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A cohort (Latin: cohors) was a tactical unit of the Roman army, and it formed part of a legion. The literal translation from Latin is "enclosed place." After the implementation of cohort-based tactics in the Roman army, a legion consisted of 10 cohorts.

During the Third Punic War, each cohort consisted of 2 maniples. As a result, instead of 10 maniples, each line was composed of 5 cohorts with appropriate intervals.

Under Octavian Augustus, the previous system of having 10 cohorts in a legion remained, but the composition of the cohort changed. It now included 555 infantrymen and 66 cavalrymen. In addition, the first cohort doubled the number of soldiers within it.

During the legion's formation in battle, the 10 cohorts were arranged in two lines, with 5 cohorts in each line. On the right wing of the front line stood the first cohort, and to the left of it, according to their sequential numbers, were the 2nd to 5th cohorts in the front row. Similarly, directly behind them were the 6th to 10th cohorts. The cohort number also indicated its strength, with the most experienced and well-equipped fighters in the first cohort and the least in the tenth. This battle order existed until the time of Trajan and Hadrian. Due to clashes with new enemies, Rome reverted to a battle formation without intervals, and reserve forces were placed behind the battle line.

Each of the three rows of the cohort was called an "acies," with the front lines of these rows forming the first line ("prima acies"), while the second and third were the "secunda" and "tertia acies," respectively. The rows themselves were specified as "dextra," "media," and "sinistra acies." The soldiers of the cohort could be referred to as "cohortalis." The first cohort of each legion enjoyed the highest honor and military privileges because it housed the "primipilus" and the "aquila" - the legion's main relics.

In addition to the classical legionary cohorts, there were also:

Related topics

Legion, Centuria, Contubernium