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The Ninth Cohort Of Batavians
Topic Started: Feb 2 2010, 05:26 PM (1,055 Views)
Dr Andrew Robin Birley
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The numbers simply refer to the number of cohorts raised from a particular area at a particular time, rather than a number which reflected the unit’s presence in a wider context of all auxiliary cohorts as a whole. For instance, every time you raise a couple of cohorts of Gauls, you may number them 1-whatever.....each time this is done.

As far as the Gauls are concerned, there are several units with the same number. But we can make a simple mistake of associating the entire landmass of 'Gaul' with the units of the same name. Actually the so called 'Gauls' regiments came from a fairly small area, modern day Belgium. Other units such as the Nervians were also Gallic (modern day France), as were many others. Often a unit would be associated with a city or a civitas capital, or a specific group of people, rather than a broader geographic area. Associations with perceived origins become more complex and indistinct as time progresses. Example, by the 4th century, exactly who were the 4th cohort of Gauls and where did its soldiers come from? If it even still existed that is?

A warning is to take care with the Notitia, as it was more than a little out of date and some of it is probably well wide of the mark.

It must also be remembered that some units, as with the legions, were removed from the listings for various reasons and those numbers were not used again. Should something disastrous happen, or something regarded as dishonourable, then that Legion number could be removed and cease to exist once the legion or unit ceased to exist, rather than being re-issued. Same thing could happen to an auxiliary unit. Pick the wrong side on a civil war, venture to far into the Persian desert......number and unit gone from the listing. What complicates matters is that you can have several units (auxiliary) sharing the same number. So the one you thought you had is not the one you were looking for at all. There are 4th cohorts of Gauls all over the place, Britain, Moesia, Raetia etc. They were not the same unit.

For an excellent article on the 4th cohort of Gauls search the following ref:

Birley A.R. 2008‘Cives Galli de(ae) Galliae concordesque Britanni: a Dedication at "Vindolanda in
Antiquité classique 77 (2008). P 171-187


Or Auxiliaries as a whole.......look at

Spaul J. 2000 COHORS: The evidence for and a short history of the auxiliary infantry units of the
Imperial Roman Army. BAR International Series 841.
Edited by Andy, Feb 4 2010, 10:40 AM.
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