Glasgow Archaeological Society   [Hrsg.]
The Antonine Wall report: being an account of excavations, etc., made under the direction of the Glasgow Archæological Society during 1890 - 93 — Glasgow, 1899

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chapters, in each of which the rampart of sod is first described.
Vegetius, in one of these passages, though probably using
the ordinary current terra, possibly borrowed an expression
from Julius Caesar1 relative to the cespes or sod which more
than once plays a part2 in his Commentaries, as it does
in other narratives3 of Roman war. The Emperor Hadrian,

pedibus decern et septem,—imparem their shields and their baggage set in a
enim numeruffl observari moris est—; circle round their own standards, the
tunc saepibus ductis vel interpositis soldiers, girt with their swords, open a
stipitibus ramisque arborum, ne terra ditch either 9 or 11 or 13 feet broad or,
facile dilabatur, agger erigitur ; supra if a very great force of the enemy is
quem ad similitudinem muri et pinnae feared, 17 feet—for it is the practice
et propugnacula conponuntur. Opus to adhere to an odd number. Then,
vero centuriones decempedis metiuntur after constructing a fence or placing at
ne minus foderit aut erraverit alicujus intervals logs and branches of trees to
ignavia et tribuni circumeunt nec ante prevent the earth from readily falling
discedunt qui strenui sunt quam fuerint asunder, the agger is erected, upon
universa perfecta. which, just as on a wall, battlements

and forts are placed. The centurions
measure off the work in lengths of 10
feet, lest by the laziness of anybody
he dig less than his share or go away:
and the tribunes go 'round and, if they
are hard workers, do not leave off
before the whole is finished.
Also lib. ii., cap. 25. [Legio] Habet ii. 25. The legion has iron drags,
ferreos harpagonas quos lupos vocant called lupi, and iron scythes fixed on
et falees ferreas eonfixas longissimis very long poles; also for doing the
contis, item ad fossarum opera facienda work of the fosses it has picks, mat-
bidentes ligones palas rutra alveos tocks, spades, and pickaxes, and wooden
cofinos quibus terra portetur. troughs and baskets, with which to

carry away the soil.

1 Caesar De Bello Gallico, lib. v., cap. 42. The Nervii had learned the Roman
mode of fortifying a camp, but, having no supply of iron tools fit for the purpose,
they were constrained to cut the sod with their swords and to lift and carry the
soil with their hands and cloaks, " Sed nulla ferramentorum copia quae esset ad
hunc usum idonea, gladiis cespites circumcidere, manibus sagulisque terram ex
haurire cogebantur."

2 De Bello Gallico, lib. v., cap. 51. Caisar here records his curious stratagem
to deceive the Gauls. He put walls built of single rows of sods in the gateways
of his camp so as to give it the appearance of being walled all round, " Obstructis
in speciem portis singulis ordinibus cespituin."

3 Tacitus, Annals, lib. i., cap. 65, depicting the distresses of the army
of Germanicus at a critical stage of the campaign with Arniinius, says—"Neque is
miseriarum finis : struenduni vallum, petendus agger : amissa magna ex parte per
quae egeritur humus aut exeiditur cespes." The cutting of sods must have been
a considerable part of the work of fortification, else the master of Roman brevity
would not have given it a separate clause. He had Livy's example before him—
"Nec terra caespiti faciendo . . . apta inveniri posset." Lib. xxv., cap. 36.
Josephus (Wars of the Jews, lib. iii., cap. 5) says a Roman camp was first encom-
passed with a wall; then, if occasion required, a trench was drawn round the
whole. From this it might be assumed that, where the wall was made first (as
Josephus says it was), the wall, if not of stone, would be of sod, not of the pro-
miscuous earth from the undug ditch. Indeed, that is precisely what Vegetius
says was actually the case.
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