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Professional Officers on the Northern Dacian limes

Muzeul Naional de Istoria Transilvaniei, Cluj, Romnia

Keywords: limes, junior officer, beneficiarius, statio, mission. Cuvinte cheie: limes, subofieri, beneficiarius, statio, misiune. Rezumat: Ofieri profesioniti pe limes-ul de nord al Daciei. Zona limes-ului este un mediu foarte special, care implic funcionarea mai multor pri ale unui sistem complet. Trupele asigur securitatea zonei i buna funcionare a ansamblului. Limes-ul de nord al Daciei este o zon special de interes n studiul limes Dacicus. Edificat pentru a susine aprarea unei provincii intens militarizate, a fost proiectat n aa fel nct s se adapteze tuturor condiiilor locului. n aceste uniti militare, soldaii i ofieri profesioniti aveau un rol foarte important n supravegherea limes-ului. Gradele militare profesioniste sunt coloana vertebral a armatei romane, asigur distribuia strategiilor i comandei dinspre comandanii superiori nspre simpli soldai. Funcionarea limes-ului de nord al Daciei este asigurat de un numr de trupe auxiliare cantonate n zon: Bologa, Buciumi, Romnai, Romita, Porolissum, Tihu, Cei, Iliua, Livezile and Orheiul Bistriei. Tipurile de ofieri atestate n aceste trupe variaz, majoritatea fiind centurioni i decurioni, un numr mai mic de optiones sau stegari i un numr foarte mic de immunes. Soldaii de pe aceste grade erau activi n castru, dar probabil c se deplasau pe teren, pentru a ndeplini misiuni specifice, cum ar fi garnizoana turnurilor de paz i patrulele de pe limes. Un alt tip de subofier prezent n aceast zon sunt beneficiarii consularis. Acetia sunt principales legionari, promovai n cadrul officium consularis i apoi trimii oriunde n provincie cu diferite misiuni. Pe limes-ul de nord sunt concentrai n cel puin dou puncte, la Samum i Porolissum. Erau centrele unor zone foarte importante pentru autoritatea central, provincial sau imperial. Misiunea staff-ului guvernatorului din teren este s asigure buna funcionare a oricror instalaii, pentru profitul optim al Imperiului.

here are at least three ways to consider the Roman frontiers. The first is the absolute military affair, the defence system for all of the Roman Empire, but this ignores other aspects. The mechanism of showing the differences between Roman and non-Roman societies is also a one-way look at the frontier. Not last, an arbitrary line in the distribution pattern of cultural artefacts, is also one point of view1. The intention should be as to look at the Roman frontiers from all of these points, or from none. What it can be observed from the extensive research that has been done in the last century on this matter, is that the Roman frontier is a fluid mechanism, not necessarily a preclusive border, between two worlds, with a clear definition of what was Roman and what was barbarian. Establishing the limits of the Empire, thus of the Roman power and official authority, depended on many things. One of them, mentioned even in their own writings, is geography. Rivers have often been accepted as borders between Romans and another authority (Euphrates, Rhine, Danube). For another regions, where these concrete elements lack, the frontier is an obscure line, which cannot be established with accuracy. There are many ways in which the Romans established their frontiers, they vary from a region to another, adapting to the field situation and the population inhabiting it. The only common point of all these practices is the need to mantain imperial security2.
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Elton 1996, 2. For the creation of Roman frontiers see also Dyson 1985. Elton 1996, 59.


The Dacian limes is a portion of the European Roman frontier, its most eastern. Part of the larger, Danube frontier, it is, somewhat similar to the agri decumates, an intervention frontier3, which has extended the Roman territory largely beyond the natural border that is the Danube. The reasons for this extension of the Empire are many, but will not be discussed here. The result was a new province, mainly military, which can clear out the purpose of the first intervention. The limes of the Dacian provinces is mostly presented as a long line of border, extending from the Danube, until north, at Porolissum, defended by the large number of military units in garrison. No similarities can be clearly established with the Britain limes or even the Raetian one, as the Dacian limes varies widely from region to region, having to adapt permanently4. The part concerning this work is the Northern Dacian limes. This can also be called as the limes of the province Dacia Porolissensis. Extending North of the river Mure, this province needed a portion of limes enclosing the Transylvanian plateau. The military units ensuring the security of this portion of frontier, where, either disposed close to the border line, garrisoned in the forts of Bologa, Buciumi, Romnai, Romita, Porolissum, Tihu, Cei, Ilisua, Livezile and Orheiul Bistriei, either to the interior of the province, especially cavalry units, in the garrisons of Gilau, Sutor or Gherla5, all of them, the auxiliaries to the legion V Macedonica, in the fortress at Potaissa. All of the units present at one time on the northern Dacian limes had to control a precise area of the frontier, especially when the frontier is marked by a row of watch towers and probably some kind of a wall and trench6, as it is the case for the front line of the fort at Porolissum, and other areas from the north of the province. The units in garrison in this portion of limes are somewhat responsible for the supervision of a designated area, and they do it by detaching men to man the watch towers or to patrol the border line. We cannot say exactly who were the men sent on duty in the field, but we can assume that all of the soldiers, by rotation, would serve for a period also detached. However, when a group of soldiers leaves the fort for military matters, there ought to be someone in charge with their well-being and that of the mission. In this case, one cannot simply assume that every group was lead by a centurion, as that would be impossible, leaving the unit without any proper command in the garrison. In this case, the junior officers would step in place, as that is their main role, to attend to various tasks of the unit, that are not the duty of the centurion. For this, they are either simply exempted from regular labor, and remain soldiers with special tasks, as are the immunes, or are actually promoted on a higher rank and pay, again for special tasks and eventual promotion to the centurionate, as are the principales. Lower hierarchy of the auxiliaries. The ala The equites singulares Augusti have, as a regular cavalry unit, the organization and hierachy of the ala7. From ancient sources, we find that the principales of the alae are the decurio, duplicarius, sesquiplicarius.8 Together with these three basic ranks, other are also attested.9 Every turma is commanded by a decurio. His tasks are mentioned in Digest The first evidence for the rank is probably CIL IX 733=ILS 2499, of Larinum, Apulia, dated between 44 and 31 BC10. He is a citizen, therefore unsuitable for an auxiliary unit at that time, nevetheless, he is used in one, as an officer. He was probably a legionaire, as most of the following cases of decuriones alae.11 Caesar was the first to recruit a specialised cavalry unit, of Gauls and Germans, divided them into turmae and had legionaries, citizens, in charge of them.12 The first of the decurions is the decurio princeps. His main task is to control the tabularium alae.13 The decurio stands above the cohort centurion, because he can be used as a praepositus
Based on the types established by Elton 1996, 6. Gudea 1997, 34. 5 For a detailed discussion of these forts and their units, see Gudea 1997, 3955, and, more recently, Marcu 2009. 6 For the detailed discussion on the northern limes, see Matei 1996, Gudea 1997a. 7 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 53. 8 Hyginus, De mun. castr. 16, apud Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 53. 9 Dixon, Southern 1992, 25. 10 Speidel 1980, 211. M. Valerius, eques de(curio) alae Patrui. He is called eques, like other cavalrymen: eques sesquiplicarius (CIL VII 5936), eques signifer (CIL III 6062), eques bucinator (CIL III 3352), eques evocatus (CIL X 6011) or eques imaginifer (AE 1926, 110). 11 Speidel 1980, 211212. 12 Speidel 1980, 212213. 13 Doaszewski-Dobson 1967, 53. Speidel 1981 considers this special title grant (princeps) as the result of a special task, probably an ad-hoc command.
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cohortis, above the beneficiarius consularis, but under the legionary centurion. He can be promoted direclty to it, at the governor`s suggestion, calling himself candidatus. He can also be used as a commander of the stratores praesidis, in the provinces without legions.14 There are plenty of examples of decurions promoted form eques legionis, or from the lower ranks in the unit, sesquiplicarius or duplicarius alae.15 The duplicarius stands below the beneficiarius consularis. On this rank, as on the one of decurion, very often legionaries would be transferred, on their way to become legionary centurions or even commanders of auxiliary units.16 For a regular legionaire, the transfer as a duplicarius alae is a clear promotion, and would imply a solid raise in the wages.17 The very rare mentions of the rank sesquiplicarius can suggest that they were promoted most of the times, this being more of a transition stage.18 The tasks of these two ranks cannot be established from their names, the only clear fact being that they are payed in higher wages. We can assume that the duplicarius was second in command of the turma, as the optio for infantry. The standard bearers in cavalry are a little different from the infantry, meaning that the standard of the unit is carried by a vexillarius and that of a turma by a signifer. There is also a imaginifer alae.19 As the optio they can be promoted directly to the decurionate or centurionate20. As any other unit commander, the praefectus alae (or the tribune) has a specialised staff at his disposal, the officium praefecti alae, with the cornicularius as the headmaster.21 He is probably a principalis, as all the other cornicularii, payed in double wage22, although some have considered him only an immunis.23 If he is nevertheless a principalis, cornicularius alae is the only one in the officium praefecti alae. The staff is completed by a series of immunes: actarius, strator, stator, beneficiarius, librarius, or singularis24, together with secutor alae and eques pecuarius alae.25 Other immunes, outside any officium: curator turmae, custos armorum, librarius, the musicians, tubicen, bucinator, cornicen, and the technicians mensor and medicus alae.26 The auxiliary cohort From Tacitus, Hist. IV.19 and CIL VIII 18042 we know that the equites cohortales are better payed than the pedites, but worse than the equites alares. In the mixt, equitatae cohorts, the centurions stand above the decurions, as the relation between the legionary centurion and the ala decurion. They are similar ranks, because both can be promoted to the legionary centurionate, obviously after the grant of citizenship and the honourable discharge from the auxiliary unit. As in the case of the alae, legionaries can be directly made officers in the auxiliaries.27 Centurio princeps, is the first of the centurions, with the same role as the decurio princeps.28 The centurio stands above the beneficiarius consularis, imaginifer legionis and beneficiarius procuratoris. It can be promoted direclty to the legionary centurionate.29 There are major differences between the legionary and auxiliary centurions. The governor promotes men on the ranks of auxiliary centurion or decurion, whereas the legionary centurions can be appointed only by the emperor.30 For the auxiliaries it is easier to be enlisted directly as officers.31 This is highly attractive for the young local elites, sons of soldiers, even centurions, or young noble natives.32 As for the decurions in alae, there is evidence for the promotion
Doaszewski-Dobson 1967, 53. Gilliam 1958, 159160. 16 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 54. 17 Cheesman 1914, 35. 18 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 54. 19 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 55. 20 Cheesman 1914, 39, Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, xvi and Dixon, Southern 1992, 25. 21 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 55. One of the rare evidence for this rank is CIL III 7651, from Gilu. 22 Breeze 1971, passim. 23 Cheesman 1914, 41, 43. 24 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 5556, confirmed by Chessman 1914, 41, 4344 and Dixon, Southern 1992, 25. 25 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, xvii. 26 Chessman 1914, 41, 4344 and Dixon, Southern 1992, 25. 27 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 56; Cheesman 1914, 38. 28 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 56. A special situation is seen at Cei, where we have two such principes, of the same cohort, CIL III 7631. 29 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 56. 30 Gilliam 1958, 158. 31 Gilliam 1958, 164: BGU 696, I, 2025, CIL VIII 9389 (decurio alae) and 21034 (centurio singularium). 32 Gilliam 1958, 165166.
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of legionaries to this rank, only after completing a tactical rank in the legion. For the cavalry part of the unit, the thing look mainly similar.33 Principales of pedites. Imaginifer, the tactical ranks signifer, optio, tesserarius. Immunes. Tubicen, cornicen, bucinator, together aeneatores, as in the legion. Technicians: mensor or medicus. Principales of equites. Imaginifer, vexillarius, bucinator, even eques can be considered a special type of sodlier, as in the legion.34 Technicians, immunes, capsarius, sacerdos, aedituus, magister campi or cibariator.35 In the officium praefecti (tribuni) cohortis the cornicularius, is again the only principalis, assisted by the actarius, beneficiarius, librarius. An unusual rank is magister cohortis, maybe a trainer or a kind of an optio.36 The so-called irregular auxiliary units, the numeri, are organised in the same way as the others, depending on their specialty, cavalry or infantry.37 Junior officers on the northern Dacian limes On the section of the frontier that we have discussed before, we have twenty-eight junior officers attested on monuments. Most of them are present at the two important sites of Porolissum and Ilisua, and other at Cei, Buciumi, Romita, Bologa or Orheiul Bistriei. Only two of them are immunes, the vast majority being principales, and most of them on the highest ranks. In the other points on the limes, no officer is attested, even if this does not mean that they didn`t have the same status in the field. The two most important forts in the region are revealed also through the civil settlements that they produced, and through the large number of epigraphical monuments erected. Porolissum is a key-point in the defence system of northern Dacia, and not only38. The other one is Ilisua, another most northern point, but looking somehow NNE, again with a developed civil settlement and a large number of monuments39. The units garrisoned in these forts have left evidence for nine junior officers in activity, each. Of the many auxiliary units or legionary vexillations that have passed through Porolissum in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD, only two of them have left a trace for any junior officers in activity. Those two are the cohort I Ulpia Brittonum and the numerus Palmyrenorum Porolissensium. The first one was the first unit to be garrisoned here, for a short period of time. We have a centurion attested from it, but not on military affairs, Ael. Firmus (ILD 697). The Palmyrenian numerus, which stayed longer in Porolissum, has left four centurions, half of the total number of numeri centurions from Dacia, and a decurion. A model inscription, on a brick, used probably for an eventual funerary monument, is mentioning the centurion Aur. Iustinus (AE 1974, 549 = ILD 706). Ael. Themarsa (AE 1979, 495 = ILD 707), of syrian origin, has become a decurion of the colonia at Napoca. M. Cocceius Alexander (AE 1979, 499 = ILD 712), is the augur of the Septimian municipium at Porolissum. Another centurion from the East, Ael. Maenemachus (ILD 714) honours his deceased wife, bearing a very nice name, Bebeia Tychenis. On a collective funerary stone (AE 1971, 389=ILD 704), belonging to a family with a serious military tradition, are attested three of the junior officers of the numerus Palmyrenorum Porolissensium. Aurelius is the head of the family, veteran, former decurion. Probably a son, Aur. Passer, signifer, dead at 33, and another Aurelius, soldier in the same unit, are also deceased and mentioned on the stone. Aurelia Sabina and yet another Aurelius, actarius of the same unit, are in charge with erecting the monument. All of the military are part of numerus Palmyrenorum Porolissensium, have syrian origin, and three of them hold junior ranks. The only one that remains is the optio Mucianus (AE 1960 219=ILD 690), which dedicates an altar to Silvanus domesticus. At Ilisua, a different type of unit was garrisoned, an ala, I Tungrorum Frontoniana, and all of the nine junior officers attested here are part of it. The best represented rank in the alae of Dacia is the decurion. With five of the twenty-six from the whole province, the ala at Ilisua is one of the best documented in this matter. A veteran decurion, C. Valerius Vitalis (CIL III 811) lived only fifty years, and his monument is erected by two of his sons, both of them principales in the same unit. One of them, Valerius Laetillus is also decurion, probably enlisted on some rank, due to his father`s career. The other one, Valerius Saturninus, is a duplicarius
Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 57. Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 58. 35 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, xvii. 36 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 5859. 37 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 6061. 38 For the detailed, archaeological discussion, on the fort and town at Porolissum see Gudea 1997b, other contributions by Al. V. Matei, and, more recently, Marcu 2009. 39 For Iliua, see Protase, Gaiu, Marinescu 1997.
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in ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana, and completes yet another family with an ancient military tradition, passing from one generation to another. Another three decurions of the unit in Ilisua are attested. Aurelius De[?] (CIL III 802), during his service, and Valerius Valerianus (CIL III 802, 805), a veteran, former decurion of I Tungrorum Frontoniana, both of them in the situation of honouring their dead relatives through funerary monuments. The only one in a particular situation is P. Ael. Paulinus (CIL III 7626), which raises a temple for the genius sanctus scolae decurionum. In this inscription there is attested a schola decurionum, the headquarters of the collegium of these officers, one of the rare such mentions in Dacia40. Another two principales from the ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana are attested at Ilisua. Aur. Vitellianus (CIL III 791), sesquiplicarius, raising an altar to Iupiter optimus maximus, and an unknown signifer (CIL III 813). Only one immunis, the librarius Aur. Themaes (CIL III 804). In another four places on the northern limes there are to be found junior officers, all of them from auxiliary units. These are Casei, Buciumi, Romita, Bologa and Orheiul Bistritei. The best documented unit is cohors I Flavia Hispanorum , garrisoned at Buciumi41, and attested also in other points in northern Dacia, as Aiton and Orheiul Bistritei. It has the largest number of centurions attested, four, from the total of nineteen of the whole province. All of the four are mentioned on small bronze tablets, in the form of tabulae ansatae, with pointed inscription mentioning the centuries, discovered in the fort. These are Valerius (AE 1983, 851a=ILD 640), Severinus (AE 1983, 851b = ILD 644), C. Pomponius Valerianus (AE 1983, 851c=ILD 645) and L.Turannius Arte(mid?)orus (AE 1983, 851d = ILD 646). The same unit, but in another place, also attests an optio. Caius (AE 1998, 1113 = ILD 805, Myszkow, Ukraine) dedicates a votive bronze arm to Iupiter optimus maximus Dolichenus, which probably comes from Orheiul Bistritei, and was taken as spoils during some invasion of the costobocae.42 The situation at Samum-Casei is a particular one for the whole of Dacia Porolissensis. First, the auxiliary fort was garrisoned mainly by cohors I Britannica c R equitata. We have evidence for two centurions and an optio. Caecilius Aelianus and Ti. Aurelius Iulianus (CIL III 830=7631), calling themselves princip(?), may be considered princip(ibus), like in the two centuriones principes of the unit (ore one centurion and one decurion), or princip(ales), as a general denomination of junior officers43. They dedicate an altar (CIL III 830 = 7631) to the genius of a schola ordinatorum, probably the headquarters of the collegium gathering the centurions and decurions of the unit stationed here, cohors I Britannica c R equitata44. The optio, C. Speratus (CIL III 824) dedicates, along with two colleagues, P. Aelius Sextillianus and C. Aquila, an altar to Iupiter optimus maximus and all the other gods. Secondly, the matter of the statio of the beneficiarii consularis, will be discussed lower. At Romita-Certiae45, the garrison for cohors I Batavorum , there are two high-rank principales attested. C. Campanius Vitalis (CIL III 839), a centurion of this unit, dies at 27, after only nine years in service. The monument is erected by Florius Virilis, veteran, former decurion of the same unit, either uncle or grandfather. This is the example of a special career, of a very young centurion, maybe even enlisted as one. From the same unit, Ael. Certus (CIL III 13760, Potaissa), a signifer attends to the funerary monument for his wife and son, that have lived in the settlements at Potaissa. At last, cohors II Hispanorum garrisoned at Bologa-Resculum46, on the western part of this northern limes has only one junior officer. Ael. Tato (CIL 843=627), of illyrian origin, is a decurion of this obviously equitata cohort. It is hard to say which ones of these officers were detached on the limes to patrol or to man the watch towers. However, as it has been stated at the beginning of this paper, the frontier is not just only a marked line which separates the Romans from the barbarians, but a whole center of civilization, which orbits around the military establishment which is intended for security reasons. As it can easily be seen from the acta diurna of other military units, garrisoned on other frontiers, each day means another task for the soldiers and officers. It is higly probable that at least at one time, the officers mentioned above have patrolled the portion of limes under their supervision, or have manned one of the towers. One thing is for sure, this duty had to be a general
In general about scholae in Marcu 2006, for other types of scholae of junior officers in Dacia, see Cupcea 2008, 274275. For the archaeological situation of the fort at Buciumi, see Gudea 1997c. 42 Petolescu 2002, 112. 43 Isac 2003, 4546. 44 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 5657. Especially because in the 3rd Century, auxiliary centurions are also called ordinati. However, D. Isac considers that this monument is raised by two princip(ales), not probable though. Isac 2003, 4546. 45 For the archaeological situation of the fort at Romita, see Matei, Bajusz 1997. 46 For the archaeological situation of the fort at Bologa, see Gudea 1997d.
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one, because there is no type of officer specially trained for such matters. Of course, the vast majority of the officers mentioned above are in ranks which imply actual command of units, centurions or decurions. This doesn`t mean that they would not go out on missions, but more likely that they would have been entrusted with the supervision or command of special tasks and units, out in the field. Another special feature of the northern part of the Dacian limes is the active presence of beneficiarii consularis. This has to be looked upon from the point of view of the provincial governor, which can rely on the help of a staff counting even hundreds of trained men, all of them military, most of them legionary, gathered in the officium consularis. Cornicularius, chief-officer of these officia, probably taking his name from the corniculum, a decoration from the late republic, in the shape of a horn, worn on the helmet.47 Other members, speculatores, appear at Caesar, with the mission revealed by their name, spying (BG, II.11.23, V.49.8, 50.3; BC III.66.1, 67.1; BAl 12.1, 31.4, 37.1). In the 1st Century AD they become a special, mounted part of the imperial guard, either officers in the staff of units or governors, mostly as messengers (Tacitus, Hist. II.73, Ann. II.12; Livy XXXI.24.4), public executioneers (Digesta XLVIII.20.6; Marks Gospel 6.27). Beneficiarii alle called by Caesar the soldiers which are detached from the command of an officer, and therefore releaved of any ordinary duties, following a beneficium (BC I.75.2, III.88.5). During the Principate the term depicts a certain type of officer of the staff. The frumentarii act as messengers or secret police, although their name would come from an officer in charge with grain supply (frumentum).48 Each of these provincial officia would have 2 or 3 cornicularii, which lead them in the absence or altogether with the princeps praetorii. In the hierarchy they are followed by commentarienses, then speculatores, beneficiarii consularis, frumentarii, quaestionarii, and all kinds of technicians interpretes, haruspex, or clerks librarii, exacti, exceptores. The soldiers get to these ranks from the legions, after maybe serving in some lower posts.49 The duties of this staff are plenty, and much the same as of the governor. They assist him in his most important duty administration of justice in the province. In this case the officiales are taking part actively at the justice enforcement: the beneficiarii consularis, stratores and frumentarii are making arrests etc. Among other tasks the speculatores, beneficiarii, frumentarii, singulares are messengers in all the Empire.50 The beneficiarius addapts his name after the rank of his governor. He can be called legati beneficiarius, as in Numidia, or even plain beneficiarius may mean beneficiarius consularis, if it is understood.51 In republican times, the governors take with them in the provinces amici, even family members, for assistance and council. The first mentions of a patronage beneficium, come from the time of the Civil Wars (Caesar, BC I.75, III.88). The earliest mentions of the term beneficiarius of a governor, come from the time of Gaius, when passing III Augusta, from the command of the African proconsule, towards an own legatus. Following, Tacitus (Hist. IV.48) states that the two high officials have shared the numerus beneficiorum. Inscriptions of beneficiarii of governors appear shortly after, the first one from 5260 AD (AE 1967, 525) a beneficiarius procuratoris Judaeae. Another two are from the 1st Century AD: CIL XII 2602 (79 AD) and CIL VIII 27854 (8183AD). There are no stationes known for this time, they were probably active at the governors headquarters.52 Trajan was the reformer of the beneficiarii system. He decided the creation of those stationes, manned with beneficiarii of the provincial governors. Most of them appeared by 110120 AD, throughout the Empire, in different provinces and manned in the same way. All these indicate a central, imperial decision. Epigraphical evidece for these officiales differ from those of the 1st Century AD. There are no funerary monuments, only votive altars, most of them to Iupiter optimus maximus, raised during the service in a statio. This would imply the fact that those detached in the stationes are serving in more important missions that those at the officium, from which we have only an altar in 50 years (CIL III 14362, Virunum). Two of these stationes established by Trajan are those of Sirmium53 and Celeia, two traditional cities, of the 1st Century AD, at both ends of an important road of the Empire, which, coming from Northern Italy, passes through the Alps, and then gets to the Danube. Therefore both stationes are positioned in strategic points, regarding
Clauss 1975, 251. A type of this rank is canalicularius. See also Gilliam 1976. Austin, Rankov 1995, 150. 49 Austin, Rankov 1995, 151. 50 Austin, Rankov 1995, 153. 51 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 3233. General works on beneficiarii have been published by Ott 1995 and, more recently Nelis-Clment 2000. 52 Dise 1997, 274275. 53 For the complete reports over the statio at Sirmium, see Mirkovi 1994. For the beginning of the stationes system and the different types of such endeavours, see Nelis-Clment 2000, 175190.
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Trajans plans. Celeia works until 160, then restarts in 190, until 217, and Sirmium works continously until 230. Other, isolated altars come from Virunum and Iuvavum, Sepastopolis or Charax. They confirm this hypothesis, together with the dating of the altars close to 120. The lack of other, later proofs, may indicate the ceasing of activity in these stationes by 13054. At this moment in time, the assignment of such an officer was truly a beneficium (Pliny, Ep. XX, XI, XXII, XXVII). Following, Hadrian was totally uninteressed by this matter, and, by 130, only the stationes of Sirmium and Celeia were still working. Between 125 and 150 there is no evidence for others. Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius have compensated, by a new impulse to provincial administration and governor staff. After 150 epigraphical evidence for stationes appears in other places: Rigomagus, Pontailler-sur-Sane, Praetorium Latobicorum, Montana and Histria, Tyana. This multitude of stationes is part of the imperial action. Close to 150 the activity is increased at Celeia and Sirmium. After this, they seem to dissapear, probably because of the marcomanic wars.55 From this moment on, an extension of activity will be observed in these stationes. Some of them with isolated evidence, but most with serious epigraphical monuments: Montana mining area 5 altars, two in Germania Inf. Nettersheim 7 altars, until 227, Rigomagus 7 altars, until 242, two in agri decumates, Germania Sup. Stockstadt 21 altars, until 208, Jagsthausen 5 altars, until 186. Plus, one of the best equipped in evidence is the one in Osterburken, where altars are revealing activity between 174 and 238.56 The raising in altar numbers means a raising in stationes number. The administrative reform of this period alterates the personal relationship between the governor and his beneficiarii towards an official one, enclosed in the officium consularis. The term of officium consularis appears for the first time in connection with a beneficiarius, at Tyana, Cappadocia, close to 150 (IGRR III, 6800), in Greek: . The first beneficiarius consularis is that of CIL III 7449, Montana, AD 155. From now on, this form will proliferate. This reform will concern also the term of service in stationes. There is evidence for the term of service longer than the governship of a certain official, and for the 3rd Century it could appear that their service was permanent, if not promoted. These alterations intend to shift the beneficiarius` loialty from the person of the governor to his institution.57 Regarding hierarchy, a soldier can become beneficiarius from the positions of tesserarius, optio, frumentarius, quaestionarius, duplicarius alae, all tactical or above-tactical ranks. It stands under the speculator, it can be promoted to speculator, or extraordinary to commentariensis, cornicularius praefecti legionis or cornicularius consularis. By the time of Severus they can be promoted directly to the legionary centurionate. The certitude of such a promotion can be observed from the forms of spe beneficiatus or candidatus. Beginning with this period, the direct transfer to militia equestris was possible, and by the time of Philippus Arabs this kind of beneficiarii were called beneficiarius petitor (militiae). For the relative position between principales, we can see that decurio alae, centurio cohortis, decurio cohortis or trierarcha of the provincial fleets stand above the beneficiarius consularis, therefore being promoted directly to the legionary centurionate. The rank is present even under Diocletian, and protector praefecti legionis may have evolved from it.58 An impressive number of beneficiarii consularis are attested in Dacia, from XIII Gemina, at least 30. More than half of them are attested at Apulum, serving at the praetorium consularis. Other locations vary, like Sarmizegetusa, Micia, Alburnus Maior, Ampelum or Samum. From all these, we can state that the ones detached in stationes are those of Micia, Alburnus Maior and Samum59. A half of the total number of beneficiarii consularis attested in the province are present on the northern limes, in only three points. Twelve of them are attested at Casei-Samum, two at Porolissum and one at Buciumi. As for the legion of origin, three come from XIII Gemina, eight from V Macedonica, and the other four from either of the two legions. The large number of epigraphical monuments, attesting beneficiarii consularis, a statio and a regio in the surroundings of the auxilliary fort of Casei-Samum, have marked this spot as one of the most important of this kind in the province North of the Danube. A number of fourteen inscriptions stand evidence for twelve beneficiarii in service at two distinct periods of time. Since A. von Domaszewski many scholars
Dise 1997, 275277. At this time there is no clear indication of their work in the field. The relationship between them and theit governors is as personal as in the 1st Century, as it can be seen from the form beneficiarius + governors name + governors rank. 55 Dise 1997, 279280, Ott 1995, 87105, Nelis-Clment 2000, 133 sqq. 56 Schallmayer 1994, 184. 57 Dise 1997, 280283. However, best proven is the term of service of six months, especially in this period. This is discussed in detail in Dise 1997a, Schallmayer 1994, Isac 1994, Ott 1995, 105106, Nelis-Clment 2000, 133 sqq, 211 sqq. 58 Domaszewski-Dobson 1967, 3334. For the rank in the legionary hierarchy see also Ott 1994, Ott 1995 (stating that all beneficiarii are sesquiplicarii). On direct promotion to the legionary centurionate, seldom, see Breeze 1974 and Speidel 1992. 59 Although, all the places with epirgaphical ecidence of the beneficiarii have been considered stationes.


have approached the matter, moslty Romanian60. The inscriptions can be dated in two distinct periods of time. The first ones are dated in Severus` Alexander reign, and mention the beneficiarii as agentes in curam stationis/in munere stationis. This immediately implies the existence of a statio in the area surrounding the fort. The scholars have tried to explain in various ways this statio and its role in this point. The statio is not a archaeologically recognizable building. It has been identified, in many places throughout the Empire, due to epigraphical evidence, moslty altar dedications of beneficiarii61, which, in some places are grouped in sacral areas62. According to their geographical placement, there are four types of stationes to be determined: A in towns, B along the borders of the provinces, C on roads, harbors or trade routes, and D in vicinity of mining areas, stone quarries or other imperial works63. All of the stationes seem to be in activity in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries AD. In Dacia, there is evidence for all of the types of stationes, and Samum is considered to belong to type B64. In any case, the geographical situation is the only one to establish this classification. In this military establishment, the governor sends his personal staff, the beneficiarii, but not only them, to attend to the important matters of any region, especially the ones that are his responsibilty. We have, at Samum, at least five of these beneficiarii attested in service in the statio. Cassius Erotianus (CIL III 825=CBFIR 533) attends to the reconditioning of a Nemesis sanctuary, probably in the vicus Samum. Scantius Lucius (AE 1957, 327=ILD 771, 772, 773) dedicates three altars, two to Iupiter optimus maximus Dolichenus, and one to Nemesis, dated by consulship in AD 22465. Oclatius Florentinus (AE 1957, 329=ILD 775) dedicates also to Nemesis Regina, dated by consulship in AD 230, mentioning that his mission here is repeated. Aur. Rufinus (ILD 774) does the same act as his colleagues, but in AD 223. In the same manner, C. Iul. Maximus (CIL III 826) can be considered one of them. At last, an unknown beneficiarius (ILD 778) dedicates an altar, probably to Iupiter optimus maximus, with the legion`s name Severiana. The exact mission of these beneficiarii, detached in a statio probably inside the vicus, was reason for discussion for many years. The reason for the discussion appeared in a second series of altars of beneficiarii discovered at Casei, now dated in the time of Gordianus, which do not mention any statio, but a regio, of which these officers are agentes. M. Valerius Valentinus (CIL III 827) dedicates an altar to Nemesis Regina, as legionaire, beneficiarius, but at the same time aedile of the colonia Napoca, dated by consulship in AD 239. M. Aur. Moenenus (CIL III 822) raises an altar to Iupiter optimus maximus in the same period, with the same mission. P. Ael. Marcellinus (AE 1957, 326 = ILD 765) again an altar to Iupiter optimus maximus, dated in AD 243. P. Ael. Proculinus (CBFIR 525 = ILD 769) does the same thing, but in AD 243. Another two beneficiarii are attested, but with no dating or mission. P. Ael. Sextillianus (CBFIR 527 and CIL III 7632) raises one altar to Iupiter optimus maximus and all the other gods and another to the imperial family. At last, Valerius Vibius Valerianus (CIL III 823) raises one altar to Iupiter optimus maximus and all the other gods. Plus, in the very vicinity, another kind of officer is attested, P. Ael. Atilianus (AE 1913, 54=ILD 795) at Negrilesti, a decurion of equites singulares, raising an altar to Diana and Silvanus. In this northern extremity of the province, such an officer would surely be detached in some special mission by the governor himself, as a decurion of his guard. He is presumed on an official mission in an outpost on the northern limes, where he would probably express his gratitude for his well-being66. This shift from statio to regio, as well as the meaning of the abreviation Ans, has long been debated. The first option was to devep it into Ansamensium, which would imply a region across the river Samus, which would be under the control or the supervision of these officiales67. In the last thirty years, also the Romanian scholars have came up with alternative solutions, better argued, which would lead towards a customs post for the taxation of commerce with the natives or the barbarians68, to the salt mines of Dej in just 10 km from Samum69 or to traffic control on the hypotetical bridge over the Samus river, in the close surroundings70. The question is when did the statio at Samum became a regio and how? One opinion is that these agentes sub signo Samum
A list of the studies can be consulted in Isac 1994, Opreanu 1994 and Isac 2003. Ott 1995, 87. 62 Nelis-Clment 2000, 179 argues that this is the only material connection between the word and the place statio. 63 Ott 1995, 88. 64 Ott 1995, 94 and Nelis-Clment 2000, 164, not exactly under the same formula, but with the same explanation. 65 Also the legion bears the name V Macedonica Severiana. 66 Isac 1994 211. 67 Opinions argued by Romanian scholars in the first half of the 20th Century, V. Prvan, C. Daicoviciu, M. Macrea, for the list and details see Isac 1994, 205208, Opreanu 1994, passim, Isac 2003, 4858. 68 Opreanu 1994, 71. 69 Isac 2003, 5657. 70 Isac 1994, Opreanu 1994 and Isac 2003.
61 60

Professional Officers on the Northern Dacian limes | 391

cum regione Ans? or agentes Samo cum regione Ans? were simply beneficiarii as before, but, now, by the authority granted by their signum, they would extend their competence in the vicus Samum and the surrounding regio Ansamensium71. In a different manner, an agens curam stationis would only attend to the tasks regarding its detachment post. However, in some situations, beneficiarii which are detached to stationes situated in mostly urban or industrial areas, tend to extend their competence over an entire regio, as the situations in Aquincum, cum regione, agentes curam leg(ione) et colonia or Oxyrhynchos, where a regio of such a beneficiarius would extend for at least 2030 km along the Nile72. Another clarifying method of the way that these regiones were organized can be the situation of the regiones and regionarii in Lower Moesia. These regionarii are, in the case of the mining areas in this province, legionary centurions, detached as officers in charge of such an administrative unit, mostly industrial ones, which, would probably have, in their team other legionaries, as beneficiarii, frumentarii or speculatores73. The main task of these regionarii and their subordinate beneficiarii would be the well-functioning and security of important industrial sites74. What about the situation at Samum? Leaving aside the hypotetical natives called ansamensii, or other such populations needed to be controlled by the beneficiarii, the fact is, that this is an area of great importance for the provincial governor, for which it would detach his own staff, even centurions. A similar situation is encountered at Porolissum. Here, a statio of type A is presumed, according to two beneficiarii consularis in activity here. T. Fl. Valentinus (CBFIR 540 = ILD 687), raises an altar to Liber pater, and Cassius Martialis (AE 1958, 288 = CBFIR 541, ILD 701) attends to the funerary monument of his wife. An isolated example, very near to Porolissum, is the altar dedicated to Iupiter optimus maximus Dolichenus, for the health of emperor Caracalla, by Iul. Firminus, a beneficiarius consularis (CIL III 7645 =CBFIR 524) at Buciumi. In both palces, no sign of any particular statio or mission. But the situation at Porolissum can offer us some clues. One of the most important military site in Dacia, it is thought to have kept the whole defence of the northern province. The auxiliary fort has developed also an urban settlement, which has flourished in the 3rd Century. The complex is situated very close to the actual limes, marked in this region by a wall and watch towers. Another particular situation is to be seen here, the presence of a completely researched Roman customs house. In not so many words, all of the features of the frontier zone or of the limes as phenomenon, are encountered in one place. In such a situation, the classification of a presumed statio as type A is a bit hazardous. The role of such an establisment, if any, could be a very complex one, including any security matters, trade and taxation enforcement, or even border human traffic supervision. The situation must have been similar at Samum. We may not know of such developments as in Porolissum, but they are possible, and moreover necessary, because the two frontier zones are very similar even from the geographical point of view. The matter of any military control or jurisdiction over this regio is also very improbable, especially with an equestrian commander present. The area is not without military activity, aside from the unit at Samum, other auxiliaries are garrisoned very near, and would easily control any military emergency that would appear. In any case, such an emergency would not be handled by a small team of legionaries. In this case, one should look towards other points of interest for the central provincial authority in the area. We know of an important bridge that would have passed the Samus, of salt mines in the vicinity. We don`t know of any customs house, but it might as well be one, in such a region. We might also presume it to be a statio of type A, because of the rural, but large civil settlement in the area. In any case, in lack of more precise epigraphical evidence, which would explain better the mission of the beneficiarii here, one can only assume that this was a completely common and normal detachment point for officers under the governor`s authority, as many others throuhgout the Empire. To sum up, all of the military elements present on the limes would have had a special role or missions. That is to ensure the security of the Roman authority inside the province and to ensure the best functioning of this contact zone that is the limes. The multitude of units garrisoned here can suggest the fact that it was a sensitive area, in regard to relations with the barbarians. The special outposts indicate that some kind of buffer zone was neccesary to ensure the much needed security. Finally, the points of general interest, as very important routes or industrial sites, would ask for representatives of the governor`s authority for the ensurance of their well-functioning. We must not look for extraordinary missions for any officers, for they were simply soldiers, following orders and doing their job, in a system which, apparently thought of everything.
Ott 1995, 106. Nelis-Clment 2000, 179. 73 For the regionarii see Speidel 1984, and for the multitude of officers in stationes, Clauss 1973 and Austin-Rankov 1995. 74 Ott 1995, 107. One of these regionarii is also to be seen in Dacia, at Drobeta, C. Titius Ianuarius (AE 1959, 314 = IDR II 35), believed to have been a centurio frumentarius, see Cupcea 2010, forthcoming.
72 71


No Name 1 Aelius Firmus 2 Aurelius Ius nus 3 Aelius Thema[rsa?] 4 M. Cocceius Alexander 5 Aelius Maenemachus 6 Aurelius? 7 Mucianus 8 Aurelius Passer 9 Aurelius? 10 C. Valerius Vitalis 11 Valerius Le llus 12 Aurelius De(?cimus) 13 Valerius Valerianus 14 P. Aelius Paulinus 15 Valerius Saturninus 16 Aurellius Vitellianus 17 Ignotus 18 Aurelius Themaes 19 Caecilius Aelianus 20 Ti. Aurelius Iulianus 21 Valerius? 22 Severinus 23 C. Pomponius Valeri(anus?) 24 L. Turanius Arte(mid?)orus 25 C. Campanius Vitalis 26 Florius Virilis 27 Aelius Tato 28 P. Aelius A lianus 29 C. Speratus 30 Caius 31 Aelius Certus 32 Aurelius Runus 33 Valerius Vibius Valerianus 34 M. Valerius Valen nus 35 C. Iulius Maximus 36 P. Aelius Marcellinus 37 P. Aelius Proculinus 38 Scan us Lucius 39 Ocla us Floren nus 40 P. Aelius Sex lianus 41 M. Aurelius Moenenus 42 Ignotus 43 Cassius Ero anus 44 T. Flavius Valen nus 45 Cassius Mar alis 46 P. Iulius Firminus

Rank centurio centurio centurio centurio centurio decurio op o signifer actarius decurio decurio decurio decurio decurio duplicarius sesquiplicarius signifer librarius centurio princeps centurio princeps centurio centurio centurio centurio centurio decurio decurio decurio op o op o signifer beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius beneciarius

Unit coh I Bri onum

Source ILD 697

Loca on Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Porolissum Iliua Iliua Iliua Iliua Iliua Iliua Iliua Iliua Iliua Samum Samum Buciumi Buciumi Buciumi Buciumi Romita Romita Resculum Negrile Samum Orheiul Bistriei Potaissa Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Samum Porolissum Porolissum Buciumi

n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1974, 549 = ILD 706 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1979, 495 = ILD 707 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1979, 499 = ILD 712 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AMN 3, p. 456457 = ILD 714 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1971, 389 = ILD 704 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1960, 219 = ILD 690 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1971, 389 = ILD 704 n Palmyrenorum Porolissensium AE 1971, 389 = ILD 704 ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana ala I Tungrorum Frontoniana coh I Britannica c R eq coh I Britannica c R eq coh I Flavia Hispanorum coh I Flavia Hispanorum coh I Flavia Hispanorum coh I Flavia Hispanorum coh I Batavorum coh I Batavorum coh II Hispanorum n equitum singularium coh I Britannica c R eq coh I Hispanorum coh I Batavorum leg XIII Gem leg XIII Gem leg XIII Gem leg V Mac leg V Mac leg V Mac leg V Mac leg V Mac leg V Mac leg V Mac leg V Mac ? XIII Gem/V Mac ? XIII Gem/V Mac ? XIII Gem/V Mac ? XIII Gem/V Mac CIL III 811 CIL III 811 CIL III 802 CIL III 805, 808 CIL III 7626 CIL III 811 CIL III 791 CIL III 813 CIL III 804 CIL III 830 = 7631 CIL III 830 = 7632 AE 1983, 851a = ILD 640 AE 1983, 851b = ILD 644 AE 1983, 851c = ILD 645 AE 1983, 851d = ILD 646 CIL III 839 CIL III 839 CIL III 843 = 627 AE 1913, 54 CIL III 824 AE 1998, 1113 = ILD 805 CIL III 13760 ILD 774 CIL III 823 CIL III 827 = 7633 CIL III 826 AE 1957, 326 = ILD 765 ILD 769 AE 1957, 329 = ILD 775 CIL III 824 = 7632 CIL III 822 ILD 778 CIL III 825 ILD 687 ILD 701 CIL III 7645

AE 1957, 327 = ILD 771, 772, 773 Samum

Professional Officers on the Northern Dacian limes | 393

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