The Notitia Dignitatum is a document of the late Roman Empire that details the administrative organization of the Eastern and Western Empires. It is unique as one of few surviving documents of Roman government and describes several thousand offices from the imperial court to provincial governments, diplomatic missions, army units, it is considered to be accurate for the Western Roman Empire in the AD 420s and for the Eastern or Byzantine Empire in the AD 390s. However, the text itself is not dated, omissions complicate ascertaining its date from its content. There are several extant 15th- and 16th-century copies of the document, plus a colour-illuminated iteration of 1542. All the known, extant copies are derived, either directly or indirectly, from Codex Spirensis, a codex known to have existed in the library of the Chapter of Speyer Cathedral in 1542, but, lost before 1672 and has not been rediscovered; the Codex Spirensis was a collection of documents, of which the Notitia was the final and largest document, occupying 164 pages, that brought together several previous documents of which one was of the 9th century.
The heraldry in illuminated manuscript copies of the Notitia is thought to copy or imitate only that illustrated in the lost Codex Spirensis. The iteration of 1542 made for Otto Henry, Elector Palatine, was revised with "illustrations more faithful to the originals added at a date", is preserved by the Bavarian State Library; the most important copy of the Codex is that made for Pietro Donato in 1436 and illuminated by Peronet Lamy, now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. For each half of the Empire, the Notitia enumerates all the major "dignities", i. e. offices, that it could bestow with the location and specific officium enumerated, except for the most junior members, for each. The dignities are ordered by: Court officials, including the most senior dignitaries such as praetorian prefects; the Notitia presents four primary problems as regards the study of the Empire's military: The Notitia depicts the Roman army at the end of the AD 4th century. Therefore, its development from the structure of the Principate is conjectural because of the lack of other evidence.
It was compiled at two different times. The section for the Eastern Empire dates from circa AD 395 and that for the Western Empire from circa AD 420. Further, each section is not a contemporaneous "snapshot", but relies on data pre-dating it by as many as 20 years; the Eastern section may contain data from as early as AD 379, the beginning of the reign of Emperor Theodosius I. The Western section contains data from as early as circa AD 400: for example, it shows units deployed in Britannia, which must date from before 410, when the Empire lost the island. In consequence, there is substantial duplication, with the same unit listed under different commands, it is impossible to ascertain whether these were detachments of the same unit in different places or the same whole unit at different times. It is that some units were nominal or minimally staffed. According to Roger Collins, the Notitia Dignitatum was an archaising text written circa AD 425, whose unreliability is demonstrated by "the supposed existence of traditional units in Britain and Spain at a time when other evidence shows they were not there."
The Notitia has many sections missing and lacunae within sections. This is doubtless due to accumulated textual losses and copying errors, because it was copied over the centuries: the earliest manuscript possessed today dates from the 15th century; the Notitia can not therefore provide a comprehensive list of all units. The Notitia does not record the number of personnel. Given that and the paucity of other evidence of unit sizes at that time, the size of individual units and the various commands cannot be ascertained. In turn, this makes it impossible to assess the total size of the army. Depending on the strength of units, the late AD 4th century army may, at one extreme, have equaled the size of the AD 2nd century force, i. e. over 400,000 men. For example, the forces deployed in Britain circa AD 400 may have been 18,000 against circa 55,000 in the AD 2nd century; the Notitia contains symbols similar to the diagram which came to be known as yin and yang symbol. The infantry units armigeri defensores seniores and Mauri Osismiaci had a shield design which corresponds to the dynamic, clockwise version of the symbol, albeit with red dots, instead of dots of the opposite colour.
The emblem of the Thebaei, another Western Roman infantry regiment, featured a pattern of concentric circles comparable to its static version. The Roman patterns predate the earliest Taoist versions by seven hundred years, there is no evidence for a connection between the two. Laeti Tabula Peutingeriana List of Late Roman provinces Notitia Dignitatum, edited by Robert Ireland, in British Archaeological Reports, International Series 63.2. Westermann Großer Atlas zur Weltgeschichte contains many precise maps Pauly-Wissowa. A. H. M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284-602. A Social and Administrative Survey, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986, ISBN 0-8018-3285-3 The Compilation'notitia dignitatum', extensive links and resources Placenames from Notitia Dignitatum GIS from Pelagios/Pleiades. 1505 toponyms. 1164 matches. Bodleian Library: full scan of 1436 edition Bavarian State Library: Notitia Dignitatum
Legio VI Victrix
Legio sexta victrix was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded in 41 BC by the general Octavian. It was the twin legion of VI Ferrata and held veterans of that legion, some soldiers kept to the traditions of the Caesarian legion; the legion saw its first action in Perusia in 41 BC. It served against the Sextus Pompeius, who occupied Sicily and made threats to discontinue sending grain to Rome. In 31 BC the legion fought in the Battle of Actium against Mark Antony; the legion took part in the final stage of the Roman conquest of Hispania, participating in Augustus' major war against the Cantabrians, from 29 BC to 19 BC, that brought all of the Iberian Peninsula under Roman rule. The legion stayed in Spain for nearly a century and received the surname Hispaniensis, founding the city of Legio. Soldiers of this unit and X Gemina numbered among the first settlers of Caesaraugusta, what became modern-day Zaragoza; the cognomen Victrix dates back to the reign of Nero. But Nero was unpopular in the area, when the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, Servius Sulpicius Galba, said he wished to overthrow Nero, the legion supported him and he was proclaimed Emperor in the VI Victrix legionary camp.
Galba marched on Rome, where Nero killed himself. For a brief period (approximately 110 AD to 119, the legion was stationed along the Rhine River in the Roman province of Germany Inferior. In 119, Hadrian relocated the legion to northern Britannia, to assist those legions present in quelling the resistance there. Victrix was key in securing victory, would replace the diminished IX Hispana at Eboracum. In 122 the legion started work on Hadrian's Wall. Twenty years they helped construct the Antonine Wall and its forts such as Castlecary but it was abandoned by 164. In 175, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, defeated the Iazyges tribe of Sarmatians, he settled 5,500 of them in Britain. The only detachment attested in Britain is a unit at Ribchester, south of Lancaster. Less certain is evidence from Bainesse, near Catterick, where lost tiles stamped BSAR may be evidence for the presence of a Sarmatian unit there. Legio VI was awarded the honorary title'Britannica' by Commodus in AD 184 following his own adoption of the title.
In 185, the British legions mutinied and put forward Priscus a commander of their own to replace the unpopular Emperor Commodus, but the former declined. The mutiny was suppressed by Pertinax, who would become emperor himself after Commodus was murdered; the large fort at Carpow was occupied from about 184 by Legio VI who completed the fort with the'principia' and praetorium which they roofed with tiles bearing their new'cognomen'. The Legate of the legion in the late second century, Claudius Hieronymianus, dedicated a temple to Serapis in Eboracum in advance of the arrival of Septimius Severus in AD208. An altar to Hercules was dedicated by Gaius Vitellius Atticianus, Centurion of the Legio VI Victrix, at Whitley Castle. Quintus Antonius Isauricus - AD 130s Claudius Hieronymianus - AD 190-AD 212 - Dis Manibus Gai Iuli Galeria tribu Caleni Lugduno veterani ex legione VI Victrice Pia Fideli heres a se memoriae fecit. Lincoln, U. K. RIB 252 = CIL VII 182. - Dis Manibus sacrum Nig̣ṛiṇae vixit annos XXXX Aurelius Casitto legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis curavit.
Great Chesters, U. K. RIB 1746 = CIL VII 740. - Dis Manibus Titi Flavi Flavini legionis VI Victricis Classicius Aprilis heres prius quam obiretfieri iussit. York, U. K. RIB 675. - Dis Manibus Lucius Bebius Augusta Crescens Vindelicum miles legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis annorum XLIII stipendiorum XXIII heres amico faciendum curavit. York, U. K. RIB 671. - Dis Manibus Flaviae Augustinae vixit annos XXXVIIII menses VII dies XI filius Saenius Augustinus vixit annum I dies III vixit annum I menses VIIII dies V Gaius Aeresius Saenus veteranus legionis VI Victricis coniugi carissimae et sibi faciendum curavit. York, U. K. RIB 685 = CIL VII 245. - Dis Manibus Gaius Iulius Gai filius colonia Flavia Ingenuus miles legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis. High Rochester, U. K. RIB 1292 = CIL VII 1057. - Dis Manibus Flavius Agricola miles legionis VI Victricis vixit annos XLII dies X Albia Faustina coniugi inconparabilifaciendum curavit. London, U. K. CIL V 25. -Lucio Pompeio Luci filio / Quirina Faventino / praefecto cohortis VI Asturum / tribuno militum legionis VI Victricis.
Astorga, Spain. CIL II 2637 = AE 1966, 187. - Lucius Valerius Silvanus / miles legionis VI Victricis / Deo Turiaco / votum solvit libens merito. Porto, Portugal. CIL II 2374 = AE 1959, 103. · - Titus Pompeius Titi filius / Tromentina / Albinus' domo Vienna / IIvir tribunus militum legionis VI Victricis. Mérida, Spain. AE 2002, 929. - Dis Manibus sacrum Gaius Iulius Severus veteranus legionis VI Victricis annorum LXI Iulia Danae liberta ex testamento. Mérida, Spain. CIL II 490. - Marcus Tavonius / Marci filius / Romilia / Firmus domo Ateste / miles legionis VI Victricis. Mérida, Spain. Museo Nacional de Arte Romano - Mérida. - Dis Manibus sacrum / Gaius Iulius Severus / veteranus legionis VI Victricis / annorum LXI / Iulia Danae liberta ex testamento. Mérida, Spain. CIL II 490. - Dis Manibus sacrum Lucius Maelonius Aper veteranus legionis VI Victricis Piae Fidelis annorum LXX militavit beneficiariuscode: lat promoted to code: la. Mérida, Spain
Gordian III was Roman Emperor from 238 AD to 244 AD. At the age of 13, he became the youngest sole legal Roman emperor throughout the existence of the united Roman Empire. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Little is known of his early life before his acclamation. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238 AD. In 235, following the murder of Emperor Alexander Severus in Moguntiacum, the capital of the Roman province Germania Superior, Maximinus Thrax was acclaimed Emperor. In the following years, there was a growing opposition against Maximinus in the Roman senate and amongst the majority of the population of Rome. In 238 a rebellion broke out in the Africa Province, where Gordian's grandfather and uncle, Gordian I and II, were proclaimed joint emperors; this revolt was suppressed within a month by Cappellianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax.
The elder Gordians died, but public opinion cherished their memory as peace-loving and literate men, victims of Maximinus' oppression. Meanwhile, Maximinus was on the verge of marching on Rome and the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as joint emperors; these senators were not popular men and the population of Rome was still shocked by the elder Gordians' fate, so the Senate decided to take the teenage Gordian, rename him Marcus Antonius Gordianus like his grandfather, raise him to the rank of Caesar and imperial heir. Pupienus and Balbinus defeated Maximinus due to the defection of several legions the II Parthica, who assassinated Maximinus. However, their joint reign was doomed from the start with popular riots, military discontent and an enormous fire that consumed Rome in June 238. On July 29, Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian Guard and Gordian proclaimed sole emperor. Due to Gordian's age, the imperial government was surrendered to the aristocratic families, who controlled the affairs of Rome through the Senate.
In 240, Sabinianus revolted in the African province, but the situation was brought under control. In 241, Gordian was married to Furia Sabinia Tranquillina, daughter of the newly appointed praetorian prefect, Timesitheus; as chief of the Praetorian Guard and father in law of the Emperor, Timesitheus became the de facto ruler of the Roman Empire. In the 3rd century, the Roman frontiers weakened against the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and Danube, the Sassanid Empire across the Euphrates increased its own attacks; when the Persians under Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia, the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, sent a large army to the East. The Sassanids were defeated in the Battle of Resaena; the campaign was a success and Gordian, who had joined the army, was planning an invasion of the enemy's territory, when his father-in-law died in unclear circumstances. Without Timesitheus, the campaign, the Emperor's security, were at risk. Gaius Julius Priscus and on, his own brother Marcus Julius Philippus known as Philip the Arab, stepped in at this moment as the new Praetorian Prefects and the campaign proceeded.
Around February 244, the Persians fought back fiercely to halt the Roman advance to Ctesiphon. Persian sources claim that a battle occurred near modern Fallujah and resulted in a major Roman defeat and the death of Gordian III. Roman sources do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died far away from Misiche, at Zaitha in northern Mesopotamia. Modern scholarship does not unanimously accept this course of the events. One view holds that Gordian died at Zaitha, murdered by his frustrated army, while the role of Philip is unknown. Other scholars, such as Kettenhofen and Winter have concluded that Gordian died in battle against the Sassanids. Philip arranged for his deification. Gordian's youth and good nature, along with the deaths of his grandfather and uncle and his own tragic fate at the hands of the enemy, earned him the lasting esteem of the Romans. Katrin Herrmann: Gordian III. - Kaiser einer Umbruchszeit. Speyer 2013. ISBN 978-3-939526-20-9 Potter, David. S; the Roman Empire At Bay AD 180-392, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0-203-67387-5 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed..
"Gordian". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12. Cambridge University Press. P. 247. Meckler, Michael, "Gordian III", De Imperatoribus Romanis Ammianus Marcellinus, The Later Roman Empire, 23.5.7 Media related to Gordian III at Wikimedia Commons
Legio I Italica
Legio Prima Italica: the epithet Italica is a reference to the Italian origin of its first recruits) was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded by emperor Nero on September 22, 66. There are still records of the I Italica on the Danube border at the beginning of the 5th century; the emblem of the legion was a boar. In the aftermath of the Roman–Parthian War of 58–63, Emperor Nero levied the I Italica with the name phalanx Alexandri Magni, for a campaign in Armenia, ad portas Caspias - to the pass of Chawar; the sources mention the peculiar fact that the original legionaries were Italics, all over six feet tall. However, since the Jewish Revolt broke out a few weeks the projected Armenian campaign never took place; the governor of Gaul, Gaius Julius Vindex, rose in revolt in early 68 and I Italica was redirected there, arriving just in time to see the end of the revolt. In the Year of the Four Emperors, after the death of Nero, the legion received the name I Italica and fought for Vitellius at the second Battle of Bedriacum, where the Vitellians were defeated by forces supporting Vespasian.
The new emperor sent I Italica to the province of Moesia in 70. They encamped at Novae; the legion served on campaign during the Dacian wars of Trajan. The legion was responsible for bridge construction over the Danube. Building activities seem to have been an area of expertise for the legion. On 3 December 1969 a Roman votive altar was found at Old Kilpatrick on the Antonine Wall dating from around 140 A. D, it has been scanned and a video produced. The inscription mentions the First Cohort of Baetasians known to have been at Bar Hill, Julius Candidus, a centurion from I Italica. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Legio I Italica was involved in the wars against the Germanic tribes that threatened to cross the Danube. After a long war, the Romans had conquered much territory on the left side of the Danube. There Marcus Aurelius had intended to form a new province under governor Aulus Julius Pompilius Piso, commander of I Italica and IV Flavia Felix, but the revolt of Avidius Cassius in the East prevented the formation of the new province.
In 193, the Governor of Pannonia Superior, Septimius Severus moved to Italia. I Italica did not move to Italy; the legion fought against Severus' rival, Pescennius Niger, besieging Byzantium together with XI Claudia, fighting at Issus. The First took part in the Parthian campaign of Severus. In the 3rd century, during the rule of Caracalla, the legion participated in the construction of the Limes Transalutanus, a defensive wall along the Danube, which began near Novae. Under Alexander Severus, some vexillationes of the I Italica moved to Salonae, guarding the Dalmatian coast. Capidava List of Roman legions livius.org account of Legio I Italica Legio I Italica - reenactment group
Maximinus Thrax known as Maximinus I, was Roman Emperor from 235 to 238. A Thraco-Roman of low birth, Maximinus was the commander of the Legio IV Italica when Severus Alexander was assassinated by his own troops in 235; the Praetorian Guard elected Maximinus emperor. In the year 238, a senatorial revolt broke out, leading to the successive proclamation of Gordian I, Gordian II, Pupienus and Gordian III as emperors in opposition to Maximinus. Maximinus advanced on Rome to put down the revolt, but was halted at Aquileia, where he was assassinated by disaffected elements of the Legio II Parthica. Maximinus is described by several ancient sources, though none are contemporary except Herodian's Roman History, he was a so-called barracks emperor of the 3rd century. Maximinus was the first emperor who hailed neither from the senatorial class nor from the equestrian class. Most Maximinus was of Thraco-Roman origin. According to the notoriously unreliable Augustan History, he was born in Thrace or Moesia to a Gothic father and an Alanic mother, an Iranian people of the Scythian-Sarmatian branch.
British historian Ronald Syme, writing that "the word'Gothia' should have sufficed for condemnation" of the passage in the Augustan History, felt that the burden of evidence from Herodian and elsewhere pointed to Maximinus having been born in Moesia. The references to his "Gothic" ancestry might refer to a Thracian Getae origin, as suggested by the paragraphs describing how "he was singularly beloved by the Getae, moreover, as if he were one of themselves" and how he spoke "almost pure Thracian", his background was, in any case, that of a provincial of low birth, was seen by the Senate as a barbarian, not a true Roman, despite Caracalla’s edict granting citizenship to all freeborn inhabitants of the Empire. According to the Augustan History, he was a shepherd and bandit leader before joining the Imperial Roman army, causing historian Brent Shaw to comment that a man who would have been "in other circumstances a Godfather, became emperor of Rome." In many ways, Maximinus was similar to the Thraco-Roman emperors of the 3rd–5th century, elevating themselves, via a military career, from the condition of a common soldier in one of the Roman legions to the foremost positions of political power.
He joined the army during the reign of Septimius Severus, but did not rise to a powerful position until promoted by Alexander Severus. Maximinus was in command of Legio IV Italica, composed of recruits from Pannonia, who were angered by Alexander's payments to the Alemanni and his avoidance of war; the troops, who included the Legio XXII Primigenia, elected the stern Maximinus, killing young Alexander and his mother at Moguntiacum. The Praetorian Guard acclaimed him emperor, their choice was grudgingly confirmed by the Senate, who were displeased to have a peasant as emperor, his son Maximus became caesar. Maximinus was ruthless towards those he suspected of plotting against him, he began by eliminating the close advisors of Alexander. His suspicions may have been justified; the first was during a campaign across the Rhine, when a group of officers, supported by influential senators, plotted to destroy a bridge across the river, in order to strand Maximinus in hostile territory. They planned to elect senator Magnus emperor afterwards, but the conspiracy was discovered and the conspirators executed.
The second plot involved Mesopotamian archers. They planned to elevate Quartinus, but their leader Macedo changed sides and murdered Quartinus instead, although this was not enough to save his own life; the accession of Maximinus is seen as the beginning of the Crisis of the Third Century, the applied name for the crumbling and near collapse of the Roman Empire between 235 and 284 caused by three simultaneous crises: external invasion, internal civil war, economic collapse. Maximinus' first campaign was against the Alemanni, whom he defeated despite heavy Roman casualties in a swamp in the Agri Decumates. After the victory, Maximinus took the title Germanicus Maximus, raised his son Maximus to the rank of caesar and princeps iuventutis, deified his late wife Paulina. Maximinus may have launched a second campaign deep into Germania, defeating a Germanic tribe beyond the Weser in the Battle at the Harzhorn. Securing the German frontier, at least for a while, Maximinus set up a winter encampment at Sirmium in Pannonia, from that supply base fought the Dacians and the Sarmatians during the winter of 235–236.
Early in 238, in the province of Africa, a treasury official's extortions through false judgments in corrupt courts against some local landowners ignited a full-scale revolt in the province. The landowners armed their clients and their agricultural workers and entered Thysdrus, where they murdered the offending official and his bodyguards and proclaimed the aged governor of the province, Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus, hi
Legio IV Scythica
Legio quarta Scythica was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded c. 42 BC by the general Mark Antony, for his campaign against the Parthian Empire, hence its other cognomen, Parthica. The legion was still active in Syria in the early 5th century. In its first years, the whereabouts of IV Scythica are uncertain, although it is probable that it took part in Antony's campaign against the Parthians; the name suggests. After the battle of Actium and Antony's suicide, Octavian transferred IV Scythica to the Danube province of Moesia; the legion is reported to have taken part in civilian tasks, such as the building and keeping of roads. In his youth, future emperor Vespasian served in this legion. King Vologases I of Parthia invaded Armenia, a client kingdom of Rome, in 58. Nero ordered the new legate of Cappadocia, to manage the matter. Corbulo brought IIII Scythica from Moesia, with III Gallica and VI Ferrata defeated the Parthians, restoring Tigranes VI on Armenian throne. In 62, IIII Scythica and XII Fulminata, commanded by the new legate of Cappadocia, Lucius Caesennius Paetus, were defeated by the Parthians at the Battle of Rhandeia and forced to surrender.
The legions were removed from the war theatre to Zeugma. This city would be the base camp of IIII Scythica for the next century. In 69, the legion, like the rest of the Eastern army, sided with Vespasian immediately. Despite the demonstrated loyalty, IV Scythica was not involved in actual fighting because it was not considered a high quality legion; this has to do with another defeat years earlier in the Jewish rebellion. It took part in the war against the Parthians between 161-166 Between AD181 and AD183 Septimius Severus acted as the commander of the Eastern legions, relied on the power of said legions to become emperor; the Legion's former commander, now Emperor, led another campaign against the Parthians. The legion disappears from the sources after AD219, when their commander, Gellius Maximus, rebelled against Emperor Elagabalus and proclaimed himself emperor, but was defeated by Elagabalus. However, according to Notitia Dignitatum, in the early 5th century, IIII Scythica was still in Syria, camped in Orese.
Quintus Varius Nepos was a military tribune for Legio IV Scythica at one point. - Caio Sempronio Marci filio Galeria Fido Calagorritano / tribuno militum legionis IIII Scythicae tribuno militum. Tarragona, Spain. CIL II 4427. - D M / Ael Verecundinus | leg IIII / Scy hastatus rior natus / in Dacia ad Vatabos mil ann XXI / primum exactus librarius / frum speculator evocatus | et | frum / vixit ann XXXVI Ael Rufinus lib ex bon/is eius fecit. Epigraphic Database Heidelberg HD053009; the legion's symbol was a capricorn. The Legion appeared in Harry Sidebottom's historical fiction series Warrior Of Rome. List of Roman legions Siege of Dura-Europos livius.org account of Legio IV Scythica
Imperial Roman army
The Imperial Roman army are the terrestrial armed forces deployed by the Roman Empire from about 30 BC to 476 AD. This period is sometimes split into the Dominate periods. Under Augustus, the army consisted of legions auxilia and numeri. Legions were formations numbering about 5,000 heavy infantry recruited from the ranks of Roman citizens only, transformed from earlier mixed conscript and volunteer soldiers serving an average of 10 years, to all-volunteer units of long-term professionals serving a standard 25-year term. Auxilia were organised into regiments of about 500 strong under Augustus, a tenth the size of legions, recruited from the peregrini or non-citizen inhabitants of the empire who constituted 90 percent of the Empire's population in the 1st century AD; the auxilia provided all the army's cavalry, light infantry and other specialists, in addition to heavy infantry equipped in a similar manner to legionaries. Numeri were allied native units from outside the Empire who fought alongside the regular forces on a mercenary basis.
These were equipped in traditional fashion. Numbers fluctuated according to circumstances and are unknown; as all-citizen formations, symbolic protectors of the dominance of the Italian "master-nation", legions enjoyed greater social prestige than the auxilia for much of the Principate. This was reflected in benefits. In addition, legionaries were equipped with more expensive and protective armour than auxiliaries, notably the lorica segmentata, or laminated-strip armour. However, in 212, the Emperor Caracalla granted Roman citizenship to nearly all the Empire's freeborn inhabitants. At this point, the distinction between legions and auxilia became moot, the latter becoming all-citizen units also; the change was reflected in the disappearance, during the 3rd century, of legionaries' special equipment, the progressive break-up of legions into cohort-sized units like the auxilia. By the end of Augustus' reign, the imperial army numbered some 250,000 men split between 25 legions and 250 units of auxiliaries.
The numbers grew to a peak of about 450,000 in 33 legions and about 400 auxiliary units. By auxiliaries outnumbered legionaries substantially. From this peak, numbers underwent a steep decline by 270 due to plague and losses during multiple major barbarian invasions. Numbers were restored to their early 2nd-century level of c. 400,000 under Diocletian. After the Empire's borders became settled by AD 68 all military units were stationed on or near the borders, in 17 of the 42 provinces of the empire in the reign of Hadrian; the military chain of command was flat. In each province, the deployed legions' legati reported to the legatus Augusti pro praetore, who headed the civil administration; the governor in turn reported directly to the Emperor in Rome. There was no general staff in Rome, but the leading praefectus praetorio acted as the Emperor's de facto military chief-of-staff. Compared to the subsistence-level peasant families from which they originated, legionary rankers enjoyed considerable disposable income, enhanced by periodical cash bonuses on special occasions such as the accession of a new emperor.
In addition, on completion of their term of service, they were given a generous discharge bonus equivalent to 13 years' salary. Auxiliaries were paid much less in the early 1st century, but by 100 AD, the differential had disappeared. In the earlier period, auxiliaries appear not to have received cash and discharge bonuses, but did so from the reign of Hadrian onwards. Junior officers, the equivalent of non-commissioned officers in modern armies, could expect to earn up to twice basic pay. Legionary centurions, the equivalent of senior warrant officers, were organised in an elaborate hierarchy. Promoted from the ranks, they commanded the legion's tactical sub-units of centuriae and cohorts, they were paid several multiples of basic pay. The most senior centurion, the primus pilus, was automatically elevated to equestrian rank on completion of his single-year term of office; the senior officers of the army, the legati legionis, tribuni militum and the praefecti were all of at least equestrian rank.
In the 1st and early 2nd centuries, they were Italian aristocrats performing the military component of their cursus honorum. Provincial career officers became predominant. Senior officers were paid multiples of at least 50 times a soldier's basic pay. Soldiers spent only a fraction of their lives on campaign. Most of their time was spent on routine military duties such as training and maintenance of equipment. Soldiers played an important role outside the military sphere, they performed the function of a provincial governor's police force. As a large and skilled force of fit men, they played a crucial role in the construction of a province's military and civil infrastructure. In addition to constructing forts and fortified defences such as Hadrian's Wall, they built roads, ports, public buildings and entire new cities, cleared forests and drained marshes to expand a province's available arable land