Legiones

Nova Roma supports and sponsors Roman reenactment legions worldwide, and we have a number of our own Nova Roman legions and legionary units. The long term goal of Nova Roma is to unite all Roman reenactors of heartfelt Roman identity all over the world in a great network of New Roman Army, (of course, not a “real army” but only as a reenacting and honor guard army), which would provide the ultimate Roman legionary experience to all involved. Reenactment in this system goes beyond the reconstruction of objects, armor and formation: we reconstruct the social fabric, the structure and way of thinking: the wholeness of the Roman experience. While the reenactor groups remain totally self-governing and independent in their operations, finances, and corporate structures, all legions within this Nova Roman network recognize each others’ ranks, officers, command orders, flags and identity as all belonging to the same New Roman Nation, under the flag of Nova Roma.

  • Legions currently sponsored by Nova Roma can be found here (on our old website):

http://www.novaroma.org/nr/Category:Reenactments

Army unit types within Nova Roma

The entirety of all the military units of Nova Roma is the Exercitus Populi Novi Romani Quiritium (the Reenacting Armed Forces of the New Roman People of the Quitires), and the ceremonial supreme co-commanders are the Consuls of the year. This is composed of independent, autonomous, self-governing reenactment units which all have their own rules of operation. Their independence can be of varying degree according to their own decision about how much control they want to retain for themselves, and, naturally, the more involved is the central management of Nova Roma in the management of the unit, the more support is given to the group from the organization.

The highest units of the Reenacting Armed Forces of Nova Roma are the autonomous, self-governing military units, three types of which can exist: the Autonomous Reenactment Legio, the Autonomous Reenactment Cohors, and the Autonomous Reenactment Exercitus, which is an independent and self-governing reenactment organization composed of more than one Legiones.

The difference between the autonomous reenactment Legio and Cohors is in name only, and it is usually determined only by the reenactors’ intention of what type of ancient Roman unit they want to represent. The choice of Cohors is obvious when they want to represent a Roman detachment, such as the Cohors I Batavorum was. In this case, they are compelled by historical accuracy to take the name “Cohors” instead of “Legio”, and it has nothing to do with the status or size of the reenactment unit within Nova Roma, it is simply a name as far as it concerns their place in the Nova Roma. An Exercitus, however, must always be composed of more than one Legio, thus it is always a bigger network of more reenactment units.

The internal structure of these autonomous units, whether they are composed of more divisions, regiments, battalions, companies or squads (legiones, cohortes, manipuli, centuriae, contubernia), is left to the internal decision of that reenactment unit. Nova Roma will take in consideration and will keep records only of the autonomous top unit (which encompasses all subdivisions and represents the totality of the reenactment organization), and the responsible contact person and representative for Nova Roma will be the Chief Commanding Officer of the Autonomous Reenactment Unit.

The Chief Commanding Officer (CO), simply commander hereafter, of an autonomous reenactment unit of Nova Roma must hold the military rank of Tribunus, or the title of Praefectus Cohortis or Praefectus Legionis, which are not a military rank proper, but a political military office. If the commander’s military rank is not Tribunus, he can hold any other military rank (Tesserarius, Optio, Centurio etc…), but he must immediately be promoted to, and must concurrently hold, the political army rank of Praefectus as well. The rank of Praefectus is automatically granted by Nova Roma to a commander of any autonomous Nova Roman reenactment unit, but ceremonially-formally they receive their appointment from the governor of the province where the group resides (or in certain cases from the consuls or from other magistrates with imperium), and the appointing magistrate will, again just ceremonially, be the immediate superior of the new Praefectus. This appointment is a requirement to the establishment or recognition of a new Nova Roman unit, each autonomous unit leader is entitled to it. The duty of the Praefectus is to serve as the representative of Nova Roma within the unit and for the public, and as liaison and coordinator between the leadership of Nova Roma and his unit.

A commander of an autonomous Legio, or a commander of an autonomous Exercitus, composed of more than one legions, should ideally wear the political rank of Legatus or Legatus Legionis. This rank is not granted automatically, however, but it is granted by the Senate or by a governor or magistrate with imperium. Important: the rank of Legatus is not permanent, it is not a military rank proper, but a political office within the military, and it may expire after a year or more. In case it has expired, the commander should ask for a renewal of his appointment. If he doesn’t get immediately re-appointed, he can still continue the actual management of his reenactment group (but now as Praefectus or Tribunus) without any interruption, his status as commander will not be questioned.

 

Military ranks within the Nova Roman Legions

It is important to note that if your reenactment unit is part of the Reenactment Army of Nova Roma, those higher ranking officers or generals of Nova Roma who are not part of your reenactment unit do not actually give orders or do not actually exercise command in any way in your unit: their role is only ceremonial, and your unit is only required to pay respect and salute the higher ranking officer, honoring their office. Each autonomous reenactment unit in Nova Roma is completely self-governing and operates according to their own rules and practices. Paying respect to the Consuls, Governors or other higher ranking officers is just part of the reenacting of the atmosphere of the Roman army and milieu.

There was a great difference in ancient Rome between the highest military ranks, for example consuls, proconsuls, praetors or legates  (which we would call today various types of generals) and the regular army officers like Centurio, Optio or Signifer. Those whom we could call generals today were politicians, elected or appointed political officers: they weren’t promoted from a lower lank, they couldn’t retain their rank after the one year term of their office or after their appointment for the task had ended. To be more specific, the various ranks of generals were not military ranks proper, but political offices. The real military ranks ended with the rank of Tribunus (of which there were two types, and the other one was also a political office therefore not a proper military rank). Nova Roma observes and honors this difference, and in our legions there cannot be a rank higher than Tribunus — unless appointed by the Senate or another proper authority.

This distinction between military ranks proper and political officers in the military means that these two types of positions can be held in parallel: it is (and was) perfectly possible that a Centurio could obtain a senatorial career and reach the rank of Legatus. However, in this case, the military rank of that person still remained Centurio, since his position as Legatus was not a military rank but a political rank. It is similar to the modern world when a captain, a major or a colonel enters politics and gets appointed as secretary (or minister) of defense: this doesn’t alter his rank as captain, major or colonel, yet he will be the boss and superior of other colonels and even generals. The position of secretary of defense is not part of the military career, but it is part of the structure. This is how the Roman political officers of the military commanded the legions, and this is how Nova Roma distinguishes between the military rank of a citizen and the political army rank of a citizen.

There is also difference between rank and appointment (command or work assignment) of an officer. For example, a unit can have two Centuriones, but only one of them is the commander, the other is responsible for logistics, supply or bureaucratic tasks etc. Both have the rank of Centurio Hastatus Posterior, but one has the appointment of Commanding Officer, the other has the appointment of Quartermaster (in charge of supply). The command of the unit or the assignment of work is called an “appointment” (basically meaning “job”, “role”, “function”) in military language, while the military title of Centurio Hastatus Posterior is called a “rank” (meaning “grade of precedence”, “dignity”). Sometimes, though only under special circumstances, a lower ranking officer can even have a higher level appointment than a higher ranking officer: for example, a Centurio can be made the Commanding Officer of a unit where a Tribunus is also present, but the Tribunus is not the Commanding Officer of the unit. In this case, the Tribunus has precedence in dignity, but cannot give orders to the Centurio. The Centurio must salute the Tribune and give him precedence in ceremonial situations, but Tribunus is in fact the subordinate of the Centurio when it comes to actual operations.

The two lists of ranks below are comprehensive, and there is absolutely no need to fill all of these within a reenactment unit, only a very few of them are needed in an average size reenactment group. The ones that are recommended to be filled are highlighted by orange color. If you start with a very small group, it is recommended that you don’t start as a Centurio, but just as a Tesserarius or Optio. It is better to advance from rank to rank and climb the career of a Roman officer during your years as a reenactor than to start as the highest ranking officer from where there is no perspective where to rise. Group leaders are asked to exercise some self-restraint and modesty, and to promote themselves gradually. You can have as many officers as you want, although there are differing opinions about the utility of promoting proliferously. Some groups think doesn’t that it looks realistic, other groups think that we are not using these ranks realistically anyway (Which reenactor group has thousands of soldiers?), but we should use these ranks so as to reward the most excellent members and to allow them to experience the Roman way of life in a military career, rising from Private Soldier to higher ranks. Even a small reenactment group can have more than one Tesserarii or Optiones, even more than one Centuriones if it’s needed. These ranks should not only serve as denoting the functions and roles of a person in the group, but these ranks also serve as indicators of the individual reenactor’s expertise, dedication, experience and length of service. For example, there can be even three or more Centuriones in a smaller group only one of whom is the actual Commanding Officer, and the rest are assigned to “office work”. These “entourage officers” can wear the insignia of a Centurio but don’t command during the in-field operations, but simply assist the Centurio in charge.

 

Ranks of generals (political officers) in Nova Roma, in decreasing order

This is the list of the ranks of generals in the reenactment of Nova Roma, strictly modeled on ancient Roman practice. The generals of the Roman army were political military officers, magistrates, governors and commissioners of the Senate. The supreme command can, in times of need, belong to the Dictator, or when the consular office is suspended, to the Tribunus Militum Consulari Potestate.

The abbreviations (OF-10, OF-9, OF-7 etc. to OR-1) are NATO military rank codes which denote comparison between the ranks of various armed forces in the modern world. Attention: these comparisons here to modern ranks are based only on superficial similarities, it is not a thorough adaptation.

  1. Consul (OF-10) (Supreme Commander of All Nova Roman Reenactment Armies)
  2. Proconsul and Pro Consule* (OF-10)
  3. Praetor (OF-9) (Deputy Supreme Commander of All Nova Roman Reenactment Armies)
  4. Propraetor and Pro Praetore* (OF-9)
  5. Legatus Pro Praetore (OF-9)
  6. Quaestor (OF-8)
  7. Proquaestor (OF-8)
  8. Legatus (OF-7)
  9. Praefectus (OF-6)
  10. Tribunus Militum A Populo (OF-6) (Elected Military Tribunes)
  11. Tribunus Laticlavius (OF-6) (Politically Appointed Military Tribunes)

* The spellings Pro Consule and Pro Praetore are reserved for special appointments.

If the person is a reenactor in a military unit of Nova Roma, he can or might also have a lower “field rank” or “operational rank”, according to the system of promotions which is in force in his unit. In such a case, the reenactor group will decide when and which of his two types of positions should be displayed in events. The usual practice is to honor the high rank of the general at ceremonies and rituals by having them wear the insignia and armor of a general, but to let him participate in common military operations in the uniform of his other, lower rank, so that the unit can perform military drill and formations with higher numbers and manpower: generals are not much needed in a military drill of an average size (10-15 people) reenactor group.

 

Ranks of regular military officers in Nova Roma, in decreasing order

These are the military ranks proper that can be reached by promotion. All the ranks above these are not obtained by promotion but by election or political appointment. The generals (see above) usually have a proper military rank to which they return after their political appointment as general is ended.

Work assignments (such as Tubicen, Cornicen, Optio Carceris, Optio Fabricae, Beneficiarius, Cornicularius etc…) which are in many descriptions listed as military ranks, should not be considered as such, and are not considered military ranks by Nova Roma but only work positions. An Optio Fabricae has the rank of Optio as any Optio, even if it is a distinguished assignment and gives this kind of Optio greater power than what an Optio assigned to a centuria has. However, this is the same in the modern armies as well, since two colonels can have very different work assignments (for example one commanding a regiment, another is doing administrative office work). A Tubicen or a Cornicen (which are military musicians) should be considered Miles Gregalis, or if previously they had a higher rank, still having that previous substantive rank, because working in the assignment of military music is not a “rank”, not a grade in the scale of command hierarchy, but a position of work. The Praefectus Castrorum, although the Romans perhaps might have seen this as a distinct military rank and not only an assigned work position, is treated like an appointment in Nova Roma for the interest of transparency and uniformity, and the actual military rank of a Praefectus Castrorum in Nova Roma is the substantive rank to which he was promoted the last time.

The NATO military rank codes for officers and for enlisted (from OF-9 to OR-1) are here for a superficial comparison to the ranks of various armed forces in the modern world. In case of the highest ranking officers, you can see two types of comparison, for example, the Primipilus as both OF-8 and OF-5. The reason for this is because the highest regular rank a Roman soldier could normally reach was the rank of Primipilus, therefore from the point of view of career and career, the Primipilus position equals to the rank of one of highest ranking generals in modern armies; however, the social status of a Primipilus was quite low as compared to a modern OF-8 general, his actual status, power and position was more similar to a modern day colonel. The comparison to OF-8 indicates that it was one of the highest regular, real military ranks in the Roman army to which one can be promoted, the comparison to OF-5 indicates what his strength and role actually was in the army.

  1. Tribunus Militum Rufulus a.k.a. Angusticlavius (OF-9 / OF-5)
  2. Centurio Primus Pilus Prior a.k.a. Primipilus shortly (OF-8 / OF-5)
  3. Centurio Primus Princeps Prior a.k.a. Princeps shortly (OF-7 / OF-5)
  4. Centurio Primus Hastatus Prior a.k.a. Hastatus shortly (OF-7 / OF-5)
  5. Centurio Primus Pilus Posterior ¹ (OF-6 / OF-5)
  6. Centurio Primus Princeps Posterior (OF-6 / OF-5)
  7. Centurio Primus Hastatus Posterior (OF-6 / OF-5)
  8. Centurio Pilus Prior (OF-5)
  9. Centurio Princeps Prior (OF-4)
  10. Centurio Hastatus Prior (OF-3)
  11. Centurio Pilus Posterior (OF-2)
  12. Centurio Princeps Posterior (OF-2)
  13. Centurio Hastatus Posterior (OF-2)
  14. Optio Ad Spem Ordinis a.k.a. Optio Spei (OF-1)
  15. Optio (OF-1)
  16. Aquilifer (OR-9)
  17. Signifer Triplicarius ²  (OR-9)
  18. Signifer (the Vexillarius and the Imaginifer are categorized under this same title) (OR-8)
  19. Tesserarius Triplicarius ² (OR-7)
  20. Tesserarius Duplicarius ² (OR-6)
  21. Tesserarius (OR-5)
  22. Decanus Triplicarius ² ³ (OR-4)
  23. Decanus Duplicarius ² ³ (OR-4)
  24. Decanus (OR-4) ³
  25. Miles Immunis Duplicarius ² (OR-3)
  26. Miles Immunis Sesquiplicarius ² (OR-2)
  27. Miles Gregalis a.k.a. Miles Gregarius (OR-1) (Private Soldier)

 

Notes:

¹  The rank of  Centurio Primus Pilus Posterior was abolished early in the empire but it can be part of the scale as it was part of the Roman military career during most of the earlier history of the Roman legions.

² The epithet “Sesquiplicarius” (one and a half), “Duplicarius” (double) and “Triplicarius” (triple) probably (but not undoubtedly) referred to the pay scale of these soldiers, and with elevated pay there came an elevated status. The Triplicarius was extremely rare, only sporadic evidence exists. Normally, the Tesserarius of the cavalry was called Sesquiplicarius and the the Optio of the cavalry was called Duplicarius, but the Centurio of the cavalry had the distinctive title Decurio. Private soldiers (Milites Gregales) could receive such an increased pay and status, but a Tesserarius or Signifer could also be promoted to the Duplicarius status, thus probably becoming Tesserarius Duplicarius or Signifer Triplicarius. In Nova Roma, relying on both ancient practice and the modern practicality of reenactment needs of recognizing the work and dedication of excellently performing individual reenactors, we use these epithets for the rank of Private Soldier, creating three ranks of Private I, Private II and Private III as categories, so that experienced Milites Gregales can be promoted even if there is no need for more higher ranking officers (like Decanus or Tesserarius) at the moment, and likewise, to create more grades of Decanus, Tesserarius and Signifer in order to allow advancement without creating too many Optiones or Centuriones in unit.

³ The rank of Decanus is evidenced only in the Late Empire, during the principate this rank was probably called “Caput Contubernii”. We recommend the use of Decanus firstly because it is very likely that the rank originated from earlier times even if inscriptional evidence is not found from earlier centuries, and secondly, even if it had been a late innovation, we should exemplify the history of Roman army and its most complete structure, paying at least a small tribute to the later periods, and the neat term of Decanus is more adapted to our needs of lowest rank promotions than the “Caput Contubernii” which seems a appointment rather than an established grade of substantive rank.

 

Recommended grades of promotion

Nobody is expected to go through these two dozens of various grades of military ranks, and nobody did in ancient Rome, either. Some of the ranks are expressing almost exactly the same level of authority, the difference is only in the title and in seniority, for example the various grades of Posterior Centuriones are all of the same rank, as the NATO-code shows (OF-2).

Experiencing and reviving the Roman military career for a Nova Roman reenactor is a program of Roman immersion for life, and it should be taken seriously, and each reenactor should have a prospect of continuous learning, advancing and perfecting himself in the knowledge and performance of Roman martial arts. The military ranks represent each reenactor’s current position in this journey, while keeping in mind that it is not possible for everyone to become a Centurio, but, after many years of diligent and extraordinary service, the quality of a great reenactor’s work should be recognized as an example for others by the dignity of a higher Roman military rank.

The recommended steps in going through the Roman military career for a reenactor consist of the following ranks, from lowest to the highest rank:

  1. Miles Gregalis
  2. Decanus
  3. Tesserarius
  4. Signifer
  5. Optio
  6. Centurio Hastatus Posterior or Princeps Posterior or Pilus Posterior
  7. Centurio Hastatus Prior 
  8. Centurio Princeps Prior
  9. Centurio Pilus Prior
  10. Centurio Primus Hastatus Prior a.k.a. Hastatus shortly or Primus Princeps Prior a.k.a. Princeps shortly
  11. Centurio Primus Pilus Prior a.k.a. Primipilus shortly
  12. Tribunus Militum Rufulus a.k.a. Angusticlavius

 

Appointments and positions of officers in Nova Roma

While ranks usually determine the appointment of a certain officer in real armies, in reenactment we need to rely on smaller groups of people to fill a large variety of positions in order to represent all aspects of Roman military life. Consequently, there is less restriction about which rank an officer must hold in order to fill a certain appointment. The Exercitus, Legio and Cohors Commander positions always require the military rank of Tribunus, or in its absence, the political army rank of Praefectus or Legatus.

This is the command and work position structure of the Nova Roman Reenactment Army (many of the Latin term below are neologisms):

  1. Imperator Maximo Imperio: Commander-In-Chief of the Reenactment Armies of Nova Roma (Consul)
  2. Imperator Maiore Imperio: Special Commander-In-Chief of a Region or Reenactment Army Group (Consul, Proconsul)
  3. Imperator Minore Imperio: Deputy Commander-In-Chief of the Reenactment Armies of Nova Roma (Praetor)
  4. Imperator Provinciae: Provincial Commander-In-Chief (Governors)
  5. Vicarius Imperatoris Provinciae: Deputy Provincial Commander-In-Chief (Legatus, Quaestor, Proquaestor, Praefectus)
  6. Praeses Imperans Militiae Reconstructivae Autonomae [Exercitus Reconstructivi Autonomi, vel Legionis Reconstructivae Autonomae, vel Cohortis Reconstructivae Autonomae]: Chief Commanding Officer of an Autonomous Reenactment Unit [Autonomous Reenactment Exercitus, Autonomous Reenactment Legio, or Autonomous Reenactment Cohors] (This appointment is not part of the ancient Roman structure but the modern position of the leader of a reenactment group: Tribunus Rufulus, Legatus, Praefectus)
  7. Dux Exercitus: Exercitus Commander (normally Legatus, or a General with imperium, but also any rank of General from the rank of Praefectus)
  8. Vicarius Ducis Exercitus: Deputy Exercitus Commander (any rank of General)
  9. Dux Legionis: Legio Commander (normally Legatus or Tribunus Rufulus, but also any rank of General)
  10. Vicarius Ducis Legionis: Deputy Legio Commander (normally Tribunus, under certain circumstances Primipilus, or Praefectus, or Quaestor, or Proquaestor, or Legatus)
  11. Praefectus Castrorum: Legion Quartermaster (Praefectus)
  12. Praetorium et Primi Ordines: Staff Officers (Centurio Primus Hastatus/Princeps/Pilus Posterior/Prior, or Tribunus, or Praefectus)
  13. Ductor Cohortis: Cohors Commander (Centurio Pilus Prior, or Primipilus, or Tribunus, or Praefectus)
  14. Vicarius Ductoris Cohortis: Deputy Cohors Commander (normally Centurio [Primus] Princeps Prior or Pilus Posterior, under certain circumstances any rank of Centurio, or Optio, or Tribunus, or Praefectus)
  15. Ductor Manipuli: Manipulus Commander (normally Centurio [Primus] Hastatus/Princeps/Pilus Prior, under certain circumstances any rank of Centurio, or Optio, or Tribunus, or Praefectus)
  16. Ordinis Ductor: Centuria Commander (normally any rank of Centurio, under certain circumstances Optio, or Signifer, or Tesserarius, or Tribunus, or Praefectus)
  17. Optio Ordinis Ductoris: Deputy Centuria Commander (normally Optio, under certain circumstances any rank of Centurio, or Optio, or Signifer, or Tesserarius, or Praefectus)
  18. Beneficiarii Etc…: Administrative, Professional, Specialist, Engineer, Logistics or Technician Officers
  19. Adiutores Etc…: General Assistants to the Centuria Commander
  20. Caput Contubernii: Contubernium Commander
  21. Immunes: Scribes, Professionals, Specialists, Engineers, Logistics Workers, Technicians or Musicians
  22. Munifices: Private Soldiers

Because there is rarely a reenactment group which has more than one units within itself, the various grades of commanders can be greatly reduced: a reenactment group will usually meet only one commander, its own single unit commander, whether it be formally called Legio or Cohors, it doesn’t matter in effect. The superior commanders, belonging among the magistrates of Nova Roma, are usually far away in other countries, except the Governor of the Nova Roman province where the group resides.

The most widespread practice is that the Reenactment Legio is featuring only a Cohors consisting of one Centuria (of 10-20 participants), commanded by the Centurio who is most often, at the same time, the actual leader of the reenactment organization. In this case, this Centurio is in fact the Chief Commanding Officer of the Autonomous Reenactment Legio, which carries with itself also the appointment of Legio Commander and the rank of Praefectus Legionis, but most often such a leader doesn’t wear the insignia, armor or garments of a Praefectus, but holds the rank only for administrative purposes. In theory, this Centurio can hold not only the appointment of Legio Commander and Centuria Commander, but also the appointments of Cohors Commander and Manipulus Commander, because he can feature his group not only as a Legio and Centuria but also as a Cohors and Manipulus, just like as many reenactor groups do when they call themselves a certain Roman legion but also carry a Cohors flag (and/or a manipulus or centuria signum) of the same legion, indicating that they are both a Legio and a specific Cohors of that Legio — sometimes even a specific Manipulus and Centuria. In such cases, it is legitimate for the group leader to hold concurrently the appointments of Legio Commander, Cohors Commander, Manipulus Commander and Centuria Commander. This is in fact nothing else than a play with the terms and formalities for reenactment purposes, because all these units refer to the same group of men; however, it is perfectly acceptable.

It is also possible, and even encouraged, to fill these various unit command levels, even if these are just fictive units, with separate individual officers. If there are more than one commanders in a reenactment group, most often, these commanders are filling fictive unit commands, and in reality they are just commanding the same single unit with different degree of authority and precedence. If there are more than one commanders in a reenactment unit, they are sometimes of equal grade of authority and rank, sometimes of different grades. Very often it’s not the highest ranking officer who fills the highest command, and sometimes it’s not even the highest commander who actually leads and manages the group. For example, a reenactment unit can actually be run — and command can be exercised — by a Centurio, while the unit includes higher ranking officers like a Tribunus or Legatus who don’t really command the unit but serve only as ceremonial, honorary or “show” commanders, usually for the purpose that the group can display the armor and insignia of such high ranking officers as well and to show the full pomp of the Roman army to the public. Real, commanding, decision making executive commanders are called  “operational commanders”, and the commanders who are honorary commanders or command only as part of the show, are called “ceremonial commanders”. Commanders external to the reenactment group, such as magistrates, governors and state officers of Nova Roma, are always ceremonial commanders of the reenactment group, unless they are part of the group and the group leadership recognizes them as actual, operational commanders. However, unlike in the case of ceremonial commanders internal to the group, the Chief Commanding Officer cannot direct, guide or command these state officers of Nova Roma. (This is why they are listed higher in the hierarchical list of appointments above.)

The distinction between  “operational commanders” and  “ceremonial commanders” is a different case from the one when the higher ranking officers are not even considered to have commander appointments, but are considered only to serve in “office work” or just serve as an “entourage” of the group who aren’t holding commander appointments. In a case like this, the honor and salutation is duly given to the higher ranking officer such as Tribunus, Praefectus or Legatus by the actual, lower ranking commander (usually a Centurio, sometimes Optio, Tesserarius etc.), but the higher ranking officer doesn’t even ceremonially command the unit, not even in parades, drill or battle performances or at other shows. These non-commanding officers who can be considered to have various administrative or office functions except the command of the unit, must not be called commanders but must be carefully distinguished as “entourage officers”.

If there are more than one commanders in a Nova Roman reenactment unit, or if the command of the unit is held by a ceremonial commander, then the group must make it clear for Nova Roma who is the actual leader in charge with responsibility for the decisions and actions of the unit, who is also serving as the representative between Nova Roma and the reenactment group. This distinction and clarification is very important since it’s not always the highest ranking officer who fills this role. The officer who actually makes the decisions in the group must be defined as the Chief Commanding Officer of the Autonomous Reenactment Unit. The chief operational commander is always the “Chief Commanding Officer of the Autonomous Reenactment Unit” (where the name of the reenactment group is substituted in the place of the words “Autonomous Reenactment Unit”). Normally, there should be only one such chief commander for an autonomous unit, but there can be cases where chief command is divided between a collective leadership of equals (there are examples for this from Roman army history). If this is the case, the name of the appointment is “Collegial Chief Commanding Officer“.

If the reenactment unit has a higher ranking officer who is formally holding the appointment to the command of the unit but in fact is only a ceremonial commander of the unit (for example, there is a Legatus Legionis who is treated as the chief commander at performances but the actual leader, the Chief Commanding Officer of the group is a Centurio), then the ceremonial commander of the unit must always be prefixed with the word “Ceremonial”. The appointed of the Legatus Legionis in the example would then be “Ceremonial Legio Commander”. If the group wants to pay tribute to such an individual, and to emphasize his role as a respected figure head and honorary first man of the group, reenactment groups are allowed to bestow the special appointment of “Ceremonial Chief Commander of the Autonomous Reenactment Unit” on such an officer, and in this case the actual, but lower ranking, commander must have the appointment of “Executive (or Operational) Commander of the Autonomous Reenactment Unit”. Both of these appointments are just title variants of the Chief Commanding Officer of the Autonomous Reenactment Unit, but while the Ceremonial Chief Commander is just a honorary variant of the appointment, without management duty or responsibility, the Executive (or Operational) Commander is the full equivalent of the Chief Commanding Officer, differing in name only, a humbler variant in order to emphasize respect toward the Ceremonial Chief Commander.

If there are more than one commanders in a group, then they must be differentiated by the exact term of the command they hold, for example, if an Autonomous Reenactment Unit is a Legio (for example, Legio XIV Martia), which has two Cohortes and each Cohors is subdivided to two Centuriae, and each larger and smaller unit has its own operational commander, then these commanders should be called:

  • “(Legio) Commander of the Legio XIV Martia”,
  • “(Cohors) Commander of Cohors [Number] of the Legio XIV Martia”, and
  • “(Centuria) Commander of the Centuria [Name] of Cohors [Number] of the Legio XIV Martia”.

For brevity’s sake, the words “Legio”, “Cohors” and “Centuria” in the parentheses before the word “Commander” can be omitted if the unit’s precise name follows it. If these command appointments indicate only different grades of precedence among the commanders, who don’t actually have separate and distinct groups of men under their command, but all the commanders command the same single unit, then the name of their appointment must always be written in full, as Legio Commander, Cohors Commander, Centurio Commander.

In the example above, if the “Commander of the Legio XIV Martia”, i.e. Legio Commander, is the chief operational commander of the reenactment group, then he is the one who has to be (formally-ceremonially) appointed by Nova Roma, and he will be the liaison between his organization and Nova Roma, therefore he also holds the appointment of “Chief Commanding Officer of the Legio XIV Martia”. In this case, it is not necessary to indicate both appointments. If one of his subordinates, for example a Centuria Commander is the actual leader, i.e. the chief operational commander, then that Centura Commander has the appointment of “Chief Commanding Officer of the Legio XIV Martia” (whatever rank it implies, as a reenactment Centuria may be commanded, under certain circumstances, by a variety of officers), while the Legio Commander, who formally has a hierarchically much higher command, would hold only the appointment of “Ceremonial (Legio) Commander of the Legio XIV Martia”. The word “Ceremonial” must be added always if the commander of the highest appointment is not the actual group leader. If the group wanted to pay greater homage to the officer who is the Legio Commander, they could appoint the Legio Commander as “Ceremonial Chief Commander of the Legio XIV Martia”, and then the title of the actual leader, the Chief Commanding Officer, would change to “Executive (or Operational) Commander of the Legio XIV Martia”.

In groups where there are more than one commanders of different unit levels, but there exists only one unit, some fictive subdivision units are formally generated in an automatic manner. For example, if the Legio XIV Martia reenactment group from the previous example has only one unit, but it has three commanders of different level, a Centuria Commander, a Cohors Commander and a Legio Commander, this automatically creates a Centuria within a Manipulus within a Cohors within a Legio, even if the personnel is the same for all. These “virtual” units will not be taken into account by Nova Roma, the reenactment unit will be known simply as one unit called Legio, but the commanders in it will formally be commanders of the different units containing each others. In this example the Centuria Commander and Cohors Commander must be labeled with the type of their unit (Centuria, Cohors), because they don’t actually have a real, separate unit, but they all command the same unit, the Legio. The unit in their title is only a marker of precedence. The Legio Commander is an exception, because the Legio is the unit which really exists in this example, so he can omit the word Legio if the name of Legio follows his title.