A turma (Latin for "swarm, squadron", plural turmae) was a cavalry unit in the Roman army of the Republic and Empire. In the Byzantine Empire, it became applied to the larger, regiment-sized military-administrative divisions of a thema. The word is often translated as "squadron" but so is the term ala, a unit that was made up of several turmae.

Roman army


In the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, the time of the Punic Wars and Rome's expansion into Spain and Greece, the core of the Roman army was formed by citizens, augmented by contingents from Rome's allies (socii). The organization of the Roman legion of the period is described by the Greek historian Polybius (cf. the so-called "Polybian army"), who writes that each 4,200-strong infantry legion was accompanied by 300 citizen cavalry (equites). This contingent was divided into ten turmae.[1][2] According to Polybius, the squadron members would elect as their officers 3 decuriones ("leaders of 10 men"), of whom the first to be chosen would act as the squadron's commander and the other two as his deputies.[3] As in earlier times, these men were drawn from among the 18 centuriae of the equestrian order, the wealthiest classes of the Roman people, who could afford to provide for the horse and its equipment themselves.[1]


Het Valkhof - Reiter mit Pferd
Reconstruction of a Roman cavalryman of the Principate, Nijmegen

With the reorganization of the army under Emperor Augustus (r. 27 BC – 14 AD) and his successors, the turma became the basic sub-unit of the cavalry, the rough equivalent of the infantry centuria, both in the auxiliaries, who formed the bulk of the Roman cavalry, and in the legionary cavalry detachments. The auxiliary cohors equitata was a mixed unit combining infantry and cavalry, and existed in two types: the cohors equitata quingenaria, with an infantry cohort of 480 men and 4 turmae of cavalry, and the reinforced cohors equitata milliaria, with 800 infantry and 8 turmae. Likewise, the purely cavalry alae contained either 16 (ala quingenaria) or 24 turmae (ala milliaria).[4][5] Individual turmae of camel-riders (dromedarii) also appear among cohortes equitatae in the Middle East, and Emperor Trajan (r. 98–117) established the first all-camel cavalry unit, the Ala I Ulpia dromedariorum Palmyrenorum.[6]

The turma was still commanded by a decurio, aided by two subaltern principales (under-officers), a sesquiplicarius (soldier with one-and-a-half times pay) and a duplicarius (soldier with double pay), as well as a signifer or vexillarius (a standard-bearer, cf. vexillum). These ranks corresponded respectively with the infantry's tesserarius (officer of the watch), optio, and signifer.[4][7] The exact size of the turma under the Principate, however, is unclear: 30 men was the norm in the Republican army and apparently in the cohortes equitatae, but not for the alae. The De Munitionibus Castrorum, for instance, records that a cohors equitata milliaria numbered exactly 240 troopers, i.e. 30 men per turma,[8] but also gives the number of horses for the ala milliaria, composed of 24 turmae, at 1000.[9] If one subtracts the extra horses of the officers (two for a decurio, one for each of the two subaltern under-officers), one is left with 832 horses, which does not divide evenly with 24. At the same time, Arrian explicitly says that the ala quingenaria counted 512 men,[10] suggesting a size of 32 men for each turma.

As for the legions, during the Principate, each had a cavalry contingent organized in four turmae. A legionary turma was led by a centurion, assisted by an optio and a vexillarius as senior principales. Each of them led a file of ten troopers, for a grand total of 132 horsemen in each legion.[11] Their status was distinctly inferior to that of the legionary infantry: the centurions and principales of the legionary turmae were classed as supernumerarii and although their men were included in the legionary cohort lists, they camped separately from them.[11]

In the late Roman army, the turma and its structure were retained, with changes in titelature only: the turma was still headed by a decurio, who also led the first ten-strong file, while the other two files were led by subaltern catafractarii, in essence the successors of the early Empire's duplicarii and sesquiplicarii.[12] Traces of this structure also apparently survived in the 6th-century East Roman army: in the late-6th-century Strategikon of Maurice, the cavalry files are led by a dekarchos (Greek: δέκαρχος, "leader of ten").[12]

Byzantine Empire

In the 7th century, as a result of the crisis caused by the early Muslim conquests, the Byzantine military and administrative system was reformed: the old late Roman division between military and civil administration was abandoned, and the remains of the East Roman army's field armies were settled in great districts, the themata, that were named after them.[13] The term turma, in its Greek transcription tourma (τούρμα or τοῦρμα), reappears at that time as the major subdivision of a thema.[14] The army of each thema (except for the Optimatoi) was divided into two to four tourmai,[14] and each tourma further into a number of moirai (μοίραι) or droungoi (δροῦγγοι), which in turn were composed of several banda (singular: bandon, βάνδον, from Latin: bandum, "banner").[15]

This division was carried through to the territorial administration of each thema: tourmai and banda (but not the moirai/droungoi) were identified with clearly defined districts which served as their garrison and recruitment areas.[16] In his Taktika, Emperor Leo VI the Wise (r. 886–912) presents an idealized thema as consisting of three tourmai, each divided into three droungoi, etc.[17] This picture, however, is misleading, as the sources do not support any degree of uniformity in size or number of subdivisions in the different themata, nor indeed an exact correspondence of the territorial with the tactical divisions: depending on the tactical exigencies, smaller administrative tourmai could be joined together on campaign and larger ones broken up.[18] Since the elementary unit, the bandon, could itself number between 200 and 400 men, the tourma too could reach up to 6000 men, although 2–5000 seems to have been the norm between the seventh and early tenth centuries.[19]

Seal of Theophilos, basilikos spatharios and tourmarches of the Kibyrrhaiotai
Seal of Theophilos, basilikos spatharios and tourmarchēs of the Cibyrrhaeots

Each tourma was usually headed by a tourmarchēs (τουρμάρχης, "commander of a tourma"). In some cases, however, an ek prosōpou, a temporary representative of the governing stratēgos of each thema, could be appointed instead.[14][20] The title first appears in circa 626, when a certain George was tourmarchēs of the Armeniac Theme.[21] The tourmarchēs was usually based in a fortress town. Aside from his military responsibilities, he exercised fiscal and judicial duties in the area under his control.[17] In the lists of offices (taktika) and seals, tourmarchai usually hold the ranks of spatharokandidatos, spatharios or kandidatos.[22] In function and rank, the tourmarchēs corresponded with the topotērētēs of the professional imperial tagmata regiments.[23] The tourmarchai were paid according to the importance of their thema: those of the more prestigious Anatolian themes received 216 gold nomismata annually, while those of the European themes received 144 nomismata, the same amount paid to the droungarioi and the other senior officers of the thema.[24] In some sources, the earlier term merarchēs (μεράρχης, "commander of a meros, division"), which occupied a similar hierarchical position in the 6th–7th centuries,[25] is used interchangeably with tourmarchēs. In the 9th–10th centuries, it is often found in the variant form meriarchēs (μεριάρχης). It has, however, also been suggested by scholars like J. B. Bury and John Haldon that the latter was a distinct post, held by the tourmarchēs attached to the governing stratēgos of each thema and residing at the thematic capital.[17][26][27]

In the mid-10th century, the average size of most units fell. In the case of the tourma, it dropped from 2–3000 men to 1000 men and less, in essence to the level of the earlier droungos, although larger tourmai are still recorded. It is probably no coincidence that the term "droungos" disappears from use at around that time.[28][29] Consequently, the tourma was divided directly into five to seven banda, each of 50–100 cavalry or 200–400 infantry.[30] The term tourma itself fell gradually into disuse in the 11th century, but survived at least until the end of the 12th century as an administrative term. Tourmarchai are still attested in the first half of the 11th century, but the title seems to have fallen out of use thereafter.[22]


  1. ^ a b Goldsworthy 2003, p. 27.
  2. ^ Erdkamp 2007, p. 57.
  3. ^ Polybius. Histories, 6.25
  4. ^ a b Erdkamp 2007, p. 194.
  5. ^ Goldsworthy 2003, pp. 57–58.
  6. ^ Erdkamp 2007, p. 258.
  7. ^ Sabin, van Wees & Whitby 2007, p. 53.
  8. ^ De Munitionibus Castrorum, 26.
  9. ^ De Munitionibus Castrorum, 16.
  10. ^ Arrian. Ars Tactica, 17.3.
  11. ^ a b Erdkamp 2007, p. 275.
  12. ^ a b Erdkamp 2007, p. 274.
  13. ^ Haldon 1999, pp. 73–77.
  14. ^ a b c ODB, "Tourma" (A. Kazhdan), p. 2100.
  15. ^ Haldon 1999, p. 113.
  16. ^ Haldon 1999, pp. 112–113.
  17. ^ a b c Haldon 1999, p. 114.
  18. ^ Haldon 1999, pp. 113–114.
  19. ^ Treadgold 1995, pp. 97, 105.
  20. ^ ODB, "Ek prosopou" (A. Kazhdan), p. 683.
  21. ^ Haldon 1999, p. 315.
  22. ^ a b ODB, "Tourmarches" (A. Kazhdan), pp. 2100–2101.
  23. ^ Treadgold 1995, p. 105.
  24. ^ Treadgold 1995, pp. 130–132.
  25. ^ Treadgold 1995, pp. 94–97.
  26. ^ Bury 1911, pp. 41–42.
  27. ^ ODB, "Merarches" (A. Kazhdan, E. McGeer), p. 1343.
  28. ^ Haldon 1999, pp. 115–116.
  29. ^ Treadgold 1995, pp. 97, 106.
  30. ^ ODB, "Bandon" (A. Kazhdan), p. 250.


  • Bury, John Bagnell (1911). The Imperial Administrative System of the Ninth Century - With a Revised Text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos. London: Oxford University Press.
  • Erdkamp, Paul, ed. (2007). A Companion to the Roman Army. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-1-4051-2153-8.
  • Goldsworthy, Adrian (2003). The Complete Roman Army. London, United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson Limited. ISBN 0-500-05124-0.
  • Haldon, John F. (1999). Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World, 565-1204. London, United Kingdom: University College London Press (Taylor & Francis Group). ISBN 1-85728-495-X.
  • Kazhdan, Alexander, ed. (1991). The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-504652-8.
  • Sabin, Philip; van Wees, Hans; Whitby, Michael, eds. (2007). The Cambridge History of Greek and Roman Warfare, Volume 2: Rome from the Late Republic to the Late Empire. Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-78274-6.
  • Treadgold, Warren T. (1995). Byzantium and Its Army, 284–1081. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-3163-2.
As Aventuras da Turma da Mônica

The Adventures of Monica's Gang (Portuguese: As Aventuras da Turma da Mônica) is a 1982 Brazilian animated film based on the Monica's Gang comic books, by Mauricio de Sousa. This was the first feature film based on Monica's Gang and which began production of the cartoon series based on the comics.

The film mixes animation with some scenes made in live-action interpreted by Mauricio de Sousa in his studio. The film shows 4 individual stories that end up linking through the characters interacting with Mauricio through phone calls.

The film debuted on December 23, 1982 only in cinemas in the city of São Paulo, and in January of the following year in the city of Rio de Janeiro being distributed at the time by the extinct Embrafilme.

Aveiras de Cima

Aveiras de Cima (Portuguese pronunciation: [aˈvɐjɾɐʃ dɨ ˈsimɐ]) is a little Portuguese town by the A1 highway. It is situated in the Lisbon District and in the Azambuja Municipality. The population in 2011 was 4,762, in an area of 26.16 km².

Chuck Billy 'n' Folks

Chuck Billy 'n' Folks (Turma do Chico Bento) is a Brazilian comic strip and part of the Monica's Gang comic book series, created by Mauricio de Sousa.

The stories are centered on Chuck Billy (originally named Chico Bento) and his friends and parents, who are all caipiras and live in the small Vila Abobrinha (Zucchini’s Village), a fictional location on the countryside of Brazil. The only characters who don't live on the countryside are Chuck's cousin, Zeca, and his parents, who live in the city.

The comics originally debuted in 1961 in the newspaper "Folha da Manhã", at first having as protagonists the characters Cousin Benny (Zé da Roça) and Taka (Hiro), but the comics changed after the introduction of Chuck Billy in 1963 who due to his popularity with the public, became the main protagonist after a few years. This was also the first series by Maurício de Sousa (unrelated with Monica's Gang) to be adapted in its own solo comic book series starting in August 26, 1982.

Decurion (Roman cavalry officer)

Not to be confused with Decurion (administrative)A decurion (Latin: decurio, plural decuriones) was a Roman cavalry officer in command of a squadron (turma) of cavalrymen in the Roman army.

Lionel's Kingdom

Lionel's Kingdom (Turma da Mata) is a Brazilian comic strip created in 1961 and part of the Monica's Gang comic strips.

The series is a Funny animal comic strip, with mostly anthropomorphic animals who almost all walking on two feet (except for Tim Turtle), wear clothes, and obviously, are able to speak. Their home is a forest, presumably in Brazil, although featuring mostly African animals. Originally the strips began with the protagonist character McFox (Raposão), but over the years with the popularity and constant protagonism of other characters, comics have gone untitled for many years until being renamed to the current title.

List of Brazilian animated films

List of animated films made in Brazil.

List of Monica's Gang printed media

This list follows all publications derived printed media of Monica and Friends franchise and relative works, created by Mauricio de Sousa. The comic books have been published by three publishers and are still in publication since 1970.

Monica's Gang

Monica's Gang or Monica and Friends (Portuguese: Turma da Mônica) is a Brazilian comic book series and media franchise created by Mauricio de Sousa.

The series originated in a newspaper comic strip in which the protagonists were Blu (Bidu) and Franklin (Franjinha), launched by the newspaper Folha da Manhã in 1959. As the series continued, the central characters became Jimmy Five (Cebolinha) and Monica (Mônica), both of whom began to appear in eponymous series in addition to the renamed Monica’s Gang. The characters and comics were subsequently adapted into, among other media, an animated television series; as well as films, most of which are anthologies.The stories revolve around the adventures of Monica and her friends in the fictional Lemon Tree Neighborhood (Bairro do Limoeiro) of São Paulo, inspired by the neighborhood of Cambuí in Campinas and the city of Mogi das Cruzes, where de Sousa spent his childhood. The Monica’s Gang umbrella title also encompasses Chuck Billy 'n' Folks, Tina's Pals, Lionel's Kingdom and Bug-a-Booo, among other series.

Monica's Gang was previously published by Abril and Globo and has been published by Panini Comics since 2007. In 2008, a spin-off series, Monica Teen, was created in a manga style and features the characters as teenagers.

Monica's Gang (TV series)

Monica's Gang (known as Turma da Mônica in Brazil and Mónica e Amigos in the European Portuguese dub) is a Brazilian series of cartoons based on the comic book Monica's Gang by Mauricio de Sousa. The series runs on Cartoon Network and on Saturdays on TV Globo, but in 2013, TV Globo stopped to air the series.

Six DVDs with episodes of the series were released, distributed by Paramount. Globo displays the newest episodes of the DVDs. New episodes were released in nine movies: Cine Gibi, Cine Gibi 2, Cine Gibi 3, Cine Gibi 4, Cine Gibi 5, Cine Gibi 6, Cine Gibi 7, Cine Gbi 8 and Cine Gibi 9. New episodes are posted on the programme's official YouTube channel, and on Cartoon Network.

Monica Teen

Monica's Gang Teen (Turma da Mônica Jovem) is a Brazilian comic created in August 2008 by Mauricio de Sousa. The series features the characters from Monica's Gang as teenagers.

In January 2019, the series began to be published in the United States by the publisher Papercutz with the title "Monica Adventures".

The Cavern Clan

The Cavern Clan (Piteco) is a Brazilian comic strip, created in 1961 by Mauricio de Sousa, and part of the Monica's Gang series.

It centers around a prehistoric tribe in the Stone Age, but also anachronistically depicts them living in the presence of dinosaurs. Most of the stories feature Pitheco hunting dinosaurs, running away from Tooga, or even his friends and he fighting against other village’s people. Ironically, the characters would always refer to things which did not exist at that time, for example, if a character needs to walk a long distance, he or she would say, “Too bad they didn’t invent the car yet, ‘cause otherwise I would go faster”. Mauricio de Sousa was inspired by the American comic strip Alley Oop strips and named Pitheco's village Lem (which in Alley Oop refer to Lemuria).

Tina's Pals

Tina's Pals ("Turma da Tina") is a Brazilian comic strip series, part of the Monica's Gang series, created in 1970. The stories are aimed at a more teenage group of readers, rather than the kids who would read other Mauricio de Sousa's works and thus center around teenagers. However, Mauricio prefers not to mention drugs, sex, alcoholic drinks, or other similar subjects, which are very popular among teenagers. Instead, the strips are written with themes related to school or university, dating, problems with parents, etc.

Originally the stories recounted the life of Tina and her family living in Salvador, Flip (Toneco) was the original protagonist. The stories changed when Tina joined the hippie culture and started to act alongside Curly (Rolo). In the late of 1970s, Mauricio left the hippie style and started to work with a less particular way of life for them, making the characters become more modern and changing their personalities over the years.

Turma da Mônica – Laços

Turma da Mônica - Laços (Monica's Gang - Bonds) is a 2013 Brazilian graphic novel written and illustrated by Vitor Cafaggi and Lu Cafaggi (known for the Puny Parker strips, based on the childhood of Peter Parker), based on the Monica's Gang characters created by Maurício de Sousa. It is part of the Graphic MSP series of graphic novels based on Maurício de Sousa characters.

Turma do Balão Mágico

Balão Mágico ("Magic Balloon") was a children's television program in Brazil. The children that were the main stars of the program were also part of a musical group singing children's songs which was named after the program as A Turma do Balão Mágico ("The Magic Balloon Gang").The program was aired by Rede Globo between 1983 and 1986, and the musical group released six albums under the Columbia label that sold together 13 million copies.

Their biggest hit is the song Superfantástico, which is still popular more than 30 years since its release.

The main cast and musical group was composed of:

Simony (Simony Benelli Galasso): The only girl in the band

Tob (Vimerson Canavilas Benedicto): The oldest member of the group

Mike (Michael Biggs): Son of infamous British robber Ronnie Biggs

Jairzinho (Jair Oliveira): Son of Brazilian musician Jair Rodrigues

Ricardinho (Ricardo Batista): the last member of the group

Turma do Chico Bento (video game)

Turma do Chico Bento is a farming simulation social network game developed by Insolita Studios in 2012, based on Brazilian Chuck Billy 'n' Folks popular comics characters.Based in popular farming simulation games like FarmVille, Turma do Chico Bento's first mission is to create a personalized character, who moves to the Zucchini’s Village, where players can interact with characters from Chuck Billy 'n' Folks series.

Turma do Pererê

Turma do Pererê was a Brazilian comic book series created by writer and cartoonist Ziraldo in 1959. The series was originally launched in single-panel cartoons originally published in the pages of magazine O Cruzeiro that through their popularity eventually earning his own comic book in 1960 then called only "Pererê", one of the first children's comic books series in Brazil. The comics tagged generation among many Brazilians, but were eventually canceled in 1964, only returning to be published in 1975 by Abril with the current title "Turma do Pererê" which was canceled the following year and shall have only republications in subsequent years, until 1980 when he dedicated to the comics of the Menino Maluquinho.The stories showed the adventures of Saci Pererê (a character of Brazilian folklore) and his friends who live in the Brazilian interior forest known as Mata do Fundão.

Wonder Boy in Monster World

Wonder Boy in Monster World, known in Japan as Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, is a side-scrolling action role-playing game originally developed by Westone and published by Sega for the Mega Drive/Genesis in 1991. It is the fifth game in the Wonder Boy series and the third game in the Monster World sub-series, following Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Super Wonder Boy: Monster World on the Japanese Sega Mark III) and Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap (Monster World II: Dragon no Wana on the Japanese Game Gear).

Versions for other platforms were also made. In 1993, Sega released a Master System version of the game specifically for the European market, while in 1994, Hudson Soft remade the game for the TurboDuo under the title of The Dynastic Hero (超英雄伝説ダイナスティックヒーロー, Chō Eiyū Densetsu Dainasutikku Hīrō), featuring an all-new theme and cast of characters. In 2007, the Turbo Duo and Mega Drive versions were re-released on the Wii Virtual Console download service.


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