this imitation of war, should be of double the weight which was required in real action.(1) It is not the purpose of this work to enter into any minute description of the Roman exercises. We shall only remark, that they comprehended whatever could add strength to the body, activity to the limbs, or grace to the motions. The soldiers were diligently instructed to march, to run, to leap, to swim, to carry heavy burdens, to handle every species of arms that was used either for offence or for defence, either in distant engagement or in a closer onset; to form a variety of evolutions; and to move to the sound of flutes, in the Pyrrhic or martial dance.(2). In the midst of peace, the Roman troops familiarized themselves with the practise of war; and it is o remarked by an ancient historian who had fought against them, that the effusion o was the only circumstance which distinguished a field of battle from a field of exercise.(3) It was the policy of the ablest generals, and even of the emperors themselves, to encourage these military studies by their presence and example; and we are informed that Hadrian, as well as Trajan, frequently condescended to instruct the unexperienced soldiers, to reward the diligent, and sometimes to dispute with them the prize of superior strength or dexterity.(4) Under the reigns of those princes, the science of tactics was cultivated with success; and as long as the empire retained any vigour, their military instructions were respected as the most perfect model of Roman discipline. ^ Nine centuries of war had gradually introduced into the service many alterations and improvements. The legions, as they are described by Polybius,(5) in the time of the Punic wars, differed very materially from those which achieved the victories of Caesar, or defended the monarchy of Hadrian and the Antonines. The constitution of the Imperial legion may be described in a few words.(6). The heavy-armed infantry, which composed its principal strength,(7) was divided into ten cohorts, and fifty-five companies, under the orders of a correspondent number of tribunes and centurions. The first cohort, which always claimed the post of honour and the custody of the eagle, was formed of eleven hundred and five soldiers, the most approved for valour and fidelity. The remaining nine cohorts consisted each of five hundred and fifty-five; and the whole body of legionary infantry amounted to six thousandone hundred men. Their arms were uniform, and admirably adapted to the nature of their service: an open helmet, with a lofty crest: a breast-plate, or coat of mail; greaves on their legs, and an ample buckler on their left arm. The buckler was of an oblong and concave figure, four feet in length, and two and a half inbreadth, framed of a lightwood, covered with a bull’s hide, and strongl arded with plates of brass. Besides a lighter spear, the legionary solier grasped in his right hand the formidable pilum, a ponderous javelin, whose utmost length was about six feet, and which was terminated by a massy triangular point of steel of eighteen inches.(1) This instrument was indeed much inferior to our modern fire-arms; since it was exhausted by a single discharge, at the distance of only ten or twelve paces. Yet when it was launched by a firm and skilful {..., there was not any cavalry that durst venture within its reach, nor any shield or corslet that would sustain the impetuosity of its weight. As soon as the Roman had darted his pilum, he drew his sword, and rushed forwards to close with the enemy. His sword was a short well-tempered Spanish blade, that carried a double edge, and was alike suited to the purpose of striking or of j but the soldier was always instructed to prefer the latter use of his weapon, as his own body remained less o while he inflicted a more dangerous wound on his adversary.(2) The legion was usually 3rawn up eight deep; and the regular distance of three feet was left between the files as well as ranks.(3). A body of troops, habituated to preserve this open order, in a long front and a rapid charge, found themselves prepared to execute every disposition which the circumstance of war, or the skill of their leader, might suggest. The soldier possessed a free space for his arms and motions, and sufficient intervals were allowed, through which seasonable reinforcements might be introduced to the relief of the exhausted combatants.(4) The tactics of the Greeks and Macedonians were formed on very different principles. The strength of the phalanx depended on sixteen ranks of long pikes, wedged together in the closest array.(5) But it was soon discovered by reflection, as well as by the event, o the strength of the phalanx was unable to contend with the activity of the legion.(6) The cavalry, without which the force of the legion would have remained imperfect, was divided into ten troops or squadrons; the first, as the companion of the first cohort, ...; of a hundred and thirty-two men; while each of the other nine amounted only to sixty-six. The entire establishment formed a regiment, if we may use the modern expression, of seven hundred and twenty-six horse, naturally connected with its respective legion, but occasionally separated to act in the line, and to compose a part of the wings of the army.(7). The cavalry of the emperors was no longer composed, like that of the ancient republic, of the noblest youths of Rome and Italy, who, by performing their military service on horseback, prepared themselves for the offices of senator and consul; and solicited, . deeds of valour, the future suffrages of their count o Since the alteration of manners and government, the most wealthy of the equestrian order were engaged in the administration of justice, and of the revenue;(9) and whenever they embraced the profession of arms, the were immediately intrusted with a troop of horse, or a cohort of foot.(10

(1) In the time of Polybius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus (I. v. c. 45), the steel point of the pilum seems to have been much longer. In the time of Vegetius, it was reduced to a foot, or even nine inches. I have chosen a medium. (2) For the legionary arms, see Lipsius de Militia Romana, l. iii. c. 2–7. (3) See the beautiful comparison of Virgil, Georgic ii. v. 279. (4) M. Guichard, Memoires Militaires, tom. i. c. 4, and Nouveaux Memoires. tom. i. p.293–311, has treated the subject like a scholar and an officer. (5) See Arrian's Tactics. With the true partiality of a Greek, Arrian rather chose to describe the phalanx, of which he had read, than the legions which he had commanded. (6) Polyb. 1. xvii. (7) Veget. de Re Militari, 1 il. c.6. His positive testimony, which might be supported by circumstantial evidence, ought surely to silence those critics who refuse the Imperial legion its proper body of cavalry" (8) See ło, almost throughout, particularly xiii. 61. (9) Plin. Hist. Natur. xxxiii. 2. The true sense of that very curious passage was first di wered and illustrated by M. de Beaufort, Republique Romaine, l. ii. c. 2. (10) As in the instance of Horace and Agricola. This appears to have been a defect in the JRoman discipline; which Hadrian endeavoured to remedy, by ascertaining the legal age of a tribune.*

Trajan and Hadrian formed their cavalry from the same provinces, and the same class of their subjects, which recruited the ranks of the legion. The horses were bred, for the most o in Spain or Cappadocia. The Roman troopers despised the complete armour with which the caval of the East was encumbered. Their more useful arms consisted in a he met, an oblong shield, light boots, and a coat of mail. A javelin, and a long broad sword, were their principal weapons of offence. The use of lances and of ironmaces they seem to have borrowed from the ...? The safety and honour of the empire was principally intrusted to the legions, but the policy of Rome condescended to adopt every useful instrument of war. &id. levies were regularly made among the F." who had not yet, deserted the honourable distinction of omans. Many dependant princes and communities, dispersed round the frontiers, were permitted, for a while, to hold their freedom and security by the tenure cf military service.(2) Even select troops of hostile barbarians were frequently compelled or persuaded to consume their dangerous valour in remote climates for the benefit of the state.(3), All these were included under the general name of auxiliaries; and howsoever they might vary according to the difference of times and circumstances, their numbers were seldom much inferior to those of the legions i.e.:) Among the auxiliaries, the bravest and most faithful bands were placed under the command of praefects and centurions, and severely trained in the arts of Roman disci É. ; but the far greater part retained those arms, to which the nature of their country, or their earl habits of life, more peculiarly adapted them. By this institution eac legion, to whom a certain P. of auxiliaries was allotted, contained within itself every species of lighter troops, and of missile weapons; and was capable of encountering every nation, with the advantages of its respective arms and discipline.(5) Nor was the legion destitute of what, in modern language, would be styled a train of artillery. ... It consisted in ten military engines of the largest, and fifty-five of a smaller size; but all of which, either in an oblique or horizontal manner, discharged stones and darts with irresistible '...}. The camp of a Roman legion presented the appearance of a fortified iš. As soon as the space was marked out, the pioneers carefully levelled the ground, and removed every impediment that might interrupt its perfect regularity. Its form was an exact quadrangle; and we may calculate that a square of about seven hundred yards was sufficient for the encampment of twenty thousand Romans; though a similar number of our own troops would expose to the enemy a front of more than treble that extent. In the midst of the camp, the praetorium, or general's quarters, rose above the others; the cavalry, the infantry, and the auxiliaries occupied their respective stations; the streets were broad and perfectly straight, and a vacant space of two hundred feet was left on all sides, between the tents and the rampart. The rampart itself was usually twelve feet high, armed with a line of strong and intricate palisades, and defended by a ditch of twelve feet in depth as well as in breadth. This important labour was performed by the hands of the legionaries themselves; to whom the use of the spade and the pick-axe was no less familiar than that of the sword or pilum. Active valour may often be the present of nature; but such patient diligence can be the fruit only of habit and do...) Whenever the trumpet gave the signal for departure, the camp was almost instantly broke up, and the troops fell into their ranks without delay or confusion. Besides their arms, which the legionaries scarcely considered as an encumbrance, they were laden with their kitchen furniture, the instruments of fortification, and the provision of many days.(2) Under this weight, which would oppress the delicacy of a modern soldier, they were trained, by a regular step, to advance, in about six hours, near twenty miles.(3). On the . of an enemy, they threw aside their baggage, and by easy and rapid evolutions converted the columns of march into an order of battle.(4) The slingers and archers skirmished in the front; the auxiliaries formed the first line, and were seconded or sustained by the strength of the legions; the cavalry covered the flanks, and the military engines were placed in the rear. Such were the arts of war, by which the Roman emperors defended their extensive conquests, and preserved a military spirit, at a time when every other virtue was oppressed by luxury and despotism. If, in the consideration of their armies, we pass from their discipline to their numbers, we shall not find it easy to define them with any tolerable accuracy: We may compute, however, that the legion, which was itself a body of six thousand eight hundred and thirty-one Romans, might, from its attendant auxiliaries, amount to about twelve thousand five hundred men. The É. establishment of Hadrian and his successors were composed of no ess than thirty of these formidable brigades; and most probably formed a standing force of three hundred and seventy-five thousand men. Instead of being confined within the walls of fortified cities, which the Romans considered as the refuge of weakness or pusillanimity, the legions were encamped on the banks of the great rivers, and along the frontiers of the barbarians. As their stations, for the most part, remained fixed and permanent, we may venture to describe the distribution of the troops. Three legions were sufficient for Britain. The principal strength lay upon the Rhine and Danube, and consisted of sixteen legions, in the following roportions; two in the Lower, and three in the Upper Germany; one in Rhaetia, one in Noricum, four in Pannonia, three in Maesia, and two in Dacia. The defence of the Euphrates was intrusted to eight legions, six of whom were planted in Syria, and the other two in appadocia With regard to Egypt, Africa, and Spain, as they were far removed from any important scene of war, a single legion maintained the domestic tran§§ of each of those great provinces. Even Italy was not left destitute of a military force. Above twenty thousand chosen soldiers, distinguished by the titles of City Cohorts and Praetorian Guards, watched over the safety of the monarch and the capital. As the authors of almost every revolution that distracted the empire, the Praetorians will, very

(1) See Arrian's Tactics.

(2) Such, in particular, was the state of the Batavians. Tacit. Germania, c. 29.

(3) Marcus Antoninus obliged the vanquished Quadi and Morcomanni to supply him o a large body of troops, which he immediately sent into Britain. Dion Cassius, l.

i. (4) Tacit. Annal. iv. 5. Those who fix a regular proportion of as many foot, and twice as oy horse, confound the auxiliaries of the emperors, with the Italian allies of the republic. (5) Vegetius, ii. 2. Arrian, in his order of march and battle against the Alani. (6) The subject of the ancient machines is treated with great knowledge and ingenuity by the Chevalier, Folard (Polybe, tom. ii. p. 23.3—290). He prefers them in many respects to our modern cannon and mortars. We may observe, that the use of them in the field gradually became more prevalent, in proportion as personal valour and military skill declined with the Roman em": W. men were no longer found, their place was supplied by machines. See Vegetius, . 25. Arrian. (7) Vegetius finishes his second book, and the description of the legion, with the following emphatic words: “Universa quas in quoque belli genere necessaria esse cre: secum legio debet ubique portare, ut in quovis loco fixerit castra, armatam faciat vitatem."

(1) For the Roman Castremetation, see Polybius, 1. vi. with Lipsius de Militia Romana. Joseph. de Bell. Jud. l. iii. c. 5. Vegetius, i.21–25 iii. 9, and Memoires de Guichard, tom. i. c. 1. § Cicero in Tusculan. ii. 37.-Joseph. de Bell. Jud. I. iii. 5. Frontinus, iv. 1. 3) Vegetius, i. 9. See Memoires de l'Academie des Inscriptions, tom. xxv, p. 187. 1. ogous" admirably well explained by M. Guichard, Nouveaux Memoires, tom, p.

« ForrigeFortsett »