century

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century

1. (in ancient Rome) a unit of foot soldiers, originally 100 strong, later consisting of 60 to 80 men
2. (in ancient Rome) a division of the people for purposes of voting

Century

 

in ancient Rome, a military and political division of the citizenry. According to classical tradition, the Roman cavalry was divided into centuries in the regal period (eighth-sixth centuries B.C.). The reform by which the century became a general military and electoral unit is attributed to King Servius Tullius (sixth century B.C.). It divided all citizens into five property classifications; each classification supplied a fixed number of centuries and received a corresponding number of votes in the comitia centuriata (Centuriate Assembly). The initial total of 193 centuries was increased to 373 between the First and Second Punic wars. The century retained its importance as a military subdivision under the empire, when it was part of a cohort in a legion.

References in classic literature ?
Certainly no part of it has seen the light of day for many centuries.
His duties all performed, --the highest prosperity attained,--his race and future generations fixed on a stable basis, and with a stately roof to shelter them for centuries to come,--what other upward step remained for this good man to take, save the final step from earth to the golden gate of heaven
Its source is overshadowed by several gigantic magnolias, which, though numberless centuries old, have been kept as fresh as violets by the virtues of this wonderful water.
GRANDFATHER was struck by Laurence's idea that the historic chair should utter a voice, and thus pour forth the collected wisdom of two centuries.
The Superb" and the "City of Palaces" are names which Genoa has held for centuries.
For the last two centuries the houses have been turned round.
The whole tendency of our latest centuries, in its scientific and materialistic aspect, is most probably accursed.
The only rational thing for the twentieth-century folk to do is to cover up the well; to make the twentieth century in truth the twentieth century, and to relegate to the nineteenth century and all the preceding centuries the things of those centuries, the witch-burnings, the intolerances, the fetiches, and, not least among such barbarisms.
Looking back across the seven centuries that have lapsed since Avis Everhard completed her manuscript, events, and the bearings of events, that were confused and veiled to her, are clear to us.
So for centuries the Gaels of Ireland told their tales and handed them on from father to son undisturbed, and in Ireland a great many old writings have been kept which tell of far-off times.
Anglo-Saxon Poetry, on the Continent in prehistoric times before the migration to England, and in England especially during the Northumbrian Period, seventh and eighth centuries A.
Seven centuries elapsed before the next notice is found of the Fables of Aesop.