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στρατός, στράτευμα). A body of men organized and armed for the defence of the State; an army.

I. Greek

The most military people among the Greeks were the Spartans, whose whole life was spent in the practice of martial exercises, so that even the meals shared in common by all free Spartan citizens (συσσιτία) were arranged with reference to military service. (See Syssitia.) With them the duty of actual service began with the twentieth year, and did not end until their capacity for that service ceased to exist. After their sixtieth year, however, all Spartan soldiers were exempt from foreign duty. In the Lacedaemonian army, the heavy-armed troops (ὁπλῖται) were originally all citizens, but as early as the Persian Wars, the perioechi served side by side with the native Spartans, though in separate divisions (λόχοι). The Helots who accompanied the troops served as attendants (ὑπασπισταί) to the hoplites, and as light-armed troops in battle. (See Helotae; Hypaspistae.) A picked body of men (ἱππεῖς) was formed from among the hoplites, and served as a special body-guard to the kings. They were 300 in number, and were all active, powerful young men under thirty years of age, selected and commanded by three officers, known as ἱππαγρέται. The ἱππεῖς, as the name implies, must have been originally horsemen, but were no longer so in the time of the Persian Wars (Herod.viii. 124). A corps of light infantry was formed in the district of Sciritis, and was hence called Sciritae, the especial duty assigned to them being the outpost service of the camp, reconnoitring on the march, and in battle the support of the left wing. From the end of the fifth century B.C., the Spartan army was divided into six morae (μόραι), each commanded by a πολέμαρχος (Xen. Lac. 11.4). As the number of Spartan citizens decreased, these ultimately composed merely the cadre of the mora, which were brought up to their full complement by the addition of perioechi; though the officers were always Spartans, as were the members of the royal staff. Each mora was divided into four (or five) companies (λόχοι). The cavalry played only an unimportant part in the Spartan army. (See Hippeis.) In time of war the ephors (see Ephori) commanded the veteran troops. In early times the kings divided the supreme command between them, but after B.C. 512, only one commanded, unless more than one general was needed from the circumstances of the case. The Spartans maintained a fleet in which Helots served as marines and oarsmen. In cases of great necessity these were sometimes transferred to the army to serve as hoplites, in which case they received their freedom, and were then known as νεοδαμώδεις. The fleet was commanded by ναύαρχοι, or admirals.

At Athens every freeborn man was liable to military service, the only exceptions being the holders of public offices, and, in early times, the very lowest class of citizens. Every youth on reaching his eighteenth year (ἔφηβος) served for ten years, most frequently on the frontier, during which time his military education was completed, though he was then liable to serve at any time up to his sixtieth year. In time of war the Assembly fixed the number of men required for duty: in extreme cases a levée en masse (πανστρατιά) was resorted to. Ten generals (στρατηγοί) were elected by the people annually, and it was their duty to levy the troops and organize them in such a way that the men of each tribe (φυλή) were commanded by the same officer (φύλαρχοι). These phylarchs, as well as the taxiarchs (ταξίαρχοι), or captains of companies, were elected by the people. This levy served as hoplites, while the men of the lowest

Early Greek Soldier. (Stelé of Aristion.)

class (θῆτες) were sometimes used as light-armed troops (πελτάσται), and sometimes with the fleet. As the age of military service extended from the eighteenth to the sixtieth year, there were thus forty-two classes of age, and every man was mustered in a list (κατάλογος) under the name of the Archon Eponymus under whom he first reached the military age (Schömann, Antiq. Greece, Eng. trans. p. 423; but cf. Aristotle, Polit. Ath. 53, with Kenyon's note). The men of the first two classes who served on the frontier were called περίπολοι. After the twentieth year they could be sent on foreign service. The army contained ten battalions (τάξεις), sometimes called φυλαί, of which the subdivisions were called λόχοι. The troops were sometimes equipped with the aid of the resident aliens (μέτοιχοι) of Attica, and in earlier times by the contingents contributed by the allies. From the time of Pericles on, the cavalry received pay amounting to some four obols, or about $0.12 a day, with an allowance for the horseman's attendant. On the cavalry, see Hippeis.

In most of the other Greek States the hoplites, consisting of wealthy citizens, formed the main strength of the army, and generally helped to turn the scale in engagements in which the light-armed troops and the cavalry played a subordinate part. They fought in the φάλαγξ (q. v.), in closely serried lines eight deep. The flower of the troops were stationed on the right wing as the post of honour, to advance to meet the foe amid the singing of the paean. When at a distance of about 200 yards, at the signal of a trumpet, they raised the battle-cry (ἀλαλά) and charged either at a run or at quick step. It was only the Spartans who slowly advanced at an even pace and to the sound of flutes. A request for permission to bury the dead was the formal admission of defeat. The enduring token of victory was a trophy composed of the armour captured from the defeated side. It was usual to join battle on ground which was suitable for the phalanx. The Peloponnesian War was the means of introducing many innovations, including the formation of a regular force of light infantry, called πελτασταί (q. v.). Still more decisive in the transformation of the general system of Greek warfare was the famous retreat of the Ten Thousand, the first important mercenary army among the Greeks which tried to make the phalanx of hoplites suit the ground better, and to utilize at the same time the light infantry, or peltasts, and the γυμνῆτες (spearmen, bowmen, and slingers). Iphicrates, the first distinguished general of mercenary troops, introduced a lighter equipment by substituting a small πέλτη for the heavy shield, adopting a longer sword and spear, lighter shoes, and a linen corslet.

In the course of the fourth century B.C. the army composed of civilians gave way more and more to the mercenary army, which, by its intimate knowledge of the use of its weapons, gained an immense advantage in actual war. An important novelty was the oblique battle-order, the discovery of Epaminondas (q.v.). In this the great mass and strength of the hoplites was drawn up in considerable depth on one of the two wings, without any expansion of the front. The hoplites could thus make a vigorous attack on the centre of the enemy's wing, while the true centre and the other wing of the assailants were held in reserve, with a view to advancing later to crush the enemy.

The Macedonian method of warfare, invented by King Philip II. and his son Alexander the Great, was based upon the Greek military organization adapted to Macedonian requirements. For this purpose, that organization was duly developed, and the different parts of the army, the infantry and cavalry, light and heavy-armed troops, military levies, allies and mercenary troops, were blended together into a far freer and more effective system than the Greeks ever attained in their art of war. In point of numbers the strongest component part of the Macedonian army, as elsewhere, was the heavy and light infantry. The former consisted of the πεζέταιροι, a body of Macedonians of free but not noble origin, corresponding to the Greek hoplites, though not so heavily armed. Like the hoplites, they fought in a phalanx, but this was generally deeper than theirs, being eight and afterwards sixteen men deep. They formed six τάξεις, corresponding to the number of the districts of Macedonia, each of which was represented by one τάξις. (See further under Phalanx.) The ὑπασπισταί were the equivalent of the Hellenic peltasts, and were a standing corps of 3000 men. Besides these there were strong contingents of other kinds of light infantry, especially spearmen and archers. While in the Greek armies the number of the cavalry had always been small, they formed nearly one-sixth of the whole army which Alexander took with him on his Asiatic expedition, and consisted of an equal number of light and heavy cavalry. (See further under Hippeis.) The central point in the great battles of Alexander was the phalanx; on the right of this were placed the ὑπασπισταί, the heavy and light Macedonian cavalry, the spearmen, and archers; on the left, the Thracian peltasts, the Hellenic contingent of cavalry, with the Thessalian cavalry, and light troops, horsemen, and archers. The two wings were reckoned from the centre of the phalanx, the right being usually reserved for the attack, and led by the king. The light troops began the attack, which was supported by the heavy Macedonian cavalry, followed by the ὑπασπισταί. The heavy infantry came up in detachments to keep the line unbroken, and formed an oblique battle-array. Thus the main attack was made by the heavy cavalry, and no longer, as with the other Greeks, by the phalanx. On the contrary, the phalanx formed the solid centre of the whole army —a centre which it was impossible for the enemy to break, and which was itself irresistible in attack. Under the successors of Alexander, the phalanx was, however, regarded as strengthening the whole army and lengthening the formation, rather than as a factor of offensive operations. The battle was decided by the wings, which were composed of cavalry—one wing being destined for the attack while the other remained on the defensive. The light infantry and the elephants which were now brought into use were brought to bear as occasion demanded, but were chiefly used in masking the preparatory movements of the attacking wing, very much, in fact, as cavalry is used in the modern German tactics.

During the third century B.C., the cavalry declined in importance and hence in numbers, while the heavy-armed infantry, with the formidable σάρισσα, twenty-four feet long, became more and more effective. The phalanx was now used in attacking, and its onset usually decided the battle. In that century, mercenary armies became very common, and at last Greek military science yielded to that of the Romans mainly because the tactics of the phalanx were ill-suited to a hand-to-hand engagement. See Lochus; Mora; Phalanx.

II. Roman

Down to the year B.C. 104, when the people, alarmed by the advance of the formidable Cimbri, kept C. Marius in the consulate for five years in disregard of the Constitution, the Roman army had been nothing more than a militia of citizens, the body of the free burgesses in arms, as established by Servius Tullius. (See Comitia Centuriata.) The whole population was divided into five classes. The first class was divided between cavalry (equites) and infantry (pedites), and all five classes into iuniores and seniores, the former being employed for active service in the field, and the latter for the defence of the city. Every citizen from his seventeenth to his forty-fifth or fiftieth year was liable to service unless he belonged to the lowest class (proletarii), or had already served in twenty campaigns on foot or in ten campaigns as a cavalryman. The military levy was by tribes, and was made in a general assembly of citizens at the Capitol or on the Campus Martius, an equal number of men being taken from each tribe. (See Dilectus.) The regular levy was 8500 seniores and 17,000 iuniores, a total of 25,500 men. These were formed into four legions of 4250 or 4500 men each, and a body of 1800 cavalry. The rest of the recruits formed a reserve to supply the losses sustained by the legions. There were generally two consular armies, each of two legions, besides contingents of the allies of equal infantry and double cavalry strength, as the native Roman cavalry was inferior, and preferred always to fight dismounted. A legion was made up as follows: 1200 velites (light-armed skirmishers, also called accensi, rorarii, and ferentarii), 1200 hastati, 1200 principes, 600 triarii, and 300 equites. The hastati, principes, and triarii were each divided into ten manipuli, or companies, and an equal number of velites were attached to each. The hastati and principes formed respectively the first and second line, and were armed with spears (hastae); the triarii were the reserve, and carried the pilum, a short and very heavy spear, which they hurled into the ranks of the enemy immediately before closing with them in a hand-to-hand struggle with the sword (gladius).

Roman Soldiers. (Column of Trajan.)

Each manipulus was commanded by a centurion (centurio), having a second centurion for his lieutenant. The first centurion of the first manipulus of the triarii, who was known as primus pilus, in the absence of a superior officer, took command of the whole legion. The chief command of the legion was held in turn by the six military tribunes (tribuni militum), each of whom commanded for two months at a time; but after the first civil wars, a single officer (legatus) permanently directed each legion, having the military tribunes as his staff.

The protracted wars with Pyrrhus and Carthage led to the first important change in the constitution of the army. From this time, the practice of giving the soldiers regular pay was established, and paved the way for the establishment of a regular army, which took place, as noted above, in the consulship of Marius, from which time the enlisted man was a professional soldier, serving continuously in the army for twenty years. The legion now consisted of 6000 troops, divided into ten cohorts of 600 men each, uniformly armed with the pilum. The place of the velites was supplied by foreign mercenaries, bowmen (sagittarii) from Crete, javelin-men (iaculatores) from Mauretania, and slingers (funditores) from the Baleares. The cavalry was also chiefly foreign, with a few Roman equites in special posts of honour. The general had a body-guard (praetoriani) of some 5000 men, with high pay and special privileges. At this time the silver eagle was adopted as the standard (see Signum; Vexillum), and was carried by the first century of the first cohort. There were also auxiliary troops of varying number divided into cohortes, and consisting of both infantry and cavalry.

Under Caesar the legion consisted nominally of about 5000 men, though actually of less. According to Rüstow it was divided into ten cohorts of 300 or 360 men each; each cohort into three maniples of 100 to 120 men each; and each maniple into two centuries of 50 to 60 men each. In battle the ten cohorts were regularly drawn up as in the following figure, which represents the acies triplex of Caesar:

Acies triplex of Caesar.

The cavalry, divided into turmae, or squadrons, and commanded by a decurio, was usually stationed on both wings; but at Pharsalus on only one; while at Bibracté it was held in the rear. The defensive order of battle was the hollow square (orbis), which corresponds with the formation on the march called agmen quadratum. The general term for the army on the march is agmen; in battle order, acies. When the signal for the march was given, the extraordinarii (q. v.) with the allies of the right wing moved first, then the legions, and last the allies of the left wing with part of the cavalry who were said elaudere agmen or cogere agmen. An army marching in close order was called agmen iustum or agmen pilatum. The van is primum agmen; the centre, medium agmen; the rear, extremum or novissimum agmen. The formation called agmen quadratum, shown below, was adopted when a sudden attack was expected. The baggage was then placed within the lines.

The commander-in-chief was called dux or imperator; the commanders of the legions, legati; the staff of the legions were the tribuni militum; the orderlies and aides, contubernales or comites praetori; the paymaster and quartermaster-general, quaestor. In case there were not sufficient legates, the quaestor also commanded the legion.

Under Augustus the completion of the Roman standing army was carried out, and twenty-five

Agmen Quadratum. (Antonine Column.)

legions were maintained throughout the Empire, besides the Praetorian Guard. Under Trajan there were thirty legions; under Septimius Severus, thirty-three. At this time the name legatus was changed to praefectus, the first cohort was doubled in strength (cohors milliaria), and the minimum strength of the legion was fixed at 6100 infantry and 726 cavalry. See Legio.

Under the Republic and the early Empire, the military drill was very severe, comprising running, jumping, wrestling, swimming (both naked and in full armour), besides drill, the use of intrenching tools, and long marches at the rate of four miles per hour, with a load of from 35 to 60 lbs. This was required not only from recruits but from veterans as well. The equipment of the soldier was very heavy. The wagons transported the general baggage (impedimenta) and the tents; yet each soldier, besides his shield, helmet, breastplate, pilum, and sword, was obliged to carry corn for seventeen days, stakes for the palisade of the camp, and intrenching tools (Veget. i. 19).

In the time of Polybius the regular pay of a soldier of the legion was about $0.07 per diem (1/3 of a denarius), that of a centurion, $0.14; and that of a cavalryman, $0.20. Caesar fixed the pay of a soldier at 225 denarii (about $45) per annum. Under Domitian it was raised to 300 denarii ($60). Out of this the soldier paid for his clothes and accoutrements (Tac. Ann. i. 17). The only superior officer's pay that is known is that of the tribunus legionis, in the third century A.D., when it was 25,000 sesterces ($1000). On the pay and other service conditions of the Praetorian Guard, see Praetoriani.

The regular food of the Roman soldier was wheat made into a kind of porridge (puls) or bread (panis), and occasionally meat and vegetables (legumina). Vinegar was allowed the soldiers for the drink called posca (q. v.). Provisions were also often gathered by foraging, in which case they naturally depended on the soldier's luck. For the rewards of military service, see the articles Corona; Ovatio; Triumphus.

Military punishments were of various sorts, comprising (a) whipping (castigatio); (b) a fine (pecuniaria multa); (c) loss of rank (militiae mutatio); (d) drumming out of camp (ignominiosa missio; cf. the pseud. Bell. Afr. 54, 4); (e) the substitution of barley for wheat in their rations; (f) decimation (see Decimatio); (g) death, which could be inflicted only by the consul under the Republic, and by the emperor or legatus under the Empire.

On his honourable discharge (honesta missio), the soldier received either land or a present of money, ranging from 3000 denarii ($600) to 5000 denarii ($1000). A discharge for physical disability or sickness was called causaria missio.


An extensive bibliography on the Greek army will be found in the article “Die griechischen Kriegsalterthümer” in Iwan Müller's Handbuch der klassischen Alterthumswissenschaft, iv. pp. 226-231 (1887). Good special works are Rüstow and Köchly, Geschichte des griechischen Kriegswesens (1852); Köpke, Kriegswesen der Griechen in heroischen Zeitalter; and Droysen, Untersuchungen über Alexander des Grossens Heerwesen und Kriegsführung (1885).

On the military organization of Rome, a vast bibliography is collected by Schiller in Iwan Müller's Handbuch, vol. ii. The following works will be found useful: Lange, Historia Mutationum Rei Militaris Romanorum (1846); Rüstow, Heerwesen und Kriegsführung Cäsars, 2d ed. (1862); Judson, Caesar's Army (1888); Lindenschmidt, Die Tracht und Bewaffnung des römischen Heeres während der Kaiserzeit (1882); Von Göler, Cäsars gallischer Krieg (1880); Hartung, Römische Auxiliartruppen (1870-75); and Bouché-Leclercq, Institutions Romaines, pt. iv. (1884).

On the arms, equipment, etc., of the soldiers, see Arma; Caliga; Clipeus; Funda; Galea; Gladius; Hasta; Lorica; Ocrea; Pilum; Scutum. On the different branches of the service, see Equites; Funditores; Iaculatores; Mercenarii; Praetoriani; Sagittarii; Velites. On the system of encampment, see Castra. On the functions of the general, see Imperator.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.124
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 11.4
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.17
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