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The machines used for sending large missiles to a great distance were supposed to have been invented in the East, and appear in Greece since 400 B.C. or thereabouts. They attained their highest perfection in the age of the Diadochi, and were adopted by the Romans after the Punic wars. There were two chief varieties, both imitations of the crossbow; but the elasticity of the bow is exchanged for elasticity in the twist of the cord. Consequently all pieces of heavy artillery were called by the Romans tormenta. The machine consisted of three parts: the stand, the groove for the shot, and the apparatus representing the bow. This consisted of a frame in three divisions, through the midmost of which passed the groove for the shot (fig. 1). In each of the lateral divisions was stretched, in a vertical direction, a set of strong elastic cords, made of the sinews of animals, or the long hair of animals or of women. These were stretched tight, and between each of them was fixed a straight unelastic arm of wood. The arms were joined by a cord, which was pulled back by a winch applied at the end of the groove. On letting this go, the arms, and with them the string and the object in front of it, were driven forward by the twisting of the vertical cords. The effectiveness of the engine thus depended on the power and twist of the cords, which may be said roughly to express its calibre. The engines were divided into two kinds. (1) Catapultae, or scorpions (fig. 2). In these the groove for the shot was horizontal; and they projected missiles of length and thickness varying according to the calibre. (2) Ballistae(fig.3), which shot stones, beams, or balls up to 162 lbs. weight, at an angle of 50 degrees. The calibre of the ballista was at least three times as great as that of the catapult. The average range of the catapult was about 383 yards, that of the ballista from about 295 to 503 yards.
TORMENTA 100.00%
The heavy Roman engines of war. (See ARTILLERY.)
ONAGER 86.65%
A catapult for hurling stones. (See further, ARTILLERY.)
SCORPIO 57.81%
A kind of engine for projectiles, in earlier times identical with the catapult, and in later times with the onager.(See ARTILLERY.)
FABRI 38.33%
The mechanics, carpenters, smiths, etc., in the Roman army. After the end of the republican age they formed an independent corps in every army, and were employed especially in the restoration of bridges, siege and defence works, artillery, etc. They were under the command of the proefectus fabrum, or chief engineer, who was chosen by the general in chief, and was immediately responsible to him.
SIEGES 20.56%
If an immediate attack by filling up the trenches, beating in the gates, and scaling the walls failed or promised to be useless, the siege was carried on partly by blockade, partly by attack in form. In the first case the besiegers were content with surrounding the town with an inner and outer wall. The latter was intended as a protection against attack on the part of a relieving force. The besiegers then waited till the besieged were forced to capitulate. In other cases they attempted to make a breach in the wall with a battering ram (fig. 1); to undermine the wall, and so overthrow it; to make a way under by mines into the city; or to raise a mound level with the wall, and so get to the top. The process of undermining the walls was carried on by soldiers, who tore up the foundations with the aid of various mining tools. This was done under the protection of the testudo, a wooden erection in the form of a slanting desk. This was carried by hand or wheeled close up to the wall with its open front towards it. Like all machines of the kind, it was provided on the top and sides with wet skins or cushions as a protection against fire thrown down upon it. Chelone (Gr.) or testudo (Lat.) was the general name for all kinds of sheds of the sort. The name was, e.g., given to the penthouse of shields formed by the soldiers during the storming of a hostile fortification (fig. 2). The second and following ranks held their shields in a slanting position over their heads; the first rank and the men in the wings held them straight up in front of them. In case of mining, properly so called, the mining-hut (musculus) was employed: a long and narrow structure, pushed up in the same way on wheels close under the walls. A shed or penthouse, 22-26 feet in length and breadth, with a slanting roof extending to the ground, served to give protection to the workmen employed in levelling the ground, and filling up the trenches for the approach of the engines. The mound (Lat. agger; Gr. choma) was directed straight from the surrounding wall to the most suitable part of the besieged fortifications. It rose by a gradual ascent to the top of the latter. It was made of earth and fascines, held together at the side by wooden scaffolding or stone walls. The soldiers who worked at it were protected by plutei, semicircular coverings of wickerwork, moving forward on three wheels, or by vineoe. These were light scaffolding, 10 ft. broad and double as long, with a flat or double roof of boards or wickerwork, and covered with the same on three sides. Partly upon the mound, partly on one side of it, were erected these wooden movable towers (Lat. turres ambulatoriae; Gr. hypotrchoi), which were brought up on wheels or rollers to the walls. Their height depended on that of the wall and on their position on the level or on the mound; the average was 88-196 ft., containing from ten to twenty stories. These towers generally served as batteries, the upper stages being armed with artillery. Besides this, archers and slingers would be posted on the outer galleries of the different stories, which were protected by breastworks. Sappers would be lodged in the lower stories. On the level of the wall bridges (sambucae) were provided. A crane (tolleno) was used to hoist single soldiers to the top of the wall. This was a machine like the bucket of a well, fitted at the end with a basket or box. The besieged, in their turn, had various contrivances against these weapons of attack. Two-pronged forks to turn over the scaling ladders, cranes with large tongs to seize the soldiers in their ascent and drop them into the town. The various kinds of testudo were met by throwing down great masses of stone, pouring down molten lead, piteb, or other combustibles, or by the use of burning arrows or other missiles of the same kind. The mound they endeavoured to neutralise by setting it on fire or undermining it; in the latter case the tower would sink as soon as it came upon the proper place. Against the towers they tried fire, artillery discharged from the walls, or the erection of counter-towers. If a breach was threatened, a second or minor wall was erected to meet it out of the material of the neighbouring houses. The most important siege engines were invented by the Greeks, from whom they came to the Romans. (See ARTILLERY.)
CASTRA 4.05%
A Roman camp, fortified with a rampart and ditch, outside of which a Roman army never spent a single night. It was marked out on a place selected by officers detached for the purpose, generally on the spur of a hill. The same plan was always observed, and the divisions indicated by coloured flags and lances, so that the divisions of the army, as they came in, could find their places at once. In the middle of the 2nd century B.C., according to the account of Polybius [vi 27], the plan of a camp for a consular army of two legions, with the proper contingent of Italian allies, and its auxiliary troops, was as follows (see Plan). The camp was square, its front being on the side furthest from the enemy. It had two main roads through it. (1) The via principalis, 100 feet wide, which divided it into a front part amounting to about two-thirds of the whole, and a back part, turned toward the enemy. This road ended at two gates, the porta rincipalis dextra, and the porta principalis sinistra. (2) The via praetoria, which cut the via principalis at right angles, and divided the whole length of the camp into two parts. This road was 50 feet in width, and ended in two gates, the porta decumana in front, and the porta praetoria on the side opening towards the enemy. In the front part were encamped the two legions, with their allied contingents. They lay in three double rows of tents on each side of the via praetoria, which made a right angle with the via principalis. Its whole length was divided by roads 60 feet in width, while across it, from one lateral rampart to the other, ran the via quintana. The front side of the rows of tents was turned towards the intervening roads. Starting from the via praetoria, the first two lines of tents on each side contained the cavalry and infantry of one legion each, while the third row, lying nearest to the rampart, contained the cavalry and infantry of the allied contingents. In the hinder part of the camp, directly upon the via principalis, and on both sides of the via praetoria, were the tents of the twelve military tribunes, opposite the four ranks of the legions. On both sides were the tents of the praefecti of the allied contingents, placed in the same way opposite those of the troops under their command. Then followed the headquarters, or praetorium, a space 200 feet square, intersected by the via praetoria. In this was the general's tent (tabernaculum); in front was the altar on which the general sacrificed, on the left the augurale for taking the auspices, and on the right the tribunal. This was a bank of earth covered with turf, on which the general took his stand when addressing the troops, or administering justice. Right of the praetorium was the quaeestorium, containing the quarters of the paymasters, and the train of artillery. On the left was the forum, a meeting place for the soldiers. Between these spaces and the lateral ramparts were the tents of the select troops who composed the body-guard of the general. Those of the cavalry had their front turned inwards, while those of the infantry were turned towards the wall. The tents of the picked allied troops occupied the hinder part of the camp, which was bounded by a cross road 100 feet in breadth. The tents of the cavalry looked inwards, those of the infantry towards the rampart. The auxiliary troops were posted at the two angles of this spare. The rampart was divided from the tents by an open space 200 feet in width. This was specially intended to facilitate the march of the troops at their entrance and exit. The construction of the fortifications always began before the general's tent was pitched. The legionaries constructed the rampart and ditch in front and rear, while the allies did the same on either side. The stakes required for the formation of an abattis on the outer side of the wall were carried by the soldiers themselves on the march. The whole work was carried on under arms. The watches (excubiae and vigilae) were kept with great strictness both by day and night. The vigiliae, or night-watches, were relieved four times, the trumpet sounding on each occasion. The posts of each night-watch were inspected by four Roman equites. The password for the night was given by the general. Each gate was guarded by outposts of infantry and cavalry, the light-armed troops (velites) being also distributed as sentries along the ramparts. When the camp was to break up, three signals were given; at the first, the tents were taken down and packed up; at the second, they were put upon beasts of burden and in wagons, and at the third the army began its march. After the time of Polybius the Roman military system underwent many changes, which involved alterations in the arrangements of the camp, but we have no trustworthy information on this subject in detail until the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. The treatise of one Hyginus on castrametation gives the following statements as to the practice of his time. The ordinary form of a camp was that of a rectangle, the length of which was about a third part greater than the breadth. In former times the legions were posted inside the camp; but now, being regarded as the most trustworthy troops, they were encamped along the whole line of ramparts, the width of which was now limited to 60 feet. They were separated from the interior of the camp by a road 30 feet wide (via sagularis), running parallel to the line of ramparts. The interior was now divided, not into two, but into three main sections. The midmost of these lay between the via principalis, which was 60, and the via quintana, which was 40 feet wide. It was occupied by the praetorium and the troops of the guard, and was called the wing of the praetorium (latera praetorii). The auxiliary troops were stationed in what was now the front part, or praetentura, between the via principalis and the porta praetoria, and the rear, or retentura, between the via quintana and the porta decumana. The via praetoria, which was also 60 feet wide, led only from the praetorium and the forum in front of it to the porta praetoria, as at this time the quaestorium was situated between the porta decumana and the praetorium. The general superintendence of the arrangements was, during the imperial period, in the hands of the praefectus castrorum. (See PRAeFECTUS.)
LEGION 3.77%
In the time of Romulus the united armed forces of Rome went by this name. The legion consisted of 300 knights (celeres) under the command of a tribunus celerum, appointed by the king, and 3,000 foot soldiers, under the command of three tribuni militum. Each of the three ancient tribes provided a third of this force and one tribune. With the increase of the military forces of Rome the name of legio was given to each of the sub-divisions equivalent in numbers to the original army. The military system of king Servius Tullius made the infantry the most important part of the military forces, instead of the cavalry as heretofore. The five classes included in the census (q.v.) were obliged to serve in the army at their own expense; those who were not comprised in these classes, viz. the proletarii, were freed from service, and, when they were enlisted, received their equipment from the State. The iuniores, those who were from 17 to 46 years old, were appointed for field service, and the seniores, those from 47 to 60, for the defence of the city. The first and second lines of the legion, drawn up in unbroken order like the Greek phalanx, consisted of citizens of the first class, equipped with helmet, cuirass, round shield (clipeus), and greaves, all of bronze. The third and fourth lines were from the second class, and had no cuirass, but had the helmet and greaves and large oblong shields (scutum). The fifth and sixth were armed similarly, but without greaves, and were drawn from the third class. The fourth class was armed with the scutum as its only weapon of defence, but, like the others, provided with spear (hasta) and sword. It either filled the seventh and eighth lines, or, with the fifth class, formed the rorarii, who opened the battle with slings and other light missiles. An impontant alteration, ascribed to Camillus (about B.C. 390), was the abolition of the phalanx and introduction of the manipular formation, which prevailed till the time of Marius (end of the 2nd century B.C.). In the flourishing days of the Republic, the normal strength of a legion, which could be increased in time of need, consisted of 300 knights (equites), and 4,200 foot soldiers (pedites). In respect to the weapons used, the latter were divided into four kinds, according to their length of service and familiarity with warfare. (1) 1,200 hastati, all in early manhood; (2) 1,200 principes, in the full vigour of life; (3) 600 triarii, who were proved veterans; and (4) 1,200 velites, who were lightly armed, and were drawn from the lowest classes of the census. The three first classes had a bronze helmet (cassis) with a lofty plume of feathers, a scutum, a leathern cuirass (lorica, q.v. ), greaves and a sword (gladius), which, after the second Punic War was of the Spanish kind, being short, strong, and two-edged, fitted for thrusting rather than cutting, and worn on the right side. There was also a spear, which in the two first divisions was a pilum (q.v.), and among the triarii a lance [Polyb. vi 23). The velites were armed with a leather helmet (galea), a light shield (parma), and a sword and several light javelins. The 3,000 heavily armed men were divided into 30 manipuli, numbering 120 men each among the hastati and principes, and 60 each among the triarii, and were again subdivided into two bodies called centuriae, and led by centurions (q.v.). Of the 1,200 velites, 20 were allotted to each century, and they formed the final complement of each maniple. On the field of battle the maniples were drawn up in open order, separated laterally from one another by intervals corresponding to the breadth of each maniple in front. The arrangement of the maniples would thus resemble that of the black squares on a chessboard. They fell into three divisions; the hastati in the front rank, with the principes behind them, and the triarii in the rear. If the first division, the hastati, were compelled to give way, then the second division, the principes, advanced through the intervals t by the maniples of the first division; if the principes in their turn had to retreat, then the third division, the triarii, who had been previously kneeling, protected by their shields, allowed the hastati and principes to fall back into the intervals separating the maniples of the triarii, and themselves closing their ranks pressed forward to meet the enemy. The 300 knights of the legion were divided into 10 turmae of 30 men each, and were equipped with a bronze cuirass, leathern greaves, helmet, shield, a long sword for attacking, and a long lance provided at both ends with an iron point. Each turma was under three decurions and three underofficers (optiones). The legion as a whole was under the command of six tribuni militum (q.v.) The consular army consisted of two legions. Four legions were regularly levied in each year; in other words, 16,800 foot soldiers and 1,200 cavalry. This levy of citizens was further swelled by the Italian allies (socii), a body of 20,000 foot soldiers and 3,600 cavalry, thus adding to each of the two consular armies 10,000 foot soldiers and 1,800 cavalry. The former were in twenty cohorts (see COHORS), each consisting of 420 men. Ten of these cohorts fought on the right wing, and ten on the left wing of the legions. Besides these, four cohorts of 400 men each were formed into a picked body. The cavalry were in six squadrons (See ALA, 1) of 300 men each. Four of these belonged to the main army, and two to the picked body. In wars beyond the limits of Italy there were also auxiliary forces (auxilia), consisting either of soldiers raised in the country where the war was being carried on, or of light-armed troops furnished by allied kings and nations. Besides the ordinary component parts of the legion there was also the bodyguard of the commander-in-chief, the cohors proetoria. (See COHORS.) In the course of the 1st century B.C. the organization of the legion was essentially altered. In the first place, in the time of Marius, the census ceased to be the basis of the levy, and all the citizens collectively were placed on the same footing in respect to their military service and the uniform which they wore. All the soldiers of the legion alike received the heavy equipment and the pilum, while the light-armed velites were done away with. After the right of citizenship had been conferred on the Italian allies, these no longer formed a separate part of the legions, but were incorporated with them. Thus the Roman army now consisted only of heavy-armed legions and of light-armed auxiliary troops. The latter were partly raised in the provinces and divide into cohorts, and partly enlisted as slingers and archers. The cavalry of the legions ceased to exist. Like the light-armed soldiers, the whole of the cavalry consisted of auxiliary troops, who were partly enlisted and partly levied from the provinces, while some were supplied according to agreement by allied nations and princes. A further important novelty introduced by Marius was the use of the cohort-formation, instead of the maniple-formation, which broke up the front too much. The legion was now divided into ten cohorts, in each of which there were three maniples of hastati, principes, and triarii, designations which now only concern the relative rank of the six centurions of the cohort. The customary battle array was in three divisions, the first being formed of four cohorts, and the second and third of three each. Again, while in earlier times the obligation of service extended at the most in the infantry to twenty campaigns and in the cavalry to ten, from the days of Marius the soldier remained uninterruptedly for twenty years with the army; an earlier dismissal being only exceptional. For this reason the well-to-do classes sought to withdraw themselves from the general military service, and it thus came to pass that the legions were for the greater part manned by means of conscriptions from the lowest strata of the burgher population of Italy, in which the service was regarded simply as a means of livelihood. Thus from the original army of citizens there was gradually developed a standing army of mercenaries. Under the Empire we find what is really a standing army, bound to the emperor by oath (see SACRAMENTUM); apart from the legions this army consisted of the auxilia (q.v.), the guards stationed in Rome and the neighbourhood (see PRAeTORIANI), and the city-cohorts (see COHORS), the artillery and the corps of workmen (see FABRI), the marines (see CLASSIARII), and the municipal and provincial militia. The legions are now once more provided with a corps of cavalry 120 strong, and are designated not only by numbers, but also by distinctive names. Together with the auxiliary troops they form the garrison of the imperatorial provinces under the command of the imperatorial legati legionum (see LEGATI), whose place was taken in the middle of the 3rd century by the praefecti legionum (see PRAeFECTI.). The strength of the legion now amounted to 5-6,000 men, raised partly by a regular levy, partly by drawing recruits from the Roman citizens of all the provinces beyond the bounds of Italy. As under the Republic, it was divided into 10 cohorts of 6 centuries each; the first cohort was, however, twice the strength of the remainder. It was not until the second half of the 3rd century A.D. that a now division of the 10 cohorts into 55 centuries came into use, with 10 centuries in the first cohort, and 5 in each of the rest. At the death of Augustus, the number of the legions was 25; it was then increased to 30, and this number was maintained until the end of the 2nd century, when three new legions were added by Septimius Severus. From the beginning of the 4th century it gradually rose to about 175, each of them, however, mustering a considerably smaller contingent. Incourse, of time, and especially after the 2nd century, owing to the conflicts with the barbarians, the legion was drawn up more and more after the manner of the Greek phalanx, without intervals in its line and with a division of troops in its rear. In its equipment there was an important alteration beginning with the second half of the 3rd century, when ad the soldiers of the legion carried long swords (Spathae), and the first five cohorts two pila, one larger and another smaller, while the last five had lanceae, or javelins serving as missiles, and fitted with a leather loop to help in hurling them with precision. The military music of the Romans was provided by tubicines (see TUBA.), cornicines (See CORNICEN), bucinatores (see BUCINA), and liticines (see LITUUS, 2). On standards or ensigns, see SIGNUM and VEXILLUM. On levy, oath of allegiance, pay, and discharge from service, see DILECTUS, SACRAMENTUM, STIPENDIUM, and MISSIO. The accompanying cut (from the Column of Trajan) represents the soldiers of a legion on the march, carrying their helmets close to the right shoulder, and their kit at the top of a pole resting on the left.
Type: Standard
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