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Military Decorations

A very excellent plan also is adopted for inducing young soldiers to brave danger. When an engagement has taken place and any of them have showed conspicuous gallantry, the Consul summons an assembly of the legion, puts forward those whom he considers to have distinguished themselves in any way, and first compliments each of them individually on his gallantry, and mentions any other distinction he may have earned in the course of his life, and then presents them with gifts: to the man who has wounded an enemy, a spear; to the man who has killed one and stripped his armour, a cup, if he be in the infantry, horse-trappings if in the cavalry: though originally the only present made was a spear. This does not take place in the event of their having wounded or stripped any of the enemy in a set engagement or the storming of a town; but in skirmishes or other occasions of that sort, in which, without there being any positive necessity for them to expose themselves singly to danger, they have done so voluntarily and deliberately. In the capture of a town those who are first to mount the walls are presented with a gold crown.
Mural crown.
So too those who have covered and saved any citizens or allies are distinguished by the Consul with certain presents; and those whom they have preserved present them voluntarily with a crown, or if not, they are compelled to do so by the Tribunes.
Civic crown.
The man thus preserved, too, reverences his preserver throughout his life as a father, and is bound to act towards him as a father in every respect. By such incentives those who stay at home are stirred up to a noble rivalry and emulation in confronting danger, no less than those who actually hear and see what takes place. For the recipients of such rewards not only enjoy great glory among their comrades in the army, and an immediate reputation at home, but after their return they are marked men in all solemn festivals; for they alone, who have been thus distinguished by the Consuls for bravery, are allowed to wear robes of honour on those occasions: and moreover they place the spoils they have taken in the most conspicuous places in their houses, as visible tokens and proofs of their valour. No wonder that a people, whose rewards and punishments are allotted with such care and received with such feelings, should be brilliantly successful in war.

The pay of the foot soldier is 5 1/3 asses a day; of the centurion 10 2/3; of the cavalry 16. The infantry receive a ration of wheat equal to about 2/3 of an Attic medimnus a month, and the cavalry 7 medimni of barley, and 2 of wheat; of the allies the infantry receive the same, the cavalry 1 1/3 medimnus of wheat, and 5 of barley. This is a free gift to the allies; but in the cases of the Romans, the Quaestor stops out of their pay the price of their corn and clothes, or any additional arms they may require at a fixed rate.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references to this page (5):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), CORO´NA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), EXE´RCITUS
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SIGNA MILITARIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SPO´LIA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), STIPE´NDIUM
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