The Fulcum, the Late Roman and Byzantine Testudo: the Germanization of Roman Infantry Tactics?
Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies, articles online (2004-2008)
The tactic of forming a shield-wall, although called by the Germanic name fulcum first in Maurice’s Strategicon in the sixth century, has a long history of use by the Roman legions, and is not an instance of Germanic influence on Roman tactics.
THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT of Roman and Byzantine military terms have been the subject of numerous mono- graphs, though the absence of an up-to-date comprehensive lexical work leaves many obscurities in this field.This study examines the fulcum or foËlkon, both as a significant Roman tactical development of intrinsic interest and as an exemplum of the historical and linguistic problems posed by Greek, Roman, and Byzantine military vocabulary. The word foËlkon is first attested in the sixth-century Strategicon of the Emperor Maurice to designate a compact, well-shielded infantry formation reminiscent of both the testudo of earlier Roman warfare and the hoplite phalanx of classical Greece.