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    Author Topic: Employment of Individual Weapons Ancient Sources references  (Read 4078 times)
    JKALER48
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    « on: November 18, 2009, 08:22:47 PM »

    C. Julius Caesar  Gallic War book 1, chapter 52

    "Accordingly our men, upon the signal being given, vigorously made an attack upon the enemy, and the enemy so suddenly and rapidly rushed forward, that there was no time for casting the javelins at them. Throwing aside [therefore] their javelins, they fought with swords hand to hand."

    "caes.gal.7.82":    [7.82] While the Gauls were at a distance from the fortification, they did more execution, owing to the immense number of their weapons: after they came nearer, they either unawares empaled themselves on the spurs, or were pierced by the mural darts from the ramparts and towers, and thus perished. After receiving many wounds on all sides, and having forced no part of the works, when day drew nigh, fearing lest they should be surrounded by a sally made from the higher camp on the exposed flank, they retreated to their countrymen. But those within, while they bring forward those things which had been prepared by Vercingetorix for a sally, fill up the nearest trenches; having delayed a long time in executing these movements, they learned the retreat of their countrymen before they drew nigh to the fortifications. Thus they returned to the town without accomplishing their object.

    "caes.gal.7.88":    [7.88] His arrival being known from the color of his robe, and the troops of cavalry, and the cohorts which he had ordered to follow him being seen, as these low and sloping grounds were plainly visible from the eminences, the enemy join battle. A shout being raised by both sides, it was succeeded by a general shout along the ramparts and whole line of fortifications. Our troops, laying aside their javelins, carry on the engagement with their swords. The cavalry is suddenly seen in the rear of the Gauls; the other cohorts advance rapidly; the enemy turn their backs; the cavalry intercept them in their flight, and a great slaughter ensues. Sedulius the general and chief of the Lemovices is slain;

    "caes.civ.3.93":    [3.93] But our men, when the signal was given, rushed forward with their javelins ready to be launched, but perceiving that Pompey's men did not run to meet their charge, having acquired experience by custom, and being practiced in former battles, they of their own accord repressed their speed, and halted almost midway; that they might not come up with the enemy when their strength was exhausted, and after a short respite they again renewed their course, and threw their javelins, and instantly drew their swords, as Caesar had ordered them. Nor did Pompey's men fail in this crisis, for they received our javelins, stood our charge, and maintained their ranks; and having launched their javelins, had recourse to their swords. At the same time Pompey's horse, according to their orders, rushed out at once from his left wing, and his whole host of archers poured after them. Our cavalry did not withstand their charge: but gave ground a little, upon which Pompey's horse pressed them more vigorously, and began to file off in troops, and flank our army. When Caesar perceived this, he gave the signal to his fourth line, which he had formed of the six cohorts. They instantly rushed forward and charged Pompey's horse with such fury, that not a man of them stood; but all wheeling about, not only quitted their post, but galloped forward to seek a refuge in the highest mountains. By their retreat the archers and slingers, being left destitute and defenseless, were all cut to pieces. The cohorts, pursuing their success, wheeled about upon Pompey's left wing, while his infantry still continued to make battle, and attacked them in the rear.

    Flavius Arrianus  Acies contra Alanos AD 135
    They should deploy in eight ranks and their deployment should be close ordered. And the front four ranks of the formation must be of spearmen, whose spearpoints end in thin iron shanks. And the foremost of them should hold them at the ready, in order that when the enemies near them, they can thrust the ironpoints of the spears at the breast of the horses in particular. Those standing in second, third an fourth rank of the formation must hold their spears ready for thrusting if possible, wounding the horses and killing the horsemen and put the rider out of action with the spear stuck in their heavy body armour and the iron point bent because of the softness.

    Julius Caesar. Civil War (English) [ Caes. Civ.  book 3  chapter 39 ]

    which he quitted voluntarily; when his forces were got half down the hill, encouraging them by Antony, who had the command of that legion, he gave the signal to face about, and fall on the enemy. Immediately the soldiers of the ninth legion, forming themselves into close order, launched their darts; and advancing briskly up the hill against the enemy, forced them to give ground, and at last betake themselves to flight; which was not a little incommoded by the hurdles, palisades, and ditch, Caesar had thrown up to stop to secure their retreat, having killed several of the enemy, and lost

    Tacitus, Annales  Tac. Ann. 14.37 14.36
    Nor was Suetonius silent at such a crisis. Though he confided in the valour of his men, he yet mingled encouragements and entreaties to disdain the clamours and empty threats of the barbarians. "There," he said, "you see more women than warriors. Unwarlike, unarmed, they will give way the moment they have recognised that sword and that courage of their conquerors, which have so often routed them. Even among many legions, it is a few who really decide the battle, and it will enhance their glory that a small force should earn the renown of an entire army. Only close up the ranks, and having discharged your javelins, then with shields and swords continue the work of bloodshed and destruction, without a thought of plunder. When once the victory has been won, everything will be in your power."   Such was the enthusiasm which followed the general's address, and so promptly did the veteran soldiery, with their long experience of battles, prepare for the hurling of the javelins, that it was with confidence in the result that Suetonius gave the signal of battle.

    « Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 10:33:29 PM by JKALER48 » Logged

    M. Demetrius
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    « Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 10:09:33 AM »

    I'll have to check the Latin for the "throwing aside".  That sort of reference could be very useful for the ongoing Drill Manual.

    Anyone who finds action verbs that have to do with weapons or formations/drill, please note them here.  While these are not necessarily direct proofs, they should be acceptable references.  Gosh.  That means that Caesar found a situation for putting his pila down.  There was once a controversy over that, but, well....
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    David Wills
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    « Reply #2 on: September 03, 2011, 10:19:05 AM »

    Livy VII, 23, 8
    “Their steady courage was aided by the fact that they were on higher ground, for the pila and hastae were not thrown ineffectively as often happens on level ground, but being carried forward by their weight they reached their mark”.

    praeter virtutem locus quoque superior adiuvit, ut pila omnia hastaeque non tamquam ex aequo missa vana, quod plerumque fit, caderent, sed omnia librata ponderibus figerentur
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