Garlemald and Ancient Rome, Part 2

September 10, 2014

This is part 2 of a series exploring the real-world history behind Garlean names and titles. Click here for the intro.

Laquearius (MRD)

Found in all six cohorts.

The laquearius (literally snarer) was a gladiatorial combatant armed with a noose or lasso. H. S. Cowper, author of The Art of Attack*, entertains the possibility that the laquearius was modeled after ancient Roman executioners; if so, this provides a possible clue as to what laquearii have to do with FFXIV Marauders. Otherwise, the two have little in common: wearing only a loincloth and a single armored sleeve, the laquearius was lightly armored even by gladiatorial standards.

Medicus (CNJ)

Found in the 1st, 5th, and 8th Cohorts.

Medicus (pl. medici) was the general title for physicians in ancient Rome, whether military or civilian. The army of the Roman Republic had little in the way of an organized medical corps. With the reforms of the early Empire, however, the state of military medicine became much more advanced. Using field hospitals, basic surgical tools, and a variety of herbal medicines, the medici of the imperial legions set bones, extracted arrows, and bandaged battlefield wounds.

Optio (CNJ, MRD, GLA)

Found in the 3rd, 5th, and 7th Cohorts.

Unlike most types of Garlean soldier, the optio (pl. optiones) can have a variety of in-game classes including Marauder, Conjurer, and Gladiator. In the Roman legions, the optio served as a kind of executive officer or deputy to a centurion.

Primi Ordines (GLA)

Found in the 1st Cohort.

Like *bestarius, the title primi ordines appears to result from a minor mistake in translation. Centurions in imperial Roman legions were organized according to a system of precedence in which each cohort, and each century within a cohort, had a specific rank. The centurions of the first (and highest-ranking) cohort were known as the primi ordines (“first officers”); as the seniormost centurions in the legion, they reported only to the legate and other members of the senior staff. The title as it appears in-game would actually (in standard Latin) be plural; the correct singular form is primus ordo.

Sagittarius (ARC)

Found in the 1st, 5th, and 8th Cohorts.

Sagittarius means archer, plain and simple. In the armies of imperial Rome, the sagittarii were typically mercenaries or auxiliaries (like the funditores).

Secutor (PGL)

Found in all six cohorts.

The secutor is another Garlean unit whose name comes from the arena rather than the battlefield. Secutores (chasers or, more literally, followers) were heavily armored gladiators who fought with sword and shield; in ancient Roman art, they are easily recognized by their helmet, which covers the face completely except for two small eye holes. Like laquearius:Marauder, the pairing of secutor:Pugilist seems a little strange. Hand-to-hand combat of the sort practiced by FFXIV Pugilists was an important part of ancient Roman sport, but its practitioners were simply called pugiles.

Signifer (THM)

Found in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 8th Cohorts.

The signiferi (“sign-bearers”) were the standard-bearers of the Roman army from Republican times onward. During the Imperial era, various specialized forms of signifer came into existence, of which the imaginifer (see Page 1) is one example. In FFXIV, these are Thaumaturge-type units, and their association with the Roman title is thus more fanciful than that of the melee units. (Neither the legions nor the auxilia included actual thaumaturges.)

So much for the rank and file. In Part 3 of this series, we’ll take a closer look at the leaders of the Garlean Empire: Nero tol Scaeva, Gaius van Baelsar, Rhitahtyn Sas Arvina, and Livia Sas Junius.

*The Art of Attack (1906) is a treasure trove of information on ancient arms and armor. It discusses many weapons (e.g., the macuahuitl) that have gone on to appear in Final Fantasy or other SquareEnix games but are otherwise obscure.

This post was last updated on 10 September 2014; the current version of FFXIV:ARR at that time was 2014.08.26.

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