Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Question on Vegetius' "De re militari" Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Viktor Chudinov




Location: Varna, Bulgaria
Joined: 25 Dec 2008

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Tue 09 Nov, 2010 11:32 am    Post subject: Question on Vegetius' "De re militari"         Reply with quote

I've seen quite a lot of times mentioned on various forums that up to mid-16th century Flavius Vegetius' "De re Militari" was the most common military manual,and think that even the Wikipedia article says it was very popular among commanders.
Ive been wondering whether this is true -what evidence there is, and also would the things written in there would be literally followed by medieval commanders and generals.
Or was it viewed more as an inspiration, along with some useful advices,while medieval tactics and strategies are a lot different than what the book says.
Also are there any other manuscripts on the topic of commanding armies and waging wars between say 10th and 15th century (except the byzantine ones from around 10th C.). I'd be happy if anyone could offer some more literature on the topic

Thank you all for the answers.
Also sorry if this duplicates a thread, but my search skills are not that good.

I wonder...do deaf schizophrenics hear voices...
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website ICQ Number
A. Elema





Joined: 09 Nov 2010

Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue 09 Nov, 2010 3:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Vegetius was copied quite a lot and translated into several vernacular languages in the Middle Ages. Medieval people didn't accept all of it uncritically, however. The parts about swimming were almost certainly not followed. Nicholas Orme discusses the text in his book, From Childhood to Chivalry, p. 185 ff.

The Rule of the Templars also has quite a lot of good information about battle tactics. See this article on the subject.
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 406

PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also see Bernard Bachrach, “The Practical Use of Vegetius' De Re Militari During the Early Middle Ages,” The Historian Vol. 47 Issue 2 (February 1985). If your library doesn't have it (and getting a copy in Bulgaria may not be easy), a Google search may turn up a free version.
View user's profile Send private message
Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Flavius Vegetius was not a commander.
The value of his books in the collection of ancient texts and spread news of the past, with a diligent research.
Many recommendations for the prince, as well as some tips for the economical character, general informations.
Under the military and tactical aspect provide little practical information.
Probably sometimes writes things that do not know. The army knew that he had been overtaken by time.
"The archers had to train with wooden arches ... the opposite is true, the archers had to train with heavy arches.
The Roman army is trained with heavy shields, heavy javelins, heavy swords
I'm surprised its spread, "Strategikon" and "Tactica" give good practical tools for soldiers and commanders, but have not had the same luck.

Ciao
Maurizio
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Jared Smith




Location: Tennessee
Joined: 10 Feb 2005
Likes: 1 page

Spotlight topics: 3
Posts: 1,532

PostPosted: Thu 11 Nov, 2010 4:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a modern English translation version of the French version of De Rei Militari that Cristine de Pisan translated in 14th AD era. There is a lot of tactical and logistical advise in it. Everything from training to how to pack and travel, and why was addressed in it. The basic concepts and reasons (morale, logisitics, risks) would not really be that obsolete in terms of present day war fare. One can see why it would be referenced by officers during the period.
Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence!
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 406

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2010 11:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
Flavius Vegetius was not a commander.
The value of his books in the collection of ancient texts and spread news of the past, with a diligent research.
Many recommendations for the prince, as well as some tips for the economical character, general informations.
Under the military and tactical aspect provide little practical information.
Probably sometimes writes things that do not know. The army knew that he had been overtaken by time.
"The archers had to train with wooden arches ... the opposite is true, the archers had to train with heavy arches.
The Roman army is trained with heavy shields, heavy javelins, heavy swords
I'm surprised its spread, "Strategikon" and "Tactica" give good practical tools for soldiers and commanders, but have not had the same luck.

De re militari was available in Latin, so most educated people in Latin Christendom could read it. From about 900 to 1450, very few people in the Latin world could read Greek, so they couldn't use those other works. And I suspect that the Greek empire did its best to keep modern military manuals out of the hands of barbarians Happy
View user's profile Send private message
Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2010 2:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jared Smith wrote:
I have a modern English translation version of the French version of De Rei Militari that Cristine de Pisan translated in 14th AD era. There is a lot of tactical and logistical advise in it. Everything from training to how to pack and travel, and why was addressed in it. The basic concepts and reasons (morale, logisitics, risks) would not really be that obsolete in terms of present day war fare. One can see why it would be referenced by officers during the period.


<<Unlike "Mulomedicina", a veterinary manual full of practical advice, " De re militari " speak of exhortation and noble examples of past glories at the side of prescriptions and instructions tactics sometimes useless and often inconsistent, because the Roman army is shown in a mixer text of historical data, and contemporary elements of what the author wanted it to be true for the army of his time.>>
Luttwak Edwardt military strategy consultant. ( "Mulomedicina" is also a book of Vegetius)

Personally I think it is a set of tricks rather than a manual of tactics and strategy plan. There is talk of military episodes of exemplary dedication, tenacious, courageous, innovative, intelligent, smart, able to deceive the enemy, maybe even today a commander could benefit from some of these tricks, but we are far from tactics and strategy.

Facing a battle on a river or sea, following his advice would be unwise. I can cite many examples.

I remember the battle of Adrianople was already.
The use of the bow was almost ignored, he must know the importance of composite bow for the army of his time.
In the treaties of which I speak the use of the composite bow assumes great importance, detailed descriptions of a practical nature.
Narsete, the Battle of Tagina, won by the archers.
He opposed the cavalry with infantry. Against the enemy cavalry, archers from Narsete used his powerful bows, to weaken and create havoc in the cavalry charge. With the massive help of the archers, the infantry of his barbaric army did what the Roman infantry had failed to do on the field of Adrianople, resisting the impact of the knights Goths.
It reminds us of the battle of Cregy of 1346 only made 800 years ago. (before)

In other words, some tips individually can be very useful, it lacks a guiding plan.

P.S. I realize the errors of translation always too late, fortunately there is the "Edit" button Razz Happy

Ciao
Maurizio


Last edited by Maurizio D'Angelo on Fri 12 Nov, 2010 3:47 pm; edited 7 times in total
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Maurizio D'Angelo




Location: Italy
Joined: 09 Feb 2009
Likes: 3 pages
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 649

PostPosted: Fri 12 Nov, 2010 3:04 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Maurizio D'Angelo wrote:
Flavius Vegetius was not a commander.
The value of his books in the collection of ancient texts and spread news of the past, with a diligent research.
Many recommendations for the prince, as well as some tips for the economical character, general informations.
Under the military and tactical aspect provide little practical information.
Probably sometimes writes things that do not know. The army knew that he had been overtaken by time.
"The archers had to train with wooden arches ... the opposite is true, the archers had to train with heavy arches.
The Roman army is trained with heavy shields, heavy javelins, heavy swords
I'm surprised its spread, "Strategikon" and "Tactica" give good practical tools for soldiers and commanders, but have not had the same luck.

De re militari was available in Latin, so most educated people in Latin Christendom could read it. From about 900 to 1450, very few people in the Latin world could read Greek, so they couldn't use those other works. And I suspect that the Greek empire did its best to keep modern military manuals out of the hands of barbarians Happy


Yes,
It is a result of the failure distribution.
I remember that all orders, commands, and the provisions were to be in Latin.
The masters were obliged to Latin. This, perhaps, for the variety of peoples who have fought for them.

Ciao
Maurizio
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Craig Peters




PostPosted: Mon 15 Nov, 2010 12:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Georges Duby relates a story of a 12th century French noble (circa 1160) who, upon learning from De Re Militari, applied some of Vegetius' tactics to a siege he was engaged in and promptly caused the defending castle to capitulate. Duby acknowledges that the story was probably apocryphal; more importantly for your purposes is that we have a mid 12th century written reference that suggests Vegetius was known to military men, even if they could not necessarily read his works themselves.
View user's profile Send private message
Douglas S





Joined: 18 Feb 2004

Posts: 177

PostPosted: Tue 16 Nov, 2010 11:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, that clears up a lot for me. Happy
Thus, we may conclude that "Poem of the Pell" was directly inspired by Vegetius, and probably did not arise out of a folk tradition.
View user's profile Send private message
Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
Reading list: 7 books

Posts: 2,689

PostPosted: Wed 17 Nov, 2010 8:01 am    Post subject: Re: Question on Vegetius' "De re militari"         Reply with quote

Viktor Chudinov wrote:
Or was it viewed more as an inspiration, along with some useful advices,while medieval tactics and strategies are a lot different than what the book says.


Yes, he was probably seen largely as an inspiration. Even at quite an early date (the Carolingian period, if not earlier) medieval commentators were already abridging his work (one Frankish version is said to contain passages relevant to a cavalry-based force) and/or remarking on bits and pieces that no longer applied to the conditions of their day.


Quote:
Also are there any other manuscripts on the topic of commanding armies and waging wars between say 10th and 15th century (except the byzantine ones from around 10th C.). I'd be happy if anyone could offer some more literature on the topic.


There are a number of Kriegsbucher(?) from the late 15th century that might be of some interest, but unfortunately most of them don't seem to have ever been translated out of their original German. I also vaguely remember the existence of Burgundian and Italian artillery manuals, and some of the Burgundian stuff might have been translated already.
View user's profile Send private message
Viktor Chudinov




Location: Varna, Bulgaria
Joined: 25 Dec 2008

Posts: 33

PostPosted: Wed 17 Nov, 2010 8:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thak you all very much. That's quite a lot interesting information.
I wonder...do deaf schizophrenics hear voices...
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website ICQ Number


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Question on Vegetius' "De re militari"
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum