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12. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE ARMY UNDER THE NEW
Mommsen has brought light and order into the subject of the new military organization which was introduced in the epoch of Diocletian and Constantino. by his article entitled Das romisclie Militarwesen Beit Diocletian, which appeared in Hermes in 1889 (vol. xxiv. p. 195 sqq.). The following brief account is based on this important study.
Under Diocletian the regular army seems to have fallen into two main divisions: the troops who followed the emperor as he moved throughout his dominion, and the troops stationed on the frontier. The latter were called limitanei, the former were possibly distinguished as in mem comitatu (cp. C. I. L. 3, 6194). But early in Constantino's reign the troops in tacro comitatu were broken up into two classes, the eom.it/Uemet and the Palatini (before 310, for the comitatenses existed then, op. C. I. L. 6565; palatini occurs first in a law of 365 H.d., Cod. Theod. vii. 4, 22). Thus there were three great divisions of the army: 1, (a) palatini, (6) comitatenses, and 2, limitanei. Thus Gibbon's use of palatines to include the comitatenses is erroneous.
The other most important ohanges introduced by Constantino were: the increase of the comitatenses (who were under the command of the magister militum) at the expense of the limitanei, who had been increased by Diocletian; and the separation of the cavalry from the infantry.
1. £imiton«(oommandedbydu«e«). ThestatemontthatDiooletianstrengthened the frontier troops (Zos. ii. 34) is borne out by the fact that if we compare the list of the legions in the time of Marcus (C. I. L. 6, 3492) with the Notitia Dignilatum, we find in tho former twenty-three legions, in the latter the same twentythree and seventeen new legions (leaving out of account Britain, Germany, Africa, for which we have not materials for comparison). And if we remember that Constantino drafted away regiments (the pseudo-comitatenses) to increase his comitatenses, we may conclude that Diocletian doubled the numbers of the frontier armies.
The limitanei consisted of both infantry and cavalry. (1) The infantry consisted of legumes, auxilia and cohortes. (a) The legions are of two kinds. The old legions of the Frincipate retain their old strength of 6000 men ; while the new legions correspond to the old legionary detachments, and are probably 1000 strong. But the larger legions are usually broken into detachments which are distributed in different places, and the praefectus legionis consequently disappears. (6) The auxilia are of barbarian formation, and as such are thought more highly of than the rest of the frontier infantry; they are found only in the Illy ric provinces. The size of tho auxilium is probably 500. (c) The cohortes, 600 strong as under the Frincipate, are found everywhere except in the duchies on the Lower Danube. (2) The (a) cunei equitum probably differ from (6) equites, by being of barbarian formation and of higher rank. The (c) ala is generally 600 (not as before 500) strong.
Constantino's new organization reduced the limitanei to second class troops, as compared with the Imperial troops of both kinds.
2. Imperial Troops, (a) Comitatenses (under Masters of Soldiers) consist of infantry and cavalry: (a) The legion is of the smaller size, about 1000 strong; (£) the vexillatio of horse is about 500 strong. Conneoted with the comitatenses but of lower rank are the pseudo-comitatenses, drawn from tho frontiers (eighteen legions in the west, twenty in the east). (6) Palatini (under Masters of Soldiers in prcescnti) consist of infantry and cavalry: («) the legion of 1000; (S) the vexillatio of 500.
In connexion with the Palatini, the auxilia paltUina demand notice. These are troops of light infantry, higher in rank than the legion of the comitatenses, lower than the palatine legion. They chiefly consist of Gauls and include Germans from beyond the Rhine (but virtually no orientals). Mommsen makes it probable that their formation was mainly the work of Maximian (p. 233). They were perhaps the most important troops in the army.
The gcholac, which seem to nave been instituted by Constantino, most also be mentioned here (cp. Co J. Theod. 14, 17, 9). Thoy were probably so called from having a hill in ttie palace to await orders. At first they were ooniposed of Germans (but in fifth century under Leo I., of Armenians; under Zeno, of Isanrians; afterwards of the best mon who could be got, Procop., Hist. Arc. c. iM). There were at first five divisions ot 600 men; then seven; finally under Justinian eleven. The division was commanded by a tribune, who was a person of much importance (e.ff., Valentinian I.). They ultimately lost their military character, and the excubitorcs (first introduced by Leo I.) took their place.
Gibbon considers the question of the size of the army under the New Monarchy. On one side, we have the fact that under Severus at the beginning of the third oentury there were tnirty-three legions, which, reckoned, along with their adjuncts, at the usual strength, give as the total strength of the army about 300,000. On the other side we have the statement of Agathias quoted by Gibbon, which puts the nominal strength of the army in the inindlo of the Gtn century at 645,000. Taking into account the great increase of the troops under Diocletian, the record that the army was further strengthened by Valentinian (cp. Amm. Marc., HO, 7, 6, Zos. 4, 12), and a statement of Themistius (Or. 18, [i. 870) as to the strength of the frontier forces under Theodosius the Great, we might guess that at the beginning of the fifth century, when the Notitia was drawn up, the army numbered five, if not six, hundred thousand. These a priori considerations correspond satisfactorily with the rough calculation wnich Mommscn has ventured to make from the data of the Notitia. His figures deserve to be noted, though he cautions us that we must not build on them.
Limitanei . . Foot, 249,500; Horse, 110,500 . Total 360,000
SZSuwThaux.) } Foot, 148,000; Hone, 46,600 . ■ Total 194,500
A word must be said about the gentes, who, outside the Soman provinces and formally independent, but within the Roman sphere of influence and virtually dependent on the Empire, helped to protect the frontiers and sometimes supplied auxiliary troops to the Roman army. (Thus in Amm. xxiii. 2,1 we read of legations gentium plurimarum auxilia polluteniium: Julian refuses such adventtcia adiumenta.) The most important of these gentes are the Saracens on the borders of Syria, and the Goths on the right bank of the Danube. They are faderati; and their relation to the Empire depends on a fcedus which determines the services they are bound to perform. Under the Principate the theory was that such fcederati were tributaries, but in return for their military services the tribute was either remitted or diminished. But under the new system, they are considered rather in the light of a frontier force and, like the regular riparienses, are paid for their work. Consequently the amount of the annonet feederaticcc is the chief question to be arranged in a foedus. The Lari of Colchis were au exception to this rule; though federates they received no annonffi (Procop., B. P. 2, 15). The inclusion of the federates in the Empire is illustrated by the treaty with Persia in 532 A.d., in which the Saracens are included as a matter of course, without special mention (Procop., B. P. 1, 17; 2, 1). See Mommsen. op. cit. p. 215 sqq.
13. PROTECTORES AND DOMESTICI—(P. 1ST)
The origin and organization of the imperial guards, named Protector eg and Domestici, who so often meet us is our historical authorities from the time of Constantine forward, have been elucidated, so far as the scanty material allows, by Mommsen in a paper entitled Protectores Augusti, in the Ephemera Epigraphies, v. p. 121 sqq.
In the second half of the third century there existed protectores of two kinds: protectores August!, and protectores of the pnetonan prefect. The