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SIGNA MILITARIA.

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SIGNA MILITARIA.

of Victory was sometimes fixed at the top of the staff, as we see it sculptured, together with small statues of Mars, on the Column of Trajan and the Arch of Constantine. (See the next woodcut, and Causeus de Sig. in Graevii Thes. vol. x. p. 2529.) Under the eagle or other emblem was often placed a.head of the reigning emperor, which was to the army the object of idolatrous adoration. (Josephus, B. J. ii. 9. § 2 ; Suet. Tiber. 48, Calig. 14 ; Tac. Ann. i. 39, 41, iv. 62.) The name of the em­peror, or of him who was acknowledged as emperor, was sometimes inscribed in the same situation. (Sueton.'Tespas. 6.) The pole, used to carry the eagle, had at its lower extremity an iron point (cuspis) to fix it in the ground, and to enable the -in-cftSQ of need to repel an attack. (Suet. . 62.)

The minor divisions of a cohort, called centimes, had also each an ensign, inscribed with the num­ber both of the cohort and of the century. By this provision, together with the diversities of the crests worn by the centurions [galea], every soldier was enabled with the greatest ease to take his place. (Veget. I. c.)

'ifi' ill' ilji. m_ttl.._!u-u-iii

In the Arch of Constantine at Rome there are four sculptured panels near the top, which exhibit a great number of standards, and illustrate some of the forms here described. The annexed woodcut

is copied from two out of the four. The first panel represents Trajan giving a king to the Parthians : seven standards are held by the soldiers. The second, containing five standards, represents the performance of the sacrifice called suovetaurilia. (Bartoli,..»4m Triumph.')

When Constantine had embraced ChristianhVy, a figure or emblem of Christ, woven in gold upon purple cloth, was substituted for the head of the emperor. .This richly ornamented standard was called labarum. (Prudentius cont. Symm. i. 466, 488 ; Niceph.//..#. vii. 37.)

Since the movements of a body of troops and of every portion of it were regulated by the* standards, all the evolutions, acts, and incidents of the Ro­man army were expressed by phrases derived from this circumstance. Thus 'signet, inferre meant

to advance (Caesar, B. G. i. 25, ii. 25), referre to retreat, and eonveriere to face about ; ejferre^ or castris vellere, to march out of the camp: .(Virg1. Georg. i. 108) ; ad signa convenire,to re-assemble. (Caesar, B. G. vi. 1. 37.) Notwithstanding some obscurity in the use of terms, it appears that, whilst the standard of the legion was properly called aquila, those of the cohorts were in a special sense of the term called signa, their bearers being signiferi, and that those of the manipuli or smaller divisions of the cohort were denominated vexilkt, their bearers being vexillarii. Also those .who fought in the first ranks of the legion before the standards of the legion and cohorts were called cmtesignani. (Caesar, B. C. i. 43, 44, 56.) A pecu­liar application of the term vexillarii is explained on p. 507, b.

In military stratagems it was sometimes neces­sary to conceal the standards. (Caesar, B. G. vii. 45.) Although the Romans commonly considered it a point of honour to preserve their standards, yet in some cases of extreme danger the leader himself threw them among the ranks of the enemy in order to divert their attention or to animate his own soldiers. (Floras, i. 11.) A wounded or dying standard-bearer delivered it, if possible, into the hands of his general (Florus, iv. 4), from whom he had received it (signis acceptis, Tac. Ann. i. 42). In time of peace the standards were kept in the aerarium under the care of the quaestor. :

We have little information respecting the stand­ards of any other nation besides the Romans. The banners of the Parthians appear to have had a similar form, to that of the Romans, but were more richly decorated with gold and silk. [sericum.] A golden eagle with expanded wings was the royal standard of Persia. (Xen. Cyrap.yii. 1. § 4, Anab. i. 10. § 12.) The military ensigns of the Egyptians were very various. Their sacred animals were re­presented in them (Diod. i. 86), and in the paint­ings at Thebes \ve observe such objects as a king's name, a sacred boat, or some other emblem, ap­plied to the same purpose. (Wilkinson-, Man. and Oust. vol. i. p. 294.) The Jewish army was probably marshalled bv the aid of banners (Ps. xx. 5 •

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