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On this page: Vacantia Bona – Vacatio – Vadimonium – Vagina – Vallum – Vallus – Valvae – Vannus – Vappa


U. V.

VACANTIA BONA. [bona vacantia.]

VACATIO. [exercitus, p. 499.]

VADIMONIUM. [AcTio, p. 11 ; praes.]


VALLUM, a term applied either to the whole or a portion of the fortifications of a Roman camp. It is derived from vallus (a stake), and properly means the palisade which ran along the outer edge of the top of the agger, but it very frequently in­cludes the agger also. The vallum^ in the latter sense, together with the fossa or ditch which sur­rounded the camp outside of the vallum, formed a complete fortification. [agger.]

The valli (%apa/ees), of which the vallum, in the former arid more limited sense, was composed, are described by Polybius (xviii. i. 1, Excerpt. Antiq. xvii. 14) and Livy (xxxiii. 5), who make a com­parison between the vallum of the Greeks and that of the Romans, very much to the advantage of the latter. Both used for valli young trees or arms of larger trees, with the side branches on them ; but the valli of the Greeks were much larger and had more branches than those of the Romans, which had either two or three, or at the most four branches, and these generally on the same side. The Greeks placed their valli in the agger at con­siderable intervals, the spaces between them being filled up by the branches ; the Romans fixed theirs close together, and made the branches interlace, and sharpened their points carefully. Hence the Greek vallus could easily be taken hold of by its large branches and pulled from its place, and when it was removed a large opening was left in the vallum. The Roman vallus, on the contrary, pre­sented no convenient handle, required very great force to pull it down, and even if removed left a very small opening. The Greek valli were cut on the spot ; the Romans prepared theirs beforehand, and each soldier carried three or four of them when on a march. (Polyb. I.e.; Virg. Georg. iii. 346, 347 ; Cic. Tusc. ii. 16.) They were made of any strong wood, but oak was preferred. . The word vallus is sometimes iised as equivalent to vallum. (Caesar, Bell. Civ. iii. 63.)

A fortification like the Roman vallum was used by the Greeks at a very early period. (Horn. //. ix. 349, 350.)

Varro's etymology of the word is not worth much (L.L. v. 117, ed. Miiller).

In the operations of a siege, when the place could not be taken by storm, and it became neces­sary to establish a blockade, this was done by drawing defences similar to those of a camp round the town, which was then said to be circumvalla-tum. Such a circumvallation, besides cutting off all communication between the town and the sur­rounding country, formed a defence against the sallies of the besieged. There was often a double line of fortifications, the inner against the town, and the outer against a force that might attempt to raise the siege. In this case the army was en­camped between the two lines of works.

This kind of circumvallation, which the Greeks called wroTeixinr^s and TrepiT€ixi(rfj.6s, was em­ployed by tte Peloponnesians in the siege of Pla-taeae. (Thucyd. ii. 78, iii. 20—23.) Their lines consisted of two walls (apparently of turf) at the distance of 16 feet, which surrounded the city in



the form of a circle. Between the walls were the huts of the besiegers. The walls had battlements (e7raA£ets), and at every tenth battlement was a tower, filling up by its depth the whole space be­tween the walls. There was a passage for the be­siegers through the middle of each tower. On the outside of each wall was a ditch (rd^pox"). This description would almost exactly answer for the Roman mode of circumvallation, of which some of the best examples are that of Carthage by Scipio (Appian, Punic. 119, &c.), that of Numantia by Scipio (Appian, Hispan. 90), and that of Alesia by Caesar {Bell. Gall. vii. 7*2, 73). The towers in such lines were similar to those used in attacking fortified places, but not so high, and of course not moveable, [TuRRis.]

(Lipsius, de Milit. Rom. v. 5, in Oper. iii. pp. 156, 157 ; Poliorc. ii. 1, in Oper. iii. 283.) [P.S.]

VALLUS. [vallum.]

VALVAE. [janua, p. 625, b.] :

VANNUS (AtKjUos, xikvov), a winnowing-fan,: i. e. a broad basket, into which the corn mixed with chaff (acus, &xvPa) was received after thrash­ing, and was then thrown in the direction of the: wind. (Col. de Re Rust. ii. 21 ; Virg. Georg. iii. 134.) It thus performed with greater effect and convenience the office of the pala lignea, or win-nowing-shovel. [PALA.] Virgil (Georg. i. 166) dignifies this simple implement by calling it mystica vannus lacclii. The rites of Bacchus, as well as those of Ceres, having a continual reference to the occupations of rural life, the vannus was borne in the processions celebrated in honour of both these divinities. Hence alkvlt^s (Hesych. s. v.) was one of the epithets of Bacchus. In an antefixa in the British Museum (see the annexed woodcut) the infant Bacchus is carried in a vannus by two dancing bacchantes clothed in skins, the one male and carrying a thyrsus, the other female and carrying a torch [fax]. Other divinities were

sometimes conceived to have been cradled in the same manner. (Callim. Jov. 48 ; Schol. in loc.; Horn. //. in Merc. 254.) The vannus was also used in the processions to carry the instruments of sacrifice and the first fruits or other offerings, those who bore them being called the \iKvofyopoi. (Callim. Cer. 127.) [J. Y.J


VAS. [AcTio, p. 11 ; praes.]

VAS (pi.-rasa), a general term for any kind of vessel. Thus we read of. ws vinarium (Cic. Verr. iv. 27), vas argenteum (Cic. I. c.; Hor. Sat. ii. 7. 72)j vasa Corinthiaet Deliaca (Cic. pro Rose.

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