`For during the Second Punic War (218-201 B.C.) the Roman youth of military age having been drained by several unfavorable battles, the Senate, on the motion of the consul Tiberius Gracchus (consul in 215 and 213), decreed that slaves should be bought up out of public moneys for use in repulsing the enemy. After a plebiscite [(a vote of the Consilium Plebis] was passed on this matter by the people through the intervention of the Tribunes of the Plebs, a commission of three men was chosen to purchase 24,000 slaves, and having administered an oath to them that they would give zealous and courageous service and that they would bear arms as long as the Carthaginians were in Italy, they sent them to the camp. From Apulia and the Paediculi were also bought 270 slaves for replacements in the cavalry... The City, which up to this time had disdained to have as soldiers even free men without property added to its army as almost its chief support persons taken from slave lodgings and slaves gathered from shepherd huts.'
Citizens of Rome. I am Spurius Ligustinus, of the Tribe Crustumina, and I come of Sabine stock. My father left me half an acre of land and the little hut in which I was born and brought up. I am still living there today. As soon as I came of age, my father gave me his brother's daughter to wife, who brought nothing with her save her free birth and her chastity, together with a fertility which would be enough even for a wealthy home. We have six sons, and two daughters (both already married). Four of my sons have taken the toga of manhood; two are still under age. I joined the army in the consulship of Publius Sulpicius and Gaius Aurelius (Cotta) [200 B.C.], and I served two years in the ranks in the army which was taken across to Macedonia, in the campaign against King Philip [V, of Macedonia who died in 179]. In the third year Titus Quinctius Flamininus promoted me, for my bravery, to be centurion of the 10th maniple of hastati. After the defeat of King Philip and the Macedonians, when we had been brought back to Italy and demobilized, I immediately left for Spain as a volunteer with the consul Marcus Porcius [CATO, consul in 195 B.C.]. Of all the living generals, none has been a keener observer and judge of bravery than he, as is well known to those who through long military service have had experience of him and other commanders. This general judged me worthy to be appointed centurion of the 1st century of hastati. I enlisted for the third time, again as a volunteer, in the army sent against the Aetolians and King Antiochus. Manius Acilius [Glabrio, consul of 191] appointed me centurion of the first century of the principes. When King Antiochus had been driven out [Battle of Thermopylae] and the Aetolians had been crushed, we were brought back to Italy. And twice after that I took part in campaigns in which the legions served for a year. Thereafter I saw two campaigns in Spain, one with Quintus Fulvius Flaccus as Praetor [182, continued in office in 181 and 180], the other with Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus [father of the Gracchus brothers] in command . I was brought back home by Flaccus with the others whom he brought back with him from the province for his Triumph, on account of their bravery. And I returned to Spain becaus eI was asked to do so by Tbierius Gracchus. Four times in the course of a few years I held the rank of Chief Centurion. Thirty four times I was rewarded for bravery by the generals. I have been given six civic crowns. I have completed 22 years of service in the army, and I am now over 50 years old. But even if I had not completed my service, and if my age did not give me exemption, it would still be right for me to be descharged, Publius Licinius, since I could give your four soldiers as my substitutes...' There was an official vote of thanks, and the Military Tribunes, on account of his bravery appointed him First Centurion of the First Legion. The other centurions withdrew their appeal and obediently responded to the call for conscription.
John Paul Adams, CSUN