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Some Uses of Primus in Naval Contexts

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009

W. K. Lacey
Affiliation:
St. Catharine's College, Cambridge

Extract

ALL Roman historical writers use a naval terminology based on military parlance. Ships on the move in line ahead (or astern) are an agmen navium, positions in the line are ordines (like ranks in a marching column), ships in a single file are said to move tenui agmine—in two columns are said to be birds in ordine navibus. In one passage the three posts in the column are described as prima navis, media classis, extremum agmen. To bring up the rear is agmen cogere.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Classical Association 1957

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References

1 This is the substance of a paper read in 1954 to the Cambridge Philological Society, many of whose members have helped me with suggestions.

2 The references quoted in this note and the following ones are not meant to be exhaustive ; they are merely exempli gratia and taken solely from historians—with three exceptions from Caesar and Livy. Livy 21. 27. 8, 22. 19. 12, 22. 22. 2, 36. 20. 8, 37. 13. 1, and passim.

3 e.g. Livy 36. 43. 13, 37. 23. 8, 37. 29. 8.

4 Livy 36. 43. 13, defined (ibid.) as in ordinem singulas naves ire.

5 Livy 37. 29. 8.

6 Livy 37. 23. 8, and for extremum agmen also 36. 45. 2, 37. 23. II. Contrast Caesar, B.C. 3. 73. 3 medias classes in a different sense.

7 Livy 36. 44. 3, 37. 29. 7.

8 Livy 30. 10. 4, 37. 30. 6, etc. Caesar, B.C. 1. 57, 58.

9 Livy 36. 44. 1, ibid. 3, 37. 29. 5, etc. Cf. infrontem derigere 37. 23. 7 and 9.

10 Livy 30. 10. 19 (virtually a land battle), 37. 29. 5. Cf. Auct. Bell. Alex. 14. 3 for in secundo ordine.

11 Livy 29. 25. 10, 37. 30. 6 (laevum), 37. 23. 11 (dextrum), 36. 44. 1 (sinistrum), etc. Cf. ex utroque cornu Livy 37. 28. 8 and Caesar, B.C. 3. 101.

12 Livy 36. 45. 6, 37. 23. 9, 37. 29. 7.

13 Caesar, B.C. 1. 57, 58.

14 Livy 37. 23. 10, 37. 29. 7, Auct. Bell. Alex. 14. 1.

15 Livy 36. 44. 1.

16 Livy 26. 39. 12, 36. 44. 10, 37. 23. 9, etc. Cf. concursu ibid. 24. 9 and impetus classis Caesar, B.C. 3. 26. 4.

17 Livy 32. 16. 5; cf. classis expedita ibid. 26. 24. 1.

18 Livy 32. 17. 3.

19 Livy 26. 39. 18, 29. 27. 1, 37. 23. 8, ibid. 24. 4 and 6, etc. Tac. Hist. 5. 22 and cf. ibid. praetoriam triremem.

20 Livy 30. 9. 6 et saep. Caesar, B.G. 5. 11. 7, Tac. Agr. 25. 1 for a joint camp.

21 30. 33. 4.

22 B.G. 2. 17. 2.

1 Non-technical instances come to mind in the funeral games in Virgil, Am. 5—e.g. primus at 194 and 318 and prior ibid. 170. 186, 326, etc., for the leader of two.

2 37. 23. 8, 37. 29. 5. 25. 27. 11, 26. 39. 14.

3 B.G. 4. 23. 2 and ibid. 25. 6. Also in Bell. Alex. 15. 3.

4 Agr. 24. 1. The passages will be dis cussed in this order.

5 Livy 25. 27. 11, 26. 39. 14 (where the text is faulty), Caesar, B.G. 4. 25. 6, Tac. Agr. 24. 1.

1 Cf. (a) and (A) above and Livy 36. 44. 8.

2 Phil. Woch. (1924), pp. 1085 ff.

3 naves constituit c. 23. 6.

4 Cf. pictures of modern landings on enemy beaches.

5 Caesar, , de Bella Gallico, p. 160, note on the passage.Google Scholar

6 B.G. 4. 26. 4.

7 Ibid. 25. 1.

8 Op. cit. note on ibid. 26. 3

1 C.R. xi (1898), 320.

2 C.R. ix (1896), 310.

3 Tacitus on Britain and Germany (Pelican ieries), p. 74.

4 Hist. 2. 49, and 3. 6 and 70. Cf. the very emphatic optimus est … dies primus. Hist. 4. 42.

5 Hist. 2. 43, etc.

6 B.G. 5. 49. 5 and B.C. 3. 28. 6, also ppidum primum Thessaliae B.C. 3. 80. 1.

7 e.g. 37. 23. 6.

8 27. 12. 17.

9 24. 20. 11.

10 25. 21. 8.

11 Lewis and Short quote also Petronius 116, urbemItaliaeprimam, where primam is emphatic meaning ‘leading, foremost’.

12 Apart from Bury, J.R.S. xii (1922), 57, and Semple, C.R. xliii. 214, these are dis cussed by J. G. C. Anderson in his edition (Furneaux and Anderson, Oxford, 1922), who expresses the view that ‘no plausible emendation has been proposed’ (ibid., p. 109). We may echo his view.

13 Macmillan, ed. 1869, note ad loc., p. 66,

1 Op. cit., note ad loc.

2 Agricola and Roman Britain, 1954, p. 125Google Scholar. More recently also Dr. Duggan, M., Proc. Class. Assoc. 1955, p. 20.Google Scholar

3 Anderson, , op. cit., Introd., pp. 21 ff., and most recently Nesselhauf in Hermes, lxxx (1952), pp. 226 ff.Google Scholar

4 Passim, especially 18. 3, 20. 2, 35. 4.

5 18. 3, 25. 3 with 27. 2, 35. 4.

6 The view of I. A. Richmond in J.R.S. xxxiv (1944), 39 is surely correct.

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