A tactical unit of a legion; its adoption in the 4th century bc was associated with the introduction of the throwing spear (pīlum) which required a more open and manœuvrable formation. Legionaries were drawn up in three ranks, the first two each containing ten maniples of normally 120 men, the last, ten maniples of 60; light‐armed troops were assigned in proportion. A maniple consisted of two centuries, each commanded by a centurion (see centurio), the senior having overall responsibility. Intervals between maniples in battle formation were covered by the ranks behind, but were perhaps closed during advance. In the late 2nd cent. bc a larger tactical unit, the cohort (see cohors), replaced the maniple.
Subjects: Classical studies