Sunday, March 25, 2012

Frontinus - Stratagems

When Marcus Crassus had constructed a ditch around the forces of Spartacus, the latter at night filled it with the bodies of prisoners and cattle that he had slain, and thus marched across it.

The same Spartacus, when besieged on the slopes of Vesuvius at the point where the mountain was steepest and on that account unguarded, plaited ropes of osiers from the woods. Letting himself down by these, he not only made his escape, but by appearing in another quarter struck such terror into Clodius that several cohorts gave way before a force of only seventy-four gladiators.

This Spartacus, when enveloped by the troops of the proconsul Publius Varinius, placed stakes at short intervals before the gate of the camp; then setting up corpses, dressed in clothes and furnished with weapons, he tied these to the stakes to give the appearance of sentries when viewed from a distance. He also lighted fires throughout the whole camp. Deceiving the enemy by this empty show, Spartacus by night silently led out his troops.

Book VII (How to conceal the Absence of the Things we lack, or to supply Substitutes for Them)

Spartacus and his troops had shields made of osiers and covered with hides.

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