"Couldn't hear you Tribune..."

The people, conflicts, and daily life of the Roman army.

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"Couldn't hear you Tribune..."

Postby Anonymous on Wed Jun 25, 2003 8:58 pm

Salvete,

Who knows how orders were passed from the leading officers to the men in the ranks on the battlefield ?
For that matter, How did fleets coordinate their movements ?

Just wondering...

Laureatus

BTW : great discussion on the ranks. I learned quite a bit, thank you.
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Postby Aldus Marius on Thu Jun 26, 2003 1:46 am

Avete, commilitones...

I believe the Legion's standards--the Aquila as well as those for smaller units--were used for most of the heavy-duty signalling. Couple these with various trumpet-calls and shouted orders from any officers who were close enough, and you could communicate quite a bit on the field of battle.

In fide,
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Postby Marcus Pomponius Lupus on Fri Jun 27, 2003 4:45 pm

Salvete,

A nice example of how the leaders of the army interact with the soldiers is given by Caesar in the second book of his De Bello Gallico. When the soldiers were still busy building most of the camp, they were suddenly ambushed by the Nervii and Caesar describes:

"...Caesari omnia uno tempore erant agenda: vexillum proponendum, quod erat insigne, cum ad arma concurri oporteret..."

"...By Caesar everything had to done at the same time: the < red > flag had to be risen, which was the signal, for when it was fitting to run to arms"

This vexillum was a red flag which was placed on top of the commander's tent as a signal for an upcoming battle (or an ongoing battle in this example ;-))

But during a battle the most important means of communication were the Aquilae, as Marius pointed out before. Each soldier knew what sign to follow. The trick of course was to get the right commands to each of these sign-bearers in time.

Valete,
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