Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

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

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tioned.— Fig. 9 shows the asser falcatus.

4 n. One of the most ordinary operations of a siege was to construct mounds {ag-
geres) as high as the walls of the city, or higher. On these mounds were placed the
military engines, also movable towers and other shelters of the soldiers. By means
of boards, palisades, and wooden grapnels, they were made capable of sustaining such
vast weights. On account of the great quantity of wood-work in them, the besieged
generally strove to destroy them by fire, which was often applied by mining under

These towers {furres) were of various size and structure, often 120 feet high, and of
ten or twenty stories. They were moved upon wheels or rollers. From the upper
stories were usually cast arrows, javelins, and stones ; from the middle, a bridge or
passage was sometimes thrown over to the walls; and in the lower one the battering
ram was brought forward. When they reached the slope of the mound, they were
taken to pieces by stories and reconstructed on its summit. To protect them from
fire, they were guarded by plates of iron, or coverings of hides, or moistened with a

solution of alum. A long iron javehn fixed to a shaft of fir, wound with tow,

smeared with pitch and resin, then set on fire and hurled upon the enemy from a tower,
was called falarica, which name was also applied to the lower itself from which they
were thrown. The malleoli were similar, a sort of burning arrows, or bunches of tow
attached to javelins, designed to set on fire the works of the enemy.

Fig. 3, Plate XXXIV. is a specimen of the movable towers.

5 u. One of the most common and largest engines was the catapvlfa, by which
arrows, javelins, and particularly stones were hurled a great distance. Stakes, sharp-
pointed and hardened in the fire (called aclides or sudes missiles) were also thrown fi-om
the catapultcB. — In a siege there were usually a multitude of these machines. Their
construction is not well understood ; we only know that ropes and cords or sinews
were used in order to shoot the arrows and other weapons, which they threw with fatal
efficacy. — Of a similar kind was the balista ; called also in later times onager, and
designed chiefly for throwing the javelin. — For shooting arrows, sometimes poisoned,
the Romans made use of an engine termed the scorpio, which could be managed by a
single man.

Fig. 6, of Plate XXXIV. is the scorpio.— Tig. 1 is the balista, but on a scale more reduced.

§ 300. The modes of defense on the part of the besieged were various.

1 u. They hurled rocks, often more than a hundred pounds in weight, upon the be
siegers, poured upon them boihng pitch or oil, and endeavored to thrust down the
scaling-ladder by means of iron hooks, and to kill, force back, or pull up to themselves
the soldiers attempting to mount. The thrusts of the battering-ram they sought to
ba)fl« or weaken by hanging sacks before it, and in various other ways, and even to
pevze and draw it up by their ropes and springs. Thev likewise cast burning torches
36 2 a2


upon the wooden engines of the besiegers, and in other ways attempted to set them
on fire.

2. " Where they apprehended a breach would be made, they reared new walls be-
hind, with a deep ditch before them. They employed various methods to defend
themselves against the engines and darts of the besiegers. {Liv. xlii. 63.) — But these,
and every thing else belonging to this subject, will be best understood by reading the
accounts preserved to us of ancient sieges, particularly of Syracuse by Marcellus (Liv.
xxiv. 33), of Ambracia by Fulvius {Id. xxxviii. 4). of Alesia by Julius CoBsar {de Bell.
Gall, vii.), of Marseilles by his lieutenants {Cms. B. Civ. ii.), and of Jerusalem by Titus
Vespasian {Joseph, de Bell. Jud.).'"

' § 301. In early times the Romans seldom hazarded a sea-fi^ht, and only in
special cases. Afterwards, however, they acquired a permanent naval power,
and always kept two fleets ready for sail, each manned with a legion, at the two
harbors of Misenum and Ravenna.

1 u. The warriors engaged in this service were called dassiarii, and were enlisted in
the same way as the legions of the land forces, but often taken from among them.
The highest officers or commanders of the fleet {da.'isis) were originally the Duumviri
navales, afterwards a Consul or a Praetor, who was called prcefectus dassis, and sta-
tioned in the most distinguished vessel {?iavis prcetoria) known by its flag {vexillum
purjmreum). Every other ship had a tribune or centurion for its particular com-
mander {navardius). Upon the upper deck {stega, constratum navis) stood the fight-
ing men.

2. Besides the navardius or commander (called also magister navis), each ship had a
pilot {guhernator, rector) and sometimes two, who had an assistant {proreta) to watch
at the prow. Besides the dassiarii or fighting-men (marines, called also epibatce),
there were also the rowers {,remiges) who were more or less numerous according to the
size of the galley; these were under a leader or director {hortator, KeXsvurni, cl. § 158,)
who with his voice and a little mallet {portisculus) guided their motions.

3 u. War-towers were often placed on board the vessels, commonly two, one in the
fort part, the other in the hinder part. For seizing and boarding a vessel of the enemy
the ferrecB manus, harpagones, and corvi were employed ; there were also other instru-
ments of this sort; combustible materials and the hke were used in order to fire the
ships of the enemy.

^ 302?/. On engaging in a fight, the sails {vela) were usually furled, because they
would easily take fire, and the vessel was managed by the rudder alone. The fleet
was arranged by the commander in a sort of battle-array, and each vessel was as-
signed i's place, which it must maintain. A position as far as possible from land was
usuallv desired. The larger vessels were usually placed in front, although the order
of arrangement for naval combat was by no means uniform, but very various. The
following forms are mentioned ; acies simplex, cuneata, lunata, falcala. Before the
battle commenced, the omens were examined, sacrifices and vows were offered. Then
upon all the ships was hung out a red flag, or a gilded shield, and the signal for at-
tack was given by a trumpet {dassicum). The contest consisted partly in the rapid
and violent rushing of the vessels against those of the enemy, for the purpose of'
piercing the hostile ships by means of the rostra, which were two strong beams at the
prow of the galley, covered with iron at the points, and made fast to both sides of the
keel; partly in throwing darts, spears, grappling irons, and the like; and partly in
actual close coml)at.

<5> 303. The chief parts of a Roman ship were similar to those of a Grecian (§ 155).
The following were some of the terms ; prorn, prow ; pi/ppis, stern ; alveus, belly ;
statumiiia. ribs; sentina, pump to draw off bilge-water {nautea); foramina, holes to
put out the oars {remi); sedilia, transtra, seats of the rowers; scalmus, the piece of
wood to which the oar was tied by thongs {sfroppi) ; guhernaculum, davus, rudder ;
two rudders were common ; imisne, the image at the prow ; tutela, the image at the
stern ; aplustria, ornamental parts at the stern, sometimes at the prow, having a sort
of staff with a streamer (tama); mains, mast; modius, the place in which the mast
was fixed: antenncB, bradiia, yards for the sails {vela); cor7uia, extremities of the
yards ; -pedes, the ropes fastened to the cornua. The rigging and tackling in general
was called Mr77j(77rap7if a ; the ropes, rudeiiles, or fu7ies ; the anchor, andiora ; sound-
ing-lead, moli/hdis ; the ballast, sahurra.

^ 304. The' Roman ships were divided into three principal kinds, the war-galley, ^'"^
transport, and the ship of burden ; the first was propelled chiefly by oars; the secouJ
was often towed by ropes; the third depended mostly on sails. These classes were
called by various names. Ships of burden had the general name of naves oneraricB ;
they were commonly much inferior in size to m -dern trading vessels ; although sonie
ships are mentioned of vast bulk, as that which brought from Egypt the great obelisk
in the time of Caligula, said to be about 1138 tons. Ships of war were often termed
naves longce, being longer than others; naves turritcB from the towers constructed on
them; also rostratas, asratcB, from their beaks ; and particularly irtremes, quadriremes.


&c., from the number of benches of rowers in them severally. As many as ten
banks are mentioned; Livy (xlv. 35) speaks of a ship with sixteen banks; and Pto-
lemy Philopator is said to have built one with forty banks. On the manner in which
the benches were arranged in the Roman and Grecian galley we refer to § 156. 2.

The naves Lihurnkce. were light, fast-sailing ships, made after the model of the
galley used by the Liburni, a people of Dalmatia addicted to piracy. — The phaseli, or
naves actitaricB, were a kind of yacht or small bark, with few oars, also designed for
expedition. — The Camarcs v.'ere of a peculiar construction, with two prows and rud-
ders, one at each end, so that they could at pleasure be propelled either way W'ithout
turning; they could be covered with boards hke the vauhed roof of a house. (Tac.
Mor. Germ. 44.)

Fig. I, of Plate XXIIT. is a specimen of the p1iasehis.—F\g. 3 is the Liburnian galley.— Fig. 2 is
the stern of a Roman vessel, from a painting at Pompeii ; it shows the two rudders, attached on
each side, by bands, as on a pivot, so that the lower and larger ends could be raised out of water
by lashing the upper ends down to the deck. Cf. ^cts x.^vii. 40.

On the ships of the Romans, see Schejfer, Holwtll, Le Roy. &c. as cited § 156. 2.—/. Vossixts, De Liburnicarum Constructione, in

Orxvius. vol. xii. It was stated, in 1S35, that the port of Pompeii had been discovered, presenting vessels thrown upon their

(ides and covered by the volcanic matter. (Downfall of Babylon, Sept. 22, 1835, citing L(md<m Littrary Gazette.)

§ 305. The great public reward of a Roman commander, who had gained an
important victory by sea or by land, was the triumph, a pompous show, Avhich
Tvas practiced even in the time of the kings. This honor, however, could be
acquired only by those who were or had been Consuls, Dictators, or Praetors;
It was not awarded to Proconsuls. Yet in later times there were some excep-
tions to this. He who claimed the honor of a triumph must have been also, not
merely commander, but chief commander of the army, and the victory must have
been gained in the province assigned to the Consul or Prsetor. The importance
of the campaign and the victory, and its advantage to the state, also came into
consideration; and the general must have brought back his army to share with
him in the glory of the triumph and accompany him in procession. If the vic-
tory consisted only in the recovery of a lost province, it was not honored with a

§ 306. The first solemnity which took place at Rome after a victory, was a
thanksgiving ox suppUcatio (§ 220). Then the general must apply to the senate
in order to obtain a triumph. Permission, however, was often given by the
people, contrary to the will of the senate. A law or vote was always passed
by the people permitting the general to retain his command {imperiura) in the
city, on the day of his triumph, because in other circumstances he was required
to lay down his command before entering the city. The abuse of the honors
of a triumph occasioned the enactment, B. C. 63, of the law called kx iriumpha-
lis Porcia, w^hich prohibited a triumph unless at least five thousand of the enemy
had fallen in battle.

§ 307. A general enjoying this honor was not to enter the city until the day
of his triumph, and his previous request to the senate must be made out of the
city in the temple of Bellona. The expenses were usually defrayed from the
public treasury, except in cases where a conqueror held a triumphal procession
without public authority, as was sometimes done on the Alban mountain. The
expenses were commonly very great. Before a triumph, the general usually
distributed presents to his soldiers and to others. — The Senate went to meet the
triumphing general as far as the gate by which he entered the city.

1 «. The order of the triumphal procession was as follows. First in the Ime, ordi-
narily, were the lictors and magistrates in a body. They were followed by the trum-
peters and musicians of various kinds, the animals to be offered in sacrifice, the spoils
and booty taken from the enemy, the weapons and chariots of the conquered, pictures
and emblems of the country reduced, the captive princes or generals, and other pri-
soners. Then came the conqueror himself, seated in a high chariot, drawn by four
white horses, robed in purple, and wearing a wreath of laurel. He was followed by
his numerous train, consisting partly of his relatives, but chiefly of his army drawn
out in regular order. — The procession marched amid constant acclamations, through
the whole city to the Capitol, where the victims were sacrificed, and a portion of the
spoils of the victory were consecrated to the gods. Afterwards were feastins, merri-
ment, spectacles, and games. Often the scenes of the triumph lasted several days. The
pomp, expense, and luxury attending them became constantly greater and greater,
and the whole custom, on account of hs frequent occurrence, and the great abuse of
it by some of the emperors, was reduced at last to a common and contemptible affaij


— The first tnumph for a victory at pea (triumphus navalis) was obtained by the Con-
sul C. Duillius, after his memorable defeat of the Carthaginians, B. C. 261.

2. Resppcting the pillar and inscription in honor of Duillius, see P. IV. J 133. — For a fuller
view of a triu?iiphal display, read riutarck's description of the triumph of Paulas ^niilius, after
the capture of I'etseiis king of Macedonia.— See also the account of Aureliaii's triumph in his
Life by Vupisciis (cf Gibbon, ch. xi). The la.*t triumph recorded is that of Belisarius, at Constan-
tinople, rivaled by Procopius (cf P. V. $ 257. — Gibbon, ch. xli.)— The total number of triumphs
upon record down to that of Belisarius has been calculated as amounting to three hundred and

It may be worthy of remark, that the phrase aurvm corortarium had its origin in a custom con-
nected with the triumph of a general ; the cities of the province where his victory was obtained,
and those of other provinces also, used to send to \V\m golden crowns, which were carried before
him in the triumphal procession. Cn. Manlius had two hundred crowns carried before him in
his triumph on account of his victories in Asia (Liw. xxxix.'T). At length it became customary
to send, instead of the crown, a sum of money, which was called aurum coronariuvi (cf. Aul
Gell. V. 6).

§ 303. There w^as an honor lower than that of a triumph, frequently bestowed
on victorious generals, the ovafio. This did not differ very much in form from
the triumph ; the essential peculiarities were, that the general entered the city
not in a chariot, but on foot or on horseback, robed not in the trabea, but the
prsefexta only, and at the Capitol did not offer bullocks in sacrifice, but a sheep
{ovis). From the last circumstance, the name of the whole scene was probably
taken. The triumph on the Alban mount, already alluded io (§ 307), was less
pompous. It was held only by those to whom the senate had refused a triumph
in the city, and to whom an ovation only had been awarded. The ceremonies
were similar to tliose of a triumph in the city. The procession, it is supposed,
marched to the temple of Jupiler Laliaris, situated on the mount.

§ 309. The Roman military system underwent various changes under the

1 u. By Augustus a standing army was established ; he also created an officer
called Fraftctus prcBtorio, who was placed over the troops constituting the imperial
bodyguard and the praetorian cohorts distributed in Italy. The Roman military ser-
vice suffered by the new establishment. It soon became merely a system to support
the authority of the emperors, not to promote the welfare of the country ; and to for-
ward this end, many disorders and abuses on the part of ihe soldiers were overlooked.
From the same cause, likewise, an unhappy line of distinction was drawn between
the military and the other classes of citizens.

The praetorian soldiers were, under the first emperors, divided equally into ten
cohorts, containing 1000 men each. Under the later emperors they were entirely abo-
hshcd, and 3500 Armenians were enrolled in their stead ; these were divided into nine
scholcB, and commanded by the officer styled Magister oficioriim.

The legions, not including the auxiliaries, were under Augustus twenty-five, dis-
tributed among the provinces. Besides these he had ten prcetorian coJiorts just named,
six city contorts of one thousand each, and seven cohorts styled cohortes vigilum, which
together amounted to 20,000 men. In after times, the number of troops'vvas greatly
increased, as well as the naval force. On the division of the empire, the western
comprised sixty-two legions, and the eastern seventy.

At the commencement of the civil wars related by Tacitus in his History, there were thirty
/figions, distributed as follows : three in Britannia ; three in Hispania ; eight in Gallia, three of
them being in the portion called Upper Germany, and four in Lower Germany (cf. P. I. $ 17);
two in Pannonia ; two in Dalmatia belonging to Illyricum ; two in Moesia; four in Syria, with
three more in Judea under Vespasian; two in Egypt ; and one in Africa (cf. P. I. $ 173).

2. The epithet praetorian, in the repubhc, was apphed to the cohort which guarded
the pavilion of the general. After the time of Augustus the prsefect of the praetorian
bands was usually a mere instrument of the emperor, and the office was conferred
only on such as the emperors could implichly trust. The appointment was made or
the commission conferred by the emperor's delivering a sword to the person selected.
Sometimes there were two prEetorian praefects. Their power was at first only mili-
tary and small ; but it became very great, and finally trials were brought before them,
and there was iio appeal but by a supplication to the emperor. Marcus Aurelius coin
mitted this judicial honor to them, and increased their number to three. — The praeto-
rian cohorts had a fortified camp at the city, without the wall, between the gates
Viminalis and Esquilina. Under Vitellius sixteen praetorian cohorts were raised, and
four to gtiard the city. Severus new-modeled the body and increased them to four
times the ancient number. Constantine the Great finaUy suppressed them and de-
stroyed their camp. {Boyd's Adam, p. 123, 485).

3. Important changes in the military system were made by Constantine. He ap-
pointed two general commanders for the whole army, called Magislri militia ; one
of whom had command of all the cavalry, Magister equitum; the other, of the whole

ufantry, Magister ptditum.


Constaiiline did not abolish the title of Prcpfectiis prcetorio, when he suppressed the praetorian
cohorts, as above mentioned; but he changed the nature of the office, making it wholly a civil
one, and dividing the care of the whole empire between /««r officers of this title; Prafectus pra-
torio Urientis ; Prcpfectus prceturio per lllyrtcum ; Prcpftctus pratorio per Italias ; Prafectus prw'
torio Oalliarum. Ihe city of Koine also retained her special overseer, Prcpftclus urbis RovtcB ,
and a similar officer, with greater authority, was appointed over Constantinople, which now
became the seat of the empire, PrcpfecUis urbis Constanlin<'pulis. Under the four prefects were
subordinate officers, whose authority was limited to (larticular dioceses, of which there were
thirteen; one of them governed by 'the officer styled Count of the diocese of the E:ist {Comes
diaceseos Orientis); another, consisting of Egypt, by an officer styled Preeftctus ^gipti ; and the
other eleven by officers styled Vicarii or vice-praefects. The dioceses were subdivided into a
great number of provinces^ whose governors were of four different grades, termed proconsules,
eonsulures, correctores, and presides.

4. The empire was divided into eastern and western between the two sons of Con-
stantine. In the western, the mihtary jurisdiction continued to be vested in two com-
manders styled Magister equilum and Magister peditum. In the eastern, it was
vested in the officers styled Mugistri mililum, and the number of thein was five in the
time of Theodosius the Great, who shortly before his death, A. D. 395, united the
empire in one; it was divided again after his death and so continued until the final
overthrow of the western, A. D. 476. The five Masters- general of the military each
had command of several squadrons {vexillaliones) of horse and several legions of sol-
diers {palatines comitatenses) and several corps of auxiliaries {auxilia) ; two of them
had also under their command a naval force, consisting of twelve distinct armaments
or fleets, six being assigned to each. There was likewise included under this military
establishment, in addition to the forces already mentioned, a large body of troops de-
signed particularly to defend the frontiers, called sometimes borderers, at'id commanded
by comites and duces, who seem to have been responsible to the officer, termed Qucbs-
ior sacri palatii. — The Masters-general of the West had under their command forces
of a similar description, including also troops designated specially for the defence of
the frontier. There was a Magister militum in Gaul, but subordmate to the two Mas-

For a general view of the civil and military arrangements of the empire under Constantine and later emperors, see Gibbon, ch.
xvii.— For more minute details, Tableau Systematique dea Empires d'Orient et d'Occidmt, &c. in 3d vol. of SchSU's Hist. Litt
Romaine.— The Xolitia Orientis et Occidentis, as edited by Panciroli, or more recently by Bocking, as cited P. V. § 57 1.— Cf. Manila
Leben Constant, d. Gr. Berl. 1817. 8.


§ 310. In order to form a correct idea of the more private civil and social
relations of the ancient Romans, it is important to notice the essential distinc-
tion which existed between the freemen and the slaves. There were two classes
of freemen, the free-burn (ingenui), whose fathers were Roman citizens, and the
free made (Jiberti) or freedmen who had been enfranchised from servitude, and
who did not always enjoy the rights of Roman citizens. The children of the
latter class were termed liberlinizuA their grandchildren ingemii, in early times;
at a later period the freedmen were czWe A liber I i only with reference to their for-
mer master, receiving when spoken of otherwise the name liberltJii themselves,
while their sons, if born after the father's manumission, were called irigenui. —
The slaves were such by birth, vernae ; or by captivity in war; or by purchase,
mancipia. Of their different services, their treatment, and the ceremonies of
their manumission, we will speak below (§322).

On the subjects belonging to the branch of Roman Antiquities upon which we now enter, we may refer to d\imay de la vie
privee des Remains. Lausanne, 1760. \2. (Consisting chiefly of treatises in the Memoires de VAcademie del Inscriptions.) Trans.
Germ. Leipz. 1761. 8. Engl. Trans. Lond. 1764. ]2.— Sketches of the Domestic Manners of the Romans. Reprin'ed, Phil. 1S22. 12.
Cf. N. Am Rev. xvi. 1 63.— Coufurc, La vie privee des Romaiiis, in llie Mem. Acad. Inscr. vol. i. 303.— A/oJir/nuccwi, Usages du
•iecle de Theodore le Grand, in the Mem. Acad. Imcr. vol. xiii. p. 474.— Especially W. Becker, Gallus (Roman Life in the time of

§311. The Romans commonly had tnree names; the first was called the
prasnomen, and had reference simply to the individual who bore it; the second
was called the nomen, and was the name of the race or clan (gens) ; the third
was the cognomen, which designated the family {familia) : thus, in Fiiblius
Cornelius Scipio ; Scipio is the cognomen indicating the family name, Cornelius
the nomen pointing out the clan or getis to which the family belonged, and Pub-
lius the praenomen marking the particular man. The distinction between gens

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 59 of 153)