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CALO a slave of the lower kind, usually but not always (cf. Hor. Sat. 1.2, 44, i.. 6, 103; Up. 1.14, 42; Cic. de Nat. Deor. 3.5, 11) applied to a soldier's slave. The derivation given by Festus, s.v. “calones militum servi dicti, qui ligneas clavas gerebant, quae Graece κᾶλα vocant,” repeated by Servius ad Verg. A. 6.1 and others, is manifestly false: the word is contracted from caclo, akin to cacula, used by Plautus (e.g. Trin. 721) in the same meaning and derived in the same way by Festus, with the absurd addition “ad tutelam dominorum.” Accius, quoted by Fest. p. 146, has the line “calones famulique metellique caculaeque.” Even under the Republic the number of slaves following a Roman army was large; under the Empire it sometimes exceeded the number of the soldiers. Each legion was followed by its own calones; and to prevent confusion, in case of an attack, they were organized and subjected to military discipline (Joseph. B. J. 3.6; Veget. R. M. 3.6).

The calones, though often mentioned with the lixae (q. v.), must be carefully distinguished from them.

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 6.1
    • Cicero, de Natura Deorum, 3.5
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