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I. hi Greek.

The naval camp of the Greeks in Homer, lying between Rhoeteum and Sigeum, was very large. It had numerous streets which crossed one another (Il. 10.66), an agora which was capable of holding all the fighting forces of the Greeks, and in this stood the altar to Zeus Panomphaeus (Il. 8.249). The games in honour of Patroclus appear to have been held within the camp. It had a wall, probably of earth, with high two-leaved gates (Il. 12.154), and at a short distance a dug ditch (Il. 9.67). The ditch was protected at the top by many sharp stakes (Il.. 12.59). At intervals in the walls were wooden towers (Il. 12.36) and battlements (ἐπάλξεις), which were probably stakes rammed into the wall, with pinnacles of different sorts (κρόσσαι, στῆλαι προβλῆτες, Il. 12.258). It was guarded by watches (φυλακαί) at night (Il. 9.66), who numbered 700 (Il. 9.85). We hear of Ulysses and Diomedes going the rounds to see if the watch were awake (Il. 10.180). The habitations within the camp were not tents, but, if we may judge from that of Achilles, more solid wooden structures (Il. 24.448 foll.). Of course we must remember that this was a permanent camp. On the whole matter, see Buchholz, Die homerischen Realien, ii. pt. 1.331-342.

The ancient Greeks of the historical period were neither methodical nor capable of enduring drudgery. Hence their camp-constructions were quite contemptible compared with those of the Romans. They always looked out for a position with natural defences (cf. Xen. Resp. Lac. 12), so that they avoided as far as possible the trouble of fortification, but at the expense of being unable to arrange themselves in any fixed order within their encampments; for these must have varied in position and size (Plb. 6.42). Again, Polybius (18.1, and cf. Liv. 33.5) contrasts, unfavourably to the Greeks, the many-branched and cumbrous stakes, the latter used for any fortification they had to make, with the well-trimmed stakes with few branches the Romans carried so easily. Xenophon (l.c.) tells us that the Spartans generally formed their camp in a circle, and placed sentinels over the arms of the camp to guard these, not from their enemies, but from their friends! Horsemen on an adjacent height used to observe the enemy. The Spartans frequently changed their camp. They used to drill each morning. After that the commander by a herald gave the order to sit down, which afforded a sort of review (ἐξέτασις) of the troops. After this followed the mid-day meal (ἄριστον) and change of guard; and then amusement (διατριβαί) or rest till evening exercise. Thereafter the herald gave the signal for the evening meal (δεῖπνον), a hymn was sung to the gods to whom the sacrifices had been favourable, and the soldiers retired to rest.

2. Roman.

It is well known that Roman armies never halted for a single night without forming a regular entrenchment, termed castra, capable of receiving within its limits the whole body of fighting men, their beasts of burden, and the baggage. So essential was this operation considered, that even when preparing for an immediate engagement, or when actually assailed by a hostile force, it was never omitted, but a portion of the soldiers were employed in constructing the necessary works, while the remainder were standing to their arms or resisting the enemy (Caes. Gal. 8.15; Liv. 27.12): and so completely was it recognised as a part of the ordinary duties of each march that pervenire ad locum tertiis . . . quartis . . . decimis castris (Liv. 27.32) are the established phrases for expressing the number of days occupied in passing from one point to another. Whenever circumstances rendered it expedient for a force to occupy the same ground for any length of time, then the encampment was distinguished as castra stativa. (Liv. 27.12: Caes. Gal. 8.15; B.C. 1.42, 3.30.) We also read of castra navalia for protecting ships hauled up on land (Liv. 29.35; Caes. Gal. 5.11).

When the protracted and distant wars in which the republic became engaged, as its sway was gradually extended first over the whole of Italy, and subsequently over Greece, Asia, and Africa, rendered it impossible for the legions to return home in winter, they usually retired, during the months when active military operations were suspended, into some city where they could be protected from the inclemency of the season, and where the comforts of the men could be readily secured; or they were dispersed up and down in detachments among friendly villeges (in hiberna concedere; exercitum in hiberna dimittere; exercitum per civitates in hiberna dividere). It is true that extraordinary emergencies, such as a protracted blockade, or the necessity of maintaining a constant watch upon the movements of a neighbouring and vigorous foe, might compel a commander to keep the field for a whole year or even longer; but to order an army, except in case of necessity, to winter under canvas (hiemare sub pellibus; hiemem sub tentoriis exigere) was long regarded as a severe punishment, inflicted only in consequence of grievous misconduct. (Frontin. Strat. 4.1.24.) As the boundaries of the empire were gradually pushed forward into wild and barbarian lands, where there were no large towns and no tribes on whose faith reliance could be placed, such arrangements became impracticable; and armies, whether of invasion or occupation, were forced to remain constantly in camps. They usually, however, occupied different ground in summer and in winter, whence arose the distinction between castra aestiva and castra hiberna, both alike being stativa. Such posts were frequently, if situated advantageously, garrisoned permanently; and the peaceful natives who sought to enrich themselves by trading with their conquerors, settled for security in the immediate vicinity. (Caes. Gal. 6.37.) This was one of the most important ways in which towns grew up. Merchants, both Roman and foreign, came and settled outside the fortifications of these camps (ad canabas legionis consistere, as the phrase was; see Wilmanns, 2409 foll.), the inhabitants of the adjoining [p. 1.370]country helped to swell the numbers, veterans both from the legion quartered and from other legions and companies settled there, and thus the canabae grew into a village, and from that often to towns and colonies of considerable size and importance. Lambaesis in Numidia is a most noticeable example (see C. I. L. viii. pp. 283-285). Mayence, Strasburg, and Vienna owe their existence to a similar origin, as do possibly also the towns in England with the termination -chester. See on the whole matter Mommsen, Die römischen Lagerstädte, in Hermes, 7.299-326 ; and Mommsen-Marquardt, 4.19-21.

But whether a camp was temporary or permanent, whether tenanted in summer or in winter, the main features of the work were always the same for the same epoch. In hiberna, huts of turf or stone would be substituted for the open tents of the aestiva (hence aedificare hiberna), and in stativa held for long periods the defences would present a more substantial and finished aspect, but the general outline and disposition of the parts were invariable: a camp was laid down, arranged and fortified according to a fixed and well-known plan, modified only by the numbers for whom it was required to provide accommodation, but altogether independent of the nature of the ground or of the fancy of the general, so that each battalion, each company, and each individual had a place assigned to which they could at once repair, without order, question, delay, or confusion. (Plb. 6.42.10.)

At what period the practice of throwing up elaborate field-works for the protection of an army engaged in active service was first commenced by the Romans, it is impossible to determine; but we may safely conclude that, like all other parts of their military tactics, it was matured by a slow and gradual process. Livy and Dionysius, indeed, would lead us to suppose that regular camps existed from the most remote epoch to which their annals extend; but the language of these historians is in general so loose upon all matters of antiquarian research, and they are so much in the habit of transferring to the earliest ages the usages of their own contemporaries, that no safe inference regarding points of this nature can be drawn from their words. Frontinus, on the other hand, declares that the idea of a fortified enclosure, calculated to contain a whole army, was first suggested to the Romans by the camp of Pyrrhus, which they captured near Beneventum (cf. Liv. 35.14); but as the statements of this author have never been deemed to possess much weight, and as we are also told that Pyrrhus looked with admiration on the Roman camp (Plut. Pyrrh. 16), we cannot lay much stress on his testimony. It is evident, however, from the facts detailed in the article EXERCITUS that a camp, such as the earliest of those of which we possess any detailed account, could not have assumed that shape until the tactics of the phalanx were superseded by the manipular divisions; and it may be held as certain that each of the great wars in which the Commonwealth was successively engaged for more than a century--with the Samnites, with Pyrrhus, with the Cisalpine Gauls, and with the Carthaginians--must have led to a series of improvements. The system was probably brought to perfection in the campaigns against Hannibal, and underwent no material alteration until the organic changes in the constitution of the army, which took place not long before the downfall of the constitution, during the civil broils, and under the earlier emperors, rendered a corresponding change in the internal economy of the camp unavoidable. Hence, although it would be at once vain and unprofitable to attempt an investigation of the various changes through which a Roman camp passed before it assumed what may be called its normal shape, it is evidently absolutely necessary for all who desire to obtain even a slight knowledge of the Roman art of war, to make themselves acquainted with this important feature in their system during the best days of the republic and the empire. And fortunately the records of antiquity enable us to supply such information with considerable minuteness. Polybius, the friend and companion of the younger Scipio, has transmitted to us a description of a Roman camp, such as he must have often seen with his own eyes; and the writer of a treatise which is generally entitled Hygini gromatici liber de munitionibus castrorum, who flourished probably under Septimius Severus, has left us a technical memoir on the art of castrametation as practised in his own day. To these some might feel inclined to add the remarks of Vegetius, who lived during the reign of Valentinian, but for reasons which are stated elsewhere [EXERCITUS] it will be more safe to neglect him altogether.

We shall proceed to describe these two camps in succession, it being understood that the leading statements with regard to the first are taken directly from Polybius (6.27-37 and 41), and those with regard to the second, from Hyginus, unless when the contrary is distinctly indicated. But while we endeavour to explain clearly all the parts of the camps themselves, we must refer to the article EXERCITUS for everything that concerns the different kinds of troops, their divisions, their discipline, and their officers.

It must be carefully borne in mind that the camps described in the following pages were the normal ones--i. e. the sum of all the arrangements which the Romans aimed at effecting; though we cannot doubt but that actually in each case some of these arrangements must have been incapable of being carried out, owing to one cause or another, such as increased numbers, position of the enemy, lie of the ground, &c.

I. Camp of Polybius.

[Simple numbers in the following refer to the chapters and sections of the sixth book of Polybius.]

The camp described by Polybius is such as would be formed at the close of an ordinary day's march by a regular consular army consisting of two Roman legions with the full contingent of Socii. Each legion is calculated at 4,200 infantry and 300 cavalry; the Socii furnished an equal number of infantry and twice as many cavalry as a regular contingent. But there were besides four cohortes extraordinariae (containing each 400 men) and two alae extraordinariae (containing each 300 men), taken from the Socii, so that the whole force amounted [p. 1.371]to 18,400 foot and 2,400 horse (Mommsen-Marquardt, 2.379, 380, 386). When the legion was increased to 5,000 infantry, there was no doubt a proportional increase in the numbers in a camp.

Choice of the Ground.--Although the general outline, the defences, and the internal economy of a camp were altogether independent of the nature of the ground, yet great importance was attached to the choice of a fitting situation which should admit of being readily laid out in the required form, which should afford no facilities for attack or annoyance, which should be convenient for procuring wood, water, and forage, and which the army might enter and quit without danger of surprise. Skill in the

Construction of a Roman camp.

selection of such a spot (capere locum castris) was ever considered as a high quality in a general, and we find it recorded among the praises of the most renowned commanders that they were wont in person to perform this duty (e. g. Liv. 9.17, 25.14, 28; Tac. Hist. 2.5, Agric. 20; comp. Quintil. I. O. 12.3.5). Under ordinary circumstances, however, the task devolved upon one of the military tribunes, and a certain number of centurions appointed from time to time for the purpose. These having gone forward in advance of the army until they reached the place near which it was intended to halt, and having taken a general survey of the ground, selected a spot from whence a good view of the whole proposed area might be obtained, that spot being considerably within the limits of the contemplated enclosure [p. 1.372](41, § § 1, 2). An essential point was, of course, to have water and fodder in close proximity to the camp (27.3).

Construction.--The spot answering these conditions and which we shall call A (fig. 1) was marked by a small white flag. The next object was to ascertain in what direction the front of the camp should face--this direction we indicate by the arrow in the subjoined figure. Upon the position of A and the direction of the arrow depended the disposition of all the other parts of the work; for these two preliminary points being decided, the business of measuring out the ground (metari castra) commenced, and was executed, as we learn from various sources, with graduated rods (decempedae) by persons denominated metatores (Cic. Phil. 14.4, 10). The different steps of the process may be most briefly and distinctly set down in the ordinary language of a geometrical construction.

Through A draw a straight line A0 A1, parallel to the direction of the arrow, a straight line B0 B1 at right angles to A0 A1. These two straight lines, A0 A1 and B0 B1, served as the bases by which the position of all the different divisions of the camp were determined.

Plan of a Roman camp in the time of Polybius.

In the technical language of land measurement, which was derived from augural science and was used also in the foundation of colonies, these two lines were called respectively decumanus maximus and cardo maximus; or, to be perfectly accurate, the cardo maximus ran through the middle of the via principalis, at the very outer point of which the groma was fixed to regulate the lines. The camp, then, theoretically faced east (see Nissen, Das Templum, p. 11); but as a matter of fact usually faced the enemy (Veget. 1.23). Extension along A0 A1 was called length (μῆκος); along B0 B1 was depth (βάθος).

Along A A0 set off A A2 = 100 feet; A2 A4 = 50 feet; A4 A5; A5 A6; A6 A7; A7 A8; A8 A9; A9 A10 each = 100 feet; A10 A11 = 50 feet; A11 A12; A12 A13; A13 A14; A14 A15; A15 A16 each = 100 feet; A16 A17 = 200 feet.

Along AA1 set off AA3; A3 A18, each = 100 feet; A18 A21 = 150 feet; A21 A19 = 100 feet; A19 A20 = 200 feet.

Through A2; A3; A4; A5; A17; A18; A19; A20 draw C0 C1; D0 D1; E0 E1; F0 F1; G0 G1; H0 H1; K0 K1; L0 L1 straight lines parallel to B0 B1, and in like manner draw through A6; A7; .... A16 straight lines parallel to B0 B1, as marked in the figure. [p. 1.373]

On B0 B1 make A B2; A B2 each = 100 feet.

Through B2 and B3 draw straight lines parallel to A0 A1, cutting C0 C1 in C2 and C3, and cutting D0 D1 in D2 and D3; in this manner a square area C2 C3 D3 D2 is determined, each side of which = 200 feet.

Along A5 F0 set off A5 P = 25 feet; P Q = 100 feet; Q R = 50 feet; R S = 50 feet; S T = 100 feet; T V = 100 feet; V W = 50 feet; W X = 150 feet; X Y = 250 feet; Y Z = 200 feet.

Along A5 F1 set off A5 P‘; P‘ Q‘; Q‘ R‘ .... Y´ Z‘, equal respectively to A5 P; P Q; Q R; .... Y Z.

Through Z Z‘ draw straight lines parallel to A0 A1, cutting G0 G1 in z and z‘, and cutting L0 L1 in L0 and L1. The square area O O´ z‘ z thus determined was the camp.

Again, through P; Q; R.... Y, and through P‘; Q‘; R‘ .... Y´ draw straight lines parallel to A0 A1, cutting the parallels to B0 B1, in the points marked in the figure.

Finally, on H0 H1 lay off A18 H3 and A18 H4 each = 25 feet, and through H3; H4; draw straight lines parallel to A0 A1, cutting K0 K1 in K3 K4.

This construction being completed, we now proceed to explain the arrangement of the different parts referring to figure 2, in which the lines no longer necessary are obliterated, the spaces occupied by the troops or officers enclosed by dark lines, and the streets (viae) distinctly laid down. In practice the most important points were marked by white poles, some of which bore flags of various colours, so that the different battalions on reaching the ground could at once discover the place assigned to them (47.7).

The white flag A, which served as the starting point of the whole construction, marked the position of the consul's tent, or praetorium, so called because praetor was the ancient term for any one invested with supreme command. It had a roof like a temple (Joseph. B. J. 3.5, 2). The square area C2 D3 was left open, extending, as we have seen, a hundred feet each way from the praetorium. That portion of the camp which lay in the direction of the arrow towards the space out in front (πρὸς τὴν ἐκτὸς ἐπιφάνειαν) from the line E0 E1 (fig. 1) was termed the front or fore-part of the camp (τοῦ παντὸς σχγ́ματος κατὰ πρόσωπον, 27, § § 3, 6).

The number of legions being two and the number of tribunes in each being six, their tents were arranged six and six at equal distances along the line E0 E1 (fig. 1), exactly opposite to and looking towards the legions to which they belonged. Hence, as will be seen from what follows, they did not extend beyond the points E3 and E4; but whether they were distributed at equal distances along the whole of the line E3 E4, or whether the space in front of the praetorium was left vacant, as in our figure, as seems most probable, may admit of doubt. The space of fifty feet included between the parallels C0 C1 and E0 E1 (fig. 1), immediately behind the tents of the tribunes, was appropriated to their horses, beasts of burden, and baggage (27, § § 4, 5). The probability is, as we shall see below, that there was a space in front as represented in the figure.

The ten areas marked 1 were set apart for the cavalry of one legion, and the corresponding ten areas marked 1′ for the cavalry of the other legion (28, § § 2, 3). These all faced towards the street P P‘; and each area, containing a space of 10,000 square feet, was allotted to one turma or troop of 30 dragoons, with their horses and baggage. Such long rows were called strigae (ῥῦμαι); for this word cf. Festus, p. 315. When there were larger numbers in the camp than those we are considering, the depth, not the length, was increased (29.5; 30.3).

Back to back with the cavalry, and looking out upon the streets R S, R‘ S‘, the Triarii of the two legions were quartered in the areas 2 and 2′ (29.3). Each area contained 5000 square feet, and was allotted to a maniple of 60 men; hence, according to the calculation here followed, a dragoon and his horse were allowed as much space as 4 foot-soldiers.

In the areas marked 3 and 3′ facing the Triarii were quartered the Principes of the two legions; each of these areas contained 10,000 square feet, and was allotted to a maniple of two centuries, that is, 120 men (29.6).

In the areas marked 4 and 4′, back to back with the Principes, and looking out upon the streets V W, V‘ W‘, were quartered the Hastati of the two legions, the number of men being the same as in the Principes, and an equal space being assigned to them (29.8).

Facing the legionary Hastati, in the areas marked 5 and 5′, were the cavalry of the allies. The total number was 900 to each legion, but of these 1/3 or 300 were separated under the name of extraordinarii, and quartered in a different part of the camp (30, § § 1, 3). Consequently, each of the spaces 5 and 5′ was calculated to accommodate 60 dragoons with their horses. We can hardly suppose that the dragoons of the allies had such comparatively roomy quarters as those of the Roman cavalry were. Allowing, then, the 60 allied dragoons half as much space again as the 30 Roman ones, we find each of these areas to contain 15,000 square feet.

Back to back with the cavalry of the allies, and looking towards the rampart which enclosed the camp, the infantry of the allies were quartered in the areas marked 6 and 6′ (30.4). The total number was 5000 for each legion; but of these 800 were separated as extraordinarii, and quartered in a different part of the camp. Hence there would remain 4,200 or 420 for each of the spaces 6 and 6′; and as we cannot allow the allied foot-soldiers less than the confined spaces of the legionaries, each space must have contained 25,000 square feet.

The open space immediately behind the tents and baggage of the tribunes, extending to the right and left of the space allotted to the general, was assigned on one side to the quaestorium and its appliances (τῷ τε ταμιείῳ καὶ ταῖς ἅμα τούτῳ χορηγίαις), and on the other to a forum (31.1). They are marked 7 and 8. This is the most probable arrangement, but we cannot be absolutely certain of it.

Still further to the right and left at an angle to the tents of the tribunes (οἷον ἐπικάμπιον τάξιν ἔχοντες πρὸς τὰς σκηνάς), looking respectively towards the quaestorium and the forum, were a body of cavalry, selected from the extraordinarii equites (οἱ τῶν ἐπιλέκτων ἱππέων ἀπόλεκτοι), and a body of cavalry serving as volunteers out of compliment to the general (καί [p. 1.374]τινες τῶν ἐθελοντηδὸν στρατευομένων τῇ τῶν ὑπάτων χάριτι, 31, § § 2, 3), who were analogous perhaps to the Evocati of later times, or, as Masquelez thinks (ap. Saglio, Dict., p. 948), were clients of the consul. Back to back with these, looking towards the rampart, in 11, 12, and 11′, 12′, were quartered the foot-soldiers belonging to the same classes as the cavalry just named (31.4). In the camp, then, as well as on the march, these troops were always near the person of the consul and of the quaestor, and served as a sort of body-guard to them. Their number is nowhere specified, and hence the exact space required for their accommodation cannot be determined.

In 13, 13′, looking towards the quaestorium, praetorium, and forum, were quartered the remainder of the extraordinarii equites. Allowing the picked cavalry mentioned previously to have been 2 double turmae of 60 men each, we have remaining 8 double turmae, i. e. 480 men. If we allow these as much room or a little less than the Roman equites, we may assume a surface of 150,000 square feet for them. Back to back with these, stretching a little beyond them on each side, and facing the ramparts in 14, 14′, were the remainder of the extraordinarii pedites (31, § § 7, 8). Supposing these to be at the most 1500 in number, and allowing them as being picked troops a little more room than the ordinary foot-soldiers of the allies, let us assume for them a space of 130,000 square feet. The spaces marked 15, 15′ were assigned to foreign troops (auxilia), or to allies not included in the regular contingent who might chance to be present (τοῖς ἀλλοφύλοις καὶ τοῖς ἐκ τοῦ καιροῦ προσγιγνομένοις συμμάχοις, 31.9). If these troops were more numerous than usual, part of the quaestorium and the forum were made use of (32, § § 4, 5).

The form of the camp was an exact square (τετράγωνον ἰσόπλευρον), the length of each side being 2150 Roman feet.

The clear space between the ramparts and the tents (intervallum) was 200 feet, and this was of the greatest service in facilitating the marching in and out of the soldiers without crowding or confusion. Here, also, cattle and other booty were kept and guarded; and the breadth was sufficient to prevent any ordinary missile or fire-brand hurled into the camp from doing serious injury (31.12 ff.).

The principal street, stretching right across in front of the tents of the tribunes, was 100 feet wide and called via principalis (Liv. 10.33), so called because the chief officers, principes (Amm. Marc. 22.3,2), had their quarters there. The main portion of this street, that in close proximity to the tents of the tribunes, was called principia (ἀρχεῖα, Plut. Galb. 12), though perhaps strictly the term should be applied to the officers' quarters themselves: thus Suet. Otho 1, speaks of an execution ante principia. We often hear of the soldiers congregating in principiis praetorioque (e. g. Liv. 7.12). The latter is that space immediately in front of the general's tent, between it and the line of the legionaries' tents, thus taking in a part of the via principalis (see Weissenborn on Liv. 21.53.6; 27.25.5). It will be observed that the lengthened lines of the ten turmae and manipuli in each division is intersected at the termination of the first five by a road fifty feet wide, called the Via Quintana (30.6). The position of the remaining five viae in the fore-part of the camp, all of which intersect the Via Quintana at right angles, will be understood at once by inspecting the plan, the width of each being fifty feet.

When two consular armies encamped together within the same rampart, two ordinary camps were, it may be said, applied to each other at the ends nearest to their respective praetoria; the decuman gate, accordingly, in each camp disappearing. The two praetoria faced in opposite directions, and the legions of the two consuls stretched their lines in front of each praetorium, so that the figure of the camp was now no longer a square, but a rectangle, whose length was twice that of an ordinary camp, the breadth being the same. Here we must say a word on the great crux in Plb. 6.32.8: ὅταν μὲν οὖν συμβαίνῃ τοὺς ὑπάτους ἀμφοτέρους ὁμοῦ στρατοπεδεύειν, οὕτως ἀεὶ χρῶνται ταῖς στρατοπεδείαις: ὅταν δὲ χωρίς, τἄλλα μὲν ὡσαύτως, τὴν δ᾽ἀγορὰν καὶ τὸ ταμιεῖον καὶ τὸ στρατήγιον μέσον τιθέασι τῶν δυεῖν στρατοπέδων. That ὁμοῦ and χωρὶς στρατοπεδεύειν mean camping within one enclosure under one general-in-chief (castra conjungere, Liv. 3.8), and with two separate enclosures under two separate generals,--like Minucius and Fabius in Plb. 3.105.10, and 103, § § 7, 8,--is certain. Equally certain is it that Polybius's whole previous description of the camp is at variance with the idea that in a camp of two legions the forum, quaestorium, and praetorium were between the two legions. Accordingly, Masquelez (l.c. p. 952) wishes to take ὁμοῦ as meaning “at the same time,” and χωρὶς “at different times,” “one after the other;” but does not make it plain how the praetorium would be in the middle of the two camps, seeing that the construction of the first camp was, by his hypothesis, according to the normal method, and so started from the praetorium in the normal position. Marquardt (in Mommsen-Marquardt, v. p. 404, note 1) transposes χωρὶς and ὁμοῦ, a drastic but wholesome remedy. We must note, too, that whereas Polybius nearly always uses στρατόπεδον for a legion (as in § 6 of this chapter), yet here the last words mean “between the two camps.

Although the words of Polybius are, as a whole, so full and clear that we can have little difficulty in forming a distinct conception of the camp which he describes and in delineating the different parts, it must not be concealed that he has altogether passed over many important points on which we should desire information, and that occasionally his language is not entirely free from ambiguity.

Under the head of omissions, we must note--

    1. The absence of all definite information with regard to the manner in which the velites were disposed of. These, at the time when Polybius wrote, amounted to 1200, or, at the lowest computation, to 1000 for each legion; and taking the same number for the contingent of the Socii, we shall thus have a body of at least 4000 men to account for. Polybius says (6.35.5): τὴν δ᾽ἐκτὸς ἐπιφάνειαν οἱ γροσφομάχοι πληροῦσι παρ᾽ ὅλον καθ᾽ ἡμέραν τὸν χάρακα παρακοιτοῦντες: αὕτη γὰρ ἐπιτέτακται τούτοις λειτουργία: ἐπί τε τῶν εἰσόδων ἀνὰ [p. 1.375]δέκα ποιοῦνται τούτων αὐτῶν τὰς προκοιτείας. What is τὴν ἐκτὸς ἐπιφάνειαν̣ It appears to be a vague expression, “the space out in front” (cf. 27.6). Further, πληροῦσι presupposes a limited space, the boundary of which is no doubt the wall of the rampart. We are thus led to believe that the velites occupied the whole line of the ramparts (compare Caes. B.C. 1.21, “perpetuis vigiliis stationibusque ut contingant inter se atque munitionem expleant;” so that there is no necessity to adopt Schweighäuser's emendation τηροῦσι), and especially that part of the ramparts in front which faced the enemy. What Polybius says (6.24.4) merely means that a certain number of velites were attached to each division of the legions, not that they encamped in juxtaposition with them. Space would not admit of their encamping together; and even if it did, then surely the velites and not the triarii would have been the fit persons to look after the horses of the equites (see below), as is pointed out by Masquelez (l.c. p. 953). Also, when Polybius says (6.33.8) that the velites οὐ λειτουργοῦσι, he refers to the smaller but less arduous camp duties, such as keeping clean the streets, mounting honorary guard at the officers' tents, &c. But further, Masquelez notices that for the whole line of the ramparts all round such a considerable number of velites as 4000 would be far more than was necessary. We can then suppose that a considerable proportion of them were used for the large outposts (stationes) outside the camp, which we so often hear of (see Weissenborn on Liv. 21.4.7). And we know that one of the punishments inflicted on the legionaries was to make the delinquents bivouac outside the camp (Liv. 10.4.4; Plb. 6.38.3), at the same time as degrading them to the velites (Frontin. Strat. 4.1, 18; cf. V. Max. 2.7, 15). Thus we see, following Masquelez, that the velites served both inside the camp to man the wall and outside as pickets. This seems a better view than that of Marquardt (l.c. p. 396), who holds that the light-armed troops always bivouacked outside the camp; or that of Justus Lipsius, who thinks that they all occupied the intervallum. The velites ceased to form a portion of the legion about the time of Marius, so that later writers throw no light upon the question. It is remarkable also, that while Polybius passes them over completely in the internal arrangements of his camp, so also he takes no notice of them when describing the order of march.
  • 2. No mention is made of the legati. Lipsius, in his plan of a Roman camp after Polybius, assigns to them a compartment next to the praetorium on the side opposite to that where the quaestorium stood; but this is merely a conjecture.
  • 3. The praefecti sociorum likewise are passed over. Since they corresponded among the troops of the allies to the tribuni in the legions, it seems highly probable that their tents were ranged along a prolongation of the line on which the latter stood, and thus they also would be placed immediately opposite to and looking towards the soldiers under their immediate command.
  • 4. The number of tents allowed to each maniple or century is nowhere stated, and consequently the number of men in each tent is unknown, nor are we very distinctly told how the centurions and other officers of the infantry and cavalry inferior to the tribunes were provided for; it is merely said that the ταξίαρχοι in each maniple took the first tents on each side, that is, probably, at each end of the row which held one maniple (30.5).
  • 5. With regard to the fortifications of the camp it is stated that the digging of the ditch (ταφρεία) and the formation of the rampart (χαρακοποιΐα) upon two sides of the camp was assigned to the Socii, each division taking that side along which it was quartered; while the two remaining sides were in like manner completed by the legionaries, one by each legion. The work upon each side was portioned out among the maniples, the centurions acted as inspectors of the tasks performed by their respective companies, and the general superintendence was undertaken by two of the tribunes (34, § § 1, 2). The nature and the dimensions of the defences are not, however, specified. These consisted of a ditch (fossa), the earth from which was thrown inwards, and formed, along with turf and stones, into a mound (agger), on the summit of which, on the outer edge, a strong palisade of wooden stakes (sudes, valli) was fixed forming the rampart (Vallum s. Vallus--χάραξ). [VALLUM We can scarcely doubt that the depth of the ditch, together with the height and breadth of the agger, were, under ordinary circumstances, fixed; but the measurements incidentally mentioned in isolated passages do not perfectly accord with each other. Among the works at Dyrrhachium (Caes. B.C. 3.63) we read of a ditch 15 feet deep, and a vallum 10 feet high and 10 feet broad; in the war against the Bellovaci and other Gaulish tribes we find Caesar (Caes. Gal. 8.9) fortifying his camp with a double ditch, 15 feet deep, with perpendicular sides (directis lateribus), and a vallum 12 feet high, on the top of which was a breast-work (loricula) and numerous towers, three stories high, connected with each other by bridges, the sides of these bridges next to the enemy being protected by a breast-work of fascines (viminea loricula). Both of these, however, as well as several others which we might quote, must be regarded as special cases. The practice of a later period is, as we shall see below, more clearly defined by Hyginus and others.

Neither the number nor the names of the openings in the vallum are given. We have, however, abundant evidence to prove that they were four:--(1) Porta Principalis dextra, and (2) Porta Principalis sinistra, at the two extremities of the street called via principalis. As the praetorium most probably faced in the same direction as the tents of the tribunes, the position of these gates is as represented in the plan. (3) Porta Praetoria. It is sometimes said that this gate was also called Extraordinaria. But this name, which seems to occur in Livy, 40.27.3, rests on a conjecture of Gelenius. Most MSS. read extraordinariis, which has crept into the text from the same word a line before; and the Mayence MS. reads praetoria, which is no doubt right, and is adopted by Weissenborn (ad loc.), Nissen (Das Templum, 41), and Marquardt (l.c. 401, note 2). (4) Porta Decumana, which was also called Quaestoria (Liv. 34.47; 40.27). (3) and (4) were at the extremities of the decumanus [p. 1.376]maximus. Great diversity of opinion attaches to the question as to whether these two gates were as marked in the plan, or just the reverse. There can be no doubt that the porta decumana was the one which was turned away from the enemy (Liv. 10.32), and the porta praetoria the one which faced them (Veget. 1.23; Festus, s.v. Hyg. de Munit. Castr. 56). Now, according to those who hold that the names of the two gates on the plan should be just reversed, the gate was called decumana because it was near where the tenth maniples and the tenth turmae were quartered (cf. Hyg. l.c., § 18); and compare Quintana, on which Festus has this gloss: “Quintana appellatur porta in castris post praetorium ubi rerum utensilium forum sit;” and from Quintana in the sense of market comes the modern canteen (cf. Suet. Nero 26). Further, they say that their view agrees with Polybius, who says (27.3) that the direction in which the legionaries lay was that which looked towards the quarter whence forage and water could be most easily secured; and that would hardly be the side which faced the enemy. But their opponents hold that the porta decumana was called from the augural decumanus maximus (see Weissenborn on Livy, 3.5.5); that the statements of Festus and Hyginus do not apply to the Polybian camp, but to a camp of the kind Hyginus himself has described (see below); that the other name of the gate, viz. Quaestoria, was given from its proximity to the quaestorium, though probably as, to use Mommsen's words (Staatsrecht, ii.2 552), “the whole arrangement of the camp rests on the opposition of the two head-quarters of the general (praetorium) and the quaestor (quaestorium,” the two chief gates were called after them; that Polybius distinctly calls “front” (κατὰ πρόσωπον the part of the camp in which the legionaries lay, and towards which the tents of the officers faced (27.6; 29.7); and he calls the opposite part of the camp the “rear” (τὴν ὄπισθε πλευράν, 31.7; cf. 32.6). This seems to be the correct view of the position of the gates; and the undoubted difficulty in the words of Polybius (27.3), that the camp lay παρὰ μίαν ἐπιφάνειαν καὶ πλευράν, ἥτις ἂν ἐπιτηδειοτάτη φανῇ πρός τε τὰς ὑδρείας καὶ προνομάς, παραβάλλεται τὰ Π̔ωμαικὰ στρατόπεδα, may be obviated by translating παρὰ, “alongside of,” --i. e. water and forage were on the sides of the camp not directly in front or rear.

We can scarcely doubt that the Portae must have been always defended by barriers of some kind; but when special precautions were required, they were closed by regular gates defended by towers (portis fores altioresque turres imposuit, Caes. Gal. 8.9).

We now proceed to notice various particulars connected with the internal discipline of the camp.

The Camp Oath.

When an army encamped for the first time, the tribunes administered an oath to each individual quartered or employed within its limits, including slaves as well as freemen, to the effect that he would steal nothing out of the camp, but if he chanced to find any property that he would bring it to the tribunes (33.2). We must suppose that the solemn promise being once made, was considered as binding during the whole campaign, for it would have been impossible to have repeated a ceremony so tedious at the close of each march. (Marquardt, l.c., p. 374, note 1.)

Distribution of Duty among the Officers.

In each legion the tribunes divided themselves into three sections of two each, and each section in turn undertook for two months the superintendence of all matters connected with the camp (34.3 ff.). It is most probable that one tribune in each section assumed the chief command upon alternate days, or perhaps during alternate months (Liv. 40.41.8; Marquardt, l.c., p. 353, notes 1 and 2); and hence Polybius generally speaks of one tribune only as acting, or of two when reference is made to both legions.

Officers' parade.

Every morning at daybreak the centurions and the equites presented themselves before the tents of the tribunes, and the tribunes in like manner, attended perhaps by the centurions and equites, presented themselves at the praetorium. The orders for the day were then issued by the consul to the tribunes, communicated by the tribunes to the centurions and equites, and through the centurions and equites reached the soldiers at the proper time (34.5).

Guards, Sentinels, &c.

Out of the twenty maniples of Principes and Hastati in each legion, two were appointed to take charge of the via principalis. The main part of the centre of this road, the Principia, was the place of general resort during the day. The tribunes heard complaints (Dig. 49, 16, 12, 2) and administered justice (Liv. 28.24.10) in the principia; where punishments, too, were inflicted (V. Max. 2.7, 9; Suet. Otho 1). There also was the altar right in front of the praetorium (V. Max. 1.6, 4). At the left angle of the praetorium facing the via principalis (C2 in the figure) was no doubt the tribunal (Weissenborn on Livy, 8.32.2), and at the angle at the right (C3 in the figure) was the augurale (Tac. Ann. 2.13) or auguratorium (Orelli, 2286); cf. Hygin. § 11. The via principalis was accordingly an important place; so that great pains were taken that it should be kept perfectly clean and regularly watered--a labour which would fall very light when portioned out among four maniples (33, § § 3, 4).

Of the remaining eighteen maniples of Principes and Hastati in each legion, three were assigned by lot to each of the six tribunes, and of these three maniples one in turn rendered each day certain services to the tribune to whom it was specially attached. It took charge of his tent and baggage, saw that the former was properly pitched upon ground duly levelled all round, and protected the latter from damage or plunder. It also furnished two guards (φυλακεῖα) of four men each, who kept watch, some in front of the tent and some behind, among the horses (35, § § 5, 7). We may remark in passing, that four was the regular number for a Roman guard (φυλακεῖον): of these one always acted as sentinel, while the others enjoyed a certain degree of repose, ready, however, to start up at the first alarm. Compare the Acts of the Apostles, 12.4, παραδοὺς τέσσαρσι τετραδίοις στρατιωτῶν φυλάσσειν αὐτόν.

The Triarii were exempted from those duties imposed upon the Principes and Hastati, but [p. 1.377]each maniple of the Triarii furnished daily a guard of four men to that turma of the Equites which was quartered immediately behind them, in order to watch the horses, and to take care that they did not sustain any injury from getting entangled with their halters and heel ropes, or break loose and cause confusion and mischief (33, § § 10-12). How necessary this was may be seen from the panic caused by such an occurrence in the German war (Tac. Ann. 1.66).

One maniple was selected each day from the whole legionary force, to keep guard beside the tent of the general, that he might be secured alike from open danger and hidden treachery; this honourable task being devolved upon every maniple in rotation (33.12). Three sentinels were usually posted at the tents of the quaestor, and two at those of the legati; and by night sentinels kept watch at every maniple, being chosen out of the maniple which they guarded (35, § § 2-4).

The Velites, as we have seen, besides furnishing men for the outlying pickets (stationes), also mounted guard by day and by night along the whole extent of the vallum; and to them also in bodies of ten were committed the charge of the gates (35.5).

Excubiae, excubias agere, excubare are the general terms used with reference to mounting guard, whether by night or by day, but usually by day (Isid. Orig. 9.3, 42). The day watches were probably changed twice a day (Liv. 44.33). Vigiliae, vigilias agere, vigilare are restricted to night duty. Excubiae and Vigiliae frequently denote not only the service itself, but also the individuals who performed it. Stationes is used specially to denote the advanced posts thrown forward in front of the gates, Custodes or Custodiae the parties who watched the gates themselves, Praesidia the sentinels on the ramparts; but all these words are employed in many other significations also.

Going the Rounds (ἐφοδεία).

In order to ascertain the vigilance of the night sentinels (νυκτεριναὶ φυλακαί), an ingenious scheme was devised. Each guard (φυλακεῖον) consisted, as we have seen, of four men, and each of these in turn stood sentinel for one of the four watches into which the night was divided. The sentinels to whom it fell to go upon duty in the first watch, were conducted in the afternoon to the tent of the tribune by lieutenants of the maniples to which they belonged. Each of these men received from the tribune four small tokens (ξυλήφια), numbered from one to four, for the four watches, and bearing also marks indicating the legion, and maniple or century from which the guard was taken. The individual who received these tokens retained the one which answered to his own watch, and distributed the rest among his three comrades. The duty of going the rounds (vigilias circuire s. circumire; comp. Fest. s. v. fraxare) was committed to the Equites (cf. Liv. 22.1.8), and for this purpose each legion supplied daily four young men (νεανίσκοι), picked out before breakfast (πρὸ ἀρίστου) from each turma. The eight persons thus selected decided by lot in which watch they should make their rounds, two being assigned to each watch. They then repaired to the tribune, and each individual received a written order specifying the posts which he was to visit, every post being visited in each watch by one or other of the two to whom the watch belonged. They then repaired in a body to the first maniple of the Triarii, and there took up their quarters, because it was the duty of one of the centurions of that maniple to give notice of the commencement of each watch by a trumpet blast. At the appointed time each eques, accompanied by some friends, who acted as witnesses, visited all the posts named in his written order, and from each sentinel whom he found on the alert he received one of the tokens described above; but if the sentinel was asleep or absent, then the eques of the rounds called upon his companions to witness the fact, and departed. The same process was followed by all the others, and on the following morning the officers of the rounds repaired to the tent of the tribune and delivered up the tokens. If the number of these was found to be complete, then all was well; but if any one was wanting, then it could be at once ascertained to what guard and to what watch the missing token belonged. The centurion of the company was ordered to bring forward the men implicated, and they were confronted with the officer of the rounds. If the latter could prove by means of his witnesses, that he had actually visited the post in question, and found the sentinel asleep or absent, then the guilt of the sentinel could not be a matter of doubt; but if the officer failed to establish this, then the blame fell upon himself, and in either case the culprit was forthwith made over to a court-martial, and if convicted suffered the fearful punishment of ξυλοκοπία [FUSTUARIUM]; and accordingly the guards were hardly ever neglected (35.8--37.6). Sometimes we find centurions (Tac. Hist. 2.29), tribunes (Liv. 28.24.8), and even the general-in-chief (Sal. Jug. 45), represented as going the rounds; but under ordinary circumstances the duty was performed as we have described.


The watchword, for the night was not communicated verbally, but by means of a small rectangular tablet of wood (πλατεῖον ἐπιγεγραμμένον--tessera--to be carefully distinguished from the ξυλήφιον of the last paragraph, though Polybius applies the same term to both), upon which it was written. One man was chosen out of each of those maniples and turmae which were quartered at that extremity of the lines most remote from the Principia. Each of these individuals (tesserarius) repaired towards sunset to the tent of the tribune, and received from him a tessera, on which the password and also a certain number or mark were inscribed. With this he returned to the maniple or turma to which he belonged, and, taking witnesses. delivered it to the officer of the next adjoining maniple or turma, and he to the next until it had passed along the whole line, when it was returned by the person who received it last to the tribune. The regulation was that the whole of the tesserae should be restored before it was dark; and if any one was found wanting at the appointed time, the row to which it belonged could be at once discovered by means of the number or mark noticed above: an investigation took place at once into the cause of the delay, and punishment was inflicted upon the parties found to be in fault (34, § § 7-12).

Not only mere passwords were circulated in [p. 1.378]this manner, but also, occasionally, general orders, as when we read in Livy, 27.46, “Tessera per castra ab Livio consule data erat, ut tribunum tribunus, centurio centurionem, eques equitem, pedes peditem acciperet.” It was accordingly sometimes called tacitum signum (Liv. 39.30.4; cf. Sil. It. 15.475).

Although the tesserarius received the tessera from the tribune, it proceeded in the first instance from the commander-in-chief, as we may perceive from the passage just quoted, and many others. Under the empire it was considered the peculiar function of the prince to give the watchword to his guards. (Tac. Ann. 1.7; comp. Suet. Cl. 42, Ner. 9.)

Breaking up a Camp.

On the first signal being given by the trumpet, the tents were all struck and the baggage packed (vasa colligere), the tents of the general and the tribunes being disposed of before the others were touched. At the second signal the baggage was placed upon the beasts of burden; at the third, the whole army began to move (40, § § 1-3).

II. Camp of Hyginus.

Another account of a camp is that contained in the treatise De munitionibus castrorum (edited, with a commentary, by L. Lange, Göttingen, 1848, and later by Gemoll in the Teubner series). It bears the name of no author; but is usually attributed either as by Lange to the elder Hyginus, who was a land-surveyor under Trajan, or to a younger Hyginus, who lived at all events before Constantine the Great, as by Lachmann. The following are the arguments of Marquardt (in Mommsen-Marquardt, 5.579, 580) to prove that probably the author of the treatise wrote under Sept. Severus.
  • 1. In the camp described there is no legionary cavalry. Now such certainly existed in Hadrian's time, but after that gradually disappeared, faint traces indeed being found up to 240 A.D. (C. I. 3.5942).
  • 2. Among the nationes mentioned in the camp ( § 29) are Palmyreni. Now under Caracaila (211-217) Palmyra was a colonia iuris Italici (Dig. 50, 15, 1, 5).
  • 3. The mention of camels ( § 29) shows that probably the author had an Eastern expedition in his mind's eye.
  • 4. The reading “domine Trajane,” § 45, is a conjecture. The Arcerianus reads “domine frater” (for this phrase cf. Anth. Pal. 2.293, ed. Jacobs).

Passing, then, from the time of Polybius over a space of about 350 years, we find ourselves amidst an order of things altogether new. The name Legiones still remains, but all the ancient divisions, with the exception of the Centuriae, have disappeared. The distribution of the soldiers into Velites, Hastati, Principes, and Triarii did not endure more than half a century after the era of Polybius; the organization by maniples was about the same period in a great measure superseded by the cohorts, and the cavalry were detached from the infantry and formed independent corps. In like manner the Socii, after the admission of the Italian states to the Roman franchise, ceased to form a separate class, and their place is now occupied by a motley crew of foreigners and barbarians serving in bands, designated by strange titles. We are reminded also that the republican form of government had given way to the dominion of a single individual by the appearance of a multitude of household troops and imperial body-guards, distinguished by various appellations, and invested with peculiar privileges. A complete Roman army did not now consist of Romanae Legiones cum Sociis, or of Legiones cum Sociis et Auxiliis, but of Legiones cum Supplementis, the term Supplementa including the whole of the various denominations alluded to above. In what follows, we shall attempt to delineate a summer camp (castra aestivalia). intended to contain three legions, with their supplements--a force which, in the time of Hyginus, corresponded to the regular consular army of the sixth and seventh centuries of the city. It is but right, however, to call attention to the fact, that we do not here tread upon ground so firm as when Polybius was our guide. The text of Hyginus presents many difficulties and many corruptions; and there are not a few passages in which we are thrown too much upon conjecture. This, however, be it understood, applies almost exclusively to the minute details, for the general outline of the whole is clear and well ascertained. The plan sketched below is taken entirely from Lange, and the proportions of the different parts are carefully preserved. Omitting in this case the geometrical construction, we proceed at once to explain the figure.

The point from which the whole of the measurements proceeded is marked with a small cross, and was called Groma, that being the name of an instrument employed by surveyors, analogous, in its uses at least, to the modern cross staff, plane table and level.

The general form of the inclosure was an oblong, the two longer sides being at equal distances from the Groma, rounded off at the angles (angulos castrorum circinare oportet), 2320 feet in length by 1620 feet in breadth, the general rule being that the length should exceed the breadth by one-third (castra in quantum fieri potuerit tertiata esse debebunt); when larger, it was called Castra Classica, because, says Hyginus, the ordinary buccinum or bugle could not be heard distinctly from one extremity to the other (Hyg. § 21).

The Groma stood in the middle of the principal street (Via Principalis), which was sixty feet wide, extending right across the camp, with the two Portae Principales at its extremities. The two remaining gates, which, like the former, retained their ancient names, were the Porta Praetoria, which was nearest to the enemy (porta praetoria semper hostem spectare debet), and the Porta Decumana, and these were placed in the centre of the two shorter sides of the oblong. If we may judge from the remains of the gates we find in the stations of the Roman Wall in the North of England, the gates were double ones, the leaves of which probably consisted of wood strengthened with iron plates. The portals seem to have been covered with arches of stone, and had guard-chambers on each side. (See, for example, Dr. Bruce's account of the west gate at Borcovicus (Housesteads) in The Roman Wall, p. 182.) Immediately behind the Groma, a rectangular space, 720 feet long by 180 broad, was set apart for the emperor or [p. 1.379]commander-in-chief, and, as in the consular camp, termed the Praetorium. Immediately behind the Praetorium--that is to say, at the extremity most distant from the Groma--a street called the Via Quintana, 40 feet wide, extended across the camp parallel to the Via Principalis

Plan of a Roman camp in later times.

(Hyg. § 17). When the camp exceeded the ordinary dimensions, then two additional gates were formed at the extremities of the Via Quintana, the breadth of which was in that case increased to 50 feet.

It will be seen at a glance that the camp was [p. 1.380]divided into three segments by the Via Principalis and the Via Quintana. Each of these segments had a name. The whole of the middle segment, lying to the right and the left of the Praetorium, formed the Latera Praetorii ( § 4). The segment included between the Via Principalis and that side of the camp in which the Porta Praetoria stood formed the Praetentura ( § 14). The segment included between the Via Quintana and that side of the camp in which the Porta Decumana stood formed the Retentura ( § 17).

The legiones being the most trustworthy of the troops in the provinces, were quartered by cohorts next to the rampart all round the camp, encircling completely with their lines the masses of foreigners, who, together with the imperial guards, formed the supplementa.

A clear space of 60 feet (intervallum) was left between the tents of the legionaries and the ramparts, and they were separated from the quarters of the other troops, whom they surrounded, by a street called the Via Sagularis, which ran completely round the camp, so that the whole of the legionaries, with the exception of the first cohort in each legion, and three ordinary cohorts for whom there is not room in the outer ring, were bounded on one side by the intervallum and on the other by the Via Sagularis. The remaining streets not particularly specified were comprehended under the general name Viae Vicinariae s. Vicinales, and their breadth was 20 feet ( § 37).

The defences of a camp might be fourfold:--1. Fossa. 2. Vallum. 3. Cervoli. 4. Arma.

  • 1. The Fossa might be of two kinds: a. The Fossa fastigata, with both sides sloping, so as to form a wedge; or, b. the Fossa Punica, of which the outer side was perpendicular, the inner side sloping, as in the fossa fastigata. The breadth in either case was to be at least 5 feet, the depth 3 feet. Outside of each gate a ditch was dug extending on both sides somewhat beyond the gate: this, on account of its shortness, was called Titulus, and in front of the titulus was a small semicircular redoubt (clavicula).
  • 2. The Vallum was formed of earth and turf, or of stone, 6 feet in height, 8 feet broad.
  • 3. When the nature of the ground did not admit of the construction of a sufficient vallum, then a chevaux de frise (cervoli) was substituted.
  • 4. When neither a Vallum nor Cervoli could be employed, then the camp was surrounded by a ring of armed men four deep, numerous sentries were posted in each line, and the cavalry patrolled in turn in every direction.

The words of Hyginus would lead us to suppose that when no danger was apprehended, a ditch alone was considered sufficient; and even this was excavated merely for the sake of exercising the men (causa disciplinae).

We can now proceed to point out in what manner the three segments were occupied, referring to the numbers on the figure, it being understood that, as before, we shall not enter here into any discussions regarding the origin and character of the different battalions named, all information upon such matters being given in the article EXERCITUS

    A. Praetorium et Latera Praetorii.

  • 1. Praetorium.
  • 2. Arae, on which public sacrifice was offered. The position assigned to them is conjectural; but they were, at all events, in the immediate vicinity of this spot.
  • 3. Auguratorium, in which the Imperator took the auspices--the altars were perhaps erected in front of this place; at least, such was the case sometimes. (See Tac. Ann. 15.30, where the form Augurale is employed.)
  • 4. Tribunal, the elevated platform from which addresses were delivered to the troops. Close to the praetorium was a guardhouse (stationi dari oportet secundum praetorium pedes viginti).
  • 5. Comites Imperatoris, the personal staff of the Imperator, among whom the chief place, next to the Via Principalis, was assigned to the Praefectus Praetorio.
  • 6. Equites singulares Imperatoris et Equites Praetoriani: the number of these was variable; but Hyginus gives as an average 450 of the former and 400 of the latter.
  • 7. Cohortes praetoriae quatuor. Primipilares. Evocati. Officiales. These picked troops were allowed twice as much space as the troops of the line ( § § 3, 5, 6).
  • 8. Alae quingenariae: probably five in number.
  • 9. In each of the spaces on the extreme right and left of the praetorium, bordering on the Via Sagularis (per rigorem viae sagularis), were placed the first cohort and the vexillarii of one legion. The first cohort and the vexillarii of the remaining legion will be found in the Praetentura. The first cohort of a legion contained 960 men, being twice as numerous as the others; the vexillarii of a legion amounted to about 500.

    B. Praetentura.

  • 10. Scamnum Legatorum. The quarters of the legati.
  • 11. Scamnum Tribunorum. Immediately behind the legati were the legionary tribunes and the tribunes of the praetorian cohorts. In the language of surveyors, scamnum was a rectangular figure, whose breadth exceeded its length, striga a rectangular figure, whose length exceeded its breadth (Marquardt, l.c. p. 394, n. 3). So, Signa and Tabulinum are the terms used with reference to the direction of the length and breadth respectively: thus, “Cohors prima causa signorum et aquilae intra viam sagulariam, et quoniam duplum numerum habet, duplam pedaturam accipiet, ut, puta, signis pedes centum viginti, tabulino pedes trecentos sexaginta, vel signis centum octoginta tabulino pedes ducentos quadraginta.” It is the more necessary to call attention to this, because these significations have been passed over by the best lexicographers, and we find that some modern expounders of Hyginus imagine Tabulinum to have been an office where the books and accounts of the legion were kept. Another example of the use of these words will be given below.

  • 12. Alae milliariae quatuor, one in each of the four compartments.
  • 13. Valetudinarium, the hospital for the sick soldiers.
  • 14. Veterinarium, the hospital for the sick horses.
  • 15, 16. Classici, marines employed as pioneers: 500 from the fleet at Misenum and 800 from that at Ravenna. Mauri equites sexcenti. Pannonii veredarii octingenti. These two bodies of light cavalry were quartered near the classici, because, when the latter were sent in advance to clear the way, they were guarded by the former.
  • 17. Exploratores, 200 in number. General Roy in his plan places them in these two small [p. 1.381]compartments, but it appears more probable from the words of Hyginus, that they were quartered all together on the side next to the first cohort of the third legion.
  • 18. The first cohort of the third legion; 19, its vexillarii.
On the opposite side of the Via Praetoria, three legionary cohorts, for whom there was not sufficient space outside of the Via Sagularis.

In the Praetentura stood also the Fabrica or workshop of the carpenters and armourers, erected at a distance from the Valetudinarium, so that the noise might not disturb the patients.

Within the scamnum of the legati were the Scholae of the first cohorts, the places apparently where the superior officers of the legions assembled in order to receive the general orders of the day.

    C. Retentura.

  • 20. Quaestorium. This space corresponded in name only with the Quaestorium of the Polybian camp, for it was no longer assigned to a quaestor (Quaestorium dicitur quod aliquando ibi quaestores pedaturam acceperint). It was occupied partly by prisoners of rank, hostages, and plunder; and here perhaps the Praefectus Castrorum may have been quartered, unless we are to look for him among the Comites Imperatoris.
  • 21. Statorum centuriae duae, who guarded the rear of the praetorium, and always kept close to the person of the Imperator. These, like the praetorians, had double space assigned to them.
  • 22. Cohortes equitatae milliariae duae. Cohortes equitatae quingenariae quatuor.
  • 23. Cohortes peditatae milliariae tres. Cohortes peditatae quingenariae tres.
  • 24. Nationes. Barbarian troops. Palmyreni quingenti. Gaetae nongenti. Daci septingenti. Britones quingenti. Cantabri septingenti. Among these we find enumerated Sumactares, a word which no one has succeeded in explaining, but it is in all probability a corrupt form. Camels with their riders (cameli cum suis epibatis) were frequently included among the constituents of an army, being used both in offensive operations and also in carrying plunder.

Three points strike us forcibly when we compare the camp of Hyginus with that of Polybius: first, the flimsy character of the fortifications, which must be attributed to the disinclination felt by the soldiers to perform regularly and steadily the same amount of labour which was cheerfully executed by soldiers of the republic; secondly, the desire everywhere visible to economise space, and compress everything within the narrowest possible limits; and, thirdly, the adoption of the duodecimal system of measurement in place of the decimal system, which is found in Polybius (Rudorff, Feldmesser, 2.291). Although the numbers of an army, such as we have been considering above, cannot be determined with absolute precision, they must, on the lowest computation, have exceeded 40,000 men, and these were crowded together into less than one-half the space which they would have occupied according to the ancient system, the proportion of cavalry, moreover, being much larger in the imperial force. The camp of Polybius, calculated for less than 20,000, contains upwards of four millions of square feet, while the camp of Hyginus embraces little more than three millions and seven hundred thousand.

We may conclude with a few words upon a topic entirely passed over by Polybius, but on which Hyginus affords ample information in so far as the usages of his own day are concerned--the number and arrangement of the tents.

A double row of tents (papiliones) facing each other, with a space between for piling the arms of the soldiers and for receiving the beasts of burden and the baggage, was termed Striga; a single row, with a corresponding space in front, Hemistrigium. The normal breadth of a Striga was 60 feet, of a Hemistrigium 30 feet, made up as follows:--10 feet were allowed for the depth of each tent, 6 feet for a passage behind the tent, 5 feet for the arms piled in front of the tent, 9 feet for the jumenta and baggage; total 30 feet for the hemistrigium, which doubled for the striga gives 60, the space between the rows being 28 feet. The length of the striga or hemistrigium varied according to circumstances.

A full legionary century (plena centuria), when Hyginus wrote, consisted of 80 men, who occupied 10 papiliones. The length allowed for each papilio was 12 feet, 10 feet for the papilio itself, and 2 feet for lateral passages (incrementum tensurae), and thus the length of the line along which the papiliones of a century stretched was 10 x 12 = 120 feet. Out of this the centurion had a space allotted to him equal to that required for 2 tents, so that the privates of the century occupied 8 tents only; that is, they were quartered at the rate of 10 men to each tent. The men in each tent formed a contubernium (σύνταξις, Joseph. B. J. 3.5, 3). But since 16 men or 4 guards (τετραδία) in each century were always out upon duty, there were never more than 8 men actually in a tent at the same time.


Since a striga 120 feet in length and 60 feet in breadth, containing 7200 square feet, was


allotted to 2 centuries, and since an ordinary legionary cohort contained 6 centuries, it follows that the space required for each cohort (pedatura cohortis) of 480 men was 21,600 square feet. [p. 1.382]

For the cavalry a hemistrigium was assigned to 40 men, i. e. two dragoons had as much space as five foot-soldiers. Accordingly an ala quingenaria would require 12 1/2 , and an ala milliaria 25, hemistrigia. A cohors equestris quingenaria, which contained 380 foot and 120 horse, would require as much space as 680 foot, i. e. nearly 7 hemistrigia, and a cohors equestris milliaria double that amount, i. e. 14 hemistrigia.

The troops were usually quartered in cohorts, and these might be variously disposed, it being always desirable that a whole century should always be ranged in an unbroken line.

If the striga was equal to one century in length, then the cohort would occupy three strigae in breadth; that is, a space 120 feet long by 180 broad = 21,600 square feet. See fig. 6.


If the striga was equal in length to two centuries, then the cohort would occupy one whole striga and a hemistrigium; that is, a space 240 feet long by 90 feet broad = 21,600 square feet. See fig. 7.


If the striga was equal in length to three centuries, then the cohort would occupy one striga only, or a space 360 feet long by 60 feet broad = 21,600 square feet. see fig. 8 (on next page).

It is to be observed that in the plan of the camp given above, the legionary cohorts on the longer sides are in strigae of 240 feet in length, those on the shorter sides in strigae of 360 feet in length.

When the number of legions in an army was greater in proportion to the supplementa than in the array which we have reviewed, then, in order that they might still be ranged outside of the Via Sagularis, the strigae presented their breadth to the vallum instead of their length; or, to use the technical phrase, the length which in the former case had been assigned to the Signa was now given to the Tabulinum (Quodsi legiones plures acceperimus et supplementa pauciora ut necessarium sit cohortes circa vallum crebrius ponere convertemus pedaturam, QUOD FUERAT SIGNIS TABULINO DABIMUS).

If A B be the line of the vallum, C will represent the position of the cohort in the one case, D in the other.


Josephus, in his account of the Jewish war, takes special notice of the Roman encampments; and although he does not enter into minute details, his observations, with which we shall conclude this article, form a useful supplement to Hyginus. It is evident from the numerous artizans for whom workshops are provided, from the towers with which the vallum was strengthened, and from the precaution of setting fire to everything left behind, that the words of the historian refer chiefly to Castra Stativa. He begins by remarking (B. J. 3.5) that the Romans when invading an enemy's country never hazard an engagement until they have fortified a camp (οὐ πρὶν ἅπτονται μάχης τειχίσαι στρατόπεδον), which, in form, is a square (διαμετρεῖται δὲ παρεμβολὴ τετράγωνος), with four gates, one on each side. He adds that, if the ground is not even, it is levelled. The rampart by which it is surrounded exhibits the appearance of a wall furnished with towers at equal distances, and in the spaces between the towers is placed the artillery ready for immediate service (τούς τε ὀξυβελεῖς, καὶ καταπέλτας, καὶ λιθοβόλα, καὶ πᾶν ἀφετγ́ριον [p. 1.383]ὄργανον τιθέασιν, ἅπαντα πρὸς τὰς βολὰς ἕτοιμα). The camp is divided conveniently by streets; in the middle are the tents of the officers, and in the very centre of all the praetorium (τὸ στρατήγιον); there is also a forum (ἀγορά τις ἀποδείκνυται), and a place for artificers (χειροτέχναις χωρίον), of whom a great number follow the army with building


tools, and seats for the tribunes and centurions (θωκοί τε λοχαγοῖς καὶ ταξιάρχοις), where they decide any disputes which may arise. When necessary (εἰ δὲ ἐπείγοι a ditch is dug all round, four cubits deep and four cubits broad.

At day-dawn (ὑπὸ δὲ τὴν ἕω) all the soldiers repair to the tents of their respective centurions (ἐπὶ τοὺς ἑκατοντάρχας and salute them: the centurions repair to the tribunes (πρὸς τοὺς χιλιάρχους), along with whom all the centurions (ταξίαρχοι) repair to the commander-in-chief, from whom they receive the watchword (σημεῖον) and the general orders of the day, to be conveyed by them to their respective divisions.

When a camp is broken up, at the first blast of the trumpet the soldiers strike the tents and pack up the utensils; at the second they load the mules and other beasts of burden, set fire to everything which could prove serviceable to an enemy, and stand like coursers ready to start forward on a race; the third gives the last warning that all things being now prepared every man must be in his place. Then the herald, standing at the right hand of the general, demands thrice if they are ready for war, to which they all respond with loud and repeated cheers that they are ready, and for the most part, being filled with martial ardour, anticipate the question, and raise their right hands on high with a shout. (B. J. 3.5, § § 1-4.)

Besides Polybius and Hyginus, the chief works on the subject are Mommsen-Marquardt, 5.390-408 (where all the important literature on the subject is collected) and 578-584; Masquelez in Daremberg and Saglio, Dict. des Antiquités s. v. Castra; Nissen, Das Templum; Lange, L., Historia mutationum rei militaris Romanorum.

[W.R] [L.C.P]

hide References (68 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (68):
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.85
    • Homer, Iliad, 10.180
    • Homer, Iliad, 24.448
    • Xenophon, Constitution of the Lacedaimonians, 12
    • Homer, Iliad, 10.66
    • Homer, Iliad, 12.154
    • Homer, Iliad, 12.258
    • Homer, Iliad, 12.36
    • Homer, Iliad, 8.249
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.66
    • Homer, Iliad, 9.67
    • Polybius, Histories, 18.1
    • Polybius, Histories, 27.3
    • Polybius, Histories, 3.105.10
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.32.8
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.37
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.38.3
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.42
    • Polybius, Histories, 6.27
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 5.11
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 6.37
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 8.15
    • Caesar, Gallic War, 8.9
    • Cicero, Philippics, 14.10
    • Cicero, Philippics, 14.4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 9, 17
    • Suetonius, Divus Claudius, 42
    • Suetonius, Otho, 1
    • Tacitus, Annales, 15.30
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.66
    • Tacitus, Annales, 1.7
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.29
    • Tacitus, Historiae, 2.5
    • Sallust, Bellum Iugurthinum, 45
    • Suetonius, Nero, 26
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 44, 33
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 39, 30
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 7, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 8, 32
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 12
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 25.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 46
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 33, 5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 27
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 5.5
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 3, 8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 14
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 25, 28
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 21, 53
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 22, 1
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 24.10
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 28, 24.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 29, 35
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 27.3
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 32
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 33
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 10, 4.4
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 40, 41.8
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 27, 32
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 34, 47
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 35, 14
    • Ammianus Marcellinus, Rerum Gestarum, 22.3.2
    • Plutarch, Galba, 12
    • Plutarch, Pyrrhus, 16
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 1.6
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.7
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 2.9
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