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Roman Camps Designed for Facility and Familiarity

It is because the first object of the Romans in the matter of encampment is facility, that they seem to me to differ diametrically from Greek military men in this respect. Greeks, in choosing a place for a camp, think primarily of security from the natural strength of the position: first, because they are averse from the toil of digging a foss, and, secondly, because they think that no artificial defences are comparable to those afforded by the nature of the ground. Accordingly, they not only have to vary the whole configuration of the camp to suit the nature of the ground, but to change the arrangement of details in all kinds of irregular ways; so that neither soldier nor company has a fixed place in it. The Romans, on the other hand, prefer to undergo the fatigue of digging, and of the other labours of circumvallation, for the sake of the facility in arrangement, and to secure a plan of encampment which shall be one and the same and familiar to all.

Such are the most important facts in regard to the legions and the method of encamping them. . . .

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    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CASTRA
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