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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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It is also certain that it is a much less expense to a State to train its own subjects to arms than to take foreigners into its pay. Vegetius’ work is filled with maxims that have become a part of our everyday life. After this, they should be instructed in the use of their arms.

Amazon Second Chance Pass it on, trade it in, give it a second life. When all these marks are found in a recruit, a little height may be dispensed with, since it is of much more importance that a soldier should be strong than tall. Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus. They thoroughly understood the importance of hardening them by continual practice, and of training them to every maneuver that might happen in the line and in action.

But the centurions had complete cuirasses, shields, and helmets of iron, the crest of which, placed transversely thereon, were ornamented with silver that they might be more easily distinguished by their respective soldiers.

A general, therefore, cannot be too careful and diligent in taking necessary precautions to prevent a surprise on the march and in making proper dispositions to repulse the enemy, in case of such accident, without loss.

For though after the example of the Goths, the Alans and the Huns, we have made some improvements in the arms of the cavalry, yet it is plain the infantry are entirely defenseless. The general, before he puts his troops in motion, should send out detachments of trusty and experienced soldiers well mounted, to reconnoiter the places through which he is to march, in front, in rear, and on the right and left, lest he should fall into ambuscades.

Share your thoughts with other customers. The number of legionary troops in an army is generally much more considerable than that of the auxiliaries. In order to do this he eulogises the army of the early Roman Empire.

When the river is too deep to be forded either by the cavalry or infantry, the water is drawn off, if it runs in a plain, by cutting a great number of trenches, and thus it is passed with ease.


As the divisions of the infantry are called centuries, so those of the cavalry are called troops. The ancients made it their chief care to have every thing for the service of the army within the camp. Nothing does so much honor to the abilities or application of the tribune as the appearance and discipline of the soldiers, when their apparel is neat and clean, their arms bright and in good order and when they perform their exercises and evolutions with dexterity.

Its rules of siegecraft were much studied in the Middle Ages. Men are frightened and thrown into disorder by sudden accidents and surprises of no consequence when foreseen. A multitude never broke out into open sedition at once and with unanimous consent.

This page was last edited on 5 Decemberat By observing the foregoing precautions, the besieged may have it in their power to ruin the enemy by famine, if he keeps his troops together, and if he divides. He must be sure of their capacity and experience, that the whole army be not brought into danger by the errors of two or three persons.

In the beginning of an engagement, the first and second lines remained immovable on their ground, and the trairii in their usual positions. It was anciently called verriculum but now verutum. There is the greater reason for instructing all troops, without exception, in this exercise, as the sling cannot be reckoned any incumbrance, and often is of the greatest service, especially when they are obliged to engage in stony places, to defend a mountain or an eminence, or to repulse an enemy at the attack of a castle or city.

It would then be prudent in him to separate them from the rest under pretence of some service agreeable to them, or detach them to garrison cities or castles, but with such address that though he wants to get rid of them, they may think themselves employed by preference and favor.

Time and opportunity may help to retrieve other misfortunes, but where forage and provisions have not been carefully provided, the evil is without remedy.

But the most essential point of all is to teach soldiers to keep their ranks and never abandon their colors in the most difficult evolutions. It was anciently called verriculum but now verutum. Not only those under the masters at arms, but all the soldiers in general, were formerly trained incessantly in those drills which now are only exhibited as shows in the circus for particular solemnities.

Nothing is known of his life or station beyond what is contained in his two surviving works: They even had a body of miners who, by working under ground and piercing the foundations of walls, according to the practice of the Beffi, penetrated into the body of a place.


The horses as well as the men were thus trained, both on the above mentioned account and to prepare them for action. 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. Their ignorance of discipline makes them afraid of action and inspires them with insolence.

Full text of “The Military Institutions Of The Romans [De Re Militari].pdf (PDFy mirror)”

Famine makes greater havoc in an army than the enemy, and is more terrible than the sword. And they often gave the command to a praeter as to a general of the second rank. Did not the Epirots acquire in former times a great reputation in war?

Malignant and fatal distempers proceed from this and can be avoided only by frequent changes of encampments. Nor is anything of more consequence either on the march or in the line than that they should keep their ranks with the greatest exactness.

Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

Madden, Sir Frederic ; Henry Shaw The troops should never want wood and forage in winter or water in summer. There are two methods of entrenching a camp. Teubner Epitoma rei militaris in Latin.

These men, unaccustomed to the necessary fatigue of the field, are disgusted at its severity. Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatusthough the work was revised a number of times afterwards. This is a very important point in the discipline of young soldiers, who when properly trained to it will be able in an emergency to fortify their camp with skill and expedition. These rules must be punctually observed in all exercises and reviews so that the soldiers may be ready to obey them in action without hesitation according to the general’s orders either to charge or halt, to pursue the enemy or to retire.

But the peculiar officer of the legion was the Praefect, who was always a count of the first order. By these precautions their minds, as well as their bodies, will properly be prepared for the service.

Thus it appears that a trust of such importance should be committed to none miiltaris men of merit and integrity. Vegetius explains how one should fortify and organize a camp, how to train troops, how to handle undisciplined troops, how to handle a battle engagement, how to march, formation gauge and many other useful methods of promoting organization and valour in the legion.