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You cannot issue a "BACKUP ARCHIVELOG" by itself. The syntax of "archivelogRecordSpecifier" requires a specification for which ArchiveLogs to be backed up -- e.g. "ALL" or "UNTIL ..." or "FROM ..." etc.
The only time you do not have to specify the ArchiveLogs is when you use the "PLUS ARCHIVELOG" clause to a "BACKUP DATABASE"
Hemant K Chitale
I think i have answered such question before, strange :)
Anyway please find below link to read something about the backup command;
+If you specify BACKUP ARCHIVELOG ALL, then RMAN backs up exactly one copy of each distinct log sequence number. For example, if you archive to multiple destinations, RMAN backs up one copy of each log sequence number—not each copy of each log sequence number. For other commands, such as DELETE ALL does refer to every log, even duplicate log sequences.+
Hope That Helps.