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Marines and mariners in the roman imperial fleets

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses the marines and mariners in the Roman imperial fleets. Since Chester Starr's 1941 book The Roman Imperial Navy it has become generally accepted knowledge that "the crew of each warship, regardless of its size, formed one centuria under its centurio (classicus) in the manner of a legionary centuria". Boldly stating his case, Starr solved one of the most problematic peculiarities in the epigraphic habit of Roman naval troops in one great swoop. The problem referred to is: in roughly two thirds of the exstant inscriptions milites of the imperial fleets stated that they belonged to some kind of warship, while the other third indicated that they belonged to a centuria. A small number indicated neither and a very few referred to both ship and centuria. Starr's statement was never challenged despite the problems that clearly exist with this theory. The chapter addresses some of those problems.

Keywords: Chester Starr; mariners; marines; Roman imperial fleets; Roman naval troops



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