In the Pre-Marian reforms the structure of the legions was as follows:
- Contubernium - The smallest organized unit of soldiers in the Roman Army. It was composed of eight legionaries led by a non-commissioned officer called a decanus. When on the march a Legion would often march contubernium-abreast (8-abreast) and in the Imperial Legion, ten contubernia formed a centuria.
- Maniple (Maniplulus) - a Maniple was the Pre-Marian sub-unit of the Roman Legions, consisting of 120 men (60 for the Triarii).
- Legio (Republic) - Legions in the Pre-Marian armies consisted of 60 maniples of infantry and 10 Turmae of cavalry. By 250 BC, there would be four Legions, two commanded by each Consul, two Roman legions which would be accompanied by an additional two allied legion of similar strength and structure. For every Roman Legion there would be an allied Legion
- Turmae - a unit of cavalry in the Pre-Marian army, which usually consisted of 30 horsemen
In the years following the reforms of Gaius Marius in 107 BC the organisation of the legions became standardised as follows:
- Contubernium - The smallest organized unit of soldiers in the Roman Army. It was composed of eight legionaries led by a non-commissioned officer called a decanus. Ten contubernia formed a centuria.
- Centuria - A centuria consisted of 80 men under the command of a Centurion and his Optio. Six centuria formed a cohort.
- Cohors (Cohortes) - A cohort consisted of 480 men. The most senior ranking centurion of the six centuria commanded the entire cohort.
- First Cohort (Cohors Prima) - The first cohort was a double strength cohort (consisting of five double-strength centuria) with a size of 800 men (excluding officers). The centurion of its first centuria, the Primus Pilus, commanded the first cohort and was also the most senior Centurion in the legion.
- Legio (Imperial) - A legion was composed of nine cohorts and one first cohort. The legion's overall commander was the legatus legionis, assisted by the praefectus castrorum and other senior officers.
- Vexillation - These were temporary task forces composed of one or multiple centuria detached from the legion for a specific purpose. Vexillations were under the command of an officer appointed by the Legatus.
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