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Unit Identification
Were legions retaining names and/or corresponding numerals before, or for that matter, during the time of Marius? Did his reforms also include the practice of legions being numbered as a means of unit identification? <p>...or not.</p><i></i>
Numbering of units was already used before the Marian reforms. However legions in the republican army did not have the oppurtunity to develop into units fostering a separate identity. Apart from the legions I to IIII assigned to the consuls which would serve in any year the other formations were raised and disbanded according to requirements (during the Second Punic War over twenty were levied). They might even have been renumbered from time to time.<br>
Though no longer disbanded and reformed every campaigning season the republican legions did not have the same continuity as their imperial counterparts. Units might serve in a particular campaign for several years and take some new intakes of recruits and discharging some of their complement, but once the need for their existence had passed the unit would normally be brought home and disbanded. New levies would generally be made for constituting legions needed to fight new campaigns. In the late republic there were some territories that required the more or less permanent presence of Roman garrisons and these units gradually developed the nature of standing units.<br>
The naming of individual units appears to have become common during the civil wars fought by Caesar and Octavian. There is very little evidence for cognomina being used before, though one suspects the <i> Equestris</i> title might perhaps already have been adopted by <i> legio</i> X during the Gallic War.<br>
There is more to be read on the development of legionary numerals and names in L. Keppie's <i> The making of the Roman army</i>.<br>
Sander van Dorst <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=>Sander van Dorst</A> at: 2/28/01 12:53:18 pm<br></i>

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