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July 27, 2006

SPQR Blues: Blues 2 part XXIII concludes


Everybody gets a turn

The fellow on the dais is meant be the First Centurion ("First Spear") for the cohort, senior officer above the other five centurions. I've decided the military base would make these announcements with the men arranged by cohort (480-600 men) rather than assembled into the entire legion (five or six thousand men not counting auxiliaries, administrative staff, etc. etc.), on account of a decided lack of loudspeakers.

A century (though it means "100 men") was generally 80 combat soldiers, but also had an entourage of "sarges," "corporals," and non-fighting staff, which may have brought the number up to one hundred. The first cohort in a legion had double-size centuries. These numbers fluctuated over time and by legion, and in some cases there's no clear evidence. Some modern sources calculate only fighting strength into the numbers, though a few do (like me) nitpick over accounting for the support staff too. After all, our boys of the Sixth Cohort can't be expected to wash their own socks....


Posted by klio at July 27, 2006 12:00 AM
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