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 ?
To a man living so much in the past, and so little in the present, as the secluded and antiquarian old bachelor, a century and a half seemed not so vast a period as to obviate the propriety of substituting right for wrong.
The new inhabitant -- who came himself from a foreign land, or whose father or grandfather came -- has little claim to be called a Salemite; he has no conception of the oyster -- like tenacity with which an old settler, over whom his third century is creeping, clings to the spot where his successive generations have been embedded.
Ancient hauberk, date of the sixth century, time of King Arthur and the Round Table; said to have belonged to the knight Sir Sagramor le Desirous; ob- serve the round hole through the chain-mail in the left breast; can't be accounted for; supposed to have been done with a bullet since invention of firearms -- per- haps maliciously by Cromwell's soldiers.
Your nineteenth century novelists are only the tail of Shakspere.
In the third, I promised to make him a king, to be always near him, and to grant him three wishes every day; but that century passed away as the other two had done, and I remained in the same plight.
No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scru- tinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
Now, would you deem it possible that this rose of half a century could ever bloom again?
Once or twice in the course of a century I unclose my lips.
The Saracens captured and pillaged Genoa nine hundred years ago, but during the following century Genoa and Pisa entered into an offensive and defensive alliance and besieged the Saracen colonies in Sardinia and the Balearic Isles with an obstinacy that maintained its pristine vigor and held to its purpose for forty long years.
can easily reconstruct in their minds the aggregate of edifices to which it belonged, and find again entire in it the ancient Gothic place of the fifteenth century.
It was the greatest hoax of the nineteenth century.
In our dear country, as indeed in the whole of Europe, a famine visits humanity about four times a century, as far as I can remember; once in every twenty-five years.