Aeneas Tacticus 20.





20. The Prevention of Tampering with Bars and Bolts

1. To prevent any tricks being played with these, a general should, first of all, go in person to shut the gates and make his inspection, before he has dined, and not entrust anyone else with the task when he is disposed to be lazy; in time of war he will need to have all his wits about him in the performance of his duty. 2. Secondly, the bar should be covered throughout its whole length with three or four thicknesses of iron, so that it cannot be sawn through. Thirdly, three bolts of different patterns may be put in on different days: one of these should be kept by each general; or if the generals should be too many in number, their days for this duty must be decided by lot. 3. And it is best to have the bolts not removable, but held down by an iron place, so that when the bolt is being taken out, it may never be lifted by the pincers higher than will enable it to be inside the bar while the gates are being shut or opened. The pincers must be so made as to slip under the plate and lift the bolt without trouble.
4. At Apollonia on the Pontus, where one of the above ruses had been practiced with success, the gates were so constructed as to be shut to the sound of a big hammer, which made a tremendous noise, so that almost the whole city could hear when the gates were being shut or opened, the fastenings being very heavy and plated with iron. 5. And the same thing was done at Aegina.
When the gates are shut the guards should be given the password and the accompanying signal, and sent to their several posts.






created 14/02/2010 - updated 14/02/2010