Hi, my name is Legion

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Hi, my name is Legion

Post by Legion » Sun Dec 07, 2014 4:50 pm

... for I am all of me.

I'm a military history geek and by extension I have learned some Latin. I actually registered here to ask a specific question which I thought would be very easy to answer, but no one has been able to help me so far. Rather than open a thread in the Latin or Greek subforums I'll just ask my question here; I hope that's okay.

Basically, I'm looking for a Greek equivalent for the Latin term "legio". As I understand it, this term basically has three meanings:
  • A levy, i.e. an army of conscripts
  • The entirety of a country's (esp. Rome's) military forces
  • One of the legions that made up the Roman Legion
It's the third meaning of which I'm looking for the Greek translation. Now I realise of course that not every word can be translated and that the ancient Greek city states never had legions. However, the Greek language was widely used in Rome, many hellenistic states fought against Roman legions with some even copying the legion system, and of course the Byzantine Empire fielding legions up until the early middle ages. Unfortunately, all official military records from the Byzantine Empire I've found are written in Latin, but surely there must exist a Greek term as well?

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Re: Hi, my name is Legion

Post by jeidsath » Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:36 pm

I think that Plutarch uses τάγματος sometimes. In the New Testament, (which you are quoting from) it's λεγεών.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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Re: Hi, my name is Legion

Post by Markos » Sun Dec 07, 2014 10:06 pm

Legion wrote:Hi, my name is Legion...
πολλοὶ οὖν ἐστε? :)
οὐ μανθάνω γράφειν, ἀλλὰ γράφω τοῦ μαθεῖν.

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Re: Hi, my name is Legion

Post by mwh » Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:59 am

Yes τάγμα is the usual term, though that can be used more generally of pretty well any military unit of a certain size. Latin terms are either taken over, e.g. λεγιών, κεντυρίων (declined as Greek words), or more properly/officially rendered by Greek quasi-equivalents, e.g. ἑκατοντάρχης, or ἔπαρχος for praefectus. There’s a book by Hugh Mason, Greek Terms for Roman Institutions, invaluable to documentary papyrologists.

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