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Accensi

Properly “supernumeraries,” from accenseo. The word is used in five senses.


1.

A century added to the fifth class of citizens in the Servian classification, and described by Livy (i. 43.7) as cornicines, tubicinesque. Lange, who is now generally followed, takes the name accensi as used of the whole fifth class. See Comitia; Exercitus.


2.

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, L. L. 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 with stones.


3.

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). See Centurio.


4.

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.


5.

On inscriptions of the time of the Empire mention is made of accensi velati, who formed a college of 100 members, charged with the superintendence of the public roads.

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