Brill’s New Pauly

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(293 words)

[German version]

The velites were a light infantry unit that opend the battle in front of the formation of the manipular army similar to the rorarii of earlier times (Liv. 8,8,8; 8,9,14). Equipped with leather helmets, round shields. short swords and seven lances ( hasta [1]; Pol. 6,21,9-22,4; Liv. 38,21,13), it was their job to demoralize the enemy by throwing a volley of javelins and then, after the 'skirmish' (velitatio), to retreat behind their own lines (Pol. 2,30,1-5; 3,65,5-7; Liv.). The speed at which they surged ahead was essential, since the object was …

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Schumacher, Leonhard, “Velites”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 01 December 2020 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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