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PHALANGAE (φάλαγγες), any long cylindrical pieces of wood, such as trunks of trees (Hdt. 3.97; Plin. Nat. 12.17), truncheons (Plin. Nat. 7.200). Hence it had two special meanings: (1) poles used to carry burdens, being supported on the shoulders of the carriers with the burden hanging below by ropes. The carriers were called phalangarii, and also hexaphori, tetraphori, &c., according to their number (C. I. L. 6.1785; Non. p. 163, 26; Vitr. 10.8). (2) The word also signified rollers placed under ships to move them on dry land, so as to draw them up on shore (subducere) or down into the water (deducere). They are [p. 2.380]the machinae of Hor. Od. 1.4, 2 (cf. δουράτεοι κύλινδροι, Brunck, Anal. 3.89; Apollon. 1.375-389). The rollers were aided by levers (for which the oars were sometimes used) and ropes, often doubled so that the sailors pressed with their breasts, as in ordinary towing (Orph. Arg. 239-273). They were employed in the same manner to move military engines (Caes. Civ. 2.10).

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