Mercenaries not romans/ italians in the Legions

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,069
MD, USA
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…...
Oh, I'm sure there were differences in attitude, at least. And I understand that Jews (for example) got special religious dispensation--they weren't forced to worship Roman gods, because trying to make them do that always brought on huge riots and revolts and burning cities and thousands of people killed. The Batavian tribes were exempt from normal taxation as long as they kept supplying troops to the auxiliary cohorts, because their fighting skills were considered that valuable. Some tribes were troublesome, some were not. And even when the Romans invaded new territory, there were some locals who allied with them, and some who fought them. The Romans frequently used a large amount of allied troops, either sent to help by a friendly non-Roman ruler, or enlisted from locals.

In short, it varied!

Matthew
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,978
Dispargum
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…...
Divide and conquer was a major part of Caesar's strategy to conquer Gaul. It was far easier to get the Gauls to fight each other than for Caesar to fight all of the Gauls himself. Also realize that parts of Gaul were already part of the Roman Empire* before the Caesarian conquest. Cisalpine Gaul (Northern Italy) had been conquered by the Romans as early as 220 BCE, but in Caesar's day was still administratively separate from the rest of Italy. Southern and Central Italy were considered more Romanized than Cisalpine Gaul. Provence was incorporated into the Roman world circa 120 BCE. In Caesar's day men from either Cisalpine Gaul or Provence would still be seen as Celts or Gauls, but would also be part of the Roman world with some Celts/Gauls having acquired Roman citizenship.

* I know, there's no emperor yet.
 
Oct 2015
999
Virginia
Some statistics for the Rhine Army derived from inscriptions summarized in H M D Parker "The Roman Legions".

Before 43AD (leg II Augusta, XIV Gemina, XVI Gallica, XX Valeria, XXI, XIII Gemina:
Soldiers from: Italy - 48, Gallia Narbonensis - 12, Lusitania - 1

43 -70AD (leg IV Macedonica, XV Primigenia, XXII Primigenia):
Soldiers from Italy - 26, Gallia Narbonensis - 25, Noricum - 4, Baetica (S Spain) - 6, Tarraconensis (N & E Spain) - 2

For the Dalmatian legions (VII & XI Claudia) from the same source.

Before 42AD:
Soldiers from Italy - 20, Macedonia - 6, Gallia Narbonensis - 1, Asiatic provinces - 19

42 - 69AD:
Soldiers from Italy - 22, Gallia Narbonensis - 3, Spain - 3, Asiatic provinces - 2, Pontus - 1
 
Oct 2015
999
Virginia
During the Republic, when Roman armies began campaigning beyond the borders of Italy, the legions and alae of Latins and Italians would usually be supplemented by auxiliaries drawn from states and tribes allied to the Romans in the region (if that's what the OP is asking (?)) Celts and Ligurians, Germans in the north, Lusitanians and Celtiberians in Spain, Thracians, Cretans, Asiatic Celts, Greeks in the east, Numidians all over, are all attested as parts of Roman armies in the sources.
After 30BC cohortes and alae of Auxilia recruited from non-citizens in the provinces or beyond supported the Imperial legions.
 
Sep 2017
804
United States
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?
I think they were a little more than mercenaries, since their relationship was a lot more political.
 
Oct 2018
2,057
Sydney
And I understand that Jews (for example) got special religious dispensation--they weren't forced to worship Roman gods, because trying to make them do that always brought on huge riots and revolts and burning cities and thousands of people killed.
The Jews also came to be somewhat protected by the antiquity of their beliefs. The Romans considered the antiquity of traditions and laws to be a virtue, something that didn't help the Christians and Manicheans.
 
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Aug 2019
152
Netherlands
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?
There were foederati outside the roman borders who were not even located there directly, and functioned as auxilary forces. This was probably not just for quick cash but more for long term political- and economical reasons and that wouldn't have to be in the final period. I guess most of those tribes outside the borders were keen to be in, or at least keen to be close to it. Their standard of living would increase with the trade.
 
Apr 2018
338
Italy
Depend of historical period. During the roman conquests between III and I century BC almost all legionary come from Italy. as roman citizenship expanded the number of Italians declined since most legionaries were recruited in loco. In the II century AD i red that 25% of legionaries were Italians, but after 212 the numbers dropped.
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,982
Cornwall
As the empire went on more and more people could buy out of service for their families - a short sighted way of getting short-term income. Therefore less and less Italian/Roman/posh ened of Spain/Gaul and more recruits from the likes of Northern Spain, where employment was of course less easy.

That's before you even start on the Federati.