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Why are centurions called centurions?

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Could it have been 80 combatants and 20 non-combatants?

 

What would the 20 non-combatants be doing? Keeping count of the casualties on the battlefield, in true Civil Service style?

 

-- Nephele

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Could it have been 80 combatants and 20 non-combatants?

 

What would the 20 non-combatants be doing? Keeping count of the casualties on the battlefield, in true Civil Service style?

 

-- Nephele

 

I believe it is accepted numerous non-combatants were attached to the legions, so I was asking if it was possible the same were in turn attached to the centuries and taking care of soldiers needs eg, repairs to the equipment, carrying supplies, foraging etc.

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Could it have been 80 combatants and 20 non-combatants?

 

What would the 20 non-combatants be doing? Keeping count of the casualties on the battlefield, in true Civil Service style?

 

-- Nephele

 

I believe it is accepted numerous non-combatants were attached to the legions, so I was asking if it was possible the same were in turn attached to the centuries and taking care of soldiers needs eg, repairs to the equipment, carrying supplies, foraging etc.

 

But not counted as part of the real-or-notional 100, I think. Words change meaning: the term "centurion" would be a record of the fact that there once used to be 100 soldiers under a centurion's command.

 

To take a different example, the word "denarius" means "x 10". Because, originally, a denarius was worth 10 asses (no jokes here) and the as had originally been the basic unit of currency. In 133 BC (according to my handiest source) there was a reorganization of the currency after which the denarius was worth 16 asses. Much later still, in the 2nd century AD I think, with inflation etc., the as dropped out of use. The name of the denarius eventually didn't make much sense, but it wasn't renamed.

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Cent means 100, there is 100 cent in an USA dollar, a centurion commanded 100 men.

Yes - we understand the etymology. This was the case in the early republican period, but not for most of the period under scrutiny. For most of the later republican period and all of the imperial/early dominate the unit strngth was 80 men, though the term 'Centuria' was retained. In much the same way, British hussar regiments no longer ride horses, but retain their nomenclature.

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Cent means 100, there is 100 cent in an USA dollar, a centurion commanded 100 men.

Yes - we understand the etymology. This was the case in the early republican period, but not for most of the period under scrutiny. For most of the later republican period and all of the imperial/early dominate the unit strngth was 80 men, though the term 'Centuria' was retained. In much the same way, British hussar regiments no longer ride horses, but retain their nomenclature.

 

Much in the same way as the US Army cavalry units are no longer "horse" units, but since WWII are modernized to mean mechanical transportation: In the Vietnam War we saw the introduction of helicopters and operations as an airborne force referred to as Air Cavalry. Cavalry designations and traditions continue with regiments of both armor and aviation units that continue the cavalry mission.

 

Today the 1st Cavalry Division is the only active division in the United States Army with a cavalry designation. The Division maintains a detachment of horse-mounted cavalry for ceremonies and morale purposes.

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Could it have been 80 combatants and 20 non-combatants?

 

What would the 20 non-combatants be doing? Keeping count of the casualties on the battlefield, in true Civil Service style?

 

-- Nephele

 

I believe it is accepted numerous non-combatants were attached to the legions, so I was asking if it was possible the same were in turn attached to the centuries and taking care of soldiers needs eg, repairs to the equipment, carrying supplies, foraging etc.

 

The century was split into 10 conterburnia which was basically a tent party of eight soldiers who slept and ate together which gave the century a fighting force of 80 combatants, now, please correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure I've read somewhere that to each conterburnium, was attached 2 non combatants whose job was to assist the 8 soldiers with their day to day needs like mentioned above. Which would in theory bring the Century up to 100 men.

 

According to The Roman Army Page ...........

 

The strength and organisation of the legions varied in time and was probably not completely standardised throughout the army. Generally speaking however the legio was organised in ten cohortes or cohorts. These cohorts consisted each of three manipuli, literally 'handfuls', which were in their turn subdivided in two centuriae or 'hundreds'. These centuriae were composed of a number of contubernia or 'tentparties'. Although the name centuria would seem to indicate a unit of a hundred soldiers, this unit could comprise anything from 30 to over 200 individuals. The usual establishment strength however is thought to have been 80 men. From the second half of the first century AD in at least some of the legions the first cohort was reorganised in five double strength centuriae while the remainder continued to be organised in the old manner.

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