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The hastati are first. The hastati (spearmen) were the young men. Originally they only carried spears. Behind them, the principes were the regulars, who carried shields and swords. The triarii were the veterans. Later on when Rome got rich, the hastati were armed with the pilus, a kind of javelin, and swords as well.

Vegetius' error concerning the order of the lines is simply because he was just copying earlier authors indiscriminately and probably just assumed the principes were first because the "principes" means first. N.P. Milner the modern translator of Vegetius comments:

The fact that Cato-Vegetius diverges on the order principes-hastati-triarii from Polybius' hastati-principes-triarii is without weight, given V.'s editorial method and remoteness from the original. p. xxi

Vegetius makes many other such errors typical of people who do not understand a subject and are just epitomizing the work of others. For example, in other parts of the book he frequently confuses the words principes, principia and principales, not clearly understanding the difference between these three terms.

The hastati are first. The hastati (spearmen) were the young men. Originally they only carried spears. Behind them, the principes were the regulars, who carried shields and swords. The triarii were the veterans. Later on when Rome got rich, the hastati were armed with the pilus, a kind of javelin, and swords as well.

The hastati are first. The hastati (spearmen) were the young men. Originally they only carried spears. Behind them, the principes were the regulars, who carried shields and swords. The triarii were the veterans. Later on when Rome got rich, the hastati were armed with the pilus, a kind of javelin, and swords as well.

Vegetius' error concerning the order of the lines is simply because he was just copying earlier authors indiscriminately and probably just assumed the principes were first because the "principes" means first. N.P. Milner the modern translator of Vegetius comments:

The fact that Cato-Vegetius diverges on the order principes-hastati-triarii from Polybius' hastati-principes-triarii is without weight, given V.'s editorial method and remoteness from the original. p. xxi

Vegetius makes many other such errors typical of people who do not understand a subject and are just epitomizing the work of others. For example, in other parts of the book he frequently confuses the words principes, principia and principales, not clearly understanding the difference between these three terms.

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The hastati are first. The hastati (spearmen) were the young men. Originally they only carried spears. Behind them, the principes were the regulars, who carried shields and swords. The triarii were the veterans. Later on when Rome got rich, the hastati were armed with the pilus, a kind of javelin, and swords as well.