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Chapter 10

This webpage reproduces a chapter of the
Tactics

by
Asclepiodotus

(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,
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Chapter 12
This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

Asclepiodotus
Tactics

p313 XI. Formations in Marching

With Asclep. xi.1‑2 cf. Ael. XXIV.11 A march in line (paragoge) is the march of the phalanx, either as a whole or by its parts; as a whole, it is called either a march by front when it advances with extended front, or a march by file when it advances in file. And if it march with an extended front it is either forward by the rank of file-leaders p315(Fig. 1), or backward by the rank of file-closers (Fig. 2); but if it move in column, if the line of file-leaders, which is also called the mouth, is on the right, it is called by the right (Fig. 3), and if on the left, it is called by the left (Fig. 4); also a left (Fig. 5) and right (Fig. 6) oblique march-in‑line when the corresponding wing is advanced; a convex (Fig. 7), concave55 (Fig. 8), and a half-square march backwards (Fig. 9) and the same forward (Fig. 10), when the front is bent concave, convex, or as a half-square forward or backward, as in the following diagrams.56


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p317 2 The march by flank57 and the march by front need apply not merely to the entire phalanx, but also to its parts; for if the phalanx should march by wings, it may be either by column or by front, and each of these again either in sequence (epagoge) or in parallel formation (syzeuxis); it is a march in sequence when the second wing follows the first, and in parallel formation when neither precedes the other.58

Asclep. xi.3 = Ael. XXXVII.2; 3; 53 There are four kinds of march in column in parallel formation: for the fronts may be either right or left, which is called the order with corresponding front, right (Fig. 11), or left (Fig. 12); or the fronts may be opposite, and if the men should march with fronts side by side it is called a march with inner fronts (Fig. 13), but if with file-closers side by side a march with outer fronts (Fig. 14).

Asclep. xi.4 = Ael. XXXVII.44 When the army advances in sequence formation and in column, it can do so only with different fronts, so that one wing has its front right and the other its front left (Fig. 15), there is being impossible for the fronts to be on the same side, for the march by wings would then differ in no respect from that of the phalanx in a body,59 since in this way the fronts will follow one behind the other; but when the army advances in p319sequence formation and with extended front it will have either corresponding fronts or outer fronts, i.e., behind the file-closers of the leading wing will follow either the file-leaders (Fig. 16) or the file-closers (Fig. 17) of the second wing.

Asclep. xi.5 = Ael. XXXVII.6‑75 The wings also, when in oblique formation, have two different positions: either the left wing is advanced on the left side and the right wing on the right, in which array the entire phalanx is called a hollow-wedge (koilembolos, Fig. 18), or just the opposite formation is assumed, when it is called a wedge (embolos, Fig. 19); see the following diagrams.


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Asclep. xi.6 = Ael. XXXVII.8‑96 Sometimes the army marches in four parts by divisions, on its guard upon every side against the enemy, and we have a four-sided figure fronting on p321each side, an oblong rectangle (Fig. 20) or a square (Fig. 21) which fronts on all sides, as the following diagram shows.60


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Asclep. xi.7 = Ael. XLVIII.2‑37 When the army marches in several divisions, the battalions will be either in loose or close formation: it is the close formation when the march is by battalions en échelon, the entire phalanx assuming the form of a V (Fig. 22); the loose formation, when the battalions form parallelograms with only the corners touching one another, but with the fronts facing forward (Fig. 23). The form of these dispositions will be clear from the following figure. There might, of course, be other orders of march, meeting the situations that arise.


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Asclep. xi.8 = Ael. XXXIX8 The baggage-train, which is very essential and requires its own commander, is convoyed in five p323ways: it must precede the phalanx when the march is away from the enemy's country, or follow it, when the march is into the enemy's country, or parallel the phalanx on the right or left side, whenever danger is suspected from the opposite side, or, finally, it may be convoyed within the hollow square of the phalanx, danger threatens on all sides.61


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

55 Most unusual formations, certainly, for marching.

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56 The treatment of this and the following paragraphs in Aelian is very different.

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57 That is, in file, or in column.

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58 That is, when the wings are side by side.

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59 As in Figs. 3 and 4.

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60 The locus classicus for this order of march is the Anabasis of Xenophon III.4.19‑23.

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61 The importance of the heavy baggage-train to the ancient army is hardly appreciated by our author, who dismisses it in these few words.


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Page updated: 28 Nov 12