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The Roman Army in the First Century

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Thank you for your reply. I'm sad to see that I won't be able to see where this pictures come from. If you like this picture, I could send another version of "Destruction of Jerusalem" by John Martin, the artist I'm working about.

As you cannot tell me anything about this magnificent picture. could you send me the original picture you must have? Maybe you have it in your personnal files or you know where I could find it (with a website link). I made a copy of the image you posted on your preterist website, but it's a low-resolution picture so I cannot read the names of the artists above the frame. It's the only thing that matters to me.

If you can do anything, I would appreciate it.

I thank you even though, it's kind of your to answer me back.

Have a nice week-end.


p.s.: by the way, here are the pictures of Martin that could interest you. The first one is entitled "Crucifixion" (1834) and it figures the pre-destruction of Jerusalem with its desolation to come. The second one is entitled "The Destruction of Jerusalem" and the last one is entitled "Nehemiah mourning over Jerusalem" (it's a sequel from the Jerusalem destruction). I hope you'll like it as I like it.
"Destruction of Jerusalem" by John Martin

The Makeup of the Roman Armies

   "At the time of the Judaean revolt, the Roman Army consisted of 28 legions spread across the Empire, together with auxiliary units. Each legion was composed of about 5,500 men, all professional soldiers who signed on for terms lasting 25 years. Only Roman citizens could serve, but citizenship was granted upon enrollment.

   Each legion had a number and a name; both were necessary, as the numbering was not unique. At the time of the Jewish revolt there were two legions each numbered 1,4,5,6,10,15, and 22, and three with the number 3; this situation had arisen from the Roman civil wars when opposing sides had each created and numbered their own legions. The Twelfth Legion, Fulminata, stationed near Antioch in Syria, was nearly destroyed in the initial battle of the Judaean revolt. The Tenth Legion Fretensis occupied Judaea after the war.

   Each legion was divided up into ten cohorts, not of equal size: the first cohort was the largest and contained about 800 men, the others about 500 men each. In addition each legion had 120 horsemen who acted as scouts and dispatch riders.

   Each cohort was divided into centuries; as the name implies, a century contains approximately 100 men, but through historical development the absolute size of a century was variable. In 67 CE nine of the cohorts were divided into six centuries of about 80 men each, but the first cohort, the largest, consisted of five centuries of double the usual size, about 160 men each. Thus there were in all 59 centuries in a legion.

   The leader of a century was a centurion. The rank was roughly equivalent to captain in today's US army. Thus there were six centurions in the cohorts numbered 2 through 10, and presumably the cohort as a whole was commanded by the centurion with the highest seniority. The first cohort, with the double-sized centuries, held five centurions, and these outranked all the other centurions in the legion. The highest centurion of these five was the Primus pilus.

   Ranked above the centurions were six tribunes. These were men from the equestrian class, the second highest class in the Roman aristocracy, underneath the senatorial class. One tribune was senior in rank to the other five, and was second in command of the legion; he was called the tribunus laticlavius, and was appointed to the post by the provincial governor. He often had no prior military experience; the position was a stepping stone on the way to an administrative or political career. Just under the laticlavius was the camp prefect, the third-highest ranking officer in the legionary, who was in charge of equipment and transportation.

   The commander of the legion was the legate (legatus legionis), a senator appointed by the emperor himself. The legate might also be a provincial governor, as in the case of Cestius Gallus.

  Each legion had a standard that symbolized it, an eagle, which was a pole with the figure of an eagle at the top, made of gold. In addition a legion carried standards holding a portrait of the emperor, special flags, and possibly a legion symbol. These standards were objects of worship in the official religion of Rome. For this reason, when legionary standards were introduced into Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate a riot ensued and Pilate was forced to remove them. According to the Roman historian Suetonius, when Cestius Gallus and the Twelfth Legion was defeated the Judaeans captured their eagle, an act of utter humiliation for any legion.

   Besides the legions, the Roman Army consisted of auxiliary units, locally organized cohorts that did not necessarily consist of Roman citizens; citizenship was granted after completing 25 years of service. The most important auxiliary units were the armored horsemen of the cavalry. Long experience had taught Rome that the best cavalry were those recruited from the inhabitants of the area where the unit was stationed. Cavalry units were divided into regiments (alae) of about 500 men, and each regiement was in turn divided into smaller units called turmae consisting of 32 men. The commander of a turma was a decurion." (Reference: Peter Connolly, Greece and Rome at War (Greenhill Books, London, 1998)




Triumphal Procession


What do YOU think ?

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Date: 02 Aug 2011
Time: 22:25:00

Your Comments:

Each century had 85 men,ie standard bearer,
(the top soldgier)optimo(2nd in comand of a
centurey) a Tesseraius(sargent) a Cornicon or
Tubicen(buegler)& a Centurion!!!+ there the 60th
Centturion from the old legians of Pompey&Ceaser time was likely put in charge
of the arttillary& the 160-170 men that would be
posted to it from what would have been the 6th
double century of the 1st cohort.It is highly unlikely the emperrors would approve of larger
legions with one fewer centurian from the old #
of 60.

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