17 ILS 2487; 9133-5, inscription, Lambaesis, Africa, AD 128


Emperor Caesar Trajan Hadrian Augustus addressed his very own Legion III Augusta after inspecting -their manoeuvres, in the words recorded below, in the consulship of Torquatus for the second time and Libo, 1 July.


To the chief centurions:
[ ---] your commander has himself told me on your behalf of numerous factors which would have excused you in my judgment, namely, that one cohort is absent which every year is sent in rotation to the office of the proconsul (of Africa), that two years ago you contributed a cohort and four men from each century to supplement your colleagues in the third legion (III Cyrenaica or Gallica), that many outposts in different locations keep you far apart, that in my own memory you have not only changed camp twice but also built new ones. For these reasons I would have excused you if the legion had been dilatory in its maneuvers for any length of time. But you have not been dilatory in any respect at all [ _ ] The chief centurions and the centurions were fit and strong as usual.


To the cavalry of the legion:
Military manuevers have their own rules so to speak and if anything is added or taken away from them the drill is made either less effective or more difficult. Indeed the more complications are added, the less impressive it appears. Of the difficult maneuvers you have completed the most difficult of all, throwing the javelin while wearing metal corslets [ _] Furthermore, I commend your morale [ _]


[To a cavalry cohort]:


[Defences which] others build in several days, you have completed in one; you have constructed a wall which requires considerable work and which is normally built for permanent winter quarters in a time not much longer than is usually needed to build a turf wall. For this type of wall the turf is cut to a regulation size, is easily carried and manuevered and is erected without trouble, for it is naturally pliable and level. But you used large, heavy, and uneven stones which no one can carry, lift, or fit in position without the stones catching on each other because of their uneven surface. You dug a ditch straight through hard and rough gravel and made it smooth by levelling it. When your work had been approved you entered the camp quickly and got your rations and weapons, and when you had followed the cavalry which had been sent out, with a great shout as it returned [ _ _ _ .

I commend [my legate] since he introduced you to this manoeuvre which has the appearance of real warfare and trains you in such a way that I can congratulate you. Cornelianus your prefect has performed his duties satisfactorily. However, the riding manoeuvres do not win my approval. The cavalryman should ride out from cover and engage in pursuit [cautiously, for if he cannot] see where he is going or if he cannot rein in his horse when he wishes, he will surely be exposed to hidden traps [ _ ]


[ _] July, to the first ala of Pannonians
You did everything in order. You filled the plain with your exercises, you threw your javelins with a certain degree of style, although you were using rather short and stiff javelins; several of you hurled your lances with equal skill. Just now you mounted your horses agilely and yesterday you did it swiftly. If anything had been lacking in your performance I should have noted it, if anything had been obviously bad I should have mentioned it, but throughout the entire manoeuvre you satisfied me uniformly. Catullinus my legate, distinguished man, shows equal concern for all the units of which he is in command. [ _ ] your prefect apparently looks after you conscientiously. I grant you a donative [as travelling expenses (?) _


To the cavalry of the sixth cohort of Commagenians
It is difficult for cavalry attached to a cohort to win approval even on their own and more difficult still for them not to incur criticism after a manoeuvre by auxiliary cavalry; they cover a greater area of the plain, there are more men throwing javelins, they wheel right in close formation, they perform the Cantabrian manoeuvre in close. array, the beauty of their horses and the splendour of their weapons are in keeping with their pay. But, despite the heat, you avoided any boredom by doing energetically what had to be done; in addition you. fired stones from slings and fought with javelins; on every occasion you mounted speedily. The remarkable care taken by my legate Catullinus, a distinguished man, is obvious from the fact that he has men like you under [his command __ _


Trans:
Campbell, Brian. The Roman Army: A Sourcebook (Routledge 1994).