Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Centurion, in the Roman army, originally the commander of a centuria, or company of foot-soldiers, nominally of 100 men. In the second Punic war, however, there were two such companies to the manipulus, or body of 120 men, and there were afterwards always 60 centuries and centurions to the legion. The centurions were chosen by the commanders of the legion. They seem to have varied considerably in rank, and the senior centurion of the legion (centurio primi pili) was an important personage, and admitted to the field officers' council of war. Each centurion had a lieutenant (optio) under him selected by himself. They seem to have been rarely promoted to higher posts, and usually rose from the ranks. As charged with the discipline of their company, their badge of office was a vine-staff, with which they inflicted floggings.