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Roman Military Terms


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A balneis (LA)
in charge of baths.
A copiis militaribus (LA)
'in charge of military supplies'; imperial secretary responsible for military expenses.
A rationibus (LA)
'in charge of accounts'; imperial secretary responsible for the treasury.
A rationibus castrensis (LA)
camp accounting secretary'; offical responsible for accounting supplies and provisions.
Ab actis (LA)
'in charge of acts'; clerk.
Ab epistulis (LA)
ín charge of letters'; imperial secretary responsible for military promotions.
Absentia rei publicae causa (LA)
absence on behalf of the state; military service meant that most types of legal action against a soldier were frozen untill his discharge.
Accensus (LA)
'reservist'; light legionary infantry soldier.
Acceptarius (LA)
discharged soldier.
Acceptum (LA)
amount received by soldier after deductions from his pay.
Acies (LA)
battle line.
Acies duplex (LA)
double battle lines.
Acies triplex (LA)
triple battle lines.
Aclis (LA)
Actarius (LA)
Ad pila et spathas (LA)
close quarter combat.
Ad signa (LA)
'with the standards'; present with unit.
Ad stercus (LA)
latrine fatigue duty.
Ad triarios redisse (LA)
'to fall back on the triarii (LA)'; to have reached a desperate situation.
Adaeratio (LA)
recruitment tax.
Adcrescens (LA)
adolescent; soldier's offspring that would follow in the hereditary military service of the fourth century AD and received rations before taking up actual service.
Adiutor (LA)
assistant; batman.
Adiutor librarii (LA)
assistant clerk.
Adiutor praetorii (LA)
headquarter's adjutant.
Adiutor signorum (LA)
assistant of the standards.
Adiutrix (LA)
'supporter'; title borne by two legions raised from naval soldiers.
Adlectus (LA)
picked or transferred soldier.
Adlocutio (LA)
formal speech.
Adstatus (LA)
variant spelling of hastatus (LA).
Aedes (LA)
sanctuary in the HQ where the standards were stored and a likeness of the emperor was kept.
Aenator (LA)
military musician.
Aerarium (LA)
treasury; pay chest.
Aerarium militare (LA)
military pension fund.
Aestiva (LA)
summer campaigning camp.
Aetos (GR)
eagle standard.
Agens in rebus (LA)
late Roman intelligence operative.
Ager publicus (LA)
'public land'; confiscated land belonging to the Roman state.
Agger (LA)
(1) earth wall; (2) assault ramp.
Agmen (LA)
Agmen quadratum (LA)
square marching formation.
Agrimensor (LA)
Aichmè (GR)
spear; javelin.
Akontistès (GR)
javelineer; light infantryman.
Ala (LA)
'wing'; (1) unit of the allies; (2) unit of auxiliary cavalry.
Ala dromedaria (LA)
cavalry unit with attached camel riders.
Ala milliaria (LA)
auxiliary cavalry unit with an establishment strength of some thousand men.
Ala quingenaria (LA)
auxiliary cavalry unit with an establishment strength of some five hundred troopers.
Ala sociorum (LA)
unit of several thousand soldiers drawn from the socii (LA) or allies.
Alaris (LA)
'wingman'; soldier serving in ala (LA).
Alaudae (LA)
'crested larks'; cognomen (LA) for the legio (LA) V originally raised by Caesar as a legio vernacula (LA).
Album veteranorum (LA)
list of veterans.
Allagè (GR)
relief of duty.
Allectus (LA)
chosen man; elite soldier.
Ambulatio (LA)
marching exercise.
Ambulatura (LA)
marching exercise.
Amentum (LA)
thong attached to a throwing spear to increase range and accuracy.
Angareia (GR)
requisition of transport.
Angaria (LA)
requisitioning of transport.
Angusticlavius (LA)
decorated with thin purple stripe.
Angusticlavus (LA)
thin purple stripe on tunic indicating membership of the equestrian order.
Ankoon (GR)
catapult arm.
Annona (LA)
(1) provisions; (2) tax in kind.
Annona foederatica (LA)
subsidy given to allies.
Annona militaris (LA)
'military ration'
Antecursor (LA)
'front runner'; advanced skirmisher.
Antepilanus (LA)
'in front of the spearbearers'; soldier stationed in first or second battle line.
Antesignanis (GR)
elite legionary.
Antesignanus (LA)
soldier fighting in front of the standards; elite legionary foot soldier capable of fighting as both heavy and light infantry.
Anularium (LA)
money grant received from military association.
Aper (LA)
boar; one of the five original legionary standards of a republican legio (LA) and symbol of the imperial legio XX and llegio X Fretensis.
Apollinaris (LA)
dedicated to Apollo.
Aquila (LA)
eagle standard.
Aquilae natalis (LA)
'birthday of the eagle'; anniversary of the official founding of a legio (LA).
Aquilifer (LA)
eaglebearer; standardbearer carrying the legion's eagle.
Archigybernes (LA)
senior helmsman.
Architectus (LA)
engineer; constructor of torsion guns.
Archoon tou kontuberniou (GR)
'commander of the tent party'; squad leader, term used as equivalent of dekarchos (GR).
Arcuballista (LA)
torsion gun; crossbow.
Arcus (LA)
Arcuarius (LA)
Areani (LA)
late Roman scout/spy unit based in Britannia.
Aries (LA)
battering ram.
Arithmos (GR)
military unit; Greek equivalent of numerus (LA).
Arma (LA)
Arma antesignana (LA)
the weapons of the antesignani (LA); lonchè (GR) or lancea (LA) and aspis (GR).
Arma legionaria (LA)
legionary weapons.
Arma postsignana (LA)
the weapons of the postsignani (LA); xyston (GR) or pilum (LA) and thyreos (GR) or scutum (LA).
Arma velitaria (LA)
the weapons belonging to the velites (LA); hasta velitaris (LA) and parma (LA).
Armamentarium (LA)
weapons storage.
Armatura (LA)
(1) advanced weapons training; (2) weapon instructor; (3) soldier with advanced weapons training; (4) armament.
Armatura duplaris (LA)
weapons instructor on double rations.
Armatus (LA)
Armicustos (LA)
soldier tasked with the administration and supply of weapons and equipment.
Armidoctor (LA)
equivalent of doctor armorum (LA); weapons instructor.
Armiger (LA)
'weaponbearer'; armed man.
Armilausa (LA)
military clothing item.
Armilla (LA)
arm band used as military decoration.
Artifex (LA)
Arx (LA)
Aspis (GR)
Aspis koilè (GR)
curved shield used by legionary heavy infantry.
Aspis platea (GR)
flat shield used by legionary light infantry.
Assiduus (LA)
propertied citizen with military service obligation.
Aurum tironicum (LA)
money tax levied instead of protostasia (GR).
Auspicia (LA)
supreme authority.
Auxilia (LA)
Auxilia palatina (LA)
late Roman crack infantry units.
Auxiliaris (LA)
auxiliary soldier.
Auxilium (LA)
late Roman infantry unit.
Auxilium palatinum (LA)
elite late Roman field army infantry unit.
Bacaudae (LA)
late Roman rebel group in Gaul.
Ballista (LA)
torsion gun.
Ballista quadrirotis (LA)
‘fourwheeled torsion gun’; mobile catapult.
Ballistarius (LA)
artillery soldier.
Balteus (LA)
military belt.
Bandifer (LA)
Byzantine standard bearer.
Bandon (GR)
late Roman military unit.
Bandum (LA)
late Roman military standard.
Barbaricum (LA)
the world beyond the imperial frontiers.
Barbarus (LA)
non Roman; foreigner.
Baro (LA)
servant; groom.
Barcarius (LA)
Barritus (LA)
battle cry.
Basileus (GR)
Basilica equestris exercitatoria (LA)
cavalry training hall.
Basilica exercitatoria (LA)
drill hall.
Basilikon telos (GR)
imperial guard.
Basilikos (LA)
Batavus (LA)
(1) Batavian; (2) nickname of imperial horse guard trooper.
Battualia (LA)
fighting exercise.
Bearcus (LA)
variant spelling of biarchus (LA), a late Roman noncom.
Bearcus draconarius (LA)
late Roman senior standardbearer.
Bebra (LA)
barbarian heavy javelin.
Bellator (LA)
fighter; warrior.
Bellum (LA)
Belos (GR)
Beneficium (LA)
'favour'; military promotion.
Beneficiarius (LA)
'beneficiary'; (1) soldier on special assignment; (2) military police.
Beneficiarius consularis (LA)
soldier attached to a provincial governor's staff.
Beneficiarius legati legionis (LA)
soldier attached to staff of legionary commander.
Beneficiarius praefecti praetorio (LA)
soldier serving on the staff of the praetorian prefect.
Beneficiarius praefecti urbis (LA)
soldier serving on the staff of the urban prefect.
Beneficiarius procuratoris (LA)
soldier serving on the staff of a procurator (LA).
Beneficiarius praefecti proconsulis (LA)
soldier serving on the staff of the governor appointed by the senate.
Beneficiarius sexmestris (LA)
soldier on a six month tour as beneficiarius.
Beneficiarius tribuni (LA)
soldier attached to the staff of a tribunus (LA).
Benephikiarios (GR)
Greek equivalent of beneficiarius (LA).
Biarchus (LA)
late Roman NCO.
Bipennis (LA)
double headed axe.
Boukellarèos (GR)
personal retainer, Greek equivalent of Buccellarius (LA).
Bracae (LA)
Brittunculus (LA)
'little Briton'; derogatory name for Roman adversary in Britannia.
Buccellarius (LA)
private retainer.
Buccellatum (LA)
hard tack; ration.
Bucculla (LA)
helmet cheeck piece.
Bucina (LA)
musical instrument.
Bucinator (LA)
Bucinator principalis (LA)
trumpeter with NCO rank.
Burgarius (LA)
soldier stationed at burgus (LA).
Burgus (LA)
small fortification.
Cacula (LA)
military servant.
Caesim ferire (LA)
to slash (with a sword).
Calceus (LA)
shoe; boot.
Calciarium (LA)
'shoe money'; bounty demanded by troops for prolonged marching.
Caliga (LA)
leather personnel carrier; military boot.
Caligatus (LA)
person wearing caligae (LA); soldier, NCO or officer below the social rank of eques Romanus (LA).
Calo (LA)
horse groom; military servant.
Campicursio (LA)
military exercise.
Campidoctor (LA)
drill instructor.
Campigenus (LA)
'born at the exercise field'; elite legionary soldier.
Campus (LA)
cavalry training area; exercise field.
Campus Martius (LA)
field of Mars where during the republic troops were assembled prior to military campaigns.
Canabae (LA)
civilian settlement attached to military base.
Candidatus (LA)
(1) soldier awaiting promotion; (2) late Roman guardsman.
Cannensis (LA)
the nickname of the soldiers who had survived the defeat at Cannae and were kept in service until Carthage was defeated in the Second Punic War.
Capite censi (LA)
'head count'; citizens that could not meet the property demands required for military service.
Capsa (LA)
container with bandages and medical implements carried by medics.
Capsarius (LA)
Caput contubernii (LA)
head of tentparty.
Caput porcinum (LA)
'boar's head'; attack column or wedge formation.
Carcer (LA)
prison cell.
Carcerarius (LA)
prison guard.
Carroballista (LA)
torsion artillery.
Cassis (LA)
Castellum (LA)
Castigatio (LA)
corporal punishment.
Castra (LA)
Castra aestiva (LA)
summer campaigning camp.
Castra hiberna (LA)
winter base.
Castra movere (LA)
to break camp.
Castra nova (LA)
'new camp'; second base for imperial horse guard at Rome after the unit was increased in size.
Castra peregrina (LA)
military base at Rome for personel seconded from the provincial armies.
Castra praetoria (LA)
praetorian camp; (1) base of the praetorian guard at Rome established by Tiberius; (2) dense close ordered formation in the late Roman army.
Castra priora (LA)
'earlier camp'; original base of imperial horse guard at Rome.
Castrense peculium (LA)
possessions acquired by soldier during military service which remained outside the patria potestas (LA).
Cataphracta (LA)
body armour.
Cataphractarius (LA)
heavily armoured cavalryman.
Cataphractus (LA)
heavily armoured cavalryman.
Catapulta (LA)
'shield smasher'; torsion gun.
Causarius (LA)
soldier discharged for wounds or other medical reasons.
Cedo alteram (LA)
'give me another'; nickname of a hated centurio killed in the Pannonian mutiny of AD 14 who used to break his vine sticks on the back of his men.
Celeusta (LA)
naval officer.
Cenaticum (LA)
provision of (money for) food; often extorted by soldiers billeted on civilians.
Centenaria (LA)
small fortification.
Centenarius (LA)
late Roman officer of equivalent rank as centurio (LA).
Centenus (LA)
unit of nominally a hundred men.
Centuria (LA)
'hundred'; military unit of some thirty to two hundred foot soldiers.
Centurio (LA)
'commander of hundred'; centurion; officer.
Centurio alti ordinis (LA)
centurion of higher rank.
Centurio classicus (LA)
naval centurion.
Centurio deputatus (LA)
centurion on detached duty.
Centurio exercitator (LA)
cavalry training officer.
Centurio frumentarius (LA)
centurion of the military intelligence service.
Centurio legionarius (LA)
legionary centurion.
Centurio ordinarius/ordinatus (LA)
centurion commanding a centuria (LA).
Centurio posterior (LA)
second in command of a manipulus (LA).
Centurio prior (LA)
senior centurion of a manipulus (LA).
Centurio protector (LA)
'bodyguard centurion'; officer among the protectores (LA).
Centurio regionarius (LA)
district centurion responsible for administration and law enforcement.
Centurio retentus (LA)
centurion serving on after term of service.
Centurio speculatorum Augustorum (LA)
officer attached to the speculatores (LA) of the praetorian guard.
Centurio statorum (LA)
centurion in charge of military constabulary.
Centurio stratorum (LA)
officer in charge of horse supply to the army which was at times placed in command of the pedites singulares (LA).
Centurio supernumerarius (LA)
supernumerary centurion with special assignments.
Centurio tralatus (LA)
transferred centurion.
Cervus (LA)
'animal horn'; obstacle made of pointed stakes.
Cetra (LA)
shield; small Hispanic buckler.
Cetratus (LA)
(1) soldier equipped with a small shield; (2) skirmisher.
Charax (GR)
Cheiroballistra (GR)
torsion artillery.
Cheloonion (GR)
catapult block.
Chiliarchia (GR)
unit of nominally a thousand men.
Chiliarchos (GR)
'commander of a thousand'; Greek term for tribunus (LA).
Choortè (GR)
Cibaria (LA)
Cibariator (LA)
commissariat clerk.
Cibus (LA)
food; ration.
Cinctus (LA)
'girded with sword belt'; combat ready.
Cingulum (LA)
late Roman military belt.
Cingulum militare (LA)
late Roman military belt.
Circitor (LA)
late Roman junior cavalry NCO originally tasked with making rounds to inspect sentries.
Circumvallatio (LA)
Civis Romanus (LA)
Roman citizen.
Civium Romanorum (LA)
epithet of auxiliary units that were either originally recruited from Roman citizens or had received a mass grant of the citizenship for outstanding service.
Clades (LA)
Clades Lolliana (LA)
'Lollian defeat'; defeat of governor Lollius against invading Germanic tribesmen in 16 BC.
Clades Variana (LA)
'Varian defeat'; defeat of Varus in the Teutoburgian forest in 9 AD.
Classiarius (LA)
sailor; marine.
Classicum (LA)
military musical salute.
Classicus (LA)
naval soldier; sailor, marine.

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