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Military commands of Romans

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Roman legionnaires
Roman legionnaires

As no military regulations have been preserved until today, including Roman commands from the period of the republic or empire, most of the commands are adapted from “Strategikon”. Scientists suspect that the author of the work is the Byzantine emperor himself – Maurice – and this is the most popular view. Some, however, think that the real creator maybe his brother Peter or another member of the Byzantine military staff.

“Strategikon” was written in simple Greek in the late 6th century CE. The work sums up the military reforms implemented by Emperor Maurice. XII books describe various aspects of the tactics of the Byzantine army of the 6th century CE: cavalry, infantry, sieges, supplies, marches, etc. The author certainly knew the work of Aelianus Tacitus (2nd century CE) – “On Tactical Arrays of the Greeks” or Onasander’s “Strategikos” (1st century CE). After being translated into Latin, it is the oldest known Latin military regulation.

Below are gathered in Latin military commands – collected from “Strategikon”. Some of those commands certainly date back to Roman legions and were then in use. The Byzantine army relied heavily on Roman models – it was not so different in regards to military terminology and commands. Therefore, we can confidently consider them in the case of the Romans.

Military commands

  • ACIA IN ACIA – Columns in the column
  • ADIUTA DEUS – Lord help us
  • AD CONTO, CLINA – Front right
  • AD DECARCHAS – Behind Decarchi
  • AD FULCON – Form the Fulkon
  • AD LATUS STRINGE – Close the ranks
  • AD OCTO – Form eight in a row
  • AD PENTARCHAS – Behind the Pentarchi
  • AD SCUTO CLINA – Front left
  • AMI FULCO – Proceed in Fulkon
  • BANDO SEQUUTE – Follow the banner
  • BANDUM CAPTA – Observe the banner
  • CEDE – Re-enter (back)
  • CLAUDIO – Halt
  • CUM ORDINE SEQUE – Follow in good order
  • CURSU MINA! – Gallop! Charge!
  • DEPONE (AU) DEXTRA – Right turn
  • DEPONE (AU) SINISTRA – Left turn
  • DEXTER – Right
  • DIRIGE FRONTEM – Adjust the front
  • EQUALITER AMBULA – Move (Advance) uniformly
  • EXI – Out (from the column)
  • INTRA – Enter
  • IPSO SEQUE CUM BANDO MILIX – Soldier, follow the banner with the rest of your company
  • IPSUM SERVE ET TU BANDIFER – You too, standard bearer, keep your position
  • JUNGE – Close ranks
  • JUNGE FULCO – Meet in fulkon (Close in fulkon or together in fulkon)
  • LARGIA AD AMBAS PARTES – Expand on both sides
  • LARGIA AD DEXTRAM – Expand to the right
  • LARGITER AMBULA – Forward (Advance) in open order
  • MANDATA CAPTATE – Hear the orders
  • MEDII PARTITIS AD DIFALANGIAM – Divide in half double phalanx
  • MOVE – Forward
  • MUTA LOCUM – Change position
  • NEMO ANTECEDAT BANDUM – Nobody advance in front (precede) of the banner
  • NEMO DEMITTAT – Not backward
  • NEMO DEMITTAT BANDUM ET INIMICOS SEQUE – Nobody leave the banner or follow the enemy
  • NON VOS TURBATIS – Not create disorder (very useful for Forum moderators!)
  • ORDINEM SERVATE – Maintain the deployment (the formation)
  • PARATI – Get ready
  • PERCUTE! – Charge!
  • PRIMI FERMI, SECUNDI AD DIFALANGIAM EXITE – Firsts (line) stop. Seconds (line) out in duble phalanx
  • REDI – Aboutface
  • REVERTE – Re-enter
  • SERVA MILIX ORDINEM POSITUM – Soldier, keep the position assigned
  • SI VERO BANDUM DEMITTES EO MODO NON VERO VICES – If you leave the banner, you’ll not ever win
  • SIC VENIAS VERO AEQUALIS FACIES – Advance aligned with the other in your row
  • SILENTIUM – Silence!
  • SINISTER – Left
  • SIVE PUGNAS SIVE SEQUES INIMICUM SIVE AEQUALIS FACIES, NON FORTE MINARE UT NE SPARGES TU SUUM ORDINEM – Whether you fight, whether you chase the enemy, whether you keep the row (line), do not charge impetuously not to break the formation
  • STA – Halt
  • SUSCIPE – Receive
  • TALIS EST COMODUM MILES BARBATI – So acts a brave soldier
  • TORNA MINA – Turn and charge
  • TRANSFORMA – Reversing the front
  • TRANSMUTA – Change position
  • UNDIQUE SERVATE – Front towards any side
  • Maurice, Strategikon

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