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Title: Public Slaves in the Roman Army
Subtitle: An Exploratory Study
Author(s): SILVER, Morris
Journal: Ancient Society
Volume: 46    Date: 2016   
Pages: 203-240
DOI: 10.2143/AS.46.0.3167455

Abstract :
Legal and other texts insist that slaves (servi) are not permitted to join the Roman army. The evidence suggests, however, that slaves might serve if they were owned by the army itself. After demonstrating the presence of public slaves (servitia castris) in Rome’s armed forces (I-II) this paper examines the nature of the duties of calones and lixae (II). Next, it is considered whether soldiers belonging to collegia were public slaves with special attention being paid to capsarii 'medical orderlies' (IV). Then the status of the augusti vernae in Legion II Augusta is analyzed (V). Next, the one-namedness of legionary soldiers in inscriptions is employed to identify public slaves (VI). Finally, findings are summarized and questions raised for future research.

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