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Allocation of Men to the Legions

This division and assignment of the tribunes having been settled in such a way that all four legions have an equal number of officers, the tribunes of the several legions take up a separate position and draw lots for the tribes one by one; and summon the tribe on whom it from time to time falls. From this tribe they select four young men as nearly like each other in age and physical strength as possible. These four are brought forward, and the tribunes of the first legion picks out one of them, those of the second another, those of the third another, and the fourth has to take the last. When the next four are selected the tribunes of the second legion have the first choice, and those of the first the last. With the next four the tribunes of the third legion have the first choice, those of the second the last; and so on in regular rotation: of which the result is that each legion gets men of much the same standard. But when they have selected the number prescribed,—which is four thousand two hundred infantry for each legion, or at times of special danger five thousand,—they next used to pass men for the cavalry, in old times after the four thousand two hundred infantry; but now they do it before them, the selection having been made by the censor on the basis of wealth; and they enrol three hundred for each legion.1

1 Casaubon altered this to "two hundred." In 3, 107, Polybius certainly states that the ordinary number of cavalry was 200, raised in cases of emergency to 300; and Livy, 22, 36, gives an instance. But both authors in many other passages mention 300 as the usual number, and any alteration of this passage would be unsafe.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.31
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TRIBUS
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (1):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 36
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