Thursday, 25 February 2021

Legatus legionis

A legatus was a high-ranking Roman military officer in the Roman Army, equivalent to a modern general. The term was formalized under Augustus as the officer in command of a legion.

From the Roman Republic, legates received a large share of the military's spoils at the end of a successful campaign. This made the position a lucrative one, able to attract consuls or senators. There were two main positions; the legatus legionis was an ex-praetor given command of one of Rome's elite legions.
The legatus pro praetore was an ex-consul given the governorship of a Roman province. He held powers of a praetor, which in some cases included command of four or more legions. The legatus in the field would be recognized by his elaborate helmet and body armour, as well as a scarlet paludamentum (cloak) and cincticulus (a waist-band tied around the waist in a bow).

A legatus legionis could order executions.