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In the civil wars battles among legionaries, how they could recognize friends or foes? ?<br>
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During an intense (and dusty?) fight, stated the difficulty of recognizing the different units by means of standards and sounds, how each soldier could avoid to kill his own "commilitones" for mistake?<br>
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I guess that having the same tipe of equipment, the different fighting legions could be recognizable by means of different colors of: tunics? Shields? Crests? Plumes? Or what?<br>
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Any evidence about temporary colors water paints?<br>
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Ualete<br>
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Titus Sabatinus Aquilius <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
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Recognition would be by shields and standards as indicated by the following references to events in Roman civil wars record.<br>
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<i> Historiae</i> 3.23<br>
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<i> ...Namque Vitelliani tormenta in aggerem viae contulerant ut tela vacuo atque aperto excuterentur, dispersa primo et arbustis sine hostium noxa inlisa. Magnitudine eximia quintae decimae legionis ballista ingentibus saxis hostilem aciem proruebat. Lateque cladem intulisset ni duo milites praeclarum facinus ausi, arreptis e strage scutis ignorati, vincla ac libramenta tormentorum abscidissent. Statim confossi sunt eoque intercidere nomina: de facto haud ambigitur. ...</i><br>
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'... The Vitellians had brought the artillery together on the causeway so that the missiles could be fired from a clear and open spot, (missiles) that at first were dispersed and had hit trees without injury to the enemies. A catapult of enormous size of the fifteenth legion was shattering the enemy line with enormous stones. And it would have inflicted defeat on a wide scale had not two soldiers executed a daring feat, not recognised after they had taken shields from the (site of the) slaughter, they cut the ropes and springs of the torsion guns. They were immediately cut down and their names have for this reason been lost: about the action itself however there is no doubt ...'<br>
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<i> Bellum Africum</i> 16<br>
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<i> Labienus in equo capite nudo versari in prima acie, simul suos cohortari, nonnumquam legionarios Caesaris ita appellare: 'Quid tu' inquit 'miles tiro, tam feroculus es? Vos quoque iste verbis infatuavit? In magnum mehercule vos periculum impulit. Misereor vestri.' Tum miles, 'Non sum' inquit 'tiro Labiene, sed de legione X veteranus.' Tum Labienus, 'Non agnosco' inquit 'signa decumanorum.' Tum ait miles: 'Iam me quis sim intelleges'; simul cassidem de capite deiecit ut cognosci ab eo posset, atque ita pilum viribus contortum, dum in Labienum mittere contendit, equi graviter adverso pectori adfixit et ait: 'Labiene, decumanum militem qui te petit scito esse.' Omnium tamen animi in terrorem coniecti, et maxime tironum: circumspicere enim Caesarem neque amplius facere nisi hostium iacula vitare.</i><br>
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'Labienus roamed bareheaded on horseback in the front line, at the same time encouraging his own, als calling out to the legionaries of Caesar in this manner. 'What is the matter with you', he asked, 'raw recruit, that you are so ferocious? Has that guy made you out of your minds with his words? He really has brought you in great peril. I pity you all' Then a soldier said: 'I'am no recruit, but a veteran of the 10th legion' In turn Labienus said: 'I do not recognise the standards of the soldiers of the tenth'. Then the soldier said: 'Yet you'll understand who I am'. At the same time he took off his helmet so that he could be recognised by him, and threw a pilum with force in such a way that though he tried to throw it at Labienus, he he seriously wounded the horse in the chest and said: 'Labienus, you know that it was a soldier of the tenth who aimed at you'. The minds of all were nevertheless struck with fear, and especially the recruits: they looked at Caesar and did no more than shield themselves from the missiles of the enemy'<br>
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Shield designs were used for identification (see the various previous threads where the relevant references are quoted) and unit names could be written on both shields and standards.<br>
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Not related to a Roman civil war, but used as an IFF measure to distinguish allied - from hostile Gauls in Caesar's conquest of that famously tripartite area was leaving the right shoulder bare.<br>
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<i> Bellum Gallicum</i> 7.50<br>
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<i> Cum acerrime comminus pugnaretur, hostes loco et numero, nostri virtute confiderent, subito sunt Aedui visi ab latere nostris aperto, quos Caesar ab dextra parte alio ascensu manus distinendae causa miserat. Hi similitudine armorum vehementer nostros perterruerunt, ac tametsi dextris humeris exsertis animadvertebantur, quod insigne +pacatum+ esse consuerat, tamen id ipsum sui fallendi causa milites ab hostibus factum existimabant...</i><br>
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'When the hand to hand fighting was raging most savagely, the enemy trusting in their position and numerical strength, our men in their bravery, suddenly the Aedui were spotted by our men at their exposed flank, those Caesar had sent from the right side via a different ascent in order to divert forces. These terrified our men tremendously because of the similarity of their arms, and even though they were recognised by their bare right shoulders, what used to be the sign of those at peace, still the soldiers assumed that this was done by the enemy in order to deceive them...'<br>
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Regards,<br>
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Sander van Dorst <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showLocalUserPublicProfile?login=sandervandorst>Sander van Dorst</A> at: 7/4/02 2:59:50 pm<br></i>
Thank you very much to give me (us) so excellent and quick answers, Sander.<br>
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Often, I try to put myself in the legionaries shoes to imagine how they could live and fight, even through details (everybody here does it). I think I'd have a lot of troubles to recognize my own commilitones in such metal tempest, even if the unit name was written on shields and standards.<br>
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...Sometimes, reading the texts, I suspect they knew personally any component of their legion (even the auxilia?)... Like happens in any small town.<br>
Anyway the helmets did not help to recognize groups of fellows in battle. Perhaps differents color crests, if weared by all men of the unit just for such situations... Just wondering...<br>
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Uale,<br>
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Titus Sabatinus Aquilius <p></p><i></i>

Guest

Salve,<br>
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The big secret behind speedy responses is to have been asked those things before before and cutting and pasting from answers to such previous questions.<br>
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Use of different warcries and watch words/counter signs could also aid in distinguishing friendlies from an enemy.<br>
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Regards,<br>
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Sander van Dorst <p></p><i>Edited by: <A HREF=http://pub45.ezboard.com/bromanarmytalk.showLocalUserPublicProfile?login=sandervandorst>Sander van Dorst</A> at: 7/4/02 4:49:03 pm<br></i>