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Pliny the Younger (A.D. 62?–c.A.D. 113).  Letters.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
XXXII. To the Emperor Trajan
 
 
GABIUS BASSUS, who commands upon the frontiers of Pontica, in a manner suitable to the respect and duty which he owes you, came to me, and has been with me, Sir, for several days, As far as I could observe, he is a person of great merit and worthy of your favour. I acquainted him it was your order that he should retain only ten beneficiary 1 soldiers, two horse-guards, and one centurion out of the troops which you were pleased to assign to my command. He assured me those would not be sufficient, and that he would write to you accordingly; for which reason I thought it proper not immediately to recall his supernumeraries.  1
 
Note 1. The most probable conjecture (for it is a point of a good deal of obscurity) concerning the beneficiarii seems to be that they were a certain number of soldiers exempted from the usual duty of their office, in order to be employed as a sort of body-guards to the general. These were probably foot; as the equites here mentioned were perhaps of the same nature, only that they served on horseback. Equites singulares Cæsaris Augusti, &c., are frequently met with upon ancient inscriptions, and are generally supposed to mean the body-guards of the emperor. M. [back]
 

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