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XVI.16‑20

This webpage reproduces part of
Siege Defense

by
Aeneas Tacticus

(Loeb Classical Library edition, 1928)

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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XXXII‑XL

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Aeneas Tacticus
On the Defence of Fortified Positions

p105 [link to original Greek text] XXI

1 Provision of tools, and all suitable preparations on friendly soil, and the methods necessary for concealing the property in the land or for rendering it useless to one's opponents, are here omitted, but these have been fully set forth in the book on Military Preparations. 2 About the disposition of guards and patrols, however, and panics, and watchwords, and countersigns, the greater part will have p107to be written in the book on Encampments, but a few of these points we shall now set forth.

[link to original Greek text] XXII. [Guards]

[link to original Greek text] 1 To keep guard by night when danger threatens, and the enemy are already lying near the city or camp, 2 it is necessary for the general in command of the entire force and his staff to take their post at the city-hall and the market-place, provided these be defensible; but if not, the strongest place in the whole city and the most conspicuous should have been previously occupied. 3 Close by the general's quarters the trumpeter and the dispatch-bearers should encamp, and remain there, so that if a signal or a dispatch be needed, they may be ready at hand, and the other watchmen and the patrols wherever they may happen to be in their circuit of the city may be aware of what is to occur. 4 Moreover, the guards upon the wall and in the market‑place, and those at the municipal buildings and entrances to the market-place and at the theatre, and other occupied points, should keep guard in short watches; and there should be many guard shifts, and many men together in each. 5 For in guarding by short watches, no one would be able, through the length of time he was on guard, to have any dealings with the enemy, or to gain headway in starting a revolution. And in short watches sleep would be less likely to steal upon the guards. Moreover, with many men on guard at once, some rumour of what is being done would be more likely to leak out. 5a It is p109better for as many as possible to be on watch in time of peril, and for all to do guard-duty during the night, so that as many as possible may be keeping guard at each watch. 6 But if few are on guard, and for long watches, sleep would steal upon them because of the length of the watches, and if any men should attempt a revolution, the length of the time of duty would favour them both in getting a start and in escaping detection in any dealings with the enemy. Such considerations, then, ought not to be ignored; 7 but in times of peril one must keep still other things in mind. Thus, no one of the guards should have any previous knowledge either of the number on his watch, or where in the city he is to be on guard. Nor should the same officers always command the same men; but as frequently as possible all the regulations concerning the watching of the citizens should be changed, for thus would a traitor been least able to betray anything to outsiders, or to receive anything from the enemy, 8 not knowing beforehand on what part of the wall he would be in the night, nor with whom, but being ignorant of what was to occur. And those who guard by day should not be employed at night, for it is not fitting that they should know beforehand what each is to do.

[link to original Greek text] 9 Guards from the stations on the wall should keep watch as follows. From each of the stations, at each change of the watch, one of the guards should go to the nearest station, and from this another to the next, and from the other stations still others p111to the remaining ones. Let everyone be ordered to do this at given signals. 10 In this way many will make their way around the walls at the same time, and each will move but a short distance, and the same men will not often remain together, since different guards will be constantly coming in contact with one another. If this be done no act of treachery could be performed by the guards.

[link to original Greek text] 11 The guards should stand facing one another, for in this way they can see in all directions and they will rarely be caught by any foe coming secretly against them, a thing that I have noted49 as having actually happened to day‑watches. 12 During the dark winter nights stone after stone should be thrown over the walls, and, as if persons were seen, let the guard ask, "Who goes there?", for any who might be approaching would thus be recognized without more ado. 13 If it should seem best, this could be done also inside the city. Some, however, this is dangerous, for a party of the enemy which might be approaching in the darkness are made aware in advance that they must not attack at this point, by the noise of the patrols and the throwing of stones, but rather at the point where there is no noise. 14 The best plan, however, on such nights is to have dogs tied outside the wall to keep watch.50 For p113they will detect at a greater distance the presence of a hostile spy, a deserter who is stealthily approaching the city, or one who is somewhere making his way out to desert; they will also by their barking rouse the sentinel if he happens to be asleep.

[link to original Greek text] 15 If any part of the city is easily accessible and exposed to the attacks of the enemy, the sentinels stationed there should be the wealthiest and most highly respected citizens and those who hold the most important offices in the city. For it would be in the highest degree to the interest of such men not to turn aside to pleasures, but rather, bearing in mind their position, to maintain a vigorous watch. 16 At the time of the public festivals those of the city guards who are greatly suspected and distrusted by their own comrades should be sent away from their posts to celebrate the festival at home. 17 For they will think that they are being honoured and at the same time would have no opportunity to carry out any plot. And in their places more trustworthy men should be assigned to guard duty; for during the festivals and on such occasions revolutionists are extremely likely to venture on some enterprise. 18 An account of the disturbances which have arisen on such occasions has been given elsewhere.

[link to original Greek text] 19 It is better, moreover, that the ramps leading to the top of the wall should not be open, but rather be kept closed, thus rendering it impossible for anyone desirous of betraying the city to the p115enemy to seize part of the wall in advance, and that the sentinels, men of your choice, may be obliged to remain constantly on the wall and not come down. Then if any enemy, attacking the city from the outside, should succeed in scaling the wall by surprise, they could not easily and quickly descend from the wall into the city, unless they were willing to take the risk of leaping down from high places and to forgo the advantages of surprise and initiative. This method of guarding the ramps would be suitable also for the citadel of a prince. 20 After the naval battle off Naxos,51 Nicocles, the commander of the garrison, inasmuch as plots were being formed against him, closed the ramps, posted sentinels on the walls, and kept up a patrol with dogs outside the city; for the people were expecting a treacherous attack from without.

[link to original Greek text] 21 When the people are united and no one in the city cherishes suspicions, lamps set in lanterns should be kept burning throughout the night at the posts of the sentinels on the wall, so that if a hostile movement should be directed against any of them, they may raise the lantern as a signal to the commander. 22 If the nature of the ground prevents the light from reaching the commander, another guard, as a relay, should with his lantern give the signal to the commander, who, either with the bugle or by means of dispatch-bearers, as the circumstances may demand, should transmit to the rest of the p117sentinels the warning he has received. 23 On such occasions, while the sentinels are thus engaged, the rest of the inhabitants should be notified that after a given signal no one is to leave his house. If, however, one should go out on some necessary errand, he should take a lantern with him in order to be visible to the patrols at a distance. 24 Moreover, no workman or artisan should work at his trade lest noises made by any persons reach the sentinels.

[link to original Greek text] A plan by which the watches may be apportioned fairly and equally to all the sentinels, according as the nights become longer or shorter [has been explained . . .,52 where it was stated that the watches] should be measured by the water-clock, and this should be reset every ten days. 25 But a better plan is to smear the interior of the clock with wax and then to remove some of the wax when the nights grow longer, so that the clock may contain more water. When, on the other hand, the nights grow shorter, more wax should be added in order that the clock's capacity may be less. Let this, then, be sufficient explanation about the equalization of the watches.

[link to original Greek text] 26 At times of less imminent peril half the men enrolled in the army should be detailed for guard or patrol duty, and in this way half the army will be on guard every night. In times of peace and security the smallest possible number of the troops should be subjected to inconvenience, and to as little as possible. 27 And if the commander needs some p119patrol-work, a marked baton should be handed by him to the first sentinel; he in turn must pass it on to the next man, and one to another, until it has made the round of the city and has been returned to the commander. And previous instructions should have been given to the watchmen not to carry the baton beyond the position of the next man. 28 If, however, a sentinel, on his arrival at post, should find it deserted, he should return the baton to the man from whom he received it, so that the commander may be aware and may investigate which of the sentinels has failed to take the baton and has deserted his post. 29 Whenever a man who has a turn at the watch does not report for duty, his company-commander should at once sell his position for whatever it may bring, and should put another man on guard to take his place. Then the contractor of mercenaries, the same day, should pay the money to the man who has purchased the post, and on the following day the taxiarch should impose on the contractor the customary fine.53

[link to original Greek text] XXIII. [Secret Sallies by Night]

1 One who is making secret sallies by night upon an enemy encamped outside must use caution in p121these matters: first, to see that no one deserts, and then that there is no light burning out-of‑doors, lest the air above the city, becoming more luminous than the rest, should disclose his purpose. 2 He must suppress the howling of dogs and the crowing of cocks, making them mute for this occasion, by cautery of some part of their bodies, because their cries uttered before daybreak, reveal what is on foot.54 3 Some have used the following devices in making sallies: a pretended sedition arising among them on some specious pretext, watching an opportune moment and sallying forth they have attacked their enemies unexpectedly, and have succeeded. 4 Others who were besieged have secretly gone out thus: They walled up the gates in sight of the enemy, but where he was most open to attack they let down a sail, which they raised after a time, so that the enemy was at first surprised, but later, when it was done many times, became indifferent. 5 Then the residents at night broke down as much of the wall as they desired and built a false structure in its place and let the sail down over it. Then, watching the favourable moment, they sallied forth and attacked the enemy unexpectedly. But while they were doing all this they took good care to prevent any desertions. Accordingly, one must overlook none of these considerations.

[link to original Greek text] 6 Nor again should a leader inconsiderately go out p123at night with a crowd, because at such times some of the conspirators are forming plots, some within, some without the city, wishing to lure one out with deceptions such as beacon-torches, setting fire to a dockyard, or a gymnasium, or a public temple, or some building on account of which a crowd of men — and influential men too — might rush out. A leader should, therefore, use foresight, and not readily accept at their face value even such incidents. 7 I shall relate also the following sharp practice on the part of officials. It was arranged that a disturbance should arise in the country, and that word should be brought from the fields to the city of a robbers' plot, of the very kind at which the citizens were sure to hurry to the rescue. 8 And when this occurred, the magistrates and their supporters summoned the citizens to the rescue, and when the full number of the townsmen was gathered at the gates under arms, they contrived as follows. 9 The magistrates told the crowd that they must divide into three parts and lay an ambush a little distance from the city, and explained what they must do, the hearers having no suspicion of the truth. 10 They then led the people forth and stationed them in suitable places as though to ambush the invading enemy, while they themselves, taking troops who were accomplices in the matter, went ahead as though to inquire into the report and meet the danger first, ostensibly in order to entice the enemy into the ambuscades by pretending to flee. 11 But going to a place where they had a p125mercenary force, previously arranged and secretly brought in by sea, they picked them up before anyone knew of it, and secretly entered the city by other roads, as though returning with the citizens who had gone out for the attack. Then, with the mercenary force, they occupied the city, and of those in the ambuscades they banished some and admitted others. Accordingly, one must be suspicious of such acts and not inconsiderately make a sally in force at night against an enemy.

[link to original Greek text] XXIV. [Of Watchwords]

1 In giving out watchwords it is needful to provide, if the army happen to be a mixture from different cities or tribes, that the word shall not be given out in an ambiguous way, in case one concept may have two different names, as for example, Dioscuri and Tyndaridae, two dissimilar words for one concept; 2 or, again, Ares, Enyalius; Athena, Pallas; sword, dagger; torch, light; and others like these; for they are hard to remember if contrary to the custom of the several tribes, and they cause harm if one issues a password in dialect instead of in language common to all. 3 One should not, then, issue such words to mixed mercenaries nor to allies of different tribes. Such a thing happened to Charidemus of Oreus in Aeolis when he had taken Ilium55 as follows. 4 A slave of the commander of Ilium went out for booty from time to time, and particularly at night p127used to go out and come in with what he had on each occasion taken. 5 At this time Charidemus learned that he was engaged in this business and made a friend of him. At a secret conference an agreement was made, and Charidemus induced him to go out on a given night as though for booty, bidding him leave on horseback, after nightfall, that the gates might be opened for him, but not to re‑enter by the passage of the wicket-gate as he was accustomed. 6 When he was outside and talking with Charidemus he received from him about thirty mercenaries secretly provided with breastplates, swords, weapons, and helmets. 7 So he led them off in the dark, in mean garb and with arms concealed, disguising them as captives, in company with others, women and children, these too apparently captives, and entered the city through the gate which was opened for him because of his horse. 8 There, immediately upon their entrance, they set to work, killing the gate-keeper and doing other barbarous acts. Charidemus was near the gates of which they kept control, and his troops immediately went in and took the town. Then he entered in person with all his forces. 9 At the same time he carried out such a scheme as this, also: 10 He laid an ambush with a part of his army, foreseeing that aid would come to the place, as actually happened. For Athenodorus, the Imbrian, who was not far away with his army, as soon as he learned the news, set out to succour the place. 11 He too seems shrewdly to have had his suspicions and marched unobserved during the night to Ilium, not by the p129roads which were ambushed but by other routes, and came to the gates. 12 In the confusion, some of his troops went into the city with the others without being noticed, as though they belonged to the army of Charidemus. 13 Then before many of them had entered they were detected by their countersign, and some were expelled and some killed at their gates, for their countersign was Tyndaridae while that of Charidemus was Dioscuri. 14 By so narrow a margin it was that the city was not recaptured at once, that same night, by Athenodorus. So it is important to issue watchwords easily remembered and as nearly related as possible to the intended operations. 15 For instance, when going for game, Artemis the Huntress; for some stealthy enterprise, Hermes the Trickster; for some deed of violence, Heracles; for open undertakings, Sun and Moon; and others as similar as possible to these and quite comprehensible to all. 16 Iphicrates56 would not allow the same watchword to be issued to the patrol and the guard, but employed a different word for each, that the one first questioned might reply, Zeus the Saviour, if he happened to have this one, and the other Poseidon. For in this manner they would be least p131likely to be deceived by the enemy, and the watchword to be betrayed. 17 If the guards become separated from one another they should give a whistle agreed upon beforehand to call one another. For, except to the man who already knows it, this signal will be unfamiliar, as well to Greeks as to barbarians. 18 One should watch the dogs lest on account of the whistling there be some trouble from them. This method was used at Thebes when the Cadmea was captured: the forces were scattered in the darkness and unable to recognize one another, but were collected by whistling.57 19 The watchwords should be asked by the men on patrol and the advanced pickets, each from the other, for there is no propriety in having only the one opened the asking, since in the guise of a patrol even an enemy might do that.

[link to original Greek text] XXV. [Additional Tokens of Recognition]

1 Some employ an additional token of recognition, both to prevent panics and the better to recognize their friends. 2 Additional tokens of recognition must be as distinctive and as difficult as possible for the enemy to understand. They may be as follows. On dark nights ask the watchword and say something else, or rather also make a noise, and the one questioned must in reply give the watchword and utter some other word or make a noise, according to previous agreement. Again, when it p133is light, the person asking the watchword may remove his cap, or, if he holds it in his hand, may put it on, 3 or he may also bring his cap to his face and take it away from his face, 4 or, further, may advance and fix his spear, or transfer it to his left hand, or hold it aloft in his hand, or merely raise it; and the person who is asked for the watchword must both reply and do whichever of these actions has been agreed upon.

[link to original Greek text] XXVI. [Patrols]

1 In times of danger the first thing is for two of the companies assembled in the market-place to patrol alternately at the base of the wall, provided with the arms available and with tokens of recognition so as to recognize one another with certainty from a considerable distance. 2 And those who patrol during the first watch must do so before they have had their supper, for those who are on guard during the first watch, if they have just eaten, are more careless and undisciplined. 3 And they should patrol without a light, unless it be very stormy and dark. But if they have a light it must not shine upward (for it must be covered with something), but merely upon the ground and in front of their feet. 4 In a town in which horses can be kept and on ground passable for them patrolling can be done in winter by horsemen, for in the cold and mud and long nights the patrolling would thus be more quickly accomplished. p1355 And if together with these some men also patrol upon the walls [they should be so placed] that some may watch the outside of the wall and some the inside. 6 They should also on dark nights as they make their rounds have stones and throw them now and then outside the wall. Some, however, do not approve this custom for the reasons already mentioned.58 7 In case they are suspicious of one another . . . the patrolling should be done at the base of the wall and no patrol except the watchmen should go up on the wall.

[link to original Greek text] Now if an army has suffered in morale because of defeat in battle, or from the size of their losses in dead and wounded, or from desertion by allies, or through any other misfortune it loses heart and has become discouraged, and if there is danger because of the nearness of the enemy, the directions already given out in regard to the watchmen are to be carried out. 8 At such times frequent rounds are necessary, but the patrol must not be too eager on his rounds to find members of the outposts in a rather careless condition from sleep or weariness. For it is not expedient to make the army, when in this state, still more disheartened — and a man is naturally discouraged if he is found behaving basely — but rather to turn one's attention to the care and recovery of one's troops. 9 And at such times the approach of the patrols should be evident to the guards from p137a long way off by their uttering some sound from a distance, so that the guard may be wakened if he is sleeping, and may be prepared to answer whatever is asked. 10 It is best of all at such times for the general himself carefully to make each circuit with the same picked men. But when the army is in the opposite mood it is well to inspect the guards much more energetically. 11 The general must never make his round at a fixed hour, but must constantly shift it, lest the soldiers, knowing definitely long beforehand the coming of the general, may watch with especial care during that time.

[link to original Greek text] 12 At the advice and bidding of certain persons, however, some men adopt the following plan. If the commander of the city,59 on account of some weariness or ill‑health, does not wish to go on patrols, yet desires to know who, in each watch, fails to keep guard, he should act as follows. 13 Let it be previously arranged that all the watchmen at the wall shall be supplied with lanterns, and that there shall be a particular one at the appearance of which all the watchmen shall raise theirs. This one should be raised from a place at which all the watchmen on the wall will see it, 14 but if there be no such place ready, let one be built somehow, as high as possible. Then from the top of this let a lantern be raised and at its appearance let the others be raised, one by one, from each several post. Then p139they should be counted, and thus it may be known whether all the watchmen have raised them, or if any one of the guards is missing.

[link to original Greek text] XXVII. [Of Panics]

1 The confusions and terrors that suddenly arise in a city or a camp, by night or by day, are by some called panics — the word is a Peloponnesian, particularly an Arcadian one.60 2 Accordingly, against these some who wish to stop them advise that signals be appointed in advance for all the inhabitants of the town, which they will see and recognize, and in the following way they will know that there is a panic, namely, by noticing a previously arranged signal-fire at a place as conspicuous as may be to all those in the city. 3 And it is best to announce beforehand that, wherever panic occurs among the soldiers, they should stand in their places and shout 'Paean,'61 or say that it is a mere panic, and that every one who hears it should pass the word along to his neighbour. 4 Now wherever in the army they do not answer the paean, it will be known that there the terror prevails. p141But if the commander sees any reason for fear, he must give warning by the trumpet, and this is to be understood as a call to arms. It is after a defeat in battle that such fears are most likely to arise, sometimes by day but especially at night. 5 But that this may be less likely to happen, orders for the night should be given to all the soldiers to keep under arms as much as possible, as though something might happen where they are. 6 Thus, if they are forewarned, it is not likely that, in case anything happens, they will be taken by surprise on colliding with the enemy, or that they will be disturbed because of sudden terror and perish.

[link to original Greek text] 7 Euphratas,62 the Laconian governor in Thrace, since panics occurred in his army frequently at night and could not be quieted in any other way, used to give orders of this sort for the night: 8 that if any confusion should arise, his men should immediately sit up in their beds with their arms in hand, but that no one should stand upright, and if anyone saw a man standing up, Euphratas gave orders in the hearing of all to treat him as an enemy. For he thought that through the fear which this command would inspire none would forget it. 9 Moreover, that the command should actually inspire fear, on one occasion when a panic arose, one of the more respectable soldiers was wounded, though not mortally, while one of the baser sort was fatally injured. 10 As a result of this, the men obeyed and, paying close attention, refrained from panics and from p143rising from their beds in terror. 11 And panics have been stopped in this way also: when confusion arose in camp at night, the herald commanded silence and announced that the man who reported the one who had turned loose the horse which had caused the commotion would receive a present of silver.63 12 It is necessary, too, if an army has this sort of experience by night, to station men in each watch of the night over every company or band, both on the flanks and in the centre, to take special care that, if they should perceive any disturbance coming on because of sleep or anything else, whoever of them is at hand may check it immediately. 13 And of the rest of the troops, there should stand on guard one man from each mess, so that if any fear should arise, they, knowing what fears are groundless, may each calm the men at his own post.

[link to original Greek text] 14 But the commander should himself throw the army of the enemy into confusion at night by driving into their camp a herd of cows wearing bells, or other animals, having first made them drunk with wine.64

[link to original Greek text] [Reveille]

15 At daybreak one must not permit the guards to leave their posts at once until the neighbourhood p145has been carefully reconnoitred and shown to be clear of the enemy. Even then they must not all leave their posts at once, but in detachments, so that some shall always continue on guard.

[link to original Greek text] XXVIII. [On Gates]

1 When a city is in fear precautions must also be taken as follows. Close the other gates but leave one open where access to the city is most difficult, and where those who approach are going to be in plain sight for the longest distance. 2 In this there should be a wicket gate so that through it men may go and come singly, for in this way a deserter or spy would be least able to escape notice if he should enter, that is, if the gate-keeper is discreet. 3 But it is unsafe to open the entire gate for beasts of burden, wagons, and loads. And if there be any need of importing quickly food or oil or wine or similar supplies, either by wagons or by a squad of men, these should be brought in by the nearest gates, . . . as that would be quickest and easiest. 4 In general, the gates must not be opened incautiously early in the day, but later, and no one should be let out until the region around the city has been reconnoitred. Again, boats are not to be moored p147at the gates, but at a distance, since in time past, even in the daytime, when both gates have been open at once, many things have happened by tricks and pretexts such as the following — and from a single occurrence many cases similar to it will be understood. 5 Pytho of Clazomenae,65 having also some confederates in the city, watched carefully for the most quiet hour of the day, and captured Clazomenae by means of wagons, which, in accordance with his plan, were bringing in wine-jars. While the wagons were stopping in the gates (for there were mercenaries ready in concealment not far from the city near the gates), his men, eluding some of the citizens and outstripping the others, with the aid of some persons inside got possession of the city. 6 And Iphiades of Abydus66 on the Hellespont, in his capture of Parium, among other preparations for scaling the wall by night, secretly prepared wagons filled with brush and brambles and sent them to the wall (the gates being already closed), as though they were wagons of the Parians, which after their arrival were parked near the gates from fear of the enemy. 7 At a suitable moment they were to set fire to the wagons, so that the gates might catch fire, and when the citizens of Parium had gone to put out the flames he himself might enter at another point.

[link to original Greek text] It seems to me that I must show, by a collection of instances, against what things one must guard and on what occasions, so that one may not be so simple as to take anything for granted.

p149 [link to original Greek text] XXIX. [Importation of Arms by Stealth]

1 I shall now discuss the smuggling into the city of jars and packages, in which there may be something hidden by means of which a city with its acropolis has in past instances been seized. 2 These matters must be attended to and not disregarded, particularly by the gate-keeper, at certain times, when there is reason to fear any disturbance from without or within; and he should look to it when things are being brought in. I shall relate likewise, as illustration, some things that have actually happened. 3 A city was captured, with the complicity of some within it, upon a public holiday, in some such manner as this.67 4 First of all, to the aliens who had established themselves there in anticipation of what was to take place, and to the unarmed citizens who were to be accomplices there were brought in linen corslets, cloaks, helmets, shields, greaves, short swords, bows, arrows, stowed away in chests like those of merchants, with the statement that clothing and other merchandise were in them. 5 The revenue officers, opening these, and seeing what they thought was only clothing, affixed their seals until the importers should put a value upon them. 6 These cases were then stored in a convenient spot near the market-place. In crates also and wicker frames and wrapped up in half-woven p151sail-cloth, spears and javelins were brought in, and, without arousing suspicion, placed where each would be serviceable. And in baskets of chaff and of wool, bucklers and small shields were concealed in the wool and chaff; and others still smaller in baskets full of raisins and figs, as well as daggers concealed in jars of wheat and dried figs and olives. 7 And daggers were likewise carried in unsheathed in ripe gourds, pushed down along the stems among the seeds of the gourd. Likewise the deviser and leader of the plot was carried in from without hidden in a load of faggots. 8 And when night was come, and those who were to make the attack were assembled, and each one was looking out for the opportune time, at which all the rest of the citizens were completely intoxicated (as would be likely on a festival day), first of all the load was loosened and out of it came the leader ready prepared. Then some of them unrolled the crates to seize the spears and javelins, others emptied the baskets of chaff and wool, others cut open the hampers, others, opening the chests, took out the arms, and still others smashed the jars so as to lay hands upon the daggers as quickly as possible. 9 All these things took place at the same time and not far away from each other, at a signal given in the city as if for battle array. 10 And when each one had equipped himself with arms suited to him, some of them rushed to seize the towers and the gates, through which they p153admitted the rest also; others fell upon the city-hall and the houses opposite; some took one place and some another.

[link to original Greek text] 11 In an enterprise similar to the kind already described, certain persons were without shields, and when in no other manner were they able to provide or import them, they brought in quantities of osiers and also workmen to handle them. 12 And by day they wove other kinds of basketry, but by night they wove armour, such as helmets and shields, to which they attached leathern and wooden handles. Furthermore, it is necessary to be watchful not only of vessels which come in by sea to anchor near by, night or day, whether great or small, but also it is necessary for the inspectors of the port and the supervisors to go on board and personally to see the wares, having in mind that the Sicyonians also, forgetting such precautions, suffered a serious disaster.

[link to original Greek text] XXX. [On the Introduction of Arms]

1 One ought also to take precautions in regard to the arms imported for sale and displayed in the market-place, likewise those in the small shops and the bazaars (since these, if gathered together, would make a considerable number), to prevent them from being ready at hand for anyone out of those who desire to start a revolution. 2 For it is silly to take p155away the weapons from men who are entering the town68 while there are assembled in the market-place and the lodging-houses boxes of small shields and chests of daggers. Accordingly the imported and collected arms ought not to be exposed in the market-place and be left overnight in any chance spot, but, with the exception of a sample, official permission may be required before anyone exhibits them in bulk.

[link to original Greek text] XXXI. [On secret Messages]

1 In regard to secret messages, there are all sorts of ways of sending them, but a private arrangement must be previously made between the sender and the receiver. Especially secret messages might take the following forms. In one case a message was sent in this way: 2 in with merchandise or other baggage there was inserted a book, or some other chance document, of any size or age, and in this the message had been written by marking the letters of the first, second, or third line with dots, very small and discernible only to the recipient. Then, when the person intended received the book, he made a transcript, and by setting down in order the marked letters from the first line and the second and the others in the same way he discovered the message.69 3 But should anyone wish to send a brief p157message, he might use also the following method, which is similar to the preceding. Writing in detail and undisguisedly on some subject, in this message you may reach the same result by marking letters by which you will indicate whatever you may wish. And the marking must be made as inconspicuous as possible, by dots placed far apart or by rather long dashes. These will arouse no suspicion whatsoever in others, but the letter will be clear to the recipient. . . . 4 Let a man be sent bearing some message or even a letter ostensibly about general matters, not secret, and, just before he starts, without his knowledge let a letter be inserted in the sole of his sandals and be sewed in,70 and, to guard against mud and water, have it written on a piece of thin-beaten tin, so that the writing will not be effaced by the water. 4a And when he reaches the one intended and goes to rest for the night, this person should pull out the stitchings of the sandals, take out and read the letter, and, writing another secretly while the man is still asleep, sew it in and send him back, having given him some message in reply or even something to carry openly. In this way, then, neither the messenger nor anyone else will know the message. 5 It is necessary, however, to make the sewings of the sandals as inconspicuous as possible.

[link to original Greek text] 6 Again, a letter was brought to Ephesus in some such manner as this. A man was sent with a message written on leaves which were bound to a p159wound on his leg. 7 Writing could be brought in also on thin pieces of beaten lead rolled up and worn in women's ears in place of ear‑rings. 8 A letter having to do with betrayal was once conveyed by the traitor to the camp of the beleaguering enemy in this way. As the horsemen were going out of the city for a raid upon the enemy one of them had a sheet of papyrus sewn under the flaps of his breastplate, and he was instructed, if the enemy should appear, to fall from his horse as though by accident, and to be captured alive; and when he was taken into camp he was to give the sheet of writing to the proper person. The horseman assisted as a brother would a brother.71 9 Another man, when sending out a horseman, sewed a sheet of papyrus to the bridle-rein. And the following incident happened about a letter. During the siege of a city, when the man carrying the message entered the town, he did not give the letters to the traitor and to the others to whom he was bringing it, but went to the commanding officer of the city, disclosed the matter, and handed over the letters. 9a When the officer heard it he ordered him to deliver these letters to those to whom he was bringing them, but to bring to him their answer as evidence that he was telling the truth. The informer did so, and the officer, taking the letters, called the men to him, showed them the p161marks of the seals which they admitted to be their own, and, opening the letters, exposed the matter. 9b And he seems to have detected this skilfully in that he did not accept from the man the letters that were sent. For then it would have been possible for the men to deny it and claim that someone was plotting against them. But by taking the letters that were sent in answer he proved the case incontestably.

[link to original Greek text] 10 Messages are sent also in this way. Take a bladder in size equal to a flask large enough for your purpose; inflate it, tie it tightly, and let it dry; then write on it whatever you wish, in ink mixed with glue. 11 When the writing is dry, let the air out of the bladder, and press it into the flask, letting the mouth of the bladder protrude from the mouth of the flask. 12 Then inflate the bladder inside the flask in order to expand it as much as possible, and filling it with oil, cut off the part of the bladder that comes over the top of the flask, fitting it in the mouth as inconspicuously as you can, and, corking the bottle, carry it openly. Hence the oil will be visible in the flask, but nothing else. 13 When it comes to the appropriate person, he will pour out the oil, inflate the bladder, and read the writing. And washing it off with a sponge, let him write on it in the same manner and send it back. 14 It has actually happened that someone has written on the wooden part p163of a tablet, poured wax over it, and written something else on the wax. Then when it came to the appointed person, he, scraping off the wax and reading the writing, again in this way has sent back a message.72 15 It would be possible, also, to write on a boxwood tablet with the best quality of ink, let it dry, and then by whitening the tablet to make the letters invisible. When, then, the tablet comes to the recipient, he should take it and put it into water; and so in the water there will clearly appear all that was written. You might also write on a tablet for a hero's chapel whatever you desire. 16 Then it should be whitened and dried, and a light-bringing horseman painted on it, or anything else you please, with white apparel and his horse white; or if not white, any colour except black. Then it should be given to somebody, to be hung up near the city in whatever shrine he may chance upon, as though it were a votive offering. And he whose part it is to read the message must go to the shrine, and recognizing the tablet by some prearranged sign, must take it back home and put it in oil. And so everything written on it will become visible.

[link to original Greek text] The most secret method of all for sending messages, but the most difficult, namely, that without writing, I shall now make clear. It is this.73 17 In a sufficiently large astragal74 bore twenty-four holes, six p165on each side. Let the holes stand for letters, 18 and note clearly on which side begins Alpha and the following letters that have been written on each particular side. Then, whenever you wish to communicate any word by them, draw a thread through them, as, for instance, if you wish to express Αἰνείαν by the drawing through of a thread, begin from the side of the astragal on which Alpha is found, pass the thread through, and omitting the characters placed next to Alpha, draw through again when you come to the side where Iota belongs; and disregarding the characters following this, again pass the thread through where Nu happens to be. And again passing by the succeeding letters draw the thread through where Ei75 is found. Now continuing in this way to write the rest of the communication, pass the thread into the holes in such a manner as that in which we just now wrote the name. 19 Accordingly, there will be a ball of thread wound around the astragal, and it will be necessary for the one who is to read the information to write down upon a tablet the characters revealed by the holes. The unthreading takes place in the reverse order to that of p167the thread. But it makes no difference that the letters are written upon the tablet in reverse order, for none the less will the message be read, although to understand what has been written is a greater task than to prepare it. 20 But this would be accomplished more easily if a piece of wood about a span long were perforated just as many times as there are letters in the alphabet, and the thread were then in the same way drawn into the holes. Wherever two insertions occur, the same character being written twice in succession, you should wind the thread around the wood before inserting it. Or it could even be done as follows. 21 Instead of the astragal or the piece of wood, make a disc of wood, polish it, and bore successively on the disc the twenty-four characters of the alphabet; but to avoid suspicion you should bore other holes also in the centre of the disc, and then in this way run the thread through the characters, which are in their regular order. 22 But whenever the writing of the same letter occurs twice in succession, you must insert the thread in the holes bored in the centre of the disc before running it into the same letter; and by letter I mean the hole.76

[link to original Greek text] 23 Again, some persons, after writing long lines with fine characters upon some very thin papyrus, so that the message may be as compact as possible, have then placed it on the shoulder of the tunic and spread a part of the over-tunic out on the shoulder. Naturally the transmitting of the letter is unsuspected, p169if one puts on an over-tunic and wears it in this manner.

[link to original Greek text] 24 There is proof, however, of the fact that it is difficult to guard against anything sent in by artifice. At any rate the people at Ilium who have been so long and so well prepared, are not yet able to prevent the coming of the Locrian maidens77 into their town, although they use such great care and watchfulness. But a few men, bent on deceiving, succeed in secretly bringing in many maidens, at yearly intervals.78 25 And among the ancients the following scheme was once contrived. When Timoxenus wished to hand over Potidaea to Artabazus,79 they prearranged, 26 the one a certain spot in the city, the other one in the camp, to which they used to shoot whatever they wished to communicate with each other. They adopted the device of winding a sheet of writing around the notched end of the arrow, and, after feathering it, they shot it into the places previously determined. 27 But Timoxenus was discovered in the attempt to betray Potidaea. For Artabazus, shooting toward the designated area, missed the spot because of the wind and because the arrow was p171badly feathered, and hit a man of Potidaea on the shoulder, and a crowd gathered around the wounded man, as often happens in war. And immediately picking up the arrow, they brought it to the generals, and thus the plot was revealed. 28 Again, Histiaeus, wishing to tell Aristagoras to revolt,80 had no other safe means of communicating, since the roads were guarded and it was not easy for a letter-carrier to escape notice, but shaving the head of his most faithful slave, he tattooed it and detained him until the hair had grown again. 29 And as soon as it had grown, he dispatched him to Miletus and gave the tattooed man no other orders except that when he had come to Miletus, into the presence of Aristagoras, he should request him to shave his head and examine it, whereupon the marks indicated what was to be done.

[link to original Greek text] 30 But it is also possible to write as follows. It should be arranged in advance to express the vowels by dots, and whatever the number of each vowel happens to be, so many dots are to be placed in the writing. 31 As for example the following:81

"Dionysius docked"

D:.:N::S:.:·:S D:CK:D

"Let Heracleides come"

L:T H:R.CL::.D:S C::M:

p173 [link to original Greek text] And here is another way: Instead of the vowels, put in anything whatever. And again, the following. The letter should be sent to a certain place [. . . by a man known to the recipient] and it should be indicated to him that a message has come for him and is in the appointed spot, by the fact that the man comes to the city and buys or sells something. And by this method neither does the bearer know to whom the message has been brought nor will the recipient be known as having the letter. Many in Epirus used to employ dogs in the following manner. 32 After leading the dog away in leash they placed around his neck a strap, inside of which was sewed a letter. Then at night or during the daytime, they dispatched the dog to the person to whom he was sure to go, that is, to the one from whom he had been taken away. And this is also a Thessalian custom.

[link to original Greek text] 33 But the letters must be opened as soon as received. In fact Astyanax, tyrant of Lampsacus, did not at once open and read out a letter sent to him in which was related evidence of the plot by which he was destroyed, but neglecting it, and attending first to other matters, he was killed while still holding the letter in his fingers.82 34 For the same reason also the Cadmea in Thebes was captured,83 and in Mytilene in Lesbos something similar happened.

p175 [link to original Greek text] 35 Glus,84 the admiral of the great king, came up before the king, and since it was forbidden to come into the king's presence with a sheet of notes (and he had to report upon many important affairs), he wrote in the spaces between the fingers of his hands the things he had to say to the king.

[link to original Greek text] The gate-keeper ought to be watchful about such matters as these, so that nothing brought into the city may escape him, whether it be weapon or message.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

49 The reference may be to Ch. VI.6, but this precise detail is not in the form in which the treatise has come down to us, very likely as a fault of the tradition rather than an oversight on the part of the author.

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50 Dogs were used by the Spartan Agesipolis at the siege of Mantinea in 385 B.C. (Polyaenus II.25); by Philip of Macedon for tracking down his foes in the Balkan mountains (ibid. IV.2.16); by Aratus for guarding the key fortress of Acrocorinth after its capture in 243 B.C. (Plutarch, Aratus, 24); and Vegetius IV.26 recommends that they be used for guarding the walls at night, along with geese, which made themselves famous by saving the Capitol from the Gauls. See also below, § 20, for the use of dogs by Nicocles.

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51 If Casaubon's conjecture be right we have a reference to the famous battle off Naxos in 376 B.C., in which Athens won back her supremacy at sea. On the other hand, if Köchly and Rüstow's suggestion ἐν Κιτίῳ be followed, the great defeat of Evagoras of Cyprus by the Persians in 380 B.C. is meant. The latter had a son Nicocles, well known from the works which Isocrates addressed to him.

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52 A reference to some other work by the author has fallen out here, as H. Schöne saw. It was probably the Στρατοπεδευτικὴ βίβλος which treated of closely related topics, as one can see from Ch. xxi.2 above.

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53 This passage is obscure because almost nothing is known of the method by which mercenaries were hired, but it seems most probable that agents contracted with a state to furnish a certain number, and that the agent continued to represent these men, i.e., be their πρόξενος, since they would not be citizens of the city which hired them. In this case it would appear that the contractor or agent whose man had failed to do his guaranteed duty would have to pay back the fee to the one who bought the vacant position, as well as pay a fine for the failure of his man to be at his post. Where the risks of the contractor were as high as this would indicate, we may be certain that he must have counted on making a large gross profit on his original contract. The closest parallel to such a person nowadays would perhaps be the padrone.

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54 Similarly Julius Africanus, Κεστοί, 9, tells how the Parthians kept their horses from neighing by so tightly binding their tails as to rob them of their spirit by the pain which the cord inflicted. It is reported that the mules belonging to the American army in France were prevented from braying by a simple surgical operation.

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55 This happened in 360 B.C. and is the latest event to which Aeneas makes reference. An account varying in some minor details is given by Polyaenus III.14. Thus, for a second time, as Polyaenus remarks, was Ilium captured by the use of a horse.

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56 Probably the greatest tactician whom Greece produced. He was active from about 395 to 355 B.C. Numerous stratagems are ascribed to him, and a large number of new weapons and pieces of equipment, the best known being, perhaps, the Iphicratides, or marching shoes. He developed the use of light-armed men, the peltasts, and was the first to introduce the constantly fortified camp. It was to these two features of their tactics that the Romans owed most of their military supremacy, and as the development of their military organization followed soon after the time of Iphicrates, it is tempting to think that they took these two epoch-making ideas from him.

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57 This was probably the recapture of the Cadmea from the oligarchs and the Spartans in 379 B.C., rather than the original capture in 383. The reference in Ch. xxxi.34 doubtless points to the former.

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58 The reference is to Ch. xxii.13.

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59 The rare word πολίταρχος occurs elsewhere (e.g., Acts of the Apostles xvii.6 and 8, in the form πολιτάρχης; CIG II.1967; Dittenberger, Sylloge3 700.2 and 48, cf. note 3) almost exclusively at Thessalonica (Saloniki) and the vicinity. It is not improbable that Aeneas got the term from there, as it appears that he saw military service at one time or another in the north Aegean.

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60 Groundless fear, called 'panic' fear, was ascribed to the mysterious Arcadian mountain god, Pan. Greek armies seem to have been peculiarly subject to these panics, due, doubtless, to the rather indifferent discipline which generally prevailed.

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61 Paean was a very ancient god of healing among the Greeks, who later came to be identified with Apollo, Asclepius, and others. He was called upon with the cry ἰὴ Παιῆον or ἰήιε Παιάν to cure an evil or avert a misfortune. Out of this custom developed a song in honour generally of Apollo as god of healing, with the refrain ἰὴ Παιάν. A paean, or solemn hymn with the refrain ἰὴ Παιάν, was commonly sung before entering battle, but it is likely that a mere invocation of the god is here intended. (A. Fairbanks, in his exhaustive work on the Greek Paean, Cornell Studies in Class. Philol. XII, seems to have overlooked this passage in Aeneas.)

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62 Nothing further is known of him, and his name is not mentioned in Porolla's Prosopographie der Lakedaimonier, Breslau, 1913. Some have thought that Eudamidas (Porolla, No. 295), who was campaigning in Thrace in 362 B.C., may have been meant.

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63 Much the same story is told by Xenophon of Clearchus on the retreat after the battle of Cunaxa (Anab. II.2.20), and by Polyaenus III.9.4, of Iphicrates. The idea was a good one and was probably employed more than once.

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64 The use of a similar device, i.e., oxen with lighted faggots tied to their horns, enabled Hannibal to escape with his booty through the mountain passes of Campania (Polybius III.93.10 ff.; Livy II.16.5 ff.).

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65 Otherwise entirely unknown.

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66 He is known merely as a tyrant of Abydus at the time of Aeneas (Aristotle, Politics, 1306 A30; Demosthenes XXIII.176 f.).

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67 Meineke, by clever emendations, made it out that the city was Amphipolis, and the occasion the capture by Brasidas in 424‑3 B.C., which caused Thucydides to be exiled. But a careful comparison with the conditions described by Thucydides IV.103 ff. makes it clear that that occurrence is not the one referred to here.

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68 See Chap. x.9.

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69 The following instance from recent events may be of interest in this connexion: "Chandra (that is, Ram Chandra, the editor of a Hindoo revolutionary paper in San Francisco) got all the news he wanted for his paper from India, and said he did it through copies of the Koran, marked peculiarly" (The Washington Post, April 24, 1918, p1, col. 6).

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70 This particular device is mentioned by Ovid in the Ars amat. III.621 ff.

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71 A proverbial expression; cf. Plato, Rep. II p. 362D ἀδελφὸς ἀνδρὶ παρείη.

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72 This was done by Demaratus, the exiled Spartan king at the time of the expedition of Xerxes, as told by Herodotus VII.239, whose account Aeneas follows closely here. Compare also Polyaenus II.20; Justin II.10.13 f.; A. Gellius XVII.9.16 f. for this stratagem.

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73 The detail with which Aeneas describes this device makes it certain that it was an invention of his own.

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74 Astragals, or knuckle-bones of sheep, were often used like dice and were among the familiar playthings of children.

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75 The original name for ε, whereas the name Epsilon is due to a later misunderstanding of Byzantine usage.

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76 For a diagram and explanation see H. Diels, Antike Technik2, 1920, 74‑75.

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77 This is the earliest of a long series of references in ancient authors to a singular custom whereby the Locrians sent annually for many centuries two maidens to the service of Athena at Ilium as an atonement for the injury done to Cassandra by Aias the Locrian. The inhabitants of the city were expected to prevent their introduction, killing those who were caught and burning their bodies. Only recently a remarkable inscription has been discovered in West Locris which makes special provisions for the selection of the maidens. The best discussion at present of the whole matter is by A. Wilhelm, "Die lokrische Mädcheninschrift," Jahresh. d. österr. arch. Inst., 1911, XIV: 163‑256.

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78 Possibly πολλὰ should be construed with ἔτεα. The sense will then be: "have been secretly each year for many years bringing in maidens."

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79 The incident is taken direct from Herodotus VIII.128. This device was often employed in ancient times, the best known case, perhaps, being that in which Caesar contrived in this way to get word to the beleaguered Quintus Cicero. Caesar, Bell. Gall. V.48.

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80 The story is from Herodotus V.35.

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81 See Introduction, pp5‑7.

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82 Nothing further is known of this Astyanax. The same thing happened to Julius Caesar. At the very moment when he was struck down he held in his hands a paper given him by Artemidorus which contained a full statement of the conspiracy.

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83 This was referred to also in Ch. xxiv.18. The particular incident in the mind of the author was, no doubt, the occasion when Archias, the oligarchic leader, was given a paper telling about the design on his life, while sitting at table the evening of the night on which he was murdered. He thrust the paper under a cushion with the remark "Serious business to‑morrow."

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84 Glus (the correct form is Glos) is well known from the Anabasis as one of those who supported the younger Cyrus in the revolt against his brother. He was admiral of the great king's forces in the war against Evagoras of Cyprus, between 387‑6 B.C. and 380‑79, the year in which he was murdered.


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