As the name implies, hekatontarches or hekatontarchos, kenturion, Latin centurio, was the commander of a hundred men, more or less, in a Roman legion. Matthew and Luke use the Greek word while Mark prefers the Latin form, as he does in the case of other words, seeing that he wrote primarily for Roman readers. The number of centurions in a legion was 60, that being at all epochs the number of centuries, although the number varied in the cohort or speira. The ordinary duties of the centurion were to drill his men, inspect their arms, food and clothing, and to command them in the camp and in the field. Centurions were sometimes employed on detached service the conditions of which in the provinces are somewhat obscure. Men like Cornelius and Julius (Acts 10:1; 27:1) may have been separated from the legion to which they properly belonged for the discharge of special duties. They and other centurions mentioned in the Gospels and the Ac (Matthew 8:5; Mark 15:39,44,45; Luke 23:47) are represented by the sacred writers in a favorable light.
See AUGUSTAN BAND.
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