Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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{^siipeuclin privari), or loss of rank, e. g. when a soldier of the triarii was de-
graded into the hastati. The tribunes could inflict punishments only after in-
vestigation of the case; the general, on the other hand, could immediately and
absolutely pronounce sentence, even to death. The latter was the sentence for
wilful disobedience of orders, for insurrection and desertion. The mode of in-
flicting death was not uniform.

§ 286. Of the Roman order of battle (actes) a general idea may be given here ;
a minute detail would belong rather to a system of tactics. The legions were
commonly ranged in three lines, the foremost occupied by the hastati, the next
by the principes, and the last by the triarii. Between each two maniples a
space was left, so that the maniples of the second line stood against the spaces
of the first, and the maniples of the third against the spaces of the second.
These spaces were termed reclae viae, and were as broad as the maniples them-

1 u. This arrangement was called quincunx. It had the advantage both of stability
and of being easily changed ; it avoided all confusion and interruption, and was espe-
cially put in opposition to the Grecian phalanx (§ 142), which it could easily penetrate
and route. It was less fitted to resist a violent onset, and therefore was often, in anti-
cipation of attack, changed so as to close up the spaces. But in this form of arrange-
ment the soldiers were mutually sustained and relieved by being in different lines, and
by means of their separate maniples could easily change the positions for attack and
defence. Originally the lines were ranged six feet apart, and the men in the maniples
three feet from each other; in later times the space was diminished till the soldier had
scarcely more than room for his shield.

2. To the disposition of the soldiers in the three lines of hastati, principes, and triarii,
as above described, some have applied the phrase triplex acies (cf. Sallust. Bell. Jug.
49) ; others consider the phrase as sometimes at least meaning simply an arrangement
in three lines; an arrangement in two lines being called acies duplex. Other methods
of drawing up the army for battle were occasionally used. We mention here the
emeus, in which the army was arranged in the form of a wedge in order to pierce and
break the enemy's lines ; the globus, in which the troops were collected into a close,
firm, round body, usually adopted in case of extremhy ; the forfcx, in which the army
took a form something like that of an open pair of shears or the letter V, in order ti*


receive the enemy when coming in the shape of a wedge ; the serra, in which the lines
were extended, and in making the engagement some parts of the front advanced before
the other parts, thus presenting an appearance a httle hke the teeth of a saw.

§ 287. The first attack in a battle was customarily made by the h'ghf-armed
troops, which in earlier times were ranged in front of the first line ; but after-
wards they were stationed in the intervals between the maniples, behind them,
or on the wings, and made attack in connection with the hustati. A considerable
part of the light-armed were stationed behind the triarii, to support them. The
attack commenced when the legion was at the distance of an arrow-shot from
the enemy. As the light-armed now discharged their arrows, the haslati ad-
vanced, hurled their javelins, and fought with their swords. If the enemy were
not forced to give way, or they were themselves pressed hard, the signal was
given for retreat; on which the light-armed and the hastaii drew back^through
the intervals of the second line, and the prina'pes advanced to the fight. In
the mean while, the triarii continued in a stooping posture, leaning on their
right knee with the left foot advanced, covering themselves with their shields,
and having their spears stuck in the ground with the points upwards ; the line
thus presented the appearance of a sort of wall. If the principes were com-
pelled to retreat, the triarii then rose, and both the principes and the hastati
being received into their intervals, renewed the action with close ranks (^com-
pressis ordinibus) and all three in a body {uno continente agmine). This united
attack was then sustained by the light-armed troops in the rear of the whole.

§ 288. Of the light-armed troops a few things further may be noticed. They
were commonly called velites ,• in early times, however, rorarii and accensi,
sometimes also adscriptilii, optiones, and feretitarii. They carried no shields,
but slings, arrows, javelins, and swords. They were usually divided into
fifteen companies {expediti manipuli, or expedites cohortes), and besides these
there were 300 usually distributed among the hastati of the old legions. The
light-armed often sat behind the horsemen, and when these approached the
enemy, sprang off and sought to wound and push them by the javelin and sword.

1 u. They were sometimes distributed among the maniples of the three lines, about
forty being joined to each maniple. — 1 hey were of three different classes, designated
by their principal weapon ; jaculatores, who hurled the javehn ; sngittarii. who shot the
arrow ; and fiinditores, who cast stones or balls with the sling. There were also
afterwards tragularii and balistarii, who threw stones by the aid of machines.

In Plate XXXIV. fig. a, is a Roman funditor ; fig. b, a Sagittarius.

2 u. Those called antesignmii were not the light-armed, but probably were the
soldiers of the first, or of the first and second line. — The position of the light-armed
during battle was often changed ; but it would seem that most commonly they stood in.
three lines behind the hastati, the principes, and the triarii, and rushed forward to their
attacks through the intervals between the maniples.

§ 289. The Roman cavalry was the most respected part of their army, espe-
cially as long as it was composed wholly of knights, and this class of citizens en-
joyed a high estimation and rank already noticed (§ 256). Even before the regular
establishment of this order in its full privileges, B. C. 124, the cavalry consisted
chiefiy of the noble and respectable young Romans ; such indeed was the case
on the first creation of the cavalry by Romulus, who received the most noble
youth among his 300 horsemen called celeres ; the same was true under the fol-
lowing kings, who increased their number. Towards the end of the republic,
the Roman knights began to leave the military service, and thus the cavalry
of the later armies was made up almost wholly of foreigners, who were taken
into pay in the provinces where the legions were stationed. The knights of
later times served only among the Fraetorians, or the imperial bodyguard
(cf. § 309).

§ 290. At that period also, the cavalry was often separated from the legions,
while previously they had been regarded as the same army, and been stationed
especially on the wing. — The forces, commonly called alse were different from
the legionary cavalry; they were bodies of light-horse, composed of foreigners
and employed to guard the flanks of the army. — The number of horsemen con-
nected with a legion has already been named (cf. §§ 276, 278, 281) ; commonly
300; sometimes 400. The legions of the auxiliaries (cf. § 292) had the same


number of foot soldiers as the Roman legions, but a greater number of horsemen ;
although the ratio was not always the same.

In. The cavalry was divided by the tribunes into \0 turmcB, corresponding to the
number of cohorts in each legion, and 30 decurioB, corresponding to the number of
maniples. For every maniple there were therefore ten horsemen. Each lurma had
three Decuriones, the first of whom was commander of the whole turma; three uraai
(dy/3a)'oi) were under them. In how many lines the cavalry used to be drawn up for
battle is not known. In an attack, the first line of turma; endeavored to break the
ranks of the enemy ; and were supported therein by the second. If the enemy were
arranged in the wedge-form, the cavalry dashed upon them at full speed.

2 u. The horses were protected by leather on their bodies and plates of iron on their
heads and breasts. In general, the Roman cavalry were of principal service in pro-
tecting the flanks of the infantry, reconnoitering the enemy, collecting forage, occupy-
ing remote defiles, covering retreats, and pursuing the routed foe. Where the ground
was uneven, the horsemen dismounted and fought on foot.

On Ihe Roman civalry, Le Beau, as cited § 275, Mem. ^c. vol. xxviii. — Zumpt, cited § 256. 2.

§ 291. In early times, when the line in battle was not yet threefold, but the
foot were ranged in a siJigle line, the horse were placed in a second to support
them. In the year of the city 500, B. C. 252, the threefold arrangement of the
legion seems to have been adopted. The cohorts have already been mentioned
(§ 281); these also had their particular arrangement, which probably was
formed originally by uniting the maniples, a thing not common until later times,
since in the second Punic war the separate position of the maniples was still
practiced. Towards the end of the republic, the threefold division of the le-
gionaries was abolished ; and the legion now consisted of ten cohorts, each of
which contained 400 or 500 men. After the time of Caesar, the more frequent
order of battle was to place four cohorts in the front line and three in each of
the two others. — Generally the Roman tactics became gradually more and more
like the Greek. Under Trajan the arrangement for battle was a single compact
line. Under later emperors, the use of the Macedonian phalanx was adopted,
but it was renounced.

§ 292. Of the legions of auxiliaries we only remark further, that these con-
sisted chiefly of inhabitants of the Italian states, which at an early period, either
of choice or after subjection, entered into treaty with the Romans, and bound
themselves to furnish for the field as many foot-soldiers as the Romans, with
more than the Roman proportion of cavalry. The auxiliary legions occupied
the two wings when drawn up in battle-array.

1 u. A complete consular army, comprising the full quota from the allied states, con
tained eight legions ; although the number of allies was not always exactly the same.
When in process of time the aUies (socii) were admitted to Roman citizenship, the dis
tinciion made between them and the Romans ceased.

2. The number of legions enrolled and assembled for service was different at dif-
ferent times. "During the free state, four legions were commonly fitted up every
year, and divided between the two consuls ; yet in cases of necessity we sometimes
meet with no less than sixteen or eighteen in Livy. — Augustus maintained a standing
army of 23 or (according to some) of 25 legions." {Kennett.)

Respecting the military establishment of the emperors, see Gibbon, Rom. Emp. ch. i. — Of. § 30S.

3. The forces of the allies were termed alcz, from the cucumstance of being usually
placed on the flanks. They were under command of officers appointed for the pur-
pose, called prafecti. A portion of the foot and horse of the allies, called exlraordi'
narii, were stationed near the consul, and one troop, called ablecti, served him as a
special guard.

§ 293. Besides its proper members, each legion had its train of attendants,
and baggage and machines of war. Among the numerous attendants were the
following; the fabri, mechanics, workers in wood and metal ; lixae, sutlers,
holding a sort of market; chirurgi, field-surgeons, of which Augustus allowed
ten to a legion; metatores, whose business was to mark out and fix the ground
for encampments ; frumentarii, who had the care of furnishing provisions ;
librarii and scrihas, who were charged with duties such as fall under the care
of a quarter-master. — The proper baggage of the army (^impedimetifa) consisted
partly of the bundles or knapsacks of the soldiers (sarcinae), partly of weapons,
military engines, stores, provisions, and the like, which were carried in vtagons

2 A


ani on beasts of burden. Each person in the cavalry had a horse and a servant
(agaso) to carry his bagrgaore. The servants and vi^aiting boys of the legions
were termed calories. Originally there were but few persons of this class, but
in later times they were often so many as to surpass the number of proper

§ 294. The order of march, when a Roman army moved to the field or into
the camp, was usually as follows. The light-armed went in advance ; then
followed the heavy-armed, both foot and horse ; then the persons needed to
pitch and prepare the camp, to level the grounds and perform other necessary
work; then the baggage of the general {dux) and of his lieutenants (legafi),
guarded by horsemen; then the general himself under his usual escort; then
124 horsemen; after which came the military tribunes and other officers. After
these followed first the standards, next the choice men of the army, and last
the servants and muleteers or managers of the beasts. This seems to have been
the usual order of march ; but it was of course changed and modified in different
cases in reference to the nature of the ground, the country, and other circum-
stances. The order in marching out of camp was also somewhat different.
And in order to equalize the exposure to danger, both the wings and the legions
also were required to relieve each other in position.

§ 295. Besides the arrangements for battle mentioned already (§ 286), some
others adopted particularly in marching should be mentioned. The agmen
quadratum was when the army was disposed in a compact form, usually that
of a square, with the bag-gage in the centre, either in expectation of the enemy,
or on a retreat; the agmen pilatum, or justum, w^as a close array in marching.
Orhis signified not a circular form, but such a four-sided arrangement as pre-
sented a front on every side. The iestudo was also pn arrangement of the sol-
diers, in which they stood close together, raising their shields so as to form a
compact covering over them (like the shell over the tortoise), and in which they
approached the walls of the enemy, or waited to receive the enemy at a certain
distance. The iiirris was an oblong quadrangular form, with the end or narrow
side presented to the foe; laterculus was the same, considered only in its

§ 296. The camp of the Romans resembled in many particulars the Grecian,
but had several peculiar advantages. A camp occupied only for a short time
during a march was called castra, and in the later ages, mansio; casira siaiiva
signified a more permanent camp, in which the army remained for a length of
time, e. g. over a winter, therefore termed casira hiber?}a. or through summer,
castra sestiva. The tents of such a camp were covered with hides, boards, straw, .
and rushes. The most convenient site possible was selected for the camp. The
highest and freest part of it was chosen for the head-quarters of the general.
This was called the prseiorium, and occupied a space of four hundred feet
square. Here the council of war was held. A particular spot in it was appro-
priated for taking the auspices, augurale ; and another for the erection of the
tribunal, whence the commander sometimes addressed the arm)^ In this space
were the tents of the coniuhernales of the geneial (the young Patricians who
attended upon him as volunteers), and of other persons belonging to his train.
Near the praetorium were the tents of the officers and the bodyguards. The
entrance to the head-quarters was always next to the enemy.

§ 297 f. On the right of the Praetorium (e), was the Forum (v), an open space for a
market, and for martial courts; and on the left the Quastorium (w), where the stores,
money, arms, and the like were kept. A select portion of the cavalry, eqvites ahlccii
et evocati (o, o) were also stationed on each side of the Pratorium, and behind them
the pedites ahlecti et evocati (p, p). Next were the tents of the Tribunes (**) and of
the Prsefects (tt). Then was a passage, or free way, called pri?icipia (c), 100 feet
wide, extending through the whole camp from one of the side gates (c) to the other (d).
The rest of the camp was what was called the lower part. Through the center of
this lower part ran another passage 50 feet wide, extending in the opposite direction.
On each side of this last passage, the tents of the cavalry (h) and the triarii (i) were
cast ; then beyond these tents, on each side, was another passage 50 feet wide, and
then the tents of the principes (k) and hastati (l) ; and after another similar passage
beyond these on each side, the tents of the auxiharies, both cavalry (m) and infantry (iv).
These five passages were crossed at right angles, in the center, by another of the same



width, termed Via quintana (t) because five maniples were encamped on each side
of it. In each tent there were eleven men, which termed a contuhemium, one of them
having the oversight of the other ten. Around the tents was a free space 200 feet wide,
which was the place of assembhng to march out of camp, and served also for defense
in case of an attack from an enemy.

Around the whole camp was a ditch, fossa, and wall or rampart, vallum. The
ditch or foss was ordinarily nine feet wide and seven deep ; the rampart three feet
nigh ; these measures, however, varied with circumstances. The rampart was formed
of the earth thrown (agger) from the ditch, with sharp stakes {sudes) fixed therein.
On each of the four sides was an opening or gate, porta, guarded by a whole cohort.
These gates were called porta prcetoria (a), being near the head-quarters towards the
enemy ; porta decumana (b), on the opposite side of the camp, called also qujEstoria, as
in earlier times the quaestorium was near it ; porta principalis dextra (d), and porta
principalis sinistra (c), being near the principia.

A plan of a consular camp is seen in Plate XXXIV. fig. P, as civen in Boyd's ed. of Adam ; it
is drawn from the description of Polybi\is (Hist. vi. 24). — The letters and signs included in pa-
rentheses in the above description refer severally to the corresponding marks in the Plan. The
letters Q Q, in the Plan, designate the tents occupied by the extraordinary cavalry of the allies;
R R. by the extraordinary foot of the allies ; S S, by strangers and occasional allies. — In fig. R is
a section of a fossa, here given as twelve feet broad and nine deep; showing also the agger and

§ 298. The watches which were maintained by night were termed vigiliae;
excuhiae also signifies properly night-watches, but is used in a more general
sense ; statio was the name for each single post. Two tribunes had constantly
the oversight of the whole camp, which the same two retained, at the longest,
for two months. At their tents all the otficers and leaders were required to
assemble at daybreak and with them go to the general to receive his commands.
The watchword (symbo/um) was called tessera, from the four sides or corners
of the little wooden block on which it was written.

1 u. The watchword was given by the general to the tribunes, and by them to the
centurions, and by them to the soldiers. Those who carried it from the tribunes to the
centurions were called tesserarii. Short commands were often written on similar
tablets, and in like manner rapidly circulated through the army. Before the head-
quarters a whole maniple kept guard, particularly by night. The outworks of the
camp were occupied by the light-armed. Every maniple was obliged to place four men
upon guard, so that 240 men were always on the watch in a camp of two legions. The
night was divided into four parts, of three hours each, also called watches, at the end
of which the guards (vigiles) were relieved by a new set. The legions of the auxilia-
ries had also their guards and watchmen. It belonged to the cavalry to inspect the
watch on duty, and make the formal round {circuitio vigilum) or visit the several posts
or stations.

2. In the discipline of the Roman camp, the soldiers were employed in various ex-
ercises, whence the army in fact took its name, exercitus. These exercises included
walking and running completely armed ; leaping, swimming, vaulting upon horses of
wood, shooting the arrow, hurling the javelin, carrying weights, attacking a wooden
image of a man as an enemy, &c. — It was essential to the comfort of the soldier, that
he should be able to walk or run in his full armor with perfect ease ; in common march-
ing he was obliged to carry, in adduion to his arms, a load consisting of his provisions
and customary utensils, amounting in weight, it is supposed, at least to 60 pounds. —
The exercises were performed under the training of the campidoctores.

3. The winter quarters (castra kiberna) of the Romans were strongly fortified, and, under the
emperors particularly, were furnished with every accommodation like a city, as storehouses,
workshops {fabrics), an infirmary (valetudinarium), &c. Many European towns are supposed
to have had their origin in such establishments; in England, particularly those whose names
end in Chester or cester. (^dam).—C{. Roy's Military Antiquities in Great Britain.

§ 299. The siege of a city was commenced by completely encircling it with
troops, and the encircling lines (corona) were, in case of populous cities, some-
times double or triple. In the attacks upon the city they employed various
methods, and engines of various sorts.

1m. The tesludo before mentioned C^i 295) was frequently used ; upon the shields
thus arranged other soldiers mounted, and so attempted to scale the walls. Higher walls
they mounted by the help of scahng-ladders (scaZc;). — The crates, hurdles, were a kind
of basket-work of willow; they were attached as a sort of roof to stakes, borne in the
hands of those who used this shelter over their heads, in advancing to make an attack ;
they were also employed by the besieged as a breastwork on their walls, and on
marches they served as fascines to fill or cover soft and miry places. — Vinea were
lortable sheds or mantlets of light boards, eight feet high, seven feet broad, and sixteen


long. They were filled out and covered with wickerwork or hides, and served to pro-
tect from the arrows of the enemy while the soldiers were undermining the walls.

Fig 1, of Plate XXXIV. shows the use of the testvdo by a bodj of soldiers approaching a wall
acciirding to the statement above. — Fig. 2 shows the manner of foiniing the crates, and the vinem.

2 u. For a similar purpose were the plutei, wooden shelters, covered with hides, and
moved upon wheels or rollers. Under iliese the slingers and archers especially placed
themselves, and sought to force the defenders from their walls, in order that the scaling-
ladders might be the more easily and effectually applied. Of the same kind, yet
stronger were the musculi ; and also the testudines (wooden shelters to be distinguished
from testudo before mentioned) ; these were most commonly used to protect the work-
men in erecting a fortification, filling up the ditch, or the like. With some of these
shelters ihey often covered the battering ram.

Fig. 8, Plate XXXIV. is a gluteus, advancing against a wall.

3 u. The battering ram was a large beam employed to break in the walls of the
besieged city, in order to enter it. Originally it was managed immediately by the
hands of certain soldiers without protection, but was afterwards placed under the shel-
ters just described, which covered the men who thrust it against the walls. Its name,
aries, was derived from its front end, which was covered with iron in a form resembhng
a ram's head. Sometimes it was composed of several pieces united, and so large that
125 men were required to work it.

The fnlces murales and asseres falcati were beams with iron hooks, to break and
tear down the upper breastwork on the walls; they were managed by the aid of ropes. —
Two other instruments, which were probably of a similar use, were termed the
grus and the corvus. — The terebra was an instrument employed for opening a hole in
the walls.

In fig. 4, of Plate XXXIV. is the battering-ram in it.s simple form, suspended by ropes from a
cross-beam fixed above two posts driven into the ground. In fig. 5, it is attached to a complete
and substantial frame placed upon rollers. In fig. 10, it appears under a shelter as above men-

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 58 of 153)