Roman Army Pay Scales

by M. Alexander Speidel
Roman Army Pay Scales
M. Alexander Speidel
The Journal of Roman Studies
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(Plate I)

Mow much did Rome pay the soldiers serving in the legions and the auxilia, who exparlded and defended her empire? The answer is of some significance not only to the history of the Roman army but to the political, social, and economic history of the Roman Empire in general. Many a learned article has therefore been devoted to this matter and steady progress has been made. Yet problems remain, the evidence being scanty and often not readily intelligible. Work on the 600 and more writing-tablets from the legionary fortress of Vindonissa (Switzerland), currently in progress, has turned up a missing link in the chain of evidence. The new text, a pay receipt of an auxiliary soldier, reveals a new sum and thus allows the reconstruction of the Roman army's pay scales through the first three centuries A.D. The overall pay model given below reconciles all the hitherto known evidence.


Roman soldiers received their annual pay in three instalments (stipendin),' due on the first of January, May, and September.' The pay of the legions for the first two centuries A.D. is well known and has recently been established for the third.' The figures are given in Table I .4

While legionary pay is reliably known, the ancient writers unfortunately give us no notion of what the pay of the auxilia may have been. We therefore have to turn to the papyri, our only other source, so far, for auxiliary soldiers' pay. What can be learned from them is presented in

Table 2.

" The following abbreviations are used: C'hU: A. Bruckner and R. Marichal, C'hattae Lntinae flntiquiores (1954). CPL: R. Cavenaile, Corpus Papyrorum Latinarum (1953.

HI1RES : Heidelberget- althistorische Beitt-age ztnd epigraphische Studien.

Jahn (1983): J. Jahn, 'Der Sold romischer Soldaten im 3. Jh. n. Chr. : Bemerkungen zu Ch1,A 446, 473 und 495', ZPE 53 (1983), 217-27.

Jahn (1984): J. Jahn, 'Zur Entwicklung romischer Soldzahlungen von Augustus his auf Diokletian', Studien zu den Fundnziinzen der Antike 2 (1984),


:Mi1SflDA 11: H. M. Cotton and J. Geiger, ~Clasada 11. The Yigael I'adin fi:xcavations 2963-2965, Fii'nal Iiepolts. The Latin and Greek Docunzents (with a contribution by J. D. Thomas) (1989).

RA: E. Birley, The lionzan h-yPapers 1926-1986 (1988) (= Nlavors IV). RlW: J. F. Gilliam, Iiolnan hyPapers (1986) (= Mavors 11). RAS I: M. P. S~e~del,

Iionzan ihv Studies I (1484)

. . , , .,

(= Mavors I). RIMR: K. 0. Fink, Roman IlIilitar?: Records on Papyrus (197'). MU<, pp. 241f. and 255; cf. also I,. Wierschowski,

Heer ztnd Wirtschaft. Das r6nzische Heer der Pnnzipatszeit

als U'irtsrhaftsfaktor (1~84), 13f. and 228 (n. 58).

Stipendia continued to be paid in the fourth century:

P.Panop. 2 passinz (A.D. 2991300), P.Oxy. 1047 (early fourth century), Paneg. Lnt. 111 (XI).I .4 (mid-fourth century). Domitian added a qztat-turn stipendiuln (Suet., Donz. 7.3) after his victory over the German tribe of the Chatti in A.D. 83. A sestertius of A.D. 84 with the legend STIP AL'G DOhIITIAY (cf. C. M. Kraay, 'Two New Sestertii of Domitian', hetiran hZtnzisnzatic Society AW~iseunzh'otes 9 (1960), 10~16) reveals the date and confirms Suetonius' statement of a fourth pay-day. Later, most probably after Domitian's death in A.D. 96, the stipendium Domitiani was abolished. By the late second century at the latest we find the old system of three pay- days reintroduced (cf. ILZlR 71 and Fink's comments ibid.

p. 253). In Dio's time only the pay-rise was remembered (Djo ~xv11.3.5).

I January: Ib14li 72.7; 73 fr. h; C'hIX466; 473; 495; P.Panop. 2.37; 58; 201; 292. I May:RVIR66fr. b 130; 71 fr. a I; 10fr. b 5. I September: ILVIIi 66 fr. b I1 3; ChIA 495; P.oxy 1047; P.oxS 2561.

" Jahn (1984), 66ff.

'For easy comparison all figures will be given here and below in sestertii. Sestertii, four of which make a denarius, seem to have been the basis on which the soldiers' pay was originally calculated (cf. Jahn (1984)) 65) although thest+endia were paid mainly in denari~ (cf.

H. W. Doppler, 'Die Rliinzen', in Ch. Meyer-Freuler, Das Praeton'unz und die Basilica von I?ndonissa (I&), 107-19, esp. I of., and the documentary evidence of the papyri (I) and the new Vindonissa pay receipt (11)).


Date  Stipendium  
Caesar/Augustus5  3o06  
Domitian7  400  
(A.D. 84)   
Septimius Severus8  800  
(A.D. '97)   
Caracalla'  I,200  
(A.D. 212)   
Maximinus Thraxl"  2,400  
(A.D. 235)   

The bold figures are based on literary evidence.


Date Source

A.D. 72/75 P. Yadin 722.4"


A.D.81 RMR 68iChW 7 (= P.Gen.Lat. I)

C.A.D. 84 RMR 69IChL.A 9 (= P.Gen.Lat. 4)

A.D. 192 RMR 7oIChL.A 410 (= P. Berol. 6866 +P. Aberd. 133 +P. Reinach 2222)

II/III cent. A.D.'~ ChM 446 (= P. Berol. 14100) II/III cent. A.D.'~ cMA4 495 (= P. Hamb. 310)

Suet., Id. 26.3 may imply that Caesar had already fixed this sum by doubling the legions' previous pay: 'legionibus stipendium in perpetuum duplicavit.' No legionary pay-rise is recorded for the reign of Augustus.

Tac., Ann. 1.17.4: 10 asses per day in A.D. 14. This equals 912% sestertii a year, which shows that Tacitus

(i.e. the rebellious soldier speaking) gives no more than an approximation (if he was not implying a 'military year' of 360 days). The intention was clearly to dramatize the soldiers' situation, which is why their pay was broken down to the day. Dio ~xv11.3.5 reports that the pay per pay-day before A.D. 84 was 300 sestertii.

Domitian's quartum stipendium consisted of three aurei (= 300 sestertii) (Suet., Dom. 7.3; cf. also n. I). After abolishing the stipendium Domitiani the old system of three pay-days was reintroduced, hut now every soldier received 400 sestertii (Dio ~xv11.3.5).

All we learn from Severus' Vita (HA, Sev. 12.2) and Herodian (111.8.5) is that the increase was greater than all previous ones. Jahn (1984) has shown this increase to have been IOO per cent. Jahn's convincing arguments can now be confirmed (cf. below, VI, and n. 89). There seems to have been no pay-rise during the reign of Commodus; cf.

A. Passerini, 'Gli aumenti del soldo militare da Commodo a Massimino', Athenaeum 24 (1946), 145-59.

Caracalla increased the soldier's normal pay by a half to win over the soldiers after he killed his brother: Herodian 1v.4.7; cf. also Dio ~xxv111.36.3 who states that Caracalla's increase cost Rome 70 million denarii yearly around A.D. 218. At this time, it seems, Caracalla's

Annual pay %-increase


Stipendium as recorded  In sestertiil'  
50 denarii  200  
60 denarii or more  240 or more  
2471/2 drachmae  247%  
297 drachmae 297

84 denarii 15% obols 33g1/4

257 denarii 22% obols 1,031'/4

257 denarii my4 ob01s'~ 1,031'/4

pay-rise was at least partially taken back by Macrinus (Dio ~xxv111.12.7; 28.2; cf. Th. Pekriry, 'Studien zur romischen Wahrungs- und Finanzgeschichte von 161-235 n.Chr.', Ifistoria 8 (1959)~ 443-89, esp. 484). Cf. also Dio ~xxv111.28.3and 36.1 for Macrinus paying the soldiers recruited during his reign the rates Septimius Severus had established. As this, according to Dio, was one of the reasons for Nlacrinus' overthrow, Elagahalus almost certainly restored the previous pay scale (cf. Jahn (I&), 66 n. 49).

'O Maximinus Thrax doubled the soldiers' pay: Herodian v1.8.8. After Maximinus Thrax there seems to have been no further increase of the stipendia (cf. Jahn (1984), 66, 68), only the two other forms of soldiers' Income, annona and donatizra,were increased (cf. D. van Berchem, 'L'annone militaire dans l'empire romain au 3' si&clel,Mem. Soc. nat. des Ant. de France 80 (1936), 136f.; Jahn (1984), 53ff.).

l1 The conversions are based on the following rates: I sestertius = I drachma = 7 obols, or I denarius = 28 obols.

l2 For this new pay document see below, IV. l3 On the dates, cf. Jahn (1983), zzzf., who compares lay-out and script of the papyri to RMR 70.

l4 The figure is given here as convincingly restored by Jahn (1983)~ 221. The difference of %obol from the sum in ChLA 446 cannot be expressed in asses and may have to do with fluctuating currency exchange rates (cf. Jahn (1983)~ 223). The reading of the exact amount of obols may also be doubted.


As for the stipendia around A.D. 300, P.Panop.z.36ff. informs us that the ala I Hiberorum received 73,500 denarii (= 294,000 sestertii) to pay its soldiers. P.Panop. 2.292f. shows that the cohor-s XI Chamavorum was sent 65,500 denarii (= 262,000 sestertii) for its soldiers' pay in the same period. P.Panop. 2.57 reports that an unspecified number of soldiers of the legio ZZZ Diocletiana, serving at the governors' officium, received a total of 343,000 denarii for their salaries.

Understanding of these data is hindered by several obstacles. P.Panop. leaves the number of recipients unmentioned, though we may be fairly certain that the commander's pay was not included.15 The other papyri fail to mention both unit and rank of the soldiers.16 Only forMR 70 can we be certain that auxiliaries were being paid. None of these figures equal the stipendia of legionary soldiers, nor does there seem to be any simple ratio between them. R. 0.Fink improved the reading of the stipendia in his edition of P.Gen.Lat. I (= RMR 68) from formerly 248 drachmae (= sestertii) to 2471/2 drachmae. This led M. P. Speidel ('the Elder') to the conclusion that the figures in both RMR 68 and 69, if understood as 99 per cent of the full pay, could be restored to 250 sestertii and 300 sestertii respectively.17RMR 68 would therefore concern the auxilia whereas RMR 69 was the pay document of a legion and matched the legionary's pay as known from the ancient writers. This entailed a ratio of exactly 5 :6 between the pay of the auxilia and the pay of the legions. This pay model18 seems superior to others19 because it can help explain transfers of soldiers from the legions to the auxilia without having to assume pay cuts or p~nishment.~'

Yet this approach, it appeared, could not explain the odd figure of 84 denarii 15% obols in RMR 70.~' It was therefore rejected by R. Marichal in his commentary on that document,22 where he quoted two new pay records (ChW 446 and 495), which also showed seemingly inexplicable figures: 257 denarii 22% obols and 257 denarii 22Y4 (?)obols. Recently J. Jahn, adopting both the I per cent deduction and the 5:6 ratio, has shown that the 84 denarii 1s3/4 obols, being equal to 84 denarii 9 asses or I ,353 asses (= 338 sestertii I as), and taken as 99 per cent of the full pay, lead to a stipendium of I ,366% asses (= 341 sestertii %as).23 This sum, due three times a year, would therefore amount to a yearly salary of 4,100 asses or 1,025 sestertii for the auxiliary soldiers in RMR 70 before Septimius Severus' pay-rise. Understand- ing the figures in ChOl446 and 495 in the same way reveals an annual pay of 3,125 sestertii. According to the 5 :6 pay model one would expect a miles cohortis to receive I ,000 sestertii a year (opposed to the 1,200 sestertii a miles legionis was paid) before Septimius Severus' pay-rise, and 3,000 sestertii (mil. leg. :3,600 sestertii) after Caracalla's. The supernumerary 25 sestertii and 125 sestertii respectively, Jahn suggested to be bonuses of some kind.24

Attractive and convincing though these considerations are, they were lacking, so far, proof beyond cavil.

'' cf. P.Panop. z.197f., where the pay of apraepositus Iq These can be described as the I :3, 3:5, and z:3 equitum promotorum legionis If Traianae is listed theses. For a short summary and the literature see Jahn separately. (1984), 58ff., esp. nn. 17 and 18.

l6 RMR 68 was formerly presumed to mention legionary 20 M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 16), 145 quoted the career soldiers because of the tn'a nomina of the recipients. M. P. of the 'Captor of Decebalus' (AE1969170, 583; cf. M. P. Speidel, 'The pay of the auxilia', RAS I, 839, esp. 86 and Speidel, 'The captor of Decebalus, a new inscription from nn. 8-10, and more recently A. M6csy, 'Die Namen der Philippi',JRS 60 (1970)~ 142-53 = RAS I, 173-87, esp. Diplomempfanger', in W. Eck and H. Wolff (eds), Heer 179f.), who was promoted from the rank of a vexillianus und Integrationspolitik (1986), 437-66, have shown that equitum of the legio VII Claudia to a duplicarius alae. as early as the first century A.D. the tria nomina are no According to the I :3 thesis this would have meant a severe proof for either Roman citizenship or type of unit. pay-cut. For more evidence see ibid., 180 and n.43; cf

I' M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 16), 86. Readers may note also Wierschowski, op. cit. (n. I), 7ff., esp. for the high- that the present author, M. A. Speidel (the 'Younger'), ranking of the alae. Basel, is the nephew of M. P. Speidel (the 'Elder'), 2' M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 16), 87; J. Kaimio, 'Notes Honolulu. on the pay of Roman soldiers',Arctos 9 (1975), 39-46, esp.

In Earlier suggestions of the 5:6 pay model (cf. A. Ch. 41:'Unfortunately, all my attempts to find a mathematical Johnson, 'Roman Egypt to the reign of Diocletian', in solution to the problem of 84 denarii 15V4 obols have

T. Frank,An Economic Survey ofAncient Rome 11 (1936), failed'.
67off., A. Passerini, Lr cootti pretone (1939), IOI n. z, 22 ChL4 X, 7ff
and G. Forni, I1 reclutamento delle legioni da Augusto a 23 Jahn (1984), 64f. and idem (1983), zzqff.
Diocleziano (1952), 3zff.) were lacking an explanation of 24 Jahn (1984), 64f and idem (1983), zzgff.
the figures given in the papyri.



Work on the writing-tablets from Vindonissa" has revealed, amongst many other new documents and letters, the last page of a pay re~eipt.'~

I as~n!ocrr[.]r~rg[.]ngn[..]cos XI k aug ss c!uarrqraetor tura]b~pud~~nt~sacrrprXL [ . ]fst~p~~nd~prox~m~XLxxv

Reconstructed Text: . . . . . . .

I Asinjo Ce[l]erc, Ngn[io] co(n)s(ulibus), XI k(a1endas)

Aug(ustas). S(upra) ~(criptus) Clua, eq(ues) Raetor(um)

tur(ma) A!bi Pudentis, ac(c)epi X(denarios) L

[el? stipendi proximi X(denarios) LXXV.

22July of the year in which Asinius Celer and ,Vonius (Quintilianus) were consuls (= A.D.38).I, the aboz:e mentioned Clua, horsenzan of the Raeti in the squadron ofAlbius Pudens, haae received -50 denan'i, and as next pay 75 denan'i.

The nature of this text seems clear, although no other of its kind has yet been found. It is a receipt for money paid to the Raetian (?) horseman Cl~a,'~

written, it appears, in his own

25 For the full publication of this tablet and all other was probably found in the rubbish dump ('Schutthugel') Vindonissa writing-tablets, see M. A. Speidel, Die of the fortress. The reading has been established with the rumischen Schreibtafeln aus Vindonissa (forthcoming); he1 of enlarged photographs and a microscope. for the tablets already published idem, 'Neue Inschriften "cf. CIL v.4698 (Brixia). On this inscription Clua was auf Schreibtafelchen aus dem Schutthugel des Legions- the name of the father of a certain Esdrila. Assuming a lagers Vindonissa', Juhresbericht der Gesellschafi Pm similar dissemination of both names, Clua may have Kndonissa 1986 (1987), 49-44? esp. 49 with the literature. originated from the northern Italian Alpine region, the Cf. also idem, 'Entla~sun~surkundendes romischen alpes Raeticae, perhaps from one of the valleys north of Heeres. Eine holzerne Entlassungsurkunde aus dem Brescia (cf. J. Untermann, 'Namenlandschaften im alten Schutthugel des Legionstagers Vindonissa',Jahresbericht Oberitalien', Beitrage zur iLhmenforschung 10 (1959), der Gesellschaft Pro Vindonissa 1550 (1991), 5@4; 126ff.). Here, Raetian tribes are known to have lived idem, 'Rijmische Schreibtafelchen aus Vindonissa', (Strabo 1v.6.8) and the indigenous names, according to Specima nova, pars prima (forthcoming). J. Untermann (151ff.), seem to be of Raetian origin. On

26 16 X 17.31 cm; the lower half is missing. The Clua's origin and the recruiting area of his unit, cf. M. remaining upper half shows on its inside four lines of I-iartmann and M. A. Speidel, 'Die Hilfstruppen des cursive script. The blank space after the last line reveals Windischer Heeresverbandes', Jahresbericht der Gesell- that no further text is missing, apart from, perhaps, the schafi Pm Vindonissa 1991 (1992). Cf. also A. I-iolder, closing-formula Acturn l!?ndonissae on the now missing Altceltischer Sprachschatz (189&1904), 111, 1238: (,'lea lower half. The outside of the tablet is blank. The tablet (Scarponne), 111, 1240: (,'lu (Langres).


9' rather wobbly hand." Preceding and now missing pages may have contained an official text by the unit's treasurer (~ignifer)'~

or its book-keeper (libran'us), as well as perhaps the names and seals of witnesses. The complete document was presumably kept with the treasurer's records. Clua was a member of a squadron (tuma) -a subdivision known only in the auxilia30- led by a certain Albius P~dens.~l

Although Clua named his unit simply by the colloquial expression equites R~etorum,~%e can be certain a cohors Raetorum equitata was meant, perhaps cohors VII Raetorum equitata, which is attested at Vindonissa during the mid-first century.33

According to this receipt, Clua received 50 denarii on 22 July A.D. 38 and, in addition, the whole of his next pay (7; denarii) in advance.34 Clua's next pay-day was I September, his previous one had been on I May of the same year. Why, after only half the period between the pay-days had elapsed, he needed the equivalent of two-thirds of his normal pay and the whole of his next he fails to inform us. A possible explanation for his advanced pay may be that Clua suddenly and unexpectedly needed more money than he had on his account and therefore decided to overdraw it. He would then have received no pay on I September. On the troop's pay record an entrance of the kind debet expriore rationeft. .. (cf. Rh1R 70 frag. a i 28 ;a ii 25, passim) may then have been made. Such practice is attested for the second and third centuries A.D.,~'some soldiers owing over 176denarii to the Roman state.36

Under what circumstances was the Roman army willing to grant advance pay? There may have been several, though we know of only one. It is revealed by an Egyptian papyrus of

A.D.179 (RrMK 76), the main body of which contains some sixty-two receipts, issued by horsemen of the ala Veterana Gallica for their yearly hay money of 25 denarii. The great majority of them explicitly mention that they received the money in advance (EY neoxeeiq), because they were about to leave their camp in Alexandria for several outposts in Lower Egypt, some more than 300 km away.37 For the remaining few, which give no such mention, we can

'' Some irregularities may cause surprise. When copying the date, Clua omitted the cognomen Quintilianus of the second consul. Dating by suffect consuls outside Italy was very uncommon (cf. W. Eck, 'Consules ordinarii und consules suffecti als eponyme Amtstrager', fIctes du colloque en memoire de Attilio Degrassi Rome 27-28 jllai 1988 (1991), 15-44, esp 3off.) and may shed some light on military administration customs of the early empire. The use of both forms of the letter 'e': E (in 'Raetor(um)) and I1 (being the normal form on stylus tablets) in the same text or word, was, admittedly, unusual. Yet examples can be found with ease: cf. e.g.

L. Bakker and B. Gallsterer-Krd11, Graffiti aufromischer ECramik inz meinischen Landesmuseunz Bonn (1975) no. 349; R. S. 0.Tomlin, Tabellae Sulis (1988) no. 53; CII, XIII. 10009, 6, 119a; 10010, 188, 2z8d2, 2281, 251e passim. For the colloquial expression eques Raetonrnz cf. below n. 32.

" Vegetius, Ep. reimil. 11. 20 reports, that thesigngen', who had to be iitterati homines, were in charge of the troops' money and responsible singulis reddere rationenz.

The legionary horsemen were assigned, instead, to the centunae (cf. M. P. Speidel, 'Ein Silberring aus Baden fiir die Reiter der 21. Legion', Helvetia ilrcheologica

70 (1987)2 56-8).

3' Otherwise unknown. He may have been a member of the legion (perhaps an eques legionis) ad tradendam disciplinam immixtus (Tac., Agn'c. 28), as this was often done during the early Empire. Cf. also AE 1969170, 661; CIL 111.8438 and esp. M. P. Speidel, 'A Spanish cavalry decurion in the time of Caesar and Augustus', R4S I, 111-13.

32 For such colloquial expressions, cf. Tab. Vindolanda 198819~(unpub.): equites Vardulli for equites cohortis I ,fidae Varduiionrnz civium Honzanonrm equitatae and Tab. Vindolanda 19851183 (unpub.): Vocontii for equites aiae (Augustae) Vocontiorum civium Homanonun (for these tablets, cf. e.g. R. Birley, The Honzan Documents from Iiindoianda (~ggo), 29 and 9). The speech the emperor Hadrian gave on his inspection of the troops at Lambaesis, recorded in ILS 2487, 91339135 (A.D. 128)~ uses both terms equally: campus Commagenorum and in the next line: eqjuites) cohjortis) VI Commagenorum (ILS 9134). Cf. also M. P. Speidel, 'Ala Maurorum? Colloquial names for Roman army units', IWSI, IOFIO.

33 No aiae Raetorum are known (the late Roman ala I Havia Raetorum: Not. Dign. Occ. xxxv. 23 and aia li Haetorunz: Not. Dign. Or. xxv111. 30 were upgraded coho?-tes (equitatae?), cf. E. Birley, 'Raetien, Britannien und das romische Heer', RA, 25~71, esp. 266 n. 33;

M. P. Speidel, 'The Roman army in Arabia', RAT I, 22~

72, esp. z48f.). Of the many coho?-tes Raetorum the following are known to have had cavalry detachments: IRaetorunz eq. ; IRaeto~um eq. c. H. ;IIIHaetorum eq. ; V Raetonrm (eq.?) ; I/IIHaetorum eq. ;VIII Haetorum eq. During the first half of the first century A.D. there is no evidence of where any of these troops may have been stationed. Of the cohors IillRaetonrm stamped tiles have been found in Vindonissa dating around the mid-first century A.D. (C'IL XIII. 12457, 12458; cf. Hartmann and Speidel, op. cit. (n. 27)). For the Vindonissa alae, cf.

M. A. Speidel, 'Rdmische Reitertruppen in Augst', ZPE 91 (19921, 165-75.

34 This is how 'accepi stipendi proximi X LXXV' is to be understood. The expression written out fully is also found in RWR 7opassim:'accepit stipendi X ...' and in

P. Yadin 722, 4 and I I : 'accepi stipendi X ...'RhlH 68, C'hLA 446 and 495 show only 'accepit stip.', RiIII? 71 and

72: 'accep. stip.' R. Marichal has shown (ChL4x, p. 14), that stipendi was a genitive ('genetif de relation'), linked to the verb accipere ('adverbialer Genetiv'), and specifying the nature of what was received ('Genetiv der Rubrik'), rather than the amount ('il n'est en rien question de quantit4, mais de nature'). Hence his translation 'refu comme solde', which is followed above: 'I . . . have received. . . as next pay.'

cf. e.g. RIWR 70 (A.D. 192); 73 (A.D. 12o-so); C'hU 473 (secondlthird century A.D.). %fR 73 fr. a i 24.

" cf. S. Daris, 'Le truppe ausiliarie romane in Egitto', AVRI.I' 11.10.1 (1988). 74346, esp. 752f. For advanced payments of grain, cf. RMH 78, 2 and 9 (secondlthird century A.D.).



safely assume the same. The money was given to the horsemen between 9 January and 6 March. Unfortunately we do not know when hay money was officially paid, but the most likely expl~nation for an early receipt is that the detachments would not be back on the day it was due, as outpost-duty could last several months.38

It may be that Clua too was about to go on a mission,39 and therefore received his third stipendium early. As for the 50 denarii, on which he gives us no further information, one may quote the similar case of Tinhius Val[-] in the pay record RhZR 70 (= P.Aberd. 133 frag. b col.ii.7ff.), who received a certain sum ('accepit sum(-') and was sent 'ad praesi(dium?) Bab(ylonis?)'. His absence on the day the document was made is thus attested, and hence there was no entry 'accepit stipendi'. Admittedly, this happened over 150 years later, and the 50 denarii of the Vindonissa tablet may just as well have come from Clua's own account; the parallel nevertheless seems striking.


Whatever questions may remain, the Vindonissa tablet provides us, for the first time, with safe and unambiguous evidence for the pay of an auxiliary soldier whose rank we know. This information enables us to assess the pay of the Roman army on safer grounds than were hitherto possible. It is now clear that an eques cohortis before Domitian's pay-rise in A.D. 84 received 75 denarii (= 300 sestertii) per stipendium, i.e. 900 sestertii per year.

We may next turn to the literary and papyrological evidence presented earlier. The pay of the horsemen in the cohorts equals that of the legionary soldiers. RMR 68, we can now be certain, reveals the basic pay of a miles cohortis, earning 250 sestertii per stipendium or 750 per year before A.D. 84. MR 69 supplies the basic legionary stipendium of 300 sestertii, paid four times a year after Domitian's pay-rise, amounting to a yearly income of zoo sestertii. Domitian will have raised the pay of the auxiliapan'passu with the legions' pay by one third.40 The ratio between the basic salary of a miles cohortis and that of a miles legionis, it can now be confirmed, was indeed 5 :6.

The difference in pay between a miles cohortis and an eques cohortis before A.D. 84 was 50 sestertii per stipendium or 150 sestertii per year. As for the equites legionis we can be certain they received more than the basic pay of a miles legionis (= eques cohortis), 'cum naturaliter equites a peditibus soleant discrepare' (Veg., El'. rei mil. 11.21). Also, before being promoted legionary horseman and earning equestriu stipendia," one had to serve several years as a fo~tsoldier.~~

The difference in pay before A.D. 84 may well have been the same 150 sestertii per year, amounting to an annual pay of 1,050 sestertii, i.e. 350 sestertii per ~tipendium.~~ 'I'he emperor Hadrian tells us that the equites alae too received a higher pay than the equites cohortis (= miles legi~nis).~~

Yet was there a difference in pay between an eques alue and an eques legionis? 'I'he few surviving careers mentioning transfers from the legions to the ulae do not necessarily suggest this. 'I'i. Claudius Maximus, the 'captor of Decebalus', was promoted by the emperor Domitian from vexillam'us equitum legionis, drawing presumably pay-and-a-half, i.e. 1,575 sestertii per year, to duplicam'us alae, now receiving the double pay of an eques ~lae.~~

If we assume that the horsemen in the legions and in the alae were paid the

j8 cf. M. P. Speidel, 'Outpost duty in the desert. 43 Confirmation of this will be found in the later data Building the fort at Gholaia (Bu Njem, Libya), Antiquitis (see below p. 96, and n. 93). The ratio between the afn'caines 24 (1988), gp-102. K.illarichal, 'L'occupation income of a miles and an eques in the legion, in theory, romaine de la Rasse Egypte: le statut des auxilia (1945)~ may also have been calculated on the same basis as in the 54f., explained the missing stipendia of several soldiers in cohorts (750 sestertii:goo sestertii before A.D. 84), i.e. RlMR jo by their absence from the camp at the time the 5:6. This would lead to 1,080 sestertii per year, a sum money was paid or the record made respectively. eas~ly divisible by 3, suggesting a stipendium equestre of

39 For possible outposts, cf. Hartmann and Speidel, 360 sestertii. But this sum does not reconcile with the op. cit. (n. 27). figures of P.Panop. (cf. below DD. oe~oo).

CIL VIII.~~~~,'=

M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. IS), 87; Jahn (1983), 66. -M 18042 ILS 248j, 9133-9135:


CIL XII. 2602 =ILS 2118. Difficile est cohortales eauites et~am oer se olacere.

J2 cf. J. Gilliam, 'Dura rosters and the Constitutio difficilius post alarem exerditationem nor; displicere: . .: Antoniniana, W,28p-307, esp. zgzff.; idem, 'An equorum forma armorum cultus pro stipendi modo.' Egyptian cohort in A.D. 11j', RAP, 309-15, esp. 309 and '5 A5 1969170, 583; M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 20),

n. 3. 146f.;cf. also idem, op. cit. (n. 16), 87 and n. 18.


93 same basic stipendium, Ti. Claudius Maximus' promotion would have entailed a 25 per cent pay-rise. Another, slightly earlier, career reports the promotion of M. Licinius Fidelis from eques legionis to duplicarius ~lae.~~

This would have meant a IOO per cent increase. An even greater increase was granted to M. Annius Martialis during the later first century A.D., when he was promoted from miles legionis to duplicam'us ~lae.~'

It, therefore, seems possible that equites legionis and equites alae received the same basic pay of I ,050 sestertii per year before

A.D.84.48 One may now propose the following pay scale for the first century A.D.

Branch Rank Before A.D. 84 wter A.D. 84

miles basic 750
cohortis sesquiplican'us 1,125
duplican'us 1,500

eques basic 900 1,200 cohortis sesquiplican'us 1,350 I ,800 duplicarius 1,800 2,400

miles basic 900
legionis sesquiplicarius 1,350
duplicarius 1,800

eques basic 1,050
legionis sesquiplican'us 1,575
or alae duplicarius 2,100

The bold figures are based on direct documentary or literary evidence.

All figures before A.D. 84 were easily divisible by three and therefore, in theory, payable in sestertii as stipendia three times a year. Domitian's pay-rise brought the soldiers another stipendium, the yearly sums now being divisible by four.

These figures, though, were but nominal sums from which several considerable deductions were made.49 As all full pay records show, a deduction of I per cent was made from each stipendium, even before it was accredited to the soldier. The nature of this deduction is ob~cure.~'

Its absence on the Vindonissa tablet does not necessarily mean that the I per cent deduction was not enforced in Vindonissa; it may instead reflect the nature of the tablet, of which we are not fully informed.51

The first-century pay records show that of the remaining 99 per cent (ex eis) 80 drachmae (= sestertii) of the stipendium before A.D. 84 (RMR 68) and IOO drachmae (RMR 69)

46 AE 1969170, 661 from A.D. j5/8-7114. " M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 16), 86, who first

" CIL ~111.2354 add. = ILS 305. He was transferred recognized the I per cent deduction, suggested an from the same legion (111 Augusta) to the same ala exchange fee for conversion of denarii to drachmae. Yet, (Pannoniomm) as the above M. Licinius Fidelis several as I per cent of the stipendia in RWR 70, ChLA 446 and years earlier. One may also note the late second-century 495 appears to have been deducted although they were career of M. Aurelius Paetus, who was promoted from paid in denarii (and obols), this deduction is perhaps not eques alae to sesquiplicarius legionis (AEI 977,720 ;cf. Y. to be explained as a conversion fee. Hence Jahn (I&), 63 LeBohec, La Tmisi2me ligion auguste (1989), 205 and n. 36, surmised its use for an institution or purpose,

n. zrq), which, according to the above pay scales, also benefiting all soldiers of the unit. G. R. Watson, entailed a pay-rise. 'Documentation in the Roman arrny',AVRU71~, I (1974),

48 For confirmation see below 96f. and ggf. 493-507, esp. 499, suspected a service-charge for book- The demand of the Batavian Cohorts in A.D. 69 for kee ing 'donativum, duplex, stipendium, auger1 equitum 'Pcf. gbove, 11, with our suggestion that the horseman numerum' (Tacitus, Iiist.1v.19) -a passage quoted with Clua received his money in advance because he was about great regularity whenever the pay of the auxilia is being to leave the camp. If this is correct, none of the above discussed -is of no value in helping to determine the explanations (n. 50) would fully apply, which might basic pay of the auxilia. For a detailed discussion of the explain the absence of the I per cent deduction. It is, of passage, cf. Wierschowski, op. cit. (n. I), gff.; see also course, equally possible that the I per cent deduction was

M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 16), 87 n. 19. not yet in force at the time the Vindonissa tablet was

49 Tacitus, Ann. 1.17 reports deductions for: vestis, issued. anna, tentoria.


thereafter were kept back for food (in ~icturn).~~

Standard stoppages, it appears, were also made for hay money Vaenan'a), boots and socks (caligas, fascias), which, together with the deduction for food, represented about 40 per cent of the basic stipendium of foot soldier^.^^ Occasional stoppages were made for clothing (in vestimentis) and contributions towards the camp Saturnalia (satumalicium kastrense) and the standards (ad signa). Altogether these deductions amounted to roughly three-quarters of the annual pay of the two auxiliary soldiers in RMR 68.54 The rest of the money was booked to the soldiers' account (depositum), for which there must have been separate book-keeping.55

The recently published pay document from Masada has so far been excluded from the above discussion of the first-century pay scales and stoppage systems, for it differs in several points from all other known pay records. This is perhaps because it is not a complete pay record but rather an extract, copied out at the end of the year and serving as a receipt (hence 'accepi' in 11.4 and I I). The remaining upper half of the papyrus contains the accounts for the first stipendium and parts of the second. After a heading with the date, the title of the document ('ratio stipendia(ria?)'), and the name of the soldier, it shows two entries 'accepi stipendi', each followed by several deductions ('ex eos solvi'). Its purpose was 'to give a break- down of the expenses he (i.e. the soldier) incurred throughout the year: a detailed account of his "debit" '.56 It seems it was not meant to give further information. The text runs as follows :57





accepi st] ipendi

ex eos s[olui

hordiaria 6a. (zhand) Irnius


c[a] ligas

lorum fascjayi(um)

tunica linia

II. accqpi stipendi

ex eos solui



14a (j hand) C.Antonius
pallium operatoriu(m) I 5a (4hand) Puplius Valerius

tun[i]ca alba



K XyK V K I1


K XI'[ K [XX [x [K

C. Messius from Beirut, the soldier mentioned in this document, was clearly a Roman citizen, for his tribe (Fabia) is given (1. 3). His unit and his rank, however, are not mentioned.

'2 We follow Marichal's convincing proposition (ChLA I, p. z5), that the 128 drachmae inMR 69,l. 5, deducted in .oictum (?), included 28 drachmae for the satunzalicium, leaving the standard IOO drachmae in victum as found with the second and third stipendium of this document.

53 These standard stoppages and 4 drachmae, ad signa were the only deductions made during the second stipendium of Q. Iulius Proculus and C. Valerius Germanus in A.D. 81 (HMR 68), equallingc. 42 per cent of the stipendium (cf. also n. 54).

" This may also have been true for the legionary account in RWR 69 though we cannot be certain since the greater part of the last entry for the qua?tum stipendium with the deductions is missing. Of the first stipendium c. 75 per cent was kept back, the following two show deductions of c. 50 per cent. The items for which these deductions were made are lost.

55 cf. e.g. m1R 73.

S6 Masada 11, 45. Cf. ibid., 41ff. for a detailed discussion of the differences between the Masada document and the pay records in MR.

" The text and the reconstructions given here are the editors' (Masada 11,46f.);cf. also their commentary 47ff. The expansion of the date in I. I is uncertain and could also be understood as IMP VES1I'A.S [A]V[G VI TIT10 IIII CO[S, i.e. the year 75 (cf. op. cit., 47f.) The reconstruction of 1.2 seems open to doubts, since it lacks a grammatical link between the two words (cf. op. cit., 48f.).


95 The sums he received as stipendium areX L (1. 4) and A' LX[-(1. I I) respecti~ely.~~

The 50 denarii, the reading of which seems beyond doubt, does not correspond with the pay scales suggested above (Table 3). Our understanding is further aggravated by the 60 or more denarii

C. Messius received as his next pay. As the editors stressed, the 50 denarii credited to

C. Messius as his first pay seem to equal the total of the deductions. The editors therefore concluded, 'that we have total expenditure rather than the sum of the stipendium' entered after 'accepr ~ti~endi'.~~

This explanation lacks documentary support. In all other documents k~own,the formula accepi or accepit ~tipendi"~)

is followed by the sum credited to the soldier. Furthermore the first-century pay records show an entry expressly reserved for the total of all expenses ('expensas': RWR 68; 'est s(umma) s(upra) ~(criptarum)': RMR 69). A summing up ot the expenses urtder the heading accepi stipendi thus seems unlikely.

The explanation for the absence of the total of expenses in the first section of the Masada document may be provided by the third pay account of C. Valerius Germanus in RMR 68

(1. 23ff.). Here too addition of the expenses listed gives a total equal to the pay credited. Again the entry with the total of expenses was omitted, just as in the Masada document. Because of the correspondence of pay and expenditure the omission of the entry with the total of expenses in both accounts may have been deliberate."' Of the second pay account on the Masada document too little is preserved to draw any safe conclusions on this matter.

If the figures in 11.4 and I I were C. Messius' pay and not the total of his expenses, how are the unexpected sum of 50 denarii and the different sum of the second stipendium to be explained? The editors have concluded that the purpose of this document was solely to give a detailed breakdown of the soldier's expenses throughout the year. Hence the absence of statements concerning further money transactions as we find them in the Geneva documents: the depositing of the balance (reliquas deposuit), the statement of the previous balance (habuit expmbre ratione) and the new total Cfit summa omni~).~'

If correct, this would not allow for statements on prior deductions of thestipendium, which had no connection with the expenses. Such deductions, however, may have occurred. The entry 'debet ex priore ratione' inHnfR 70 &assim) shows that debts could be carried over from the last pay period, and were probably deducted from the next ~tipendium.~~

Moreover, as we have seen, an unitemized I per cent was normally deducted from the full pay. Considering the purpose of the document and the possibility of unspecified deductions before crediting, the sum of 50 denarii for C. Messius' first stipendiuuz may have been what was left of his pay for stoppages. As for his second pay, again too little is preserved to draw any safe conclusions. Nevertheless, we can observe that his pay now amounted to 60 denarii at the least, opening the possibility that Messius this time received his full stipendi~m.~

What was the rank and unit of C. Messius? Though the document does not explicitly mention it, the editors suggested he may have been eques legionis fretensi~.~~

This assumption is based upon Messius' Roman citizenship and the surprisingly high amount of money that was deducted from each stipendium for barley (as fed to cavalry horses), rather than for hay (fed to pack animals) as inMR 68. Another argument in favour of Messius' rank as a horseman may be the sum he was charged for boots and socks. This deduction, it appears, was made only once a year. If this is correct, the sum he had to pay, 7 denarii, was, over the whole year, less than the deductions caligas fascias from the stipendia of the soldiers in

58 The editors of the document understood the 61 In his comment on H.QII< 68 (p. 248), R. 0. Fink expression accepi stipendi, by suggesting the genitive to reached the same conclusion. relate to the sum of 50 denarii, which was obviously not It could also be argued that C. Messius had no money the full stipendium. Hence their translation 'I received of1 at all in his deposit, which would also explain the absence from my pay' (pp. ++,47). On theother hand, they quoted of the entries concerning the depositurn. RMR 68, 69, and 70, where they believed the same " In any case, it seems, the debts were not auto-expression to denote the full sum, despite the fact that matically deducted from the soldiers' savings: the these documents only show the full sum minus I per cent. amounts in deposit0 and in viatico remained untouched: As the new Vindonissa tablet proves, accepistipendi could e.g. RWR 70 fr. a i, 28ff.; ii, 25ff.; fr. b i, gff.; zzff. The indeed be followed by the full stipendium. It must, new Vindonissa tablet may show how such debts could therefore, be translated 'I have received as pay', the originate. genitive denoting the quality of the money rather than the Because of the fragmentary state of the papyrus, the amount (cf. above n. 34). possibility that Messius ran up further debts cannot be

" Masada 11, 51; cf. also ++f. totally excluded. See also the abbreviations accep. and stip. as in e.g. h' cf. the editors' comments, Masada 11. 39 and 5 ~ff. HMfi68,71,72, ChL(l446,495


RMR 68, who paid 9 denarii (36 drachmae) per year. It seems plausible that horsemen needed new boots less often than footsoldiers. For all these reasons it seems justified to suppose that

C. Messius was a horseman, perhaps serving in a legion.

The stoppages for horsemen as recorded on the new Masada pay record together with a Latin loan of A.D. 27 enable us to cross-check the above pay scales for the alae.(j6 On 25 August of that year L. Caecilius Secundus, cavalryman of the ala Paulini, borrowed 600 drachmae (= sestertii) from C. Pompeius, a miles cohortis. He promised to pay back zoo drachmae with his next pay (stipendio proxumo), which was due only nine days later (I September). According to the figures reached above his full stipendium was 350 sestertii, or, after the I per cent deduction, 346% sestertii. If the standard sums for barley (64 sestertii = 16 denarii)'j7 and food (80 sestertii = zo denarii) were deducted. Secundus was left with zoz% sestertii,68 just enouih to cover the interest of'six obols on the zoo drachmae.@

At first glance it may seem hard to believe that Secundus was willing to dispose of the full sum he would receive on his next pay-day. However, since he needed another 400 drachmae, this becomes plausible. For these 400 drachmae he left as pledges a helmet, inlaid with silver, a silver-inlaid badge, and a scabbard adorned with ivory and silver. Perhaps C. Pompeius would have preferred to lend more of his money on interest. On the other hand, the pledges must have been worth more than the money Pompeius was willing to lend for them. Yet in contrast to the above zoo drachmae, no repayment scheme for the 400 drachmae was arranged. This may imply that Secundus was not able to redeem the pledges in the immediate future. In addition to these arguments, Secundus at this time, shortly before his next pay-day, must have known how high his stoppages would be. It therefore seems possible that c. zoo drachmae (= sestertii) was the full amount which would be left of Secundus' pay after deductions, and which Pompeius could safely assume to be repaid after Secundus' next ~ay-da~.~' our

If assumptions are correct, they confirm the above conjecture that the pay of the equites alae may have been 350 sestertii per pay-day before A.D. 84. Further confirmation will be found with the third- and fourth-centurv data wresented below IvI'I.


The Roman soldier of the first century A.D. was well taken care of. All basic necessities were provided for, the costs being deducted at source. The supply services were run by the troops' specialists and their financial administration was left entirely with the troops'

accountant^.'^ A~artfrom the increase of Dav and deductions Domitian seems to have left this

L d

system unaltered, as the unchanged book-keeping system before and after A.D. 84 implies (compare RMR 68 and RMR 69). Because it left so much money in the hands of the

66 P.Vindob. L. 135; cf. H. Harrauer and R. Seidel;, 'Ein neuer lateinischer Schuldschein: P.Vindob. L. 135 , ZPE 36 (I 979)) 10y20, Taf. IV. For further comments on this text see J. F. Gilliam, 'Notes on a new Latin text', RAP,429-32; M. P. Speidel, 'Auxiliary units named after their commanders: four new cases from Egypt', RAS I, 101-8. J. Shelton, 'A note on P.Vindob. L13j', ZPE 38 (1980), 202.

" By analogy to the equal sums deducted in victumi sumptuanum from both the legionaries' (P. Yadin, 722) and the auxiliaries' (Ii31.fR68) stipendium and the equal pay for cavalrymen in the legions and in the alae (for confirmation, cf. also the third-century data below), we assume that the stoppages for the horsemen's barley- money were also equal in both types of unit. Differences in stoppages, it seems, were mainly due to different equipment and clothes, hence Hadrian's remark: 'equorum forma armorum cultus pro stipendi modo', ILS 2487 (cf. above n. 44).

If boots and socks were deducted with each stipendium rather than at the beginning of the year, he would have had 193.2 sestertii left: the deduction then would have been 7 denarii or 28 sestertii :3 =2.3 denarii or

9.3 sestertii. There is no apparent reason, however, why the equites alae should have paid for their boots and socks more often than theequites legionis. For the equal treating of equites alae and legionis see above n. 20 and pp. 92-3 and below pp. gy~ooff.

h9All other stoppages, mainly for clothes (in vestimentis) did not occur regularly, and Secundus will have avoided them, if he could. As the pay accounts of the second stipendium of Q. Iulius Proculus and C. Valerius Germanus show (RMR 68), it was possible to keep deductions at a minimum (cf. above n. 49). Cf. also Tacitus, Ann. x111.35: 'fuisse in eo exercitu veteranos .. . sine galeis, sine loricis, nitidi et quaestuosi, militia per op ida expleta.'

'Even if Secundus invested the borrowed money so that he could not dispose of it for a longer period of time, it could be argued that he probably needed no extra money for daily living expenses, since these were covered by the deductions from his pay.

71 For a possible reconstruction of the supply services, cf. J. Remesal Rodriguez, 'Die Procuratores Augusti und die Versorgung des romischen Heeres', in,H. Vetters and

M. Kandler (eds), Derrb'mische Limes in Osterreich3611; aten des 14. Internationalen Limeskongresses 1986 in Carnuntum (~ggo), 55-64. In La 'annona militan's'y la exportacidn de aceite Betico a Gemania (1986), g~ff., esp. 94, the same author expressed the view that because of the many deductions from the soldiers' pay, hardly any money actually changed hands. This can have been no more than a general tendency during the first century A.D. as is shown by the accounts of the second stipendium of

Q. Iulius Proculus and C. Valerius Germanus in RMR 68

(A.D.81). Well over 50 per cent of these stipendi was actually paid out (cf. above nn. 53 and 54). Cf. also the soldiers' loan on the above P.Vindob. L 135 (A.D. 27), promising the repayment of zoo drachmae with the next stipendium. For the second-century developments, cf. below and especially the soldiers'loans CPL 128, 188, 189,



commanding officers, this pay system was open to fraud, and Pliny found 'magnam foedamque avaritiam, neglegentiam parem' which called for official controls of the 'rationes alarum et cohortium' (Pliny, Ep. v11.31). For some of these reasons the system underwent changes during the second century.72


The next recorded pay-rise after A.D. 84 is the one granted by Septimius Severus in

A.D. 197, i.e. over a century later. If there was indeed no further pay-rise in the intervening period, the pay rates presented above were, at least in theory, still accurate, but a pay record from the time between the pay-rises of Domitian and Septimius Severus, RMR 70 of A.D. 192, shows that several considerable changes of the accounting system had been undertaken, changes that can also be observed on the later pay records (ChLA 446,473, and 495). The rolls no longer contained all the stipendia of one year under the soldier's name. Now a new roll was made up for each stipendium containing a continuous list of all the soldiers' accounts (cf. RMH 70). The only standard deductions were itemized collatio (RMH 70), contulitpublico (ChLA 495), or sublatio (ChLA 446, 473), the figures extant being 8 denarii 4 obols (ChU 446), 4 denarii 22Y2 obols (RMR 70), and 4 denarii 4 obols (ChLA 495). It is clear that these stoppages were of a different nature from the prior deductions in victum/sumptuarium and faenaria1 hordi~m'a.~~

If they were still connected to the supply system, these small deductions could only have represented a compulsory contribution towards the financial upkeep of its logistic ~rganization,~~

and no longer served to cover the expenses for hay, barley, food, boots and socks. Whatever the exact nature of these stoppages, it is certain that deductions were gradually reduced.75

The reduction of stoppages can already be observed in a loan of 7(?) August A.D. 140, in which an eques cohortis promises to pay back 79 denarii to a fellow horseman of the same unit from his next pay ('e stipendio pro~irno').~~ denarii (400

His income per pay-day was IOO sestertii per stipendium or I ,200 sestertii annually, if this was paid three times per year). After the I per cent deduction, which still seems to have been enforced at this time (cf. below), he had 99 denarii left. If he kept his promise to pay off his debts on his next pay-day (I September), only 20 denarii were available for deductions. These would not even have covered the prior stoppages for food (25 denarii = IOO drachmae or sestertii; cf. above, n. 52), let alone money for barley or anything else. If the costs for these were no longer deducted at source, the soldier could have hoped (or planned) to procure either more money or perhaps even the items required during the time between pay-days, and would not have had to rely on the 20 denarii (minus whatever deductions) left of his stipendium.

Stoppages appear to have been reduced perhaps as early as Hadrian's reign, for this emperor is said to have reorganized the administration and the expenses of the army during his visit to the troops on the Rhine in A.D. 121.77 Perhaps the Roman soldiers now had to buy their rations (and those for their horses), as well as other items on their own behalf, either from the

72 cf. also A. R. Birley's suggestion that some of the sums deducted at a fixed rate over periods of great soldiers described by Tacitus, Ann. x111.35 (cf. n. 69) as inflation. This can be observed e.g. with the deposits 'nitidi et quaestuosil'had been making money from selling which the equites cohortis AXPalmyrenorum had to pay "duty-free goods"' from the army's supplies to civilians for their horses: 125 denarii in both A.D. 208 and 251 ('The economic effects of Roman frontier policy', in (RMR~~=C~LA~II~~~RVR~~=C~U~~~;C~.R.


A. King and M. Henig (eds), The Roman West in the Davies, 'The supply of animals to the Roman army and Third Century. Contributions fmm Archaeology and the remount system', Service in the fiomanhy (1989), History, BAR Int. Ser. 109 (1981), 39-53, esp 46). 153-73). Already in A.D. 139 equites alae did not pay 73 Occasional deductions survive for the repair of significantly more, as a receipt for the return of such a armour and helmet ('re[f(ectio) loric(ae) et casid(is) X I deposit (fi1.II1' 75 = ChU 397) reveals the 'pretium equi'

emis is)': ChL4 446, cf. Jahn (1983), 220 and n. 13) and to have been '[d]enacjo~ $enturn[-' (11. 3 and 5 ; cf. esp.
for servants' food ('~olvit tess(eras) baronum tiLX': Marichal's comments in ChU IX, p. 103).
ChU 495, cf. M. P. Speidel, 'The soldiers' servants', Anc. 76 P.Mich. ~11.438= CPL 188; cf. esp. Gilliam's
Soc. 20 (I 989), 242 and n. I 9). comments and improved readings inW 53-9, esp. 54ff.

74 cf. above n. 71. 77 'labentem disciplinam retinuit ordinatis et officiis et
75 Another way of decreasing stoppages was to keep the inpendiis' (HA,Hadr. x.3).


army or through other agents. Some evidence of this can be found on papyri and ~straca.~~ This would have given the soldiers the opportunity to buy at low prices, and the state may have saved some money by reducing the costs for the army's supply services.

During the second half of the second century the emperors began the provision of free ann~na,~~

and in the late seventies we even find that the Roman state had begun to pay annual contributions towards the cavalrymen's expenditure on fodder.80 Although the evidence is admittedly scanty, we see a reduction of stoppages and the beginning of contributions towards expenses. This entails a steady increase of the soldiers' net income.


Information on the later stipendia can be obtained fromMR 70 (84 denarii 153'4 obols), ChLA 446 (257 denarii z3/4 obols), and ChLA 495 (257 denarii 22Y4 obols) (cf. above, Table 2). The fact that odd figures were credited as stipendia is not surprising as the troops' accountants had to deal with uneven sums since the stipendium Domitiani was abolished, and the annual salaries, all divisible by four, suddenly had to be paid in three instalments again. The figures surviving on papyri prove that the Roman military accountants' precision went as far as to ignore the payability of the stipendia in full drachmae (sestertii) or obols, let alone denarii.8'

Jahn's interpretation of the auxiliary pay record RMR 70 (cf. above, n. 23), with its stipendia of 84 denarii 1s3/4 obols, yields the yearly pay of 1,025 sestertii for a miles cohortis in

A.D. 192. Yet the sum expected after Domitian's pay-rise in A.D. 84 would be I ,000 sestertii (cf. Table 3), which leaves a difference of 25 sestertii, for which there seems to be no obvious explanation. Jahn suggested that this may have been a bonus of some kind.82 In any case it appears to reflect a further state contribution towards the soldiers' pay, for a mathematical explanation confined to the stipendia seems unavailable. The legionaries' basic stipendium at this time was I ,200 sestertii (cf. above, Table I) ; hence the ratio remained 5 :6, as in the first century A.D.

With ChLA 446 and 495 we are in a similar situation. For both papyri the stipendia (257 denarii 223'4 (Y4?) obols) can be reconstructed to yearly salaries of 3,125 sestertii (cf. I). Again, these can be best understood as 3,000 sestertii per year plus 125 sestertii, a contribution of the kind found above in RMR 70. Both papyri have been dated to the secondlthird century by

R. Marichal, and show a close resemblence to MR 70 of A.D. 192. Thence Jahn dates them to the early third century.R3 The sum of 3,000 (+ 125) sestertii must clearly belong to the period after Septimius Severus' pay-rise, who granted 'militibus tantum stipendiorum quantum nemo principum dedit' (HA,Sev. 12.2). His pay-rise, therefore, must have been substantial. If this emperor used any of the classical factors (33 per cent, 50 per cent, or IOO per cent) to raise the soldiers' pay, the sum of 3,000 (+ 125) sestertii can, in theory, be explained as the annual income of a miles cohortis, drawing pay-and-a-half (cf. Table 3) after a IOO per cent pay-rise. Although it cannot be completely excluded that both ChLA 446 and 495 represent pay records of sesquiplican'i, it seems rather unlikely. It is, therefore, more attractive to date the papyri after Caracalla's pay-rise of A.D. 212, which increased the soldiers' normal pay by a half

'"f. Jahn (1983)~ 223 and especially the many earlier, implies, this was not the full sum cavalrymen examples of soldiers acquiring food, clothes, and even spent on horse fodder. By the fourth century at the latest, weapons mainly from or through their relatives, cited in soldiers also received free rations for their servants; cf. Wierschowski, op. cit. (n. I), 112ff. The earliest and the M. P. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 73), 242 and n. 20. majority of these examples date to the early second cf. only the many fractions of obols recorded in &MU century. Wierschowski therefore, too, comes to the 70 and ChLA 446. Jahn's argument (1983), 223ff., that conclusion, 'dass sich seit dieser Zeit (the time of the payability of the stipendia was achieved by enforcing the Geneva papyri) das System der Soldatenversorgung I per cent deduction, does not seem convincing, for the seitens der Armee gewandelt haben muss' (121). sums credited (accepit stipendi) and those actually

'' van Berchem, op. cit. (n. 10); idem, 'L'annone handed out (reliquos tulit) in RMR 70 show fractions of militaire est-elle un myth?', Amlies et fiscalitb (1977)~ obols. If the military accountants had ever tried to achieve 331-40.

payability in round sums, it seems they should have been

P.Hamb. 39 = RhIR 76 (A.D. 179): 25 denarii per able to do better. Certainly the soldiers' yearly pay was year for xeaor~s(green fodder, esp. for horses: cf. calculated irrespective of its payability in thirds after a Liddel, Scott and Jones, Greek-Etzglish Lexicon s.v.). As I per cent deduction. the deduction of 16 denarii for barley from each " cf. above p. 89 with n. 24. horseman's stipendium, made over one hundred years '' Jahn (1983)~ zzzff.


99 (cf. above, Table I). The figure of 3,000 sestertii can then, still assuming a IOO per cent pay- rise by Septimius Severus, be explained as the basic annual pay of a miles cohortis." The ratio between basic pay for the legions and the auxilia may still have been 5 :6. Confirmation of these results is found in the Panopolis papyri. For the first of January pay-day in A.D. 300, 65,500 denarii (= 262,000 sestertii) were delivered to pay for the stipendia of an unspecified number of soldiers of cohorsiYI Chamav~rurn.~~

Taking Maximinus Thrax' pay-rise of IOO per cent into account, we arrive at an annual pay of 6,000 sestertii for a miles cohortis at that time. This leads to a stipendium of 2,000 sestertii. The delivered sum divides exactly into 131 such stipendia of 2,000 ~estertii.'~

Jahn has reached the same result by splitting the sum of 65,500 denarii into prime numbers: 2 x 2 x 5 x 5 x 5 X 131.'~ It seems convincing that the factor 131 could have nothing to do with the calculation of the value of the stipendia, and therefore must have been due to their number. In theory the number of stipendia could also be doubled (262), which would lead to a value of 250 denarii. Yet this theoretical result can almost certainly be excluded, for a stipendium of 250 denarii (= I ,000 sestertii) for a miles cohortis at this time is not to be reached by the attested pay-rise~~~~

Jahn's attempt to establish the pay of the horsemen in ala I Hiberorum by the same method is somewhat less convincing. 73,500 denarii were transfered to this unit (the strength of which is again unknown), to be paid as stipendia to its soldiers.89 Split into prime numbers, the figure is 2 x 2 x 3 x 5 x 5 X 5 X 7 X 7. Jahn took the factors 3 X 7 X 7 to be responsible for the number of stipendia, the remaining factors for its value." This calculation leads to 147 stipendia of 500 denarii (= 2,000 sestertii)," which implies the same stipendium for a miles cohortis and an eques alae at the end of the third century A.D. If the above calculations of the stipendium of the miles cohortis are correct and his pay indeed followed all pay-rises, Jahn's conclusion of equal pay would entail a considerable pay-cut or a curtailment of some of the pay- rises during the second and third centuries A.D. for the equites alae. This seems rather unlikely.

The suggested annual pay of the eques alae as presented above (Table 3) was I ,050 sestertii before A.D. 84 and I ,400 sestertii thereafter (a factor 7 was hence already included). If we lead this sum through the above described pay-rises, we arrive at an annual pay of 8,400 sestertii (= 2,100 denarii) and a stipendium of 2,800 sestertii (= 700 denarii). The sum of 73,500 denarii, delivered to ala IHiberom~m, would therefore allow for exactly 105 (3 x 5 X 7) basic stipendia of 700 denarii (2 x 2 x 5 x 5 x 7).92 This even result appears to confirm the stipendium of 2,800 sestertii (= 700 denarii) for aneques alae during the reign of Di~cletian.~~

If these results are correct, the stipendia of the miles cohortis and the eques alae at the turn of the third to the fourth century still show the same ratios to each other. If we run the remaining figures for the legions (cf. above, Table 3) through the pay-rises of the second and third centuries A.D. we arrive at a basic legionary stipendium of 2,400 sestertii (= 600 denarii), the legionary horseman drawing 2,800 sestertii (= 700 denarii) per pay-day. The ratio between the basic pay for the auxilia and for legionary footsoldiers thence remained 5 :6.

The sums in P.Panop. 2.57 give us the opportunity to crosscheck this conjecture. For their stipendiurn of I January A.D. 300, an unspecified number of soldiers of legio III

Jahn (1983)~ 225, it seems, reached the same 92 The surprisingly small number of soldiers in both the concluston. HIS arguments, based on the assumed ratio of cohors XI ('hamavorr~m (max. 131) and the ala I

5:6 between the legions and the auxilia (cf. Jahn (1984), Hiberorunz (rnax. 105) need not be the units' full strengths 66ff.), can now be confirmed. (as Jahn (1984), 61 and nn. 28-30 seems to assume). It is P.Panop. z.zgzf. perhaps more likely that the units, whose full strengths at

86 This sum would allow for any number of dup1ican.i this time are unknown, were split up into several and any even number of sesqz~iplicarii.Some centurions' detachments in different camps: cf. e.g. A. K. Bowman, pay may also have been included (cf. below p. 104f.). 'The military occupation of Upper Egypt in the reign of This understanding of the figures in P.Panop. does not Diocletian', BMP 15 (1978), 25-38, esp. 33. If correct, allow for bonuses of the kind found in RV1R 70 and ChU this might explain why the ala I Hiberorum, when the 446 and 495. Perhaps, therefore, they were no longer above pay arrived, was under the command of only a included in the stipendia at this time. decurio (Besas; cf. P.Panop. 37).

Jahn !1984), 67. '' In consequence, the figure suggested above of I ,050 88 Only tf one of the pay-rises of Septimius Severus and sestertii before Domitian's pay-rise is also confirmed. The Maximinus Thrax is totally denied, can this sum be alternative presented above of 1,080 sestertii (cf. n. 43)

---.-- - -

reached.can now, in all probability, be ruled out, for it cannot be *' P.Panop. 2.36ff. run through the second- and third-ccntury pay-rises to Jahn (1984),67n. 55. fit the sums of the Panopolis papyri. '' The unltkely theoretical alternative being 294 stipendia of 250 denarii.


L)iocletiana, doing duty at theofficium of thepraeses of the lower Thebais, were sent 343,300 denarii. This sum cannot be explained as multiples (I x , I .5 x, or 2 x) of the basic legionary stipendium (343,3001600 = 572-1666), which is why Jahn assumed a scribal mistake." It may be worthwhile to recall the composition of the staff (oficium) of governors. Several ranks and functions could be employed here, the most important being the corniculam'us.'Vhe comicularii, however, drew equestna ~tipendia.~~

The total figure must therefore allow for (multiples of) legionary horsemen's pay. If this is taken into account and the above reached stipendia, 600 denarii for the legionary footsoldier and 700 denarii for the horseman, are applied, the figure of 343,300 denarii makes sense. The problem of how many soldiers in how many different ranks were being paid still remains, but we can now at least give a few examples of how to divide the 343,300 denarii: I basic horseman's stipendium and 571 basic footsoldiers' stipendia or 7 basic horsemen'sstipendia and 564 basic foot~oldiers'stipendia,~~

or 13 and 557, etc. Many different divisions are, of course, possible.

The number of basic stipendia thus reached is admittedly rather high, but it reflects no more than a theoretical maximum of soldiers present on the governor's staff. Many of these soldiers will have been paid more than the basic stipendium (receiving pay-and-a-half or double pay) thus reducing the number of soldiers. The total of stipendia may also have included the pay of a centurion (cf. below, v~r),~%hich

would decrease the number of soldiers in the oficium of thepraeses even further.

The results so far achieved appear to confirm the 5 :6 ratio between the auxiliary and the legionary basic pay up to beginning of the fourth century A.D. The reconstructed pay scales can be reconciled with all the available evidence. What was paid as stipendium in these days, however, was no longer the soldier's main source of income. Supplementary payments were made in kind from the annona militan's since the late second century A.D.,~~and an ever increasing amount of money was given to the soldiers by the emperors as donativa.lm These gifts of money would make no distinction between auxiliaries and legionaries or even between the ranks -only the higher officers received doublelo' -and would thus keep the actual difference in pay at an even lower ratio. As for the deductions at the beginning of the fourth century A.D., the evidence allows no conclusions. The figures in the Panopolis papyri are sums which have not yet been credited to the soldiers and hence are free of all stoppages.

The basic annual pay in sestertii of the soldiers serving from Septimius Severus to Diocletian can now be set forth (Table 4).


The Roman army had a great many ranks and functions below the centurionate but perhaps only three different pay grades: basic, pay-and-a-half (sesquiplican'us), and double pay (duplicarius).lo2 For the early Empire at least, there is also evidence for treble pay (triplican'us) as instanced by a gravestone found not long ago at Mainz.lo3 The stone records Antiochus, son of Antiochus, who had served as an eques ala(e) Parthorum et Araborum and

Y4 He explained the figure by assuming the scribe of the YVor centurions attested in the officium of governors, papyrus had actually meant to write 343,200 denarii, cf. Jones, op. cit. (n. 95), 44 and n. 60. which is divisible by the basic footsoldiers' stipendium 99 cf. esp. Berchem, op. cit. (n. 79). If the supplies in (343,~001600= 572) The mistake happened because kind did not suffice, the difference was paid in cash. the scribe, according to Jahn, misheard G~axoaia5 for Perhaps this is in part the explanation for the super- ~~~axooia5: numerary 25 sestertii and 125 sestertii respectively in

cf. Jahn (1984), 68f.

YS For a list, see esp. A.v. Domaszewski and B. Dobson, ChLA 446 and 495 (cf. above p. 89). The figures given in Die Rangordnungdes n?mischen Heeres (2nd edn, 1967), the Panopolis papyri have recently been discussed by XI-XIII and 2~37, esp. zgff. Cf. also A. H. M. Jones, R. Duncan-Jones, 'Pay and numbers in Diocletians's 'The Roman civil service (clergical and sub-clergical army', now in idem, Structure and Scale in the Roman

grades)', JRS 39 (19491, 38-55, esp. 44. Economy (~ggo), 105-17.

% CIL ~11.2602;cf. Domaszewski and Dobson, op. cit. IMcf. Jahn (1984), 53ff. for comments and estimations (n.95), 31. Cf. also D. Breeze, 'Pay grades and ranks especially on the figures given in the Panopolis papyri. below the centurionate', JRS 61 (1971), 13-5, esp. 133, lo' Jahn (1984), 53ff. who suggested that the conzicularii were not actually '" Breeze, op. ctt. (n. 96); cf. also J. F. Gilliam, 'The mounted, but received equestria stipendia 'simply as a Moesian "Pridianum"', RAPz63-72, esp. z71f. and M. P. means of increasing their pay'. Speidel, op. cit. (n. 16), 88 and nn. 23-4.

97 Divisible, of course, into e.g. 3 double and I basic 'q3 AE 1976: 495 = 58 BerRGK (1977)~no. 99 (Mainz- (= 2 pay-and-a-half and 4 basic (or z double)) horsemen's Welsenau) ;relgn of T~berius? pays and 282 double foot-soldiers' pays, etc.




Severus Caracalla Maximinus Thrax Unit Rank (A.D. 197) (A.D.212) ('4.D.235)

miles basic cohortis sesquiplicarius duplican'us

eques basic cohortis sesquiplican'us duplicarius

miles basic legionis sesquiplican'us duplican'us

eques basic legionis sesquiplican'us or alae duplican'us

The bold figures are based on direct documentary or literary evidence.

was then asked to stay with the army as an evocatus triplican'u~.'~~

After the mid-first century A.D., however, there is no evidence for this pay grade, and it may have been abolished.lo5

For the pay of legionary centurions some evidence can be found in two papyri of the early fourth century .Iffi In P. Panop. 2. I97ff. a praepositus equitum promotorum legionis II Traianae is paid 18,000 denarii for the stipendium of I January A.D. 300. This equals an annual pay of 54,000 denarii or 216,000 sestertii. P.Oxy. 1047 reveals the September stipendium of a praepositus of an unknown unit of 36,000 denarii, i.e. 108,000 denarii or 432,000 sestertii per year. Although the titlepraepositus is of no help in determining exact rank, Jahn has concluded that both men were centurions, for they received donativa of twice the amount of normal so1die1-s.lo7 Compared to the basic legionary stipendium paid at the time (cf. Table 4) these figures give a simple ratio of 30 :I in the former case and 60 :I in the latter.lo8 The ranks of the two centurions may hence be restored as centurio primi ordinis and primuspilus re~pectively.'~ The pay grades can then be assumed to have been fifteen times basic legionary pay for the centurions in Cohorts 11-x, thirty times for the centurionsprimi ordinis (i.e. the centurions in Cohort I) and sixty times for theprimuspilus.

Because the exact ranks of the above twopraeposti are not mentioned, these conjectures require further confirmation. Whatever the legionary centurion's pay may have been, it seems logical that it shared in all the pay-rises of the first three centuries A.D., and that the ratios were kept constant. This not only follows from the Roman army's strong tendency to follow tradition, as observed above with the ratios of the basic stipendia of the auxilia and the legions, but also from the patterns of promotion to the centurionate during the period under discussion. This last point is best observed with the highest-paid rank known promoted to the

'Oj cf. P. A. Holder, The Auxilia from Augustus to lo' Since we can now be more certain of the basic annual Trajan (1980), 91, who finds confirmation for treble rate of 1,800 denarii for legionaries, the above ratios pay for the post of evocatus in the career of C. Iulius reached by Jahn (1984), gain further credibility. Their Macer, duplicarius alae Atectorigianae, before becoming simplicity further suggests that the two sums of P.Panop. eaocatus in charge of 600 Raetigesati during the first half 2.197 and P.Oxy. 1047 were calculated on the basic pay of of the first century A.D. (CILXIII. 1041). This promotion a legionary, which may be taken as an additional argument entailed, according to Holder, a pay-rise. in favour of the two praepositi having been legionary

lo' cf. idem, 91. The evocati may later have been paid centurions. the otherwise highest pay rate below the centurionate, lrnFor the ranking of centurions, see T. Wegeleben, double horsemen's pay, i.e. the rate of a coniculan'us (cf. Die Rangordnung der rSinzischen Centurionen (1913). He

n. 96 and n. I 17). This assumption may find some support surmised that all centurions in Cohorts 11-x were equal in in the fact that legionary centurions were regularly rank, differing only in seniority. Hence promotion was appointed from those two ranks of the praetorian guard only involved upon transfer to the first cohort, then (cf. D. Breeze, 'The organisation of the career structure of joining the senior grade of thepn'mi ordines, of whom the the immunes and principales of the Roman army', BJ 174 pn'muspilus and the praefectus castrorum were the top (1974)~ 245-92, esP 247ff.l. ranks. This was accepted by E. Birley, 'Promotions and

'" For the following see Jahn (1984), 69f. transfers in the Roman army 11: the centurionate', R4,

Im Jahn (1984)~ 69 (cf. also ibid., 54). Hence, he 206-20, esp. 206, and B. Dobson, 'Legionary centurionor concludes, they were not of equestrian, let alone senatorial equestrian officer? A comparison of pay and prospects', rank. Anc.Soc. 3 (1972), 193-207, esp. 197 and n. 25, and 201f.


centurionate, the evocatus Augusti of the praetorian guard, drawing treble pay, at least during the first half of the first century A.D."" The basic pay of a praetorian during the early Empire seems to have been 1,000 sestertii per stipendium or 3,000 sestertii annually.'ll The evocatus would therefore presumably earn 9,000 sestertii.'12 Promotions from this rank to the legionary centurionate were frequent throughout the first three centuries A.D."' The minimum salary of a legionary centurion during the early Empire should thus be something more than 9,000 sestertii, for this sum was almost certainly increased on promotion to the centurionate.

The reconstructed salary of a centurion on the basis of a 15 :I ratio to the legionary's basic pay would amount to 13,500 sestertii per year, that is one-and-a-half times the pay of the evocatus during this period, or four-and-a-half times the basic pay of a praetorian. It seems clear that the centurion's pay must have been increased with the pay of the praetorian cohorts since we still find evocati promoted to the centurionate in the late third ~entury,"~

even if at this point the difference in pay between the evocatus and the legionary centurion may have grown somewhat .'I5

There is another clue to help establish the legionary centurion's pay. Suetonius (Caligula 44) reports that as the emperor Caligula was inspecting his assembled troops on the Khine in early A.D. 40, he took several altogether arbitrary measures against leading officers. One of these was to decrease the discharge money (commoda emeritae militiae) of theprimipili down to 600,ooo sestertii.'lh Suetonius tells us that these monies were given by the emperors pro gradu cuiusque (Div.Aug. 49.2),and the documentary evidence, though scanty, suggests this was observed.l17 The basic sum paid to the legionary soldier was 12,000 sestertii.l18 The ratio between this figure and the sum reduced by Caligula was therefore I :so. The commoda of the primipili were obviously greater before Caligula's cut and presumably also thereafter, for these measures were no doubt hated by the army and therefore may have been rescinded by Claudi~s."~

The minimum pay of thepn'mzrspilus therefore was over fifty times the basic pay of a legionary soldier. This goes well with the above assumed ratio of I :60. These observations, then, support Jahn's conjectural pay scale with the legionary centurions getting fifteen, thirty, and sixty times the basic pay of the miles legionis. The following figures for the centurions annual salaries in sestertii are thus likely.

Rank Augustus Domitian Sevems Caracalla Max.Thrax

centurio leg. 13,500 18,000 36,000 54,000 108,000 pn'mus ordo 27,000 36,000 72,000 108,000 216,000 pn'muspilus 54,000 72,000 144,000 216,000 432,000

The bold figures are based on direct documentary or literary evidence.

"O Later it may have been the corniculan'us praekcti praetono, receiving double horsemen's pay: cf. above

n. 105. "' cf. e.g. M. Durry, hs cohortesprt!tonennes (1938), z64ff.; G. R. Watson, The Roman Soldier (1969), 98.

We are not informed how much a horseman in the praetorian guard received. If the difference in pay was the same as in the auxilia and in the legions, i.e. 150 sestertii per year before A.D. 84, we arrive at a yearly income of 6,300 sestertii for the coniculariuspraefectipraetorio.

"'Breeze, op. cit. (n. 105). 247ff. Note also the many promotions from the rank of conicularius. For the career prospects of the evocati Augusti, cf. also E. Birley, 'Evocati Aug. :a review', R1l,32630.

'I4 Breeze, op. cit. (n. IO~), 252.

cf. above n. 105.

"6 On the commoda in general, cf. e.g. M. P. Speidel, 'Cash from the emperor. A veteran's gravestone at Elecik in Galatia', AJP 104 (1983), 282-6; H. Wolff, 'Die Entwicklung der Veteranenprivilegien vom Beginn des I. Jahrhundertsv. Chr. bis auf Konstantin d.Gr.', In W. Eck and H. Wolff (eds), Heer und Integrationspolitik. Die 1-limischen .44ilitardiplome als historische Quelle (1986), 94-1 15, esp. 5off. The figure of 600,ooo sestertii, although an emendation of a corrupt text, is generally accepted, cf.

e.g. Dobson, op. cit. (n. IO~), 193-207, esp. 198.

"'cf. CIL v.5832: P. Tutilius P.f. Ouf. veteranus, who died A.D. 29, formerly a signzfer, aquilzferleg. and curator veteranorum, received praemia duplica ab Imperatore, and his pay grade must have been that of a duplicanus.

L. Pellartius Celer Iulius Montanus, missus ex evocato et annidoctor. leg. XVApol., boasted to have received 30,000 sestertii from Domitian, 'quod ante illum nemo alius accebit (!) ex hac militie (!)', for he would normally only expect 24,000 sestertii (twice the amount of a normal soldier, i.e. 12,000 sestertii, cf. also n. 118) according to his pay grade as a duplicarius (Ah1952, 153: Aquileia). Cf. above n. 105 for the possible reduction of pay grades from tn$ to duplican'us of the evocati.

Dio ~v.23.1. Augustus had fixed this sum. It seemed to remain unaltered until Caracalla raised it to 20,000 sestertii (Dio ~xxv11.24.1); cf. Wolff, op. cit.

(n. II~), 52. It may be noted that all attempts to understand these sums as multiples of the stipendia seem to have failed, cf. Wolff, 5zff.

"9 cf. Suet., Claud. I I .3: 'Gai . . .acta omnia rescidit.'


'03 These results find further support in the second-century career patterns and pay scales of the equestrian officers as commanders of auxiliary units or as junior officers in the legions. Their ranking, as developed during the first century, was:lZ0

praefectus cohortis quingenan'ae 1 tribunus cohortis voluntariomm civium Romanorum (= 'militia prima') t~ihunus cohortis milliariae 1 tribunus militum legionis (= 'militia secunda') praefectus alae quingenan'ae (= 'militia tertia') plnefectus alae milliariae (= 'militia quarta')

B. Dobson has devoted a study to the relations of the equestrian officers' and the centurions9 careers.lZ1 He has shown that the praefectus cohortis ('militia prima') could transfer to the legionary centurionate, and that equestrians could choose between seeking a post aspraefectus cohortis or as centurio legionis. In the case of the future emperor Pertinax, who had chosen to become centurio legionis, and even had the support of an ex-consul, this wish was not granted, and he was made praefectus cohortis.lZ2 The 'militia prima' may, therefore, have paid the same or perhaps a little less than a legionary centurionate.

In c.A.D. 220 the yearly salary of the 'militia prima' seems to have been 50,000 sestertii,lZ3 as a tn'bunus semestns in that time earned 25,000 sestertii.lZ4 This explains why thepraefecti cohortis could be promoted to the legionary centurionate, where they would earn 54,000 sestertii at that time.'''

The equestrian legionary tribunate ('militia secunda') seems to have been paid less or the same as the centurionate of theprimus ordo (36,000 sestertii between Domitian and Septimius Severus) .Iz6 Thepraefecti alae quingenan'ae ('militia tertia') earned less than 60,000 sestertii between the reigns of Domitian and Septimius Severus, as their next promotion would normally lead them to a sexagenarian procuratorship.

Theprimuspilus, if promoted, would normally advance to a centenarian procuratorship, which earned ~oo,ooo sestertii per year before Septimius Severus.12' In the light of the proposed pay rates of theprimipili (72,000 sestertii between Domitian and Septimius Severus) this promotion can now be better understood. At the same time this promotion confirms the above reconstruction of the pay of theprimuspilus.

There is no documentary evidence of the pay of the remaining important ranks: centurio cohortis, decurio cohortis, and decuno alae. The following attempt to reconstruct their pay rates must, therefore, remain hypothetical. Of these posts the decurio alae was highest in rank.''' It therefore seems likely that the decuno cohortis, as the leader of a squadron of

12' For a description of this development, cf. e.g. Holder, op, cit. (n. IO~), 72ff 12' Dobson, op. cit. (n. 109). For the following, see esp. pp. 1g6ff. and 19gff.

'22 HA, Pertinax 1.5-6. The increasing number of co?niculariipraefectipraetorio and ez'ocati August; of the praetorian guard promoted topraefecti cohortis and tribuni cohortis in the third century also shows that the pay of the legionary centurionate, to which they were normally promoted, and of theprima and secunda militia must have beensimilar at that time. Cf. Breeze, op. cit. (n. IO~),


lu Dobson, op. cit. (n. ~og), 201. This has been accepted by H. Devijver, 'La Pmsopographia Militarium Equestrium. Contribution ?iI'histoire social et Cconomique du principat', in The Equestrian Officers (1989),(= Mavors VI), 396-41 I, esp. 409.

CIL ~111.3162; cf. the commentary on this text by H.-G. Pflaum, Le Marhre de Thorign-v (1948). This is the only known sum to have been paid to an equestrian officer as a salary. Dobson, op. cit. (n. ~og), 201 and Devijver, op. cit. (n. 123)~ 409 have taken the 25,ooo sestertii to be half the annual pay of the 'militia prima'.

lZS It may be noted that the sum of 50,000 sestertii cannot be explained as a multiple of any of the above basic pay grades, which shows that the pay grades of the equestrian 'militiae', as a career of their own, were calculated on completely different grounds. An attempt to re-establish the remaining equestrian salaries without further evidence must therefore produce wholly conjectural figures. During the first century, it appears, all the equestrian officers were paid better than the legionary centurions (cf. e.g. ILS gogo, CIL 1x.2564; ~11.3177, 3178) This might suggest that the pay rates of the 'militia equestris' and of the lower procurators were kept level until Septimius Severus when they seem to have been raised (cf. also n. 127). At the beginning of the third century A.D. the salary of the militia secunda was, according to the career of Rufinus (RIB1288 =ILS 1425), higher than the income of a sexagenarian procurator, who still earned 60,000 sestertii at the time (Dio LIII.~~.~),

'26 This conclusion of Dobson's is based on the Trajanic career of T. Pontius Sabinus (ILS 2726). Cf. Dobson, op. cit. (n. ~og), 252.

'" H.-G. Pflaum, HE XXIII, 1272f Cf. also idem, Abrige' des procurateurs e'questres (1974), 56ff. Commanding a milliary cavalry unit as the 'militia quarta' would also lead to a centenarian procuratorship. Under Septimius Severus and Caracalla some of the salaries of both equestrian officials and senators seem to have been raised; cf. e.g. G. Alfoldy, 'Die Stellung der Ritter in der Fiihrungsschicht des Imperium Romanum', Die r6mische Gesellschaft, HABES I (1986), 162-209, esp. 178, 180; cf. also P. A. Brunt, 'Pay and superannuation in the Roman army', PBSR 18 (1950), 5e71, esp. 69.

lZ8 cf. J. F. Gilliam, 'The appointment of auxiliary centurions', RAP,191-205, esp. 202 and n. 25; see also Domaszewski and Dobson, op. cit. (n. 95), 53 and 57.


horsemen. ranked above the centurio c~hortis.'~~

If the above observations are correct. both the centurio and the decurio cohortis received considerably less money than a centurio legionis, for even their commander, thepraefectus cohortis, may have been paid below that level, at least during the second and third centuries. This assumption finds support in the fact that from all three posts, decurio alae, centurio and decurio cohortis, one could be appointed to the legionary centurionate.130

The total of salaries delivered to the ala IHiberorum (P.Panov. 2.76f.) and the cohors XI



Chamavorum (P.Panop. 2.292f.) seems to have excluded the pay of the officers in command (cf. P.Panop. 2.197). However, the decurions' and the centurions'stipendia may have been included. Therefore, and on analogy to the calculation of the legionary centurions' pay, we may assume that their salary was a multiple of the respective basic stipendium. As for the exact factor with which the basic pay was multiplied we have no evidence, but the promotions to the auxiliary decurionate and centurionate recorded on inscriptions may help to determine the brackets.

Whilst the auxiliarv centurions and decurions were normallv avvointed from the ranks of

i, I I

sesquiplican'i or duplickrii, and sometimes from the equites legzonis,13' the best paid soldier known to have been promoted to one of these ranks was a soldier of the praetorian guard, L. Arnius Bas~us.'~~

AS a miles cohortispraeton'ae serving before A.D. 84 he drew 3,000 sestertii annually.'33 His promotion to the rank of a centurio cohortis will have entailed a pay-rise. The 3,000 sestertii he was paid before his promotion equalled four times the basic pay of a miles cohortis (4 x 750 sestertii, cf. Table 3). We can, therefore, safely assume that he was paid at least five times the basic pay of an auxiliary footsoldier after his promotion to the centurionate.

The duplicani' and the sesquiplican'i of the emperor's horseguards, the equites singulares Augusti, could also be promoted to the decurionate in the auxilia, their decurionate to the legionary ~enturi0nate.l~~

Although the horseguards' pay is unknown, we can assume that, as with other military units in the city of Rome, their basic pay was higher than the basic pay in the provinces.'3s AS the emperor's horseguards were mainly picked from the alae, their pay may have been a multiple of the basic pay of aneques alae, perhaps d0ub1e.l~~

A duplican'us of the equites singulares Augusti may then have drawn four times the basic pay of an eques alae. His promotion to the decurionate of an ala would thus have entailed a further pay-rise if we assume it paid five times the basic stipendium. This assumption also allows for a pay-rise of

c. 30 per cent for the decurion of the emperor's horseguards upon his promotion to the legionary centurionate.

Five times the respective basic pay of the miles cohortis, eques cohortis, and eques alae therefore seems a likely conjecture for the pay of the centuno cohortis, decun'o cohortis, and decuno alae. In any case it cannot have been much more.'" The following hypothetical table of pay scales may now be put forward.

'" contra Domaszewski and Dobson, op. cit. (n. 95), 56. there would have been too insignificant a difference

IM cf. e.g. ILS 305 (dec.alae-cent.leg.; Flavian-between the legionary centurions' pay and that of the Trajan), ILS 2596 (dec.coh.-cent.leg.; midilate first decurio equitum singulan'um Augusti (e.g. 36,000 cent. century); CIL v.522 (cent.coh.-cent.leg.; mid first leg.-35,000 dec. eq. sing. Aug. after Severus' pay-rise). century). Cf. also Domaszewski and Dobson, op. cit. The same basic pay as the alares or their pay-and-a-half

(n. 95), 53f and 56f for further examples. During the may in theory have been the basic pay of the emperor's first century A.D. (until Domitian's pay-rise?) it seems the horseguards. It may also be that their pay was not a equestrian officers were paid better than the legionary multiple of the basic salary of the alares, but some inde- centurions: cf. above n. 127. pendent (higher) amount below the pay of a duplicarius

"' cf. e.g. Gilliam, op. cit. (n. 128); M. P. Speidel, op. alae. cit. (11. zo), 183; Holder, op. cit. (n. 1o4), 86ff. "7 If the emperor's horseguards received 1.5 times the

13' CIL v.522, mid-first century. basic pay of the equites alae, a factor of 6, or 7 at the very

"-'For the pay of the praetorian guard, see above VII most, could also be envisaged. Domaszewski, op. cit.

andn. 111. . . (n. 95), ?off., assumed that these ranks were paid three

M. P. Speidel, Die equites sin,gulares Aupusti times basic legionary pay, which he believed to be 500

denarii per year during the reign of Septimius Severus. (1?252i.4%id., yo; M. P. Speidel, Guards ofthe Roman His assumption was based on the money presents given to ilmzies (1978), 36 and n. 196. members of military collegiae according to their rank. Yet

"6 2.5 is the maximum factor, if the praetorian guard is these sums show no correspondence with the soldiers' to remain the best paid Roman troop. (In this case an eq. income. Moreover, treble basic legionary pay as the sing. Aug. would have drawn 7,000 sestertii after Severus' income of auxiliary centurions and decurions would have pay-rise, a praetorian 8,000.) Yet this is but a theoretical brought a considerable pay-cut for the above mentioned possibility, for if that factor is applied and if five times praetorian L.Arnius Bassus upon his promotion to basic pay is accepted as the minimum salary of a decurion, the auxiliary centurionate.


Rank  Augustus  Domitian  Severus  Caracalla  Max. Thrax  
centuno cohortis  3,750  5,000  IO,OOO  15,000  30,000  
decurio cohortis  4,500  6,000  12,000  18,000  36,000  
decuno alae  5,250  7,000  14,000  21,000  42,000  
decuno equitum singularium Aug.   (14,000)  28,000  42,000  84,000  
centuno legionis  13,000  18,000  36,000  54,000  108,000  


The new Vindonissa pay receipt turns out to be the missing link in our evidence for Roman soldiers' pay. It provides us, for the first time, with a safe and unambiguous figure for the pay of an auxiliary soldier of known rank. By revealing the stipendium of a horseman serving in an auxiliary cohort in A.D. 38 to be 300 sestertii, it enables us to understand otherwise uncertain documents and figures, and thus to reconstruct the pay scale of the Roman army down to the fourth century A.D. Yet the suggested model still requires further substantiation in detail, as several pay rates have been reached solely on theoretical grounds, and are in want of documentary confirmation.

The pay scales now appear much simpler than hitherto assumed, with the Roman army in the provinces (the fleets excluded) knowing only three different basic pay rates, applied throughout the first three centuries A.D. Before A.D. 84, the year of Domitian's pay-rise, a footsoldier in a cohort was paid 250 sestertii each pay-day; 300 sestertii was the pay of the legionary footsoldiers and the horsemen in the cohorts, whilst the horsemen in both the legion and in the alae, received 350 sestertii. Higher ranks might have received pay-and-a-half or double pay, and during the first half of the first century even treble pay.

The auxiliary decurions and centurions may have drawn five times the pay of the soldiers they commanded, whilst the legionary centurions were paid fifteen times the basic stipendium of a legionary footsoldier. The top ranking centurions received thirty times basic rate, and the pm'muspilus twice that amount. During the second century A.D. this would have been a sum of 72,000 sestertii annually, which accords with the normal promotion of pn'wzuspilus to a centenarian procuratorship, where he would earn ~oo,ooo sestertii. Although to a simple legionary soldier the salary of thepn'muspilus must have been a staggering sum, it was still far below the income of the senatorial commander of a legion, who earned more than 200,000 sestertii during the same ~eri0d.l~~

Our data also bear out the soldiers' pay-rises as seen by Jahn, in particular Septimius Severus' pay-rise of IOO per cent. During the long period between A.D. 84 and 197, which seems to have seen no such pay-rises, it can be shown that the deductions from the soldiers' pay were gradually reduced, and a system of ever-increasing government contributions developed. These changes were such that by the end of the third century A.D. they overshadowed the actual pay. Although the ratio between the stipendia of the different units was kept constant down to the fourth century, the differences in overall income almost disappeared (see Table 7).

The overall pay scale suggested here may help in understanding promotions and transfers in the Roman army, and in appreciating the social standing of generals, officers, soldiers, and veterans. It may also shed light on the Empire's budget and thereby on the political and economic history of the Roman Empire.

13R Alfoldy, op. cit. (n. 127)~180.


Augustus Domitian Severus Caracalla Max. Thrax

(A.D. 84) (A.D. 197) (A.D. 212) (A.D. 235)

miles legionis 3,600 eques legionis 41 200 centuno legionis 54,000 pn'mus ordo I 08, ooo pn'muspilus 216.000

miles coho~tis eques cohortis eques alae

centuno coho~tis

decun'o cohortis

decun'o alae

eques singulani Aug. 5,600 decun'o eq.sing.Aug. 28, ooo

The bold figures are based on direct documentary or literary evidence.


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