Short URL for this page:
In the preparation of the present work Mr. Oldfather is primarily responsible for the introduction, text, and list of rare words.a Mr. Titchener rendered assistance in collecting material and collating MSS., and also prepared the first draft of the translation, which has been further revised by Mr. Pease.
William A. Oldfather
Arthur Stanley Pease
John B. Titchener
Urbana, Illinois, Feb. 1, 1922.
Of Onasander, the author of the present Στρατηγικός (sc. λόγος), or The General, we know from the biographical article in Suidas that he was a Platonic philosopher who, in addition to a military work,1 composed a commentary upon Plato's Republic.2
Traces of Platonic philosophy have been sought in the present work, especially in the admonition that friends should fight beside friends (Ch. 24), and in the distinction made between φθόνος and ζῆλος (Ch. 42.25). But the essence of the first idea is as old as Nestor's advice in the Iliad (Β 362 f.); it was practised among the Eleans, Italic Greeks, Cretans, and Boeotians, being characteristic of the Sacred Band of Thebes, and something similar may not have been unknown at one time in Sparta,3 p344 hence it can hardly have escaped the attention of military writers. The same topic is treated also in extant literature from before the time of Onasander by Xenophon in his Symposium, VIII.32, 34, 35, so that, although Onasander can hardly have been ignorant of the famous passage in Plato (Symposium, 178E ff.), it is hardly necessary to assume that this was its immediate source.
As for the discrimination between φθόνος and ζῆλος there is no real parallel in Plato, whereas an almost exact counterpart exists in Aristotle (Rhet. II.11.1), a circumstance which escaped Schwebel.4 Such definitions, however, were the stock in trade of philosophers,5 and do not presuppose a specific source unless there is some marked similarity in expression. On the contrary, one would rather be inclined to wonder that, in an ethical study of warfare like the present, a commentator upon Plato's Republic should have failed to show at any point some trace of the not infrequent references to war and its basic cause, the character of the good soldier, p345 the need of constant military exercise, the style of life of the soldier, the professional aspect of successful military preparation, mathematics as a necessary element in an officer's education, proposals looking toward the elimination of certain of the more cruel aspects of warfare, at least between civilized states, and similar topics discussed in that great work. Such silence on the part of Onasander, although not sufficient, perhaps, to cast doubt on the identity of our author with the writer mentioned by Suidas, would more naturally suggest that in The General we have a study anterior to a period of preoccupation with Plato.
Such was the status of the question until Dr. Rostagno's collation of the Florentinus, which is incomparably the best MS., showed that it had the following subscription:
Plut. IV.4 f. 215v
a form of the name, which had been known, indeed, before, but because it appeared only in the late MS. B, had been rejected by Köchly with a "sic!" I have not, however, hesitated to accept it as the correct form of the name, partly because of the high value of the testimony of the Florentinus, but especially because it affords the best explanation of the other two forms, for Ὀνόσανδρος is an easy corruption of Ὀνάσανδρος, and Ὀνήσανδρος merely the Attic (or Koine) spelling.
With reference to the period in which Onasander lived, it can scarcely be doubted that the Quintus Veranius to whom the present work is dedicated was the consul of A.D. 49 who died while in command in Britain ten years later, so that 59 is the terminus ante quem for the composition of the treatise.12 If p348 we are inclined to press a little the author's own characterization of his work as παλαιῶν τε ἡγεμόνων κατὰ τὴν σεβαστὴν εἰρήνην ἀνάθημα (prooem. 4), and see in these words a reference to the time of composition being a moment of universal tranquility, we might accept Zur‑Lauben's suggestion (preface, p6) that the treatise was composed in the year 53, this being perhaps the only one in the period for which there exists no record of military operations. But the expression employed, while certainly appropriate at a time of complete peace, does not necessarily imply quite so much, and it is better to rest content with a date shortly anterior to A.D. 59.13
The treatise consists of forty‑two chapters upon various aspects of a commander's duties, notably ethical considerations regarding the character, social status, bearing, behaviour, and attitude of a general towards his troops, the enemy, and his fellow-citizens; the morale of the troops, the effect of particular policies and tactics upon morale, and the like; together with much sound advice about elementary matters. In two respects Onasander differs markedly from other Greek and Roman military writers. He regards everything from the point p349 of view primarily of the commanding officer, to the question of selecting whom he devotes a long and valuable passage, and he lays uncommon stress upon the imponderabilia, especially ethical and religious considerations. There is nothing very philosophic nor technically military in the treatise, which is intended to give merely the broad principles of generalship (στρατηγικαὶ ὑφηγήσεις, prooem. 3), and lays no claim to originality (ibidem).14
One feels no more inclined to extol the treatise as being "the most learned, concise, and valuable to be found upon the art of war,"15 than to decry it as "useless and pedantic," and the author as one who "talks Greek like a doctor of the Sorbonne,"16 or to regard it as a mere "wilderness of general phrases," whose "useful observations are but grains in the chaff of trivialities."17 The truth, as often, lies here between extremes: κρατίστη δ’ αἵρεσις ἡ τοῦ μέσου, as Onasander himself says (Α.10).
Actual performance falls below the statement in the prooemium that the study has drawn merely p350 upon those arts and practices employed by the Romans in the establishment of their empire, for specifically Roman institutions are regularly neglected even when appropriate, and in only one instance (Ch. 19) is a manoeuvre recommended, which, though perhaps not impossible in a Greek phalanx, is certainly suggestive of the Roman maniple tactics. Elsewhere only general principles are proposed which apply to almost any army at any time, or else, although very rarely, if ever, is a custom peculiar to the Greeks described.18 In particular many of the qualities which Onasander requires of a commander-in‑chief, are, mutatis mutandis, quite as applicable to‑day to higher officers in general, as they were in the reign of Claudius.
The burden of the treatise is really ethics, morale, and the general principles of success in arms. As such, a good deal of it will necessarily sound commonplace, some of it even trivial, for the principles of success in war have often been declared by experts p351 to be very simple, and the difficult matter in war, as in many sports and occupations, is not the principles, but their application. Nevertheless every failure is easily traceable to the neglect of some important principle, and these can hardly be inculcated too often. If a manual expresses the principles of the art clearly and pointedly, one can hardly in fairness demand more of it. Estimates of value regarding a work of this kind will necessarily differ, but when so great a commander as Prinz Moritz von Sachsen, Marshal of France, and author likewise of a classic work on the art of war, Mes Rêveries, "declared with pleasure that he owed his first conceptions of the conduct of a commander-in‑chief to Onasander" (Zur‑Lauben, preface, p5), no mere closet philologist, at all events, may deny the possibility that it may prove useful to the professional soldier. The little treatise is merely a plain tale simply told, and it is the better part of criticism to express appreciation of the work that is valuable and well done rather than to strain to find what is useless or inappropriate.
The style of Onasander is straightforward and not ill adapted to the subject matter. Although it is not so fluent and simple as that of Xenophon, whom he seems to have admired and followed,19 it nevertheless stands comparison with that of Polybius or Plutarch, but only an enthusiast like Zur‑Lauben could speak of its "beauté majestueuse, élégance nerveuse, et clarté perçante."
The influence of Onasander in antiquity was considerable. p352 Most subsequent military writers are indebted to him, notably the so‑called Mauricius and Leo, of whom the latter in a large measure paraphrases Onasander, turning him into "wretched Byzantine Greek."20 In the Renaissance he enjoyed a remarkable popularity. Translations, beginning with that of Sagundinus in 1493, appeared in rapid succession in Latin, Spanish, German, French, Italian, and English, and such a demand, for these were no mere philological exercises, shows that many a practical soldier took to heart his counsel, and that much of it has passed thereby into the common body of military science. Towards the end of the next century the first Greek text appeared, a fairly good piece of scholarship, by Rigaltius, which held its place until Schwebel's elaborate study, more than a century and a half later. Since that time Onasander has been known to few beside professional philologists, but it may be hoped that others outside the ramparts of scholarship may have their attention drawn to his work by the present unpretentious publication.
A few words seem to be necessary by way of explaining this edition. It would have been much easier to reprint Köchly's text, but inasmuch as only one of the four old and really valuable MSS. of Onasander was adequately known (namely the Parisinus 2442), the great Laurentian MS. of the Tacticians had never been really collated, and the Vatican and the Neapolitan MSS. never examined at all, it would have been scarcely proper merely to reproduce an old and occasionally imperfect, though in the main most admirable, text. The p353 apparatus aims to give all the MS. readings that have any critical value, or may throw light upon the tradition of the text, and all the valuable emendations of modern scholars, especially those of Köchly. Knowledge of the inferior MSS. and readings of earlier editors have been drawn generally from Köchly, whose work in this respect is most exact and thorough, although we have been able to use the work of Rigaltius from the edition of 1600 in a privately owned copy, as well as Schwebel's edition of 1762, and that of Koraes, 1822, lent by the courtesy of the libraries of Harvard University and Princeton University respectively. Departures from Köchly's text have generally been recorded except in matters of elision (where Köchly nearly always elided with or without MS. authority), and of movable nu (which Köchly added somewhat arbitrarily). In these points the best MS. authority (F, and frequently FGH) has been followed. Cases where FGH merely run preposition and substantive together have not been recorded, or where iota subscript (without indication of a different construction) has been omitted, or movable nu has been added or left off (except for F), or compound words written as two (unless such a usage is occasionally recognized), or obviously erroneous accents or breathings occur, or where GH have trivial misspellings. The punctuation of FGH has likewise not been recorded, although it has been duly regarded in constructing the text.
The bibliography, which is more complete perhaps than any to be found elsewhere, has been drawn up with especial care, and omits, we trust, no title of substantial value for the criticism of Onasander.
Nicolaus Rigaltius: Ὀνοσάνδρου Στρατηγικός. Onosandri Strategicus. Sive de imperatoris institutione. Accessit Οὐρβικίου Ἐπιτήδευμα. Paris, 1598 and 1599. This is the editio princeps.21 It was republished in 1600 at Heidelberg by the Commelin Press with the notes of Portus and Gruterus, and again in 1604 with the notes of Portus, with which edition the more elaborate observations of Gruterus, published separately in the same year, were sometimes bound. See below.
[Henricus Monantholius: Onosandri et Aristotelis Mechanica cum commentariis. Paris, 1599. Fabricius, Bib. Graeca, vol. IV.339, quotes this entry from a Leyden catalogue, but the title itself is absurd, and the entries in the catalogues of the Brit. Mus. and the Bibl. Nat. under the Monantholius edition of Aristotle do not mention Onasander. We have here probably a cataloguer's error, due possibly to two different works being bound together. The Onasander was probably the edition of Rigaltius.]
p355 Aemilius Portus and Janus Gruterus: Ὀνοσάνδρου Στρατηγικός. Accedit seorsim in eundem Onosandrum Jani Gruteri uberior commentarius. Item Aemilii Porti . . . breues . . . observationes. Ex Officina Commeliniana [Heidelberg], 1600; also the work of Rigaltius and Portus alone, ibidem, 1604. Gruterus' notes were published also by the same firm in Varii discursus, sive prolixiores commentarii ad aliquot insigniora loca Taciti et Onosandri, Part I, 1604, and Part II, 1605.22 These observations of Gruterus seem to have been bound occasionally with the edition of Rigaltius, and also with the notes of Portus, but not always, since the latter combination alone was used by Schwebel (preface, ). On the somewhat complicated relations of these three works see Schwebel, loc. cit.; , op. cit. 338; Haase: 1835, 98. The copy of the edition of 1600 owned by Mr. A. S. Pease, although its title-page professes to have Gruterus' notes, does not contain them. The notae of Rigaltius are dated in both preface and colophon 1598.
Joannes à Chokier de Surlet: Onosandri Strategicus, sive de imperatoris institutione . . . , without place or date, but the preface is dated Rome, 1611. It contains the text and translation of Rigaltius. p356 Its only value lies in the "political dissertations" added by Chokier. The Thesaurus (containing Onasander) was republished at Mainz, 1613 and 1619 (third ed.; Cat. Bibl. Nat.); Frankfurt, 1615; Liége, 1643; Köln, 1649, 1653, and 1687. The editions of Liége and Köln do not contain the Greek text (Cat. Bibl. Nat.)
Nicolaus Schwebelius: Onosandri Strategicus, sive de imperatoris institutione liber, etc., . . . notis perpetuis criticis emendatus. . . . Accedunt duo indices, etc. . . . Nürnberg . This is commonly bound with the translation of Zur‑Lauben, Paris, 1757.
A. Koraes (Korais, Corais, or Coray): Ὀνοσάνδρου Στρατηγικὸς καὶ Τυρταίου τὸ πρῶτον Ἐλεγεῖον, μετὰ τῆς Γαλλικῆς ἑκατέρου μεταφράσεως. Παρέργων Ἑλληνικῆς βιβλιοθήκης τόμος πέμπτος, Paris, 1822. The French translation is that of Zur‑Lauben, which Koraes reproduces even when it is based upon readings different from those which he prints.
Arminius Koechly: Ὀνοσανδρουº Στρατηγικός. Onosandri de imperatoris officio liber. Leipzig, 1860. This is the most valuable edition of the text. It completely supplants the earlier editions, using all the critical materials previously collected, and adds new manuscript readings, especially from one of the oldest MSS., Paris. 2442.
Nicolaus Sagundinus: Onasander ad Q. Verānium de optimo imperatore eiusque officio per Nicolaum Sagundinum (sic),23 e Graeco in Latinum traductus. Rome, 1494.24 This publication was in the well-known and frequently reprinted Rei militaris scriptores, which included among others Vegetius, Frontinus, Modestus, and Aelian. Only the 1494 edition, however, contains Onasander. This translation of Onasander was reprinted at Paris, 1504 (colophon) or 1506 (preface); at Basel, 1541, 1558, and 1570.25
Joachimus Camerarius: Onosandri Graeci autoris de re militari commentarius in Latinum sermonem conversus . . . Nürnberg, 1595. This was an independent work made from a mutilated MS. It was published after the death of Camerarius by his sons. Max Jähns, Gesch. der Kriegswiss. 93, is certainly in error in p358 speaking of this edition as containing also the Greek text.
Al. de Palencia: Tratado de la perfeçion del triunfo militar. Printed about 1495, but without indication of place or date. The translation was composed in 1459.27
Iac. Dieg. Gracian de Aldarete: Onosandro Plátonicoº de las calidades y partes que ha de tener un excellente capitan general y de su officio y cargo. Barcelona, 1567.
p359 A. H. Baumgärtner: Onasanders Unterricht eines Feldherrn, übersetzt und mit Anmerkungen erläutert; in Vollständige Sammlung aller Kriegschriftsteller der Griechen. Mannheim, 1777,29 and separately in 1786. This is said to be a poor piece of work, based on Schwebel's text.
Jehan Charrier: L'art de la guerre composé par Nicolas Machiavelli; l'éstat aussi et charge d'un lieutenant géneral d'armée, par Onosander, ancien philosophe platonique . . ., Paris, 1546.30
Blaise de Vigenère: L'art militaire d'Onosender,º autheur grec, où il traicte de l'office et devoir d'un bon chef de guerre, etc., Paris, 1605. The translation seems to have been completed in 1593, but was not published until after the author's death (Jähns, op. cit., 93). The commentary and essays were so extensive as to make the whole work extremely bulky.31 It by means of this translation that Prinz Moritz von Sachsen made his acquaintance with Onasander (Zur‑Lauben, preface, 5).
Baron de Zur‑Lauben: Le général d'armée, par p360 Onosander. Ouvrage traduit du Grec, etc. Paris, 1754 and 1757. The reprint of 1757 is bound with Schwebel's edition of 1762. Another edition appeared in vol. I of Zur‑Lauben's Bibliothèque militaire historique et politique, Cosmopolis [Paris], 1760. It was also reprinted by A. Koraes in his edition, Paris, 1822, q.v.
Charles Guischardt:32 Les institutions d'Onosandre pour servir à l'instruction d'un général. Traduites du Grec. In his Mémoires militaires sur les Grecs et les Romains, vol. II, 49‑106. The Hague, 1757,33 and Lyon, 1760. This translation was reprinted by Liskenne and Sauvan; see below.
[A. Koraes: Paris, 1822. See Editions.]
F. C. Liskenne et J. B. B. Sauvan: Bibliothèque historique et militaire. In eight vols. Paris, 1835‑46; and 1851 ff. The translation of Onasander, by Guischardt, is in vol. III, 405‑35.
Fabio Cotta: Onosandro platonico dell' ottimo capitano generale e del suo offizio. Tradotto di Greco in lingua volgare Italiana. Venezia, 1546 and 1548. This work was translated into English by Peter Whytehorne. It was republished by G. Daelli in Biblioteca rara, Milano, 1863, vol. IV.
Peter Whytehorne: Onosandro Platonico, of the generall captaine and of his office, translated out of Greke into Italyan by Fabio Cotta, a Romayne; and out of Italyan into Englysh by Peter Whytehorne. London, 1563.
G. Apostolos Skalasteras: Bucharest, 1832. M. Konstantiniades (see next item) claims that this version was not made from the original Greek, but only from a translation.
Michael Konstantiniades: Ὀνησάνδρου Στρατηγικός, μεταφράσεις ἐκ τῆς ἀρχαίας εἰς τὴν καθ’ ἡμᾶς Ἑλληνικήν. Athens, 1897.
Anon.: Acta litteraria, vol. I, part I, 22‑8; Nova acta erudita, 1763, 201‑11; ibid., 1768, 313‑19. The last two articles are devoted to a critique of Schwebel's edition. The first is not accessible to me.
H. Delbrück: Geschichte der Kriegskunst in Rahmen der politischen Geschichte. Berlin, 1921, vol. II, 200.
Christ-Schmid-Stählin: Griechische Literaturgeschichte, 6th ed., München, 1921, vol. II, 422.
Th. Crenius: De eruditione comparanda. Leyden, 1699, 470, 570 ff. Crenius seems to have p362 added some observations of his own to the work of Naudaeus which he republished. See Schwebel, pref. .
J. A. Fabricius: Bibliotheca Graeca. Leipzig, 1795, vol. IV, 336‑40.
Fr. Haase: "Über die griechischen und lateinischen Kriegsschriftsteller," Jahrb. für Philol., 1835, 14: 86‑118.
De militarium scriptorum Graecorum et Latinorum omnium editione instituenda. Berlin, 1847.
M. Haupt: Varia (including a brief note on Onasander). Hermes, 1871, 5:175. Reprinted in Opuscula, 1876, vol. III, 518 f.
Max Jähns: Geschichte der Kriegswissenschaften, etc., München und Leipzig, 1889, vol. I, 5‑10; 90‑94.
Herman Köchly: Index lectionum in literarum universitate. Zürich, 1854. A discussion of MSS. of Onasander, principally Bern. 97 and Paris. 2522.
H. Köchly and W. Rüstow: Griechische Kriegsschriftsteller, Leipzig, 1855, vol. II, 1, 84 f.
K. K. Müller: "Ein griechisches Fragment über Kriegswesen," in Festschrift für L. Urlichs, Würzburg, 1880, 106‑38. On the Laurentian MS. of Onasander.
"Eine griechische Schrift über Seekrieg", in Festgabe zur dritten Säcularfeier der Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, 1882. On the general classification of the MSS.
Gabr. Naudaeus: Syntagma de studio militari. Rome, 1637. Republished as Naudaei bibliographia militaris, Jena, 1683 and included in Thomas Crenius, De eruditione comparanda, Leyden, 1699.
G. Rathgeber: Article "Onosandros," in Ersch p363 and Grüber's Encyklopädie der Wissenschaften und Künste, series III, vol. IV, 9‑12.
H. von Rohden: "Quas rationes in hiatu vitando scriptor de sublimitate et Onesander secuti sint," in Commentationes in honorem F. Bücheleri et H. Useneri . . . Bonn, 1873, 68‑94.
Cl. Salmasius: De re militari Romanorum, Leyden, 1657. Republished in J. G. Graevius: Thesaurus antiquitatum Romanarum. For Onasander see vol. X, 1389.
The MSS. of Onasander are much more numerous than those of the other Greek military writers, and thus testify to his abiding influence throughout antiquity, but only a few of them, and these mainly copies from existing codices, have ever been collated, and two of the very oldest seem not to have been used at all prior to this edition.34 As K. K. Müller has observed (Festgabe, etc.), the MS. tradition of Greek military authors falls into three main groups, the first of which is composed of the Florentinus LV. 4, s. X, and its descendants (especially A and B, see below); the second, of the Parisinus 2442, s. XI, the Vaticanus Graecus 1104, s. XI, and the p364 Neapolitanus III C 26, s. XI, and their descendants (e.g., M and Vat. 2201 are direct copies of the Vaticanus) or closely related MSS.; the third, of the Ambrosianus 139 (old no. B 119), s. X (or XI according to an older dating).
The Florentinus is incomparably the best MS. for Onasander, so that the disagreements of other MSS. need be considered only in the relatively few passages where it has obviously suffered from corruption. MSS. A and B are faithful copies of the Florentinus, and Köchly collated these two MSS. himself, so that this branch of the tradition was fairly well known even before the collation of the parent MS. In view of this fact and of the rare critical acumen of Köchly it is but natural that the present edition will be found to differ in only a few places, and generally in points of minor importance (but uniformly along the line of closer adherence to the Florentinus), from the text as constituted by that great scholar.
The second family represents a markedly inferior text, but probably one of wider circulation, and so presumably the vulgate of Leo's time. it is valuable primarily only when the Florentinus is corrupt. I have given, however, in the apparatus criticus all the important variations of the three leading MSS. of this family from the printed text, so that the material upon which a judgement must be based may not be withheld from others.
The third group, represented by the Ambrosianus, gives us a text varying so widely from that of the other lines of tradition that both K. K. Müller and the editors of the catalogue of the Ambrosian Library, Drs. Martini and Bassi, regard it as no p365 longer a recension but as a Byzantine paraphrase. I have taken, therefore, no cognizance of it, not, of course, because I am unaware of the value which a close paraphrase like this, and even a much freer one like that of many passages in Leo's Tactica, have in attesting the direct MS. tradition, but merely because it has been impossible in the time available, because of the delay and uncertainty of communication with Italy, to secure photographs of the Ambrosianus and present this secondary material in a form suitable for a volume of this series.35
To sum up: we have in F an excellent, old, uninterpolated, but not faultless text; in PGH and most other MSS. a Byzantine vulgate; in the Ambrosianus 139 a Byzantine paraphrase; in Leo a Byzantine plagiarism.
I give here, in addition to the symbols for the four great MSS., those used by Köchly for the MSS. from which readings were given by his predecessors. The names Rigaltius, Schwebel, Koraes, and Köchly in the apparatus refer to the texts, or notes as the case may be, and those of Sagundinus and Camerarius, to the translations produced respectively by these scholars.
A Parisinus 2522, s. XV, a copy of F. The corrector, A m2, is derived from R, or a very closely related MS. (Köchly)
B Bernensis 97, s. XV‑XVI, a copy of F, but with some emendations. (Köchly)
C Morellanus, once in the possession of F. Morellus at Paris. It seems to be descended from F but has many deviations and peculiar readings. (Rigaltius)
D An inferior seventeenth century MS. (Koraes)
E In the library at Munich in the eighteenth century; it agrees closely with the late MSS. of Rigaltius. (Schwebel)
F Florentinus LV.4, s. X, collated by Prof. Dott. Enrico Rostagno for this edition. The symbol F is used by Köchly for a very few readings from a Florentine MS. (presumably LV.4) furnished Schwebel by Dom. Mar. Manni. For these the designation F (sic) is used.
G Vaticanus Graecus 1164, s. XI. See H. Photographs of this MS. were used. Two leaves are missing (for details see apparatus on 10.27 and 35.3). Some portions, especially of p367 fol. 11r, are illegible. For a description see Wescher, Poliorcétique grecque, pp. xxiv ff.
H Neapolitanus III C 26, s. XI. H and G agree so closely that they are certainly copies of the same archetype, probably uncial. Photographs of this MS. were used.
K A late and inferior MS. owned by Koraes. (Koraes)
M "Cod. Mediceus, ex Bibl. Reg. Catharinae", a direct copy of G. (Rigaltius)
N A late MS. owned by Joh. Nagel, agreeing generally with the late MSS. of Rigaltius. (Schwebel)
P Parisinus 2442, s. XI, collated for Köchly by Jakob Huntziker. For a description see Wescher, Poliorcétique grecque, pp. xxvi f. (Köchly)
R A late and extensively interpolated MS. of Rigaltius, the probable source of the readings of the second hand of A. (Rigaltius)
V "Vet. Membranae" or "Vetusta Macrocola," seldom reported upon. (Rigaltius)
v Vulgate reading of the MSS. used by Köchly and his predecessors. With this A m2 (although Köchly quotes the latter separately) nearly always agrees, and when it does so is included under that symbol. Because of its age and importance P is cited separately, even if agreeing with v, when specially reported by Köchly.
Ω All MSS. or all other MSS. (including FGH).
Note. — The quoted phrases "alii codd. ut vid.", "ceteri codd. ut vid.", etc., are taken from Köchly's apparatus (based upon inferences from the earlier editions), unless some other authority is cited.
1 The MSS. of Suidas give Τακτικὰ περὶ στρατηγημάτων. Bernhardi (following Küster) puts a comma after τακτικά, as though different works were referred to, but it is much more likely that only one was meant, whether we take the words περὶ στρατηγημάτων as explanatory of τακτικά, or suppose that ἤ has fallen out. In any event the title given by Suidas is inexact, for the better MSS. of Onasander give Στρατηγικός (the inferior ones Στρατηγικά or Στρατηγική), which is undoubtedly correct, and is attested also by the so‑called Leo XIV.112. Suidas exemplifies late usage which applied τακτικά to any military treatise.
2 This has left no trace.
3 The evidence is collected and discussed by Erich Bethe, Rhein. Mus., 1907, LXII: 445 ff. The φίλων ἴλη of the younger Scipio (Appian, Hisp. 84) seems to have been composed rather of friends of Scipio, than of mutual friends, so that I cannot agree with Wecklein, Philol., 1876, XXXIV:413, who compares it with the ἱερὸς λόχος of Thebes. In Magna Graecia so closely connected was paederasty with war that it was even said to have been in origin a military measure. (Suidas s.v. Θάμυρις.)
4 The Pseudo-Platonic Ὅροι (which Schwebel, following a very dubious tradition, ascribes to Theophrastus) give a somewhat different definition of φθόνος, and of φθόνος only.
5 Compare the scholium to Aristophanes, Plutus, 87, where the definition of the word as given by the philosophers (παρὰ τοῖς φιλοσόφοις) is contrasted with that given by the rhetoricians. The Stoics, of course, had their definition, see Diog. Laert. VII.111.
6 This work, long ascribed to Leo VI, is now known to antedate his period, and must go back to Leo III (A.D. 711‑741), commonly, but incorrectly, called the Isaurian. This conclusion was first advanced by Zachariae von Lingenthal, Byz. Zeitschr., 1894, III:437 ff., and the demonstration completed by K. Schenk, ibid., 1896, VI:298 f. Of course the Emperor is only to be regarded as the one under whose auspices the work was composed. See also R. Helbing in his review of R. Vari's new edition of the Tactica, Budapest, 1917 (unfortunately inaccessible as yet), in Berl. Philol. Wochenschr., 1919, 97.
7 It is worthy of note that the so‑called Leo has the correct form of the title, while the designation in Suidas is markedly inexact.
8 See K. Krumbacher, Byzant. Literaturgesch., 2nd ed., 1897, 638, and the literature there cited.
9 The author of this work must have had a MS. of Onasander before him, because he paraphrases a large part of the present treatise, and since he worked under the encouragement of the Emperor it is to be supposed that he had the best available sources. No doubt the author of the archetype of the majority of our present codices, in the tenth century, also had good MS. material to work upon, but that was two centuries later, and besides this archetype clearly represents a seriously corrupt and interpolated vulgate. The testimony of D, a late interpolated MS., for Ὀνήσανδρος is worthless.
10 Approximately thirty-five instances have been noted, without making an exhaustive search, principally from Rhodes, Eretria, Athens, Laconia, and Ionia.
11 Ὀνόσανδρος can hardly be derived from ὄνος, whatever one may think of the possibility of such a name among the Greeks, while the stem ὀνόσασθαι, as Bechtel observed, does not seem to appear in Greek nomenclature.
12 Earlier but baseless conjectures are mentioned by Schwebel, p. . The year 58 might be more appropriately taken, as it is unlikely that Onasander would have dedicated his work to Veranius after the latter had gone to Britain in this year. For Veranius see the article in Prosop. Imp. Rom. III.399 f.
13 Some slight general confirmation of this approximate dating is supplied by von Rohden (see Bibliography), who finds approximately the same technique regarding the avoidance of hiatus in Onasander and in Ps.‑Longinus, for the latter, it is now agreed, belongs to the period of the early empire. Von Rohden's results may, however, need modification, because they are based upon Köchly's text which departs at many places from the best MS. tradition in the matter of elision.
14 It seems unduly severe for Köchly and Rüstow: 1855, 84 and Max Jähns, 92, to denounce Onasander for lack of originality when he disclaims it himself.
15 Guilliman writing in 1583, as quoted by Zur‑Lauben, preface, p9.
16 The Prince de Ligne, as quoted by Jähns, 94. One's respect for the prince's judgement is seriously qualified, however, by the circumstance that he has the highest admiration for the so‑called Leo (ibid. 120), ranging him beside Napoleon, and far above a mere Caesar or Frederick the Great, whereas the Tactics of Leo are in part a watered paraphrase of Onasander himself, together with extensive extracts from the Strategica ascribed to Mauricius, and from other sources.
17 Köchly and Rüstow: 1855, 85.
18 Thus it has been noted that in Ch. 10.25 ff. the Greek inspection of victims before battle is mentioned, not the Roman augury with the sacred chickens. But the Romans also took auspices before battle, no less than the Greeks, at least during the Republic. In the same chapter (10.4) exercises for soldiers are mentioned, which are drawn from Xenophon (Cyrop. II.3.17 f.). But similar exercises were employed by the Romans (see the article "Exercitus" in Pauly-Wissowa, 1654), and although exercise in throwing clods is not recorded for the Romans, so far as I am aware, Vegetius (II.23) especially recommends that soldiers be trained to throw stones, and in a sham battle what better substitute for these could be desired than clods? It is true that the Roman legion is not specifically mentioned, but neither is the Greek, for that matter. The word φάλαγξ could be used of either, but Onasander is writing of armies in general and not of particular forms of organization.
19 He was especially indebted to the Cyropaedia and the Anabasis. He drew also from Homer, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Polybius among extant authors, but is in no case slavishly dependent upon any particular source that has come down to us.
20 Köchly and Rüstow: 1855, 85, note 198.
21 Max Jähns, Gesch. der Kriegswiss. I.9, note, who mentions an edition of the Scriptores (i.e., the Rei Militaris Scriptore, Rome, 1487, and frequently thereafter), Rome, 1499, in which the collection is enlarged by the addition of Onasander's treatise, which, however, was again omitted in the edition of Bologna and the subsequent reprints, had no doubt in mind the Latin translation of Sagundinus, q.v., which meets his description in every detail except that it appeared in the edition of Rome, 1494, only, not 1499.
22 The copy in the Brit. Mus. is described thus: "Another edition) [i.e., of Rigaltius]. Accessit Urbici inventum, Graece et Latine; interprete N. Rigaltio, cujus item adjiciuntur notae: ut item J. Gruteri discursus varii. . . . In Bibliopolio Commeliniano: [Heidelberg] 1604, 1600‑05."
23 There seems to have been some doubt as to the correct spelling of the name. The editio princeps and the Paris reprint have Sagundinus, the Basel reprints and editors use the form Saguntinus. Fabricius, Bibl. Gr. IV.337, and Haase, 1835, 99 give some references where the form Secundinus appears.
24 So Haase, 1835, 98; Köchly in his edition, p. vii; and the catalogues of the Brit. Museum and the Bibl. Nat. and Hain* 15915. Fabricius, loc. cit., gives 1493.
25 A Latin translation in MS. exists in the Escurial library, iii. S. 11; also at London, 12 C. XIII, the latter under the name Nicolao Secundino, so that the Escurial translation is probably the same work; see Haase, 1835, 99.
26 It is more than doubtful if the work of Dominicus Syllenius Graecus, described by Fabricius, op. cit., 339, under the heading Versiones, as being "de vetere et recentiore scientia militari, omnium bellorum genera terrestria perinde ac naualia, nec non tormentorum rationes complectente. Venet. 1599", contains a translation of Onasander.
27 Max Jähns, Gesch. der Kriegswiss., 93.
28 Fabricius, loc. cit., gives 1531. This translation is said to contain a chapter, otherwise unknown, upon the Athenians, Spartans, and Macedonians. See Zur‑Lauben, quoted by Fabricius, loc. cit.; Jähns, op. cit., 93. It can hardly fail to be spurious, since any such details would be alien to the general tenor of the work, as well as opposed to the express statement of the prooemium.
29 Jähns, op. cit., 94, gives the place of publication as Frankfurt and the date as 1779 (on p10, Frankenthal and München). This may have been a different edition but it is more likely that we have here only a different title-page.
30 The catalogue of the Bibl. Nat. indicates that there were other editions of this translation, but the volume which would contain them has not yet appeared. The Brit. Mus. possesses only this edition of 1546.
31 Max Jähns, op. cit., speaks of 1500 pages, but the Brit. Mus. cat. records only 734. The book is a quarto.
32 Thus Haase: 1835, 98, and the catalogues of the Brit. Mus. and the Bibl. Nat.: Guischard, Fabricius, op. cit., 399, Brunet, Graesse; Guischart, Jähns, op. cit., 93.
33 Haase, ibid., and the catalogues of the Brit. Mus. and the Bibl. Nat. give 1758.
34 Most of them are listed by Zur‑Lauben in the preface to his translation (from Montfaucon, Bibl. Bibl.); Haase, De milit. script. Gr.; and K. K. Müller, Festgabe zur dritten Säcularfeier. Add to those mentioned in these works one at Perugia (Blume, Bibliotheca librorum MSS. Italica, in Supplementum itineris Italici, Göttingen, 1834, 122), and another at Turin (Fabricius, Bibl. Graeca, IV (1795), 337).
35 Similarly, in the case of Leo, it has been impossible to secure from Hungary the new critical edition of the Tactica prepared by Dr. R. Vari, and published by the Budapest Academy as long ago as 1917, while any extensive use of this work in the old editions would be unprofitable. It should be noted, however, that Leo agrees occasionally with F against all other MSS., which would suggest that the tradition represented by F and not the vulgate was the basis of his paraphrase, a condition apparently somewhat different from that which Wescher, Poliorcétique grecque, p. xxxix, presupposes for the tradition of the military technicians.
a There is no list of rare words in the printed edition.
Images with borders lead to more information.
The thicker the border, the more information. (Details here.)
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
if its URL has a total of one *asterisk.
If the URL has two **asterisks,
the item is copyright someone else, and used by permission or fair use.
If the URL has none the item is © Bill Thayer.
See my copyright page for details and contact information.
Page updated: 23 Feb 18