LEG X FRET
Make Roma Great Again
ru | en

Roman drill teams

Евсеенков А.С., Куцый О.А.

Attention! The text below was auto-translated from Russian. You can switch the site language to Russian to see the text in its original language or wait until it is fully translated.

The Roman army has been known since the Republic for its discipline and clear commands. This made it possible to successfully apply on the battlefield unusual for that time tactics of rebuilding and conducting combat.

This article will introduce the reader to how commands were pronounced in Latin and how they were performed in Ancient Rome, as well as show how drill teams are used by modern reenactors. The sources from which the team's data was compiled are presented at the end of the article. It is based on the most complete treatise on the strategy of the Roman war of the later period: Strategikon Mauritius. It was supplemented by well-known written sources from earlier authors, such as Vegetius and Polybius.

Legionnaires ' formation, reconstruction

Part 1. The basics

Common commands:

Dirige frontem-[di-ri-ge front – tam] - attention

Venite – [ve-ni-te] – build up

Reverte – [re-ver-te] – cancel the command

Signum demittite- [sig-num de-mit-ti-te] - break up

Silentium- [si-len-ti-um] - silence

Mandata captate- [man-da-ta cap-ta-te] – attention

Turns:

Ad contum, clina- [ad con-tum kli-na] – to the right

Ad scutum, clina- [ad sku-tum kli-na] - to the left

Move ad contum-[move ad con - tum] - side step to the right

Move ad scutum-[move ad sku - tum] - side step to the left

Ad contun (scutum) depone- [ad con-tum (sku-tum) de-po-ne] - rotation of the shoulder of the formation along the axis to the right (to the left)

Ad contum (scutum) deponite- [ad con-tum (sku-tum) de-po-ni-te] - to the right (to the left) in the movement behind the leader (only the first in the line turns, the rest follow him)

Scheme of performing turns in formation
Scheme of performing turns in formation

Battle:

Arma portate- [ar-ma por-ta-te] – take up arms

Arma demittite – [ar-ma de-mit-ti-te] – put down your weapon

Ad arma-[ad ar – ma] - to arms

Gladius destrigite-[gla-di-us des-tri-gi – te] - sword from the scabbard

Gladius recondite-[gla-di-us re-con-di – te] - sheathed sword

Vos servate- [vos sir-va-te] – shield yourself

Percute-[peer-ku – te] - Offensive. Quickly approach the enemy with a combat step, covered with shields.

Pila tollite-[saw tol-li – te] - Prepare the pilum for throwing, aim

Pila jactate-[pila yak-ta – te] - Throw the pilum

Movement:

Transforma-[trans-form – ma] - around

Redi! – [re-di] – to the original page

Movete – [mo-ve-te] – forward march

Ad contun (scutum) move- [ad con-tum (sku-tum) mo-ve] - side steps to the right (to the left)

State – [sta-te] – stop

Celerate-[kel-e-ra – te] - faster

Tardate – [tar-da-te] – slower

Cede – [ke-de] – backward movement (before the Sta command)

Sta – [sta] – stop moving backwards

Unum, duo, tres, sta- [unum-duo-tres-sta] – one, two, three, stop

Gradum servate- [gra-dum sir-wa-te] – keep step

Layout of legionnaires ' feet when executing the Transforma command
Layout of the feet when executing the Clina command

Part 2. Basic construction

The order is equalized by the right term of the system. Slapping shields in a tight formation also goes to the right. After calculating "first-second", (prímus, secúndus) the second numbers (secúndi) in 2 steps (step back, step right) take over the first numbers (prími).

Scheme for increasing the depth of construction

In primum, secundum numeramini- [in pri-mum se-kun-dum nu-me-ra-mi-ni] – on the first-second pay off

Ad duo, intra! - [ad duo, in-tra] - stand in two ranks from the first rank.

Ad duo, exi! – [ad duo, exi] - stand in two rows of four rows.

Ad quattuor, intra! [ad quat-tu-or, in-tra] - stand in four rows of 2 rows.

Ad quattuor, exi! [ad quat-tu-or, exi] - stand in four ranks out of 8 ranks.

Ad octo, intra! [hell ok-to, in-tra] - stand in eight rows of 4 rows.

Ad unum, exi! [ad uno, exi] - stand in a single line of 2 ranks.

Iunge- [yoon-gae] – close ranks at elbow distance

Largi-[lar – gi] - open the ranks

Mutare-[mu-ta - re] - replacing the first row. By the syllable mu-ta, the legionnaires of the second rank cover the first rank legionnaires in front with their shields. At the syllable "re", the legionnaires of the first rank move to the last row through the right side in reverse, without opening the shield.

Distance between legionnaires in formations

Part 3. Special constructions

Murus-[mu – rus] - build a shield wall

When pronouncing the first part of the command "mu", the first rank puts the shields in front of them, gets down on one knee, propping up the shield if possible. If there is a pilum/spears – it is placed at 45 degrees and rests on the ground and the second foot. On the second part of the team "rus", the second row puts shields on the first row, and the third, after, on the second. Subsequent rows do not overlap.

Murus command execution scheme
Building Murus, reconstruction
Building Murus, reconstruction

Tela-[te – la] - form a defensive formation against projectiles.

When the first part of the command "te" is pronounced, the first row is covered with shields, the second and subsequent rows raise the shields, turning them 90 degrees, thus preparing them for superimposition. On the second part of the "la" team, the second and subsequent ranks impose shields on the legionnaire in front of them.

Preparation for the Tela team, reconstruction
Building a Tela, reconstruction

Ad cuneum-[ad ku-ne – um] - building a wedge

Building occurs relative to the center (centurion/option). The center stays where he is, and his neighbors take two steps back. Each subsequent neighbor takes 2 steps back more than the previous one. The vexillation group goes inside the wedge, in the center, as far as possible from the center.

Construction scheme for the Ad cuneum command

Ad testudinem-[ad tes-tu-di – nem] - building with a turtle

When pronouncing the first part of the command "ad tes", the first rank is covered with shields, the second and subsequent ranks raise the shields, turning them 90 degrees, thus preparing for the imposition, with the exception of flank legionnaires, who instead cover their flank with a shield regardless of the rank (the right flank takes the shields in the right hand). On the second part of the team "tu-di", the second and subsequent ranks impose shields on the legionnaire standing in front of the line. On the third part of the "nem" team, the flank legionnaires stand tightly in formation, covering the "turtle" on the sides.

Construction scheme for the Testuda command

Undique servate- [un-di-kw-e sir-wa-te] – circular defense

When pronouncing the first part of the command "un-di-kwe", the legionnaires form a protective perimeter. In the second part of the "sir-wa-te" command, the remaining legionnaires cover the outer protective perimeter with shields from above. The banner group stands in the center of the formation.

Construction scheme for the Unique servate command

If a vexillarius is present in the formation, the alignment and overlap of shields is relative to it (those to the right of it are aligned to the left, those to the left of the vexillarius-to the right, with the overlap of shields-in the same way). The same applies to rearrangements with a change in the number of rows.

Scheme of leveling building relative to the standard bearer

Command Glossary

Silentium- [si-len-ti-um] - silence

Mandata captate- [man-da-ta cap-ta-te] – attention

Dirige frontem-[di-ri-ge front – tam] - attention

Venite – [ve-ni-te] – build up

Signum demittite- [sig-num de-mit-ti-te] - break up

Reverte – [re-ver-te] – cancel the command

Ad contum, clina-[ad con-tum, cli – na] - to the right

Ad scutum, clina- [ad sku-tum, cli-na] – to the left

Move ad contum-[mo-ve ad con - tum] - side step to the right

Move ad scutum-[mo-ve ad sku - tum] - side step to the left

Ad contun (scutum) depone- [ad con-tum (sku-tum) de-po-ne] - rotation of the shoulder of the formation along the axis to the right (to the left)

Ad contun (scutum) deponite- [ad con-tum (sku-tum) de-po-ni-te] - to the right (to the left) in the movement behind the leader

Transforma-[trans-form – ma] - around

Redi! – [re-di] – to the original page

Movete – [mo-ve-te] – forward march

Ad contum (scutum) move- [ad kon-tum (sku-tum) mo-ve] - side steps to the right (to the left)

State – [sta-te] – stop

Celerate-[kel-e-ra – te] - faster

Tardate – [tar-da-te] – slower

Cede – [ke-de] – backward movement (before the Sta command)

Sta – [sta] – stop moving backwards

Unum, duo, tres, sta- [unum-duo-tres-sta] – one, two, three, stop

Gradum servate- [gra-dum sir-wa-te] – keep step

Arma portate- [ar-ma por-ta-te] – take up arms

Arma demittite – [ar-ma de-mit-ti-te] – put down your weapon

Ad arma-[ad ar – ma] - to arms

Gladium destrigite-[gla-di-um des-tri-gi – te] - sword from the scabbard

Gladium recondite-[gla-di-um re-kon-di – te] - sheathed sword

Vos servate- [vos sir-va-te] – shield yourself

Percute-[peer-ku – te] - Offensive. Quickly approach the enemy with a combat step, covered with shields.

Pila tollite-[saw tol-li – te] - Prepare the pilum for throwing, aim

Pila jactate-[pila yak-ta – te] - Throw the pilum

In primum, secundum numeramini- [in pri-mum se-kun-dum nu-me-ra-mi-ni] – on the first-second pay off

Ad duo, intra! [hell duo, intra] - stand in 2 ranks from the 1st rank.

Ad duo, exi! [hell duo, exy] - stand in two rows of 4 rows.

Iunge- [yoon-gae]– close ranks at elbow distance

Largi-[lar – gi] - open the ranks

Murus-[mu – rus] - build a shield wall

Tela- [te-la]– form a defensive formation against projectiles

Ad testudinem-[ad testu-tu-di– nem] - building a turtle

Ad cuneum-[ad ku-ne– um] - building a wedge

Undique servate- [un-di-kv-e ser-va-te] – circular defense

Mutare - [mu-ta-re] - change the first row

Related topics

Legion, Legionnaire, Auxiliaries

Literature

Ludus Militis Tactica, Kal Malus, 2010

Cassell’s Latin Dictionary. D.P. Simpson, ed. Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1968.Dahm, Murray K. “The Career and Writings of Sextus Julius Frontinus.”

Michael. “Greek Hagiography and Popular Latin in Late Antiquity: The Case of ‘Biberaticum-biberatikon.’” American Journal of Philology, Vol. 102. Pp. 154-163. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981.

Polybius. The Histories. English translation by W. R. Paton. Loeb Classical Library text from LacusCurtius

Gaius Iulius Caesar. Bello Gallico. English translation by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn.

Bello Africo. English translation by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn.

Bello Hispaniensis. English translation by W. A. McDevitte and W. S. Bohn.

Onasander. The General. English translation by Illinois Greek Club, Aeneas Tacticus, Asclepiodotus, Onasander. Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1986.

Flavius Iosephus. Bellum Judaicum. Excerpts in article “The marching order of Flavius Josephus”

Sextus Iulius Frontinus. Strategematon. English translation by Charles E. Bennett. Frontinus, The Strategems and The Aqueducts of Rome. Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1980.

Cornelius Tacitus. Historiae. English translation by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb.

Lucius Flavius Arrianus. Ektacis Kata Alanon (The Expedition Against the Alans). English translation by James G. DeVoto, ed. Tactical Handbook and The Expedition Against the Alans. Ares Publishers, Chicago, 1993.

Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus. Epitoma Rei Militaris. Vegetius: Epitome of Military Science. Translation with notes and introduction by N.P. Milner. Liverpool Univesity Press, Liverpool, 2001.