Full Version: Fighting Tactics and Treaties
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Tried some searches here on the forum but did not find what I am looking for exactly and though I might start a new topic. Sorry if there was one already but as I said I did not find myself.

I am looking - if it exists - some kind of military treaties or manuscripts which are documented on how the Romans fought. As in, their training, their weaponry and how they used them, their drills and military training, positioning and tactics used.
Importantly not a re-enactment but the real thing please. Smile
The current similar book which I have is 'De Rei Militari' But is not that much detailed and is more of an analysis on how the Romans fought before as the book is written in around 4/5th Century AD.
I am look preferably treaties on the legionary/cohorts/preatorian on foot military mainly.
and the dates dating from around 3rd Century BC to 3rd Century AD approximately.
If you have any idea where I can find such documents and anything related to the mentioned, I would appreciate. Smile

thanks in advance
Unforutnately, I'm not aware of of anything other than Frontinus, Onasander etc. The book you mention, the one written by Vegetius is useful in that he used now long lost military manuals written some time before Vegetius wrote his epitome, so that there are echo's of what Roman tactics and formations were like prior to the 4th Century AD (not withstanding the fact the Legion he describes is based on those around upto and probably including the reign of Diocletian)
If only such a book existed, but it doesn't. Other than works that we know in part only or which deal only with parts of Roman fighting tactics (indeed Frontinus, Onasander, Vegetius, but also Arrian or Maurice), no complete work is known to us. However, as in other good Classical traditions, information from older tactica was usually used by later authors, which gives us some idea.

You can of course reject re-enactment studies, but please do not diss these too easily, because some (like the one discussed recently) contain a lot of correct information, covering only the gaps with informed speculation.
Quote:Robert said: covering only the gaps with informed speculation
Exactly as we try to do today, isn't it? Take what we know from what's written and try to fill in the blanks with what we understand of the cultural mindset.
thank you for your understanding.
I agree on your point regarding re-enactments. I didn't go for them directly as sometimes one will find inaccurate discipline as it is more aimed for a show. With all respect to re-enactors which I have nothing against.
It is true to fill in the gaps is best way to find the possible solution for the best tactic and fighting technique.
I did not know about Frontinus, Onasander and the rest. This will surely be useful and once again I appreciate for your concern and replies Smile
much obliged =D
Unfortunately, as many have written there is no such treatise that has survived regarding pre-Byzantine Roman tactics. Onasander's Strategikos is more Greek than Roman and not exactly a treatise on battlefield tactics, like the works of Aelian and Asclepiodotus. Arrian is a good source, since he specifically writes of Roman tactics both in his Tactica and his Array against the Alans. Frontinus is a good source but, like Polyaenus, he offers stratagems instead of a clear-cut treatise on tactics. Yet, you can find a lot of information in the works of authors such as Polybius, Livy and of course Caesar (among many). Such texts are our main source for information but work is required to find what you will deem usable for your purpose.
You might also want to think about getting the two recent books on "Roman battle tactics" published by Osprey Publishing. These present a decent introduction and contain references to the most relevant sources, both ancient and modern.
thanks for your continuous replies
These are some Books which I've found. Are these the correct translations?

-De aquaeductu urbis Romae By Sextus Julius Frontinus, Robert Howard Rodgers
-Strategicus: sive de Imperatoris institutione liber By Onasander, Nicolas Rigault
-Aeneas Tacticus, Asclepiodotus, Onasander (Loeb Classical Library)
-Lucius Flavius Arrianus didn't find any unfortunately
-The Emperor Maurice and his historian: Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan warfare

Hope these would be the correct books which we're discussing Smile
The first one is about the waterworks of Rome and has nothing to do with what you want. Loeb has a full translation + original text of this and Frontinus' Stratagems, which is the work you need.

The third one is also very valuable, Aeneas is more ancient (4th century BC) and this is a book about sieges but Asclepiodotus and Onasander are also fully given, Greek text and translation.

Theophylact Simocatta's text is also not really what you need. You want to find Maurice's Strategikon. Try the translation of Dennis, although he does not offer the Greek text along with his interpretation.

Yet, I warn you, none of these texts will give you any insights about pre-byzantine Roman tactics. Even Frontinus' work (the most relevant apart from Arrian's) is too general and vague in its descriptions and you will not find "official", "by the book" Roman tactics in them (like cohort/legionar sizes, deployment of lines, depth of formations, battle-formations etc). Again I would urge you to start with Polybius and J. Caesar.
Yes I can understand, that it is not an easy find for accurate ways. but the closest help the most. thanks once again,
the Frontinus I found several on aquaducts did not find any on military only. However I did find an online version. Though I prefer having a book to read Smile
Where Polybius was easier to find, where I presume 'The Histories' is the right book. Transalted by Robin Waterfield and Brian McGing or Loeb Classic as well.
and yes caesar I was looking into as well. The Commentaries on war I believe

Sorry to bother you but would like to be knowledgable with the proper info hehe
Whatever you need man, this is what we have this forum for! Cool Cool
Quote:-Lucius Flavius Arrianus didn't find any unfortunately
try this:

However, keep in mind that EVERY ancient source is NEVER 100% correct: versions (which differ in details) exist of just about every ancient MS. With Arrian that's equally so. The Loeb edition (here used by Sander van Dorst) is also not 100% correct.
I think that for Roman tactics and formations the 'standard' work that still exists has to be Vegetius. He at least consulted other, long lost, works and appears to have pulled bits from those works to incorporate into his epitome, whilst at the same time apparently inserting what appears to be the current practices of his age. The Milner edition has the benefit of including the books on Siege and Naval warfare that are missing in the online and some printed versions.

The second part of your question has not been answered to any degree.

There are a number of books that deal with Late Roman military policy towards the 'barbarians', which from their side also included the Sasanids. They are based on information contained within the works of Themistius, Ammianus amoungst many others.