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date: 03 December 2020

centurialocked

  • Peter Sidney Derow

Extract

Centuria, literally a group of 100, was the smallest unit of the Roman legion; 60 centuries made up a legion. It was also the name given to the constituent units of the centuriate assembly (comitia centuriata). According to tradition, this assembly of the populus Romanus was founded by Servius *Tullius, fifth king of Rome, although many scholars have preferred to date its foundation to the middle or end of the 5th cent. bce. The bulk of the assembly was made up of eighteen centuries of horsemen (*equites), of which six were known as the sex suffragia, and 170 of foot-soldiers (pedites). The pedites were divided into five classes according to their *census. The first class fell into 40 centuries of iuniores (from 17 to 45 years of age) and 40 of seniores (from 46 to 60; the upper limit for military service was not, however, maintained in the political assembly); the second, third, and fourth into 10 centuries of seniores and 10 of iuniores apiece; the fifth into 15 of each.

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