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Synopsis

Also known as “De Re Militari” (On Military Matters), this is the only handbook of Roman warfare to survive to modern times. Written when the power of the Roman empire was already waning, it was intended to educate a new emperor on the capabilities of the Roman legions. Vegetius touches on all military matters, including the selection and training of recruits, the importance of logistics and supply, how to develop leadership qualities, the maintenance of army discipline, the use of arms and armor, and various battlefield tactics. It is also the source of many military and political maxims still used to this day, including “He who aspires to peace should prepare for war,” and “Few men are born brave; many become so through training and force of discipline.” Copied and recopied countless times, it was required military reading until the advent of gunpowder, and has been carried into battle by kings and generals.

Table of Contents:
Introduction
Book I: The Selection and Training of New Levies
 • Preface
 • The Roman Discipline: the Cause of Their Greatness
 • The Selection of Recruits
 • The Proper Age for Recruits
 • Their Size
 • Signs of Desirable Qualities
 • The Trades Proper for New Levies
 • The Military Mark
 • Initial Training
 • To Learn to Swim
 • The Post Exercise
 • Not to Cut, But to Thrust with the Sword
 • The Drill Called Armatura
 • The Use of Missile Weapons
 • The Use of the Bow
 • The Sling
 • The Loaded Javelin
 • To be Taught to Vault
 • And To Carry Burdens
 • The Arms of the Ancients
 • Entrenched Camps
 • Evolutions
 • Monthly Marches
 • Conclusion
Book II: The Organization of the Legion
 • Preface
 • The Military Establishment
 • The Difference between the Legions and Auxiliaries
 • Causes of Decay of the Legion
 • The Organization of the Legion
 • The Officers of the Legion
 • The Praefect of the Workmen
 • The Tribune of the Soldiers
 • Centuries and Ensigns of the Foot
 • Legionary Troops of Horse
 • Drawing up a Legion in Order of Battle
 • Names of Soldiers Inscribed on their Shields
 • Records and Accounts
 • Soldier’s Deposits
 • Promotion in the Legion
 • Legionary Music
 • The Drilling of the Troops
 • Machines and Tools of the Legion
Book III: Dispositions for Action
 • Preface
 • The Number which Should Compose an Army
 • Means of Preserving it in Health
 • Care to Provide Forage and Provisions
 • Methods to Prevent Mutiny in an Army
 • Marches in the Neighborhood of the Enemy
 • Passages of Rivers
 • Rules for Encamping an Army
 • Motives for the Plan of Operations of a Campaign
 • How to Manage Raw and Undisciplined Troops
 • Preparations for a General Engagement
 • The Sentiments of the Troops should be Determined before Battle
 • The Choice of the Field of Battle
 • Order of Battle
 • Proper Distances and Intervals
 • Disposition of the Cavalry
 • Reserves
 • The Post of the General and of the Second and Third in Command
 • Maneuvers in Action
 • Various Formations for Battle
 • The Flight of an Enemy should not be Prevented, but Facilitated
 • Manner of Conducting a Retreat
 • Armed Chariots and Elephants
 • Resources in Case of Defeat
 • General Maxims

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