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Who Was Tertius / Tercius?
#1
I was watching Band of Brothers (episode 7, "The Breaking Point"), in which Lt. Ron Spiers and First Sergeant Lipton discuss Spiers's fearsome reputation. The following exchange takes place between them in a church, following the Battle of Foy:

Quote:Spiers: You wanna know if they're true or not. The stories about me? Did you ever notice with stories like that, everyone says they heard it from someone who was there. Then when you ask that person, they say *they* heard it from someone who was there. It's nothing new really. I bet if you went back two thousand years, you'd hear a couple centurions standing around yakking about how Tertius lopped off the heads of some Carthaginian prisoners.
Lipton: Well, maybe they kept talking about it because they never heard Tertius deny it.
Spiers: Maybe that's because Tertius knew there was some value to the men thinking he was the meanest, toughest son of a bitch in the whole Roman Legion.

After a while on google, I haven't been able to find anything concrete about a Roman soldier named Tertius (or Tercius; I'm not even sure of the spelling) who butchered a bunch of Carthaginian prisoners.

Was he a real soldier or was this just something they made up for the series? If they did make it up, it seems rather odd, given the number of real figures they could have used.

Any ideas?
Real name: Stephen Renico
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#2
I see from another forum that you (or someone else using the pseudonym 'Wunderhund') asked this question as long ago as 2003, without getting a response. I suggest that the incident is entirely fictitious and that it and the name Tertius were plucked out of the air purely for the purposes of the discussion.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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#3
Tertius, "the third man" in any discussion?
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#4
Quote:You wanna know if they're true or not. The stories about me? Did you ever notice with stories like that, everyone says they heard it from someone who was there. Then when you ask that person, they say *they* heard it from someone who was there. It's nothing new really. I bet if you went back two thousand years, you'd hear a couple centurions standing around yakking about how Tertius lopped off the heads of some Carthaginian prisoners.

To me, it seems from the context that Tertius is not a real person, and this is entirely the point. It is simply a figure with a reputation built upon something unclear. If it was a real person, with a reputation built upon real eyewitnesses, the point would be lost and the conversation meaningless. The seemingly generic name "Tertius" fits this perfectly, and that is why they didn't use "Scipio" or "Pompey" or "Caesar" - all real people with real backgrounds to their reputations. They want an air of mystery and uncertainty.
David J. Cord
http://www.davidcord.com
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#5
Quote:To me, it seems from the context that Tertius is not a real person, and this is entirely the point.
That's what I meant, David. He's just "the third guy" (tertius) in the story.
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#6
It is a dramatisation of a story that Ambrose relates in the book:

Quote:The rumor mill swirled around Lieutenant Speirs. No one ever saw "it" happen with his own eyes, but he knew someone who did. They may just be stories, but they were believed, or half-believed, by the men of E Company.
S. Ambrose, Band of Brothers, 206

It goes on to tell of the rumours that he shot one of his own men who was drunk on duty and machine-gunned a group of German prisoners (a moment earlier dramatised in the film).

Hollywood, eh? What can you do with them?!

Mike Bishop
You know my method. It is founded upon the observance of trifles

Blogging, tweeting, and mapping Hadrian\'s Wall... because it\'s there
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#7
Quote:I see from another forum that you (or someone else using the pseudonym 'Wunderhund') asked this question as long ago as 2003, without getting a response. I suggest that the incident is entirely fictitious and that it and the name Tertius were plucked out of the air purely for the purposes of the discussion.

Not me. I didn't see this particular post. Besides, I would choose a better internet nickname.

I did see it asked in a couple of other places, and the "third man" as an explanation, but saw nothing definitively verified. I figured if I wanted an accurate answer, this was the place to get it.
Real name: Stephen Renico
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