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Guard Duty and Other Assignments

The camp having thus been laid out, the Tribuni
Guard duty.
next administer an oath to all in it separately, whether free or slave, that they will steal nothing within the agger, and in case they find anything will bring it to the Tribuni. They next select for their several duties the maniples of the Principes and Hastati in each legion. Two are told off to guard the space in front of the quarters of the Tribuni. For in this space, which is called the Principia, most of the Romans in the camp transact all the business of the day; and are therefore very particular about its being kept well watered and properly swept. Of the other eighteen maniples, three are assigned to each of the six Tribuni, that being the respective numbers in each legion; and of these three maniples each takes its turn of duty in waiting upon the Tribune. The services they render him are such as these: they pitch his tent for him when a place is selected for encampment, and level the ground all round it; and if any extra precaution is required for the protection of his baggage, it is their duty to see to it. They also supply him with two relays of guards. A guard consists of four men, two of whom act as sentries in front of his tent, and two on the rear of it near the horses. Seeing that each Tribune has three maniples, and each maniple has a hundred men, without counting Triarii and Velites who are not liable for this service, the duty is a light one, coming round to each maniple only once in three days; while by this arrangement ample provision is made for the convenience as well as the dignity of the Tribuni. The maniples of Triarii are exempted from this personal service to the Tribuni, but they each supply a watch of four men to the squadron of cavalry nearest them. These watches have to keep a general look out; but their chief duty is to keep an eye upon the horses, to prevent their hurting themselves by getting entangled in their tethers, and so becoming unfit for use; or from getting loose, and making a confusion and disturbance in the camp by running against other horses. Finally, all the maniples take turns to mount guard for a day each at the Consul's tent, to protect him from plots, and maintain the dignity of his office.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), JUSJURANDUM
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