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From Hutton Webster's, Early European History (1917); edited for this on-line publication, by ELLOPOS
IV. THE RISE OF ROME TO 264 B.C.
» Contents of this ChapterPage 26
A very remarkable part of the Roman military system consisted in the use of fortified camps. Every time the army halted, if only for a single night, the legionaries intrenched themselves within a square inclosure. It was protected by a ditch, an earthen mound, and a palisade of stakes. This camp formed a little city with its streets, its four gates, a forum, and the headquarters of the general. Behind the walls of such a fortress an army was always at liberty to accept or decline a battle. As a proverb said, the Romans often conquered by "sitting still."
DISCIPLINE: REWARDS AND HONORS
Roman soldiers lived under the strictest discipline. To their general they owed absolute, unquestioning obedience. He could condemn them to death without trial. The sentinel who slept on his watch, the legionary who disobeyed an order or threw away his arms on the field of battle, might be scourged with rods and then beheaded. The men were encouraged to deeds of valor by various marks of distinction, which the general presented to them in the presence of the entire army. The highest reward was the civic crown of oak leaves, granted to one who had saved the life of a fellow-soldier on the battle field.
Cf. The Ancient Greece * The Ancient Rome
Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium) * Western Medieval Europe * Renaissance in Italy