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Basic army organization and unit names

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Aldarion, May 25, 2020.

  1. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

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    How well does the following work? Both linguistically (translation) and organizationally?

    • Middle Byzantine unit names
      • greek name – meaning – latin translation – number
      • thema – "emplacement" (Greek tithemi – "I put, place") – aetas, dispositio
        • I place, put – posui
        • alternatives: instruere, corpus (body)
      • tourma – (Latin turma - "swarm, squadron") – turma
      • droungos – (old Gaulish dhrungho "tribe, group, throng, crowd") – drungus
      • bandon – (Germanic bandwo) – bandus, bandum ("ensign, banner")
      • * alternative: vexillatio
      • kentarchia – centuria
      • kontoubernion – (Latin contubernium – "common tent, friendship") - countubernium
    • greek name – meaning – latin translation – number
    • thema – "emplacement" (Greek tithemi – "I put, place") – aetas, dispositio
      • I place, put – posui
      • alternatives: instruere, corpus (body)
    • tourma – (Latin turma - "swarm, squadron") – turma
    • droungos – (old Gaulish dhrungho "tribe, group, throng, crowd") – drungus
    • bandon – (Germanic bandwo) – bandus, bandum ("ensign, banner")
      • alternative: vexillatio
    • kentarchia – centuria
    • kontoubernion – (Latin contubernium – "common tent, friendship") - countubernium

    • final organization
      • decuria / contubernium (10)
      • manipulus (5 contubernium - 50) (in current organization - turma (50))
      • centuria (10 contubernium - 100) (in current organization - centuria (100))
      • bandus (or vexillatio???) (2 or 4 centurias - 200 - 400) (in current organization - manipulus - 200)
      • drungus (2 or 4 bandon - 400 - 1 600) (in current organization - cohors - 400 - 800)
      • turma (2 or 4 drungus? - 800 - 6 400) (in current organization - nonexistent)
      • corpus (or legio???) (2 or 4 turmae - 3 200 - 12 800) (in current organization - legio - 5 200)
        • 4 infantry + 2 cavalry turmae - 4 800 - 12 800
      • corpus (??? - if "legio" is used for unit one down - 2 or 4 legions - 9 600 - 19 200) (in current organization - corpus - 15 600)

    Note that I am aiming for organization similar to Byzantine themes:
    Theme (Byzantine district) - Wikipedia

    So would presence of additional level of organization between drungus/cohors and corpus/legion be significant? Also, would it be better to use basis of 2 or 4 for unit organization? Especially in light of need to form a hollow infantry square.

    EDIT: Also, I am thinking of making infantry 1/3 pikemen, 1/3 crossbowmen, 1/3 men-at-arms (using pollaxe).

    Second question is, what would be the balance of troops? This is the threat overview:
     
  2. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Which is the theme equivalent here? Is it the top level?
     
  3. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

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    Yes.
     
  4. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Awesome. So, what I would suggest for the top level is comitatenses, going by the logic that thema is to strategos as comitatenses is to magister militum, and strategos was originally the Greek translation of the magister militum.
     
  5. Aldarion

    Aldarion Inkling

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    Comitatenses comes from comitatus, which means "to accompany". Basically, comitatenses were field armies which accompanied commanders on campaign. And level up from that are praesentalis, which is literally "army in (emperor's) presence". So both comitatenses and praesentalis are actually equivalent of Byzantine tagmata. Themata have no equivalent in Roman army of antiquity; but thema - according to Constantine Porphyrogenetos - comes from Greek thesis - "placement", though perhaps closer origin is tithemi - which literally means "I put, I place". In Latin, the equivalent would be locatio, collocatione for "placement" or posui, locus for "I put, I place". Neither really sounds good for army unit (though loci is a possibility); so instead I went with corpus ("body"), though I also considered caterva ("group") - but latter sounds more like a term for a squad or a platoon.

    And this is one of main reasons why I opted to take Western Roman Empire as basis for my setting. As limited as my knowledge of Latin is, I have enough of it to catch at least some of mistakes or illogicalities. WIth Greek, I would be stuck to merely using original Byzantine terminology, with no clue wether it makes sense in context - my entire knowledge of Greek comes from studying Byzantine terminology.
     
    TheKillerBs likes this.
  6. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Huh. Learn something new every day.
     
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