List of Roman auxiliary regiments
This article lists auxilia, non-legionary auxiliary regiments of the imperial Roman army, attested in the epigraphic record, by Roman province of deployment during the reign of emperor Hadrian (r. AD 117–138).
The index of regimental names explains the origin of the names, most of which are based on the names of the subject tribes or cities of the empire where they were originally recruited. (As time went by, they became staffed by recruits from anywhere, especially from the province where they were deployed.)
Types of regiment
During most of the Principate era, until AD 212, auxiliary regiments, called auxilia by the Romans, were formations kept separate from the legions, who were recruited from Roman citizens only. Auxilia were mostly recruited from the peregrini, the vast majority of subjects in the Roman empire who did not hold Roman citizenship. (in AD 212, all the inhabitants of the empire were granted Roman citizenship).
There were three basic types of auxiliary regiment:
- alae, which contained only cavalry and consisted nominally of 480 soldiers
- cohortes peditatae or simply cohortes, which contained only infantry and consisted nominally of 480 soldiers
- cohortes equitatae, which contained infantry with an attached cavalry contingent and consisted nominally of 600 soldiers, of which 480 were infantry and 120 were cavalry
A number of regiments, of all three types, were designated sagittariorum (sagitt), indicating that their members were equipped as archers. After about AD 80, about 12 percent of regiments were enlarged from the quingenarie size and designated milliarie, which nominally consisted of 1000 soldiers, but in reality consisted of 720 soldiers, 800 soldiers, and 1040 soldiers respectively.
Contents of tables
Table I below lists auxiliary regiments during Hadrian's rule, for which there is the most comprehensive evidence. The table does not show regiments that were attested to in the 1st century but that, according to Holder, were dissolved by AD 117, nor those that were probably founded after AD 138. The precise number of regiments that existed during Hadrian's rule is disputed.[a] The regiments are listed by the Roman province where they were deployed c. AD 130.
- Boldface entries: denotes a unit of double strength
- eq: denotes a part-mounted unit
- c.R: denotes a unit composed of Roman citizens
- sagitt: denotes a unit composed of archers
Ethnic composition of regiments
The rule of the first emperor, Augustus, (30 BC–AD 14) saw the foundation of the majority of the regiments attested in Hadrian's time. In the earlier part of this period, regiments were raised from and named after individual tribes, for example Campagonum, Trevirorum and Bessorum. Later, units were raised from and named after broad national groups, for example Hispanorum, Gallorum, and Thracum.
There is very little evidence concerning the organisation and policies of auxiliary recruitment. The ethnic origins of auxiliary recruits are attested in only a tiny fraction of cases. For example, the cohors II Gallorum veterana equitata must have recruited a calculated 8,000 soldiers over its probable lifespan of about 250 years but the origins of only two rankers are known.[b] Conclusions about auxiliary recruitment drawn by scholars from the available evidence are regarded as tentative.
According to Holder, during the Julio-Claudian dynasty (AD 14–68), regimental ethnic identity was preserved to some extent, with evidence of continued recruitment from the original people. By the time of Hadrian, however, a regiment's name, in most cases, probably represented the ethnic origin of few, if any, of its members. This is because during the Flavian dynasty (AD 69–96), as a matter of deliberate policy, most regiments were deployed in provinces far from their original home and drew the majority of their recruits from local natives and the rest from all parts of the empire. In most cases, therefore, a regiment's name had become an identification tag devoid of ethnic significance. A regiment deployed long-term in the same province would thus, over time, acquire the ethnic character of its host population.
There are exceptions to this rule:
- A minority of regiments remained stationed in their original home province, e.g., cohors I Delmatarum mill eq, still attested in Dalmatia in AD 130.
- Regiments founded a relatively short period before AD 130, for example cohors I Aelia Dacorum which was stationed in Roman Britain in AD 130 would probably still have contained mostly Dacian recruits at this time, as it had been established by Hadrian only about a decade earlier.
- Some specialised regiments, such as Syrian archers and the elite Batavi show some evidence of continued preferential recruitment from their original province.
List of auxilia in the reign of Hadrian
List of auxilia non-ethnic regimental names by province of deployment
|I Claudia nova miscellanea
|III Brittonum veterana eq
III campestris c.R.
V Gallorum eq
V Gallorum et Pannoniorum
V Hispanorum eq
I Pannoniorum veterana eq
|I Antiochensium sagitt|
I Cretum eq sagitt
|II Ulpia Auriana
I Augusta gemina colonorum
I Ulpia Dacorum
I Parthorum veterana
|I Apula c.R.
I Claudia eq
I Hamiorum c.R.[c]
I Italica voluntariorum c.R.[c]
milliaria c.R. eq[c]
|II Ulpia Petraeorum eq[c]|
III Ulpia Petraeorum sagitt mill eq
I Raetorum eq
IV Raetorum eq
III Augusta Cyrenaica sagitt
Syria Coele, Syria Phoenice, Syria Palestina (former Iudea) and Arabia Petraea
I Augusta c.R.
I Augusta Gallorum
I Gallorum Tauriana victrix
I Flavia Numidica
I Augusta Nerviana[c]
Ala I Pannoniorum
II Augusta Thracum
I Hamiorum sagitt
I Syrorum sagitt
II Syrorum sagitt
|I Flavia Afrorum
II Flavia Afrorum
I Asturum et Callaecorum
III Asturum c.R. eq
II Brittonum eq
I Chalcidenorum eq
VI Commagenorum eq
I Corsorum c.R.
V Delmatarum c.R.
I Flavia eq
III Gallorum felix
IV Gallorum c.R.
I Flavia Hispanorum
II Hispanorum c.R. eq[c]
I Ituraeorum c.R.
I Lemavorum c.R.
VII Lusitanorum eq
|I Flavia Musulamiorum eq|
I Syrorum sagitt
II Syrorum eq sagitt[c]
|II Flavia Hispanorum (HISP)||Cohors III Alpinorum equitata (DLM)
I Aelia Athoitarum (THR)
I Ausetanorum (HISP?)
I Flavia Bessorum (MCD)
I Celtiberorum eq (HISP)
I Cisipadensium c.R. (THR)
I Gallica c.R. eq (HISP)
I Delmatarum mill eq (DLM)
|I Ligurum[c] (AS?)|
Maurorum et Afrorum (?)
I Musulamiorum[c] (LYC)
VI praetoria (BYT)
III sagittariorum (?)
I/II nova tironum (HISP)
VIII voluntariorum (DLM)
XXV voluntariorum (HISP?)
List of auxilia ethnic regimental names
|Alpinorum||Salassi||Alpes Tres||Val d'Aosta, NW Italy||Ligurian||Alpine regiments of the Roman army|
|Aquitanorum||Aquitani||Gallia Aquitania||Aquitaine, SW France||Aquitanian|
|Aravacorum||Arevaci||Hispania Tarraconensis||Burgos pr Spain||Celtiberian|
|Asturum||Astures||Hispania T.||Asturias, N Spain||Celtiberian|
|Ausetanorum||Ausetani||Hispania T.||N Barcelona pr Spain||Iberian|
|Baetasiorum||Baetasii||Germania Inferior||S Netherlands||W Germanic|
|Batavorum||Batavi||Germania Inferior||Betuwe, E Netherlands||W Germanic|
|Biturigum||Bituriges||Gallia Lugdunensis||Berry, C France||Gaulish|
|Bosporanorum||Bosporani||Regnum Bospori||Crimea, S. Russia||Greek/Sarmatian|
|Bracari||Hispania T.||Minho, Portugal||Gallaecian|
|Callaecorum||Gallaeci||Hispania T.||Galicia, NW Spain||Gallaecian|
|Campagonum||Campagones||Hispania T.||N Spain||Celtiberian (C)|
|Campanorum||(Roman cit)||Italia||Campania, Italy||Latin|
|Cannanefatium||Cananefates||Germania Inferior||S Holland, Netherlands||W Germanic|
|Cantabrorum||Cantabri||Hispania T.||Cantabria N Spain||Celtiberian|
|Celtiberorum||Celtiberi||Hispania T.||Guadalajara, Spain||Celtiberian|
|Cilicum||Cilices||Cilicia||Icel/Adana pr Turkey||Lydian|
|Cisipadensium||(Roman citizens)||Italia (Aemilia region)||Emilia-Romagna, Italy||Latin|
|Commagenorum||Commagene||Cappadocia||Gaziantep pr Turkey||Greek|
|Corsorum||Corsi||Sardinia||N Sardinia, Italy||Sardinian|
|Cugernorum||Cugerni||Germania Inferior||NW Rhineland, Germany||W Germanic|
|Frisiavonum||Frisiavones||Germania Inferior||N Brabant S Neth||W Germanic|
|Gaesatorum||Gaesati||Gallia Belgica||Alsace, Fr||Gaulish|
|Galatarum||Galatae||Galatia||Ankara pr C Turkey||Galatian|
|Gallorum||Gauls||Gallia Lugdunensis||NE France||Gaulish|
|Hispanorum||Hispani||Hispania T.||N Spain||Celtiberian|
|Lemavorum||Lemavi||Hispania T.||Galicia, Spain||Celtiberian|
|Ligurum||Ligures||Italia (Liguria)||Liguria, Italy||Ligurian||Alpine regiments of the Roman army|
|Lingonum||Lingones||Belgica||Langres, NE France||Gaulish|
|Lucensium||Lucenses||Hispania T.||cLugo Galicia, Portugal||Gallaecian|
|Mattiacorum||Mattiaci||Germania Sup||Rhineland Pfalz, Germany||W Germanic|
|Menapiorum||Menapii||Belgica||W Flanders, Belgium||Gaulish|
|Montanorum||Montani||Pannonia||Julian Alps, Slovenia||Raetian||Alpine regiments of the Roman army|
|Noricorum||Taurisci||Noricum||Mid Austria||(C)||Alpine regiments of the Roman army|
|Nurritanorum||Nurritani||Sardinia||cNuoro, N Sardinia, Italy||Sardinian|
|Petreorum||Nabataei||Arabia Pet.||cPetra, Jordan||Arabic|
|Phrygum||Phryges||Galatia||Eskisehir, W Turkey||Phrygian|
|Raetorum||Raeti||Raetia||S Germany/Switzerland||Raetian (X/C)||Alpine regiments of the Roman army|
|Sardorum||Sardi||Sardinia||S Sardinia, Italty||Sardinian|
|Sugambrorum||Sicambri||Germania Inferior||NW Rhineland, Germany||W Germanic|
|Sunucorum||Sunici||Germania Inferior||E Netherlands||W Germanic|
|Tungrorum||Tungri||Belgica||cTongeren (Tongres), Belgium||Gaulish|
|Tyriorum||Tyrii||Syria||Tyre, S Lebanon||Phoenician|
|Ubiorum||Ubii||Germania Inferior||NW Rhineland, Germany||W Germanic|
|Vangionum||Vangiones||Germania Sup||Mainz/Worms, Germany||W Germanic|
|Vardulorum||Varduli||Hispania T.||Guipuzcoa, Spain||Old Basque|
|Vasconum||Vascones||Hispania T.||Navarra, Spain||Old Basque|
|Vettonum||Vettones||Lusitania||Salamanca pr Spain||Celtiberian|
|Vindelicorum||Vindelici||Raetia||Black Forest, Germany||Celtic/German||Alpine regiments of the Roman army|
|Vocontiorum||Vocontii||Gallia Lugdunensis||Dauphiné, France||Gaulish|
Some regiments were named after other people, for example ala Sulpicia after its first, or early, praefectus. In the Augustan era, commanders of auxiliary units were often Roman legionary centurions, or native chieftains. For example, ala Gallorum Atectorigiana was probably once commanded by a Gallic chieftain named Atectorix. Later, emperor Claudius restricted auxiliary commands to the lower aristocratic class of equites only.
- founded by emperor Augustus (r. BC 30–AD 14), or honoured with this title by any of his successors
- founded by, or honoured by, one of: Tiberius (r. AD 14–37), Caligula (r. AD 37–41), or Claudius (r. AD 41–54), all of whom were members of the gens Claudia
- Vespasian (r. AD 69–79) or one of his two sons and successors, Titus (r. AD 79–81) or Domitian (r. AD 81–96)
- Trajan (r. AD 98–117)
- Hadrian (r. AD 117–138)
- Marcus Aurelius (r. AD 161–180)
- Septimius Severus (r. AD 197–211)
Raised during the Illyrian revolt
Names of regiments originally raised by emperor Augustus during the Illyrian revolt (AD 6–9}}) from Roman citizens unsuitable for service in legions, such as vagrants, convicted criminals, debtors, and emancipated slaves:
- civium Romanorum
- regiment originally composed of Roman citizens (including emancipated slaves)
- regiment originally composed of free-born (ingenui) Roman citizens
- regiment originally composed of volunteers (voluntarii), in reality slaves freed in return for military service during the Illyrian revolt
After their initial recruitment of Roman citizens, these regiments recruited non-citizens (peregrini) like all other regiments.
Other non-ethnic regimental names
- the regiment was originally recruited, probably during the Illyrian revolt, from naval personnel (from classis = "fleet"), who were mostly non-citizens
- from nautae= "sailors"
- originally a cohort of the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Apparently a detachment of the cohort was left behind at the end of an imperial campaign, presumably to form the core of a new auxiliary cohort, retaining the prestigious name
- ala formed around members of the elite equites singulares Augusti (imperial horseguards), left behind to reinforce frontier at the end of an imperial campaign
- specialised regiment of lancers (contarii) from contus (a long lance)
- specialised regiment of camel-mounted troops for desert warfare
Some regiment names included additional descriptors:
- civium Romanorum (c.R.)
- "of Roman citizens", honorific title awarded by the emperor to a regiment for valour. All current (but not future) members would be granted Roman citizenship, and the regiment would retain the title in perpetuity.
- pia fidelis (p.f.)
- uncertain meaning which may have been used to distinguish older unit from a newer unit with the same serial number and name
- from tirones ("trainees")
- The number of units is 327 according to Spaul and 367 according to Holder. This discrepancy is due to the existence of several units with the same serial number and name, but attested in various provinces. It is not clear if they were different units or the same units moved around. In the table, Holder's estimate has been followed. In addition, 14 units attested until about 100 CE, which Holder considers likely but not certain to have survived into Hadrian's reign are also included to present all possible units (making a total of 381 units).
- The calculation assumes an average performed service of 15 years
- a regiment having twice the soldiers of a standard quingenaria unit
- equites cataphractarii
- Holder, Paul (2003). "Auxiliary deployment in the reign of Hadrian". Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies. Blackwell Publishing. 46 (S81): 101–145. doi:10.1111/j.2041-5370.2003.tb01979.x. ISSN 2041-5370.
- Spaul, John E. H. (2000). Cohors² : the evidence for and a short history of the auxiliary infantry units of the Imperial Roman army. BAR, International series. 841. Oxford: Archaeopress. ISBN 9781841710464.
- Spaul, John E. H.; Cichorius, Conrad (1994). Ala² : the auxiliary cavalry units of the pre-Diocletianic imperial Roman army. Andover: Nectoreca Press. ISBN 9780952506201.