Properly “supernumeraries,” from accenseo.
word is used in five senses.
A century added to the fifth class of citizens in the Servian classification, and described
by Livy (i. 43.7
) as cornicines,
Lange, who is now generally followed, takes the name accensi
as used of the whole fifth class. See Comitia
As a military term, accensi
denotes the reserve soldiers who, at the
time when each soldier had to find his own arms, could provide themselves with nothing better
than sticks and stones. From their lack of defensive armor they were known as velati;
and when any of the regular troops were killed or disabled, the accensi
took their places, and used their armour and weapons (Varro,
vii. 56). They were also known as ferentarii.
Although after B.C. 352, when the state began to pay its soldiers, the
accensi generally secured better weapons, the Column of Trajan shows a soldier armed only
The attendants on the cavalry, who held their spare horses; also the orderlies of the
centurions (Varro, L. L.
v. 82, and Fest. s. v. Optio
Those attendants upon the magistrates who stood ready to relieve the lictors if necessary.
So long as the custom lasted that the two colleagues were preceded by the fasces on alternate
days, an accensus attended on the one who did not have the fasces. The duties of these
accensi were to summon the people to the Comitia, and to proclaim the third, sixth, and ninth
hour of the day in the Comitium.
On inscriptions of the time of the Empire mention is made of accensi
, who formed a college of 100 members, charged with the superintendence of the