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. 2

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. 2

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. 2

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. 2

Excerpt

CÆSAR.

XXV. CAMPS, SIEGES AND BALLISTICS.

IN camp the men had tents, which were carried inthe column by pack-mules. In winter-quarters the camps were larger and more carefullyintrenched, but similar to the daily camps. These latter could be intrenched in afew hours. Little change in fortification and siege work took place fromAlexander's era to Cæsar's. The walls of the Italian citieswere by no means like those of Babylon and Nineveh; but they were highand well built, and much skill was put to defend and take them. The same sheds and screens forapproaching walls were used; mounds and towers were built, and the lines ofcontra- and circumvallation were thrown up as of yore. The walls wereundermined or battered down by rams. Sorties were made by the garrison to destroythe besieger's works. The ballistic machines of the Romans do not strikeus as being as good as those of Alexander, whose fieldartillery was excellent and easily transported. Still there were small engines used on the walls ofcamps and sometimes in line of battle. Cæsar's siegeswere expert; that of Alesia is one of the finest of antiquity.

WE do not know exactly how Cæsar's campswere laid out. Polybius gives us the plan of the Roman campsin the Second Punic War; Hyginus gives us that ofthe time of the Empire. As Rüstow says, what is common to bothwas no doubt a constituent of Cæsar's camp.Cæsar's was presumably much the same as either, the changes relating merely to the differences in organization of troops.Cæsar had no definite number of auxiliaries, as was usual in the War against Hannibal, and the camp was calculated accordingly. Its general arrangement was what it had been for centuries. It was pitched on high ground, fronting down a slope,favorably near wood and water, and away from probable opportunity for ambush. A desirable place was the slope towards . . .

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