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p234 Calones

Article by Robert Whiston, M.A., Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge
on p234 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

CALONES, the servants of the Roman soldiers, said to have been so called from carrying wood (κᾶλα) for their use (Festus, s.v.; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. VI.1). They are generally supposed to have been slaves, and they almost formed a part of the army, as we may learn from many passages in Caesar: in fact, we are told by Josephus that, from away living with the soldiers and being present at their exercises, they were inferior to them alone in skill and valour. The word calo, however, was not confined to this signification, but was also applied to farm-servants, instances of which usage are found in Horace (Epist. I.14.41; Sat. I.6.103).

In Caesar this term is generally found by itself; in Tacitus it is coupled and made always identical with lixa. Still the calones and lixae were not the same: the latter, in fact, were freemen, who merely followed the camp for the purposes of gain and merchandise, and were so far from being indispensable to an army, that they were sometimes forbidden to follow it (ne lixae sequerentur exercitum, Sall. Bell. Jug. 45). Thus again we read of the lixae mercatoresque, qui plaustris merces portabant (Hirtius, De Bell. Afr. 75), words which plainly show that the lixae were traders and dealers. Livy also (V.8) speaks of them as carrying on business. The term itself is supposed to be connected with lixa, an old word signifying water, inasmuch as the lixae supplied this article to the soldiers: since, however, they probably furnished ready-cooked provisions (elixos cibos), it seems not unlikely that their appellation may have some allusion to this circumstance (see Sall. l.c.).

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Page updated: 13 Apr 07