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EVOCA´TI were soldiers in the Roman army who had served out their time and obtained their discharge (missio), but had voluntarily enlisted again at the personal invitation of the consul or other commander (D. C. 45.12). Dionysius mentions a cohort of evocati as serving under Siccius in B.C. 455 (10.43); and these were doubtless the same as the veterani milites voluntate sequentes, whom Livy more than once mentions. Flamininus in B.C. 198 took 3,000 evocati with him to Macedonia (Plut. Flam. 3); and Polybius (6.31, 2) speaks of them as usually present in a Roman camp. They became still more frequent after the reforms of Marius, when service in the army became more of a profession, adopted by choice. The evocati were doubtless released, like the vexillarii, from the common military duties of fortifying the camp, making roads, &c. (Tac. Ann. 1.36), and held a higher rank in the army than the common legionary soldiers. They are sometimes spoken of in conjunction with the equites Romani (Caes. Bell. Gall. 7.65), being [p. 1.762]in this case, like them, supplied with horses, and sometimes classed with the centurions (Caes. Civ. 1.17), receiving, like them, double the usual pay. They appear to have been frequently promoted to the rank of centurions. Thus Pompey induced a great many of the veterans, who had served under him in former years, to join his standard at the breaking out of the civil war, by the promise of rewards and the command of centuries (ordinum, Caes. Civ. 1.3). These he had distributed throughout the army (ib. 3.88). We read of two thousand serving under Pompeius at Pharsalia, and of their belonging to certain cohorts in the army. Cicero (Cic. Fam. 52.6, 5) speaks of a Praefectus evocatorum. (See Cic. Fam. 15.4, § 3; Caes. Civ. 3.91; Suet. Aug. 56; Lipsius, De Milit. Rom. 1.8; Marquardt, Röm. Staatsverwaltung, 5.375.)

The name of evocati was also given to a select body of young men of the equestrian order, who were appointed by Galba to guard his bedchamber. (Suet. Galb. 10.) This body is supposed by some writers to have existed under the succeeding emperors, and to have been the same as those who are called evocati Augusti. But the body-guard of Galba seems only to have been a body raised for the occasion; and the evocati Augusti were a standing force, with the rank and distinction of centurions. For further details, see EXERCITUS p. 792. (Hyginus, de Mun. C. 6; Orelli, Inscrip. Nos. 3495, 3580, 153.)

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hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, Letters to his Friends, 15.4
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.2
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.31
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.17
    • Caesar, Civil War, 1.3
    • Caesar, Civil War, 3.91
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.36
    • Suetonius, Divus Augustus, 56
    • Plutarch, Titus Flamininus, 3
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