Aeneas Tacticus, On the Defence of Fortified Positions

LCL 156: 28-29

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Aeneas Tacticus

ἄν,1 καθάπερ τινὲς τῶν Ἑλλήνων εἰς τὸ ἔσχατον ἀφικόμενοι πάλιν ἀνέλαβον ἑαυτούς.


Τὴν οὖν τῶν σωμάτων σύνταξιν σκεψαμένους πρὸς τὸ μέγεθος τῆς πόλεως καὶ τὴν διάθεσιν τοῦ ἄστεος καὶ τῶν φυλάκων τὰς καταστάσεις καὶ περιοδίας, καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα σώμασι κατὰ τὴν πόλιν χρηστέον, πρὸς ταῦτα τοὺς μερισμοὺς ποιητέον. 2τοὺς μὲν γὰρ ἐκπορευομένους δεῖ συντετάχθαι πρὸς τοὺς ἐν τῇ πορείᾳ τόπους, ὡς χρὴ πορεύεσθαι παρά τε τὰ ἐπικίνδυνα χωρία καὶ ἐρυμνὰ καὶ στενόπορα καὶ πεδινὰ καὶ ὑπερδέξια καὶ ἐνεδρευτικά, καὶ τὰς τῶν ποταμῶν2 διαβάσεις καὶ τὰς ἐκ τῶν 3τοιούτων παρατάξεις· τὰ δὲ τειχήρη καὶ πολιτοφυλακήσοντα3 πρὸς μὲν τὰ τοιαῦτα οὐδὲν δεῖ συντετάχθαι, πρὸς δὲ τοὺς ἐν τῇ πόλει τόπους καὶ 4τὸν παρόντα κίνδυνον. πρῶτον μὲν οὖν αὐτῶν4 ἀπονεῖμαι δεῖ τοὺς φρονιμωτάτους τε καὶ ἐμπείρους μάλιστα πολέμου, οἳ περὶ τοὺς ἄρχοντας

  • 1Added by Hertlein.
  • 2L. Dindorf: πολεμίων Μ.
  • 3Meier: πολιτοφυλακῆσ ὄντα M, Haase.
  • 4Casaubon: ἀυτὸν Μ.

Aeneas the tactician, i.

some time restore their affairs to their former condition, like certain Greek peoples who, after being reduced to extremes, have re-established themselves.


Now the disposition of the troops is to be made with reference to the size of the state and the topography of the town, its sentries and patrols, and any other service for which troops are required in the city,—in view of all this the assignments are to be made. So men who are going to fight outside the walls must be drawn up in a manner suitable to the country along their line of march, according as they are to march past dangerous or fortified places, through narrow passes or across plains, past higher ground upon the right1 and points exposed to ambush, with reference also to the river-crossings and the formation of a line of battle under such conditions. But the forces which are to defend the walls and keep watch over the citizens2 need not be so arranged, but rather with reference to the positions within the city and to the immediate danger. First, then, it is necessary to select the most prudent citizens and those most experienced in war for attendance upon the civil authorities.3

  • 1Because this was the side unprotected by their shields. Approaches to city gates in particular were frequently so constructed as to compel assailants to expose their right sides to missiles hurled by the defenders, for example, the main entrances at Tiryns and at Mycenae. Such also was undoubtedly the character of the famous “Scaean (i.e. left-hand) Gate” of Troy.
  • 2See below § 6, and especially ch. 10.
  • 3These men constitute a staff of military advisers, the remote prototype of the modern General Staff. Köchly and Rüstow seem to be in error in identifying these men with the body of troops mentioned in 16. 7; 17. 6; 26. 10; 38. 2, for these latter are selected for some particular purpose, or else are the same as the reserves mentioned in §§ 6 and 7 below. In some of the more highly organized Greek states military control was vested in a permanent board of Generals, ten in number (as at Athens), elected directly by the citizens. Livy xxiv. 28 gives an example of how this precept of Aeneas was put into practice during the confusion at Syracuse in 214 b.c.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aeneas_tacticus-defence_fortified_positions.1923