Byzantine Art and Archaeology by O. M. Dalton

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By O. M. Dalton

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The first two ranks were equipped with the pilum (throwing spear) and Spanish sword, the last rank with the hasta (thrusting spear). All soldiers had an oval shield and, when fully equipped, helmet, body armour, and greaves. In addition a screen of light-armed troops (velites) engaged the enemy first before retreating through the ranks. The hastati and principes threw their spears and then engaged with swords at close quarters. If they were unsuccessful the triarii came forward for a final assault.

These must bring the password to the tribunes before dark. Therefore, if all the tablets issued are returned, the tribune knows that the watchword has been passed to all the maniples and has passed through all of them back to him. But if anyone of them is missing, he enquires at once into what has happened, and from the record knows from what section the tablet has not returned. The person responsible for the delay suffers suitable punishment. 38 (Roman discipline) If the same thing ever happens to large groups of soldiers, and maniples when desperately hard pressed desert their post, the Romans refrain from inflicting the fustuarium (beating to death with sticks) or the death penalty on all of them, but instead find a resolution that is both expedient and also strikes fear.

28 Brunt (1988) is essential for the role of the army in this period. P. A. Speidel (1992); Alston (1994); logistics – Roth (1999); arms – Bishop and Coulston (1993). For the impact of the army on the society and culture and life of the eastern part of the empire see the excellent study of Isaac (1992); the army in Egypt – Alston (1995). 30 See below, no. 165. 31 See Marsden (1969), 174–98; also below, Chapter 5. 32 For the later Roman army see Jones (1964), 607–86; Williams (1985), 91–101; Southern and Dixon (1996).

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