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Roman Auxiliaries and Foederates

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  • Roman Auxiliaries and Foederates

    As the Romans began to expand their republic, they found that it was hard to put legionaires everywhere, so they hired auxiliaries to augment the legions.

    In most cases, they doubled the strength of the legion and were sometimes (maybe more often) used as cannon fodder, to slow an enemy's attack and allow maximum use of fresh legionaries against the foe.

    They were hired from all over the empire, served a term of 25 years, which resulted in Roman citizenship when they retired. That meant their kids could serve in the legion, not as an auxiliary, and that they and their families were subject to Roman, not local law.

    As the years went by, the auxiliaries were replaced by foederates, mostly Germans who fought under their own officers.

    Does anyone have more details on auxiliaries or foederates -- on their use, tactics, weapons, and equipment? How about stories of battles they were in?

    JS
    Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
    Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


    "Never pet a burning dog."

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  • #2
    Roman Auxiliaries

    Janos....in general Roman auxiliaries were not "hired" in the way that yopu have indicated. For the most part allies of the Roman state were required to provide auxiliary forces. The Romans did not "hire" them directly but employed them through their local political leadership. Now this did change over time, but not to the extent that Roman recruiters went out in the countryside looking to enlist auxiliaries.

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    • #3
      Didn't the Romans often seek auxiliaries that had skills that might have been outside the expertise of the Romans (ie, cavalry)?
      Lance W.

      Peace through superior firepower.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lance Williams
        Didn't the Romans often seek auxiliaries that had skills that might have been outside the expertise of the Romans (ie, cavalry)?
        Yes, they "took on" (can't say hired ) cavalry, archers, etc., but also just guys who they needed to augment legionaires.
        JS
        Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
        Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


        "Never pet a burning dog."

        RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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        http://www.sca.org
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        • #5
          Re: Roman Auxiliaries

          Originally posted by Churchill
          Janos....in general Roman auxiliaries were not "hired" in the way that yopu have indicated. For the most part allies of the Roman state were required to provide auxiliary forces. The Romans did not "hire" them directly but employed them through their local political leadership. Now this did change over time, but not to the extent that Roman recruiters went out in the countryside looking to enlist auxiliaries.
          Interesting. Where did you get this from? I always thought it was the other way around -- otherwise, why would the Romans give them citizenship when it was over? The Romans would have no incentive to reward a guy who was being forced by his local leaders to be there anyway.
          This is not to say that local "potentates" weren't levied for security forces -- they undoubtedly were -- I'm just not sure those were auxiliaries.
          JS
          Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
          Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


          "Never pet a burning dog."

          RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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          http://www.sca.org
          http://www.scv.org/
          http://www.scouting.org/

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          • #6
            Auxiliaries

            Janos....there is a fairly good description of the origin and nature of the auxiliaries in Lawrence Keppie's "The Making of the Roman Army". But similar views are also available from John Warry, "Warfare in the Classical World."

            The origins of the Roman Auxiliaries went back to the Social Wars...up to that point the Roman Army of the Republic had always had an "alae Socii" or Social wing. The implication being that this was a cavalry arm or unit provided by Italian cities who had been either been defeated by Rome or allied to her. Following the Social War the use of Auxiliaries became more prominent and began to take on a legalistic relationship to the Republican army. Auxiliaries were 1) Non-citizens, 2) Initially from a fix region, 3) Had lower pay and privileges, and 4) were rewarded at the end of 25 years service with Roman citizenship.
            This last item meant a lot more then then it does now. (Roman
            citizenship meant that you were subject to an entirely differnt set of laws and could not be proscecuted by any other authority within the Empire). It was a real prize and men really died trying to attain it.

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            • #7
              Re: Auxiliaries

              Originally posted by Churchill
              Janos....there is a fairly good description of the origin and nature of the auxiliaries in Lawrence Keppie's "The Making of the Roman Army". But similar views are also available from John Warry, "Warfare in the Classical World." <snipped for space>
              Churchill:
              I know and understand auxiliaries (I'm a former Legate of Auxiliaries in NovaRoma). The part I was interested in was your statement
              Janos....in general Roman auxiliaries were not "hired" in the way that you have indicated. For the most part allies of the Roman state were required to provide auxiliary forces. The Romans did not "hire" them directly but employed them through their local political leadership. Now this did change over time, but not to the extent that Roman recruiters went out in the countryside looking to enlist auxiliaries.
              Did you get that from that reference as well?
              Janos
              Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
              Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


              "Never pet a burning dog."

              RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
              http://www.mormon.org
              http://www.sca.org
              http://www.scv.org/
              http://www.scouting.org/

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