date are inserted in the most likely position in the sequence where possible, otherwise they In both cases, they are are placed at the end of the sequence. italicised. The list follows those given by Keyes, Petersen, Malcus and Gilliam. Where information was not forthcoming from those sources, the appropriate secondary source is given. Governors are given by the Roman version of their name, where this is translated from the Greek, the name The provincial order established by is placed in triangular brackets. Keyes and Petersen is maintained.. KEYi S - senator, E - equestrian, K = Keyes, P = Petersen, M = Malcus, VM = discussed in this chapter, RUFINUS 13 = PLRE ref. 1 legIon; largely peaceful. Bordered Egypt and ward of Arbi: Palmyra 260-272, cf. VM 224f
PERIOD 253/260 GOVERNOR Ad, Aur, Theon U1LE leg, Aug. pr, pr, pnaeses
C ,


REERENCES 111.89,90; k8 P487

Gallienus <Coc, Rufinus>

C 1eV




pie 262' Virius Lupus


none fisted

P5 . 31115 ILS 1210,' VH225 Are a 15ff; P48 M222

IGRR 111 . 1286; K9; P488


<lunlus Olympus)

sos 6u(__)pocasos ycpovo



<Statillue Ammianus> 6tciovso SnV

C)iOii.v E

prief, alae

IGRR III'1287 111190; K9

Gallienus Bassaeus Rufus 274 ? (11, Aelianus)' praeses E unknown

AE,1920,73; P4812 A 1522, 130 & /33; AE P48 '' /953, 234/ AAVh' 134 6 AEL JANUS 12
IGRR III1324: CIG 4649;

JJsioijporro (AT% rY ,h'iiov, to p I, .,



<Mar/Aur, Petrus>

soc btaa(__]


E unknown

K9: P48'4 post 262 (fuJius Ileraclitus) role 6, E unknown HERA CLJTUS

Syr-i 2 Legions; main target of Persian invasions. Cc1; Ward of Palmyra. This list follows that given by Gilliam, 176ff. It is included as an example of a militarily active major province.
Philip? U, Simonius Proculu5 (leg, Aug.) lul ianus S unknown VI.1520

ILS 1189


N,CIbeji: C3 Army

Yin militare5


IB,. vp(ca) t, !c,



Atilius Cosuinus

y,c, tunc cos,


P, Dura 97 = mv, D,P,3


Vi,igis Lupus


none listed

ci, Arabia above,

Zos, I'63; Zon, 111.28





lulius Saturninus

legate III Aug,Zos, I 66: ci, Numidia below; SATURNINUS 12; VM2291

290 Charisius plalies 7 unknown Cod, lust, 11.41.9 11.55.1 298 ? Prisosius



'od, lust, Wl'33'6

Syr i PhQr1ic: 1 legion; threatened by Persia. Ward of Palmyra. Earliest equestrian governors known under Diocletian, P48a..

Ci1icL; Ward of Palmyra.

No legions; main access from east into Asia Minor.

tu powo ycpav E unknown AE,1915,51; P4922

Gallienus <A, Voconius Zeno>


t PmpI-iy1: No legions; threatened by Gothic fleets; Probus campaigned here vs Isauran brigands, cf. VM228. flrobiis' (Terentius Marcianus) 3 uituorro 4ycpav unknown E ,2E, /900, 128I6RR IIl131;

/915, 5.Z P192'

Pcritt t Bvthirki: No legions; covered access to the Hellespont from Asia Minor; threatened by Gothic fleets.
269 <Velleiui Macrinus>

rpcaa, xs
w Z,

v apauoo S


I6RR 111 . 39, 40 :CIG 3747 & 3748; K14; P4929



?( xop)





Ad, Casinus Atianus v.p. pr, pr,


K14 P493

Mdcrii: 271/5' Anon, 55,

No legions; threatened by Goths. praes, provr, $ ?trib, Ia tic, AE, /957, 825; if, 1959,20db leg. 17.1 Vict, ANON. 55; ('ff230
bIcIov%u u cpq q E trib, Batavorum AE, 1900, 169; P49


<Aur, Valentinus>


CIbeJ1 C3 Army Yin ilitare5



2 legions; Lower Danube



REFERENCES IGRR 1 . 591; K12; P56

(M, Aur, Sebastianus> T]a(c]vovk)o( i]

Tap( x tU c ] wv s(p]-


Anon, 114

leg, Aug. pr, pr,


III14460; K12; P5039 III'1586 P4938


Anon, 113

praesem pnov,


late C3

(Cl, An, Nataliarnis) rpc8,




ISRR I'582; K12/ P50'


2 legions; Transdanubian province. Most numerous instances

of procuratores vices praesidis prior to senatorial/equestrian transition

(K10). Progressively abandoned by Gallienus and Aurelian. unknown Siconiws lulianwi 23$ 25 v, c, preeses $ IIIl513; K/a; P50"

D1mti: M esia.
247 Cl, Herennianus

No legions; hinterland province behind Pannonia and

v,c, leg, Augg, pr, pr, S unknown

III10174; P5047

271 5'

Anon, 55,

prues, provr,

Ytrib, latic, ,W, /551,325; AE, /959,2011' leg, I') i/ic t, ANON, 55,' VM2SO

277 280

Aur, Marcianus

v.p. praeses prov,

III'8707 Ku; P50' 111.1805 : ILS 5695: Ku; P5049

M, Aur,


V.P. praeses prov,



Flavius Valenlus Constantius


protector & tribune


III'9860; Ex, Va!, 1.2; P505

late C3 N, Aur, Julius

praesidi pro v,


III 1938-8565 : ILS 37101


P r ii r i VM 220ff & 232


I ri f r- i r-:
leg, pr, pr,

2 legions; Middle Danube

S unknown

.imes, c f.

P. Cosinue Felix


6allienusP L, Flavius Aper

v.p. praeses

III. 15!56;AE, 1936,53, 51 a praep, vexx, V Mac, J XIII & 571 APEP 2 a 3 i; contra


1, Clementius Silvius v,e, a,v,p,


111.3424 = ILS 545, cf,

111 . 10424 & 10492; K14; P516

M, Aur, Valentinianus v,c, leg, Aug. p. pr , S unknown

111 . 3418 = uS 3654; K14; PS'"


C,IbeJi: C3 Army

Yin militares

S i p r- i r-: 2 legions; Middle Danube limes, cf. VM 220ff & 232. Eastern barbarian access into Italy.
Vict, Caei, XXXIII S//A

P r rr r. i

Trig, Tyr, IX' I

Gallienus M, Aur, Maximum a,v,p, E unknown III'4564 K14; P5167


Anon, 55,

praes, provv,

Ytrib, la tic, At, /551, 325 At, /959, 20db leg, 11) Vict, ANON, 55,' I/M230

pne. 260

legion; Upper Danube limes. Northern barbarian access into Italy. Threatened by Gallic Empire.
C, Macninum Declanus leg, Aug. pr, pr, S unknown unknown unknown VIII'2615; P5168

aid/late C3 (N,) Qur, ,,,,flu, late C3 Ad, Restutus

v.p. i, V.P v.p. agens vices praesidis


At, /955,119,' ,, , ,LIUS


1 legion; as Noricum. Main barbarian access into Italy. Rti; late C3 Valerius Venustus unknown V,p,,O,p, E 1I1'5862; P52 late C3 Traianus Mucianus' v.p,p,p, ,'protector, praep, vexx
praei, legg,

I1l5185; ci, ILS 9175/ also this

thesis a,00-Mucianus 111.1137012 111.5810 : ILS 618; P5273

late ca early Ci

Anon, .92

V.p,p,p, v,p,p,p,

unknown unknown

Septimius Yalentio

c,260 anonymous P anonyaous

praeses prov,

2 legions; suffered from barbarian

S ? unknown unknown XIII.6562; P528
XIII'5203; P528'

incursions. Part of Gallic Empire. legatus pro praetore Philip (Q, Caec, Pudensi?

pre, Dioc,

fpraeses proviinciae 6er.aniae Superioris v.p.

v.p. praeses E

Ppraef, alae PI'1511,' K/i,' contra P53

unknown XIII 5249; ku 21 ; P5283

Diocletian Aurelius Proculus

r- m r i

I ri f r i

r: 2 legions; as Germania Superior.

No known equestrian governors.

B1.ic: pre aid Ca Priscus

No legions; as Germanise. leg, Aug. pr, pr, $




I I' 1705/ P53'2(see be/ow)

CIbei1: C3 Army Viri militares


pe aid C3 anonyaous

iJeg, Augt,,,




ritrrii; Empire.
253/260 Des Sicius hthai 262/266 Cc ta viws Sabir,is

3 legions (split by Seven). Part of Gallic

v, c, lega tus Aug. pr, pr, S v, c, praeses n, $ $ unknown unknown WI' 101,' t'9' P54?O4 YI1.221:RIB I'605-IL 52519


T, P1ev/us Postuaius v, c, leg, Virus

lega tus (prov, P11. 55; KS,' P51 or legion?) unknown


late C3 (/li&rocles Perpetuus praeses

c,297 Aur, Arpagius v.p. prieses


AE11930,114; p54106

H i. p ri i Empire.
259 lAemiltanus

T r r


1 leg ion. Part of Ga 111 c



(Allius Maximus)

(vic, leg, lur,)

II3738; K12; p54108

(subordinates to provincial legate) 282 (,,,lus Flaminius Pr i scus) unknown ILS 599; (v,c, tur,) S AE,I923,102 & 103; p54108


M, Aurelius Yalentinianus

p,p, leg, Aug. pr, pr.


II41O3; KU; P54

Diocletian lulius Yalens & Postumui Lupercum

v,perf, praes, prov,




No legions. As Hispania.
v.p. a,v,p. E unknown 11.1115 & 1116; K9' 6 P54

Aurelius lulius


1 legion; tribal incursions, crisis c.258, VM 225f

S unknown VIIl.2615; K13

C, Macrinius Decianus v,c, leg, Augg, pr, pr,


C, lulius

leg, Aug. pr, pr, prov,


Sallustius Saturninus Numidiae et leg. III Aug, Fortunatianus 6a11,/ comes et leg, Aug. pr, pr,

AE,l917/18,52; VIII'2797 = ILS 2413 M228


Tenagino Probus

r] prov, Nu(midiae


VIII'2571 4 18051 M222 AE, 1936,58; AE,1941,33: p 54 f


L, Ovinius Pudens Capella

leg, Aug. pr. pr, c,v,


M222 7 ; CAPELLA


MC Ibeji: C3 Aray Viri militares


po5t 268

$Everinu5 Api'onhanus v,p,p,p,



unknown unknown

VII12661 = ILS 5799; P53 P1If'2573, 2574', 2575/ AS, 1503,213; g/3; p55729

post Probus ur, Dioge'ne5


N, Aureliui Deciaus



VIII '2529 2530, 2643, 4221 4578,7007; K13;


late C3 Flavius eiius


p. v, praesidi prov,


Al, 1509, 210/ K13; P55'3




LEGION I Adiutrix COMMANDER Aur, Superinus LIILE. [p]r[ae]f, leg, I Adi, a,v,l, Q.hI 269 REFERENCES II1'4289 = ILS 3656

II Adlutrix P. Ad, Aelianus

praef, leg, II Adiut, protector Gallieni Aug. n, a,v,l,


III'3529 AE1196519

II Adlutrix Clementius Valerlus Marcel linus

praef, leg, prot, Rug, n, a,v,l,

Gallienus II13424

ILS 545


Adiutrix T. Flavius 'ictorinui praefetctwsl leg, 1! ild,

PGaIlJenu5/ 45 1961, /3: 111.3126,' Claudius ci', Nagy, Act, Arch,

Hung,, 1W! (/965)

II Adiutrix Aur, Frontinus

praef. leg, sc, II Adiutricis Claudianae


AE,1944,85 = 111 . 3525 = ILS 2457

II Adiutrix Ad, Pate nianus

praef, leg, II Adiut, a,v,l,



II Adiutrix Aur, Firiinus

pref, (sic) leg, 11 A(diJ cx protec tore



III! Ge ma N, Aur, Yeteranus

praef, leg, XIII 8, Gallenian, (sic)


III'l560 = ILS 3845

III Augusta N, Aur, Fortunatus

praef, leg, III Rug, Rurelianae


VIII'2665 = ILS 584

III Augusta Clodiws Honoratus IV F/avis aQur, Maxiaianws

I flmnervia
Aur, S,,,,us

prief, leg, III Aug. ,x prae!, leg, elusdea

pr(aef) leg, I Mi,

286/293 VI1! .2572 : ILS S6 286/293 111 . 1616 : ILS 2292

295 XII1'8019

Pa tiuca? Traianu5 ifucianus III! 6eaina



II Trajana sate tan

r,1pov Aqiavo ,,,,, rJ,avnr late CS I6RR J1196 = AE, /908,259 late CS = ILS 917 hd-ftxov Icy, lyl 168R2 1570 late CS = Rang,, 185ff, trqov .IJq, fi T#'tsn

h Hcrofrortrpsa

24 1-



Sepiiaius Odaenathus (<Corrector Totius Orientis>) Eastern


Zos, 1.39.1;
Sync, $HB p,382(B)


Vaballathus Athenodorus

(Corrector Toiius Orlentis> epo'Pwiat.v



CiSem, II3971; BGU 111.946



(Rector Orientis>



Zos. 1.60.1



4urefjaing ililil, Or/entaIls Eastern oucatu, deo'it, ifagister Exercitu5

limes 7 SHA Firm, et al, W!'2;

.Ter, Cron,
Roe, 293/

2297; lord, Syncelius 273




Illyriclanos exercitus regens Illyricu.


6a11, 111 . 3 & Trig, Tyr, X1.1,

Gallienus & Claudius


ov xa


Illyricum (& Macedonia)

AE,1965,114; Zos,1'40'I


OaiI,V1'l & X1II'lO Claud, VI'l & XVIII.1,



4w', Vii,

Ioc( Mwst


ion, I1I31,

Gallie us Aur, Augustianus dux iustissimus Macedonia (. Hoes/a7)

AE. 1934. 193


(Pan Athenaeus


Zon, XII26; 5/14


XI1I6; 16 III ed, mm. 5201, Gallimnus Aureolus cu. per Reetias legionibus praesset Cisalpina & Raetia Yict,

Cacs, XXXI1I'7;

cf, Zos, 1'40'1 & $114

Gall, IV'6 & YII.I, Trig, Tyr, XI'3,

Probus Bonosus Dux limitis Retici Raetia

$114 $114

Fin et a], IV2, Trig, Tyr, Ill



N, Cassianius Latinius Postumus

Transrhenani limitis dux ci Galliae praeses, v KcXo pue.v

Gallia & Gereania ?

Zos, I'38'2 Vict, Caes, XX1II1'8;



a.150 ion, 1II'24,

barbaris per Ga/lie. preesideba t,

c,258 N, Cornelius Octavianus dud per Africam Numidiam Mauretaniamque African 111e5 Pflaum

Cern, Proc, II

347bis, 905ff: V1II'210O0AE, 1954. 136 cf,VIII . 12296: ILS 2774



Dux limitis Africani ideeque African flies proconsule

$114 Pint

et ii, 111.1,


Tb1 VM 4:

Sirzy R9et11t

Below are the results extrapolated from the preceding tables. They illustrate the general circumstances of each province examined during the century. A province is classed as a frontier province if it was on a limes, and a hinterland province if it was not, but was In a troubled area. Otherwise, it is classed as peaceful. All governors in Table VM 1 have been included, arid the date of transition from senatorial to equestrian government is calculated from the first equestrian praeses given there, Where an equestrian praefectus is known for the provincial legion(s), the date of first appearance has been given.

IBA1 SECURITY ILEGIONS LEANS. KNOWN DUCES c.262 Hinterid I PaI.yra (260-272); Narcellinus (272)



Palayra (260-272); Marcellinus (272) ?Saturninus (Aurelian)



Palmyra (260-272); Narcellinus (272)


?Probus Hinterid




0 o





Augustianus (Gall); Marcianus (268/9)



Aureolus & ?Augustianus (Gall,); Marc ianus (268/9); Diocletian (Prob)




Aureolus (Gall,)


Gallienus Frontier only

IAd,269 II Ad, Gall,


Gallienus Frontier only


late C3 Frontier

?Aureolus (Gall,)


late C3 Frontier

Aureolus (Gall,); Bonosus (Probus)


late C3 Frontier

Gallic Empire



Gallic Empire


c,297 Frontier

Sallic Empire


Oioclet'n Peaceful

Gallic Empire




Gallic Empire


?post Frontier Aurelian

Aurelian Octavianus (c,258) Firaus (Aurelian)


XI: .P.rt ct

Among the various puzzles of the third century, one of the most intriguing is the growth and evolution of the title Protector. A great deal of effort has gone into its interpretation, much of which has been obscured or distorted by a failure to recognise the dynamic nature of the institution it represented. )ullian believed the prot ect ores to be an imperial guard, possibly replacing the Equites Singulares'. He was followed In essence, by Mommsen; though the latter did make a distinction between the early protectorate and its later counterparts2 . A similar distijcti.on was made by Babut, who, like Domaszewskl, believed that the the protectores had replaced the centurlonate in the later imperial army 3 : Domaszewski even went so far as to claim it formed a collegium with a

Princepa Protectorum at its head.

Cooper, on the other hand, was of the opinion that the protectorate replaced the various special duties and administrative officers of the Principate4, while the most recent theory was espoused by M. Christol In 1977, who argued that the title protector was reserved for centurions in the assumed mobile field army of Gallienus. Each of these theories essentially views the protectorate as a uniform structure, formed by Gallienus and fulfilling the same role in the fourth century as it did In the third. Such a failure to account for the vast

1, C, Jullian,

Di protect oribu, it doiesticis,

Pail. (1883),

2, Mommien, 'Protector.. Augusti', fp/ea, Epig, V (1884), 121ff, 3, Babut, 'Recherchea lur l'orginasation de ii guarde Impriale et sur Ia corps d'officier5 de l'arme romaine aux IV .t V sicles', Domaszewskl, 4, 5,

Rev, Mist, 114 (1913), 225ffl and 116 Die Ringordriung dci Riiicben Heere5, ed B, Dobson (1967), Cooper, Thi Third Century Origins of The Hew liperial q r.y (1967), 209. Chriatol, 'La Carrire de Traianus Nucianus,,,,', Chironl (1977), 393ff. 17

(1914), 225ff,

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


differences In terminology, status and function of the office has stifled any real progress In understanding Its complex nature. As I hope to show, the protectorate of the later third century underwent changes so profound that in its final form it bore virtually no relation to the institution Inaugurated by Gallienus. Only by accepting this can new life be breathed Into an otherwise moribund debate.

The history of the protectorate does not even start with Gallienus. An inscription from Dalmatla has come to light relatively recently, which reads:

A1979,448: I(ovi) O(ptlmo) M(aximo), T. F1(avius) Pompelus (centuria)

coh (art is) III Alpinorum Ant oninianae cur-am agens (sic) Fab (ius) Amp. men (sor ?) et Vibius Vibianus protector cos.
I have left the title of Vibius Vibianus deliberately abbreviated, since It Is the meaning of this and the dating of the inscription which form the crux of its Interpretation. Until now, the earliest certain record of a

protector was the


honorum of L. Petronlus Taurus Volusianus', dating

from 258. However, the Viblanus inscription above seems unequivocally dated to the early third century by the

gentilicium attached to the unit. This


only refer to Caracalla or Elagabalus, both of whom sufferred the


memorlee at

the dissolution of their reigns. In the absence of any evidence

to the contrary, it is inconceivable that the unit would claim such an honorific after the deaths of these emperors. It is true that various

auxilia are known to have used the gentilicia of both Marcus Aurelius and
Caracalla during the reIgn of Septimius Severus, cohors I


Hemesenorum Aurelia Antoniniana is

one such example; but even this unit

I, XI . 1836

ILS 1332,




M.C.Ibeii: C3 Army.


is known to have abandoned the title in 199, and can be found sporting the

ge.ntilicia of Maximinus and Gordian during their respective reigns 1 . The

unit therefore only used these names under the Severan dynasty, which was attempting to claim legitimacy through association with the Antonines before it, and was trying to gain the personal loyalty of the soldiers in order to ensure its continuation. So the office of protector preceded Gallienus, but in what form? If we accept, as I think we must, that the terms protector and cos. are linked in the inscription, then the only feasible reading of the phrase is that of

protector co (n)s (ularis.). Vibianua himself was never a consul, so it would

seem that he was part of the consul's staff, acting as a protector. in the literal sense of the word as a guardian. The protector consular-is was therefore a consular bodyguard, and we are fortunate In having a second inscription, from Apamela in Syria, which may give us a clue to its status: A.1974,648:(.... . vix(it) ann(i&J XXXXIII

m(ensibus) V d(iebus) VIII,

mu (itevit) eq (ues) ann (is) 1111, protector ann (is) 1111, opttiol ann (is)

XIII, (centurio) ann(is) I. Marcia Vivia Crescentine coniux et her-es mar-ito incomparabill fecit.
Van Rengen, who produced this inscription, believed that it dated to the Farthiari campaign of Severus Alexander since it was found in the same sarcophagus as a similar epitaph to one Probius Sanctus, a soldier of


II Farthica3 . Yet that legion was also present in the east under Caracalla,

1, AE,1975,701 III'3331 2. A1974,647.


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


as well as the eastern wars of Aurelian 1 , so it could equally well date to

either of these instead. The anonymous soldier is believed to have joined the Praetorian Guard, serving as an eques for four years, before becoming a protector and subsequently a centurion, possibly in II Parthica. In this context 1 the title protector has been explained away as a misnomer for speculator. This is a very weak argument. For the soldier to have become a speculator at this point In his career would necessitate a rapid rise in his status, since a wait of up to 8 years was usually required for an eques to achieve the of fice2 . Furthermore, such an explanation does not take into account the soldier's thirteen years as an optlo between the protectorate and the centurionate. A more feasible explanation must be that he joined the army as an eques, probably in II Parthica. After four years service, he was seconded into the officium of the consul as a bodyguard. Having remained a beneficiarius consularis for another four years, he was promoted to the rank of optio on his return to the legion. This accorded with his status as a principalis After a further thirteen years, he had finally worked his way up the tortuous promotion ladder to the centurionate, only to die one year later. In this way, one need not resort to difficult arguments that require extraordinary circumstances to explain what was obviously an all too ordinary career. One need only accept that, if these two Inscriptions are to be believed, the protectorate did


fact precede Gallienus, and began as a

grade of principa.Lis presumably added to the Rangordnun during the

1, Though by thu ii.. II Pirthica was being vexillated to provide garrisons elsewhere 1 cf, ch,VI:

2, Durry,

I4xiIJaiionej p,1L4, Cohortes Prtoriennes (1938), 109,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


elaborations of the Severan period 1 . Indeed, the Vibiarius inscription itself adds strength to such an interpretation since his fellow trustee in the inscription was probably a mensor, yet another grade of principalis. The terminology of the inscription suggests that they were fulfilling an official obligation in the absence of any next of kin. The protectorate of this date bore very little relationship to that of the later third century, though the structure may appear familiar. Any attempt to link the above material to the protectores mentioned In the Vita

Antonini would be mistaken 2 .

Here, the Historia Augusta is undoubtedly

attributing to the leones of Caracalla 3 a status in proportion to the bodyguards of his own time; if indeed he is using the word protector for anything other than its literal meaning. For the true protectores august.4 we must still look towards the actions of Gallienus himself.

The change in status of the protectorate under Gallienus was a marked one, best illustrated by the change in its terminology. This took the formula protector Augusti nostri4 . The men involved were marked as the personal protectores of the emperor, to such an extent that Gallienus himself is specifically named in three of the seven inscriptions which mention the office. What this meant to each individual may be deduced from an examination

I, For Severan elaboration cf, Watson, Roian Soldier (ii.4, ed,(1967), 29ff,

- .., .., . iufl9 Uo.azeviki,

2, S//A Carr, V'8

VII'!, protector eius,

refering to up,

3, Named in Dlo LIHX'6'4, 4, To be strictly accurate; AE,1920,108. Victor reads:

caes, P.

LJd,,j Sal/len! invictI p11 Iii, Aig,

earlier in the Inscription;

1965,!14, Narcianus reads:

,porxrap ro lveiA'qro, hcioro piv PaAAqvov

(fltrop), which literally translates into Latin as:

protector invic tI isperi tons nostni Sal/len! A&(us SI),


M.C.tbeji: C3 Army.


of their careers. There are only six people we can name with absolute certainty as protectores of Gallienus. They can be clearly separated was a

into two distinct classes: those for whom the protectorate

stepping-stone on the way to important civil appointments, and those who remained within the military. Each Is worth looking at In detail, as each Illustrates both the type of person who could enter the protectorate as well as the influence this had on their career. 1) L. PETRONIUS TAURUS VOLUSIANUS: X11836 = ILS 1332 Consul

in 2612, he

rose from the prlinipilate to command the equites

singulares under Valerian and Gaillenus. This puts the last eight posts of
his career between the years 253 and 261, so his rise to high office was consequently very rapid. From the start, his was an extraordinary career. His appointment to the equites singu1ares which were usually commanded by a former tribune of the vigi1es was in Itself exceptlona]. as was his promotion directly from the praetoriana to praefectus vigilum, possibly In 259. He was made protector Augg. nn. around 257/8, and it Is usually

believed that this title was somehow linked to his trlbunate of I Praetori&. 2) MARCIANUS: AE1965,114 The brief outline of his career given in the inscription suggests that

L. Pstronio L(uci) f(ilio) Sab(atina tribu) Taw'o Volusiano, v(iro) I, XI'1836 ILS 1332: co(n)s(uiari) ordinari, praef(ecfo) praet(orio) e.(inentissiao) v(iro), prae(ecto) yigiI(ua) p(erfec tis5iso) r(iro), trth(wno) coh(or ti,) prisie prue t(oriae) pro tec t(ori) Aup(us torus) n(os trorus), I tes trib(uno) coh(or tis) 1111 pree t(oriae), trib(uno) cak(or tis) I.! urb(anae), trth(uno) coh(or tie) III vig(uIus), ieg(ionis) A' e S Il/I b'es(inie) pro v(inciae) Panrioniae superiori(s) / S/i (sic) Ieg(ionis) Dacias, prieposito equi Sm singu!arior(u.) Aug(us torus) n(o5trorus), p(riio) p(iIo) leg(ionis) XX! U/p/se, ccii turioni depute to, eq(uo) pub(Iico), cx V Decur (us), Laur (enti) La vun(a ti) ordo Arre tinorus patrono op f/so, 3, PLRE Volus/anus 6, 2, Patti XI 5749. A'aPqs TPgqa ro y Jiaoporarov ffa.xiavov, rovpropt ro avc1Rlroc iCOICTOD uav 4, AE1965,114: f'a'4Aaovov 4'c(a0roo), rpSBOPYOY zparapitsv xa loexe xas r,sri7Arrqv Aajirportrq 6ppsv ,iqrporoA lips rapocvro /'eppo uo 0,1s rioroAs TOY !eols7C ItfpCTQ v xa u rpa' I y rtrcy Eh.a, tJp%Jqevv4 za, Joyitrro,

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Marcianus gained the protectorate whilst


the praetorians, like Volusianus

above. He became one of GallienuB' most trusted generals, and took command of the Gothic campaign following the usurpation of Aureolus in 2681 3) V17ALIAMJS: 1113228 =

546 2

It has been suggested that this inscription should be revised to read:

Viltallanus (praeflect (us) Aug. n. (somno monlitus v. p. However, the term preefectus Augusti nostri

is a

highly unusual one. As the commander of a

vexillatlon, we would expect Vitalianus to be termed rather than

praepositus or


praefectus, which

was usually reserved for equestrian legionary

commanders. Under the circumstances 1 the term

protector fits

the formula of

the inscription more comfortably. On this reading, he was a

protector when

in commend of the German and British vexillat ions at Sirmium. Other than that, little is known about him 4) CLEMENTIUS VALERIUS MARCELLINUS: IU'3424 =

545 he was succeeded by

Praefectus of Leglo II Adiutrix acting vice legati,

Aurelius Front inus by June 268. His protectorate is inextricably bound into the terminology of the commend, showing that he held the title simultaneous with the office. He went on to become between 277 and 28O.

preeses of

Mauretania Tingitana

I, PLREHarciar,uil; Zosimus I'40 S//A, 6allienusXIII'lO, 2, 111 . 3228 ILS 546: (loh'i Honitorl (piro salute adque incolusitate d(oeini) n(ostri) 6ailleni Aug(usti) et iilitua vexiil(aiiornii) leg(g(iornis) 6Jeraanicianafr(ui) elf Brittanincin(aru.) (jc) (cuja auxilis (clviii t,,,, VII taliar,us (pro flec t(or) Azig(us ti) n(os tn) (praeposli tus v(otui) p(osui t),
3,.The two terms seem freely interchangeable, though oix might imply a higher rank, cf, Tables Yl-4, p,1541f.

Carrilnes procuratoniennes,,,, (1960), 919, ILS 545: Senio 1ep(eraionls) P(ubLi) tLIc(/n/) 6a/lJieni invicti Aug(usfi), Cluentuus Silvanus v(ir) c(greguus) a(gens) v(ice) pfraesidis) it Va/enuus /larcellinies praef(ectus) leg(ionis) prof (cc for) Aug(us II) n(os tn) a (geiis) v(ice) I (ega I/), uunicipefsl cx pro vir,cia Rae tia s(ol yenunt) l(aeti) J(thentcs) i(enito), Palerr,o ef Arc/iesilao co(n)s(uuibus), 5, PLRE Harcellinus 23, 2503jPflaum, 4, 111 . 3424

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army. 5)


P. AELIUS AELIANUS: III3529 and A1965,9

As praef'ectus .legionls a.v.1. II Adiutr1cis

his command must follow the

accession of Gallienus as joint emperor in 255, but precedes Marcellinus above. His career was almost identical to that of Marcellinus, especially if he was the Aelienus of VflI'21486 (ILS 4495), who was praesea of Mauretania Ceesariensis prior to 2772. 6) 14. AURELIUS VICTOR: A51920,108 This, the last certain reference to a Gallienic protector, acts as a complement to the two above. Here we see a preeses of Mauretania during Gallienus' lifetime referring to himself as a protector Gailleni. This in cription shows that the title protector was not just linked to the military commands, but was retained by Its holders on their transfer to civilian office. Each of these six protectores was In a position of some responsibility whilst holding the title under Gallienus. Volusianus was at the top of the praetorian tribunate, Marcellinus and Aelianus were legionary commanders, and Victor was the governor of a preetorian province. About Marcianus we cannot be sure, but it would seem likely that his entry into the protectorate was at approximately the same juncture as Volusianus. The reference to Vitalianus is the least informative, since we do not know where in his career he held the command attributed to him, nor do we know where his career went 1, 111 . 3529: 0(u) Manibus) tesorlac P(ubli) Ael(i) Martial/s q(uon)dai) vet(erani) ex fc)(ustode) a(rsorus) leg(ionis) 11 Adi(utricis) patris ci Fla y/ac 4guthes salt/i, hi/us hi/anus prae(ectus leg(ionis) s(ipra) s(cripfae) protector Aug(usti), parent/bus CdP1551115 regresus ad /uieS
patros f(aciendui) c(uravf I), 4 1965, 9: Herculi 4ug(usto) P. hi/us 4eiiamis prier (cc tus) leg(ionis) 11 4diut(r/ci5) protector Eallieni Aug(usti) n(ostri) a(gens) v(ice) i(egati) v(otus s(oivit) /(thens) s(erito), 2, PLRE 4,1/anus 10, Possibly hi/anus 8 also. 3, 4E,1920,108: Oils ptatlr/is deabuique Fortun!aje Reduci pro salute atque incolusitate d(oaini) n(os In) /'(era ion/i) Caes(anis) P(ubll) Licini Gailieni mv/c I/ tp)ii felt/c/i) 4ug(usti), H(ircus) 4urei(ius) Victor v(ir) e(gregius) pt(a)eses pro(rinciae) Nauretaniae Caesar/ens/i, protector

c/us, Mnno) prov(inciae) CCIII!!! ,t(alendis) I(anuaniis/uniis/uliis),


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


from there. If the status of any of the other protectores is anything to go by, his rank at the time of the command must have been at least the equivalent of a legionary prefecture. Certainly, it can be argued that the command of a combined force of German and British legions, with their auxilia, was more than a run-of-the-mill vexillery appointment. One other, less certain, inscription might be added to this liBt. It refers to an anonymous officer in the Guard, who was designated protector Auggg'. The most likely date for this is 25 9/60, when Saloninus was briefly promoted to Augustus in defiance of the mutiny of Postumus, and before the news of Valerlan's capture had filtered back to the west. The terminology and juncture of the officer's elevation to the protectorate is closest to that of the Gallienic protectors, making a date that falls within his period of influence seem the most favourable. A good deal of information can be gleaned from these careers. First, it is clear from the Marcellinus inscription, in which the titles of the provincial governor are set alongside the titles of the legionary prefect, that the protectorate was a military appointment. Marcellinus is termed

preefectus legionis protector Augusti nostri agens vice 1egati while at the
same time Clementius Silvius, the equestrian governor of Lower Pannonia, is

vir egregius egens vice praesidis. The trend is maintained in other

The only exception is M. Aurelius

equestrian provinces under Gallienus 2 .

Victor, above. Since the protectorate was a military appointment, he is

1,,,, trib(wii) coh(ortis)J XI w'banae, trth(uni) coh(ortis) VI praet(oriee) ci 1, 111 . 3126: pro fec tor(ii) Aig(ui torua trig.) n(o, trorim) patron! spiendissisee civ! Ia Ifs Curic lard ob mnsigne. Psi (idler), A further two inscriptions, containing the benivolenizas italuie pont anxeriint, ILS 4002 erasures of dunatic, might be dateable to Gallienus for Just this reason: XI'4082 (Aurelius Faustus). with the formula prot, divini lateris n, (discussed below p. 2zis core certain than 111 . 8571 1 1985 (Aur, Sabinianus), trib, proi.ectt,.,.,,,,,,,,Jn,, where the erasure must surely contain some unit designation (probably Prietorian), possibly followed by .,,Aug.Jn. 2, Coc(c,jus) Rufinus In Arabia, FLaW Rufinu, 13 A, Yoconius Zeno in Cilicia, PLRE Zenon 9 N,
Aurelius Maximus In Pannonia Sup,, III'4564,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


likely to have received the title during a military command prior to his governorship of Mauretania Caesariensia, like Marcellinus and Aelianus after him. This was probably not a prefecture, since we would expect such an off ice to be recorded, in accordance with the Marcellinus inscription; and it may have had sufficiently low status to be missed out altogether. One should also bear in mind that the nature of the Victor Inscription, which was an official dedication by the governor of the province to the emperor, was such that details of his previous career could have been superfluous. Victor shows that the title of protector was an honorific. It was held in perpetuity by its recipients, all of whom can be seen to have borne It with pride. The point is reinforced by the testimonial of Marcianus in which the title protector is highlighted above all his other achievements. It was bound into the careers of its holders at various junctures. Aelianus and Marcellinus received it while holding the equestrian prefecture of 11

Adiutri while the terminology in the cursv.s of Volusianus and the

an nynious preetorian suggests that the grant of protector status was somehow linked to the praetorian tribunate. The implication is that under Gallienus the title protector was symbolic, an equestrian badge of privilege, of which the title was more important than the duties. Its grant seems limited to equestrian officers who had reached a certain degree of status within the military career structure. It was not a blanket grant, since there are at least two instances of legionary commanders under Gallienus who did not receive it 1 . This in itself Is

L 1, Flavius Postumius Virus was Ji'gitwi Iqionis II Augustas in Britain c,262, PLR( Virus 2 Even more convincingly, M, Aurelius Veteranus was Prief(ecfus) Ieg(iens) XIII RIB 316 Vl1'95. 6(ea/nae) EaJIieniin(ae) (sic), I1l'1560 ILS 3845,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


important, since it indicates the special significance of the office. Each of the protect ores was specifically chosen to receive the honour; something which is strongly indicated by the personal nature of the title, its special links to the emperor0 and the esteem in which its owners seem to have held it. The title was therefore a mark of personal recognition from the emperor. Any duties which it carried must have been symbolic in nature, since it was held in conjunction with military (and civil) posts of responsibility that required the recipient's full attention. The similarity between the title and that of the protector consularis is hardly likely to have been coincidental. What better way for Gallienus to honour those men of merit whom he favoured than by making them honorary

beneficiarli of

the emperor? Diesner put forward years ago the idea that

the protect ores had existed in some form prior to the sole reign of Gallienus, but in the absence of any substantial evidence, he was only prepared to date the institution to the 25061. It would now seem likely that the roots of the protectorate date even earlier, and that Gallienus manipulated the already established office of protector own ends. These were somehow linked with the so-called Edict of Gallienus. Though the complexities of the edict need not be discussed here, it is necessary to understand that under Gallienus a great change occurred in which the senatorial elite surrendered most of their military functions and some of their civil ones to equestrian control. This change, referred to among

consuleris to

fit his

I, Diesner, R

col, 1113ff,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


other things as the rise of the yin militares, has been extensively discussed in a previous chapter, so that only the basic points need be reiterated here1. By the mid-third century, the senatorial elite had almost completely abdicated their military responsibilities in favour of the more lucrative and prestigious civil posts in the senatorial cureus. The imperial response to this was to give command of the legions and certain militarily delicate provinces over to the equestrian classes. This rise of the equestrians had been occurring gradually throughout the century, but under Gallienus arid his successors the pace of change was greatly accelerated. By substituting
senators with equestrian agentes, vice praesidis and

vice le&ati, Gallienus

streamlined the immutable career structure that had been slowing the rise of the yin milit ares and opened the way for the able men he needed, both

equestrians and senators, to take over the positions that required their skills. It is tempting, here, to view the protectorate as an agent for that change. At first glance it would seem designed to facilitate the bypassing of the traditional ordo. Yet the emperor had no need for such a system. One already existed in the

agentes themselves.

Moreover, most equestrians

in positions of command under Gallienus were not

protect ores.

The most Another

powerful of these was Aurelius Augustianus: Dux Macedonicae

example is Clementius Silvius, the a.v.p. of Pannonia mentioned in the

Marcellinus inscription 2 . These are just two among many. Nevertheless, the

I, Ch.X: V/ri Miiitare 2, AuguBtianus, 1934,)93; Silvius, II1'3424 ' 1LS545, cited on pn,4,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


probable nature of the pro tectores was linked to this change. It is based upon the assumption that the generals of Gallienus were protectores themselves: a point impossible to prove or disprove with the evidence to hand, yet given the nature of those few protectores we know, an extremely likely one. The key figure here is Marcianua: protector, Praetorian tribune, dux and general'. He is the only general of Gallienus for whom a first hand epigraphic career record survives. For him, we do not have to rely upon the watered-down end distorted testimony of second- or thirdhand literary material. Despite its brevity, his inscription is, at the least, an uncorrupted source. He was also a highly important man; more important, possibly, than either Claudius or Aurelian by whom he is eclipsed in the sources. For it was he who received sole command of the Danube armies, and was charged with the continuation of the emperor's Gothic war 2 . In contrast, the two later emperors were merely subordinates within the hastily assembled imperial army which faced Aureolus at Milan3 . Since this, the only detailed record we have for an important general of Gallienus, firmly establishes him as a protector, it is not beyond the realms of probability that the other generals were prot ect ores as well. The silence of the sources on this matter can signify nothing, for the source material is notoriously uninformative about the early careers of these men. What little they can tell us is, if anything, positive. The general consensus is that Claudius was a tribune of some kind at a crucial stage in his career, and that this

I, cf, p.249 above, text & note 4 AE,1965,114, 2, SHA, 6a11, Viii & XIII1O; 'iQ, Claud, YI'i & XViiii; Zos, I'40'I-2, 3, Eutrop, iXiii; SHA, Claud, IV; 5H4 Gal), XV . 3; Vict, Caes, XXXIY i; Zos, i ii; Zon, XII'26,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


acted as his springboard to success'. In the period between Gallienue and Diocletian, six men can be seen to have risen from tribuniclan rank to positions of relative importance. Five of these were
protectores2 .


source material, therefore, provides at least circumstantial evidence that the great generals of Gallienus held


The sources are unanimous on only one point concerning the backgrounds of these men. They all agree that his favourites were of humble origins. Tradition makes Aureolus a Getan shepherd who worked his way through the ranks under Valerian to gain a position of great power from that emperor's sons . Eutropius speaks of Postumus rising through a military career to the attention of Gellienus4 , though like Aurelian and Claudius, his origins are obscured by his achievement of the purple (albeit through secession). The imperial careers of the latter two have tended to overshadow their earlier achievements, making details of their rise difficult to come by. The major source for both is the Historla Augusta, with its tendency to overromanticise, but it seems clear from what little evidence we have that both were yin mflitares of outstanding ability. Aurelian was a peasant from the Danube who worked his way up in the army s , while Claudius was perhaps an Illyrian born in Dalmatia6.


SHA, C1ad, X1'9 & XVI . 2;



XXXIII28; Zon, 11.26, 19O8,259 ' ILS

2, Yoluslanus, XI'1836 ' ILS 1332; Narcianus, A(,1965,114; Tralanu5 Nucianus, 9497 ' I6RR 1 . 1496; Sabinlanus, III 8571

1985; Harianus, VI . 1636 (non-protector, his career is

discussed below, p,263);Constantius Chiorus, (xcerpfa Palesiana 1.2, 3, Syncellu. p.717; 4, Eutrop, IX'9'I, 5, Eutroplus and Victor place him In Dada Ripensis, whilst the SHA believes he came from Moesia: Eutrop, IX'13'1 Vict, (pit, XXXVl; S&Q,
6, S//A, Aur, S/IA, Trig, Tyr,

X14 Vict, Cees, XXXIII & (pit, XXXII; Zon, III,


Claud, XIY'2 & XY'1-2, recorded in fictitious letters,

-25 7-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


The named protectores of Gallienus also seem to have had humble birth. Volusianus rose from the centurionate, Aelianus was the sOn of P. Aelius Mertielis, armorum custos of Leglo II Ad1utrix, and Marcianus rose from obscurity in the Danube provinces2 . About Victor we cannot be sure 3, and Vitalianue is only known from the Inscription bearing his name. Clementius Valerius Marcellinus is generally believed to be related to T. Clementius

Silvius, praeses of Parinonia Inferior, since they shared a name and appear on
the same inscription as fellow-townsmen from Raetia 4 . Whatever the truth of this may be, the position of the shared name as praenomen in Marcellinus' case and gentiliciwn of Silvius suggests that Slivius was the senior. His position as praeses over Marcellinus, merely the legionary praef'ectus, confirms this. Nothing is known about their earlier status or origins, except that they hailed from Raetia. Only Marcellinus, the younger of the two, at the point where his career was taking off, was a protector. All the men above, for whom we have enough information, shared certain distinguishing characteristics. They had successful military careers; they were y in milit ares to a man; and those few for whom the epigraphic record survives bore the title of protector. Most illustrative of this is L. Petronius Taurus Volusianus, whose meteoric rise from the centurionate to the consulate can have taken him no

1, Nagy, 'Aelius Aelianus', Kilo 46 (1965), 339ff, 2. Gerov, 'Narciano',

4t/,enuui 43(1965),


3, Di Blois believed ho was a native of the Danube provinces 1 and cited Thomasson,

5'tatthaiter I

(1960), 102 n,263, in support of this, However, this seess to me to bear no relevance whatsoever to Victor's origins, since it ii concerned only with the changing semantics of the title denoting the governor of Mauretania, cf, DeBlois, 56 & n,147,

4, Huniclpu ex provincia. Raetla cf, PLRE Harcellinus 23,


M.C.tbeji: C3 Army.


longer than eight years at most 1 . If Domaszewski is correct, he will have come to the emperor's attention whilst serving as a liaison officer (centurlo

deputatus), and it is significant that his career started to accelerate soon

after that point2. The elevation to protector appears late in his inscription, linked as it is to the most prestigious tribunician rank he achieved. Yet it may have been received before this 1 applying to several of his earlier posts. As we have seen, the title was honorific. It could be held by praefecti legionis and even extraordinary praeposltP. In this case, the title may have been placed alongside the highest rank to which it had any relevance. The point is borne out by the inscription of the anonymous praetorian 4 , where the wording et protector Auggg. n. follows the list of tribunates held, Since we have established earlier that protector status was somehow linked to these commands, the implication is that it applied to all of them. Volusianus received his first unusual appointment at the lowest stage in the cursus where protector is found: that is at the point where he would usually receive a command as praepositus or preefectus. In his case, he was made praepositus equitum singuleriurri an unprecedented appointment,

I, cf, p.249 above, text & n.h

2, Do.,, Rangordnwng 104,

3, cf, YI . 1636 and the Yolusianus inscription itself, where the comeand of vexx, Legg, X i XII!!

Gea were held prior to the urban tribunates,

4, 111.3126,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


since the
vigil urn'.

Equ.ites Sinu1ares were usually commanded by a former tribunus

His second unusual appointment came around 259, when he was

promoted directly from

trib. coh, I Praet. to the post of preefectus Vigilwr4

exactly at the stage where the protectorate comes In his inscription. Here we have a classic vfr

inilitaris who rose from the centurionate, and whose ordo equester at just those points where the

career bypassed the accepted

pro tectores of Gallienus are known to have held the title. The coincidence
must mean something. Unfortunately, Volusianus is the only

protector of

Gallienus for whom we have a well documented

Therefore we can only hypothes:[se. It Is worth reviewing at this point what was special about the

protect ores We know that they were


mflitares yet this does not mark them out, since equestrians had been rising
through the ranks since the Seven. Some of them reached positions of great importance within the empire, but this is also true of men such as Aurelius Augustlanus, for whom no trace of the protectorate can be found. Those who did rise high rose fast, but this is by no means true of all the


Victor and Vitalianus disappear without a trace, while the protectorate commanders of 11

Adiutrix had to wait a decade before they were qualified to protector-es

take up equestrian governorships. Only in one respect are the

unique. All for whom we have adequate information were of humble origin. Here, if anywhere, is the key to the

protector-es of Gallienus. They

cannot have been centurions 1 of any kind, since the office was held in

1, PLRE 'oIuiiJrN1i


note c,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


conjunction with praetorian tribunates and legionary commands. The latter rank and the

preesidlum of Victor preclude8 their having been staff officers,

since neither prefects nor governors will have been seconded for such work. Their distribution, both under Gallienus and his successors, is so random that no geographical explanation can be put forward, nor is there any evidence for more than one

protector in a given location at any one time, coflegium1.

which severely hampers the likelihood of their having formed a

The title suggests they were some kind of bodyguard, but the few detailed careers for third century occur. All the evidence points towards the title being a ceremonial badge of privilege. Its holder was marked as a

protectores provide no space in which this could

beneficlarius of the emperor, to whom

he owed not only the protectorate, but his promotion to high office. Under Gallienus, the office seems to have been held by men of ability from whom great things were expected. Of the six certain

protectores in his reign,

five are known to have gained ducenariate appointments of the fourth echelon or above. We know nothing of the sixth due to lack of evidence. All for whom there is enough background material came from the centurionate. This means that all the well documented

protectores of Gallienus rose from humble

origins to positions of great responsibility within the new equestrian career structure he had created2.

I, In fact, the only occasion in which more than one tombstone of on. Claudiui Herculanius,

protector can

be found is attested on the

protectoris ,fireiiani eugusti,

set up by his brother, another

protector aiigusti: 111 . 327, Nicomedla,


27015AD, It may be possible that a

collegiuc existed

among the

in the Praetorians, though the argument will stretch no further,

2, Enough ii known only of Yolusianus, Marcianus and Aelianus to provide an accurate outline of their careers, and since there are extant only six unequivocal

protectores we

obviou5ly do not have a

statistical sample, Despite this, with the inclu5ion of Gallienus' generals, the careers of these men are strongly indicative of the trend outlined above,

-26 1-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Most of them rose to prominence with great speed. Men like Volusianus and Marcianus will have benefitted from accelerated promotion to get them into the commands for which they were most suited. The grant seems to have been a recognition of ability, a statement that the holder's promise had been noted and that he was earmarked for promotion as long as he lived up to that promise. This explains why not all equestrians had protector status, and why not all protect ores achieved the exalted ranks of the consulate. Some men, such as Augustianus, would have already progressed through the
ordo equester into positions of importance by the time the protectorate came

into being. Others, of higher status, would not have needed to progress so far to attain the prestige posts that were their due 1 . Most simply would not have been good enough to qualify for the title, and only the cream of those that were would rise to the very top. Of the 17 known equestrians who achieved a leglonary command or more Important post In the latter half of the third century without the aid of the protectorate2 , only two achieved the status of Gallienus' favourites. The ubiquitous Augustlanus was Dux Macedonicae and L. Flavius Aper, the father-In-law of Numerlan, was Praetorian Prefect 3 . Too little is known about Augustianus to do more than hint at his probable experience, but Aper was a man of high status for whom anything less than the position he achieved would have been a considerable snub. It is worth noting that only

1, ag L. Flavius Apr, PLRE Aper 2 & 3,, discu5sed in th. text below,

2, cf, Table P8, 3, Augustianu., 4E1934,193 for Apr cf, note 1 above,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


the former held high office under Gallienus. The sample is, of course, too small to be truly representative. Only two of the seventeen are known from more than one inscription. However, in the absence of any other evidence, it is highly suggestive, especially since the most detailed


among them is that of P. Vibius Marianus 1 . In what

would seem a fairly prestigious but typical career, Marianus rose through the centurionate to become

primus pflus

of Legio III Gaflica and subsequently

preefectus cast rorum of II Italica.


From there, he worked his way through

tres militiae

in Rome, and became


bis before ending his

career as

procurator et

preeses Sardiriiae.

In the absence of the

protectorate, no unusual or out-of-place commands are found. His career simply

follows the standard



one step at a time, ending with a

third echelon provincial governorship, less prestigious than the posts achieved by the our sample. It would appear that the protectorate, as instituted by Gallienus, was a symbol

prot ect ores. His career

ranks among the top two thirds of

of imperial recognition and favour granted to equestrians of largely

humble origin, which marked them out as men to watch. If they did well, its recipients could expect to achieve the most important posts


the empire.

In doing this, Gallienus began to discriminate not according to class and status, but according to ability, which would explain the seeming inconsistencies


his policy towards equestrianised provinces. He did not

care whether the provinces were governed by senators or by equestrians, as long as they were properly maintained and adequately defended. Is it any wonder that the militarily defunct senate, faced with such a



tacit acknowledgement of their inadequacies and seeing the usurpation of some of their traditional responsibilities by upstart novi react against this with such hostility?2
hornines 1


Following the death of Gallienus, a fragmentation occurred in protectorate terminology. The term protector Augusti nostri did not drop
out of use altogether 3 , but it was overshadowed by a series of new

designations 1 the most common of which were the titles protector ducenarius and centurlo protector. The change is best illustrated by two important inscriptions, one for each of the designations above, which must be examined in some detail. The first of these comes from Grenoble (Cularo) in Gallia Narbonensis, and reads:
XII 2228 = .115569:

Imp(eratori) caesarW M. Aur(eiio) Ciaudio plo feud p(ontifici) rn(exirno) trib(uniciae)

invicto eug(usto) Gerrnanico max(irno)

potestatis II co(n)s(uil) petr.i patr'iae proc.C?) vexiliationes adque equites iternque preepositi et ducener(ll) protect(ores) tendentes in Narb(onensi) prov (inciae) sub cure lul (ii) Pie cidiani v (in) p (erfectissirni) preefect (1) vigil (urn) devoti nurnini rnalestatlq(ue) elus.
It is a key inscription since, as the first securely datable instance of the ducenaril protectores, it proves they were in existence immediately after

1, For senatorial snobbishness towards these ci, Millar, Cissis Olo, 161f,

2, Reflected in th. literary tradition, Lactantius Oe iop tibus,,,V'5 Orosius tradition, vilifies him, Victor

Gallienus is depicted as weak-minded and indolent 1 and

accused of deserting the Roman people: Eutrop,

Irev, IX . 11'l, '8aIiieno rea publicaa deserente,.,

Hig t, cdv, peg, VI1 . 22'13, The SH4 reflecting the senatorial Cees, XXXIII'31 & 3i tells of the persecution of the emperor's family

and friends by the senate on the news of his death, 3, Two inscriptions, securely daieable to the 270s, illustrate this point: 111 . 327 reads and III'10488, dated to 279 by Te, Paternus cos,, reads

protectoris #ureI1a p f Aigusfi



M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


the reign of Gallienus. The phrase vexillationes adque equites item que praepositi et ducenaril prot ect ores

of interest here, since it can go some way towards

Illustrating the position of the ducenarii protectores. The praepositi in the inscription were surely the commanders of the vexillat.iones adque equites, and therefore the term ducenarli protectores Is left to stand on its own. This seems both confirmed and refined by the careful use of the conjunctions linking these components. Three separate words meaning 'and' are used,

implying that the author wished to make a clear distinction between each individual component. Furthermore, by placing item que in the pivotal

position he has drawn another distinction; one between the units involved on one side and their commanders on the other. In the light of this, a fair translation of the phrase might read: "..the detachments along with the cavalry, and also their commanders and the ducenarli protect ores... ". The ducenarli prot ect ores, by this reading, were part of the command structure, on a par with the commanders of the detachments but somehow differentiated from them. A further inscription, the funerary monument of one M. Aurelius Processanus goes a little way to support this. The man was listed as a v(iro) e(gregio), ex cent(urione) praet(oriae) cohort Us) VI, prot(ectori) ducenario'. As an ex centurion of the Guard, he must have progressed beyond the Primipilate (whether he held it or not), and his status as vii- egregius confirms this. Presumably, in the absence of any other titles on his

1, XI'837 ' ILS 2178.


M.C.IbeJl: C3 Army.


tombstone, he was a protector duce.narius when he died. Six other inscriptions mention ducenarli who were protectore&, yet they fall to give any useful Indication as to the function of the office or its postlon in the Ranordnun. Therefore it Is on the inscriptions above that we are forced to rely. Taken together, they form a very hazy picture In which the protector ducenarius was a symbol of status, possessing military undertones, and equivalent in rank to that of a vexillary praepositus. In speculating further on the nature of the position we now enter dangerous territory, since such enigmatic Inscriptions form no sort of basis on which to mount an argument. Having made this qualification, we can examine certain references with a particular terminology that suggest a partial explanation for the term. M. Aurelius Valerius and Aelius Aellanus are referred to as ducenarius ex

protectoribus3 . Both titles were honorary, and it would seem that they were
separate from one another. Indeed, the emphasis of the text suggests

I. cf Table P3, 2. 1 have ignored AE1908,259 : ILS 9479: IGRR 1 . 1496 at this point, since it is not entirely clear whether Mucianus was a

protector ducenarius

Line 15 has been restored by Domaszewski,

p.185 as trpa8, iau. i,orqxr. J Io,x,,vap,, On this reading, the rank of a fixed, and ranted above that of both the

praefectz,s Jegionis

and the

Rang,, protector ducenariu5 was trthunu5 praetoriae. However,


both the reading, and the inscription as a whole, are untrustworthy and extremely problematic,

restoration rpsI, r,r, Is Inconsistent with the other praetorian references in the inscription, which enumerate the cohort to which Nucianus was attached, r,s, 'apr, Inscription, r,ass. A more accurate restoration must read

This restoration is in line with the previous praetorian references in the

By this, I do not mean to argue against Nucianus' being a

protector ducenarius,


merely to highlight that any assumption either way is inadvisable, For Doaaszewski's text of the inscription and a full discussion of its problematic nature, cf, below p,271ff, Appendix 2 gives my own recension of the inscription, which I believe best solves most of the problems inherent in its restoration, 3, 111 . 1805, dated AD 280 by the consulates of Nessala and Gratus, reads ,,,H,


Valerius vr) p(eri'ectissiivs) ducentariJus ex profectorib(us) JateritsJ diini,,,;

with P, Aelius Aelianus,

41907,70 =

1915,75 ILS 9478 reads ,,A.lia aQAstvs 6oq(vapio) x ltpJarQxropev,,,, He is not to be confused

protector 6aJJieni augusti,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


that the protectorate was held prior to the ducenariate. It may be that the term protector ducenarius simply denoted a protector who had become eligible for the salary of HS 200,000, the traditional qualification for ducenariate status. Matthews, paraphrasing Mommsen's examination of the term, believed that it evolved from here until it lost its monetary meaning and became nothing but a definition of status, completely interchangeable with the title protector1 . Just how far this argument can be taken, given the paucity of the material, is debateable. The Aelianus inscription is alone in providing some direct, though unsatisfactory, information as to the level of ducenariate rank he achieved. In discussing it, I shall use the Roman equivalents of the Greek terms employed, since by default it has universal relevance to the ducenarii prof ect ores as a whole. His first minor appointment was the sexigenariate censitor NoricL He then held three procuratela, the last as governor of Epirus, one of four centenariate governorships identified by Pflaum 2 . This is the highest post named in the inscription, and yet the text clearly entitles him ducenarius. The title is obviously honorary, As such, it cannot have had any great importance, and can safely be ranked alongside, or even below, the lowest grade of appointments in the ducenariate. It seems hardly worth saying that a lowly ex-procurator of Epirus would lack the stature of a man with four or five preesidia under his belt.

1, Matthews, (spire 01' Aia'ianus (1989), 77 4 n, 19,, paraphrasing Moamsen, Epheaeris Epigraph/ca V

(1884), 12111, *5,8,11,12,14,22


39 also notes preceding 449-52, NB: 45 : /LS569, and #11 = ILS

2778, our two main fnscrlpions above,

2, Pflaum, Procurafeuri Equesfres (1950), 235,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


Aelianus was obviously a ducenarius of the lowest level, yet can his experience be taken as typical of the prot ect ores ducenarli as a whole? Clearly it cannot. It would be absurd to assume that all ducenaril

protector-es pursued identical careers. Yet there is one man, with a very
different style of career, who can at least support the Aelianus inscription. Aurelius Sabinianus was a tribunus and protector, possibly under Gallienus'. He subsequently rose to the position of procurator ducenarius pro vinciae

Dalmatiae, as a vir egregius. Therefore, he can technically be termed a

ducenarius, ex protectoribus, though the phrase was never officially attached
to him. According to Pflaum, the post of procurator lower grades of ducenariate appointment 2. testimony that

Da.Zrnatiae was among the

This is at least oblique

protectores ducenarli held some of the lower order posts in pr-a epositus was at best the

the ducenariate cur-sue. Since

third promotion of a ducenarius3, all available evidence places the ducenarli

protector-es on the lower rungs of that career ladder.

If this is a pattern, however circumstantial, and not simply a series of isolated circumstances, it indicates that the protector-es ducenarli were of a lesser order than the protectores Gallieni AugustL Among the latter, both Victor and Marcianus were undeniably protector-es at the pinnacle of their careers, which in Victor's case provides a direct comparison with the

ducenarli protectores. Pflaum's material 4 shows that the praesidium of

I, 1II8571 1985, The dating of this inscription is tentative at best, cf, above p.252 n,I,
2, p fjaum,




276 where he cites Sabinianus himself, N2,351,

3, Pflaum, 284, N2324 is the highest placed ducenariate

praep, vex,


4, Pflaum, 285ff,


M.C.Ibe.Ji: C3 Army.


Mauretanie Caesariensis was ranked among the fourth echelon of promotions for ducenar.ii, and on occasion could even rank as fifth level appointments. This was achieved by Victor, P. Aelius Aelianus, and Marcellinus. Marcianus and Volusiarius progressed even higher, while Vitalianus quite clearly held a high grade vexillary command, which puts him on a par with the protectores ducenari.i. If we take the comparison further, it becomes clear that a

universal downgrading of the prot ect ores occurred after the death of Gallienus. Very few later pro tectores achieved the status of those men who

mounted the career ladder under this emperor. In the early fourth century a Vietorinus protector was a vicarius1 . The emperor Constantius I was

protector primurn, exin tribunus, postee praeses Dai.matarum, according to the Excerpta Valesiana, and the SI-IA claims he subsequently became a dux under Probus2 . Diocletian commanded the Domestici though what this means is

debateable , and it was he who may have placed an ex-protector, Traianus Mucianus, in the preesidium of Reetia, though this is uncertain 4 . In the early principete, Raetia had been on a par with Mauretania Caesariensis, but this seems to have changed in the latter's favour some time in the third centurr. Finally, certain abbreviated inscriptions have been taken to read protector,

p(raefectus) p(raetorio)

on completely unsubstantiated grounds.

They could Just as easily read p (rirni)p (ilariu&, though I personally favour

I, Al889,65, 2, Lx, Yal, 1 . 2; SM, ,rob, XXII3, 3, Ct, below p.282, 4, III'5785, cf, below p.278,
5, Pflaum, Iocc, r/ft,


M.c.rbeji: C3 Army.


the reading p(raeses) p(rovinciae)'. The above is a complete list of all protectores who achieved high office between the reigns of Gallienu8 and Diocletian. It shows that under

Diocletien, membership of the protectorate may have regained some of its earlier kudos, but prior to his reign, the only protect ores who achieved stardom were those who had started their careers as prot ect ores Gallieni

Most illu8trative of this reduction in status is the appearance of the other common designation in the period: the cent urio protector. Though several of its occurrences are cryptic in the extreme, a little evidence survives to help form some picture of its position in the cursus Among this is our second key inscription: the career record of Tralanus Mucianus. It is extremely problematic, in places fragmentary, and containing numerous repetitions. Yet it is cited in modern treatises without exercising the

slightest caution; most recently by M. Christol, who based upon it an argument for the prot ect ores replacing centurions in the assumed mobile field army . It contains a wealth of detail -- almost too much -- and cannot be ignored, but requires minute end sceptical examination before any conclusions can be drawn from it. The version here is the original

I. aurelius Severus, VI'3238

ILS 2208,

protect, pr, pr,; lulius

Spectatus, X1II'7535a,

prof. p.

p. PLRE Severus 18 disagrees with the original reading in the text above and cites this as the only
instance known of a

protector pr(aefectoru.) pr(aetoro),

It reads Spectatus 2 as


It Ii my opinion that the two Inscriptions are abbreviations of the same title, Since they are both thumbnail descriptions of the men's Clreer5, the expansion pr(aeses) pr(ovinciae) does not seem out of place, despite the lack of a specified province, For a similar thumbnail description, cf, Flavius lulianus, 111 . 8741, reading cx

For Spec titus, however, I will concede that 2, Christol, 'Traianus

protectore it cx praepositus with no mention of the unit commanded, p(ric/)p(//arius) could be an equally valid reading, Mucianus', Cbironl (1977), 393ff, cf, also Cooper (1967), 189ff. and de

Blois (1976), 46 for other recent citations,

-2 70-

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


reading given by DomaBzewski. The line breaks have been preserved. My own interpretation differs somewhat 1 . The inscription comes from Tralana

Augusta (Stera Zagora), In Thrace, which was the man's home town2 . Its date

is debeteable.
IGRR I 1496 = ILS 9479 = A.g1908,259 = IGBR 1112 1570. (cf. also von Domaazewski, Rangordnung (1967), LVIII-LIX, 185ff):

Tpatcrov Mouxtavov Sotx(rv-rpwv) aTpeuaa'pEvov ypir (&7 KovxopS(trjvauiv) xai v Aey(uvL) fi I7crpG(Lxr), br,rcr xt)p'r(r1c) (rJpcxt rip (u), 8oxa'r Coy), (xaiovrcrpov) irpoxvopa youA(av), As(un.oc) ' ! ' p(vi), (xaiovicrpXov) 5 (xcrrovvt2p%ov) np(o-J ixr (opa) oip (avix w.vv), xat (xcnovixzpov) 7rpor (spcwpa) pr (z) rp&rLi1 (ptac), (xJa rpLvx 171cr 71por(rptopv), ffpELJ.Lo71(IActplov) (xcrl.7 x wv tgcrvta'J LEp%opeWA)v ir(porx to-i (pv, triap(ov) AEy(tawo) 8 Aa(ur), cr(rperrryovJ 10 tAey. < KAJaV5(Lcr) xai 5 Aa(ur), (tp8. BtyouA.i (rp$. opP.i vp8(ouvov) Al(fliovp(vv, 71per1ffoctovJ ftav ,rrxA g vi urpa (u1ofpEwv 71EJChvJ (xat tnirev McrJu(pv xcni 'Oupoi7vv, x(crLJ (71peruroaitov raw BplrJr(ovoiv) xci irAxxi.(opaw) 15 (rpfl. 7rpalr. nporqxt.J 5ouxtvap (vov), rctEp-J tX0V AEyiawo ......rrJpacxvtcz v Mecro&o-) frapic, apov Ae-y. yJ Tp(ivic), uvpaiq'yo(vJ I .... xcii w (v) rcrAiv o-'rpcereufoJ (pEva)v reav xci i'nirka (v) Mcwpv xci b(c,-i 20 (poqwv, tirapxov (itvo) B Tpcxicv (), crrpfrz-i (riyov Aey. c A?au& xci) S Aa$ (icc) xcv. B(pirr.J [xci wA xztopaw npiaEjzvtcr ev 9p(axiJ .7 xci c'pervLixx ......I I I auvov ircr(Aiv ......I I 25 xci raAiv Acx9ovrcr ..... C sic rrv uinipeotav ..... (q cwtov ..... narpi EDtu(xcoci.
Almost half of the appointments mentioned in the inscription are either unusual or controversial. Christol's examination of these is at times

I, ci', above, p.266 n,2 for a revised restortion of line 15, A complete, annotated version of my own reading can be found in App,2: 'Traianus Mucianus', 2, t'

ahoJ urpi,, ci', 1,26,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


brilliant, but his Interpretation of their meaning fails to convince. He is probably correct in dating the start of the man's career to the last years of the emperor Gallienus, and In identifying the hand of the Praetorlan Prefect, Heraclian, in its advancement 1 . However, by his own

argument, the agent of that change cannot have been the centurionate of XIII

Gemina as he believes, but must have been entry into the evocat4 from which
the appointment to cent urio protector legionis XIII Geminae will have been the natural consequence. As he himself shows, a position in the evocati often acted as a springboard into the ceriturionate 2 . It matters little that for some this move was a dead-end 3, since for Muciarius it was patently not the case. Therefore, service in the evocati was the starting point for Mucianus' advancement, and it Is here, not in the centurionate of Xlii Gemina, that the intervention of Heraclian must be placed. If Mucianus was an evocatus just prior to the murder of Galllenus 4 , he will not have become a centurio protector until the accession of Claudius, tying in neatly with the advent of the protector ducenarius. This would suggest that the centurlo protector was introduced by Claudius, which seems

I, Chrjstol, 'Traianus Mucianus', 397ff, The existence in Traiana Augusta of two dedications by a Nuclanus, one to Heraclian, and one to his brother, N, Aurelius Apollinaris, strongly suggests that

168R 11I 1568 & 1569, '.,ceux-ci (the evocati) eta/eat les soidats les plus aptes a's is garnison a's Roie, qui pouvaient, i l'issue de Jeur teaps a's service none!, poursuivre une carnire iii service dii prince en occupant des functions trs vaniCes, souven t upon tan tes, et par fois seas recoasencar me belie carnine dans Is centurions is puis les pastes de confiance, ' Also Ourry, Cohortes pretoniennes (1938), 117ff; E, Birley, Rosan Britain and f/ic Rosan Arty (1953), 104ff; Dobson & Breeze, 'Rome Cohorts and the Legionary Centurionate', (pig, Stwd, 8 (1969), 101 & 105,
Nucianus was a beneficiary of the Prefect's patronage:
2, Chrlstol, 399:

3, ChrIstol, 400: LXXVIII52;


Julius Nartialis conspired against Caracalla because of this, Cassius Dio Herodian IV'13, Also Dobson and Breeze, op. cii,, 106; Breeze, 'Career

Car, viii;

structure,,,', ANRYII'l, 439, 4, Christol, 398, dates in his Gothic campaign,

IGBR 1112 1568

& 1569 above to the year 267, when Gallienus was involved


M.C,IbeJi: C3 Army.


most likely.

Technically nothing militates against its introduction by

Gallienus; but the vast difference in the type of personnel who received the office, and in the terminology it employed, seems more explicable if viewed as a reorganisation of the protectores by his successor. The appearance of the protector ducenarius and the centurlo protector at just this point cannot be merely coincidental. As a centurio protector, Muclenus appears to have benefitted from the title in much the same way as the protect ores Ga11ien4 but on a more mundane scale. Dobson and Breeze noted that those who progressed from the evocati usually went in one of two directions. Either they entered the

legionary centurionate, where they remained; or they were promoted into the garrison of Rome, through which they progressed to the Primipilate1. Mucianus was unusual


doing both.

Beginning as cent urlo protector legionis XIII Geininae, he was then centurio protector vigi.lum, protector urbanicianus and centurio

protector cohortis V praetoriaa Much has been made of the lack of unit numbers for the cohortes vigilurn and urbanae. Pflaum believed this meant the posts were not effective, and Christol argues that they were sinecures designed to keep Mucianus within the field army while rising through the cursus. However, as the career of Volusianus illustrates 3 , the emperor had no need for such convoluted measures, If he wanted to bypass the natural ordo for a particular favourite, he simply did so. I also find it very difficult to believe that the emperor would concern himself so greatly

I, Dobson and Breeze, locc, citt, (above), 2, Pflaum, 168R 1112, 42; Christol, 'Traianue Mucianus', 401, 3, XId836 ' /LS)332; discussed in detail above on pp.249




M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


with the career of an individual NCO, since even the favoured Volusianus had to progress beyond the Primipilate before Gallienus started to take a hand
in his career.

Yet we should not discard Pflaum's hypothesi8 out of hand. The very fact that Mucianus was marked as a protector indicates patronage of some sort. The most likely patron in this case is Heraclian. Mucianus' later career suggests that he had entered the centurionate very young, since he held in all twenty-one posts after his evocatlo of which only the first six preceded the Prirnipilate. The urban appointments are unusual in not having
unit numbers attached to them 1 , and the simplest explanation is that they

were fictional posts. While the emperor may not have needed to preserve the niceties of the career structure, perhaps the Preetorian Prefect did. Yet this suggests that the centurlo protectorate was under his jurisdiction, for which there is not a shred of evidence 2 . If anyone was hoping to preserve the niceties, it is more likely to have been Mucianus or the inscriber himself, Ironing out the percieved incongruities in the inscription. However, it is worth noting that at one other point, and maybe a second, the inscription lacks unit numbers where they might have been expected3,

1, cf, Pflaum, bc, cit,; 111 . 3126 & Xl'1836 ' ILS 1332 are already cited examples of the usual terminology for the urban cohorts, though these are of tribunician rank and not centurions, Could it be that the urban centurionate did not follow the same conventions? It seems unlikely, 2. Though it is worth noting that the the various

protectores of

the later empire came under the authority of

lagistri ai1itia

in whose districts they served: Haldon,

Byzvitine Praetorians, 130,

The title r,i, At$)oeptvevJ,

3, ,,sr,s,a' ipor,, discussed below in the following paragraph, might also require a unit number, though not enough is known of the

Liburnae to

be sure, Domaszewski,

Rangodmin 189,


M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.


indicating a certain amount of sloppy workmanship, The next appointment of Mucianus was that of ,rpvxurct rpo. Domaszewski read this to mean 7tLXLJt porOptopciw), and was under the assumption that a coflegium of protectores existed among the praetorians, with a princeps
protectorum at its head 1 . This has been unanimously refuted, and the more

logical reading IrpLvxiira' rrpoi(tperoper) put in its place 2 . Christol would like to interpret this as (cent urlo) pri.nceps protector, arguing that the post of princeps preceded the Primipilate on occasion 3 . It is a perfectly reasonable explanation, as long as one accepts that the next post in the cursus must be primus pilus. However, Christol does not want Mucianus to be a primus pilus, since this would remove him from the field army, and argues that the Greek npeipot. should be completed rpsLpovr(tthpIov)4 . This alters nothing, since irpEIporr lJ. QLOV is

the Greek equivalent of prirnipilaris, and the

primipilaris was nothing more than a man who had been a prim us pilus5. Therefore, in the natural order of things, Mucianus should have become a primus pilus', at which point he must either have been a (cent urlo) princeps

1, Oomasewski,

Raiigordning, 188, Equites, 43f


2, Babut, 'la garde impriale,,,', Rev, Hisi, 114 (1913), 244 n,4 Keyes, Pilaus, 168R 1112, 42; iii cited in Christol, 'Traianus Nucianus', 403f nn,30-41, 3, Christol, 404, citing XI'5215 4, Christol, op. cit., 405, The 1LS2650,

priaipiiares were

a corps of veterans who could be seconded to

the emperor and important commanders on campaign; Domaszewski, op. cit., 116f; Durry,


pritoriennes, 21f;
Christol, 405 n,44,

Dobson, '.,,Primipilaris in the Roman Army,', ANRU 11 . 1, 399ff; all cited in

5, Dobson, op. cit., 396ff, 6, Dobson and Breeze, 'Rome Cohorts', 106f,


M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


protector et primus pilus 1 , or a primus pilus protector et primipi1ar1. The one post we cannot reasonably omit is the Primipilate. The Greek sits most comfortably with the former interpretation, for which Christol himself provides the perfect Latin parallel in XI5215. However, it is worth noting that an example of a primipilaris protector exists In AE,1954,135 from Aioun Sbiba in Algeria. At this point, just as he was rising above the hierarchy of a career soldier into the wider vistas of the equestrian cursus honorum, Mucianus 'passed out' of the protectorate4 . This was a complete departure from all that had gone before


two fundamental ways. First, it meant that Mucianus

left the protectores earlier than any of his predecessors is known even to have joined them. Secondly, his very leaving established that the In effect, Mucianus had

protectorate was no longer a permanent office. become ex pro tectoribus.

These waters are muddy. It is possible that the terminology on most protectorate inscriptions is

simply imprecise, and that by protector the

Yet with regard to the early

formula ex protectoribus is intended.

protectores this does not entirely convince. By the late third century the terminology had become undeniably sloppy. Under Diocletian the terms

1. Greek: ,'svxau ror(roa) (irs) ipsjio,(sov), 2, Greek: ravA1ia ror4'xroa) (tvs) rpcsj'o,(a'pov), 3, XI . 5215 ' ILS 2650: ,,,cent, frui, subpriricipi peregrinorua adsfato et prinicip etpriiipiio Jig, V/I 6ei, ph (sjc) Ii!,,, 4 Line 81: ...ix rev t..,..) iticopcv&v itporqrropav.,,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


protector, protect or-i, ex protect ore and ex protect on bus seem freely interchangeble'. However, it bears repeating that under Gallienus all known protectores were protectores Augusti nostri and even in the post-Gallienic period, the terminology remained reasonably precise. One was either a

protector, or ex protectoribus. Only the anonymous primipilaris of Aloun Sbiba2 was protectorL On the other hand, the existence of two ducenaril ax pro tectoribus does suggest that the title of the protectores ducenari.i was not entirely fixed. A progressive deterioration in the mode of address for prot ect ores seems to have occurred, such that more than one term for a specific situation had come into use a decade after the death of their founder. An alternative explanation is available. It is possible that a division ocurred within the protectorate after the accession of Claudius, creating on the one hand the cent un ones prot ect ores and on the other protect ores ducenarli By this argument, the two ducenarii ex protector-thus would be centurions who had advanced to ducenariate appointments after mustering out of the protectores while the other protector-es ducenaril would still be in the protectorate. However, a couple of inscriptions confuse the issue. Our man from Aloun Sbiba held at least one other post as a following his elevation into the


He is supported by M. Aurelius

TJ.L ri I-i$-iqr' 2, A195i,135 mentioned above, p276, 3. 111 . 1805; AI907,70,

'1I ' i'io; ,


e ia. au ;



M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


Processanue, who Wa8: ...ex cent(urione) praet(oriae) cohort(is) VI

prot(ectori) ducenario... 1 . The term protectori here has a pivotal position, where it could apply either to the centurionate or to the ducenarlate or to both. If it does apply to both, it provides a link between the centuriones

prof ect ores and their ducenariate counterparts.

Failing this, on the

strength of these two Inscriptions we must exercise caution, since they indicate that not every centurio protector left the office on passing the
Primipilate. The ex

pro tectoribus career of Tralanus Mucianus was a confused and

repetitive hotch-potch of appointments. As such, it cannot be viewed as typical. In certain cases, he seems to have held the same extraordinary
commands more than once 2 . On other occasions, he was the


legionis of at least three, and maybe four, separate legions 3 . It is not

even certain whether he held all the usual urban tribunates, and he definitely did not hold them in succession 4 . It is clear, however, that while his employment was wide-ranging, it was not getting him very far. The most prestigious post he is thought to have achieved was that of praeses

provinciae Rae flee5 . This was at best a third echelon appointment, and herein

I, XI'837 ILS 2778, 2, fffll7y0V 1q', K4aol, its I a$,, lines 9-10 & 20-21; frparI'o rev iaAsv trr,otccQopcvaY icev its tllceY Map.v its Jrpoqvev, lines 11-13 (where Doe, has wrongly restored ,pai,ocirov in place of fr,arqyov) & 15-20; urpa'ryoy rev Bpsrr, its epic, lines 14 (wrongly restoring ipi'sioairov again) & 21-22, 3, Legio III 6eaina, line 17; Leglo 11 Tralana, line 20; and an unspecified legion in Mesopotamia, lines 15-li, He was also iiapx, 4cj, 6 AiI, on line 9, but this was more likely to have been as praefecus castrorue than as priefectus Jegionis a, i', I,, assuming of course that the two posts
were not identical,

4, rps, 8yovi,
extraordinary commands,

and rpsB,

dpB, on

lines 10-11 are sensible restorations by Doaaszewski, given

the context, They are separated from the praetorlan tribunate (also a restoration, line

15) by


5, 111 . 5785, Line 23


our inscription

might be restored as



M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


11e8 the importance of the Mucianus inscription. For all its foibles, it clearly thdicate8 that a man who started as a centurio protector might gain rapid and preferential promotion up to the Primipilate, but could still only hope for a mid-level appointment in the ducenariate cursus, despite having held a multiplicity of equestrian posts prior to this. Several problems remain. It is not clear whether Mucianus occupied so many positions due to competence or incompetence, and his obvious pride in his achievements militates neither way. By this coin, it is impossible to tell whether his final promotion was above or below the norm for his class. Comparison with the ducenerli protectores puts it on a par with their best achievements, and opens another can of worms. As an ex centurlo protector, was Mucianus a protector ducenarius, or had he left the protectorate completely? The question has already been discussed above, with no

satisfactory conclusion. Since the qualification ex protectoribus obviously meant something to its holders, and since Mucianus so fortuitously ended his career at the same point as most ducenarii prot ect ores, I am inclined to believe that he was one, and that a protector ducenarius was simply a member of the protectorate 'club' who had gained ducenariate status. In the absence of further evidence, the point must remain debateable. It is clear, though, that sometime, probably under Claudlus, the protectorate was downgraded to come into the reach of centurions. We can guess that Claudius was responding to pressure from below. Those brilliant few who were brought into the officer ranks by Gallienus must have acted as beacons beckoning to the mass of less fortunate NCOs who saw this as a new way forward. With Gallienus deed, Claudius may have seen an expansion of the protectorate as an easy means to several ends. On one hand, it improved his standing with the centurions, who were a key to controlling the army, -279-

M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


irate at the murder of their commander'. In addition, it was a sweetener to the Senate 1 with whom he wanted friendship2, since by downgrading the

protectorate in this way, it diminished the prestige of the appointment and relegated the privilege it accrued to advancement within the centurionate as opposed to within the equestrian cursus. This must have distanced the emperor from the protectorate in some way, even if it did not go so far as to place its administration into the hands of the Praetorian Prefect. By doing this, it depersonalised the protectorate and removed the cabal, of which he had been a part, that had decided the previous emperor's fate. It may not be coincidence that no protectores Augusti are extant from the reign of Cleudius. Whether these thoughts passed through the emperor's mind is a moot point. Yet any one of them is a valid reason for the reorganisation of the prot ect ores. On the whole, this was a downward move, destroying the elite nature of the protectorate but retaining some of the mystique. Men were now proud to call themselves protector who had not even equalled the lowest achievements of the title's pioneers. In many cases, protector was the only achievement engraved upon their epitaphs3.

Under Diocletian, a few men appear holding offices equivalent to those of the average protector Gall1eni Viatorinus was the most successful of these, as vicerius Divit (i)e ch)sI (s). Aurelius Flrmthus became praef. leg. II Adi. ex pro tectore, and Flavius Julianus was heralded as ex protectore et ex

I, los, 1. 11; M4, 6a11, IV'3,

2, Alfoldi, CARX! (1939), 191. 3. cf, Tables P3 4, -280-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


praeposito1 . The bias of the sample against pre-Diocletianic examples may

be circumstantial. At the same time 1 it is worth noting that even If

Mucianus were to ignore his two Urban centurionates and hold each of his promotions for just one years he would still only just be eligible for an
appointment as praefectus

leglonis by 2842. ex

In equating the term ex protectore alongside the term

lulianus' reference reinforces the suspicion that there was now a definite point at which one ceased to be a member of the protectorate; though the

proliferation of terms


the period makes it Impossible to tell when that

was. Considering the material discussed above (p.V'), it seems likely that

the point was not fixed in any definite way. The tenacity with which people
held on to their association with the office is testimony to its continuing

importance9. The notion of a split in the protectores, with regard to

ducenaril and

centuriones, has already been discussed and cautiously discarded. Yet at

some point


the fourth century a split did occur between the protectores

and a new corps entitled protectores domestici The domestici of the late empire were, as the title implied, a corps of protector'es stationed at court. Their duties seem originally to have been as guards or aides to the emperor, and by dint of their privileged position, they came to have a higher

1, Viatorinus, Al889,65; Firminus, 111 10406; lulianus, III'8741, insecurely dated, been discussed above, p.269,

All have

2, This somewhat frivolous statistic assumes that he held his first centurion's post in 270, and achieved both Urban tribunates, Vhile his career is indubitably abnormal, it is still the only 'Protectorate' career froa the Claudio-Aurelianlc period which terminated in a reasonably prestigious ducenarlate appointment, Even under the most auspicious circumstances, that appointment still dates to Diocletian, 3, cf, T!: '. p.2.7? .i. I.

-28 1-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.


status than that of the ordinary


and guard


They are

generally assumed to have come into being some time after 3502. This date may be somewhat late, if a furierary monument from Moesia Inferior is to be credited. The monument, erected by one

M. Bitianus

prot(ector) domes(ticue)

in memory of his mother and father, was discovered

by Dobrusk at Comakovci (Bulgaria), and has been tentatively dated in the


the late third or early fourth century.

This is the only

attestation I can find to the

domestici at

such an early date, discounting


the literary references to Diocletian, which are surely apocryphal the dubious nature of its date, I am disinclined to give it credence


With the exception of the above, little can be said about the

pro tectores

of Diocletian that has not been said before.

There remains one other protectorate designation which requires di cussion. The title

protector divini later-is

appears three times in the

corpus, with complete disregard for period but otherwise conforming absolutely to the patterns described above. Aurelius Faustus is termed

prot. divini lateris Aug. n.


in a dedication to

an unknown emperor found at Ocriculum in

Given that the emperor's

name has been erased, and the term is a permutation of the pr-ot. Aug. n.

I, Haldon,

lyzantine Praetorlans $bornik 18,

(1984), 134ff: Jones,

Later Rotan Eapire (1964),


2, Haldon, 130, 3, Qobrusk, 798; AE,1902,141 111 . 14412';

PLRE H. Bitiarnis, presumably


on the

5trength of 0obrusk's report, 4, Victor Caci, XXXIX'I, doa'eg ticos doiesticoi twic Diocletian was a

doucorixa $/M, Carl, XIII'l, All must be extrapolating from their own period, and knowing that regentea, protector assume that he was in command of the doaesticl,
Zon, XII'31,


5, XI'4082 !LS4002,


M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


formula, it seems most probable that the subject of the dedication was Gellienus. M. Aurelius Valerius, v.p. ducen(ar-iJus ex protectorib. lateri(sJ

paid for the restoration of the public baths at Naroria (Dalxnatia) in AD 280; dated by the consulate of Messala and Gratus1. Aurelius Malor, ex protectoribus

later-is, erected a monument to

his dead wife at IJipiana in Moesia Inferior, sometime during the reign of Diocletian, though the dating is unsure2. The only thing special about any of these is their terminology. The phrase protector

.Zateris seems to highlight the guardian's function of

the office. Perhaps the addendum divini later-is differentiated between the ordinary protector, holding an independent command simultaneous with the ff ice, and the actual bodyguards of the emperor, the 'protectors of the divine flank' who were required to attend his person and quite literally watched his back. Unfortunately, this seems exactly what the protector-es domes tici were created to do. Even discounting the possibility that the domes tici were in existence under Diocletian, which would have generated two identical offices under different names, it seems unlikely that the they would have been created to replace the protector-es divini later-is. Considering the preoccupation of the Dominate with the trappings of office, the divinity of the household and the
adoratici3 ,

what would effectively be

the renaming of the grandiloquently styled protector-es divini later-is as the rather more mundane

domes tici seems Increasingly less probable.

I, 111.1805, 2, ,Q(,198),731, 3,Jones, LR 636ff, -283-

M.C.Ibejl: C3 Army.


A simpler explanation is that the term protector divini .lateris was the full title of the original Gallienic office. The short form protector was usually used on inscriptions and official documents for reasons of space, and the somewhat cumbersome longer form was only used by those of a pedantic nature, with enough money and space to Include it.

We have now reviewed the full corpus of material concerning the early prot ect ores. Few definite conclusions can be reached, but it is possible to make some general comments. It would seem that Diesner was right in assuming that the protectorate preceded Gallienus, though it dates even earlier than the 250s and can have resembled the protectores Augusti in structure only, perhaps solely in name. What began as a grade of principalis may have been converted by Gallienus into a beneficiarius of the emperor. The process was linked in some way to the rise of the yin m.LZit ares, and was probably a badge of privilege for humble equestrians in whom the emperor had a personal Interest. Certainly, the pro tectores Gallieni had no common feature other than humble origins in those for whom an origo can be deduced. Those who had the ability rose to great prominence as provincial governors and generals. Voluslanus, perhaps the greatest of them all, achieved the consulate after becoming praefectus prae t orb. The nature of the office was radically altered by Claudius. Opening it up to centurions seems to have been a deliberate move to reduce the importance and permanence of the position. Until Diocletian, no protector gained the heights of the great men who had held the title


its heyday.

The resurgence of the protectores under that emperor was probably less a matter of policy than a function of the career structure. -284Lacking the

M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


helping hand of the emperor, any protector who rose through the centurionate during the 270s was unlikely to have progressed far along the equestrian cursus by 284. Dobson was of the opinion that without imperial favour few primipilares attained procur'atela within twelve years after the Primipilate1. Therefore no amount of preferential treatment within the ceriturionate was going to make a centurio protector of Claudius eligible for high office before the reign of Diocletian. At fir8t an honorific for privileged yin militares, the term must have fulfilled the same sort of function for centurions after its downgrading by Claudius. This would explain why not all centurions in the last quarter of the century received the title, since it remained a badge of privilege, to be earned by those worthy of it. Whether it still denoted imperial patronage is a moot point. It seems to have retained something of its original aura of influence, since in the latter part of the century people were still aping the forms that had gone before, though with far less precision. By this time, the office had become institutionalised, but was a pale reflection of the original creation. At some point, it became a guard unit, possibly with the creation of the protectores

domes tici and gradually lost all resemblance

to the office of Gallienus, so that by the sicth century it was simply one of the many scholee within the Paletinate2. Yet one need not follow its history quite so far to illustrate its dynamic nature. Even under Diocletian, the protectorate resembled the

institution created by Gallienus in superficial terms only. The office was




425 & nn,80

& 144,

2, Haldon, 8yzantine Praetorians, 130ff,


M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.


no longer permanent, its terminology no longer precise. In form it more closely resembled the protectores ducenarli of Claudius than the protect ores

Augusti of his predecessor. No more than fifty years had passed, yet any
attempt to di8cern the nature of the original protectores from the examples found under Diocletian would be doomed to failure. Only by identifying each individual phase of their evolution, end examining these phases as discrete entities, can the complicated and confusing nature of the protectores finally begin to unravel.


G11irii AL&lti Mc,tri

N. . C. Ef. P. Th. E. CAl 11

mABL.E P 1:



REFERENCES 111 . 3529; gE,1965,9 111 . 3424 1965, 114

4E 1LS545

Aelianus Marcellinus
Marc Linus

-----------p -----------p -----------------------praes, Maur,

praes, Maur, Caesariensis praes, Maur, Catsariansis 600

xai ,rpavAa'riir

Victor CV]italianus Volusianus arn, 7 Sabinimnus




--------_______________________ x x 2 x - x x p - - praef, vigilum; PPO; cos,

III3228 X11836 = ILS 1332 II13126

proc. duc, Dalmatia

--------x ---------?p



111.8571 = 1985


1, As (ptaepos)itus rexx, itgg, 6ari, et, Brit,, 2, praepoiitus equitue singiilarior(u&, This is

he is ost likely to have held the command at any point within this
his first extraordinary command:

bracket, though he could have held it earlier: cf, App,2: 'Traianus Mucianus',

PLRE Voiusianus 6,

fIrs attestation of protectorate; x post attested; 9 post uncertain, miles eques; C centurio; PP primus pilus; PC praef, alae CAS praef, praef, coh,; TM = trib, uil,; PA castrorum; TV ' trib vigilum TU = trib, urb,; TP = trib, praet,; PB primus pilus bis; AVL = praef, leg, a,v,1, p M



TABLE P 2: Gr r- 1 c f G 111 ri t.i

NAME Aureolu


. E. PC. t. EA. C.I



-----------dux exercitus in Illyricum vs rebels; hipparch; dux Alpium


hipparch of cavalry from Danube exercitus detache to fight Aureolus at Milan

Claudius Ma cianus Postu us


I x

- -

- -

I dux Illyrici 60D( xai


I dux/praeses in Gaul


fi m attestation of protectorate' x ' po5t attested 7 post uncertain, N ' miles iques, C ' cm tu lo PP primus pilus; PC z praef, coh,; TN : trib, .i,; PA = praef, alae; CAS castroru ' TV ' trib vigilu.; TV tub, urb,; TP tub, praet,; PB primus pilus bis; AVL = praef, leg, p



TABLE P 3: Di-iri I Prct ct cr



censitor Norici

1907, 70 = !L$94

proc. in Italia; proc. argent, Pann, proc. Epirus; ducenarius ex protectoribus


prot, ducEen,]



pro(t,) duc,


Pate rnus

ducenario protE


Processa us





ILS 2778


protector ducenarius



ducenarius ex protectoribus lateris divini




gregio s cent(urione) prut(orae) cobort(s) WI prot(ec tori) ducenario,

fIre attestation of protectorate; x post attested; ? = post uncertain, ii lee eques, C centu lo, PP prisus pilus, PC igilu. TU praef, coh,; TN = trib, .11,; PA praef, alae; CAS = praef, praef, leg, a, v.1,

castroru., TV ' trib,

trib, urb, IP = trib, praet,; PB = pilus bis; AVL




rABLE }' 4: Pt



. E. P. It

ci a a ia EB. A'& RDC1 EQUESTER


Cons tans Kalandinus axi sinus Mucianus - ---------- 4 1 1 5 - 6 7 V.P. praes, Raeiia



1919 74
IQRRI . 1496 = ILS

2p 3p

94792 A19O8,259 1658 1112 1570; als 111.5785 - ----------8 XIII'8273 AE1954 1 135

Rosanus anon,

7p p

I ii 1e5 Ccb, I ConcordIen5m 5 leg, II Par thica', eqiies cob, VII Praetoriae, e roca tus, 2, cenfurio protector leg. XIII 6einae, cob, Vigilut, cob, Urbaniciani ef co/i, V Praetoriae, 3, (centuno) princeps protector et prisus pilus, cx protector/bus, 4. pracl, leg, IV Flav,ae, praep, legg, VII Claudiae et IV Flay/ac, 5, trib, Liburnorui praep ped. et eq. Haur, et Osrh,, praep, Butt, et explor,, fr/b, cob, P Praet, 6 pract. leg, agens in Hesop,, prae!, leg, 1111 6e., a, v, I,, praep, ped. e t eq. flaur, e f Osrb,, praci', leg, II It,, praep, Iegg, VII Cl, et Iv Fl,, praep, Sri ft. ef explor, 7, centu,io IV Fl, et protect on ilea ceinturilo leg, 111 A, lid tpraep,J a/ac Parthorutal, 8, The top of the inscription has broken, leaving: ,. , ,,,,,,Jil protec(fori1


firs attestation of protectorate; x = po5t attested; ? = post uncertain, iles/eques, C ' centurio; PP primus pilus: p c = praef, coh,; TN trib, iii,; PA praef, alae; CAS praef.

castroru.; TV

trib, vigilum; TU

trib, urb,; TP = trib, praet,; PB

primus pilus bis; AVL

praef, leg, a,v,l,

2 90-

TABLE P : Pr-t t cr Di cc1 t I ri

ef. . II. aa.

A1 IiL

If. EL





ex prot(ectoribus)



------------protector/vicarius divit- (i)e(n)sl(s)

1889 65

p hr. attestation of protectorate; x post attested: ? post uncertain, alles/aques; C centurio; PP primus pilus; PC ' praef, coh,; TM trib, iii,; P praef, alae; CAS praef, castroru.; TV trib, vigIlus; 1(1 ' trib, urb, IF trib, praet,; PB prisus pilus bis; AVL praef, leg, a, v.1,

-29 1-

o t i-i

r pr-c,

- r- r-


t c,

r- ci

f r- wi-i m c, m i r s I s,

N. C. E. E IN. Fl CA. tIL UL If.




praes, Dal.atia; dux; imperator comiander of the imperator

SHAProb, XXII'3;
(xc, Va!,


Dioc lea



Cues, XXXIX'l,

Zon, XII.31;
$H1q Car, XIII.1

Herodes 1 ----------cx protec(toribus)

iQE19O7,48 1.1481



protector pr(aeses) p(rov,?) V1.3238


Spec titus



III'7535a protectoribus V1'32945

., , tivlua



I, ,,,, ii

ro cx

protecloribus (centurio) classis Rabennatiiia,

post uncertain, illes/eques; C centunlo; PP pilus; PC praef, coh,: TM trib, iii,; PA praef, alae; CAS praef, castroru.; TV trib, vlgllia TU trib, urb,; TP trib, praet,; PB pilus bis; AVL praef, leg, a,v,1,

p fin, attestation of protectorate; x post attested; 1


mABL.E P 7: Ncrprct tr-t Eq tx-1ri . 250-284. .


REFERENCES OGI 614; 111,90; IGRRIII'1287 Syri 6 (1925), 2321,






v,e, praep, V Nac, et XIII Ge.,; PPO

PLREAper 1 & 2; 11I'15156: A1936, 53, 54 & 57, AE 1934,193 inferre 1

Augustlinu. Deciaus


Nacedonica peregrinorum v.p. praes, Numidia






VII1'2481, 4325 & 17970; AE,1916,18 & 21


41,1944,85 = III'32 1L2457

Plarlanus Plaxisus Olyipus

proc.; praes, Sardinia praes, Pannonia Sup,


VI' 1636 111.4564 IGRRI1I1286; Syn 39(1952), 312,

p. praes, Arabia

Paternianus Silvius Superinus Synforlanus Veteranus Ael, Victorinus Fl, Victorinus Zeno KEY: p

-----------x --------- - v,e, praes, Pannonia Inf,

111.3469 111.3424 111.4289 1 4 1934, 193 111.1560 Numidia ILS 3845 !L$545 !LS3656

------( 2

-----------x ------------p,v,(sic) praes,

1II'3424 = A1964,

-----------x -----------v.p. praes, Cilicia


fir. attestation of protectorate; x = post attested; 7 : post uncertain, N .iles/eques; centurio; PP primus pilus; PC praef, coh,; TM trib, mil PA praef, alae; CAS = praef, castroru.; TV trib, vigilum; TU = trib, urb,; TP trib, praet,; PB pilus bis; AVL = praef, leg, a,v,l, -293-


C3 Army

Grir 1 C




It has become a truism of third century studies that the empire was saved by virtus Illyrici. As the empire tottered towards destruction, a caste of officers emerged which was given access to power by the reforms of the emperor Gallienus, and which by its military genius brought the empire back from the brink. These officers were distinguished by humble Illyrian origins and almost exclusively military careers. Quite why the Illyrian soldier emperors should have been able to achieve what their predecessors had not has never been adequately explained. Instead, their success has been cloaked In woolly terms such as genius Illyrici and virtus IllyricZ founded upon a firm assumption of the military excellence of Illyrian soldier stock1.
The Genius Illyrici Is displayed as a new revelation of Roman patriotism, Roman virtue and Roman

self-sacrifice -- as was only Just, for It was Illyricum that restored the unity of the Empire,2

Such assumptions are founded upon sand. The Illyrian soldier emperors were as human, as vulnerable and as prone to error as any of their predecessors, end to date the rise of their caste to the second half of the third century is blatantly to ignore those less successful Illyrians who had gone before. Both Maximinus Thrax and Decius were of Illyrian stock, though neither of their reigns is covered In glory 3 . One can partially duck the

I, AlfOldi, Blois, Policy

G, Brauer,

CA/I XII, 193 & 2001: Altheim, So/daterikaiser (1939), 265ff esp,275f1 & 286ff; Dc Gallienus (1975), 86 & 207; Williams, Diocletian and the Rosan Recovery (1985), 24; The Age of the Soldier Esperors (1975) takes this assumption to extremes,

2, Alfldl, op, cit,, 200,

3, PuRl

619; Enselin,

CAHXII, 72ff:


CAHXII, 165ff,


M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtus Illyrici

accusation by maintaining that Declus was not of humble origin, but there can be no such excuse for Maximinus. Even after 250, the number of

Ulyrians whose reigns can be measured in months equals those who are lauded as the saviours of the empire. True, some had great success in the short time allotted them, but what of Quintillus, or the hapless Numerian1? How many of the short-lived emperors and usurpers whose power-base was in Danube provinces, both before and after Gallienus, came from the same Ulyrian stock as Claudius, Aurelian, Probus or Diocletian? Even these

restorers of the empire had their own fair share of problems. It is worth remembering that of them all, only Diocletian managed to last more than five years.
Virtus Illyrici is not in itself an adequate explanation for the recovery

of the empire, military or social.

Too many exceptions, or possible

exceptions, abound for it to be seen as the all-embracing panacaea some would have us believe. The question must be asked: what is it that

distinguishes Claudius, Aurelian, Probus (and possibly Carus) from their contemporaries end their predecessors that enabled them to pave the way for Diocletian to create the Tetrarchy? Historical accident is no more adequate an explanation than virtus
Iflyrici itself. The cycle of plague and disaster which had been ravaging

the empire since AD 240 did not let up at this point, on the contrary it removed Claudius Gothicus from the empire's service2 . That this was the last recurrence of the great plague will have been little solace to Aurellan as he strove to reunite a sundered empire; for who could tell that this

1, Alfoldi,

C4HXII, $114

2, Zos, I46 . 2;

192; Mattingly, CAHXII, 3221, C1ud, XII'2-3 ci, ch,II: /fanpciver, p.52,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtue Illyrici.

would be the case, and how could such knowledge have mitigated its immediate effects? The absence of plague In the mid-280s may go some way to explain why Diocletiari was able to maintain the stability that had been created, but cannot explain how that stability came about. The cycle of warfare had certainly not let up. Claudius was immediately faced by an Alemannic

invasion of Italy and was embroiled for the rest of his reign in an interminable Gothic war 1 . As if the reconquest of Palmyra and the Gallic empire were not enough, Aurelian was faced with another invasion of Italy 60 traumatic that it prompted the fortification of Rome itself, and he also had to deal with Vandals on the Danube 2. Probus fought Franks in Gaul, Vandals and Goths in Illyricum, Isaurians


Asia Minor, usurpers in the West and was

assassinated as he turned his attention eastwards 3 . The end of each reign was punctuated by a series of vicious civil wars, as minor players Jockeyed for position4 . The situation had not become any easier than



decades: with the restoration of the empire as an added burded it had in some respects become more difficult. Therefore, it is in the individual abilities of these emperors, their
virtue I11yrici.

that the empire's salvation must be found. Yet this genius

would have availed nothing if it was exercised in isolation. The third century abounds with measures that came to naught due to their abandonment by later emperors. Caracalle discarded all his father's work In Scotland the minute he was dead; the excesses of Elagabalus and the caution of Alexander

1, Alfldi, CAMXII, 156; Vict, 2, Hatiingly, CAM XII, 298ff, 3, Nattingly, op. cit., 314ff, 4. op. cit., 192, 311ff & 321ff,

Epit, XXXIY'2,


M.C,Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtue Illyrici

sacrificed all the loyalty to their house carefully nurtured by the early Seven; and Philip the Arab abandoned all of Gordian III's gains in Persia by rushing back to Rome in his bid for the purple'. These are the most blatant examples, yet the whole of the century is permeated by more subtle variatione on the theme2. The distinguishing factor of
virtus Illyrici

is one of continuity. This

is what marked its success. Unlike the emperors who preceded them, the successors of Gallienus seem to have had a unity of purpose, a concordance of ideas, which was to serve the empire well. Though not an Illynian,

Gallienus himself should be included in the list, for it is his reign and his reforms which created the climate in which
virtue Iflyr'ici

could flourish.

He gathered around himself a group of able soldiers in whom he placed his trust and with whom he could formulate and enact the revolutionary changes which were to save the empire. The career structure was streamlined to bring able men to the fore. Those able men were given command of new units, cavalry, permanent vexillations and strategically vital provinces. The most able of them were gathered around the emperor, forming an entourage of highly skilled generals who can almost be seen as a general staff. Whether they helped the emperor to formulate his ideas of defence, or whether they were simply indoctrinated into them does not really matter; it is enough to know that men like Aureolus, Claudius, Aurelian and Marcianus were an integral part of the great military upheaval which occurred at this time. From this group of men were to come two emperors with very similar

I, CAWXII, iii; 56 & 71; 88, 2, Such as the withdrawal froc the Saharan Atlas under Bordian, or the events on the Pannonian frontier following the reorganisation under Caracalla, cf, ch,Y: Auxilia, pp.112 & 118, 297-

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.

Virtus Illyrici

methods of defence, the latter of whom was to pass on these concepts to his proteg, Probus. Taken together, the reigns of Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus, Aurelian and Probus span a period of some twenty-six years (c.255-282), a quarter of a century interrupted by less than eighteen months of interregna, during which it is possible to see some form of continuity in defensive thought. I have very deliberately been avoiding the term 'policy', since to talk in terms of defensive 'policy' would be highly misleading. De Blois has argued convincingly that the majority of Gallienus' defensive measures were responses to threats
ad hoc

and when they arose, and owed little or nothing to

forward planning 1 . This is certainly true from a geographical and temporal standpoint. Major access routes were fortified and garrisoned only when their vulnerability became apparrent. Equestrians came to the fore because senators were no longer doing their job. Cavalry and permanent vexillations speak more of stretched resources than of grand strategy. Yet behind these mea ures there runs a very strong concept of what was needed to defend the empire, and of the paramount importance of that empire. Defence-in-depth may not have been a 'grand strategy' in Luttwak's sense 2 , but it was an ideology which can be found firmly ingrained in the reactions of Gallienus and his 8uccessors. Other revolutionary concepts were equally strongly held. The rise of the equestrians may not indicate imperial antipathy towards the Senate, but it would be a foolish historian who missed the strong belief of these soldier-emperors in the worth of the equestrian class. The continuity

J. Di Blois, Policy of &ilienui 32, 2, Lutiwak, 6rand $tategy of the Roian Eapire (1976), ch,3, 127ff,
-2 98-

M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army.

Virtus I1].yrici

is there, but it is not a continuity of policy, it is a continuity of concept, of ideas and belief. No system was followed; each emperor responded fluidly to the circumstances of his time. Yet the manner in which they responded was remarkably similar, and followed patterns laid out during the formative reign of Gallienus. Continuity of thought is hard to prove. continued use of the

Who can say that, in their

Claudius and Aurelian were continuing and

refining an idea which they had helped to formulate, rather than simply poaching a good idea from an earlier reign? We know that Aurellan had first hand experience as a cava]ry commander, and there is some circumstantial evidence that the Milan garrison continued to include cavalry during his reign, perhaps even into the fourth century 1 . Unfortunately,

Zosixnus omits to describe the battles fought by Probus in anything but the sketchiest of details, and though we might see shades of' Aurelian



methods used to defeat the Burgundians, the evidence for cavalry in his reign can hardly be termed as conclusive 2 . Claudius' Senate and his downgrading of the
protectores rapprochement

with the

might be seen as a direct

contradiction of this supposed continuity. Yet we have seen that he had alternative motives for the move, and the protectorate did not lose its importance, though Its status was reduced. It has already been noted that friendship with the Senate does not automatically mean enmity towards the

I, Two coma expounding virius equii(d) come from the ilan-Ticinum mint under Aurelian: R.ICV.1
Aur, 100 & 115, A

nuierus Iiliafarwa in

Transpadanum was commanded by an

identified am a Junior cavalry officer of the later Roman empire, though a also mentioned: V . 5823, 7000 & 7001; Fiebiger,

exarchos which Fiebiger si;nifer and a centurlo are

RE 1552,

2, Zom, l'68, Probum, outnumbered, split the barbarian force by luring some across the river, Later, he attacked the barbarians as they retreated from the empire, Does this indicate that he was harassing them with the cavalry? 3, cf, ch,XI: Proiectoresp,279f,


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtus Illyrici


Equestrians did not stop being

praesides on the death of

Despite such ambiguities, it is still possible to identify the same concept of empire, and similar ideas for the defence of that empire, in the actions of Gaflienus and his successors. Even Gallienus, who was forced to accept the

de facto shrinkage of his empire, can be seen to have striven for

He pursued the

its restoration to the best of his restricted ability.

reconquest of the Gallic Empire almost to the point of his death, and was preparing to return Palmyra to the fold, only to be forestalled by the massive Gothic invasion of AD 2672. The expedition of Placidianus indicates that Claudius also, swamped as he was by invading barbarians, had not given up entirely on the Gallic Empire3 The reconquering fervor of Aurelian and Probus has never been in doubt. None of this should be any more surprising than the indications in their day-to-day defence of the empire that these emperors were using identical techniques. Among such techniques was the pattern of fortification initiated by these men. The

facing the most active enemies was strengthened

wherever it was necessary, and all major routes of access into the hinterland commonly used by invaders were fortified and garrisoned. This was not an overall policy of empire-wide defence, it was a series of knee-jerk reactions to circumstances in which the knees all jerked the same way. While Gallienus strengthened the defences of northern Italy, Pannonia and Macedonia; Aurelian and Probus fortified the Gallic hinterland and Rome 4 . Perhaps the best

Militates, 2, Alfldi, CMXII, 117 & 186, 3, Aflldi. op, cii,, 192; XI1'2228 ' uS 569, 4, ct, ap 3: 4ttasted 6arrisons and fortifications of the C7,

I, cf, ch,X:




0 Gallienus Gallic Empire AFort 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.



o Aurelian 0 Probus Uncertain late C3 Leg. garr, 90 Fort ifd city

15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.


25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

Med lolanurn Verona Colonia Aggripina Athens Nicaea Poetovio Sirmium Lychri idus Montana Aquilela Cenabum Aurellana Divio Sainarobriva Rorna Burdigala Liberchies (pre 275) Taviers (pre 275) Braives (pre 275) luliacum (late C3) Heidenberg (late C3) Villerthaus (post 270) Rigomagus (post 275) St. Laurent (c.259/275?) Mandacher Egg (c.260) Vindonissa Vemana-Betmauer (pre 283) Baisweil (260/273) Rostrum-Nemav lee (270/283) Ratiara (259/268?) ,Oescus (259/268?) Transmarlsca (259/268?) Durostoruin (259/268?) Troesmls (259/268?) Sttlrmenkopf Ceesaromagus Agedlnicuin Quadriburgium Fanum Bagacum Liesen Ich


I1J V kucrc
I' r114
I 0

SOURCES FOR MAP 3: De Blois, Policy of 6aliienus 36 n,58; von Petrikovits, IRS 61 (1971), pp.180-219; Saxer, Vexillationen, N2s 102-105 & 107; Sesion, Diocltien, p,130 II1 12376: V . 3329 & 5869; VII1 22765; X11I 8261; ILS 544 6730 & 8923; 16R8 111.39.

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtus Illyrici

indication that the impetus came fom the mind of Gallienus lies in the Gallic Emperor, Postumus, another one-time subordinate of Gallienus, whose pattern of fortification matches and anticipates that of his Illyrian successors. That such actions were not obvious, despite the barbarian incursions of the earlier third century, is proven by the fact that they did not begin until Gallienus came to the throne. Even the permeable frontiers of Africa in the early third century were largely garrisoned on the periphery, with the legion at Lambaesis acting as an anchor point'. The actions of Gallienus and his successors in the Balkans are especially interesting. The gradual abandonment of Dacia and the relocation of its troops strengthened not only the provinces on the Lower Danube, but Pannonia as well. Gallienus had established a dux iustissimus


the passes

to guard Macedonia, and charged a certain (Pan)athenaeus with the task of fortifying endangered cities. The whole Moesian border was fortified in the later third century, and Aurelian even took the war across the Danube into the lands of the Gothic tribes 2 . In part, these measures were pre-emptive. Aurelian must have aimed to cow the Gothic tribes before he turned his attention eastwards towards Palmyra. Whether Gallienus established his

measures prior to AD 267 is unclear, but would seem likely, since he can hardly have found the time to so so afterwards. Similar pre-emptive measures may have been undertaken by Probus in Gaul if the sources can be believed3. These emperors were also using strikingly similar methods of gaining the additional troops they needed. No new auxiliary units are to be found after AD 253, except in the lists of the Notitia Dignitatum. Instead, their place

1,ci, ch,V:

uxi1ia, p,llOfi,

2, ci, ch,X: Viri MiJItres p.231 for refs: cf, also Nap 3, 3, Nattingly, CAHXII, 315; Zon, XII29; S/IA Prob, XIIl . 8 & XIV; Orosius YII'24,

30 1-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtus Illyrici

has been taken by units of equites and barbarian troops. When the various units of equites came into use is almost impossible to tell 1 , but we have plenty of indications that barbarian auxilia, though not termed as such until the reign of Constantine, were probably introduced throughout the later third century. Altheim believed that Gallienus attempted to recruit contingents of Heruli around 267, when their king, Naulobates, was possibly made consul2. Claudius is argued by Alfldi and Ensslln to have admitted Germans into the regular Auxilia, which while it takes things too far does not discount his recruitment of barbarian irregulars 3 . We saw in an earlier chapter that Aurelian and Probus made extensive use of barbarian troops 4 . Much of what the sources have to say are couched in terms more readily associated with the later Roman empire, yet there is a great deal of independent corroboration between them, and it is clear from the Notitia that barbarian units were in existence by the late fourth century. With this in mind, I think
it is

fair to say that talk of barbarian recruitment by the successors

of Gallienus was not entirely a figment of historical interpolation. The reign of Gallienus was a turning point. Shabbily depicted as a debauched tyrant by a vengeful senatorial tradition5 , he worked tirelessly to create the conditions by which the empire could be restored and its defence secured. Outmoded institutions were discarded, and a series of radical

reforms took their place. Though probably intended to do no more than meet

1, cf, ch,VIl: 2, Altheim,

Equites, So/datenkaiier, 188;

Syncellus p,717 (B); Jordanes

Ada Gothica XXIII Auxii.ia,

3, CQH XII, 219


379, There ii no evidence fo an influx of barbarian auxiliaries at this time, the emerging pattern; cf, chY:

but the use of barbarian 4, Cf, ch,IX: 5, cf, ch,XI:

nuieri would fit into Foederati, Protectores, p.264 n2,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtue Illyrici

the needs of the moment, they were comprehensive enough to sow the seeds of the future. The incorporation of cavalry into the military pantheon gave the army enough flexibiltiy to deal with the diverse challenges of Palmyrene, Goth and Gaul 1 . Defence-in-depth allowed the empire to ride the hammerblows of continuous invasion, and the use of irregulars provided it with the manpower with which to strike back 2 . Yet it was in restructuring the officer corps, freeing the equestrians to rise swiftly to positions of great reponsibility 3 , that Gallienus did the empire his greatest service. For in so doing, he inculcated those who were to succeed him with the methods needed for the empire's defence.
Virtue Iflyrici was virtue

Gelileni. The Illyrian soldier-emperors did

not succeed simply because of their military prowess. Their actions counted, as the actions of earlier emperors had not, because when each individual died, another able commander imbued with the same vision of how to restore the empire rose to replace him. That vision had its roots in the entourage of Gallienus. Three emperors rose to prominence through his efforts, refining their ebilitieB in his company 4 . One rebelled against him. The others killed him. It was a sad end for a remarkable man. Yet his epitaph can be found In the single-minded purpose of his successors. Imperial life expectancy had not improved; the purple was still a death shroud; yet those few remarkable individuals able to stamp their personality onto their reigns were now doing so in the same mariner, and with

1, ci, chh, III & VII: 'onira Coal Ia tut & (QuiteS, 2, ci, chh,VI, V & IX: 'exi!iationes, 4uxllia & Foederati, 3, ci, chh,X & XI: 'iri Ni/hares & protectores, 4, Posiumus (Gallic Emperor 259-268); Claudius Gothicus (268-270); Aurelian (270-275),


M,C,Ibeji: C3 Army.

Virtue Illyrici

the same aims. Eventually, their concerted efforts were to create a stable platform upon which one of their number could stand to guide the empire away from the abyss. A humble Illyrian, a vir militaris and even a

protector, the young Diodes was as much a product of the reforms of

Gallienus as any of his predecessors'. We must leave the proper evaluation of his work to other commentators, though it would seem that he built extensively upon foundations firmly embedded within the third century2 . By the time of Constantine (an undeniably brilliant son of Illyricum), the empire had been steered past its crisis, largely thanks to the Illyrian clique of which he was a scion. Once the door to power had been opened to them, the Illyrian generals worked hard to keep it in their hands, for they truly believed in virtus I11yrici arid felt themselves best suited to govern the empire. Such jealous guardianship of privilege had as much to do with the di proportionate number of Illyrians in high office as did the experience and skill of the Illyrien soldier stock. The Illyrici worked together to restore the empire, though they may have done so in the spirit of healthy competition. A combination of factors - unity of purpose, the loyalty of the soldiery, a streamlined career structure -- all came together with genetic brilliance to create the phenomenon of Illyrian genius. Whether the Illyrians would have succeeded without them, and just how much these factors

1, For Diocletian's origins and early career cf,

Ttrarchj g (1946), 38ff;

237 n,20, 2, Jones, cap, 7,


LRE cap,2;


PLRE Diocletian Se5ton Lliocitien et ii Diocletian and the Rotan R&overy (1985) 26ff & L Arise ile Dictcltjen ,, (1952) pt 1 Dxletian and the Roaaii REcer$

On Docletian's militiry reforms cf, Van Berches,

LRE cap

17; Luttwak,

Stand Strategy, cap,3



M,C.IbeJi: C3 Army.

Virtus Illyrici

were brought about by the


themselves, is a matter for conjecture.

Here, it is enough to say that if Diocletian and Constantine can be seen as the crowning examples of father.
virtus Illyrici,

Gallienus can be called its adoptive


M. C. Ibeji.

C3 Army


TI-a AritLqti Liz cf Vtiti

Up until now, I have studiously avoided any mention of the

antlqua legio

of Vegetius, but since Parker's ingenious article of 1932 1 , it would be inexcusable to write a discussion of the army in the third century without some reference to it. Modern scholars have always been highly sceptical of the Epitoma Rel Mil1taris but until recently they have still felt obliged to give it some credence 2 . However, the most current orthodoxy is inclined to reject Vegetius' epitome as en unreliable source for the military composition of the empire Vegetius was probably writing some time in the late fourth century, or early fifth century. Two independent

are the proclamation of

Arcadius a Augustus in AD 383, mentioned in the text, and a copy of Vegetius produced some time in the fifth century4 . The epitome is extremely harsh on Gratian, indicating that he was a sore subject at the time. Vegetius was a comes arid a
vir inlustris,

prompting Jones and Martlndale to

believe that he was possibly a finance minister of Theodosius s . Having

1, Veg, II'6; Parker, 'The

Antiqua Legioof

Vegetius', CQ26 (1932), 137ff.

2, watson,

Roian $oidie,

26f; Birley, 'Severus & the Roman Army', 68f; Cooper,



36ff who put forward the ingenious argument that it was written as a set of proposals for reform, 3, I am indebted to Dr Nicholas Mimer for sharing with me his knowledge on the

Epitoia Rel

mine alone,

prior to the publication of his new english translation of Vegetius, with commentary, Much

of what I have to say below is based upon our discussions, though any errors in interpretation are 4, Goffart, 'The Date and Purpose of Vegetius' 'The Date of Vegetius', Phoenix 33 (1979), 254ff,

De Re Hhlitari', Traditbo

33(1977), 65ff; Barnes,

5, PLRE, Rena tus,


M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Appendix 1

written the first book of the epitome independently, he was invited by the emperor to produce a series of books, which were written as a polemic against the military. His sketchiness shows that he was not an antiquary, interested in the details of the

antique .Zeglo, but was rather a commentator,

drawing on ancient sources to learn lessons for the present. In particular, his constant harpthg on the value of citizen troops was most likely an indirect attack upon the large numbers of barbarian troops of his day, about whom it was not yet circumspect openly to speak Ill. Vegetius names some of his sources in two places 1 , and Mimer has established a highly probable pattern of progression from these. Possibly starting with the

De Re Miiitar.i of Cato the Elder in the second century BC,

his sources may have progressed through Celsus, Frontirius, and some middle imperial epitome not named, to Paternus. His own epitome is so sketchy and full of innacuracies tht he probably did not have the originials of these before him, and it seems likely that he was in fact using a source derived from Paternus. That his material dates as far back as the second century BC is indicated by the confusion he exhibits between the ancient republican legions.

antique leglo and the

Throughout, he implicitly carries over

organisetions and assumptions used by Polybius and Livy. At one point, he talks of soldiers wearing just the breastplate of a cuirass because they cannot afford chainmail. formations, and even mentions At another, he talks in terms of manipular

hastati and principes though even here he

1, Veg, 1'8: Cato the Elder, Celius, Frontinus, Paternus and the constitwtiones of Augustus1 Trajan and Hadrian; Il 3: Cato, Frontinus and a/il coipIres, 307-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army.

Appendix 1

confuses the order1. On the whole, the entiqua leglo of Vegetius does not seem to be something that existed in reality. When one considers that the size of the
antiqua leglo would have required something in the order of an extra 1,500

men for each legion, at a time when emperors such as Septimius Severus, Gallienus and Probus were going to extraordinary lengths in search of resources for the defence of the empire, it seems inconceivable that the institution could have been introduced. While Parker may be partially

correct in assuming that Vegetius intended to illustrate the legion of the later third century 2 , no credence should be given to its description.

1, Veg, 1 . 20; Polyb, VI 2314-16; Livy VII1'8 . 9-13,

ilner also refers to Veg, IIl6 & 11I14,

and coepares Veg,III'20, p.106,6-i with Cato, Re ifulit,, frag,10, 2, Parker, 'Qntiqua Legio', liGf,


APPENDIX 2 Tri riti Mi.jc j riti

Below is a recension of the career inscription of Traianus Mucianus, followed by en annotated cursus taken line-by-line. Much of what is said here is a summary of the discussion to be found in Chapter XI: Protectores p.27 1ff.

I1496 = IL.S 9479 = A1908,259 = IGBR 1112 1570. (cf. also von Domaszewsld, Rangordnung (1967), LVIII-L.D(, 185ff): Tralana Augusta

(Stare Zagora), Thrace. Tpctavov Mouxtavov 5oux (ivaptov) ptr E&] KovatpctEuOaLEvov v I1cp8(tx), tmrrca xpt(1c) xop8(t1vatv) xa'. v Xy(uvt) oxxt (ov), (xarovtc*pXov) npotiptop (i]pattp (ta), Xy(uvoc) ly IEJL(tvfl), (xawvtapXov) apot(rxtopa) tyouX(av), 5 (xa'tov'wpXov) icp[o-] trxt(opa op avuuavov), xat (xatovtapXov) npot (1xopa) xp"ic rcp[at]t (aptac), [x]ai. nptvxtita npot(xtopa) (xat) lrpEto7t(tXov) Exat] x uv Enavtc*] 6tEpXo,.LE vv ItEpocixto-] [p@v, h]cxp ov) XEy (tvo) 5 Xa (ta), a(tpatryo'] KX]au5(ta) xai. 5 Xc(ta), (tpt. BvyouX.?] 10 [Xy. (cptP. otp..] tpt(ouvov) At[]oup[vv, atpatyov] (rev iraXtv] arpatECu]o[pevv itE]tv] [xat liLnav Mx]u(pov xat] 0aportvv, x(at] pat(opv) v Bpvr]t(ovv) xc*'. (atatr'yov 15 (pt. XP' ... Epatt.] 5ouxrvcp(tov), citaEp-] [ov Xytvo ... flcp8. 7 it]pcxavrcc v MEao(no-] (iaita, bta p ov Xy. ty] Fci (tvc), atpa'rlyo[v] [ .... xcxt] t(v) nc*Xi.v atpatEu[o-] (vv nv xa*. trnt]Ec(v) Mcrupcv xat 'O[a-] apxov Xeiy(tci'vo) B Tpatav(c), citp(a-] 20 (povv, KXau5. xczt] S Xa(tc) xai. Blpvrc.] (iyyov Xcy. 7LXpacop4v np]aavta v 8p[axr'] [xat I xat &pav [ rcx CPcv tac 7] [ I autou ita[Xtv ......] ( 25 xcxl. iaXtv Xaovta ..... I I (r autou Etc '(flV uti1ptav Trwrpt CURSUS 1,2 ailes coh, (II Concordzenhid:
maintains cf, ch,YI:

Oomaszewski's argument that this unit was raised from Concordia

In Italy seems sensible, however It is unlikely that it was stationed there under Philip as he

VexiIJationes p,145f,

M.C.Ibe,ji: C3 Army

Appendix 2

1,3 1,4 1,4

ellis leg, If Par t/,icae, eques coh, VII Praetoriae,

evocatus,' The dedications in 168R 1112 1568 & 1569 to Heraclian & his brother by a ucianu5 in Traisna Augusta suggest that Mucianus was a beneficiary of Heraclian's patronage, It so, the service In the evocati acted as a springboard to the centurionate, so the intervention of the Praetorian Prefect is best placed here as opposed to the centurionate of XIII Gem, as Christol believes; Christol, 'Traianus Mucianus', Chironl ( 1977), 397ff; cinturio protector leg, XIII 6esinae, On the leaning of centurioprotectorcf, ch,XI, p,270ff, centurio protector co/i, Vigliwe; Pflaum and Christol believe this and the next post were sinecures, due to the lack of unit numbers, It may be that they were fictional posts, added to the cursus at this point because the lack of them was unusual, The other alternative is sloppy workmanship; Pflaua, 168R111 2 , 42; Chrl5tol, op. cit.. 401,

1,5 1,5

1,6 1,6 1,7

centuric protector co/i, (/rbanicianl, centurio protector co/i, V Praetorlae, (centurio) princeps protector it prisu, piliis: Following Christol, who shows that the post of pririceps preceded the Primipilate on occasion, Contra Christol, the post of prisus p1/us cannot be avoided at this point; Dobson, AAWVII'l, 399ff; Dobson & Breeze, (p. Stud, 8(1969), 106f;
Christol, 404, XI'5215 1LS2650; AE,1954, 135), iv protectoribus, Literal translation 'and coming out of all the protectore?, praei'ectus (castroru.) leg, IVPiaviae: This is the standard promotion for pri.Ipilerescf, Dobson, ANRW, 413ff, Coming here, separated by the Rome tribunates from his other legionary appointments, it seems certain to be the expected praefectus castrorue appointment, as opposed to an early appointment to practectus legionis a, v.1,, praepositus (vexx ) iegg, VII Claudice it IPflaviae,' Note the unusual use of the Greek c(1ps%qov] In place of mpattoctwv), tritinus vigilu. ?, See below, next post, trthunus g,irba pjcjanj 1: These two urban tribunates fit the CWPSII5 here, but are uncertain, especially sinc, little room is left for unit numbers once again, Perhaps Hucianus only held one of them replacing the other with the extraordinary pruepositus commands which follow, If 50, th. command could be expanded to read: ra8, 'a,r, t,, I 8iyovAev or Oopkvszia'vov, The restoration as it stands is Domaszewski's, trthunus Lthurnarua A unit drawn from the galleys, according to Domaszewski, Rangordnung, 189, praepositus senioria peo'itu. it equitut Haurorue it Oshroenoru.; The Greek crpsri'ov retains contuinuity throughout the inscription, especially since it is used on line 17 with reference to the same co mand, The itiniores flauri are known from YIII'20996 ILS 1356, It seems they, too we e commanded by an ex-tribune of the Urban cohorts before he progressed to the Praetorians, praeposifus 6'rittonu. it exploratoru.' This may be the nuierus Britt onus Lunensiuei which was commanded by a praepositus Brit(tonu.) it expl(oratorue), However, this man was a centurion of VIII ,ugusta (XIII'6526), which seems a significantly lower rank than flucianus, Another alternative is the joint command of the nuierus Brittonu. and the exploratores GerianIclani Di vitiensiva always named together on the same inscription, These occupied the fort at Niederbeber in Ge ania Superior until AD 260 (XIII'7749 & 7753; cf, also XII1'6814), Since it is known Mucianus commanded this unit in Thrace (below, 1,21), they may have moved there, It is, of course, possible that the unit is not known from any but this inscription, tritiiws co/i, (,,)Praetor,ae, A preferable reading to Domaszewski's trib, praef, protect,, since it follows the pattern of the other praetorian references in the inscription and retains the unit number,

1,7 1,9

1.10 1.10 1.11

1,11 1,12



1,15 ducenarius, 1, 16 praefectus legionis age,is in Mesopotacia,' Almost certainly one of the Parthian legions since these were commanded by praefecti Jegionis a, v, I, from their inception, 1,17 prasuectus legionis XIII 6esinae a, v, 1,' XIII Gemina came under the command of an equestrian prafectus during the reign of Gallienus: 111 . 1560 = ILS 3845, M, Aur Veteranus, 1, 18 pruefec tus seinorus pedi tue et equi tue Ifauroru. it Os/iroenoru.: This is the first of three repeat commands in the inscription, Close examination of their wording will show that the


M.C.IbeJi: C3 Army

Appendix 2

commands were exactly similar 1 th. only exception being that Nucianus seems to have held the second two repetitions as one Joint exploratory command, when one considers the effort required to carve these repetitions 1 they cannot simply be discounted as an error, Therefore it would seem that Muclanus Interspersed his legionary appointments with returns to his earlier extraordinary commands,

120 praef,ctus leg, II Traianae, The Egyptian legion had traditionally been an equestrian appointment; Keyes. Rise of the (qwtes, 18, 1,21 priepositus (vexx,) legq, VII Claudiuc it Flaviae et Brittornis et expioratoru. agens in Thracia,' The term thix might be preferable here to preepositus. but it remains essentially
vexitlary command,

1,23 praises provinciae Ruetiac?.' A Mucianus is attested In 1.26 origone Traianae Augustue,' 6reek: . a-ho. ,,, rarpiq,
seems almost certain,

charge of Raetia by


Since the in5cription comes from Traiana

Augusta, and a Mucianus native to that town is known from

I68R 1112 1568 & 1569 the



A recent article by L. Okamure, 'The Flying Columns of the Emperor Gallienus: 'leglonary' coins and their hoards', Roman Frontier Studies 1989,

Limes Congress XV, ed. V.A. Maxfield & M.J. Dobson, Exeter (1991), pp.387ff
appeared too late to be incorporated into the main body of this thesis, Yet some of the points he makes are of sufficient interest with reference to my chapter on Vexiflationes for some general comments to be made. He suggests that the reverses of RIC V2, 96-97, bearing the legends lxxx were a die-engraver's mannerism for 'II et XX', referring to the British legi ns stationed at Sirmium during Gallienus' reign (III3228). This

provides a modicum of corroboration for the obvious deduction that these legions must have been in Sirinium by AD 259, in order not to have been abs rbed into the Gallic Empire (cf. ch.VI, p.145). Of greater importance are his comments on the V P(ia) V F(idelis) othage di ussed by Maria Alfoldi. The rarity of these coins has prompted some commentators to suggest that they were struck in error, or that the whole V P. V F. to VII P. VII F. series was struck simultaneously as one large donative. Either of these theories further invalidates Alfldi's

already shaky theory that they were struck at specific times to pay specific vexillations (cf. ch.VI, p.147). On the other hand, Okamura makes the point that these coins were discovered in hoards limited to the western empire (Galllenu& sphere of influence in the division by his father), and, with one exception, they were not found in the permanent bases of the legions they specify. This may well be indicative of the permanent vexillation of the legions, which is not seriously in doubt, but it no more proves the existence of comitatus-style -3 12-

M.C.Ibeji: C3 Army

'flying columns' than did Alfldi's original observations. Indeed, since the coins were discovered


hoards scattered throughout the western empire,

their distribution will be more indicative of easily penetrated weak points along the frontier, prompting civilian abandonment, than of the proximity of a permanent 'field army'. Logically, the 'field army' will not have arrived until

alter the penetration had occurred; ie., if its inherent logic is to be

maintained, the cause of the burial and abandonment of the coin hoard must needs

precede the arrival of the 'field army'. Therefore, it should not be

urprising that such hoards are rarely found in the vicinity of legionary fortresses, with their heavy concentrations of troops, since such str ngpothts were the least likely points of barbarian penetration. Since the coinage of 259 lists every single legion from the Rhine and Danube, including

II Parthica and the Praetorians, it is more likely to have

been a general issue, minted to pay all the legions named, than a specific issue de igned to pay only parts of these legions. The accident of their di covery is almost certainly more a function of civilian despair than It is f military vexillation.

-3 13-


C3 Army

Bi bi irp1-iy

Abbr'.rit ic,ri AE

L'Anne Epigraphique: Revue des publications epigraphiques relatives a l'antiquite romaine ed. R. Cagnat et al., Paris


American Journal of Philology Aufeteig und Niede.rgang der rdmischen Welt II 1-3, ed. I.
Vogt, Berlin/New york (1974 & 1975)

British Archaelogical Reports Aegyptische Urkunde.n aus den staatllchen Museen zu Berlin: Griechische Urkunde,n Berlin (1892)

Ancient History, vols XI & XII, Cambridge (1936 &


Inscriptionum Graecarum, ed. A. Boecithius, Berlin Inscription urn Latinarum + supplements, ed, T.

Corpus Corpus Codex Corpus

Mommsen et al., Berlin (1863-1986)

Inscriptionum Semiticarum Just ininanus, Corpus luris Civilis vol. II, ed. P. luris Civilis vols 6 & 7, trans. S. P. Scott, New

Krueger, Berlin (1929) York (1973) CQ Ep. Stud. Ephea. Epig. FGH FHG Ge . Schrift. HAC IG IGBR

Classical Quarterly Epigraphische St udien Ephemeris Epigraphica

F. .Tacoby, Die Fragmente der Griechischen Ristoriker, Berlin (1923-

C. MUller, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, vols 111-V1

Paris (1851-1870) T. Morninsen, Gesammelte Schriften


Inscriptiones Graecae ed. Preuss, Berlin (1873) Inscriptiones Graecae in Bulgaria repertae, ed. G. Mihailov (texts to all references can be found in Christol, Chiron
7, (1977))


Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes, ed. R.

Cagnat et al., Bretschneider edn. Rome (1964)


Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae ed. H. Dessau, Berlin (1892) The Inscriptions of Roman Tripolitania, edd. J.M. Reynolds &
J.B. Ward-Perkins, Rome & London (1952)

Journal of Roman Studies

-3 14-

M,C.Ibeji: C3 Army


LRE Not. Dig. Or/Occ. Num. Chron. P. Beatty P. Dura P. Grenf. P&P PBA PIR PLRE

A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire 284-602: A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey, Oxford (1964) Notitia Dignitatum in partibus Orientis/Occidentis, ed. 0. Seeck, Berlin (1876, repr. Frankfurt (1962), Numismatic Chronicle Papyri from Panopolis in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, ed. T.C. Skeat, Chester Beatty Monographs 10, Dublin (1964) The Excavations at Dura-Europos, Final Report V1: The Parchments & Papyri, ed. Fink et al., New Haven (1959) Greek Papyri, series II, New Classical Fragments, ed. B.P. Grenfell & A.S. Hunt, Oxford (1897) Past and Present Proceedings of the British Academy Prosopographia Imperil Romani The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire I, AD 260-395, edd. A.H.M. Jones, .LR. Martindale & J. Morris, Cambridge (1980) Pauly-Wissowe, Realencyclopadie der Classischen Alter-turnswissenscha ft Revue Africaine The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, edd. R.G. Collingwood & R.P. Wright, Oxford (1965) Roman Imperial Coinage edd. H Mattingly & E.A.Sydenham, vol V1, by P.H. Webb, London (1927) repr. (1972) Supplernemntum Epigraphicum Graecum Scriptores Historiae Augustae Corpus Scrip torum Historiae Byzantinae Zeitschrift fr Numisinatik Zeitschrift fUr Papyrologie und Epigraphik



B.G. Niebuhr


M,C.Ibeii: C3 Army







t denotes edition usually referred to by page number in the footnotes.

Amm. Marc. Cedrenus Dexippus

J. Rolfe, Ammianus Marcellinus, Loeb Classical Library, London & Harvard (1935) 1. Bekker, SHB XIV, Bonn (1839) I. C. L. F. Bekker & B. Niebuhr, SuB X, Bonn (1829) MUller, FHG III, Paris (1851) Dindorf, Historici Greed Mi.nores I, Teubner edn. (1870) Jacoby, FGH III, Berlin (1926)

Dlo Cassius Eunaplus Eutr plus Fe tus Herodian lob. Ant. Malalas Oro ius Pet. Pat. SHA Syncellus Vegetlus Victor

E. Cary, Dio's Roman History, Loeb Classical Library, London & Harvard (1969) I. Bekker & B. Niebuhr, S/-LB X, Bonn (1829) L. Dthdorf, Historici Greed minores I, Teubner edn. (1870) C. Saritthi Eutropil: Breviarium ab urbe condita, Teubner edn. (1979) J.W. Eadie, The Brevierium of Festus: a critical edition with historical commentary, London (1967) C.R. Whittaker, Herodien, Loeb Classical Library, London & Harvard (1969) C. MUller, Iohannes Antiochus, FHG IV, Paris (1868)
I- L. Dlndorf, S/-LB XXVIII, Bonn (1831) C. MUller, FHG V, Paris (1870)

C. Zangemeister, Pauli Orosii: Historiarum Adversum pagenos, Teubner edn. (1899) *- I. Bekker & B. Niebuhr, SHB X, Bonn (1829) C. MUller, FHG IV, Paris (1868) D. Magle, The Scriptores Historiae Augustae Loeb Classical Library, London & Harvard (1968) L. Dthdorf, Georgius Syncellus, SI-/B XX, Bonn (1829) C. Lang, Flavius Vegetius Renatus: Epitome Rei Teubner edn. (1869)

P. Dufraigne, Aurelius Victor: Livre des Csares Paris (1975) F. Pichimayr, Sexti Aurelil Victoris: Libe.r de Ceesaribus, Teubner edn. (1970) F. Pichimayr, Sexti Aurelii Victoris: Epitome de Caesaribus, Teubner edn. (1970) * L. Dindorf, Ioannis Zonaree: Epitome Historiarum, Teubner edn. (1968) M. Pinder, .57/B XXX, Bonn (1814) -3 16-

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