Standard Roman Legion Paperwork

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Standard Roman Legion Paperwork

Postby Ti.Horatius on Wed Jul 16, 2008 10:06 pm

Salvete omnes,

Its been said often that the Roman Army created vast quanties of "paperwork" for running the Legions.

In an effort to increase my participation and better my impression in my Legio, I am trying to find what was used for the daily/weekly/monthly/etc reports.

What do you use for these. And yes, I've been to the Vindolanda site, and while somewhat helpful, aren't clear as to formatting. One can guess and assume based on Tablet 154....

Your help is appreciated.
Tiberius Horatius Barbatus
Legio III Cyrenaica
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Roman paperwork

Postby C.AeliusEricius on Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:37 pm


First, my apologies for this being more of a tease than a help.

Basically you have one of the easiest sources. The Vindolanda tablets are easier for me to check out in one of the books that have been published. They have very useful indeces. That gives you some idea of content. For more content, and a possible hint at the formatting, you might look at the book -The Roman Soldier-. It goes greatly into teh pay and has in the appendix some tables of pay and deductions. It is not quite tabulated, but close. Well, so it seems to me. There is also that tabel from Egypt of duties for the men of a unit. (It might even be your outfit's prodecesor.) I first saw that table in Leonard Cottrell's -The Great Invasion- many years ago. I have seen it elsewhere, but ca't recall right now and my library is at home (I'm at work on break).
-The Imperial Roman Army- by le Bohec has many (many, many) jobs within a legion listed. These all can give you more material for the paperwork.

All right, I'm drifting. One more piece; a number of years ago, I don't remember the book, I came across an item that stunned me with the degree of paperwork it intimated the Roman Army generated. It was a quote about cavalry remounts, noting the size, condition and markings of the horses in a recent draft. The item came from teh provincial capital, perhaps Trier. If the provinical capital had a copy then there had to be a copy with the unit the horse went to. There would also be copies with person or organization taht boutgh the horse. That is three copies right there. Other copies might also be with the regional military comander's HQ, field grade. Back to teh unit that got the horse, if it was an auxiliary Ala, the turma decurion might also have had a copy. And there might be a copy in Rome. There might be a paper trail at any way station the horse[s] passed thorugh on the way to their unit.
e.g. "Decurion Blandus arrive today with five remounts for Ala III Gallorum. Feed and water for five horses issued and charge to account of the Ala. " I hope that gives an idea of how far and fast the paper can spread for just a few remounts.

Break is over.
Vale bene.
C. Aelius ericius.
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