A swagger stick (lat: vitis) is a short stick or [[Crop (implement)|riding crop]] usually carried by a uniformed person as a symbol of authority. A swagger stick is shorter than a or [[Cane (tool)|]], and is usually made from [[rattan]].
== Vitis ==[[File:Epitaph des Marcus Caelius.JPG|thumb|right|upright|[[Epitaph]] for Marcus Caelius, primus pilus of the [[...|ill-fated]] [[Legio XVIII]]. The vitis breaks the frame and even runs across the inscription.]]
In the [[Roman army]] the swagger stick, then called a vitis, was a distinction of rank worn by a [[centurion]] and used to direct military drill and manoeuvres, or to administer [[physical punishment]]. It was a short [[vitis|vine]] wood staff, hence the name, about the size of a cane and is often prominently featured on sepulchral monuments for dead or missing centurions as a sign of their dignity.
[[Tacitus]] recounts how one centurio earned the nickname Cedo Alteram ("give me another!") for repeatedly breaking his vitis on the back of a [[Legionary|miles gregarius]] and yelling for a replacement.ref This policy resulted in [[mutiny]] (14 AD) and the troops cite, amongst other complaints, harsh corporal punishments as a reason for their revolt.ref