L. R. LIND
University of Kansas
THE EVIDENCE FOR AN HISTORICAL ACCOUNT of Roman military exemption is scant, scattered, and vague. In these respects the subject1 does not differ greatly from the larger problem of Roman military history as a whole, in which agreement upon many points has been difficult. The theory and practice of exemption vary throughout the period of the Republic; special circumstances and military crises did not allow the Roman state to maintain any legal consistency in the matter.
The citizen army of the Republic, called out only in time of need, gave way to the partisan armies of the Civil Wars and to the standing armies of the Emperors; exemption then took on a slightly different meaning. Service in the Republican army was compulsory and incumbent upon every able-bodied male; the armies of the Empire as well as those of the Ciceronian Age were made up chiefly of volunteers and were obviously subject less to the requirements of any military law than to the personal will, and caprice, of their commanders. The factor of payment, first introduced in 406 B.C.,2 somewhat further complicates the question since it brings up the point of distinctions between volunteers and mercenaries, the conscript and the soldier of fortune. The period of service in both Republic and Empire, and, in the latter especially, the problem of adequate rewards (the soldier's "bonus"--land or money) for the soldier after completion of service represent other items of difference.____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Classical Studies in Honor of William Abbott Oldfather. Contributors: William Abbott Oldfather - Author, University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign Campus) - OrganizationName. Publisher: The University of Illinois Press. Place of publication: Urbana. Publication year: 1943. Page number: 94.
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