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PALUS a pole or stake, was used in the military exercises of the Romans. It was stuck into the ground, and the tiro, armed with a heavy wicker shield and a wooden sword, had to attack it as if it were a real enemy. Vegetius (1.11) gives a full account of the drill. This kind of exercise is sometimes called palaria (Sosip. Charis. i. p. 11). It was used for exercise (e. g. before the bath) as well as for military drill. So Martial (7.32, 8) speaks of “nudi stipitis ictus hebes,” where the stipes = palus, and the “ ictus hebes ” expresses the wooden sword, which Juvenal (6.247) renders by sudes, when he is speaking of women taking to these manly exercises (vulnera pall). See Becker-Göll, Gallus, 3.185 f.

[W.S] [G.E.M]

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