Mercenaries not romans/ italians in the Legions

May 2017
1,268
France
Hello everybody and dear specialists.Is it possible to evaluate,at the different times,the percentage of the soldiers of the Legions who were not romans or italians ? Thank you.
 
Oct 2018
2,057
Sydney
Scholars can make estimates based on inscriptional evidence (epitaphs, diplomas, etc) that mentions places of origin. From the second century onwards most soldiers in the Roman army appear to have come from border provinces (Syria, the Balkans, the Germanies, etc).
 
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Oct 2015
999
Virginia
Legions were made up of Roman Citizens. As Roman citizenship expanded, so did the regions from which the legions were recruited. At first all recruits came from the city of Rome and the Campagna, then Latium and the citizen colonies in Italy. After 89 BC all Italy south of the Arno and Rubicon was enfranchised and the legions were drawn from all Italy. In the 80's BC citizenship was granted to people south of the Po River, and in the late 60's all Italy south of the Alps (so Caesar could raise legions in Cisalpine Gaul - the Po valley).

In times of civil war the citizenship requirement was less stringent and "legions" were recruited from citizens resident in the provinces and from non-citizens, and even freedmen and slaves. Thus Caesars "Alaudae" raised in Transalpine Gaul and Pompeys "legio vernacula" in Spain et al.

Augustus restored the requirement for Roman citizenship, and during the Principate the legions were recruited mainly in Italy, with some men coming from citizen colonies in southern Spain and southern Gaul.

As time passed, local recruitment became more common, especially in citizen colonies established in the provinces by Augustus, and the sons of retired soldiers in the settlements around the legion camps. In the Eastern provinces, recruits were drawn from Galatea and Cappodocia (being given citizenship upon enlistment).

Under Claudius and Nero 60-70% of recruits came from Italy, in Flavian times about 20%, by Hadrian only about 1%, most legionaries being recruited locally in the provinces where the legions were based.

Caracalla gave citizenship to all free residents of the empire in the third century (212 AD), so all residents of the empire could serve in the legions and local recruiting became the norm.

During the Republic, each legion of Roman citizens was accompanied in the field by a "wing" or "ala" of allied Latins and Italians. After 89 BC all the italian peoples were Roman citizens and served in the legions.
 
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Sep 2017
804
United States
In Rome’s later history, a lot of its armies were Foederati, who as I understand it fought for Rome in exchange for Rome letting their tribe settle in Roman lands.
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,069
MD, USA
Just to add a minor point to the above replies, any man joining a legion was not a "mercenary", but a legionary. A non-Italian citizen would still be a citizen, and service in a legion was a long-term sworn commitment, not just working one campaign for pay.

Matthew
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,459
Portugal
In Rome’s later history, a lot of its armies were Foederati, who as I understand it fought for Rome in exchange for Rome letting their tribe settle in Roman lands.
Just to add a minor point to the above replies, any man joining a legion was not a "mercenary", but a legionary. A non-Italian citizen would still be a citizen, and service in a legion was a long-term sworn commitment, not just working one campaign for pay.
In the final period of the Empire aren't the Foederati considered mercenaires? But we can argue that they were not part of the Legions. Or were?
 
May 2017
1,268
France
Thank you all for your very documented answers.But do you think that Roma made différences between the tribes occupied ? For exemple,in my country,the "Septimania",today the "Languedoc",territory of the 7th Legion,"Nemausis" (Nimes),the "Legion at the Crocodile",and also LEON (ex Legion VII) in Spain, a big quantity of gaellics were roman citizens.The gaellic of Narbonnaise "Caius Valerius Donnautorius",leader of the Helviens (territories of Drome and Ardèche) was assassinated by the Gabales,gaellics of Gévaudan (territory of Lozère) allied with the the "Arvernes".The "Volques Arecomiques" (East Languedoc) and "Volques Tectosages" (West Languedoc) fought for the Romans but whith which statute ? They helped them,after Alesia (52 BJC) to eliminate the last tribes of "Lucter the cadurc" (Cahors ?) composed with "Cadurques" (Cahors ?) "Ruthènes" (Rodez in Rouergue) and "Gabales" (Javols in Gévaudan).The prisoners were all condamned to have the hands cut…...
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,816
Europix
In the final period of the Empire aren't the Foederati considered mercenaires? But we can argue that they were not part of the Legions. Or were?
Ancient Rome isn't exactly my cup of tea, but still, I don't know if we can ever talk about mercenaries in the proper sense: tho the status of foederati had changed in time and space, it was always about much more than just "hired guns", AFAIK.