The Ancient Library

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On this page: Legion (continued)



and 3,000 foot soldiers, under the commaud of three tribuni mllitum. Each of the three ancient tribes provided a third of this force and one tribune. With the increase of the military forcea of Rome the name of legio was given to each of the sub-divisions equivalent in numbers to the original army.

The military system of king Servius Tul-lius made the infantry the most important part of the military forces, instead of the cavalry as heretofore. The five classes in­cluded in the census (q.v.) were obliged to serve in the army at their own expense ; those who were not comprised in these classes, viz. the proletarii, were freed from service, and, when they were enlisted, re­ceived their equipment from the State. The iunlores, those who were from 17 to 46 years old, were appointed for field service, and the seniores, those from 47 to 60, for the defence of the city.

The first and second lines of the legion, drawn up in unbroken order like the Greek phalanx, consisted of citizens of the first class, equipped with helmet, cuirass, round shield (cltpSus), and greaves, all of Vjronze. The third and fourth lines were from the second class, and had no cuirass, tut had the helmet and greaves and large oblong shields (scutum). The fifth and sixth were armed similarly, but without greaves, and were drawn from the third class. The fourth class was armed with the scutum as its only weapon of defence, but, like the others, provided with spear (hasta) and sword. It either filled the seventh and eighth lines, or, with the fifth class, formed the rOr&rii, who opened the battle with slings and other light missiles.

An important alteration, ascribed to Camillus (about b.c. 390), was the abolition of the phalanx and introduction of the manipular formation, which prevailed till the time of Marius (end of the 2nd cen­tury b.c.). In the flourishing days of the Republic, the normal strength of a legion, which could be increased in time of need, consisted of 300 knights (equates), and 4,200 foot soldiers (pedltes). In respect to the weapons used, the latter were divided into four kinds, according to their length of service and familiarity with warfare. (1) 1,200 hastati, all in early manhood; (2) 1,200 principes, in the full vigour of life; (3) 600 triarii, who were proved veterans; j and (4) 1,200 vllites, who were lightly armed, and were drawn from the lowest classes of the census. The three first j classes had a bronze helmet (cassis) with a '

lofty plume of feathers, a scutum, a leathern cuirass (lurlca, q.v.), greaves and a sword (gladlus), which, after the second Punic War was of the Spanish kind, being short, strong, and two-edged, fitted for thrusting rather than cutting, and worn on the right side. There was also a spear, which in the two first divisions was upllum (q.v.), and among the triarii a lance [Polyb. vi 23). The velites were armed with a leather helmet (gulca), a light shield (parma), and a sword and several light javelins. The 3,000 heavily armed men were divided into 30 manlpuli, numbering 120 men each among the hastati and principes, and 60 each among the triarii, and were again subdivided into two bodies called cent&rice, and led by centu­rions (q.v.). Of the 1,200 velites, 20 were allotted to each century, and they formed the final complement of each maniple. On the field of battle the maniples were drawn up in open order, separated laterally from one another by intervals corresponding to the breadth of each maniple in front. The arrangement of the maniples would thus resemble that of the black squares on a chessboard. They fell into three divisions; the hastati in the front rank, with the principes behind them, and the triarii in the rear. If the first division, the hastati, were compelled to give way, then the second division, the principes, advanced through the intervals left by the maniples of the first division ; if the principes in their turn had to retreat, then the third division, the triarii, who had been previously kneeling, protected by their shields, allowed the hastati and principes to fall back into the intervals separating the maniples of the triarii, and themselves closing their ranks pressed forward to meet the enemy. The 300 knights of the legion were divided into 10 turmce of 30 men each, and were equipped with a bronze cuirass, leathern greaves, helmet, shield, a long sword for attack­ing, and a long lance provided at both ends with an iron point. Each turma was under three decurions and three under-officers (optiOnes). The legion as a whole was under the command of six tribuni mllltum (q.v.)

The consular army consisted of two legions. Four legions were regularly levied in each year; in other words, 16,800 foot soldiers and 1,200 cavalry. This levy of citizens was further swelled by the Italian allies (socll), a body of 20,000 foot soldiers and 3,600 cavalry, thus adding to each of the two consular armies 10,000 foot soldiers

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