Legion XXIV  Castra Unit  and  Midwest Vexillation

Drill Commands  as used by  Legion XXIV  Media Atlantia   2004

Modified  "Maurice"  Byzantium  Drill  Sequence   August  2004

This is only a preliminary draft.  It is not the final version and is to be used on a trial basis until a final version is decided upon.  Your comments and critique are welcome to  legionxxiv@comcast.net  

After much research by our Mid-West Vexillation Optio, Quintus Fabricus Varus (David Smith) and Max Nelson, PhD; and using their extensive knowledge as  Latin Language professors,  Legion XXIV is adopting the following Latin Marching Drill Commands.  The previously used "Maurice" 6th Century AD Byzantium Era Drill had some improper and linguistically wrong terms, such as "Depone", which actually means "to lay-down", for wheeling movements.  The term "Rotam / Rotata" - "to turn or wheel around". is now used in place of "Depone".

Most of the commands are the same as the "Maurice" Drill.  Some new commands have been added to provide for some previously omitted commands, such as  "Right Flank" and "Left Flank" movements.

For Now, the "Maurice" Drill remains valid for those times when Legion XXIV may be marching under the command of another unit.   Other Roman military units are encouraged to consider and adopt this more correct "modified"  Maurice Drill Sequence. 

Commands marked with  "( M )"  are from the Maurice Drill. 

Commands marked with an asterisk ( * ) are conjectural based upon 1st Century Latin.

Those desiring further information or wishing to comment or dispute our findings should e-mail  dsmith7070@aol.com 

A Pronunciation Guide for the Commands is provided below.


Command of          Command of          Explanation of Command                               Preparation            Execution              What Should Happen 

- - - - -  >                  Accelerate            Speed up                                                                 Aciem                     Formate               Form battle line                                                                 Ad                           Dextram               To the right (w/o arms)                                                     Ad                           Sinistram             To the Left     (w/o arms)                                                 Ad  Gladios             Clinate         Face to the Right, when standing  (lit., ‘to the swords turn’)    Ad  Gladios             Clinate         Flank to the Right, when marching  (lit., ‘to the swords turn’) Ad  Gladios             Clina (M)    Turn to the Right  (clearly not 1st century Latin )                         Ad Scuta                 Clinate         Face to the Left, when standing (lit., "to the swords turn")      Ad Scuta                 Clinate         Flank to the Left, when marching  (lit., "to the swords turn")  Ad  Scuta                Clina (M)      Turn to the Left  (clearly not 1st century Latin)                         Ad                           Signa          Fall in to the colours / standards                                      Agmen                    Formate*      Form a single column                                                         Agmen a Sex          Formate*      Form a column of sixes                                                     Arma                       Monstrate*    "Present Arms"                                                                 Bando                     Sequute(M)   "Follow the Standards"  (not good classic Latin)                                - - - - -  >                  Celeriter       Quickly (adverb)                                                                           - - - - -  >                   Clinate          Turn                                                                             Cuneum                   Formate        Form a wedge                                                         Dextro                      Pede        On the Right Foot  (for those who do a right-foot drill)                   - - - - - >                    Exite (M)          Move Out                                                                                  - - - - >                      Exspectate       Wait for It !                                                                  Frontem                   Dirigite (M)       Dress the ranks                                                                 Gladios                    Recondite        Put away swords                                                       Gladios                    Stringite           Withdraw swords                                                                    - - - - - >                    Intente              Attentively adverb)                                                                 - - - - - >                    Intente              Attentively (adverb)                                                                 - - - - - >                    Intrate (M)         Enter                                                                                       - - - - - >                    Iungite (M)        Close Ranks  (lit. "join" )                                                        - - - - - >                    Laxate              At ease! (It literally means ‘let go’)                                 Locum                     Mutate (M)        Countermarch  (change place)                                                - - - - - >                    Movete (M)       March!  (beginning on the LEFT foot)                     Movete                     Nunc                Forward March  (beginning on the LEFT Foot)                        - - - - - >                     Nunc                Now!  (attached to phrases to actuate the command, as with                  Movete… Nunc – Forward Move… Now!  or  State… Nunc – Halt… Now! )         Mandata                   Captate (M)      Attention  (lit. observe the commands)                     Ordinem                   Servate (M)      Keep your position

- - - - - >                       Parate *             Prepare !

- - - - - >                    Parati (M)         Ready !                                                                             Pila                          Deponite          Lay down pila  (ground weapons) 

Pila                          Lacite              Throw pila                                                                         Pila                          Infigite             Plant your pila (spear point in ground)                             Pila                          Tollite              Pick up pila                                                                             - - - - - >                     Porro               Charge - Attack!  or  Forward!                                 Quadratum               Formate           Form a square                                                                        - - - - - >                     Redite (M)        Return to the original front                                                     - - - - - >                     Revertite (M)    Return                                                                                Ad Gladios              Rotato*         Wheel to the right, lit., "Wheel to the Right toward Gladius"

Rotam ad Gladios  Formate *            Wheel to the right, lit., "Form a wheel to the Right"

Ad Scuta                   Rotata *       Wheel to the left           "Wheel to the Left toward Scuta "

Rotam ad Scuta     Formate *             Wheel to the left           "Form a wheel to the Left"

- - - - - >                     Rursum         Backward

Salve                                             Hello (when speaking to one person)                     Salvete                                          Hello (when speaking to more than one person)             Signa                        Convertite     About Face  - point the standards in the opposite direction

Signa                       Sequimini *             "Follow the standards"

Signo                         Dato             The signal has been given         - - - - - >                       Silentium (M)             Silence !                                                                                                        - - - - - >                      Sinistro!       (On your) Left (foot)!                                                 Spatium                    Date *             Open ranks (lit. ‘give space’)                                      - - - - - >                       State              Halt !

State                           Nunc              Halt ! (now)

- - - - - >                       Tacete          "Be Silent"

- - - - - >                       Tacite             Quietly  (adverb)

- - - - - >                       Tardate         Slow Down

- - - - - >                       Tarde             Slowly  (adverb)

Testudinem              Formate      Form the Testudo  (turtle formation)

- - - - - >                  Transformate (M)   About Face  (normally to the Left, toward the Scuta side)

Undique                    Servate (M)              Face in all directions

Vale                                                    Goodbye  (when speaking to only one person)

Valete                                                            Goodbye  (when speaking to more than one person)

Vos                             Dimitto          I dismiss you 888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888


Accelerate                            Ak-kel-er-ah-tay                                                                  Aciem Formate                    Ah-key-em  For-mah-tay                                                     Ad dextram                          Odd deck-stram                                                                     Ad Gladios Clinate             Odd gla-dee-ohs  Klee-nah-tay                                             Ad Scuta    Clinate             Odd sku-ta  Klee-nah-tay                                                     Ad Signa                              Odd  sig-na                                                                              Ad Sinistram                       Odd  si-ni-strahm                                                                 Agmen a duobus Formate            Ahg-men a doo-oh-bus For-mah-tay             Agmen a quattuor Formate           Ahg-men a kwa-two-ohr For-mah-tay         Agmen a quinque Formate            Ahg-men a kwin-kway For-mah-tay             Agmen a sex Formate                     Ahg-men a secks For-mah-tay                     Agmen a tribus Formate                 Ahg-men a tree-bus For-mah-tay                 Agmen Formate                                Ahg-men  For-mah-tay                                         Arma Monstrate                                Ar-mah Mohn-straw-tay                         Celeriter                                              Kel-er-i-ter                                                         Cuneum Formate                             Koo-nay-uhm  For-mah-tay                         Frontem Dirigite                               Fron-tem   Di-rig-i-tay                                             Gladios Recondite                          Gla-dee-ohs   Ray-con-di-tay                         Gladios Stringite                             Gla-dee-ohs    Strin-geh-tay                 Iungite                                                Yun-geh-tay                                                     Laxate                                                 Lock-sah-tay                                                     Locum Mutate                                   Low-cum  Moo-tah-tay                             Movete                                                Moh-way-tay                                                 Nunc                                                   Nuhnc                                                             Ordinem  servate                            Or-deh-nem   Ser-wah-tay                                     Pila Deponite                                   Pee-lah  Day-po-neh-tay                                         Pila Iacite                                          Pee-lah  Yah-ki-tay                                                     Pila Infigite                                       Pee-lah    In-fi-geh-tay                                             Pila Tollite                                        Pee-lah    Tol-li-tay                                             Porro                                                 Por-ro (trilled r)                                             Quadratum Formate                     Kwa-drah-tum  For-mah-tay                         Redite                                               Reh-di-tay                                                             Rotam ad gladios (Formate)       Row-tahm   odd  gla-dee-ohs                             Rotam ad scuta    (Formate)       Row-tahm   odd sku-tah                             Salve                                                 Sal-way                                                             Salvete                                             Sal-way-tay                                                             Signa   Sequimini                          Sig-na  Say-kwi-mi-nee                                         Signo   Dato                                    Sig-noh  dah-tow                                                 Silentium                                         Si-len-tee-um                                                 Sinistro!                                           Si-nis-troh                                                             Spatium   Date                               Spa-tee-um  Dah-tay                                     State                                                Stah-tay                                                             Tarde                                               Tar-day                                                         Testudinem   Formate                Tes-two-di-nem   For-mah-tay                     Vale                                                 Wah-lay                                                             Valete                                              Wah-lay-tay                                                                 Vos Dimitto                                   Wohs   Di-mit-toe



Old  "Maurice"  Byzantium  Drill  -  To be superceded by the above Drill

There is no surviving Roman marching drill from the first century, so most of ours is adapted from the Strategikon of Maurice. This was written in the 6th century AD, but is still the oldest known Latin drill. Other commands have been added to allow necessary actions like drawing swords, etc.--some of these have been adapted from the Ermine Street Guard's drill. Maurice's drill is strikingly similar to an obsolete Greek drill in Arrian's Tactical Manual, from the 2nd century AD.


     Ad Signa               Fall in
     Silentium              Silence
     Mandata Captate        Observe the orders (Attention, etc.)
     Ordenem Servate        Keep your position
     Dirige Frontem         Dress the ranks
     Laxate                       Rest
     Move                         March
     Accelera                   Speed up
     Tarda                        Slow down
     Ad Senestram,         Depone   Wheel to the right/left 

     Ad Dextrum,             Depone     Wheel to the
     Signo Sequute          Follow the standard (or leader)
     Consiste (or State)    Halt
     Ad Gladium, Clina      To the Right, Face
     Ad Scutum,  Clina      To the Left, Face
     Transforma             About Face
     Redi                         Return to the original front
     Muta Locum             Countermarch
     Langia ad Dextram        Open Ranks to the Right

     Langia ad Senestram    Open Ranks to the Left
     Langia Ambas Partes    Open Ranks (to right/left/both sides)
     Exi                    Rear half-files move up
     Intra                  Reverse of Exi
     Iunge                  Close ranks
     Ad Agmine              Form marching column
     Ad Aciem               Form battle-line
     Ad Testudinem          Form the Testudo
     Ad Cuneum              Form Wedge
     Pila Infige            Plant your pila (upright)
     Pila Pone              Lay down your pila
     Pila Tolle             Pick up pila
     Pila Iace              Throw pila
     Gladium Stringe        Draw swords
     Gladium Reconde        Sheath swords
     Parati!                Ready (To charge, etc.)
     Porro                  Charge!
     Dimitto                I dismiss you

     Lateri            Dextro *       Flank Turn to your Right side from where you're at        Lateri            Sinistro *     Flank Turn to your  Left  side from where you're at