Tribunus laticlavius

The Roman army started to form a new form of military ranks between the time of the late Republic and the time of Principate (753 BC to 476 AD). The Roman military was called a legion. “When recruits have been carefully selected who excel in mind and body, and after daily training for four or more months, a legion is formed by order and auspices of the invincible Emperor.” (Vegetius, page 34) In a legion, there are ten cohorts that are carefully selected by a person’s status. This includes family, honor, prestige, and money. The legion of the Roman army would fight primarily against the Germans and the Parthians. There were legions all throughout Europe and the map below are the legion camps that the Romans had settled into. (Wikipedia)

File:Roman Legions camps - AD 80.png

The head leader of a cohort was the legatus legionis but the second in command was the tribunus laticlavius. The laticlavius “broad-stripped tribune” was usually a younger gentleman whom was from one of the richest families in Rome and knew the legionary commander quite well (Wikipedia). The laticlavius was given the name because of the “broad purple striped tunic which contrasted the narrow stripe of the equestrian tribe.” (Maxfield)

The laticlavius was the typical rich, pretty boy who constantly asked the praefectus castrorum, the prefect, what to do or not do while he is guarding or actually on the senate. (Matyszak) If the legionis were to die in battle, the laticlavius took over the legion. (Wikipedia) However, usually the legionis did not die in battle, but was actually poisoned by a person from the cohort senate. Though the laticlavius was young and inexperienced, they were quick learners and had to take in charge quickly otherwise the cohort would not pay attention. They were trained to become commanders, and if there was a legionis before them, they were on the senate as guards and did not give a lot of orders or talk while in second command.

Works Citied

Maxfield, Valerie

Milnder, N.P. “Vegetius: Epitome of MilitaryScience.” Vegetius: Epitome of Military Scienc. Second RevisedEdition. Trowbridge, England: Redwood Book, 1996. Print.

Matyszak, Philip. Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s Unoffical Manual. New York, New YorkT: Thames and Hudson, 2009. 91.

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