Bucellarii

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Bucellarii (the Latin plural of Bucellarius; literally "biscuit–eater",[1] Greek: Βουκελλάριοι) were formations of escort troops used in the Roman Empire in Late Antiquity.[2][a] They were employed by high-ranking military figures (such as Flavius Aetius and Belisarius) or civil office-holders.[2][3] The word is derived from the type of bread rations eaten by these troops, so-called buccellatum.[2] The term bucellarii came into common use during the reign of Emperor Honorius (r395–423).[2]

According to Jon Coulston, one bucellarii regiment is attested in the Notitia Dignitatum.[2] The creation of the bucellarii reflected an increase in the "use of armed retinues by public officials" in the Roman Empire.[2] Coulston notes that the buccellarii provided the best cavalry in 5th and 6th century Roman armies, and were "recruited from Romans, Persians, Goths, and Huns, amongst others".[2] They generally received the highest salaries and were armed with the best equipment from the empire's factories.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ They are also described as "militarily organized bodyguards" or "elite defence forces".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dixon & Southern 1996, p. 72.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Coulston 2018, p. 270.
  3. ^ a b Prinzing 2008, p. 662.
  4. ^ Heather 2018, p. 54.

Sources[edit]

  • Coulston, Jon (2018). "bucellarii". In Nicholson, Oliver. The Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-866277-8.
  • Dixon, Karen R.; Southern, Pat (1996). Late Roman Army. Routledge. ISBN 978-1134724222.
  • Heather, Peter (2018). Rome Resurgent: War and Empire in the Age of Justinian. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199362745.
  • Prinzing, Günter (2008). "Patronage and retinues". In Jeffreys, Elizabeth; Haldon, John F.; Cormack, Robin. The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0199252466.