DRILL AND BATTLE COMMANDS
As has been made very clear on other websites, no actual manual of
drill from the earlier periods of the empire have survived. What is
used by us is derived from the works of later period writers,
specifically from the Strategikon, and a dose of common sense. The commands we use today, along with our
companion legions, were pioneered by the Ermine Street Guard in
Britain. The Commander of the XXth legion added more later and so we
have what is widely used today, with minor differences between groups.
This list will be tweaked as we develope our own way of doing things.
Ad Signa!: This means
fall in on the standard. At this command, troops stop whatever they are
doing, take up scuta and pila, and form ranks facing the CO and
Silentium!: Silence in
Mandata captate!: Attention
to orders. Literally, observe the orders..
Dirige frontem!: Essentially
'dress right, dress'...ranks are dressed to the right. About two feet
between each shoulder, scuta bosses and trooper's toes lined up, the
whole rank in a neat line.
Laxate!: At ease. The
right foot moves sideward about shoulder width, the scutum is grounded,
the butt of the pilum on the deck and angled forward. No nattering
about in the ranks. This is the usual point at which orders are read
and details given.
Ad gladium, clina!: Right
face. Troops wear the gladius on the right side, hence the term
'gladium'; sword side.
Ad scutum, clina!: Left
face. Toe of the right or left foot is placed behind and the body
pivoted 180 degrees. Scuta are not to fly about in the movement. [ ad
gladium, transforma!/ ad scutum, transforma!]
Langia partes!: [ad dex/ad
sin/ambas] Open ranks [right/left/both sides]. Sidestep in the
designated direction(s) one full arm length.
Intra!: Half rank fall
back one pace. This command turns one rank into two. Starting on the
left, every other trooper takes a step back then sidesteps right to
line up behind the trooper who had been on their right.
yungay. Close ranks. Generally given after executing the 'Intra;
command to tighten the ranks.
Exi!: Pronounced 'exee'. The
reverse of Intra. Makes one rank from two, rear rank sidestepping left
and then stepping forward.
Simplicem ordinem facite!:
Form single file.
Unum ordinem facite!:
Form one line.
Duos ordines facite!:
Form two files.
Quattuor ordines facite!:
Form four files. Given when the unit is in two files already.
Ut fuistis!: As you were.
Move!: March forward.
Pronounced 'moo-way'. Can be combined with other commands; ad gladium
clina - move! This would mean the column or rank executed a right
face and then began marching. We step off with the left foot, mainly
because some of us are old Marines and it's a tough habit to break.
Other groups step off with the right.
Accelera!: Speed up.
Tarda!: Slow down.
Ad dex / Ad sin depone!:
Pronounced 'day-po-nay'. Right or left wheel. An impressive and
difficult command to execute. Trooper on the end in the direction of
wheel is the pivot. Difficult to explain, difficult to execute in an
orderly way, simple concept.
Signo Sequute!: Pronounced
'say-cue-tay'. Follow the standard, basically follow the leader. Used
for files over difficult terrain.
Muta Locum!: Countermarch.
Makes a file or multiple files double back while marching.
Pulsam pedibus date!:
Ad agmine!: Pronounced 'ad
ag-mi-nay'. Form marching column. Column of twos, threes, whatever is
Pila infige!: Pronounced
'in-fee-gay'. Plant pilum. Butt is planted in the ground so the weapon
Pila pone!: Pronounced
'po-nay'. Lay pilum down.
Pila tolle!: Pronounced
'toll-ay'. Pick up pilum.
Salutate!: Salute. Arm is
held out and up at a 45 degree angle, gladius or pilum in line with the
Ab signis descedite!:
Ad aciem!: Pronounced
'ad ack-ee-em'. Form battle line. Facing the enemy, scuta raised, pila
held lightly ready to cock for throw.
Ad testudinem!: Pronounced
'ad tes-too-di-nem'. Hallmark legionary formation. Fronted, flanked,
and covered by scuta. Usually used in sieges or for protection from
heavy missile fire. The step is slow and called to keep the formation
tight. Quite impressive.
Ad cuneum!: Form wedge. Impressive in display but
probably not what is commonly thought of. Possibly used for multiple
units rather than indiviudal members of a unit.
Pronounced 'Strin-gay'. Draw gladius.
Gladium reconde!: Sheath
Ordenem servate: Stand
fast, hold your position. Not commonly used.
Parati!: Ready! Usually
preparation to charge or prepare a weapon.
Pila iace!: Pronounced
'ee-ack-ay'. Throw pila, however this is the final execution in a
sequence. It is preceeded by the command 'pila parati' at which command the
first rank executes a number of steps with each following rank
executing one less and raising the pila into throwing stance. At the
command 'Pila.......iace!' the
ranks take three steps forward and throw, immediately after which the
arm continues down and draws the gladius, effectively executing an
automatic 'gladium stringe'
and closing the formation to either receive a charge or execute a close