Beneficiarii Consularis and Other
Studying the detached-service soldiers brings with it certain difficulties in terminology. Out of all of the varieties of outposted soldiers whose duties touched on public order, beneficiariiconsularis are most closely identified with the word statio, the term for the posts they served in the provinces. A common Greek expression for a beneficiarius consularis,, is suggestive of these stationes (although the transliteration is more common). In Latin, stationarius would seem to be a reasonable equivalent, and in fact, we know of many soldiers who were detached from their legions and outposted in the provinces, where they were called stationarii. It is not surprising, then, that the two are often confused. But there is no undisputable evidence that beneficiarii consularis and stationarii had anything to do with each other, and the word stationarius never appears in any of the hundreds of extant beneficiarii inscriptions. Oddly, detached-service beneficiarii consularis were outposted to a well-established system of stationes, which at first glance appear to serve a military policing purpose but, in fact, did not have much to do with public order at all. Conversely, sta tionarii soldiers’ designation strongly suggests some tie to the provincial statio network of the beneficiarii, when, in fact, there was no such link. Rather, the purpose of milites stationarii was as focused on actual military policing as that of the beneficiarii consularis was focused on administrative tasks.
The challenges of military jargon, along with ostensible similarities in the service functions of stationarii, frumentarii, and beneficiarii consularis, have led many good historians to muddle these separate groups via inexact terminology.1 By the
1. Examples of inexact terminology (especially relating to stationarii) include Calder, “Colonia Caesareia Antiocheia,” 82; Rostovtzeff, SEHRE, 411–12; Pflaum, Essai, 166; Robert, “Sur un papyrus,” 113; MacMullen, Soldier and Civilian, 52–56 passim; Fink, RMRP, p. 113; Russell,