Description. Flavius Vegetius Renatus, the 4th century AD writer on military matters, was more well known during the Middle Ages than today. His “Epitoma Rei. Epitoma rei militaris. by Vegetius Renatus, Flavius; Reeve, Michael D. Publication date Language Latin; English. Book digitized by. De re militari (Latin “Concerning Military Matters”), also Epitoma rei militaris, is a treatise by the . Xii in the Royal Library, written and ornamented for Richard III of England, is a translation of Vegetius. It ends with a paragraph starting: “Here.

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Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

In particular, the 5-footinch minimum height identified by Engoish would have excluded the majority of the men in Roman times the Roman foot was The heavy armed foot-soldier, formerly the backbone of the legion, was falling a victim of his own weight and immobility, and the light-armed infantry, unable to resist the shock of cavalry, was turning more and more to missile weapons.

Lieutenants of consular dignity were formerly sent to command in the armies under the general, and their authority extended over both the legions and auxiliaries in peace and war. They are prepared and excited by some few mutineers, who hope to secure impunity for their crimes by the number of their associates. The difficulty of providing forage for such numbers of horses and other beasts of burden is very great.

One advantage, however, Epitlma derive from the nature of this work, as it requires no elegance of expression, or extraordinary share of genius, but only great care and fidelity in collecting and explaining, for public use, the instructions and observations of our old historians of military affairs, or those who wrote expressly concerning them.

The Lacedaemonians made war their chief study. Share your thoughts with other customers.

De re militari | Open Library

The Spaniards surpassed us not only in numbers, but in physical strength. A sufficient time is also required for his instruction in the different branches of the service. The peculiar strength of the Romans always consisted in the excellent organization of their legions.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. When the danger is not imminent, they carry a slight ditch round the whole circuit, only nine feet broad and seven deep. Between the reign of Valentinian II and Valentinian III, Rome was taken and burned by Alaric, King of the Goths, an event that unquestionably would have been mentioned had it occurred before the book was written.

The first book is a plea for army reform; it vividly portrays the military decadence of the Late Roman Empire. They had also Centurions appointed to each century, now called Centenarii and Decani, who commanded ten men, now called heads of messes. But when there happened any dangerous insurrection supported by infinite multitudes of fierce and barbarous nations, on such emergencies they took the field with two armies under two consuls, who were charged, both singly and jointly, to take care to preserve the Republic from danger.


To the institution of a body of troops of this sort Claudius owed his victory over an enemy who, till that time, had constantly been superior to him.

Epitoma rei militaris

Edicts should be issued out requiring the country people to convey their cattle, grain, wine and all kinds of provisions that may be of service to the enemy, into garrisoned fortresses or into the safest cities. Hence it appears that it is as necessary to provide soldiers with defensive arms of every kind enblish to instruct them in the use of offensive ones. Their ignorance of discipline makes them afraid of action and inspires them with insolence.

Their offensive weapons were large swords, called spathae, and smaller ones called semispathae together with five loaded javelins in the concavity of the shield, which they threw at the first charge. But this essential custom has been abolished by the relaxation introduced by a long peace.

I realize that in the first ages of the Republic, the Romans always raised their armies in the city itself, but this was at a time when there were no pleasures, no luxuries to enervate them. In a temporary camp it should face the route by which the army is to march. The manner of arming the troops comes next under consideration.

The foot were obliged to march completely epitoka the distance of ten miles from the fei and return, in the most exact order and with the military step which they changed and quickened on some part of the march. And the masters at arms were very careful to instruct them how to cast them http: In the first place every century has a balista mounted on a carriage drawn by mules and served by a mess, that is by ten men militarls the century to which it belongs.

The children were not allowed to have their food by their mothers till they had first struck rfi with their sling. All the ensigns though, of the infantry, wore cuirasses of a smaller sort and covered their helmets with the shaggy skins of beasts to milotaris themselves appear more terrible to the enemy.

The number of these engines in a legion is fiftyfive. For little can be expected from men who have both the enemy and diseases to struggle with.

If the earlier date is preferred, it is unlikely Vegetius did all seven revisions or even one of them. And every man, whether in a private or military station, serves God in serving him faithfully who reigns by His authority. The troops should never epitoja wood and forage in winter or water in summer. The use of the common missile weapons and loaded javelins was another part of the eoitoma strictly attended to.


It has been an old custom for authors to offer to their Princes the fruits of their studies in belles letters, from a persuasion that no work can be published with propriety but under the auspices of the Emperor, and that the knowledge of a Prince should be more general, and of the most important kind, as its influence is felt so keenly by all his subjects. The terrain is not overlooked. Vegetius was the favorite author of Foulques the Black, the able and ferocious Count of Anjou.

The legion is provided with iron hooks, called wolves, and iron scythes fixed to the ends of long poles; and with forks, spades, shovels, pickaxes, wheelbarrows and baskets for digging and transporting earth; together with hatchets, axes and saws for cutting wood.

If they could make them give way, they pursued them; but if they were repulsed by superior bravery or numbers, they retired behind their own heavy armed infantry, which appeared like a wall of iron and renewed the action, at first with their missile weapons, then sword in hand.

They are also exact in entering the time and limitation of furloughs, which formerly were never granted without difficulty and only on real and urgent business.

In the summer, the troops should never encamp without tents. Would it not be the greatest height of presumption to pretend to mention the art of war to the Lord and Master of the world and the Conqueror of all the barbarous nations, unless it were to describe his own actions? The seventh contains five hundred and fifty-five foot and sixty-six horse. And merely superior skill and conduct defeated Attilius Regulus at the head of a Roman army, till that time always victorious.

When once fixed in the shield it was impossible to draw them out, and when thrown with force and skill, they penetrated the cuirass without difficulty. For the consequences of engaging an enemy, without skill or courage, is that part of the army is left on the field of battle, and those who remain receive such an impression from their defeat that they dare not afterwards look the enemy in the face.

If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Did not the Macedonians and Thessalians, after conquering the Persians, penetrate even into India? The chief strength of our armies, then, should be recruited from the country.

When provisions once begin to fail, parsimony is ill-timed and comes too late.