In a consular army the best fifth of the allied infantry is selected to serve as pedites extraordinarii. They are an excellent heavy infantry, armed with swords and several light javelins.
The consuls can enroll the troops of the socii in all regions of Italia.
In a consular army the best fifth of the socii infantry and a third of their cavalry are selected to serve as extraordinarii, a special unit under the direct control of the consul, available for decisive maneuvres. On the march they are the advance or rear guard, defending the army against possible attacks. Especially the Samnites are famous for their heavy infantry and many of them are picked to serve as pedites extraordinarii.They fight in a similar manner to the ordinary roman legionary with javelins and swords but besides their native traditions the soldier’s equipment is more influenced by greek fashions. with a bronze muscle cuirass, a helmet, a hoplon style shield, several light javelins and a kopis sword.
Historically, Italy was inhabited by many proven people that could field their own powerful heavy infantry equal to the contemporary legions. After they had been subdued by Roma they became socii, the Italic allies of the Romani, and now had to provide troops for their wars. Most respected was the infantry of the Samnites, proud warriors with their own strong military traditions who had heavily influenced the development of roman manipular warfare in the third century BC. They were a group of tribes that inhabited Samnium, a mountainous region in the southern part of the Apennines in central Italy. For a long time they could successfully rival the Roman hegemony over central Italy. The Romans had to fight three changeful wars against them between 343 BC and 290 BC when Samnium finally lost its independence. However their hatred of the Romans did not disappear. On many occasions the Samnites rebelled or fought with Roma’s enemies until they were defeated a last time in the social war. After high losses the survivors received roman citizenship and were assimilated into the roman state.
When a roman army was enrolled the socii were ordered to send troops as well and to join the roman forces on a decided place. Usually their infantry equalled that of the Romans while their cavalry was three times as numerous. In a standard consular two legion army the remainder of their troops, without the extraordinarii, were divided into two equal sized units. Called ala sinistra and ala dextera (left and right wing) for being placed on the flanks of the similar sized legions.
After the social war their distinctive units finally disappeared when most people of Italia received full citizenship and were now directly recruited into the legions.