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A tesserarius (Latin: tesserārius, from tessera, a small tile or block of wood on which watchwords were written), was a watch commander in the Roman army. They organized and had command over the nightly guard assigned to keep watch over the fort when in garrison or on campaign[1][2] and were responsible for getting the watchwords from the commander and seeing that they were kept safe. There was one tesserarius to each centuria (Wilkes, 1972). They held a position similar to that of a First Sergeant of a Company in modern armies and acted as seconds to the optiones.

Tesserary pay was one and a half times (sesquiplicarii) that of the standard legionary pay.


  1. ^ Caesar's Civil War, Adrian Goldsworthy, Page 20
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

See also[edit]