After Battle

The people, conflicts, and daily life of the Roman army.

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After Battle

Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Sun Oct 05, 2003 8:43 pm

Salvete!

I wondered myself: "what happened after a battle? What happened if the Romans had won, what happened if the Romans had lost?"

Where and how did they burry the death? What happened to the enemies weapons? Where they confiscated? Was the camp ravaged when the Romans lost Did the Romans ravage the enemies camps when they won? What with the prisoners?

Can anybody help me?

Valete,

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Postby Q. C. Locatus Barbatus on Wed Oct 15, 2003 5:19 pm

Hellllooooo? Anybody?

By the way, how do you like the picture on the left I took in Aix-en-Provence? It is (not surprisingly) token at a pub.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Oct 18, 2003 6:45 pm

I don't know.

But I do like your avatar, Locate. Reminds me of a certain person... ;)

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Wed Oct 29, 2003 1:11 pm

Salvete

Something that may interest you, in the Argonautica by Valerius Flaccus , 3.411-58 there is described a rite performed to the enemy's dead. Sacrifices are made to them as Manes. Logs are cut into effigies of Jason and his men, dressed in their armor, and the spirits of the dead enemies invited to take their vengeance on the effigies rather than on the Argonauts. Here is the prayer they recite:

?Leave us, you ghosts of the slain, forget those angry memories and vengeful thoughts. Let peace come between us. May you grow to love your Stygian resting place, far from our crew and far from the seas we travel, and may you stay far from the battles we engage. At no time haunt our cities back home in Greece or at the crossroads howl. Do no harm to our pigs and cattle, bring no pestilence to our herds or crops. Do not woefully assail our people or our children.? (Argonautic 3.447-55)

Considering how the Romans felt about the Manes, and the dangers their wrath might hold, this would seem to have been a rite Roman soldiers often performed. One could not be purified so long as they had not performed rites due to the dead, and that would include enemy dead, especially during civil wars. Roman purification rites offered sacrifice to the Manes in general to "cover" anyone's ghost that they might have forgotten. Upon returning to Rome from wars the Roman soldiers went through a series of purifications of themselves and their arms. In addition, with this rite above we see another aspect to either appease or ward off those who could become larvae set on ruining the families of their opponents. In May the Roman soldiers would perform the Rosalia honoring their own dead. One would suspect they also called upon their fallen comrads to continue defending them against enemy wraithes. The rite found in Valerius, although placed in a Greek setting, seems to me to be very Roman in its content.

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