Is there a term in Latin for an attack from all sides, similar to the English gauntlet? I need the translation to be as short-and-sweet as possible, as it's for a short title: The Gauntlet (that's it). A singular word for this would be much better than a multiple-term description.

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    The Romans seem to have considered an attack on all sides to be akin to flooding. The verb used is circumfundo -ere. See Lewis & Short. L.: circumfunduntur hostes, Cs.: equites ab lateribus circumfusi, L.: hostes undique circumfusi erant. Does this give you any ideas?
    – user1466
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 21:25
  • Modern usage of The Gauntlet, just for fun!
    – DukeZhou
    Commented May 8, 2018 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


Might I suggest undique. It's an adverb literally meaning "from all sides," and is quite often used in military contexts, such as the example below given from Lewis and Short:

from all parts, sides, or places, from every quarter, on all sides, on every part, everywhere: "ut undique uno tempore in hostes impetus fieret," Caes. B. G. 1, 22

  • This certainly works for "from all sides," but I don't think it can be plugged into the OP's use case. Part of the confusion is that a "gauntlet" is pretty different from an "attack from all sides."
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:13
  • @brianpck Yeah, I'm interpreting his want creatively. I think undique appropriately gets the idea of "from all sides" down with an implicit "attack" making sense in the book, though it's not a gauntlet per se. Gauntlet's also can mean "extreme trial," though, and if MSH is as young as I suspect he is, he might have Harry Potter on his mind.
    – cmw
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:46
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    I put a comment up above before I saw this answer. In Livy & other authors there are constructions like this ablative absolute: "circumfuso undique equitatu" -- having been flooded on all sides by the cavalry. I wonder if something about this idea of flooding would be useful for the questioner's purpose. It's not a gauntlet idea at all, but these overwhelming attacks were the reason the army formed an "orbis" or a "testudo" for protection.
    – user1466
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 21:40
  • It's a good answer, @Palizsche, and I recommend turning it into a full answer instead of a comment.
    – cmw
    Commented May 6, 2017 at 15:43

A "gauntlet" (as in "running the gauntlet") refers to a specific form of punishment, whereby someone goes between two rows of men while being struck at.

A close Roman equivalent is the fustuarium (Wikipedia Article), which is:

a cudgelling to death, a military punishment for desertion or other capital offences

As far as I know, a gauntlet is more a form of punishment than execution, but this may still be a helpful starting point.

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    I must have read both Cicero's Philippics and Livy book 5 combined a dozen times, but this word, and what it actually means, never really stuck out. What an interesting (and gruesome) image!
    – cmw
    Commented Apr 27, 2017 at 20:47

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