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Roman Military Affairs.

I. The Army and its Divisions.
1. The Legions.
2. The Cavalry.
3. The Auxiliaries.
4. The Engineers and Artisans.
5. The Artillery.
6. The Baggage Train.
7. The Officers and their Staff.
a. Enlistment.
b. Clothing.
c. Armor.
d. Weapons.
e. Baggage.
f. Food.
g. Work.
h. Pay.
i. Discipline.

The Army and Its Divisions.

The Legions.

The Roman legion corresponded to a modern Division, but was more an organic whole, since it was the smallest unit that had separate line officers. What its normal strength was in Caesar's time we have no means of knowing; but a probable estimate puts it at 5000 men. The actual effective strength in the field, however, was usually much less, falling to 3000 men, as at the battle of Pharsalia (on Caesar's own authority). This variation in number was due to the many absences from duty which always occur in a military organization, and to the losses incurred by the individual legions in previous campaigns. Losses in old legions were not usually made good by new recruits, but the latter were formed into new legions; hence the older the legion, the smaller usually its enrollment. The average effective strength of the legion in the Gallic War was probably near 3600 men.

The subdivisions of the legions were as follows:

1 legion10 cohorts of about 360 men each.
1 cohort3 maniples of 120 men each.
1 maniple2 centuries of 60 men each.

There were, therefore, 10 cohorts, 30 maniples, and 60 centuries in each legion. These divisions did not, however, like our companies, have special "commissioned officers," but were commanded by centurions who came from the ranks. The legions constituted the main body of the army and did most of the fighting, but there were other arms employed for various purposes (see below). The legions were designated by numbers, given in the order of their enlistment.

The Cavalry.

The cavalry (equitatus), originally of Roman citizens, was in Caesar's time composed almost exclusively of recruits from subject or allied states. In Caesar's army it was composed of Gauls, Spaniards, and Germans. There was no fixed ratio between the number of legionaries and cavalry. In the campaign against the Helvetians, Caesar had 4000 equites, in the battle Pharsalia, 1000; but the number of legions was the same in both.

The cavalry was divided into regiments (alae) of about 330 horsemen each; these were subdivided into 10 squadrons (turmae) of 33 horsemen each; and these again into 3 squads (decuriae) of 11 each. See Figs. 12, 13.

The Auxiliaries.

The auxiliaries (auxilia peditum) were infantry forces from allied and subject states. Caesar nowhere gives the number of his auxilia, and it was doubtless as various as that of his cavalry. They were the light-armed soldiers (milites levis armaturae), the archers (sagittarii), and the slingers (funditores). See Figs. 30, 104, 105, 115. The best slingers came from the Balearic Islands, the best archers from Crete and Numidia. The light-armed soldiers wore no heavy armor and carried a light round shield (parma). The archers had neither corselet, helmet, nor shield. The latter they could not carry on account of their bows.

Caesar placed little reliance on his auxilia for actual fighting, but used them for the most part to make a show of force and frighten the enemy (Bk. i. 51), and to assist in building fortifications. In engagements the bowmen and slingers were usually stationed on the wings (alae), and from this were called alarii.

The Engineers and Artisans.

The engineers and artisans (fabri) sometimes formed a separate corps under the command of a chief engineer (praefectus fabrum), and sometimes they were called from the ranks of the legions when their services were needed. Caesar had a chief engineer, but no special body of men (cf. Bk. v. 11). They were employed in building bridges, ships, winter quarters, and in repairing weapons andequipments.

The Artillery.

Engines of war were not often used on the battlefield, where modern artillery forms such an important branch of the service, but mainly in the defence and assault of fortified cities or camps. They had a limited use also in the fleet (Bk. iv. 25).

We have no exact account of the construction of these engines. Caesar almost always calls them tormenta (cf. torquere, to twist), a name which clearly points to the elasticity of twisted rope, sinew, or hair, for the source of their energy. They were of three kinds: catapultae, ballistae, and scorpiones (see Figs. 61, 75, 95). The catapultae shot great arrows in a horizontal direction, like a cannon; the ballistae hurled great stones or heavy blocks of wood through the air in a high curve, as a mortar throws shells. The range of these weapons was from 1500 to 2000 ft. A scorpio was a small catapult having a range of about 350 ft. It was an accurate and deadly weapon. Caesar tells of one at the siege of Avaricum that marked and killed man after man in the same spot (Bk. vii. 25). The tormenta were usually served and kept in repair by the fabri, but as Caesar had no such corps, they were probably in his army served by legionaries.

The Baggage Train.

The baggage of the army, except the packs corresponding to knapsacks which the soldiers themselves carried (sarcinae), was borne by horses and mules (iumenta), and in wagons. The latter, however, were used mainly by the traders (mercatores) and sutlers (lixae) that followed the legion. The baggage of each legion was by no means inconsiderable. It consisted of tents, blankets, tools, the tormenta, provisions, etc., and required no less than 500 pack-animals to a legion. The inconvenience and delay occasioned by the care of so much baggage caused the Romans to call it impedimenta (incumbrances), and a legion marching with its baggage was called legio impedita; when without, legio expedita. Along with the baggage train went a multitude of drivers, grooms, officers' servants, and other menials, all of whom are included in the general term calones. Most or all of these were slaves. See Figs. 14, 55.

The Officers and their Staff.

The superior officers were: (1) the commander-in-chief (imperator or dux belli). He possessed the imperium or supreme military authority by virtue of his office, but by etiquette first received the name imperator from his soldiers after his first victory. In Caesar's case it was bestowed after his victory over the Helvetii.

(2) The legati. These were men of senatorial rank (i.e. who had once held a curule magistracy). They were appointed by the senate or the people on the nomination of the proconsul. The senate also determined the number that a general should have; Caesar had ten. They often acted as ambassadors and made treaties, but their chief duties were military. Their powers were in no way independent, but derived from the general, who might put them in command of one or more legions or confer upon them the imperium in his absence (legatus pro praetore). In his battle with Ariovistus Caesar placed a legatus at the head of each of his legions (Bk. i. 53), thus giving them an independent command, a practice which he afterwards continued to the great advantage of the service.

(3) The quaestores were officers elected by the people annually to administer the financial affairs of the provinces, one for each imperator. They had charge of the military chest, and saw to the pay, clothing, shelter, and general equipment of the legions serving in their respective provinces. On occasion they exercised the military authority of a legatus (Bk. i. 53); they were the ancient equivalent of a modern quartermaster. Besides these general officers, there were attached to each legion six tribuni militum, who were probably originally in command of the legion. They were divided into three pairs, each pair taking command in its turn. In Caesar's time they were no longer trained soldiers, but chiefly young men of equestrian rank, who went into the army for a year or two to get some military experience and thus begin their public career (cf. Bk. i. 39), so that ordinarily the legion had no proper commanding officers. Caesar was not slow to see that these political and social favorites were not the men to lead his legions into battle, and he therefore introduced the lasting reform of transferring this duty to thelegati, as mentioned above (cf. Bk. ii. 20: v. I, 25, 47). Thereafter the duties of the tribunes became mainly administrative and judicial; they cared for the levying, the discharge, and the equipment of the troops, and for the army supplies, under the orders of thequaestor; and they presided at courts-martial and took part in the councils of war. Sometimes they led the legions on the march and received subordinate military commands (cf. Bk. vii. 47, 52).

Surrounding the superior officers there was always a large number of young men, forming a kind of staff, who acted as orderlies and body-guards. The only officers "of the line" were the tribunes, and, as appears above, their command was limited.

The real leaders of the men were the inferior ("non-commissioned") officers, the centurions. Corresponding to sergeants and corporals, these were always plebeians, often of the lowest birth, who were promoted from the ranks entirely on account of their fighting qualities, and could never rise higher. There were two centurions in each maniple, making six for each cohort and sixty for the legion. The six centurions of the first cohort outranked the others and were called centuriones primorum ordinum, and were the only ones that ordinarily sat with the superior officers in the council of war. The first cohort always contained the flower of the legion, and the men in the first century of this cohort excelled all the others. Their leader, the first centurion of the whole cohort (primus or primi-pilus) and so of the whole legion, must needs be a man of great personal prowess and skill, an actual fighter, one to whom all could look as to a model soldier. Such was, for example, Publius Sextius Baculus, who repeatedly deserved the praise of his general (cf. Bk. ii. 25; iii. 5; vi. 38), and Titus Balventius (vir fortis et magnae virtutis, Bk. v. 35). As a badge of his office the centurion carried a short staff (vitis), but he was armed much like the other soldiers (see Fig. 40).

The chief distinction in dress between the officers and men was the redtunica militaris worn by the legates and tribunes, and the purple cloak (paludamentum) worn by the general (Bk. vii. 88). The officers wore also coats-of-mail of gilded bronze (see Fig. 86).

Between the centurions and common soldiers in rank were the speculatores, evocati, beneficiarii, aquiliferi or signiferi, and bucinatores, tubicines, or cornicines. The speculatores or scouts obtained news of the enemy and carried despatches. Theevocati were veterans who had completed their term of service, but remained in the army at the request of their commander. Thebeneficiarii were soldiers that had received some gift or privilege for meritorious service. The signiferi or aquiliferi were the standard bearers: soldiers selected for their courage and fidelity. The bucinatores and tubicines were the musicians. All of these had rights and exemptions not enjoyed by the common soldiers. See Figs. 39, 84, 114.

The Standards.

The term signa is applied in a general sense to all the standards of the army. That of the legion was an eagle (aquila), usually of silver or bronze, about the size of a dove, on a wooden staff. It was sometimes carried by the chief centurion (primipilus) of the legion. Sometimes it had below it a little red or white banner (vexillum), inscribed with the number or name of the legion. See Figs. 13, 121, 123.

In a narrower sense, signum was used for the standard of the cohort or the maniple. Each cohort had its own signum (Bk. ii. 21), and in earlier times each maniple, but probably not in Caesar's day.

The cavalry and light-armed troops and all separate detachments carried only the vexillum (Bk. vi. 36). The general's flag at headquarters was also called vexillum. It was a large white banner with an inscription in red, giving the name of the general and that of his army. A large red vexillum displayed at headquarters was the signal for battle (Bk. ii. 20). See Fig. 70.

The Music.

The difficulty of carrying the voice through the din of battle early led the Romans to use the penetrating tones of brass instruments for giving orders. The four instruments used by them were the bugle (bucina), the trumpet (tuba), the cavalry trumpet (lituus), and the horn (cornu). See Figs. 36, 37, 38, 84.

The bucina, whose shape and appearance are uncertain, sounded the changes of the night-watch and the reveille in the morning. The tuba, a straight trumpet of brass more than three feet long, with a bellshaped mouth, gave the signal for attack or retreat, the signal being taken up and repeated by the cornu. The latter was a circular-shaped instrument which the performer often placed about his neck. Thetuba had a deep tone; the cornu a sharper one. The general's call to an assembly (contio) was the classicum, sounded by all the instruments at once.

The Legionary.


The legion was composed of Romans only. Citizens were liable to conscription between the ages of seventeen and forty-six. The recruit must be of sound health and of suitable height. The Romans, as a rule, were rather undersized. Caesar expressly mentions the small stature of his troops as compared with that of the Germans (Bk. 1.39; 2.30); but the Romans had learned the lesson of civilization, — that victories are gained not by huge bones and big bodies, but by trained skill and scientific tactics. Man for man, the Germans were doubtless more than a match for the Romans; but against the organized and disciplined legion — the most effective machine for battle that the world had yet seen — they were almost powerless. The term of service was twenty years, and after this the veteran was discharged with enough to provide for his old age. Often he re-enlisted for farther service (evocatus).


All the legionaries were clothed alike. Next the skin was a nearly or quite sleeveless woollen shirt (tunica), reaching nearly to the knees; over this a leathern coat strengthened by bands of metal across the breast, back, and shoulders (lorica). In cold or wet weather the soldier wore about him a wide woollen mantle (sagum), which was fastened by a clasp (fibula) on the right shoulder, leaving the right arm free. At night the sagum served as a blanket. About his waist was a leather belt (cingulum militiae), bound with metal and with strips of metal hanging from the front as a protection to the lower part of the body. His feet were covered with strong half-boots (caligae). This might be called his undress uniform. See Figs. 107, 115, 126, etc


The defensive armor consisted of a coat-of-mail (lorica, described above), a helmet, and a shield. The helmet (galea or cassis), of iron or of leather strengthened with brass, was open in front and adorned with a white crest, which was one of the insignia put on at the beginning of a battle (Bk. ii. 21). See Fig. 87, etc. The shield (scutum) was rectangular, about four feet long and two feet wide; it was made of wood slightly curved, and covered with linen and heavy leather. About the rim it was bound with metal, and also in the centre. There was a single handle on the inside and opposite it on the outside a boss or knob (umbo) of metal, to divert missiles and to strengthen the whole. A common device on the outside was a winged thunderbolt. See Figs. 116, 117, etc.


The weapons of offence were the sword and spear. The sword (gladius Hispanus) was about two feet long, straight and two-edged. It was used more for thrusting than for striking, and was not usually hung from the body-belt, but from a belt passing over the left shoulder to the right hip (balteus). See Figs. 17, 115, etc.

The spear (pilum) of Caesar's soldiers was between six and seven feet long. The shaft was of wood and about four feet long. Into this was fitted the slender iron shank that ended in a barbed head. From monuments and from remains that have been found in various places, the weight is estimated at about three pounds and the hurling distance about 100 feet. Each legionary had one of these weapons. See Figs. 15, 107.

Baggage (Packs).

Besides his arms and armor, the legionary carried tools for digging, cooking utensils (vasa), food for at least two weeks (cibaria), his cloak or blanket (sagum), and usually one or two stakes (valli) for the rampart of the camp. The weight of the whole was about sixty pounds. For convenience in carrying, the vasa, cibaria,and other small articles were tied in a compact bundle to the end of a forked stick and carried over the shoulder. During a halt this rested on the ground and the soldier could lean on it for support. Upon a sudden call to battle he could quickly lay it down and be ready (expeditus) for the fray. The forked sticks were named Marius's mules (muli Mariani), after the great Marius who introduced their use. The collective personal baggage of the legionary was called his sarcina (see Figs. 14, 115).


The food provided for the legionary was coarse flour or unground wheat or barley. This he must grind for himself. The ration of food for one day was about two pounds. Every fifteen days he received two modii, — about two pecks. This monotonous diet was varied occasionally by meat and such food as he could find by foraging; and there was always the chance of bartering his rations for the greater variety carried by the traders (mercatores), who followed the army in large numbers and did a thriving business with the soldiers.


It has been truthfully said that Caesar conquered Gaul as much with the spade and shovel as with the sword and spear. The legionary was above all a skilful digger, and besides the actual fighting, no small part of his labor was the almost daily task of fortifying the camp (castra munire). At least three hours were needed for this work. After this there were the watches to keep, the arms to burnish, and all the other busy routine of camp life.


Caesar paid his legionaries 12 1/2 cents a day or about $45 a year. This was nearly the same amount that a day laborer could earn at Rome. The soldier was better off than the laborer merely by his shelter and by the certainty of employment. A deduction from the pay was made for food and equipments furnished by the state. Food, however, was very cheap, and a soldier in active service could always expect a considerable increase in his income from booty and from the gifts of his general.


The martial spirit of the soldiers and their attention to duty were maintained and increased by appropriate rewards and punishments. Among the latter the most usual were withholding of wages, degradation in rank, corporal punishment, dismissal from the service, and, in cases of flagrant offences, death. A minor offence committed by a company of soldiers was punished by putting them on barley rations and giving them extra work on the fortifications. Among rewards may be mentioned public praise in the presence of, the army, promotion in rank, increase in wages, or the presentation of a crown of leaves or grasses, which corresponded to the bestowal of a modern military decoration.

The Camp

The success of Roman arms in hostile and barbarous countries was largely due to the custom of guarding against surprise by making fortified camps. The summer camp (castra aestiva) and the winter camp (castra hiberna) seem to have been alike in all essential features. In the latter, however, more provision was made for the comfort and convenience of the men. Instead of tents, huts of timber and earth, thatched with straw or covered with hides, here provided for them. The camp was regularly in the form of a square, often with rounded corners, but the lay of the land necessitated many variations from the regular plan (see Fig. 119). Of all the camps of Caesar that have been discovered, but one, that on the Aisne (Bk. ii. 5), approaches a square form. The site was chosen with great care, and was always on high ground and near wood and water. An ideal spot was the slope of a hill with some kind of natural defence on the sides and rear, and with sufficient ground in front for the array of the legions. Such a position would give the Romans an opportunity for their favorite onslaught e superior loco (cf.Bk. ii. 8; Bk. v. 50).

A small force of soldiers under centurions was sent ahead to select the site for the camp and stake it out. Two bisecting lines were drawn at right angles to each other to mark the four gates (see Fig. 119): theporta praetoria, facing the enemy; the porta decumana, in the rear; the porta principalis dextra, on the right side; the porta principalis sinistra, on the left. Between the gates on the right and left ran a broad street, thevia principalis. The forward half of the camp was allotted to the soldiers, the rear half to the officers and their attendants. All about the inside of the fortifications ran a broad space, at least one hundred feet wide, left vacant for baggage, evolutions of troops, and to protect the tents within from missiles that the enemy might hurl over the walls. Near the middle of the camp was an open square (praetorium), in which stood the general's tent (tabernaculum ducis). Before this was the altar on which he sacrificed, and on the left was a sodded mound of earth (tribunal or suggestus; cf. Bk. vi. 3), from which he pronounced judgment and addressed the assembled soldiers. The full details of the interior arrangement of Caesar's camp are not known; but every officer, every cohort, every maniple, every man had his appointed place.

No night passed that the army was not housed in such a camp, fortified by wall and ditch. As soon as the soldiers arrive at the spot marked out for them, laying aside helmet, shield, and spear, they begin to dig the ditch (fossa), the earth from which is used in constructing the wall (vallum). If time permits, the sides of the embankment are covered with sods to hold the earth, or with bundles of brush (fascines). The ditch was usually nine feet wide and seven feet deep, the wall six to ten feet high, and wide enough on the top to afford good standing room for a soldier in action An ordinary camp for a night's sojourn could be fortified in about three hours. If the camp was intended for more than one night (castra stativa), the fortifications were made stronger. The earth was made firmer by imbedding in it several lines of fascines parallel to the length, and on its top was set a breastwork of stakes (valli or sudes; cf. Bk. v. 40; Bk. vii. 72). This breastwork was about four feet high (see Fig. 118). Often wooden towers were erected on the walls (cf. Bk. v. 40; Bk. vii. 72), connected by galleries (pontes). The wall was made easy of access on the inner side by steps of brush. Sometimes small redoubts (castella) were built at a distance from the main camp. These were made on the same general plan.

After the camp had been fortified and the leathern tents (tentoria, pelles) put up in their assigned places, guards were set at the gates, and the regular routine of camp life began.

The March.

When the trumpet gave the signal (signum profectionis) to break up camp (castra movere), the soldiers struck their tents and packed their baggage (vasa conligere); at the second signal the baggage (impedimenta) was put on the pack-animals and in the wagons; at the third signal the army (agmen) began its march. The start was made usually at sunrise, but it might be made earlier on special occasion. The ordinary day's march lasted about seven hours, and covered about 15 miles; a forced march (magnum iter) about 25. Caesar made many such, his men travelling immense distances with incredible swiftness.

When marching in the enemy's country, the main body of troops (agmen) protected itself by a vanguard (agmen primum) of cavalry, light-armed infantry, and scouts (exploratores), and by a rear guard (agmen novissimum). Sometimes individual spies (speculatores) were sent far in advance to reconnoitre the country and the movements of the enemy's forces.

The order of march of the main body depended on the nearness of the enemy. When no enemy was near, each legion marched in a single column and was followed by its baggage train (see Bk. ii. 17). In the neighborhood of the enemy, a single column of troops in fighting trim (expediti), i.e. without packs (sarcinae), followed directly after the vanguard; then came the baggage of the whole army, while the remaining forces acted as a rear guard (cf. Bk. ii. 19). Sometimes, for additional security against flank attacks, columns of infantry marched on each side of the baggage train, forming a hollow square (agmen quadratum; see Fig. 73). If, when marching in this order, the army was compelled to halt and defend itself, the soldiers, by facing about, presented to the foe a complete circle (orbis) of armed men. When the foe was near and the ground level and open, the march was sometimes made in three parallel columns, which, by a simple evolution, could be quickly changed to the triple battle line (acies triplex), the regular formation for an engagement.

Streams were crossed either by fords or bridges. Romans could cross deeper fords than we, for they had no powder to keep dry (cf. Bk. v. 18). Sometimes a line of cavalry was sent across the stream to break the force of the current (cf. Bk. vii. 56). Bridges were usually very simple affairs of logs covered with earth and brush, or of boats, but Caesar's masterpiece of military engineering was his roadway forty feet wide with which he twice spanned the Rhine (Bk. iv. 17; Bk. vi. 9; see Figs. 59, 80).

The Battle.

As has been said (V), the camp was so chosen that the ground in front of it would be suitable for battle. The usual order of battle was triplex acies.The first line of the legion was formed of four cohorts and each of the others of three. In each cohort the three maniples stood side by side, and in each maniple the two centuries stood one behind the other, varying in formation according to the depth of the line. As to the distance between the lines we have no definite information; nor even as to whether spaces were left between the cohorts. There were probably spaces between the different legions and doubtless between the centre (media acies), where the legionaries stood, and the wings (cornua), composed of auxiliaries and cavalry. Caesar's lines were probably eight men deep. That would give each legion, estimated at 3600 men, a front of 180 legionaries, 45 for each cohort. When standing in open order for fighting, giving to each man the space necessary for the free use of his weapons, the front of each legion covered probably about 1000 feet, supposing the cohorts to stand close together; all this, however, is very uncertain.

When an attacking enemy had reached the right distance, the bugle sounded the charge, and the legions rushed forward, sword in sheath, and the front ranks with spears uplifted ready to hurl. When within range, the spears were thrown in a shower, the swords drawn, and a fierce charge made upon the mass of the foe, more or less disordered by the volley of spears. Along the front of the cohort rages a series of combats. The rear ranks press forward, throw their spears over the heads of their comrades, and take their places as the latter are wounded or weary. When the first line of cohorts has done its best, it makes room for the second line, re-forms, and gets breath for a new onset. Thus the battle goes on with the two lines in almost constant motion. The enemy are given no rest and are worn out by the repeated charges of the cohorts. The third line, however, is held in reserve, and is brought into action only in case the other two prove insufficient.

The cavalry in the rear, or on the wings, stand ready when the enemy break and flee to ride down the fugitives and cut them to pieces.

There were times when troops had to be arranged in special formations. The most important of these were the cuneus, or wedge, the testudo, or tortoise, and the orbis, or circle. The first was an attack in column instead of in line, and was of use in cutting through and dividing an opposing battle line. The second, in which the shields overlapped above like shingles on a roof, was used especially in approaching and storming walls, or whenever the enemy were to be driven from a higher position (cf. Bk. ii. 6; see Fig. 68). The last formation was like a modern hollow square with officers in the centre — except that from the character of ancient fighting it was rather circular than rectangular. It was necessary when the attack came from all sides at once (see Bk. iv. 37).

The Siege.

The Romans excelled in the art of taking walled cities, and this skill gave them an immense advantage in their warfare with semi-barbarous and ignorant peoples. There were three methods of doing this: first, by an immediate attack (oppugnatio repentina); second, by an active siege, brought to a close by an assault (expugnatio); third, by investment and blockade (obsidio).

If there seemed to be a chance of success, a city was stormed at once with no formal preparation (ex itinere). Its defenders were driven from the walls by a shower of missiles (Bk. iii. 25); the moat was filled with brush and earth; the assaulters with shields locked in a testudoattempted to break open the gates or scale the walls with ladders.

If this method proved unsuccessful or impossible, a regular siege was begun. The work of a regular siege centred about the mound oragger, and to its construction everything else was subordinated. It was begun at a distance from the wall, very nearly out of reach of the missiles of the enemy. It was then gradually extended in the direction of the point to be attacked, and was at the same time gradually increased in height until on a level with the top of the wall, or even higher. At Avaricum the mound was 80 feet high (Bk. vii. 23-28.) Its width was possibly 40 or 50 feet. It was made of earth and timber, and hadconnected galleries running through its various stories, through which the soldiers could move under cover (see Fig. 120). The men engaged in constructing the agger had to be protected from the enemy. Those who were building worked behind lines of plutei (see Figs. 130, 131), large standing shields which were moved forward from time to time as the agger progressed. Those bringing material for the builders walked under rows of sheds called vineae (see Figs. 33, 120), extending the length of the agger. The workmen were protected also by archers and slingers and by engines of war (tormenta) standing behind lines of plutei or upon movable towers (turres). The latter stood on the agger or on either side of it, and advanced with it, and as they advanced increased in height story by story. As the workmen get nearer the wall the plutei will no longer protect them. Then they find refuge under strong sheds of wood called testudines or musculi, placed at the ends of lines of vineae.

When the mound has reached the wall, a breach is made through it for the final assault (expugnatio). Sometimes this was accomplished by undermining the wall, or it was pulled down from the top with huge iron hooks (falces murales). But the most common and most effective means was the battering ram (aries), a huge swinging beam from 60 to loo feet long with a heavy mass of metal at one end, often shaped like a ram's head. This under a testudo, or in the lowest story of a tower, was brought with tremendous force against the opposing masonry. When the final assault was made, soldiers rushed in from every quarter, over the mound, through the breach, and from the movable towers, from whose highest stories drawbridges stretched to the walls.

Against these forms of assault the inhabitants used such means of resistance as they could. The most effective were masses of stone, thrown from the wall upon the works, and fire. To guard against the latter, the besiegers had to cover all exposed woodwork with green hides. Battering rams and mural hooks were caught in slings and held fast, or drawn into the city, and mines were met by countermines. See Figs. 92, 93, 127.

When the location of the place was such that it could not be taken by such a siege as that described above, it was invested on every side (obsidio) and the inhabitants starved into submission. Among sieges of this kind were those of Gergovia (Bk. vii. 44-53) and Alesia (Bk. vii. 72-80), of which the last was one of the most remarkable of ancient times see Figs. 97,102.

The Fleet.

Caesar mentions two principal classes of ships: naves longae, or war galleys, and naves onerariae, or freight and transport vessels. As compared with the former, the latter were shorter, broader, and deeper; hence could carry greater burdens and were more seaworthy. They depended mainly on their sails, but often had rowers in addition. The naves actuariae of Bk. v. 1 were a special class of transport vessel, with both sails and oars. Caesar used them to carry troops, horses, and munitions of war to Britain. See Figs. 48, 51, 52.

The war galley was long, low, and narrow; armed at the prow with a sharp beam (rostrum) shod with bronze, for ramming the enemy's ships; and propelled by one or two sails and a large force of rowers. The seamen (nautae) attended to the steering and the managing of the sails, and were freemen. The rowers (remiges) were usually slaves. Galleys in Caesar's time mostly had three banks of oars. The steering apparatus was two broad-bladed oars near the stern, one on each side. The speed of these vessels was remarkable, almost equalling that of a modern steamship.

The fighting men were the legionaries embarked for the purpose. In fact, there was no distinct naval service, as with us. A fleet was simply an army afloat, and was commanded by military officers. Before going into action tormenta are placed on the deck, and also a turris; the mast was taken down and the sails and tackle housed. See Fig. 62.

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    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.39
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.51
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 1.53
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.17
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.20
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.21
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.25
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.30
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.5
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.6
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 2.8
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 3.25
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.17
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.25
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 4.37
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.1
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.11
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.18
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.35
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.40
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.50
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.3
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.36
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.9
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.23
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.25
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.44
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.47
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.52
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.56
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.72
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 7.88
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