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Contubernium

(159 words)

Author(s): Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] in the basic meaning of the word meant a communal lodging of soldiers; it applied either to a tent camp during an expeditio or to barracks in a fixed encampment (Tac. Ann. 1,41,1). Two extensions of meaning developed from that: the term was used for a group of soldiers sharing a lodging, and from that it was used to describe a shared sense of trust and solidarity among those soldiers (Suet. Tib. 14,4; Caes. B Civ. 2,29). This included the officers. The contubernium seems not to have been a tactical unit, although in Vegetius (Veg. Mil. 2,13) the contubernium is used as a synon…

Pilum

(592 words)

Author(s): Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] In a brief reference in Servius (Serv. Aen. 7,664: “pilum proprie est hasta Romana”), the pilum, a throwing-spear, is taken for the typical Roman spear. Among the earliest evidence for the use of the pilum in the Roman army is the depiction of the Battle of Panormus in 250 BC (Pol. 1,40). In Livy (8,8), the first two battle rows of the legions in the time around 340 BC are called the antepilani ('soldiers in front of the pilum bearers'). In his description of the Roman army, Polybius speaks of the γρόσφοι/ grósphoi as the javelins of the youngest soldiers, and the ὑσσοί/ hyssoí as …

Ala

(332 words)

Author(s): Höcker, Christoph (Kissing) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] [1] Part of the Roman atrium house Part of the Roman atrium house ( House;  Atrium). The term ala designates two opposing rooms, open in their full width and height, that form the cross axis in front of the tablinum or main room of the house. Alae were very common in Roman home construction; Vitruvius lists the correct proportions for design (6,3,4). The origin of the design type is unclear. The conjecture that, in Vitruvius' description of the Tuscan temple (4,7,1), the term for the two outer cellae of the Etruscan temple ( Temple) is alae (instead of aliae, as the text has…

Armamentaria

(178 words)

Author(s): Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] In early times the armamentaria or arsenals were situated in Rome itself; with the expansion of the Roman Imperium they were also installed in cities close to the theatres of war. In the legionary camps of the Principate the armamentaria were in the principia, those for the navy in the ports (CIL VI 999, 2725; VIII 2563); in Rome there was an armamentarium in the castra praetoria. The weapons were stored according to type, not army unit, and were guarded by the armorum custodes; the armamentarium was under the authority of a curator operis armamentarii and a magister, who was…

Military penal law

(503 words)

Author(s): Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] The penal law in effect in the Roman army recognized two different categories of malfeasance. The first category concerned those offences which were also punished in the civilian world, such as theft or crimen maiestatis ( maiestas ). The second category included specific misconduct in military service, above all disobedience toward superiors, absence from the unit without leave, desertion ( desertor ), and treason ( perduellio ). The composition of the military tribunal and the punishments changed in accordance with the gener…

Prisoners of war

(1,665 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the early period (4th-3rd millennia), both in Egypt ( sqr-nḫ, 'those tied up for killing' [3]) and in Mesopotamia, POW were often killed on the battlefield. Killing - as a ritualized act - or parading POW and plunder before the ruler was ideological in character and hence a theme of pictorial representation  (southern Mesopotamia in 3100 BC: the killing of chained, naked POW in the presence of the ruler [5. 9]; 24th cent: naked male POW - probably immediately after their…

Tribuli

(192 words)

Author(s): Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] The term tribuli described metal spikes with four points so arranged that one of them always pointed upwards (Veg. Mil. 3,24,4); they represented a very dangerous obstacle for infantry and cavalry. They can be traced to the τριβόλοι/ tribóloi of the Greeks, who may have adopted them from the Persians (Polyaen. 4,17: Darius [3]); even the Celts were familiar with them. The Romans, who are supposed to have used  tribuli as early as  295 BC at Sentinum  (Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 20,1), systematically deployed them in the wars with Antiochus [5] III and Mi…

War booty

(1,607 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the ancient Near East, the procurement of WB was directed towards obtaining important raw materials (e.g. metals - Egypt: gold from Nubia, silver from Cilicia, copper from Cyprus (Middle Kingdom); Assyria: iron from Iran, silver from Cilicia; Cilices, Cilicia) and items required for further warfare (e.g. horses, chariots in Assyria, 1st millennium BC) or served to supply the royal court with luxury goods for purposes of prestige. WB must be distinguished from '…

Armament

(2,356 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Greece The main literary source for the armaments of Greek armies of the Geometric period is the 'Iliad', and the main archaeological sources are weapon finds and vase depictions mostly from grave goods. These genres of source materials cannot always be demonstrated to be consonant, as Homer has some of his heroes use weaponry from the Mycenaean period, and these are no longer archaeologically attested (e.g. boar's tooth helmet, Il. 10,261-265; long or 'tower' shield, Il. 7,219-2…
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