Military tribune

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A military tribune (Latin tribunus militum, "tribune of the soldiers", Greek chiliarchos, χιλίαρχος) was an officer of the Roman army who ranked below the legate and above the centurion. The tribunus militum should not be confused with the elected political office of tribune of the people (tribunus plebis).

Early Rome

The word tribunus derives from tribus, "tribe."Entry on tribunus, Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982, 1985 reprinting), p. 1972.Varro, De lingua latina 5.80. since there was no standing army. The tribunes were commanders of the original legion of 3,000. By the time of the Greek historian Polybius (d. 118 BC), the tribunes numbered six, and they were appointed by the consuls. However, the process by which tribunes were chosen and assigned is complex and varies at different times.

Republican period

In the Republican period, there were six appointed to each legion. Authority was given to two at a time, and command rotated among the six. Tribunes were men of Senatorial status appointed by the Senate. To attain the position of tribune, one only needed to be a member of the ruling class — ability was not taken into account.

Additionally, in the early Republic, military tribunes were sometimes chosen in place...
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