Century


Centuria is a term that derives from Latin roots, specifically from the entry «centurĭa», composed of the contraction of «centum» equivalent to «hundred» and «viria» which means «group of men» that then according to its etymology the word century it means “unit of one hundred men.” In the RAE there are two possible meanings for the word where one of them expresses that period of one hundred (100) years, that is, a century. On the other hand, century was in Ancient Rome, the army company that was made up of a total of one hundred soldiers.

This group of men, which was called a centuria, was led by the centurion, whose assistant was a lieutenant or optio, and also by a security officer or tesserarius. They carried with them a standard which they called a signum, but the one who carried it was the signifer who was the non-commissioned officer in charge of this. For their part, the centuries had a buccinator, who was in charge of playing this instrument, which was a kind of horn used to give acoustic commands in the form of touches called buccina.

Administratively, these groups were grouped in pairs, making up maniples of 160 infantrymen, and in turn operationally in sections of three, forming a cohort of 480 legionnaires. In other words, despite their name, these organizations called centuries were almost never made up of 100 men. On the other hand, the groups of 60 centuries were called a legion, which was commanded by a legate who had under his command 6 tributes who had dominion over the centurions.