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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2017

George Cupcea
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca
E-mail address:


The structure and organization of the Roman army is a complex subject for ancient historians. Of its multiple aspects, the schedule of the daily routine is one of the most interesting but, at the same time, is scarcely known. Of course, huge progress has been made with the publication of the daily rosters of one particular auxiliary unit in the East (cohors XX Palmyrenorum, at Dura, Syria), but the detail of the chronological organization of the unit's schedule is still to be revealed.

Research Article
Copyright © The Classical Association 2017 

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This work was supported by a grant of the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNCS-UEFISCDI, project number PN-II-RU-TE-2011-2-0273. In the completion of the present paper, the feedback and advice of Prof. Bruce Gibson was of paramount importance, and for this I wish to express my gratitude to him. For any errors I am solely responsible.


1 Most of them gathered by Fink, R.O., Roman Military Records on Papyrus (Ann Arbor, 1971)Google Scholar.

2 That of Bongarsius is the most accurate and reliable acc. IDR 3/5, 148. See also the partial drawing of Ariosti, which has the same text. He took the monument to Vienna, where it was consequently lost. See Buonopane, A. and Monaca, V. La, ‘Le iscrizioni della Transilvania nel codice Veronese di Giuseppe Ariosti (Biblioteca Capitolare, cod. CCLXVII)’, in Marchi, G.P. and Pál, J. (edd.), Epigrafi romane di Transilvania raccolte da Giuseppe Ariosti e postillate da Scipione Maffei. Bibliotheca Capitolare di Verona, Manoscritto CCLXVII. Studi e ricerche (Verona and Szeged, 2010), 245374 Google Scholar, at 272 and Ariosti, G., Inscrizioni antiche della Transilvania (Vienna, 1723), I.XIXGoogle Scholar.

3 Piso, I., Inscriptions d'Apulum (Inscriptions de la Dacie romaine – III 5) (Paris, 2001), 147–8Google Scholar = IDR 3/5.

4 As it has been considered first by Domaszewski, A. von, ‘Die Religion des römischen Heeres’, WZ 14 (1895), 1129 Google Scholar, at 103; cf. id., Die Rangordnung des römischen Heeres (Bonn, 19081), 46. Contra, see n. 62 below.

5 The most complex description is that in Book 9 of Vitruvius (De arch. 9.7.1–8.14); see also Plin. HN 7.212–15; Gell. NA 3.2.1–16; Varro, Ling. 4.4 and Censorinus, De die natali 23.7.

6 Bonnin, J., La mesure du temps dans l'Antiquité (Paris, 2015), 60–3Google Scholar. Confusion in the precise terminology is noticeable throughout these texts. Varro (Ling. 4.4) debates the terminology of the solarium, the sundial, which shows the hours of the day from the Sun, and was first placed by Scipio Nasica near the basilica Aemilia and the basilica Fulvia. Pliny (HN 7.212–15) places the introduction of hours in Rome after the Twelve Tables, but gives more precise dates for the adoption of the Greek sundial from Catania, after the First Punic War (263 b.c.), and also for the building of the first sundial adapted to the latitude of Rome (164 b.c.). On the matter of the clock placed by Scipio Nasica, he argues that it actually is a complicated water clock, made for timekeeping also during the night (159 b.c.). Censorinus (De die natali 23) confirms this chronology and adds that the Romans were the first to measure the day from midnight to midnight and that the Twelve Tables divided the day into only four parts, like the military uigiliae at night.

7 For general information and terminology, see RE VIII.2, cols. 2416–28; DNP 12/1, cols. 971–3; Gibbs, S., Greek and Roman Sundials (New Haven and London, 1976); Bonnin (n. 6), 85–6Google Scholar; and, for Marcu, Dacia F., ‘The sundial from Florești’, in Pop, H. et al. (edd.), Identități culturale locale și regionale în context european. Studii de arheologie și antropologie istorică. In memoriam Al. V. Matei (Zalău, 2012), 533–8Google Scholar.

8 See RE VIII.2, cols. 2428–33; DNP 12/1, cols. 973–6. For the clarification of the term, see Bonnin, J., ‘Wasseruhr und Klepsydra. Zeitmesser der Antike’, in Sonne Zeit, Rundschreiben der Arbeitsgruppe Sonnenuhren im Österreichischen Astronomischen Verein 45 (June 2013), 1113 Google Scholar and id., (n. 6), 56–60 and 85–6.

9 Bonnin (n. 8), 11–12 records several references to it in Greek literature (Aristophanes, fifth century b.c.), mentioning it as a couple of pots for the controlled draining of water, used as a stopwatch in courts, and noting that archaeological finds are few, but relevant, especially from Athens in the fourth century b.c.

10 Bonnin (n. 8), 12–13. Also worked by water, it can measure significantly larger amounts of time and can record the hours' succession (horologion, hydrion horoskopeion, hydrologion, aqua horologium, hor. hibernium).

11 Carcopino, J., Daily Life in Ancient Rome: The People and the City at the Height of the Empire (New Haven, 1940)Google Scholar; Wright, J.K. and Lobeck, A.K., ‘Man and time in ancient Rome: notes on a recent publication’, Geographical Review 31 (1941), 659–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

12 Bonnin (n. 6), 63–5.

13 Bonnin (n. 6), 63–4.

14 When considering that by 190 b.c. the month of March fell in October, the matter of the hours of the day seems not so significant: see Derow, P., Rome, Polybius, and the East. Edited by A. Erskine and J. Crawley Quinn (Oxford and New York, 2015)Google Scholar, especially 212, 214–15, 222–35 and Bonnin (n. 6), 64–5.

15 The first mention of a horologium in the Roman world comes from Alatrium, datable between the years 134 and 90 b.c.CIL 12.1529: see Bonnin (n. 6), 70.

16 AE 1975.232 (Italy): h. praetorii; CIL 2.4316 (Taracco): h. collegii fabrum; CIL 2.93 (Baetica): in a public place; CIL 8.978 (Africa) and 10.831 (Italy): scholas item h.; CIL 8.25533 (Africa): h. with columns and portico; CIL 9.2334 (Italy): h. with a table; CIL 13.11978a (Upper Germany): h. et aedes cum ornamentis suis omnibus et signis; CIL 5.2035 (Italy) and IRC 3.38 (Spain): h. cum sedibus; CIL 6.10237 (Rome): h. with a marble basin; CIL 10.5807 (Italy): h. in a building complex; CIL 12.3100 (Nîmes): h. cum II cerulas argenteas; AE 2005.454 (Italy): h. distylis signisque (with two metal rods); CIL 12.2522 (Narbonensis): h. cum suo aedificio et signis. The earliest discoveries of sundials come from Umbria and Pompeii, both datable to the second century b.c., according to Bonnin (n. 6), 69.

17 Also mentioned by Vitruvius (De arch. 1.6). Kienast, H.J., Der Turm der Winde in Athen (DAI Archäologische Forschungen Band 30) (Wiesbaden, 2014), 120–8Google Scholar. In fact, this complex installation held an armillary sphere inside, giving it an astronomical and astrological role, to present the mechanisms of the universe.

18 CIL 12.535, Italy.

19 CIL 12.2522, Narbonensis: … ad id horologium administrandum seruum.

20 AE 1992.1620 (Bacakale, Asia): … officina horologi caesura. See also Christol, M. and Drew-Bear, T., ‘Les carrieres de Dokimeion a l'epoque Severienne’, Epigraphica 53 (1991), 113–74Google Scholar, at 135–7: the officina could have served for the fabrication or most likely the restoration of a monumental horologium.

21 SEG 36.1153: Αἰλιανὸς Ἀσκληπιόδοτος γνωμονηκός—dedication to Nemesis by a clock-maker; and IGRR 3.1397 (a.d. 288–289): an unknown ὡρολογιά[ριος] τῆς τετρακονίας—attesting the clock-makers of the metropolitan rural community around Nikaia; both of Nikaia, Bithynia and Pontus. See also Bonnin (n. 6), 85–6.

22 Bonnin (n. 6), 68.

23 Bonnin (n. 6), 71.

24 Whitrow, G.J., Time in History. Views of Time from Prehistory to the Present Day (Oxford and New York, 1988), 28Google Scholar.

25 Bonnin (n. 6), 267–8.

26 militari ergo gradu XX milia passuum horis quinque dumtaxat aestiuis conficienda sunt.

27 Phang, S.E., Roman Military Service. Ideologies of Discipline in the Late Republic and Early Principate (Cambridge, 2008), 213CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

28 See also Remijsen, S., ‘The postal service and the hour as a unit of time in antiquity’, Historia 65 (2007), 127–40Google Scholar, at 140.

29 Polyb. 9.14–15.

30 App. B Civ. 1.93—late in the afternoon; Plut. Sull. 29.3–6—at the fourth hour/daybreak.

31 Caes. BGall. 5.13: nos nihil de eo percontationibus reperiebamus, nisi certis ex aqua mensuris breuiores esse quam in continenti noctes uidebamus: see Bonnin, J., ‘Time keepers in Britain 43–780 a.d. Origins, the Roman contribution, and Anglo-Saxon continuity’, British Sundial Society Bulletin 22 (2010), 34–7Google Scholar, at 36, and id., (n. 6), 268.

32 See Fink (n. 1), nos. 1, 2, 9, 10 and 47.

33 Polyb. 6.35.6–36.9; Veg. Mil. 3.8.16–18; Dig. Phang (n. 27), 213.

34 Bonnin (n. 6), 270 reports eight such finds, from which six are related to forts. See also Marcu (n. 7).

35 Lewis, M., ‘A Roman clock at Vindolanda’, Current Archaeology 228 (2009), 1217 Google Scholar; Bonnin (n. 31), 36; Meyer, A., ‘Notes on the Vindolanda “calendar”: related artefacts and the purpose of the Vindolanda fragment’, in Collins, R. and McIntosh, F. (edd.), Life in the Limes. Studies of the People and Objects of the Roman Frontiers (Oxford, 2014), 109–15Google Scholar.

36 Lewis (n. 35), 16–17; Bonnin (n. 31), 35 and id., (n. 6), 270 (A_338).

37 Meyer (n. 35), 109–10.

38 Bonnin (n. 31), 35–7.

39 Remijsen (n. 28), 135–6.

40 Dunand, M., Mission archéologique au Djebel Druze. Le Musée de Soueïda. Inscriptions et monuments figurés (Bibliothèque Archéologique et Historique 20) (Paris, 1934), 77 n. 162Google Scholar (fig. XXXIII); AE 1936.147; Bonnin (n. 6), 270.

41 See Horster, M., Bauinschriften römischer Kaiser. Untersuchungen zu Inschriftenpraxis und Bautätigkeit in Städten des westlichen Imperium Romanum in der Zeit des Prinzipats (Stuttgart, 2001), 188207 Google Scholar.

42 Petrikovits, H. von, Die Innenbauten römischer Legionslager während der Prinzipatszeit (Opladen, 1975), 75CrossRefGoogle Scholar and n. 79; Johnson, A., Römische Kastelle: des 1. und 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. in Britannien und in den germanischen Provinzen des Römerreiches (Mainz, 1987), 124–5Google Scholar.

43 von Domaszewski (n. 4 [1895]), 103.

44 von Domaszewski (n. 4 [1908]), 46.

45 von Domaszewski (n. 4 [1895]), 103. Worshipped in the same way as the aedes principiorum, the clock and the standards could moreover have shared the same space.

46 von Domaszewski (n. 4 [1908]), 46.

47 Bohec, Y. Le, L'armée romaine sous le Haut-Empire (Paris, 1989), 52Google Scholar. However, there is no ancient evidence for this.

48 CIL 6.221, 1057 and 1058.

49 von Domaszewski (n. 4 [1908]), 46, 14; Baillie-Reynolds, P.K., The Vigiles of Imperial Rome (London, 1926), 88Google Scholar. Dessau, however, doubts this assumption: ILS 2160 (dubitans proposuit Henzen).

50 Sablayrolles, R., Libertinus miles. Les cohortes de vigiles (Collections de l’École Française de Rome 224) (Rome, 1996), 232–3Google Scholar. Only a genius horrei is mentioned in connection with the military horrea.

51 Called precisely seruus in CIL 6.682, 8682; AE 1992.3723 or actor in CIL 6.9108.

52 Perhaps not at every hour, but at least for the change of the night guards, the horn-blowers would be asked to mark the ending and the beginning of each uigiliae. See Veg. Mil. 3.8.16–18.

53 CIL 6.1057 and 1058.

54 von Domaszewski  (n. 4 [1908]), 14; Baillie-Reynolds (n. 49), 88.

55 Sablayrolles (n. 50), 232.

56 Sablayrolles (n. 50), 233.

57 See Davies, R.W., ‘The medici of the Roman armed forces’, Epigraphische Studien 8 (1969), 8399 Google ScholarPubMed; id., The Roman military medical service’, Saalbuch Jahrbuch 27 (1970), 84104 Google Scholar; Stoll, O., ‘ Ordinatus architectus. Römische Militärarchitekten und ihre Bedeutung für den Technologietransfer’, MAVORS 13 (2001), 300–68Google Scholar; id., Medicus centurio (PSI 1063). Ein Sanitätsoffizier mit taktischem Kommando? Probleme, Hypothesen, Lösungen’, Jahrbuch des römisch-germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 50 (2003), 329–54Google Scholar and Baker, P.A., Medical Care for the Roman Army on the Rhine, Danube and British Frontiers in the First, Second and Early Third Centuries a.d. (BAR IntS 1286) (Oxford, 2004)Google Scholar.

58 See above, von Domaszewski (n. 4 [1908]), 46; von Petrikovits (n. 42), 75 and n. 79; Le Bohec (n. 47), 52, and id., Die römische Armee (Stuttgart, 1993), 55.

59 In ILS III.2 (page 732) he agrees that horologiarius is inter officia militaria, and refers to page 489, where the text of the inscription of Apulum is given, with no solution for the term horologiar.

60 Mommsen in CIL; Tudor, D., ‘Les constructions publiques de la Dacie romaine d'après les inscriptions’, Latomus 23 (1964), 271301 Google Scholar, at 294; Fitz, J., Honorific Titles of Roman Military Units in the 3rd Century (Budapest and Bonn, 1983), 62Google Scholar; Moga, V., Din istoria militară a Daciei romane. Legiunea XIII Gemina (Cluj-Napoca, 1985), 42Google Scholar and Piso (n. 3), 147–8. Forisek, P., ‘Inscriptions of the Roman Dacia in the works of Tauriunus and Reicherstorffer’, in Németh, G., Piso, I. (edd.), Epigraphica II. Mensa rotunda epigraphiae Dacicae Pannonicaeque. Papers of the 4th Hungarian Epigraphic Roundtable. 1st Rumanian-Hungarian Epigraphic Roundtable, Sarmizegetusa 2003 (Debrecen, 2004), 237–53Google Scholar, at 246–8 is undecided.

61 See n. 15 above.

62 Bonnin (n. 6), 268–9.

63 See n. 22 above.

64 IGRR III.1397.

65 Falco was consul ordinarius in a.d. 193, allegedly plotted against Pertinax and was spared (SHA Pert. 10.1–7); therefore, he was likely to have left the consulship before the accession of Didius Iulianus and subsequently Severus. See further Champlin, J., ‘Notes on the heirs of Commodus’, AJPh 100 (1979), 288306 Google Scholar, at 300–5.

66 IDR 3/5, 148.

67 Acc. IDR 3/5, 148.

68 See nn. 22 and 65 above.

69 OLD s.v. horologiarius.

70 CIL 3.12074; 5.6785; 8.18291; AE 1968.605: miles leg. … beneficiarius. ILS 4510a: miles leg. … signifer. CIL 3.6108, 8201; 6.232, 3342, 3349, 3355, 3366; 10.1771: miles leg. … frumentarius. CIL 13.7943: miles medicus, etc.

71 See also CIL 13.7800, Rigomagus, with Bonnin (n. 6), 269.

72 See n. 21 above.

73 See n. 19 above.

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