Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The Roman any of the early Empire is well-documented as a successful instrument of Roman political and military strategy. Josephus commented in the first century AD that "for them, victory is more certain than fortune" (BJ 3.107). The legions were moved about like chess pieces in order to satisfy the territorial aspirations of Rome's leaders and safeguard the frontiers of a vast empire; however, the legions were more than an amorphous mass safeguarding the Empire. The early Imperial legion was a well-disciplined collection of professional soldiers organised and led in a fashion that was consistent throughout the Empire. Unfortunately, much of modern literature dealing with the legions does so in a generalised fashion. Few authors deal with the mechanics of the cohorts that comprised the legion.
Several questions and controversies surround the tactical organisation of the early Imperial legions. The strength of the legion and its sub-units are far from certain in this period. In addition, the organisation of the cohorts, how they deployed and moved about the battlefield, is questionable. The officers who commanded these units formed a distinct class in Roman society, yet their functions and duties in the legion are uncertain at best.
This thesis alms to consider the evidence surrounding these questions to determine if any reasonable answers are possible. Syntheses of existing theories will be coupled with the extant evidence to produce a coherent answer for each question.
Hoyt, David, "TACTICAL ORGANISATION OF THE EARLY IMPERIAL LEGION" (1999). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6625.
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