). This word, in its original meaning, signified men who
served in the same army and lived in the same tent. It is derived from
), which, according to Festus, was the original
name for a military tent, as it was made of boards (tabulae
). Each tent was occupied by ten soldiers (contubernales
), with a subordinate officer at their
head, who was called decanus,
and in later
times caput contubernii.
(Veget. de Re
2.8, 13; compare Cic. pro
, 21; Hirt. Bell. Alex.
Drakenborch on Liv. 5.2
p. 381 b.
Young Romans of illustrious families used to accompany a distinguished
general on his expeditions, or to his province, for the purpose of gaining
under his superintendence a practical training in the art of war, or in the
administration ot public affairs, and were, like soldiers living in the same
tent, called his contubernales.
(Cic. pro Cael. 30
11, 27; Suet. Jul.
; Tacit. Agr.
5; Frontin. Strateg.
4.1, 11; Plutarch, Plut. Pomp. 3
In a still wider sense, the name contubernales
was applied to persons connected by ties of intimate friendship and living
under the same roof (Cic. Fam. 9.2
; Plin. Ep. 2.13
); and hence when a free man and
a slave, or two slaves, who were not allowed to contract a legal marriage,
lived together as husband and wife, they were called contubernales;
and their connexion, as well as their place of
; Petron. Sat.
57, 6; Tac. Hist. 1.43
; Dig. 50
.) Cicero (Cic. Att. 13.28
) calls Caesar the contubernalis
of Quirinus, thereby alluding to the
fact that Caesar had allowed his own statue to be erected in the temple of
Quirinus (comp. ad Att.
12.45, and Suet. Jul. 76