Supplementum 107 BCE in Context of Ancient Rome Army Transformation

Keywords: supplementum, army, reinforcement, Marius, recruitment, Senate


The purpose of the research paper is to study the circumstances of the decision to reinforce the Roman army (supplementum) in 107 BCE during the Jugurthine War.

The scientific novelty of the work is in the fact that, for the first time, the problem of supplementum (reinforcement for an already operating army) is singled out for a separate study. Process of recruiting volunteer fighters against the background of the war with the Numidians of 112-105 BCE and the internal political struggle in Rome at the end of the 1st century BCE is uncovered using a comprehensive source base. The reasons for the supplementum, as well as its specificity, previous appeals to this type of recruitment, and the prerogatives of the Senate or a certain official regarding its implementation and conducting are analyzed.

Conclusions. In the study, we have found out that the information about the supplementum for Marius is given only by Sallustius in his work ‘Bellum Jugurthinum’. Also, by analyzing the sources, we prove that Marius violated the rule of recruitment under the supplementum only in the fact that he recruited representatives of the poorest strata of the society without threatening the existence of the state because there was no threat from Numidia at that time – unlike from the northern borders. So, we cannot exclude the fact that at least half of the reinforcements recruited by Marius were citizens from among the assidui, even those who could be the evocati. Analyzing the works of J. Rich, P. Brunt, L. de Ligt, and F. Cadiou, it is proven that during that time there was no shortage of ‘worthy, good people’ (boni). This was primarily due to the gradual lowering of the minimum census for military service. Also, the involvement of the impoverished strata of the Roman population was a sporadic practice, because during the 1st century BCE, the traditional recruitment according to property qualifications still took place. Marius took advantage of the opportunity to recruit anyone who wanted to serve under his command.

The accelerated supplementum was not something brand new for the Roman army. In the future, prolonged wars would require more and more frequent additional recruitments, but in the sources that describe the events after the Jugurthine War, we do not see passages with such condemnation of actions, as we can see it in the episodes related to the replenishment of the African army conducted by Gaius Marius.


Aigner, H. (1974). Die Soldaten als Machtfaktor in der ausgehenden Römischen Republik [The soldiers as a power factor in the outgoing Roman Republic]. Innsbruck: Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität [in Germany].

Bonnefond-Coudry, M. (1989). Le Sénat de la république romaine de la guerre d’Hannibal à Auguste: Pratiques Délibératives et Prise de Décision [The Senate of the Roman Republic from the War of Hannibal to Augustus: Deliberative Practices and Decision Making]. Rome: École Française de Rome [in French].

Brunt, P.A. (1974). Conscription and volunteering in the Roman imperial army. Acta classica Israelica, I, 90-115.

Brunt, P.A. (1988). The Fall of the Roman Republic. Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press.

Brunt, P.A. (2001). Italian Manpower 225 B.C. ‒ A.D. 14.³ Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cadiou, F. (2002). A propos du service militaire dans l’armée romaine au IIe siècle av. J.-C.: le cas de Spurius Ligustinus (Tite-Live, 42, 34) [About military service in the Roman army in the 2nd century BC: the case of Spurius Ligustinus (Livy, 42, 34)]. In DeFosse, P. (Ed.). Hommages à Carl Deroux, vol. II: Prose et linguistique, Médecine (Collection Latomus, 267). Bruxelles: Latomus, 76-90 [in French].

Cadiou, F. (2018). L’Armée imaginaire. Les soldats prolétaires dans les légions romaines au dernier siècle de la République [The Imaginary Army. Proletarian soldiers in the Roman legions in the last century of the Republic]. Mondes anciens, 5. Paris: Les Belles Lettres [in French].

Cadiou, F. (2009). Le dilectus de l’année 151 et les guerres celtibéro-lusitaniennes: remarques sur la question de la réticence face au service militaire dans la Rome du IIe s. av. J.-C. [The dilectus of the year 151 and the Celtibero-Lusitanian wars: remarks on the question of reluctance towards military service in Rome 2nd century BC]. In Antela-Bernárdez, I.B. & Ñaco del Hoyo, T. (Éds.). Setting landscapes into motion in the Ancient Empires, British Archaeological Reports, International Series 1986, 23-32 [in French].

Cadiou, F. (2010). Non milites sed pro milite. La question des euocati à l’époque républicaine [Non milites sed pro milite. The question of euocati during the Republican era]. Militares y civiles en la antigua Roma: dos mundos diferentes, dos mundos unidos, 57-78 [in French].

Cary, M. & Scullard, H.H. (1992). Dzieje Rzymu. Od czasów najdawniejszych do Konstantyna. T. I. Warszawa: Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy [in Polish].

Cowan, R. (2017). Roman Legionary 109-58 BC: The Age of Marius, Sulla and Pompey the Great. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.

Crook, J.A., Lintott, A. & Rawson, E. (1994). Epilogue. In Cambridge Ancient History. Second edition. Vol. IX: The Last Age of the Roman Republic, 146-43 B.C. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 769-776.

De Ligt, L. (2015). Peasants, Citizens and Soldiers: Studies in the Demographic History of Roman Italy 225 BC – AD 100, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139003834

Drogula, F.K. (2015). Commanders & Command in the Roman Republic and Early Empire. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469621265.001.0001

Evans, R.J. (1995). Gaius Marius: A political biography. Praetoria: University of South Africa.

Faszcza, M.N. (2020). O reformie, której nie było (Andrzej Graczkowski. O reformie wojskowej Mariusza. Narodziny i rozwój armii zawodowej w starożytnym Rzymie (II-I w. p.n.e.) [About the reform that did not exist (Andrzej Graczkowski. About Mariusz’s military reform. The birth and development of a professional army in ancient Rome (2nd – 1st century BC)]. Studia Antiquitatis et Medii Aevi Incohantis (SAMAI V 2020), 196-208. DOI: 10.34616/samai.2020.5.196.208 [in Polish].

Gabba, E. (1973). Esercito e società nella tarda Repubblica romana. Firence: La nuova Italia [in Italian].

Gaffiot, F. (1934). Dictionnaire Illustré Latin-Français. Paris: Hachette [in French].

Gauthier, F. (2015). Financing War in the Roman Republic 201 BCE ‒ 14 CE. (PhD Thesis). Montréal: McGill University.

Gauthier, F. (2016). The Changing Composition of the Roman Army in the Late Republic and the So-Called “Marian-Reforms”. The Ancient History Bulletin, 30, 103-120.

Giovannini, A. (2015). Les institutions de la République romaine des origines à la mort d’Auguste. Basel: Schwabe Verlag [in French].

Graczkowski, A. (2019). O reformie wojskowej Mariusza. Narodziny i rozwój armii zawodowej w starożytnym Rzymie (II-I w. p.n.e.) [About Marius’ military reform. The birth and development of a professional army in ancient Rome (2nd–1st century BC)]. Zabrze-Tarnowskie Góry: Infort Editions [in Polish].

Harmand, J. (1967). L’armée et le soldat a Rome de 107 à 50 avant notre ère. Paris: A. & J. Picard et Cie [in French].

Ignatenko, A.V. (1976). Armiya v gosudarstvennom mekhanizme rabovladelcheskogo Rima epokhi Respubliki: istoriko-pravovoe issledovanie [Army in the state mechanism of the slave-owning Rome of the epoch of the Republic: Historical and legal research]. Sverdlovsk: Sredne-Uralskoe knizhnoe izdatelstvo [in Russian].

Ignatenko, A.V. (1958). Obostrenie politicheskoy borby v Rime v gody Yugurtinskoy voyny i voennaya reforma Gaya Mariya. Uchenye zapiski Khabarovskogo gosudarstvennogo pedagogicheskogo instituta, ІІІ, 162-194 [in Russian].

Keppie, L. (1998). The Making of the Roman Army: from Republic to Empire. London: Batsford.

Lewis, Ch.T. & Short, Ch. Supplementum. A Latin Dictionary. Perseus Digital Library. Retrieved from

Lintott, A. (1994). Political history, 146-95 B.C. Cambridge Ancient History. Second edition. Vol. IX: The Last Age of the Roman Republic, 146-43 B.C.² Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 40-103.

Maciejowski, M. (2008). Wojna jugurtyńska 111-105 p.n.e. [Jugurthine War 111-105 BC]. Zabrze: Wydawnictwo Inforteditions [in Polish].

Matthew, C.A. (2010). On the Wings of Eagles: The Reforms of Gaius Marius and the Creation of Rome’s First Professional Soldiers. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Matthew, C.A. (2006). The Enrolment of the capite censi by Gaius Marius: a reappraisal. Ancient History: resources for teachers, 36 (1), 1-17.

Mommzen, T. (2001). Istoria Rima. Ot bitvy pri Pidne do smerti Sully. Т. II. Knyga 4 [History of Rome. From the battle of Pydna to Sulla’s death]. Vol. 2, book 4. Мoskow-Kharkov: AST, Folio [in Russian].

Mouritsen, H. (2022). The Roman Elite and the End of the Republic: The Boni, the Nobles and Cicero. Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/9781009180665

Oliinyk, M. (2018). Problema dobrovilnosti u komplektuvanni rymskoho viiska [The problem of voluntariness during the recruitment of the Roman army (V-II centuries B.C.)]. Problemy humanitarnykh nauk, 38, 191-218. DOI: 10.24919/2312-2595.42.148465 [in Ukrainian].

Oliinyk, M. (2017). Sproby viiskowykh reform v Rymi (50-kh – 30-kh rokiv II st. do n.e.) [Attempts at military reforms in Rome (50s – 30s of the II century BC)]. Problemy humanitarnykh nauk, 40, 210-235. DOI: 10.24919/2312-2595.40.123246 [in Ukrainian].

Oliinyk, M. (2016). Vnesok Haiia Mariia u profesionalizaciu rymskoho viiska [Contribution of Gaius Marius to professionalization of the Roman Army]. Problemy humanitarnykh nauk, 38, 191-218 [in Ukrainian].

Portniagina, I.P. (1989). Senat i senatorskoe soslovie v epokhu rannego printsypata [The Senate and the senatorial class in the era of the early principate]. Kalinin: Kalininskii gosudarstvennyi universitet [in Russian].

Rich, J.W. (1983). The Supposed Roman Manpower Shortage of the Later Second Century B.C. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte, 32 (3), 287-331.

Rosenstein, N.S. (2004). Rome at War: Farms, Families, and Death in the Middle Republic. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Rotondi, G. (1912). Leges publicae populi romani: elenco cronologico con una introduzione sull’attività legislativa dei comizi romani. Milano: Società editrice libraria [in Italian].

Santangelo, F. (2016). Marius. London – New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Sergeev, I.P. (2013). Gosudarstvennye uchrezhdeniia drevnikh rimlian: pozdniaia Respublika i ranniaia Imperiia: materialy k spetskursu [State institutions of the ancient Romans: the late Republic and the early Empire: materials for a special course]. Kharkov: KHNU im. V.N. Karazina [in Russian].

Smith, R.E. (1958). Service in the Post-Marian Roman Army. Manchester University Press.

Thommen, L. (1989). Das Volkstribunat der späten römischen Republik (Historia Einzelschriften 59). Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag [in Germany].

Tokmakov, V.N. (1998). Voennaia organizacia Rima rannei respubliki (VI-IV vv. do n.e.) [The military organization of Rome of the early Republic (VI-IV BC)]. Moskva: Izdatelstvo Instituta vseobshchei istorii RAN [in Russian].

Van Ooteghem, J. (1964). Caius Marius. Bruxelles: Acad. Royale de Belgique [in French].

Wolff, C. (2010). Les volontaires dans l’armée romaine jusqu’à Marius [The volunteers in the Roman army until Marius]. Latomus, 69, 18-28 [in French].

Ziółkowski, A. (2010). Historia Rzymu [History of Rome]. Poznań: Poznańskie Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk [in Polish].

Zhekov, Zh. (2019). Reformata na Gai Marii – mitowe i realnost [The reform of Gaius Marius – myths and reality]. Proceedings of the Conference: Blgariia, blgarite I Evropa – mit, istoriia, svremiie: nauchna konferenciia (g. Veliko Trnovo, 31 oktomvri 2018 g.). Veliko Trnovo, 9-16 [in Bulgarian].

How to Cite
Oliynyk, M., & Strelbycka, S. (2024). Supplementum 107 BCE in Context of Ancient Rome Army Transformation. Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(45), 144-162.
Ancient History