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585

SIGNUM.

of the kind, it was provided on the top and sides with wet skins or cushions as a pro­tection against fire thrown down upon it. ChSlOni (Gr.) or testudo (Lat.) was the general name for all kinds of sheds of the sort. The name was, e.g., given to the penthouse of shields formed by the soldiers during the storming of a hostile fortification (fig. 2). The second and following rauks held their shields in a slanting position over their heads; the first rank and the men in the wings held them straight up in front of them. In case of mining, properly so called, the mining-hut (museidus) was em­ployed : a long and narrow structure, pushed up in the same way on wheels close under the walls. A shed or penthouse, 22-26 feet in length and breadth, with a slanting roof extending to the ground, served to give protection to the workmen employed in levelling the ground, and filling up the trenches for the approach of the engines. The mound (Lat. agger ; Gr. chomcl) was

(2) TESTL'DO.

From the Colnmn of Antoninus(Bellori.CoJ. Antonin., tav.38).

directed straight from the surrounding wall to the most suitable part of the besieged fortifications. It rose by a gradual ascent to the top of the latter. It was made of earth and fascines, held together at the side by wooden scaffolding or stone walls. The soldiers who worked at it were pro­tected by plutZi, semicircular coverings of wickerwork, moving forward on three wheels, or by vin£<e. These were light scaffolding, 10 ft. broad and double as long, with a flat or double roof of boards or wickerwork, and covered with the same on three sides. Partly upon the mound, partly on one side of it, were erected these wooden

movable towers (Lat. turres ambtilatOrfye,' Gr. hypStrSchoi), which were brought up on wheels or rollers to the walls. Their height depended on that of the wall and on their position on the level or on the mound; the average was 88-196 ft., containing from ten to twenty stories. These towers generally served as batteries, the upper stages being armed with artillery. Besides this, archers and slingers would be posted on the outer galleries of the different stories, which were protected by breastworks. Sappers would be lodged in the lower stories. On the level of the wall bridges (sambnc<e) were provided. A crane (tollenO) was used to hoist single soldiers to the top of the wall. This was a machine like the bucket of a well, fitted at the end with a basket or box.

The besieged, in their turn, had various contrivances against these weapons of attack. Two-pronged forks to turn over the scaling ladders, cranes with large tongs to seize the soldiers in their ascent and drop them into the town. The various kinds of testudo were met by throwing down great masses of stone, pouring down molten lead, pitch, or other combustibles, or by the use of burning arrows or other missiles of the same kind. The mound they endeavoured to neutralise by set­ting it on fire or undermining it; in the latter case the tower would sink as soon as it came upon the proper place. Against the towers they tried fire, artillery discharged from the walls, or the erection of counter-towers. If a breach was threatened, a second or minor wall was erected to meet it out of the material of the neighbouring houses. The most im­portant siege engines were invented by the Greeks, from whom they came to the Romans. (See artillery.)

Signum. The Roman name for a mili­tary standard, usually consisting of a badge (insigne] on a staff, carried by legions, maniples, and cohorts, as distinct from the vcxillum (q.v.). The latter was a square flag fastened on a cross-bar (see fig. 2, a), carried by the cavalry and allied infantry detachments. In the time of the manipular arrangement (see legion), each maniple had its peculiar insigne, the eagle (the sign of the first m&nipiihis), the wolf, the Minotaur, the horse, or the boar. After Marius had made the eagle (q.v.) the stan­dard representing the signum of the whole legion, the forms of other animals were no longer employed. Instead of them the maniples had a spear with an outstretched

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