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Siege Defense

Aeneas Tacticus

(Loeb Classical Library edition, 1928)

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Aeneas Tacticus

 p. ix  Preface

Early in 1917, Marte iam diu furente, the attention of the Faculty Greek Club of the University of Illinois was turned toward the art of war, in which, as in so many other fields of scientific and humanistic interest, the Greeks achieved results of more than transitory value. The military manual of Aeneas, styled the Tactician, suggested itself as a monograph in this field well suited for discussion by such a club, and portions of this treatise were accordingly translated by the following members: J. C. Austin, E. C. Baldwin, H. J. Barton, L. Bloomfield, H. V. Canter, M. J. Curl, F. K. W. Drury, S. Engel, H. S. V. Jones, J. W. McKinley, C. M. Moss, W. A. Oldfather, A. F. Pauli, A. S. Pease, R. P. Robinson, C. A. Williams, and J. Zeitlin. Of the versions thus produced a number were discussed and criticized at a series of meetings, and all were subsequently revised and edited by Messrs. W. A. Oldfather, A. S. Pease, C. M. Moss, and H. V. Canter. An  p. x introduction, critical apparatus, notes, and index have been added to make the work conform to the general plan of the Loeb Classical Library.1

 p1  Introduction

Of Aeneas, commonly known, since Casaubon's time, as the Tactician, little is recorded, and not much more may be with a fair degree of probability inferred from the treatise before us. Mr. T. Hudson Williams very properly insists upon the scantiness of our direct evidence that Aeneas was actually the name of the author of this military handbook, and upon the necessary uncertainty that attaches to all arguments based upon conjecture only. But after all, the evidence, though not amounting to demonstration, has unusual cogency, and little of our knowledge regarding the minor authors of antiquity can be regarded as resting upon a firmer basis of attestation and inference. The case for Aeneas may be put thus.

It is true that the MS. superscription runs Αἰλιανοῦ τακτικὸν ὑπόμνημα περὶ τοῦ πῶς χρὴ πολιορκουμένους ἀντέχειν, 'Aelian's tactical treatise on how men in a state of siege should resist'; but the ascription to Aelian is absurd, partly because of the utmost difference in style between this tractate and Aelian's other work, but more especially because it contains not a single historical reference to an event that occurred within four centuries of Aelian's time.  p2 Again, τακτικὸν ὑπόμνημα is an impossible designation for the work of Aeneas, if for no other reason, because it contradicts his own definition of tactics, quoted by Aelian III.4, as ἐπιστήμην πολεμικῶν κινήσεων 'science of military movements,' of which there is hardly a trace in the present work. The length of the remainder of the title, furthermore, when compared with the brief designations by which the author refers to his other works, shows clearly that this latter part does not belong to the original superscription. If we bear in mind, finally, that in the sole authoritative MS.2 this treatise follows the work of Aelian, the conclusion is unavoidable that the superscription derives from a misapplied subscription to Aelian, to whose treatise the words τακτικὸν ὑπόμνημα exactly apply. The subscription to our work runs Αἰνείου πολιορκητικά· ἢ Αἰλιανοῦ καθὼς ἡ ἀρχή (followed by an erasure of thirteen letters), 'Aeneas on Siege Operations; or Aelian as at the beginning.' Here we clearly have to do with a bit of genuine tradition, followed by a corrective note intended to bring the conjectural superscription and the traditional subscription into harmony. Direct MS. evidence, accordingly, where it possesses any substantial authority, assigns our treatise to an Aeneas. Whether, however, πολιορκητικά was the author's own designation for his book may be doubted, partly because, in referring to his other works, he generally uses an adjective with the word βίβλος, and partly because this manual contains almost no advice about how to besiege a town,  p3 which is the only meaning of πολιορκέω and related words.

Accepting the unimpeachable MS. testimony to authorship by Aeneas, we may now compare the internal evidence offered by the work itself with what is known from other sources about the military writer Aeneas.

Beginning with the latest and the least specific, Johannes Lydus, De magistratibus, I.47, in the sixth century of our era,3 mentions along with five others an Aeneas as an authority upon πολιορκητικά or 'Siege Operations.' Aelian, Tactica, I, 2, in the second century after Christ, mentions Aeneas as the first military writer (after Homer, to be sure) who composed στρατηγικὰ βιβλία ἱκανά, 'a considerable number of military manuals,' which Cineas the Thessalian (an associate of Pyrrhus of Epirus) epitomized; and in III.4, Aelian quotes his definition of tactics as ἐπιστήμην . . . πολεμικῶν κινήσεων, 'the science of military movements.' Polybius, X.44, inveighs in a characteristic vein against the recommendation of an Aeneas, ὁ τὰ περὶ στρατηγικῶν ὑπομνήματα συντεταγμένος, 'who composed treatises on military science,' with regard to signal fires.4

The conclusion from this evidence is that an Aeneas, living before the time of King Pyrrhus, composed a number of treatises on military science, among them works on tactics and siege operations, and discussed signal fires. All this agrees perfectly with the internal evidence of the treatise itself,  p4 which deals with siege operations, particularly from the side of the defence, and which several times mentions signal fires, the very passage of which Polybius speaks being cited from another work in ch. 7.4. Furthermore, the author frequently refers to other writings of his on military science, and the first sentence of a book on naval operations is contained in the MS. at the end of the present treatise, so that, even without the evidence of the subscription, there can hardly be a justifiable doubt that ours is the work of the Aeneas whom Polybius, Aelian, and Johannes Lydus mention. The argument derives additional support from Fr. Haase's happy emendation in 31.18, where the author, as would be not unnatural, chooses his own name as a sample with which to illustrate a system of cryptogramic writing.a To be sure, the account of the operation breaks off after spelling out αινε, but one can hardly avoid the conclusion that Αἰνείαν or Αἰνέαν (for the accusative is required) originally stood in the text. Mr. Williams, indeed, pronounces the verdict 'not proven,' but he seems to demand a completeness of demonstration which can seldom be secured in things philological, and with this single exception Haase's emendation has been generally approved.

Aeneas gives abundant evidence of first‑hand acquaintance with his subject and an experience in military operations which, though extensive, is almost wholly confined to the geographical limits of the Peloponnesus and the western coast of Asia Minor (with the adjacent islands). He seems, accordingly, to have served in these two fields, and as few Asiatic Greeks were drawn to the Peloponnesus,  p5 while thousands of Peloponnesians, and especially Arcadians, served as condottieri in the East, it can hardly be doubted that Aeneas was a Peloponnesian who had seen service in the Aegean and in Asia Minor.5

Regarding the period in which Aeneas wrote, it has been observed that more than half his historical examples fall within the years 400‑360 B.C., and that their number becomes greater as one approaches the latter date. Thus incidents are cited for 397, 382, 379, 370, 369, 368, 363, 362, 361, and close with the capture of Ilium by Charidemus in 360. On the other hand the book was written before 346, because it represents the Locrians as still sending maidens to Ilium, a custom which Timaeus6 tells us ended at that time. We can, therefore, with a high degree of certainty place the composition in the years just following 360, because neither Philip of Macedon nor the stirring events of the Phocian war (356‑346) are mentioned. Indeed it is extremely probable that Aeneas composed his manual in 357‑356. Alfred von Gutschmid has pointed out Aeneas's habit of illustrating his point by the most recent events and with that in mind the two specimens of secret messages Διονύσιος καλός· Ἡρακλείδας ἡκέτω (as given by M). 'Dionysius is fair; let Heracleides come,' in 31.31, can hardly refer to anything but the war between Dionysius II of Syracuse and Dio and Heracleides operating from the Peloponnesus in  p6 357.7 Heracleides, it may be noted, remained behind for a while and came on after Dio with a few warships and a considerable force of men. Now the use of the singular form τόδε in the text and the absence of a connective between the first two and the last two words make it evident that we have here to do with a single message, whereas no one who ordered Heracleides to follow could possibly be speaking in a favourable manner of Dionysius. A further touch of verisimilitude is furnished by the use of the Syracusan (Doric) dialectal form Ἡρακλείδας, the very way in which Dio would have addressed Heracleides, although Aeneas himself is writing in Attic-Ionic, and consistently avoids Doricisms. καλός accordingly must be changed to agree with the remainder of the message, and here Hermann Schöne's emendation κόλος, 'docked' or 'dehorned,' used of an ox or goat which had been rendered harmless, is an apt expression, equivalent to our English phrase 'with one's wings clipped,' or 'shorn of one's locks.' Considering also that κόλος was actually used in military parlance of an indecisive or interrupted engagement, witness the κόλος μάχη of the Iliad, Book VIII, and that the corruption to καλός is easy in view of the commonness of this formula in dedications and inscriptions of many kinds, it may be accepted as highly probable that Aeneas is here giving an actual or supposititious message, very likely from Dio himself, to Heracleides in Greece, ordering him to follow, whence Dionysius had lost his power and was no longer dangerous.8 This message  p7 was sent in the fall of 357, very shortly after which the present treatise was probably written.

Casaubon thought that our Aeneas might be identical with the Aeneas of Stymphalus in Arcadia, who, as general of the Arcadian League, in 367 B.C., drove out Euphron the tyrant of Sicyon with the help of Sicyonian exiles (Xenophon, Hellenica, VII.3.1). This suggestion, which has been elaborated by Hug, has been very widely, although not universally, accepted, and in view of the converging lines of evidence from several different quarters, the discussion of which here, however, would take us too far afield, may be regarded as probably correct, although it is perhaps unwise to call our author outright 'Aeneas of Stymphalus' as does Hug.

In its general literary setting the work of Aeneas belongs to the type of didactic handbook which began to appear toward the end of the fifth century, under the influence of the Sophists and Socrates.9  p8 His literary work, which Polybius sums up under the general title στρατηγικὰ βιβλία, 'Works on military Science,' was divided into a series of special monographs. Aeneas himself refers to five: (1) ἡ παρασκευαστικὴ βίβλος (7.4, etc.), 'Treatise on military Preparations'; (2) ἡ ποριστικὴ βίβλος (14.2), 'On (War-)Finance'; (3) ἡ στρατοπεδευτικὴ βίβλος (21.2), 'On Encampments'; (4) <ἐπιβουλῶν?> βίβλος, 'On Plots' (11.2, see the apparatus criticus at this point); and (5) ἀκούσματα (38.5). This last title has been variously understood, either as 'Historical Illustrations' (Casaubon, Mahlstedt), 'Lectures' (Christ-Schmid), or 'Admonitions' (Köchly, Hug, and others), of which the last suits the context best, besides being supported to some extent by Isocrates' use of the word (Ad Demonicum, 12 and 17), which he paraphrases by σπουδαῖοι λόγοι and σοφία. Besides these the MS. contains at the end a fragment of what Aeneas himself calls (6) a ναυτικὴ τάξις, or a work 'On naval Tactics.' That this was an independent monograph has been doubted by Hug, but upon insufficient grounds. Such a treatise was essential to a well rounded scheme of manuals on military science, since nowhere in the world has so large a part of warfare been necessarily waged upon the water as in Greece. We must also assume the existence of a special treatise (7) 'On the Conduct of Siege Operations,' a πολιορκητικὴ βίβλος, partly because Aeneas was subsequently listed among the poliorcetic writers, whereas the present treatise deals exclusively with the defence of fortifications, but especially because the introduction to the present monograph, when considered as but a chapter in a comprehensive treatise in military science, by its  p9 emphatic contrast of the relative positions of the attacker and the defender, clearly indicates that the conduct of siege operations had already been treated.10 Last is (8) a τακτικὴ βίβλος, or τακτικά, 'On Tactics,' to which Aelian refers, and from which he quotes the definition of tactics as given above. Into this general scheme of military manuals the present treatise would fall most naturally as a counterpart to the πολιορκητικὴ βίβλος, if it be not actually the second half of that work, to which the introductory sentence makes such direct reference. The supposition would also relieve us of the necessity of restoring by conjecture an otherwise unknown adjective to agree with βίβλος as a title for this treatise. A general work treating of both the offensive and the defensive in time of siege might, without too great impropriety, be called a πολιορκητικὴ βίβλος 'On the Conduct of Siege Operations,' but the second part alone could not be designated by that title. As regards chronological order, it is obvious that Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 5 preceded the present treatise because they are referred to as already written. Also, according to our hypothesis, No. 7 immediately preceded, just as No. 6 followed. No. 8 is in no place referred to, even where, as in 1.2, such a reference would have been most appropriate. It was probably, therefore, planned and composed after this book was written. No. 3, on the other hand, although not yet written, was clearly planned, and, as is natural, the author is more ready to introduce a few topics from it into his present work  p10 than from a treatise which had been published and was already known.

Literary sources of a direct kind did not exist for Aeneas, and his account is mainly drawn from experience and from oral tradition. Herodotus is occasionally used for illustrations, Thucydides once only (for the siege of Plataea); but Aeneas was under the influence of the latter's vocabulary and style. Xenophon's Anabasis may have been drawn upon for the anecdote of how a panic was stopped by a clever joke (27.11), but there is a marked variation in detail and the same anecdote is elsewhere ascribed to Iphicrates. Von Gutschmid thought that Ephorus was used occasionally, but that is doubtful.

The title of the present treatise, as already noted, has probably been lost; the latter part of the superscription, however, we retain, enclosing it in brackets, as the best designation that has come down, and use as a translation of it the somewhat conventionalized title, 'On the Defence of fortified Positions,' the equivalent of which in Latin, German, or French has become sanctioned by general usage and is essentially correct.

Our treatise shows evidence of systematic planning, and although certain paragraphs, or even chapters, might appear somewhat more logically in a different connexion, and some of the transitions are not well marked, Kirchhoff's theory of wholesale displacement is certainly wrong.11 The following are the general divisions of the subject:


 p11  On selecting and disposing troops and on preparing positions in and about the city for facilitating the defence (1‑10.24).


On maintaining morale and discipline and general measures for thwarting treachery and revolution (10.25‑14; phases of this latter topic are considered in a number of other chapters).


On repelling sudden forays (15‑16.15).


On checking, at a distance from the walls, the advance of a foe, and on taking special precautions in regard to religious processions outside the city walls and treachery at the gates of the city (16.16‑20: 21 is transitional).


On guarding the walls by night and by day and preventing smuggling of arms to revolutionary factions and their direct communication with the foe (22‑31).


On means to meet the actual assault of the foe upon the fortifications (32‑40).

It may be said of the measures recommended by Aeneas that many of them seem to us simple, a few almost trivial. But the same is true of the elements of all great inventions which have become part of our thought and action. Even the somewhat naïve  p12 cryptogram in 31.31 which called forth von Gutschmid's scorn, though hardly likely to deceive any military censor today, might well have imposed upon a simple-minded gateman or upon barbarian police, at a time when all reading was uncommon, writing none too easily legible, and tricks with vowels and consonants well-nigh unheard of even among the learned.12 Military science in the hands of its great masters is still a simple thing. Battles and campaigns are won and lost, as the annals of the great strategists show, by the observance or neglect of such elementary considerations as rapidity of motion, concealment of purpose, concentration of a superior force at the point of impact, and the like,13 which anyone can appreciate and which seem almost too trivial for formal statement. Ἁπλοῦς ὁ μῦθος τῆς ἀληθείας ἔφυ — "Truth's story is by nature plain."

One ought rather to note the large number of devices which, although war has taken on such a different external aspect, even yet apply, such as censorship of letters, police prohibition of gatherings, putting out of lights, passports, exclusion or internment of suspicious aliens, special regulations for the surveillance of lodging-houses, interest moratoria and  p13 supertaxes on wealth, bonuses for importers of food and munitions, signals, trenches, mining and countermining, masks for protection against smoke and fire, secret methods of communication, and the employment of dogs. As the first writer upon military science Aeneas should always command the attention of students of that subject, so long at least as the necessity of defence against aggression devolves upon a watchful citizenship.

That the works of Aeneas were highly regarded is shown by the fact that early in the next century Cineas, the friend of King Pyrrhus, prepared an epitome of them, a thing he would hardly have done except at the suggestion or with the approval of that great commander, who himself wrote a treatise upon the art of war. The true worth of Aeneas is better appreciated by the admiration of Pyrrhus, one of the world's half-dozen greatest captains, than by the strictures of any closet philologist. In the second half of the second century B.C. the fifth book of Philo the Mechanician upon the attack and defence of fortifications makes use of Aeneas. Polybius used his treatise on Military Preparations. Onasander towards the middle of the first century after Christ, Aelian early in the second century, and Polyaenus shortly after the middle of the same century, knew and made use of this work. Early in the third century Sextus Julius Africanus transferred bodily large portions of the present treatise to his Κεστοί.14 Traces of Aeneas's influence appear also in an anonymous Byzantine military writer of the sixth century, and possibly elsewhere.  p14 Probably about this time was composed the corpus of Greek military writers as represented in the Laurentian MS. at Florence, a MS. which alone saved to the modern world Aeneas and several other authors of this group.

In the nineteenth century the text of Aeneas passed through singular vicissitudes. Almost rediscovered for scholarship by Haase, Köchly and Rüstow, it was inevitable that a certain furor philologicus then raging should fall foul of it. The earliest editors had followed the MS. tradition where it could be understood, and had not attempted to prescribe how Aeneas ought to have expressed himself. With the greater refinement in the study of style and syntax which the nineteenth century achieved, but while the historical attitude had not gained the ascendancy, it happened more than once that a text was practically rewritten by a courageous but over-zealous philologist. Thus Rudolph Hercher in the early 'seventies, misapprehending the numerous non‑Attic forms, strange syntax, and loose or redundant expressions in Aeneas, conceived the idea that a pure and succinct Attic text had been disfigured by an interpolator, and accordingly discarded about one‑twelfth of the book. Arnold Hug went further in this direction, eliminating about one‑fourth in order to secure a correct and elegant literary form, and even Adolph Lange, though defending the text with great acumen against many charges of interpolation, himself rejected approximately one‑tenth of the whole. This was of course to reduce the process of emendation to the point of absurdity and a reaction inevitably followed. A theory of wholesale displacement of paragraphs and  p15 chapters, first suggested by Adolf Kirchhoff, had but a short vogue. No motive or occasion for such transpositions is conceivable, and the order of topics, although not in every instance the most logical, is on the whole satisfactory when one bears in mind that the author was neither a scientist nor an accomplished man of letters.

The increase in our knowledge of the changes in syntax, forms, and vocabulary brought about by the inscriptions and papyri discovered in the last few decades, and the greater attention paid to the language of others than the Atticists, has enabled us to form a truer judgment of the κοινή, or common Greek idiom, which was the universal means of literary communication in the Hellenistic period. The formation of this common idiom has now been traced back with certainty to the Delian league of the fifth century, and its basis is recognized to be a mixture of Attic and Ionic with elements, in greater or less proportion, from other dialects. As a fully developed literary style it makes its appearance shortly after the age of Alexander, but we now recognize that Aeneas is one of the very earliest documents preserved from the period of transition and development, and our duty is not to reduce his work to the standards of the strictest Attic prose of the fourth century, but to accept it as it has come down to us, emending only what is impossible in form and syntax, and endeavouring to understand rather than to transform the document. Mahlstedt's exhaustive lexicographical study of the vocabulary of Aeneas, and the more general treatment of his style by Behrendt, both appearing in 1910, reached the certain conclusion that Aeneas is a forerunner  p16 of the κοινή. This sober historical point of view is also characteristic of Schöne's elaborate recension, which is the basis of the present text. Much remains yet to be cleared up in the interpretation of the subject matter, but the essential character of the language and style can now be regarded as finally determined.

In yet another aspect Aeneas supplies us with a valuable historical document, and that is in the light he throws upon the chaotic conditions that obtained in Greece during the severe social revolutions of the fourth century, which contributed perhaps more than any other single cause to the destruction of the fabric of early Hellenic civilization. The history of the time is full of the records of brutal revolution and bloody revenge. Plato has drastically characterized the oligarchic state as "not one but two States, the one of the poor, the other of the rich men; and they are living on the same spot and always conspiring against one another."15 Again he depicts Greece as he knew it in a prophecy of what would happen should his ideal guardians "acquire houses and lands and moneys of their own. . . . Hating and being hated, plotting and being plotted against, they will pass their whole life in much greater fear of internal than of external enemies, and the hour of ruin, both to themselves and to the rest of the State, will be at hand."16

We have at times in this treatise what seems almost a commentary upon these passages from Plato in the matter-of‑fact words of Aeneas, who like a professional soldier seems to have held aloof  p17 from the partisanships of politics, so that some who have failed to grasp his true attitude have regarded him as a moderate democrat and others as a supporter of oligarchy. More than half his military admonitions are directed towards preventing treachery and forestalling revolution. The men for whom he wrote his manual were clearly in constant danger of the enemy within their own gates, a peril which became more rather than less acute when armed foes who were threatening the very existence of the state. Upon one memorable occasion at Argos the revolutionary assassins carrying concealed daggers mingled with the officials and leading citizens at a religious festival outside the walls, and struck them down, each one his man, at the very moment of their devotions about the altar (17.2 ff.). Paralyzing indeed must have been the terror in many a community in Greece when such occurrences were felt to be not merely possible but perhaps actually impending.

 p18  Manuscripts

Aeneas survived the Middle Ages in but a single MS., now preserved in Florence and the parent of all others known to exist. This is the famous Laurentianus Graecus LV 4, commonly called M (i.e. Mediceus, described by Bandini, Catal. Codd. MSS. Bibl. Laurent. t. II, 1768, 218‑38). It contains the corpus of Greek military writers, a collection which no doubt dates from early Byzantine times. The three descendants of M are all in Paris, known respectively as A (Parisinus Graecus 2435), B (Parisinus Graecus 2522), and C (Parisinus Graecus 2443). Of these C, although the only MS. known to Casaubon, and hence the source of the editio princeps, is worthless, being descended from B or a copy of B, except in so far as some corrections of corrupt passages, introduced by its copyists, Angelus Bergelius, possess independent value as emendations. A and B, however, are not without critical worth, because M suffered somewhat from dampness after they were written and is in consequence quite illegible in places, besides containing a few lacunae which did not exist when the copies were made. They are cited only where the text of M is lost. Fortunately they were copied with unusual fidelity, so that almost nothing of the text of M, as it existed in the fifteenth century, is lost to us.

 p19  For a considerable portion of Aeneas the excerpts included by Julius Africanus in his Κεστοί furnish an excellent check upon M, since they represent a tradition of Aeneas — rather seriously disfigured to be sure — which is seven or eight centuries older than that MS. A text of these portions of Africanus is furnished by R. Schöne in his edition of Aeneas, based in part upon materials collected by Fr. Haase and K. K. Müller, and in part upon his own collations. The most important readings in which Africanus differs from the tradition in M are given in our apparatus criticus as MS. readings.

Jacob Gronov was the first to use M as an aid in constituting the text of Aeneas. The peculiarities and characteristic faults of this MS. are best set forth in A. C. Lange, De Aeneae Commentario Poliorcetico, 58‑65, and R. Schöne's edition, x f. Despite the bad state of the tradition and the abysmal ignorance of the scribe, the comparatively large number of places where a critical mark was written above words which were thought to be corrupt, and the blank spaces left where the original was illegible or defective, are evidence of the faithfulness with which the copy was prepared.

The chapter headings, although older than the third century of our era, because known to Africanus, can hardly have come from Aeneas himself. In deference to custom, and for the sake of convenience, they are retained, but enclosed in brackets, to indicate their later origin.

 p20  Editions

Is. Casaubonus: Αἰνείου τακτικόν τε καὶ πολιορκητικὸν ὑπόμνημα περὶ τοῦ πῶς χρὴ πολιορκούμενον ἀντέχειν. Paris, 1609. Text, notes, and Latin translation. This is the editio princeps, appended to Casaubon's edition of Polybius, and the whole republished by Jacob Gronov and by J. A. Ernesti in their editions of Polybius published at Amsterdam in 1670 and at Leipzig in 1763‑64, respectively. Gronov later published from M (see below) Supplementa Lacunarum in Aenea Tactico, etc. Leyden, 1675.

Jo. Conradus Orellius: Aeneae Tactici Commentarius de toleranda Obsidione, etc. Leipzig, 1818. This edition contains Casaubon's translation, together with notes of Casaubon, Gronov, Koës, Caspar Orelli, Conrad Orelli, and others. It appeared as a supplement to Schweighäuser's Polybius.

H. Köchly und W. Rüstow: Aeneas von Verteidigung der Städte. Leipzig, 1853. Aeneas occupies a part of Vol. I of the editors' well-known Griechische Kriegsschriftsteller, Griechisch und Deutsch. A supplement in vol. II.2, contains readings from B (see above). This edition is particularly valuable because of the introduction, the scholarly translation, the notes, and the illustrative diagrams.

R. Hercher: Aeneae Commentarius poliorceticus. Berlin, 1870. editio maior. An editio minor, later in the same year, corrected a number of errors that appeared in the former edition.

A. Hug: Aeneae Commentarius poliorceticus Leipzig, 1874.

 p21  R. Schöne: Aeneae Tactici de Obsidione toleranda Commentarius. Leipzig, 1911. This admirable work, based upon new collations of M, A, and B (see above) and prepared with the utmost accuracy and acumen, completely supplants all previous editions, and is the basis of the text as printed in this volume. An index verborum (which is in large part actually a concordance), composed with the assistance of Ferdinand Koester, adds materially to the value of the work.17


In addition to the translations, listed above, by Casaubon, and by Köchly and Rüstow, the following should be mentioned:

M. le Comte de Beausobre: Commentaires sur la Défense des Places d'Aeneas le Tacticien, avec quelques Notes, etc. Amsterdam, 1757, 2 vols.

A. de Rochas d'Aiglun: Traité de Fortification, d'Attaque et de Défense des Places par Philon de Byzance. Paris, 1872. This is vol. VI of series IV of the Mém. de la Soc. d'Emulation du Doubs, 1870‑1871 (Besançon, 1872), and contains a translation, with notes, of Aeneas, chapters 8, 16, 21, 22, 24‑26, 31‑35, 37, 39, 40, in whole or in part. Chapter 31 is taken from the translation of Beausobre. See R. Schöne, Rhein. Mus. LXVII (1912) 303.

 p22  No translation of Aeneas has previously appeared in English.

Critical Works

Besides the editions and translations enumerated above, the following monographs have contributed much to the understanding of Aeneas:

C. Behrendt: De Aeneae Tactici Commentario poliorcetico Quaestiones selectae Diss., Königsberg, 1910. Behrendt's commentary as published covers only the first seven chapters. It is to be hoped that the remainder may soon appear.

Fr. Blass: Literarisches Zentralblatt, 1879, 1261 f.

Hermann Diels: Die Entdeckung des Alkohols Abhandl. der Königl. Preuss. Akad. der Wiss., Berlin, 1913, No. 3, 19.

Herbert Fischer: Quaestiones Aeneanae. Pars I. Giessen Diss., Dresden, 1914.

A. von Gutschmid: Kleine Schriften, vol. IV 218‑21; V 191 ff.; 214 ff.

Fr. Haase: Neue Jahrbücher, XIV (1835) 93 ff.; XVII (1836) 206 ff.

F. C. Hertlein: Symbolae criticae ad Aeneae Tacticum. Wertheim, 1859.

A. Hug: (1) Prolegomena critica ad Aeneae Editionem. Zürich, 1874. (2) Aeneas von Stymphalos, etc. Zürich, 1877. (3) Neue Jahrbücher, CXIX (1879) 241 ff., 639 ff.

L. W. Hunter: Aeneas Tacticus and Stichometry. Classical Quarterly, VII (1913) 256‑264.

A. Kirchhoff: Hermes, I (1866) 448 ff. and in the preface to Hug's edition, vii ff.

 p23  G. H. Koës: Epistolae Parisienses, ed. Bredow, 1812, 110 ff. (dealing with MSS. ABC).

A. C. Lange: (1) De Aeneae Commentario poliorcetico. Berlin, 1879. (2) Neue Jahrbücher, CXIX (1879) 461 ff. (3) Animadversiones criticae in Aeneae Commentarium poliorceticum. Cassel, 1883.

Chr. Mahlstedt: Über den Wortschatz des Aeneias Taktikus. Kiel Diss., Jena, 1910.

M. E. E. Meier: Opuscula academica, vol. II, Halle 1863, 292‑306.

A. Mosbach: De Aeneae Tactici Commentario poliorcetico. Diss., Berlin, 1880.

R. Pöhlmann: Geschichte des antiken Kommunismus und Sozialismus. Munich, 1901, vol. II 346‑8 (= Geschichte der sozialen Frage und des Sozialismus in der antiken Welt. Munich, 1912, I.421‑24).

J. J. Reiske: Animadversiones ad Aeneam Tacticum, published by R. Hercher in his editio maior, 128‑33.

J. Ries: De Aeneae Tactici Commentario poliorcetico. Diss., Halle, 1890.

W. Rüstow und H. Köchly: Geschichte des griechischen Kriegswesens. Aarau, 1852, 196 ff.

H. Sauppe: Ausgewählte Schriften. Berlin, 1896, 631‑645.

K. Schenkl: Bursian's Jahresberichte, XXXVIII (1884) 261‑270.

E. Schwartz: Aineias, in Pauly-Wissowa's Realencyklopädie, I (1897) 1019‑1021.

T. Hudson Williams: The Authorship of the Greek military Manual attributed to 'Aeneas Tacticus.' Amer. Journ. of Philol. XXV (1904) 390‑405.

 p24  Symbols

ACodex Parisinus Graecus 2435, s. XVI; the more careful copy of M.

BCodex Parisinus Graecus 2522, s. XV.

CCodex Parisinus Graecus 2443, a. 1549.

MCodex Laurentianus Graecus LV, 4, s. X.

J. Afr. = Excerpts from the Κεστοί of Sextus Julius Africanus, an author of the third century.

Note on Julius Africanus

As a necessary supplement to Aeneas we have included a text and translation of those portions of the Κεστοί of Sextus Julius Africanus which are clearly derived from the treatise before us. In so doing we have been compelled to emend the MS. tradition of Africanus in a much more drastic way than we should consider justified in a critical edition. Schöne, following Hercher's example, very properly left the MS. tradition as it stood, so as not to disguise any variants which might possibly throw light upon the present state of M. But to translate it is necessary to have a text which makes tolerable sense, which in this case necessitates liberal emendation. As in Aeneas, however, every real departure from the MS. tradition is noted in the apparatus. The references to MSS. are taken from Schöne's edition and represent his selection of the critical materials gathered for a recension of Africanus by Fr. Haase and K. K. Müller, with his own collation  p25 of the Barberini MS. in the Vatican (see the preface to his edition of Aeneas, ix). We have also made use of the text of the Κεστοί in Thevenot's edition of the Veteres Mathematici, Paris, 1693, 275‑316, with Boivin's notes, 339‑60.

The Author's Notes:

1 The introduction, the preparation of the text, and the notes have been the work of W. A. Oldfather; the text and translation of the excerpts from Julius Africanus have been made jointly by Messrs. Oldfather and Pease.

[decorative delimiter]

2 And so probably in the collection of military writers dating from early Byzantine times, for M seems to have been copied from an uncial MS.

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3 For some reason omitted by Schöne in his testimonia.

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4 The brief note in the lexicon of Suidas (tenth century), under the lemma Αἰνείας, seems to be taken entire from Polybius.

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5 The utter neglect of Athens as well as the employment of non-Attic idiom and vocabulary make it almost certain that he was not an Athenian.

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6 Preserved in the scholia to Lycophron v. 1144 (Scheer's edition).

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7 For the details of which one may refer to A. Holm, Geschichte Siziliens, II.177 ff.

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8 This corresponds exactly with the facts. Dio set out against Dionysius II with scarcely eight hundred men, a ridiculously small number in comparison with the enemy. "But Dio was justified in his belief that the ruler's power was crumbling and that he had completely undermined it," as Eduard Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, V.513, expresses it.

Hermann Diels and, independently, Herbert Fischer, conjecture κακῶς, which requires something more of a change than κόλος, for M, and probably its predecessor, had only ΚΛϹ. Diels speaks of a telegram of the younger Dionysius to Heracleides, but it seems more reasonable to suppose that Dio sent the message, because, although Dio and Heracleides eventually fell out, they were both in exile in Greece in 357 B.C., and it was Heracleides' victory over Philistus in the sea-fight the next year which finally compelled Dionysius to flee.

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9 Examples of which from this same period we have in Xenophon's essays On Horsemanship and On the Duties of a Cavalry Commander.

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10 The parallel with the ναυτικὴ τάξις which is bipartite also suggests that the present treatise was cast in the same form, as Fischer suggests.

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11 Fischer's recently proposed explanation, namely that Aeneas was engaged upon this from 379 to 356 B.C., constantly revising his lecture notes and adding references to the most recent happenings as illustrative material, is not likely to win general assent. The case of Aristotle's Metaphysics is very different. There is nothing to show that Aeneas was a school lecturer and it is difficult to picture him in that capacity.

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12 In this connexion it might be noted that precisely this very cryptogram was employed for the title of a mediaeval MS. in Rome, Cod. Roman. Bibl. Vitt. Em. 1369 (Sessorianus 43), s. XIII. L:·:c:·:br·t⁝:·:nc:·:l::g⁝d⁝⁝, that is Lucubratiuncule Egidii. (From Herr Sechel as reported by Diels, p29, note 4.)

[decorative delimiter]

13 Thus it is reported of the Confederate General Forrest, that he summed up his military science in a single phrase in response to the question, how he won his successes: "I get there first with the most men."

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14 These excerpts will be found at the end of the present translation.

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15 Republic, 551E (Jowett).

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16 Republic, 417AB (Jowett).

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17 An edition announced by L. W. Hunter in 1913 is awaited with interest because of the promise to explain much of the corruption in M stichometrically, i.e., by the falling out of an entire line at points where a group of similar letters appears either at the beginning or at the end of successive lines.

Thayer's Note:

a The same sequence of letters is reported, apparently without emendation, in Julius Africanus, fragment 52.

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