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"Bodyguard for Imperial Legatus?" Topic


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508 hits since 6 Feb 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Redcoatphil06 Feb 2017 4:15 p.m. PST

Hey guys!
Just getting into ancients and had a question. I was looking to mount a couple of bodyguards on the base with my roman general(early Imperial). I guess my questions are:
A. is that appropriate?
B. If so would Legionaries or Auxiliaries be a better choice?
I've read that Ceasar used Germanic troops as a guard but I don't know if he is the exception or the rule.
thanks in advance

Deuce03 Inactive Member06 Feb 2017 5:33 p.m. PST

I think having a few guys hanging around the commander both looks good and is pretty accurate. They would certainly have had a few junior officers, messenger boys and so on and probably bodyguards too. What sort of bodyguard likely depends on the commander in question, as I suspect most of them would have their own preferences, possibly depending on the campaign – but unless these preferences are known, I don't think you can go far wrong with elite legionaries as a general rule.

Depending how srs bsns you are about your gaming you can take the opportunity to make an entertaining diorama or choose figures to reflect the character of your commander. For instance my Lucullus will, when I get round to basing him, have a slave carrying a food platter accompanying his retinue. I'm sure Lucullus didn't actually go into battle
like that, but it helps to identify him and make him stand out a little more.

Mars Ultor06 Feb 2017 7:40 p.m. PST

Bodyguards, yes. For an early imperial, Praetorians would be an obvious choice, mounted if the general is, otherwise on foot.

Skeptic07 Feb 2017 6:42 a.m. PST

Unless it is "Legatus Hedlius," in which case they ought to be a bevy of lovely young women from assorted regions! grin

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP07 Feb 2017 6:53 a.m. PST

I would use auxiliary cavalry- governors sometimes formed the best troopers into a bodyguard. Generals usually rode, so an infantry guard would be impractical.

Come In Nighthawk09 Feb 2017 7:39 p.m. PST

Frontier provincial governors had it easiest, but even senatorial (interior) governors could "tap" the garrisons of adjacent frontier provinces for some help. What help?

Most (I won't say "all" -- but all but certainly "all" frontier provinces) raised a unit of "equites singulares" (horse) and "pedites singulares" (foot). The size of these detachments was probably dictated partly by how big the provincial garrison was, and then by need. However, some units later attained permanent status as "Alae" (horse) or "Cohors" (foot), suggesting they were near enough normal size (about 500 men) to be easily converted.

These units of "singulares" performed the functions of garrison for the provincial capitol (like Londinium), bodyguard for the governor, a "quick reaction force" (being handy in the town), and the governor's military staff. "Promotion" from a line unit to the singulares was a plum job, as being near the governor got you noticed and thus a shot at further promotion through his patronage. The troops could be found simply referred to as "singulares legati," as for example, in Britain, see Vindolanda Tablet #154. There, sometime ca. AD 92-7, from the 1st Tungrian Cohort, an auxiliary "cohors milliaria peditata" (literally "1000 strong" infantry unit), we see that from it's actual strength of 752 men "on the day," as it were, it had contributed "singulares leg(ati) xlvi," or (literally) "guards of the governor 46 [men]."

Hope that helps!

Redcoatphil10 Feb 2017 1:37 p.m. PST

wow thanks guys! you have convinced me that I have some liberty in the options I decide on. And thanks Nighthawk for throwing a primary source out there I will look it up, I love dipping into sources.

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