Aquilifer (Latin: aquilifer — "bearer of the eagle", from Latin: aquila-eagle) — a military position in the army of Ancient Rome, the highest rank in the banner group of the legion, whose duties included guarding the legion eagle, as well as carrying it in battle.
Before the reform of Gaius Marius in 104 BC, the standard (symbol of the legion) could use the image of a boar, wolf, bull, horse and other animals. After the reform, a single standard was introduced - the aquila, made in the form of a small golden eagle. Hence the name of the position - "aquilifer", literally - "eagle bearer". Like Aquila, Aquilifer was the only member of the legion, considered one of the highest officers, but below the rank of centurion, and received double the salary. Outside of combat, Aquilifer served as the Legion's accountant and treasurer (controlling the treasury and the payment of savings to legionaries).
Aquilifer and the Legion eagle were supposed to be in the first century of the first maniple of the first Cohort, and in fact he was accompanied by the Primipil.
Aquila (Latin aquila — eagle) - a type of standard in the form of an eagle in the ancient Roman army. It is assumed that they could be made of gold and silver, but there are also finds of bronze. Aquila existed only one per legion, and its loss was considered a huge disgrace, as a result of which the legion was disbanded.
In most of the known images, Aquilifera are shown bareheaded, without helmets or skins. However, according to several surviving tombstones, Aquilifera wore a lion or bear skin over their helmet with their paws tied around their necks. Armament consisted of gladius, pugio and parma. Aquilifera could use a lorica hamata or lorica squamata as protective equipment , which was worn under an officer 's subarmalis with pterigs on the shoulders and hips. There is also an assumption that aquilifera wore a disguise - a metal mask attached to a helmet. The symbol of the military class- cingulum -could be either with suspensions, or without them. There are also exotic variants, such as two belts, or a belt in which suspensions go directly from the end of the cingulum. Aquiliferi also wore faleras, which were not as richly decorated as a similar piece of equipment for centurions. The faleras ' decor lacked complex chiseled subjects, instead they were mostly decorated with simple geometric patterns.
Stoll, Oliver. Der Adler im «Käfig». Zu einer Aquilifer-Grabstele aus Apamea in Syrien und Tabellarischer Anhang zur Darstellung des Legionsadlers und anderer Signa in der römischen Plastik // Römisches Heer und Gesellschaft. Gesammelte Beiträge 1991—1999. — Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2001. — S. 13—46. — (Mavors Roman army researches, vol. 13). — ISBN 3-515-07817-7.
Rubtsov S. Bannermen of the Lower Danubian legions. Military history magazine "PARA BELLVM"