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I have just read through a science magazine I get once a month and this month there was a article about the limes in Germany.

 

Although the article was good I get a feeling they miss something when they talk about the number of soldiers guarding the lime. They write that 40,000 legioneers protected the lime but I, with my not very great but still considerble knowledge of the roman army, doubt that legioneers did the work of patroling the limes on a daily basis as that would be more a work for the auxiliaries. When they say 40,000 legioneers I think that atleast as many auxiliaries was guarding the limes. Am I wrong?

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There were eight legionary fortresses, which roughly equates to about 40'000 legionaries. These were situated on the banks of the Rhine itself. There were also around 50 auxilliary forts, although they might not all have been in use at the same time. So, yes, I believe the legionaries did patrol the frontier along with the similar numbers of auxilliary troops.

 

Whilst the auxilliary forts probably sent out small patrols to gather intelligence etc, I cant imagine the legions sending out vexillations of less than cohort strength, otherwise the tactical advantage of legionaries over Germans would be much reduced. This last is just personal opinion, though.

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Yes, legionaries did patrol. Thats why they were staioned there. Besides, the romans were not about to leave defence to the auxillaries - there was no guarantee of loyalty.

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In the Later era patrols of the Danube and the Rhine were made by special 'Ripenses' - Cavalry Vexillations (plus infantry on some occasions), as the limitanei were stationary and could therefore not patrol far from their defensive towns/forts. These Ripenses were considered to be less privelaged than the mobile field forces of the Comitatenses, according to a law of AD 325.

 

It is difficult to know how much soldiers patrolled the limes in this time, but the size of the Roman military was increased considerably during the late third and fourth century.

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First, we should establish the place and then the time for the estimate.

A german limes could mean the Rhine frontier, the Upper Danube frontier, or the land fortification between the two.

If we speak about legions than must mean principate.

 

Having eight legions and at least an equal number of auxilliaries, fleet, cavalry, etc means minimum 80.000 soldiers for the Rhine frontier and that is too much.

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You are quite right Kosmo. I forgot to mention that the article was refering to the land fortification between Rhine and Donube but when it comes to time it dont goes into specific and when it comes to the number 40,000 legioneers it just says that was the number that was staioned there constantly.

 

I have allways come to belive that legioneers when not in combat they either trained or was involved in building projects. Such "low" tasks as patroling the border was left to the auxilaries.

 

The magazine is "Illustrerad Vetenskap nr 7/2007" it is a scandinavian science magazine.

Edited by kotik

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What are Limes? I know I'm really showing my ignorance here, but I was wondering why the legions would be responsible for guarding green citrus fruit. :lol: Then I realized you must be talking about something else. :thumbsup:

 

Speaking of the green citrus fruit, were they known in Rome at all?

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What are Limes? I know I'm really showing my ignorance here, but I was wondering why the legions would be responsible for guarding green citrus fruit. :lol: Then I realized you must be talking about something else. :thumbsup:

 

Speaking of the green citrus fruit, were they known in Rome at all?

 

Limes are the border fortification that existed along the Rhine, Donube, Syria, the border between roman held britian and pict held britain, and africa. Here is wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limes

Edited by kotik

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"limes" Think: limits, borders, frontiers

Edited by Ludovicus

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Oh, ok. ::laughs:: but now I can't get that image out of my head of a bunch of legionaries marching back and forth around a bowl of fruit. :wine:

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Legionaries really were ordered to do seriously dumb things by some commanders!

 

A large porportion of the Limes were nothing more than a palisade - a fence, with an occaisional watchtower in the vicinity. Almost impossible to defend without regular patrols I would have thought.

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