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Headword: *spali/wnos
Adler number: sigma,901
Translated headword: spalion, vinea, wicker-roof
Vetting Status: high
A wickerwork [war-]machine. Agathias [writes]: "the Romans were preparing the spalions and the hurling-places of large stones. The spalion is a[n item of] wickerwork [made] out of withies, constructed into the form of a roof, both protective by its density and covered on both sides, by the fact that its flanks are stretched out downward on either side, deflecting anything falling on it. By placing skins and hides from above they cover the machine from all sides, in order to be a more functional defense and to ward off projectiles. Men inside, hidden by the safe [structure], raise it unseen, and carry it where they will. And whenever it has been brought to any given tower or defensive structure, then it is that those from below, digging up the nearby ground and drawing up the soil, strip bare the foundations, and then, assiduously striking, they tear down the edifice with levers and hammers."[1] And [sc. also] in Menander [sc. Protector] spalions are machines, certain coverings composed with the stretched-out skin of oxen and lifted up by timbers the height of a man; the hoplites, slipping under it from below, and approaching the wall so close they could touch it, having in hand tools both of stonecutting and of undermining, they construct tunnels under the earth, both establishing themselves and digging, [to see] whether they can demolish a part of the wall, or having got inside empty spaces in some other way they will effect one of two things: either breaking up the earth to get [inside] the circuit-wall, or, creating cavities in the inside of a well, to empty [it] outright after drawing up the water into the hollows and depths of the trench."[2]
Greek Original:
*spali/wnos: ple/gma mhxaniko/n. *)agaqi/as: oi( de\ *(rwmai=oi tou\s spali/wnas e)skeu/azon kai\ ta\ tw=n mega/lwn li/qwn a)kontisth/ria. e)/sti de\ o( spali/wn ple/gma e)k lu/gwn, e)s o)rofh=s tu/pon e)ceirgasme/non, stegano/n te th=| puknw/sei kai\ a)mfhrefe/s, tw=| e(kate/rwqen ta\ pleura\ kai\ e)s ta\ ka/tw parateta/sqai kai\ periba/llein to\ e)perxo/menon. de/rreis de\ u(/perqen kai\ difqe/ras e)piba/llontes pa/ntoqen perikalu/ptousi to\ mhxa/nhma, tou= ma=llon e)/ruma ei)=nai kai\ a)pokrou/ein ta\ be/lh. a)/ndres de\ e)/ndon e)n tw=| a)sfalei= u(pokrupto/menoi ai)/rousi/ ge au)to\ a)fanw=s, kai\ h(=| bou/lontai diakomi/zousin. e)peida\n de\ prosenexqei/h pu/rgw| tuxo\n h)\ peribo/lw|, to/te dh\ ne/rqen e)kei=noi th\n proskeime/nhn gh=n a)noru/ttontes kai\ to\n xou=n a)nimw/menoi a)pogumnou=si ta\ qeme/lia, kai\ ei)=ta moxloi=s te kai\ sfu/rais e)ndelexe/stata plh/ttontes katasei/ousi th\n oi)kodomi/an. para\ de\ *mena/ndrw| spali/wnes ei)si\ mhxanh/mata, kalu/ptrai tine\s boei/ois de/rmasin e)kta/dhn cunteqeime/nai cu/lois te a)ndromh/kesin ai)wrou/menai: w(=n e)/nerqen u(peisdu/ntes o(pli=tai, e)n xrw=| te tw=| tei/xei prospela/zontes, o)/rgana/ te laoto/ma kai\ toixwru/xa metaxeirizo/menoi u(po\ gh=n au)lw=nas e)rga/zontai, e)gkei/menoi/ te kai\ dioru/ttontes, ei)/ pou tou= tei/xous me/ros ti katarri/yaien, h)\ a)/llw| tini\ tro/pw| e)nto\s kenwma/twn geno/menoi duoi=n a)nu/sousi/ ge to\ e(/teron, h)\ th\n gh=n a)narrh/cantes tou= peribo/lou genh/sointo ei)/sw, h)/goun kata\ to\ e)/ndon fre/atos tou\s sh/raggas a)gago/ntes e)p' eu)qei/as e)kkenw/saien e)felku/santes to\ u(/dwr ei)s ta\ glafura/ te kai\ koi=la tou= o)ru/gmatos.
Adler prints the headword in the genitive singular, otherwise unattested, while reporting that three mss. transmit it in the nominative plural (spali/wnes).
[1] Agathias, Histories 3.5 (p. 89 line 28 - p. 90 line 3).
[2] Menander Protector fr. 73 FHG (4.269); Blockley 40.
Keywords: botany; definition; historiography; history; military affairs; science and technology; trade and manufacture; zoology
Translated by: John Mulhall on 8 February 2012@15:07:10.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (changed hw; tweaked tr; augmented notes and keywords) on 9 February 2012@05:47:32.
David Whitehead on 31 December 2013@05:38:02.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 11 July 2015@23:26:47.


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