The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Tormentum


lowing were found in it: 120 large and 281 small catapults ; 23 large and 52 small balistae. (Liv. /. c.) Three sizes of the balista are mentioned by historians, viz. that which threw stones weighing half a hundred-weight (TptaKovrafj-vaiovs \i6ov^ Polyb. ix. 34), a whole hundred-weight (balista centenaria, Non. Marc. 1. c.; \i9o§6\os raAccz'Ticuos, Polyb I.e.; Diod. xx, 86), and three hundred­weight (TrerpogoAos TjOiTaAco/ros, Diod. xx. 48). Besides these, Vitruvius (x. 11) mentions many other sizes, even down to the balista which threw a stone of only two pounds weight. In like manner catapults were de-nominated according to the length of the arrows emitted from them. (Vitruv. x. 10 ; Schneider, ad loc.) According to Josephus, who gives some remarkable instances of the destructive force of the balista, it threw stones to the distance of a quarter of a mile. (B.J. iii. 7. § 19, 23 ; comp. Procop. Bell. Goth. i. 21,23.) Neither from the descriptions of authors nor from the figures on the column of Trajan (Bartoli, Col Traj. tab. 45— 47) are we able to form any exact idea of the construction of these engines. Still less, are we informed on the subject of the Scorpio orOnager, which was also a tormentum. (Vitruv. x. 10; Liv. xxvi. 6, 47; Amm. Marcell. xx. 7, xxiii. 4.) Even the terms balista and catapuHa are confounded by writers subsequent to Julius Caesar, and Diodorus Siculus often uses KaraireXrys to include both ba­listae and catapults, distinguishing them by the epithets TrerpogoAoi and 6|u§eAe?s (xiii. 5J, xx. 48, 83, 86, xxi. 4).

The various kin.ds of tormenta appear to have been invented shortly before the time of Alexander the Great. When horse-hair and other materials failed, the women in several instances cut off their own hair and twisted it into ropes for the engines. (Caes. B. C. iii. 9 ; Veget. de Re Mil. iv. 9.) These machines, with those who had the manage­ment of them, and who were called balistarii and atperai (Polyb. iv. 56), were drawn up in the rear of an advancing: armv, so as to throw over the heads

™ %/ ' .

of the front ranks. In order to attack a maritime city, they were carried on the decks of vessels constructed for the purpose. (Diod. xx. 83—86 ; Tacit. Ami. ii. 6.)

The meaning of tormentum as applied to the cordage of ships is explained on p. 790, a. [J.Y.]

TORMENTUM (Pdtravos), torture. 1. greek. Bv a decree of Scarnandrius it was ordained that


no free Athenian could be put to the torture- (An-doc. de Myst. 22 ; compare Lys. Trepi rpav/a. 177, c. Agorat. 462); and this appears to have been the general practice, notwithstanding the assertion of Cicero (Part. Orat. c. 34) to the contrary (de In-stitutis A tlieniensium^ Rhodioruin — apud quos liberi civesque torquentur). The only two apparent ex­ceptions to this practice are mentioned by Antiphon (de Herod, coed. 729) and Lysias (c. Simon. 153), But, in the case mentioned by Antiphon, Bockh has shown that the torture was not applied at Athens, but in a foreign country; and in Lysias, as it is a Plataean boy that is spoken of, we have no occasion to conclude that he was an Athenian citizen, since we learn from Demosthenes (c. Neaer. 1381) that all Plataeans were not neces­sarily Athenian citizens. It must, however, be observed that the decree of Scamandrius does no appear to have interdicted the use of torture as a means of execution, since we find Demosthenes (de Cor. 271) reminding the judges that they had put



Antiphon to death by the rack Compare Pint. Plioc. c. 35.

The evidence of slaves was, however, always taken with torture, and their testimony was not otherwise received. (Antiph. Tetral. i. p. 633.) From this circumstance their testimony appears to have been considered of more value than that of freemen. Thus Isaeus (De Ciron. tiered. 202) says, "When slaves and freemen are at hand, you do not make use of the testimony of freemen; but, putting slaves to the torture, you thus en­deavour to find out the truth of what has been done." Numerous passages of a'similar nature might easily be produced from the orators. (Comp. Demosth. c. Onetor. i. p. 874; Antiphon, De Choreut. 778 ; Lycurg.. c. Leocr. 159—162.) Any person might offer his o-wn slave- to be examined by torture, or demand that of his adversary, and the offer or demand was equally called irpoK\7)(ns els ft&aavov. If the opponent refused to give up his slave to be thus examined, such a refusal was locked upon as a strong presumption against him. The 7rpotfA?7<7is. appears to have been generally made in writing (Demosth. g. Pantaen. 978), and to have been delivered to the opponent in the presence of witnesses in the most frequented part of the Agora (Demosth. c. Aphob. iii. 848) ; and as there were several modes of torture, the particular one to be employed was usually specified (De­mosth. c. Steph. i. 1120). Sometimes, when a person offered his slave for torture, he gave his opponent the liberty of adopting any mode of tor­ture which the latter pleased. (Antiph. De Cho-reui. 777.) The parties interested either super­intended the torture themselves, or chose certain persons for this purpose, hence called fia(ravia-ral9 who took the evidence of the slaves (eAtfytez/ot /Bacraz/tcrras1, airrjvr^o-a/j.^ els rb 'H<^»a(rre?ov, Isocr. Trap. c. 9 ; compare Demosth. e. Pantaen. 978, 979 ; Antiph. KaTrjyopia. Qapuatc. 609). In some cases, however, we find a public slave at­tached to the court, who administered the torture (Traptffrai 5e fjfoj 6 5^//tay, Kal fiaaavtet evavriov wcov,. Aesch. De Leg. 284, ed. Tayl.) ; but this appears only to have taken place when the torture was administered, in the court, in presence of the judges. (Aesch. I.e.Demosth. c. JSuerg. 1144:.) This particular mode of administering the torture was, however, certainly contrary to the usual practice (fiaffavifeiv ovk e<rriv svavriov t>/xwz>, Demosth. c. Steph. i. 1106). The general practice was to read at the trial the depositions of the slaves, which were called fiaaavol (Harpocr. Suid. s.v.; Demosth. (\ Nicostrat. 1254), and to confirm them by the testimony of those who were present at the ad­ministration of the torture. (Meier, Att. Process^ p. 680, &c.)

2. roman, During the time of the republic, freemen were, never put to the torture, and slaves only were exposed to this punishment. Slaves, moreover, could not be tortured to prove the guilt of their own master, except in the case of incestus,. which was a crime against the gods, or unless the senate made an exception in some special instance, as was done in the Catilinarian conspiracy. (Cic. pro Mil. 22, pro Deiot. 1, Part. Orat. 34 ; Dion Cass. Iv. 5 ; Tac. Ann. ii. 30, iii. 67; Dig. 48. tit. 18. s. 1. § 16.) At a later time slaves might be tor­tured to bear witness against their masters in cases of majestas (Cod. 9. tit. 8. ss. 6, 7) and adultery. (Dig. 48. tit. 18. s.17 ; Cod. 9. tit. 9. ss. 3, G,

4 n a

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