A centurion (/sɛnˈtjʊəriən/; Latin: centurio [kɛn̪ˈt̪ʊrioː], pl. centuriones; Greek: κεντυρίων, translit. kentyríōn, or Greek: ἑκατόνταρχος, translit. hekatóntarkhos) was a position in the Roman army during classical antiquity, nominally the commander of a century (Latin: centuria), a military unit originally consisting of 100 legionaries. The size of the century changed over time, and from the first century BC through most of the imperial era was reduced to 80 men.
In a Roman legion, centuries were grouped into cohorts and commanded by their senior-most centurion. The prestigious first cohort was led by the primus pilus, the most senior centurion in the legion and its fourth-in-command who was next in line for promotion to Praefectus Castrorum, and the primi ordines who were the centurions of the first cohort.
A centurion's symbol of office was the vine staff, with which they disciplined even Roman citizens, who were otherwise legally protected from corporal punishment by the Porcian Laws. Centurions also served in the Roman navy. After the 107 BC Marian reforms of Gaius Marius, centurions were professional officers. In Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the Byzantine army's centurions were also known by the name kentarch (Kentarches).
During the Imperial era, centurions gradually rose in seniority in their cohort, commanding centuries with higher precedence, until commanding the senior century and therefore the whole cohort. The best centurions were then promoted to the first cohort and known as the Primi Ordines, commanding one of the cohort's five centuries and also taking on a staff role. The most senior centurion of the legion was the Primus Pilus who commanded the first century of the first cohort. All centurions, however senior, had their own allocated century. There was little difference between the ranks of centurions except for the Primus Pilus, who also participated in war councils. The Primus Pilus was so called because his own century was the first file of the first (rightmost) cohort. Only eight officers in a fully officered legion outranked the Primus Pilus: the legate (legatus legionis), commanding the legion; the senior tribune (tribunus laticlavius), second-in-command of the legion; the Camp Prefect (praefectus castrorum); and the five other tribunes (tribuni angusticlavii) who served as senior staff officers to the legate.
Centurions could be elected, appointed by the Senate, or promoted from the ranks for a variety of reasons. Julius Caesar is said to have promoted his centurions for displays of valour. Historians cite examples of them being the first over the enemy's wall or through the breach. The various centurion grades may be loosely compared to modern junior and middle officer grades. Below the centurions were the optiones, seconds-in-command of centuries.
Each century had a precedence within the cohort. Centurions' seniority within the cohort and legion depended on the position within the legion of the century they were in charge of, which often took their name from their centurion. Centurions began by leading junior centuries before being promoted to leading a more senior one. Promotion usually came with experience, or at least length of service, but many still never made it as far as leading a 1st cohort. Yet for centurions who showed, say, particularly conspicuous bravery during battle, there was the opportunity to be promoted several grades at once. For example, Julius Caesar's reward for a centurion who had greatly pleased him was to advance him eight grades.[unreliable source?]
The centurion in the infantry is chosen for his size, strength and dexterity in throwing his missile weapons and for his skill in the use of his sword and shield; in short for his expertness in all the exercises. He is to be vigilant, temperate, active and readier to execute the orders he receives than to talk; Strict in exercising and keeping up proper discipline among his soldiers, in obliging them to appear clean and well-dressed and to have their weapons constantly rubbed and bright.
Matthew's Gospel and Luke's Gospel relate an incident in which a servant of a centurion based in Capernaum was ill. In the Gospel of Luke, the centurion concerned had a good relationship with the elders of the local Jewish population and had funded the development of the synagogue in Capernaum, and when he heard that Jesus was in the locality, he asked the Jewish elders to request healing for his servant. In the Gospel of Matthew, the centurion makes direct contact with Jesus. The stories report that Jesus marveled at his faith and restored his servant to health. In both the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, the centurion who is present at the Crucifixion, said that Jesus was "God's Son". Accordingly, this centurion is considered by many to be the first Christian. In Luke's Gospel the centurion at the cross said that Jesus was "innocent".
The Book of Acts tells of a centurion named Cornelius whose righteous and generous acts find favor with God. The apostle Simon Peter is told in a vision to visit Cornelius, a Gentile, with whom association was not permitted under Jewish law. The encounter leads Simon Peter to understand that God accepts non-Jews who believe in God and repent. After this revelation, the message of Jesus was evangelized to the Gentiles.
In ancient Rome, a century was approximately equal to a company in the U.S. Army, and a centurion was roughly equivalent to a captain. Centurions play a role in the New Testament; Jesus performs a miracle for a centurion in Capernaum, centurions are present at the crucifixion, and in later years St. Paul is arrested by centurions. According to a writer of the time, centurions were chosen for their size and strength, their abilities at swordplay and at throwing missiles, and the quality of their discipline, which was partly shown by how well their soldiers kept their own armor polished.
This is a great way to take advantage of all of the benefits of billing through your wholesaler for orders placed through centurion-inc.com, including consolidating your billing and avoiding paying by credit card.
The Centurion (centurio in Latin) was an officer in the Roman army whose experience and valour were a crucial factor in maintaining order on the battlefield and ensuring Rome's military successes spanned over centuries. A centurion commanded a unit of around 100 legionaries but was also responsible for assigning duties, dishing out punishments, and performing various administrative duties.
A centurion was responsible for a great number of other duties which ranged from distributing camp passwords to the escort of prisoners. Centurions could also rise to higher administrative positions within the empire, but the name centurion would forever be associated with the grizzled veteran who, emblazoned with decorations, led by courageous example on the battlefield.
According to Roman tradition, the existence of centurion rank went right back to the first armies of Rome in the mid-8th century BCE which, led by the legendary Romulus, had 3,000 men and 30 centurions, each commanding a 100-man infantry group known as a manipulus, which also had its own standard or signa. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the centurion rank had Etruscan origins and was incorporated into the Roman army by the Etruscan king of Rome Servius Tullius (r. c. 579-534 BCE), the rank being given to the bravest soldiers in battle.
Over time the organization of army units evolved, and by the late 6th century BCE, the army had two legions, each composed of 3,000 heavy hoplite infantry, 1,200 light infantry, and 300 cavalrymen. In the 4th century BCE, further reforms reshaped the manipuli into more flexible military units deployed in three lines of troops (acies triplex), so that the number of infantry commanded by a centurion was reduced to 30. Therefore, a 4th century BCE legion (legio) had 150 centurions.
Polybius describes the army units of the mid-2nd century BCE where there were 4,000 men to a legion that now included light skirmishers. The legion in this period was divided into 30 manipuli with a total of 60 centuriae units each commanded by a centurion who appointed his own junior officer (optio). Two centuriae made up a maniple and the most experienced centurion took the right wing. Of all these centurions, the most senior was the primus pilus, who also had a seat on the military council. Following Marius' reforms in 107-104 BCE, the centurion given command of the right centuria of the maniple was known as the prior centurio, whilst he on the left wing was called the posterior. Centurions usually took position in the front rank of their troops during battle, which resulted in their disproportionate fatality rate in battle.
By the 1st century BCE, the army was re-arranged into cohorts (cohors), each consisting of six 100-man centuriae. Each legion had ten cohorts so that the number of centurions in a legion remained 60. Their titles of prior and posterior were also maintained, as was their seniority based on which type of troops they commanded - (from the least senior) hastati, principes, and pili (younger, experienced, veteran troops, respectively) and the seniority of their centuriae within a particular cohort.
Traditionally centurions came from the lower plebeian class, but by the 1st century BCE, the rank also became associated with members of the higher equestrian class. The post was open to non-Latins and centurions could be appointed through election, appointment by the Roman Senate or promotion from the ranks, especially for those who displayed great bravery or leadership qualities in battle but, in the Imperial Period, also as a direct commission without prior military experience. There were even cases of direct appointment by the emperor himself. 041b061a72