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Bill Thayer

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Aeneas Tacticus

The Author and the Work

Strictly speaking, nothing at all is known about the author conventionally known as "Aeneas Tacticus". "Tacticus" is merely to differentiate him from other men by the name of Aeneas, of course; and just conceivably, Aeneas may not even have been his name: but he is probably to be identified with a prominent general of the mid‑4c B.C., Aeneas of Stymphalus. The arguments are all laid out in the editors' Introduction, along with a quick critique of the work and information about the manuscript tradition, editions, and translations.

Technical details on the layout of this site follow the Table of Contents, which in turn is adapted from the analysis given in that Introduction; the numbering of the parts with Roman numerals therefore has no authority, although I've followed it as convenient for splitting up the long text into webpages of manageable size.

Editor's Preface and Introduction




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




II. On maintaining morale and discipline and general measures for thwarting treachery and revolution (10.25‑14)




III. On repelling sudden forays (15‑16.15)




IV. 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)




V. On guarding the walls by night and by day and preventing smuggling of arms to revolutionary factions and their direct communication with the foe (21‑31)




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




Attestations and Fragments


Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

I transcribed this Web edition from a 1986 reprint of the Loeb Classical Library volume containing Aeneas Tacticus, Asclepiodotus and Onasander, Greek text and fa­cing English translation: Harvard University Press, 1928. The translations are by the Illinois Greek Club.

The book is in the public domain pursuant to the 1978 revision of the U. S. Copyright Code, since the copyright was not renewed at the appropriate time, which would have been in 1955/1956. (Details on the copyright law involved.)


As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. I run a first proofreading pass immediately after entering each section; then a second proofreading, detailed and meant to be final: in the table of contents above, the chapters are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe them to be completely errorfree; any red backgrounds would mean that the chapter had not received that second final proofreading. The header bar at the top of each chapter page will remind you with the same color scheme.

The print edition was very well proofread; I found few typographical errors. These few errors then, when I could fix them, I did, marking the correction each time with a bullet like this;º or when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the underscored words to read what was actually printed. Bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

Inconsistencies or errors in punctuation are remarkably few; they have been corrected to the editor's usual style, in a slightly different color — barely noticeable on the page when it's a comma for example like this one, but it shows up in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">. Finally, a number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have the printed edition in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation purposes, the pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode and made apparent in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line p57 ). Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

Local links are also provided for each section, and a few other links that were required to accommodate the cross-references or for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

[image ALT: A photograph of a massive but fairly short two-story stone tower and a short fragmentary stretch of wall, in a countryside of broom and distant vineyards, with a range of low hills in the far background. It serves on this website as the icon for my transcription of the Loeb edition and translation of Aeneas Tacticus.]

The icon with which I indicate this work comes to my site courtesy of Jona Lendering: a photograph taken by him of a tower of the ancient fortifications at Assos, a Greek city on the coast of what is now northwestern Turkey. Although in his surviving work Aeneas does not mention the town, it was besieged in 366 or 365 B.C., less than a decade before he wrote, and this actual tower was contemporary with him. For good details on the place, and many other informative and equally attractive photos, see Jona Lendering's page: Assos at Livius.Org.

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Site updated: 10 Dec 16