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BATTLE OF THE METAURUS.

the military genius of Marius,[1] and which we read of in the first chapter of Gibbon. We possess, in that great work, an account of the Roman legions at the end of the commonwealth, and during the early ages of the empire, which those alone can adequately admire, who have attempted a similar description. We have also, in the sixth and seventeenth books of Polybius, an elaborate discussion on the military system of the Romans in his time, which was not far distant from the time of the battle of the Metaurus. But the subject is beset with difficulties; and instead of entering into minute but inconclusive details, I would refer to Gibbon's first chapter, as serving for a general description of the Roman army in its period of perfection; and remark, that the training and armour which the whole legion received in the time of Augustus, was, two centuries earlier, only partially introduced. Two divisions of troops, called Hastati and Principes, formed the bulk of each Roman legion in the second Punic war. Each of these divisions was twelve hundred strong. The Hastatus and the Princeps legionary bore a breastplate or coat of mail, brazen greaves, and a brazen helmet, with a lofty upright crest of scarlet or

  1. Most probably during the period of his prolonged consulship, from B.C. 104 to B.C. 101, while he was training his army against the Cimbri and the Teutons.