caltrop, also called murex
(V. Max. 3.7.2
). When a place was beset with troops, the one party
endeavoured to impede the cavalry of the other party either by throwing
before them caltrops, which necessarily lay with one of their four sharp
points turned upwards, or by burying the caltrops with one point at the
surface of the ground (Veget. de Re Mil.
3.24; Jul. Afric.
69; Polyaen. 139
). The taleae
(Caes. Gal. 7.73
) and the hami, stimuli
31), were for the same purpose. They were pieces of wood
with curved iron points, buried in the ground. The annexed
woodcut is taken from a bronze caltrop figured by Caylus
iv. pl. 98).