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This webpage reproduces part of
Siege Defense

Aeneas Tacticus

(Loeb Classical Library edition, 1928)

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Aeneas Tacticus
On the Defence of Fortified Positions

(X, continued)

 p63  [link to original Greek text] 25 But let them be divided, so that they may be kept under watch, for in this manner they would be least able to begin a revolution.

[link to original Greek text] Again, citizens are not to go to bed with lamps or any light at night, for in some instances persons who have been thwarted in every way from beginning a revolution (which was what they wished), and from entering into negotiations with the enemy, have contrived thus: 26 carrying lights to their positions on guard-duty, along with their baskets and bedding — sometimes taking torches, sometimes lamps — ostensibly in order to have some light to go to bed by, they have by these lights given a prearranged signal. Accordingly, all such matters must be regarded with suspicion.

[link to original Greek text] XI. [Plots]

1 One must, further, keep an eye on those of the citizens who are disaffected and not be too ready to accept their advice. 2 To show this, I shall here  p65 note in order and by way of example, from the book on this subject, how many plots have been made within various cities by officials or by private citizens, and how some of these have been completely frustrated.

[link to original Greek text] 3 Just before the betrayal of Chios,​28 one of the officials, who was a party to the act of treason, deceitfully persuaded his colleagues, that, since the state was at peace, they ought to draw the barrier of the harbour up on land for drying and caulking, to sell the old rigging of the ships, and to repair the leaky roofs of the ship-houses as well as the adjoining arsenal and of the tower next to this arsenal, in which the magistrates took their meals — all as a pretext, so that ladders might be at hand for those who were to seize ship-houses, arsenal, and tower. 4 He further advised that the majority of the men who were doing guard-duty in the city should be paid off, on the pretext that the expense to the state might be as small as possible. 5 With these and similar arguments he won over his colleagues to every measure that would contribute to the victory of the conspirators when they made this seizure. Accordingly, one must always keep an eye on those who are too eager to effect matters of this kind. 6 At the same time he fastened to the wall and hung out, as if for drying, deer nets and boar nets, and in other places sails with the ropes dangling, and it was by these that the soldiers climbed up at night.

 p67  [link to original Greek text] 7 Against revolutionists the following plan was carried out in Argos. When the rich men's party was about to launch the second attack​29 against the people and was bringing up mercenaries, the leader of the people's party, who had found out what was about to happen, just before the attack won over two men of the party hostile to the people, to be his secret accomplices, and while publicly treating them as his enemies and abusing them he heard from them in private the plans of the opposing party. 8 Then, when the rich men were in the act of bringing in their mercenaries, and others of their party were at the same time ready within the city, and the deed was to take place the next night, he decided to call an immediate assembly of the people, without announcing what was to come, that the city might not be thrown into utter confusion, and told them, among other things, that it was desirable for all Argives to stand at arms during the coming night, each man with his own tribe. 9 Further, that if anyone should follow a different course in arming himself or should appear elsewhere and out of his proper station, he should be punished as a traitor and conspirator against the people. 10 The purpose of this was that the rich men, scattered among the various tribes, should not be able to assemble at one point and attack with the mercenaries, but should be distributed in the several tribes as a small minority among their fellow-tribesmen. And he seems to have dealt skilfully, cleverly, and safely with the impending danger.

 p69  [link to original Greek text] 10a Similarly, in Heracleia Pontica,​30 when the democracy was in power and the rich were conspiring against it and about to make an attack, the leaders of the popular party, who knew what was imminent, persuaded the people to establish a division into sixty 'hundreds' in place of their former three tribes and four 'hundreds,'​31 so that, in the new divisions, the rich should do both guard‑duty and the other services. 11 The result was that here, too, the rich were scattered, and were, in each 'hundred,' few among many of the popular party. 12 And a similar thing took place long ago in Lacedaemon.​32 When the authorities were informed of a conspiracy to attack at the moment when the felt cap​33 was raised, they thwarted those who planned the attack by giving the men who were about to raise the felt cap the order not to raise it.

[link to original Greek text] 13 In Corcyra a rebellion of the wealthy oligarchic party against the rule of the people (the Athenian Chares, who at that time lived there and commanded the guard, helped in this rebellion) was contrived in the following manner.​34 14 Some of the captains of the guard drew blood from themselves  p71 with cupping-glasses, and made cuts on their bodies and ran out bleeding into the market-place, as though they had been wounded. At the same time the other soldiers, who had been prepared for this, speedily took up their arms, and with them the Corcyreans who were in the conspiracy; 15 and while the others had no notion of what was happening, and had, indeed, been summoned to an assembly, the leaders of the people's party were seized, as if they had been the ones who made the uprising. The rest of the affair, also, the conspirators arranged to their own advantage.

[link to original Greek text] XII. [Precautions with regard to allied Forces]

1 If allied forces [are admitted] into the city they should never be stationed together, but should be separated in the manner already suggested and for the same reasons. 2 In the same way those who are to make use of mercenary troops should always have citizens under arms surpassing these mercenaries in number and power, otherwise both the citizens and the state are at their mercy. 3 [A danger] of this sort [befell] the Chalcedonians​35 while in a state of siege, due to the presence of allied forces sent by [the people of Cyzicus], their allies. When the Chalcedonians were deliberating upon measures affecting their interest, the troops of the garrison said that they would not consent unless it seemed advantageous to the people of Cyzicus as well, so that the garrison within the walls was much more  p73 terrible to the Chalcedonians than was the besieging enemy. 4 One must, therefore, never admit into a city an alien force greater than that already available to the citizens, and the state employing mercenaries must always be much superior to them in strength, since it is not safe to be outnumbered by aliens nor to be in the power of mercenaries, 5 as actually happened to the inhabitants of Heracleia Pontica; for, by bringing in more hired troops than they should, they first made away with those of the opposing faction, but later brought destruction to the themselves and the state, being forced into subjection to the man who introduced the mercenaries.36

[link to original Greek text] XIII. [Maintenance of Mercenaries]

1 If, however, it is necessary to maintain mercenaries it may be most safely done as follows. The wealthiest citizens should be required to provide mercenaries, each according to his means, some three, some two, others one. When as many as you need are assembled, they should be divided into companies, 2 and the most trustworthy of the citizens placed over them as captains. Pay and maintenance the mercenaries should receive from their employers, partly at the private expense of the latter, 3 partly from funds contributed by the state. And each group of them should board in the houses of their employers, but they should be  p75 assembled by their captains for the performance of public services, night watches, and other tasks assigned by the authorities. 4 Reimbursement should be made in due time to those who have incurred expense for the mercenaries, after deducting the taxes due the state from each individual. For in this way maintenance may be provided for mercenaries most quickly, safely, and cheaply.

[link to original Greek text] XIV. [Suggestions for securing Loyalty]

1 With those, then, in the city who are opposed to the existing order one may deal in the manner already prescribed. In the meantime it is of primary importance to win over the mass of the citizens to a spirit of loyalty, both by other influences and in the case of the debtors by the reduction or complete cancellation of interest, and, in cases of especial danger, of some part of the principal, or even all of it when necessary; for such men as these are the most formidable of adversaries. Adequate provision must also be made for those who are in want of the necessities of life. 2 How these measures may be taken fairly and without offence to the wealthy, and from what revenues the expenses may be met, has also been clearly explained in the book on Finance.37

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

28 Nothing is known further about this event. Chios had tyrants (Athen. VI.259AB), and was the scene of frequent and fierce struggles between oligarchs and democrats (Aristotle, Pol. 1306 B3 ff.; Aelian, Var. Hist. XIV.25).

[decorative delimiter]

29 This is probably to be referred (with Hug, Aeneas von Stymphalus, p6, n. 6) to the revolutions of 370 B.C., that finally ended in the notorious σκυταλισμός, in which the people clubbed to death more than a thousand of the oligarchs. See Ed. Meyer, Gesch. d. Alt. V § 948.

[decorative delimiter]

30 Some details of the party strife are given in Aristotle, Pol. 1035 B2 ff. The date of this particular occurrence is not known. For further experiences of the city see below, XII.5.

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31 That is, each of the three tribes (a characteristic of Doric social structure) had four 'hundreds,' or twelve 'hundreds' in all, as in old Athens each of the four tribes was divided into three trittyes or 'thirds.'

[decorative delimiter]

32 This was the dangerous revolution of the Parthenii, or 'half-breeds,' as they might be called, which finally ended in the peaceful colonization of Tarentum, about 708 B.C., according to an untrustworthy legend. See Ed. Meyer, Gesch. d. Alt. II § 306A.

[decorative delimiter]

33 The felt cap had probably a symbolic meaning here. It was the headdress of the ordinary free man as such, and seems never to have been worn by slaves, so that its elevation symbolized the assumption of the status of free men. Among the Romans, indeed, one of the formal symbolic acts of manumission was the bestowal of a pileus, the italic equivalent of the Greek πῖλος.

[decorative delimiter]

34 This is set in 361 B.C. by Diodorus XV.95.3.

[decorative delimiter]

35 Nothing further is known about this event.

[decorative delimiter]

36 This is clearly a reference to the career of Clearchus, a former pupil of Plato and Isocrates, who entered the city with a force of mercenaries in 364‑3 (Diodorus XV.81.5) and ruled for twelve years. His régime was marked by much violence, not all due to his fault, and he enjoys the distinction of being the first prince of whom it is recorded that he founded a library. See Ed. Meyer, Gesch. d. Alt. V § 980.

[decorative delimiter]

37 See Introd. p8.

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