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SIGNUM
The Roman name for a military standard, usually consisting of a badge (insigne) on a staff, carried by legions, maniples, and cohorts, as distinct from the vexillum (q.v.). The latter was a square flag fastened on a cross-bar (see fig. 2, a), carried by the cavalry and allied infantry detachments. In the time of the manipular arrangement (see LEGION), each maniple had its peculiar insigne, the eagle (the sign of the first manipulus), the wolf, the Minotaur, the horse, or the boar. After MArius had made the eagle (q.v.) the standard representing the signum of the whole legion, the forms of other animals were no longer employed. Instead of them the maniples bad a spear with an outstretched hand upon the point (fig.2,c,d,h,i). Afterwards the signa were also furnished with a vexillum (fig. 2, b) and with various ornaments on the pole, in particular round plates, often with representations of gods, emperors, and generals (e, f, g). The cohorts, probably as early as the time of Caesar, had particular signa; after Trajan. they borrowed from the Parthians the draco. This was the image of a large dragon fixed upon a lance, with gaping jaws of silver, and with the rest of its body formed of coloured silk. When the wind blew down the open jaws, the body was inflated. [Vegetius, De Re Militari ii 13; Ammianus Marcellinus, xvi 10 § 7. This last is to be seen on monuments among the standards of foreign nations (k, m), who also had a standard resembling a mediaeval banner (l).] On the march and in an attack with close columns, the signa were carried in the first line; in a pitched battle, behind the front rank.

Pictures and Media
FUNERAL MONUMENT (CIPPUS) OF THE STANDARD-BEARER (SIGNIFER) PINTAIUS. (Bonn Museum).
a, c, d, g, h, i, Bellorius, Col. Antonin.; b, c, f, De Rubeis, Arous Constant.; k, l, De Rubeis Arcus Severi, m, Musso Borbonico, iii tav. lviii. STANDARDS FROM VARIOUS MONUMENTS. (Guhl and Koner, fig. 524.)
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Type: Standard
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PLACE HOLDER FOR COUNTER
gutter splint