Mid Roman Republic Centurions

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Scipio202bc
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Mid Roman Republic Centurions

Post by Scipio202bc » Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:03 am

I know that being a noob on a forum means you ofter recycle questions that have been asked 100 times before so I apologise in advance:

Uniform guides for mid republic centurions....any help or images would be greatly appreciated.

IanP
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Re: Mid Roman Republic Centurions

Post by IanP » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:46 am

As no one else has spoken up I'll give my opinion on this.

Dress and equipment in the legions was only starting to become standardised in this period. It was still at this time (at least in theory) a citizens army.
Even if many soldiers were being equipped from state "factories", a veteran like a Centurion would no doubt have tended to equip/dress himself to his own choice.
(and probably more ornate/better quality than most of the rankers?)

Simple answer, from what I have seen, is that we don't have clear evidence from this period.

However, we could extrapolate from later trends, that the distinctions for the Centurion could be similar but allowing for helmet and shield styles appropriate for the period.
Alternatively, in this period it could be that a distinctive dress for the Centurions had not developed, and that distinctions could have been limited to perhaps an ornate spear head and/or ribbon attached to the spear, maybe a larger helmet crest? Personally this is what I suspect, but I don't claim to be an expert!

One clue I have seen, is that it has been suggested that for most of the period (both Republic and Empire) is that most rankers wore (off)white tunics most of the time, and that the typically imagined red tunics were only worn by limited numbers or on limited occassions, and that the habitual wearing of a red tunnic was a distinction of Centurions and other "officers". Even if like most of us, you prefer to have your legions in red, then perhaps a brighter shade for the Centurions?

PS. In later periods the standard "badge of office" for a centurion was his (Vine?) wood staff, possibly went back to at least this period, and may have been the only real standard distinction?

Scipio202bc
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Re: Mid Roman Republic Centurions

Post by Scipio202bc » Tue Apr 16, 2013 10:36 am

IanP wrote:As no one else has spoken up I'll give my opinion on this.

Dress and equipment in the legions was only starting to become standardised in this period. It was still at this time (at least in theory) a citizens army.
Even if many soldiers were being equipped from state "factories", a veteran like a Centurion would no doubt have tended to equip/dress himself to his own choice.
(and probably more ornate/better quality than most of the rankers?)

Simple answer, from what I have seen, is that we don't have clear evidence from this period.

However, we could extrapolate from later trends, that the distinctions for the Centurion could be similar but allowing for helmet and shield styles appropriate for the period.
Alternatively, in this period it could be that a distinctive dress for the Centurions had not developed, and that distinctions could have been limited to perhaps an ornate spear head and/or ribbon attached to the spear, maybe a larger helmet crest? Personally this is what I suspect, but I don't claim to be an expert!

One clue I have seen, is that it has been suggested that for most of the period (both Republic and Empire) is that most rankers wore (off)white tunics most of the time, and that the typically imagined red tunics were only worn by limited numbers or on limited occassions, and that the habitual wearing of a red tunnic was a distinction of Centurions and other "officers". Even if like most of us, you prefer to have your legions in red, then perhaps a brighter shade for the Centurions?

PS. In later periods the standard "badge of office" for a centurion was his (Vine?) wood staff, possibly went back to at least this period, and may have been the only real standard distinction?
Thanks Ian,

My thoughts were that it was way too early for any transverse crest or even vine cane, so I was going to paint up a centurion in red and have the rest of my polybian legion in Off-White tunics, with either black or purple feathers (according to Livy anyway), for contrast I think I will differnetiate tween Hastati and Princepes with shield colours.
Romans being Romans I can't shake the idea the the centurion was distinguished in some way at this time but I can't seem to nail anything concrete

Eques
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Re: Mid Roman Republic Centurions

Post by Eques » Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:56 pm

Perhaps, in a citizen army, a Centurion would be more like a community organiser than a god-like officer, and consequently would more equal in status to the rankers and perhaps the costume would reflect that.

That said there is an Osprey book with a spectacular portrayal of a Centurion from the Kingship/Early Republican period - he looks something like a Samurai with a gold mask,flowing robes and colourful tassles. Not sure what they based that on. I think the book is actually about Centurions down the ages.

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