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Anonymous

Hi Caius here with a question, did the Roman Army use the drum to keep step. I was recently looking at a Pic of an Italian group. The Legionaries (XI Claudia)were marching in the country to a beat of the drum. Is this accurtae. As I recall reading in Ospreys that the drum was unknow in the Roman Army.If someone could enlighten me Thanks in advance Thom/Caius <p></p><i></i>
<em>did the Roman Army use the drum to keep step</em><br>
<br>
No, they didn't. There were certainly percussion instruments in the Roman world (especially in eastern religions), but they do not occur in military contexts. It is one of those Hollywood factoids (like Roman slave galleys, leather armour, and the Romulan salute) that resurfaces every so often (remember Gladiator? bom-bom-bom-diddy-bom...). We don't even know that they <em>did</em> keep step (cue flame-war), since cadenced marching (as in 'sin-sin-sin-dex-sin') seems to have been a comparatively recent invention. Rhythm in Athenian galleys was apparently kept by flute players (presumably employing some sort of syncopation) but we don't know how the Romans did it. We can <em>guess</em>, but we don't <em>know</em> ;-)<br>
<br>
Mike Bishop <p></p><i></i>
Well, they did it the same way on their galleys anyway. Or that's what Starr, <em>The Roman Imperial Navy</em> (3rd ed Chicago 1963) supposes. However, the symphoniacus or trierauletes are unattested in the epigraphical record (or at least the ones online ) <p>Greets<br>
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Jasper</p><i></i>
Quote:</em></strong><hr>We don't even know that they did keep step (cue flame-war), since cadenced marching (as in 'sin-sin-sin-dex-sin') seems to have been a comparatively recent invention. <hr><br>
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Ah, you mean 'dex-dex-dex-sin-dex' of course!<br>
<br>
But seriously, any suggestions? Flutes or other instruments? I mean, marching without keeping step simply won't get you the distances you need when you want to make speed on the road. And yes, I do realise that most of our image of the Roman army is based on our image of modern armies, including the neat ranks and marching columns. But i seem to recall from certain depictions of Roman formations in contemporary art that they indeed knew and used tight formations. And such formations, while on the march, surely would develop a natural need to keep in step, right?<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Valerius/Robert <p></p><i></i>
We've been over this ground before methinks. Someone want to look for a thread called Marching in step (or something)? <p>Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper</p><i></i>

Anonymous

As far as galleys are concerned, contemporary experiments were made regarding cadence and how to keep it.<br>
These experiments took place aboard "Olympias", a reconstructed athenian trireme.<br>
No drum was involved of course. It is hard to reconcile the rythm given by a drum --Boom Boom-- with rowing, which consists of pulllllllling and pushhhhing, if you see what I mean.<br>
The crew of Olympias found out that the best way not to get the oars all tangled up together was to hum a tune. Apparently some tunes are better than others but I don't remember which one they chose.<br>
In any case, given the slow, kind of fluid rythm of rowing, a flute -- or humming a tune-- works clearly better than drums.<br>
<p></p><i></i>
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Hey, at Ostia 2003 we marched fine by the sound of utriculum and horn, it was a perfect pace rythm...<br>
<br>
users.libero.it/sabsab/ostia2003.htm (click on video 3)<br>
<br>
Valete,<br>
Titus <p></p><i></i>
Quote:</em></strong><hr>I mean, marching without keeping step simply won't get you the distances you need when you want to make speed on the road.<hr><br>
I wonder if Vegetius's "military step" (<em>gradus militaris</em>) might be relevent? <p></p><i></i>

Gaius Decius Aquilius

Quote:</em></strong><hr>The crew of Olympias found out that the best way not to get the oars all tangled up together was to hum a tune. Apparently some tunes are better than others but I don't remember which one they chose.<hr><br>
<br>
You dont suppose it could have been "Row, row, row,your boat" ?<br>
<br>
ta-ta-boom!<br>
<br>
Gaius<br>
who realises this was stupid, but it was too obvious to pass up <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/[email protected]anarmytalk>Gaius Decius Aquilius</A> at: 4/20/04 9:11 pm<br></i>
<p>Greets<br>
<br>
Jasper</p><i></i>
I remember seeing a carving of a small Roman oared freighter of some kind, and there was a guy sitting in the back who seemed to be clapping his hands, supposedly to keep the rowers in rhythm.<br>
<br>
I imagine a Roman army on the march wouldn't need musicians to keep pace, once the pace had been established, any stragglers getting a vine staff upside the head.<br>
<br>
A Roman army, in formation, marching forward on a battlefield wouldn't, I would think, need music to stay in formation. Being much larger than a Greek hoplite army, I can't imagine the number of musicians necessary, or where they would have to be placed for every soldier (and every musician) to hear the tune. For the formation to maintain a straight line before contact with the enemy, it would have to be dressed every so often anyway, with or without musicians. I should think it was one of the jobs of the centurion or the optio to maintain a straight battle line.<br>
<br>
I suppose if you really did want to use music to keep some kind of pace, drums would be better than flutes or horns, as I believe they produce a more omni-directional sound.<br>
<br>
Gregg <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Avete fratres,<br>
we are following paying lot of interest in this subject and we are happy to have involved all of you in this discussion.<br>
<br>
I could say 3 different motivations to justify our use of drums in keeping step.<br>
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1) flutes and horns may work but what when you are supposedly at the head of 6000 people marching? Or more than a legion? Could the last row hear the flute?<br>
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2) If Roman technology did invent devices such "cingulum" just to let the enemies to hear the roman soldiers coming and being terrified, so we could guess that the sound of a flute should generate a feeling of peace instead terror into the enemies. Drums may work better as their sound it is a component really more aggressive and hard.<br>
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3)we experienced the drums and we did marched better. They did helped us to keep the step. And don't forget that the beat (drum or any other kind), is the more natural sound in nature. It exists since the beginning of mankind and gorillas use to beat their breast when they want to scare enemies. And soldiers i met in some festivals use to beat swords against shields to create a beating (and terrifying) sound.<br>
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These are our own reason, and, of course guys, they may be wrong. So, we just provided an explanation of our choises and we'll go on following this discussion couse we are really interested in others opinion.<br>
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My best wishes and regards<br>
<br>
Giorgio Franchetti<br>
Ferox, the gladiator<br>
Head of Press Office of GSR<br>
Committee's Coordinator for 21st april Celebration <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

Here's a thought -<br>
<br>
As far as we can tell, Romans did not use drums for military step. (dangit!) I wonder if not drums, but rapping on a scutum could have been used. (of course no evidence, just an idea...maybe the Centurio and maybe Optio beat on thier shields?)<br>
<br>
But what I think could be plausable, is that after a time of training and learning to just keep neat lines and rank with each other, that legionares would get used to each other's pace, set to the "standard" pace, or course, and use the sound of thier feet marching together as a kind of beat...It's easier to make a controlled noise/beat with your feet crunching away, than it is to try and have the apron on your balteus clank and clonk away consistently, or at least, the racket of everyone's kit clanking and clonking together.<br>
<br>
Perhaps they got used to a mental rythyum listening to each other, or the officers, march in synch. You can march with a "beat" by mentally putting in a pause between steps. If you were marching quickly, perhaps you would have little or no pause.<br>
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as for flutes or cornicerns...I certainly do NOT want to be responsible for tooting on a horn consistently and with a set beat while marching in kit on a route march myself. Sounds exausting....and boring as heck!<br>
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but, no evidence, unless I'm missing something myself. Just thoughts.<br>
ANDY <p></p><i></i>

Anonymous

I found what they were humming on Olympias:<br>
<br>
"Keeping all the oars in time turned out to be a major problem: commands could not be heard through a noisy, wooden, body-laden boat. <span style="text-decoration:underline">A shrill pipe turned out to be a reasonable compromise</span> (ancient texts refer to these), but the best results of all were obtained when the whole crew hummed a tune (no evidence for this, alas).<br>
Pachelbel's Canon was used during their most successful row -astonishingly at night. Imagine: a trireme skimming over the wine-dark Aegean as the fiery sun sinks below the horizon, its oars in perfect harmony, the crew humming ..."<br>
For those who are into sailing: a top --dash-- speed of 11,5 knots was achieved...<br>
As far as walking in step is concerned we know the roman soldiers had marching songs ("Unus homo mille mille...") and also songs making fun of their officers ("Here comes Caesar, the bald...").<br>
I am certain, absolutely certain, that these songs weren't the only ones. I am also certain that they had some form of cadence --It's called "Jodie" in the US-- like they have in modern armies.<br>
I just cannot imagine those men walking for miles and miles in total silence. However I am also sure that at the end of a 25 mile march, they looked exactly like a modern outfit looks like after a 25 mile march.. At that point you're usually silent..<br>
<p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://b30.ezboard.com/broman[email protected]alk>Antoninus Lucretius</A> <IMG HEIGHT=10 WIDTH=10 SRC="http://lucretius.homestead.com/files/Cesar_triste.jpg" BORDER=0> at: 4/22/04 1:30 pm<br></i>
Legio IX Hispana use several "jodies"<br>
<br>
"Hey Primus" is our favorite...<br>
...and we even have one in Latin.. yeah we made it up....<br>
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I often beat my stick on my scutum to keep a beat<br>
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Calling out a cadence works very well.<br>
.. Un, du, tre, quat...<br>
.. sin, dex, sin dex...<br>
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We train.. a lot, (not enough by my standards) but that also helps a great deal. A few Miles in good cadence and others fall in step...<br>
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Having lots of active duty US Marines, US Army Reservists and retired military helps.<br>
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March, march, march<br>
<br>
Hibernicus<br>
<br>
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