Caesar, a History of the Art of War among the Romans down to the End of the Roman Empire, with a Detailed Account of the Campaigns of Caius Julius Caesar - Vol. 1

By Theodore Ayrault Dodge | Go to book overview

XXIV.
CÆSAR'S ARMY.

CÆSAR'S legionary was no longer a citizen-soldier, as in the Punic wars; he was a professional, or a mercenary. He served for a livelihood, not as a duty. The legion was no longer set up in three lines according to property rating; it was marshaled in two or three lines of cohorts, the cohort being a body of four to six hundred men, ranked according to military qualities, and ten cohorts went to the legion. The men retained substantially the old equipment; they occupied in line a space of but three feet front instead of five. The intervals between cohorts had sensibly decreased. The camp and camp-followers, musicians, standards and petty details of all kinds remained much as before. Light troops and cavalry were recruited from conquered tribes. Each legion had six tribunes who commanded it in turn under a legate. The general staff of the army had quartermasters, aides, engineers, lictors, scouts and a body-guard. The legionary's pay was about that of a day-laborer, but largesses and booty were bountiful. For defense, the legion or army formed square or circle. It readily ployed into column or deployed into line. The orders of march were accurately laid down and well observed. The average march was about fifteen miles. The train was less long than ours, there being neither artillery nor ammunition. For battle the army was drawn up on the slope of a hill; it still attacked, as had always been its habit. The legion of the Punic war was good because the men were good; Cæsar's was effective because he was able.

THE tactical formation of the early Roman army was described in the volume on Hannibal. Considerable changes in this tactical formation had taken place since the Punic wars; some were introduced by Marius, or by Cæsar as a consequence of his campaigns. The Roman soldier as to arms, equipment and minor tactics, was to all intents and purposes the same as he had been in the time of Hannibal. He still wore helmet, cuirass, and greave on right leg; he still bore spear, shield and sword. But in character, quality

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