The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.



without attempting to discuss the various points upon which controversies have arisen.

Among the writings of modern scholars we ought to notice specially the dialogues " De Mi­litia Romana" by the learned and indefatigable Lipsius, in which the text of Polybius (vi. 19, 42), and a chapter in Livy (viii. 8) serve as a foundation for a great superstructure of illustration and supplementary matter; nor must we forget the " Poliorcetica " of the same author, which may be regarded as a continuation of the preceding. The posthumous dissertation of Salmasius " De Re mi-litari Romanorum," which displays the deep read­ing, mixed up with not a little of the rashness, of that celebrated critic, is well worthy of perusal, and will be found in the " Corpus Antiquitatum Romanamm" of Graevius, vol. x. p. 1284. The same volume includes the admirable commentary of Schelius on Hyginus, his notes on Polybius, together with essays on various topics connected with Roman warfare by Boeclerus, Robertdlm, Erycius Puteanus, M. A. Causeus (De la Chausse), Pefrus Ramus, &c. A most elaborate series of papers by M. Le Beau is printed in the twenty-fifth and several succeeding volumes of the " Me'-moires de 1'Academie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres ;" and although we are far from acquiescing in all the conclusions at which he arrives, it is im­possible to deny that in so far as facts are con­cerned, he has almost exhausted every topic on which he has entered, and we cannot but lament that he should not have completed the design which he originally sketched out. We may consult with profit Folard^s " Commentaire," at­tached to the French translation of Polybius, by the Benedictine Vincent Thuillier, 6 torn. 4to, Amst. 1729 ; Guischard, " Memoires Militaires sur les Grecs et les Remains," 2 torn. 4to, La Haye, 1757, and " Memoires Critiques et His-toriques sur Plusieurs Ponts et Antiquites Mili­taires," 4 torn. 4to, Berlin et Paris, 1775 ; Vaudoncourt, " Histoire des Campagnes d'Han-nibal en Italic," 3 torn. 4to, Paris, 1812 ; Roy, " Military Antiquities of the Romans in Britain," fol. Lond. 1793 ; Nast, " Romische Kriegsalter-thiimer," 8vo, Halle, 1782 ; Lolir, " Ueber die Tactik und das Kriegswesen der Griechen und Romer," 8vo. Kempt. 1825 ; Lehner, " De Re-publica Romana sive ex Polybii Megalop. sexta Historia Excerpta," 8vo. Salzb. 1823.

General Remarks on the Legion.

The name Legio is coeval with the foundation of Rome, and always denoted a body of troops, which, although subdivided into several smaller bodies, was regarded as forming an organised whole. It cannot be held to -have been equivalent to what we call a regiment, inasmuch as it con­tained troops of all arms, infantry, cavalry, and, when military engines were extensively employed, artillery also; it might thus, so far, be regarded as a complete army, but on the other hand the num­ber of soldiers in a legion was fixed within certain limits, never much exceeding 6000, and hence when war was carried on upon a large scale, a single army, under the command of one general, frequently contained two, three, or more legions, besides a large number of auxiliaries of various denominations. In like manner the legion being complete within itself, and not directly or neces­sarily connected with any other corps, cannot be


translated by battalion, division, detachment, nor any other term in ordinary use among modern tacticians. Ancient etymologists agree in deriving legio from lee/ere to choose (Varr. L, L. v. § 87, vi. § 66. ed. Muller ; Pint. Rom. 13 ; Non. Mar-cell, i. -s. v. legionumy- Modest, de Vocabl. R. M. ; Isidor.-Ongr. ix. 3. § 46), and the name endured as long as the thing itself. Le Beau and others are mistaken when they assert that in Tacitus, and the writers who followed him, the word nume-ri is frequently substituted for legio, for it will be seen from the passages to which we give references below, that mtmeri is used to denote either the different corps of which a legion was composed, or a corps generally, without any allusion to the legion (Tac. Hist. i. 6, 87. Agric. 18, comp. Ann. ii. 80, "Hist. ii. 69 ; Plin. Ep. iii. 8, x. 38 ; Vopisc. Prob. 14 ; Ulpian. in Dig. 3. tit. 3, s. 8. § 2; 29. tit. 1. s. 43, &c. &c. See below the remarks on the Cohors}.

In the Scriptures of the New Testament, in Plutarch (e.g. Rom. 13, 20), and elsewhere, we meet with the Grecized word \ejecav, but the Greek writers upon Roman affairs for the most part employ some term borrowed from their own literature as an equivalent; and since each con­sidered himself at liberty to select that which he deemed most appropriate or which suggested itself at the moment, without reference to the practice of those who had gone before him, and without endeavouring to preserve uniformity even within the bounds of his own writings, we not only find a considerable variety of words used indiscriminately as representatives of Legio. but we find the same author using different words in different passages, and, what is still more perplexing, the same word which is used by one author for the legion as a whole is used by others to indicate some one or other of the subdivisions. The terms which we meet with most commonly are, crrpaTOTrefiov, </>a-A<ry£, ray/xa, reAoy, less frequently crrpdrGv^a and t(=?xos. Polybius in those chapters which are de­voted exclusively to a description of the legion uniformly designates it by fffrparr6ir^ov, which he sometimes applies to an army in general (e. g. ii. 73, 86), while by others it is usually employed to denote a camp (castra). Again Polybius gives a choice of three names for the maniple, cn^am, o-jreipa, and Tcfyua, 'but of these the first is for the most part introduced by others as the translation of the Latin vexillum, the second almost uniformly as equivalent to coliors, and the third, although of wide acceptation, is constantly the representative of legio. Dionysius uses sometimes, especially in the earlier books of his history, <t>d\ay£ (e. g. v. 6"7), some­times ray para (e. g. vi. 45, ix. 10, 13), or (rrpa-ruartKo. ray/xara (vi. 42), and his example is fol­lowed by Josephus (B. J. iii. 5. § 5 ; 6. § 2) ; Appian adopts reAos (e.g. Annib. 8, B. C. ii. 76, 79, 96, iii. 45, 83, 92, iv. 315) ; Plutarch within the compass of a single sentence {M. Anton. 18) has both rdy/Jiara and r€\rj • Dion Cassius, when speaking of the legions in contradistinction to the household troops, calls them in one passage ra iroXiriKa (TTpaT67reda (xxxviii. 47), in another T6i%77 roov eK Kara\6yov ffrpar<£vojj,4v<av (Iv. 24), and where no particular emphasis is required, we find <TTpdT€V[j,a (to Se'/caroy ffrpdrev/aa, xxxviii. 47, xl. 65), TeT%os (rov.rerdprov rov ^kv&lkov reixovs, Ixxix. 7), <TTpaToVe5oi/ (xxxviii. 46, xl. 65, 66), and ffTpardireSov e/c Ka,ra\6yov (xl. 27

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of