This volume explores the enigmatic primary source known as the ancient military manual. In particular, the volume explores the extent to which these diverse texts constitute a genre (sometimes unsatisfactorily classified as ‘technical literature’), and the degree to which they reflect the practice of warfare.
With contributions from a diverse group of scholars, the chapters examine military manuals from early Archaic Greece to the Byzantine period, covering a wide range of topics including readership, siege warfare, mercenaries, defeat, textual history, and religion. Coverage includes most of the major contemporary siege manual writers, including Xenophon, Frontinus, Vegetius, and Maurice. Close examination of these texts serves to reveals the complex ways in which ancient Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines sought to understand better, and impose order upon, the seemingly irrational phenomenon known as war.
Providing insight into the multifaceted collection of texts that constituted military manuals, this volume is a key resource for students and scholars of warfare and military literature in the classical and Byzantine periods.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Ancient Military Treatise, Genre, and History
James T. Chlup and Conor Whately
1. Military Manuals from Aeneas Tacticus to Maurice: Origins, Scholarship, Genre, Audience, and History
2. The Limited Source Value of Works of Military Literature
Hans Michael Schellenberg
3. The Blind Leading the Blind? Civilian Writers and Audiences of Military Manuals in the Roman World
4. Homeric Taktika
5. Aeneas Tacticus, Philon of Byzantium, Onasander and the Good Siege: A Case-Study of Demetrius at Rhodes
6. Mercenaries and Moral Concerns
Aaron L. Beek
7. Xenophon’s On Horsemanship: the Equestrian Military Manual
8. Refighting Cunaxa: Xenophon’s Education of Cyrus as a Manual on Military Leadership
9. The Lost Tactica of Lucius Papirius Paetus
10. Defeat as Stratagem: Frontinus on Cannae
James T. Chlup
11. Vegetius’ Regulae bellorum generales
12. Vegetius’ Naval Appendix and the Battle of the Hellespont (324 CE)
Craig H. Caldwell
13. Justinian's Warfare as Role Model for Byzantine Warfare? The Evidence of the Military Manuals
14. 'God has sent the thunder': Ideological Distinctives of Middle Byzantine Military Manuals
Meredith L. D. Riedel
Epilogue: Is War an Art? The Past, Present, and Future of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Military Literature
James T. Chlup is Associate Professor of Ancient History at the University of Manitoba, Canada.
Conor Whatley is Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Winnipeg, Canada.