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Making Camp

When the army on the march is approaching the
Encampment on the march.
place of encampment, a Tribune, and those of the centurions who have been from time to time selected for that duty, are sent forward to survey the place of encampment. Having done this they proceed first of all to fix upon the place for the Consul's tent (as I have described above), and to determine on which side of the Praetorium to quarter the legions. Having decided these points they measure out the Praetorium, then they draw the straight line along which the tents of the Tribunes are to be pitched, and then the line parallel to this, beyond which the quarters of the legions are to begin. In the same way they draw the lines on the other sides of the Praetorium in accordance with the plan which I have already detailed at length. This does not take long, nor is the marking out of the camp a matter of difficulty, because the dimensions are all regularly laid down, and are in accordance with precedent. Then they fix one flag in the ground where the Consul's tent is to stand, and another on the base of the square containing it, and a third on the line of the Tribunes' tents; the two latter are scarlet, that which marks the Consul's tent is white; the lines on the other sides of the Praetorium are marked sometimes with plain spears and sometimes by flags of other colours. After this they lay out the viae between the quarters, fixing spears at each via. Consequently when the legions in the course of their march have come near enough to get a clear view of the place of encampment, they can all make out exactly the whole plan of it, taking as their base the Consul's flag and calculating from that. Moreover as each soldier knows precisely on which via, and at what point of it, his quarters are to be, because all occupy the same position in the camp wherever it may be, it is exactly like a legion entering its own city; when breaking off at the gates each man makes straight for his own residence without hesitation, because he knows the direction and the quarter of the town in which home lies. It is precisely the same in a Roman camp.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 44.36
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 43-44, commentary, 44.39
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