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How the Romans Distribute Booty

Next morning the baggage of those who had served
The Roman customs in the distribution of booty.
in the Carthaginian ranks, as well as the property of the city-folk and the craftsmen, having been collected together in the market-place, the Tribunes divided it according to the Roman custom among their several legions. Now the Roman method of procedure in the capture of cities is the following: Sometimes certain soldiers taken from each maniple are told off for this duty, their numbers depending on the size of the city; sometimes maniples are told off in turn for it: but there are never more than half the whole number assigned to the work. The rest remain in their own ranks in reserve, sometimes outside, at others inside the city, for taking such precautions as may be from time to time necessary. Sometimes, though rarely, four legions are massed together; but generally speaking the whole force is divided into two legions of Romans and two of allies. This being settled, all who are told off for plundering carry all they get, each to his own legion; and when this booty has been sold, the Tribunes distribute the proceeds among all equally, including not only those who were thus held in reserve, but even those who were guarding the tents, or were invalided, or had been sent away anywhere on any service. But I have spoken fully before, when discussing the Roman constitution, on the subject of the distribution of booty, showing how no one is excluded from a share in it, in accordance with the oath which all take upon first joining the camp.
See 6, 33.
I may now add that the arrangement whereby the Roman army is thus divided, half being engaged in gathering booty and half remaining drawn up in reserve, precludes all danger of a general catastrophe arising from personal rivalry in greed. For as both parties feel absolute confidence in the fair dealing of each in respect to the booty,—the reserves no less than the plunderers,—no one leaves the ranks, which has been the most frequent cause of disaster in the case of other armies.

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