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Bill Thayer

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Asclepiodotus was a student of philosophy only one of whose works has survived: a summary of the organization and movements of the Greek phalanx. The work is short — a single Book — but because of the number of illustrations (which, unusually for a work from Antiquity, are more or less original from the author's pen, and thus of great value) it seemed useful to present each chapter on its own webpage.

The Table of Contents below is as given on pp244‑245 of the printed edition, to which I added the page numbers. Technical details on the layout of this site follow the Table of Contents.

The Greek text is not yet onsite.


p245 Editor's Preface and Introduction



Chapter Headings of the Tactics
of Asclepiodotus the Philosopher

α´. Περὶ τῆς φαλάγγων διαφορὰς.


I. The different Branches of the Army


β´. Περὶ τοῦ ἀριθμοῦ καὶ τῆς ὀνομασίας τῶν μερῶν τῆς φάλαγγος τῶν ὁπλιτῶν.


II. The Strength and the Names of the Subdivisions of the Hoplite-Phalanx


γ´. Περὶ διατάξεως τῶν ἀνδρῶν τῆς τε καθ’ ὅλην τὴν φάλαγγα καὶ τῆς κατὰ μέρη.


III. The Disposition of the Men both in the entire Army and in its Subdivisions


δ´. Περὶ διαστημάτων αὐτῶν.


IV. The Intervals between the Soldiers


ε´. Περὶ τῶν ὅπλων τῆς τε συμμετρίας καὶ τοῦ εἴδους.


V. The appropriate Size and Character of the Arms


ϛ´.​1 Περὶ τῆς τῶν ψιλῶν τε καὶ πελταστῶν φάλαγγος καὶ τῆς τῶν μερῶν τάξεώς τε καὶ ὀνομασίας.


VI. The Phalanx of the light Infantry and of the Targeteers, and the Disposition and Names of its Subdivisions


ζ´. Περὶ τῆς τῶν ἱππέων φάλαγγος καὶ τῶν ὀνομασιῶν τῆς τε ὅλης καὶ τῶν μερῶν.


VII. The Phalanx of the Cavalry, and the Names of the whole Body as well as of its Subdivisions


η´. Περὶ ἁρμάτων.


VIII. Chariots


θ´. Περὶ ἐλεφάντων.


IX. Elephants


ι´. Περὶ τῶν κοινῇ​2 κατὰ τὴν κίνησιν ὀνομασιῶν.


X. The Terms in common Use for military Evolutions


ια´. Περὶ τῶν ἐν ταῖς πορείαις σχηματισμῶν τῶν κατὰ συντάγματα.


XI. The various Arrangements of the Divisions of the Army on the March


ιβ´. Περὶ τῶν κατὰ τὴν κίνησιν αὐτῶν προσταγμάτων.


XII. The Commands used in Military Evolutions


List of Technical Terms


1 ζ´ F.


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 which 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 spotted only one very minor typographical error, which I marked with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the underscored words to read the variant. 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.


The Greek text is illustrated by figures approximating the diagrams found in the medieval manuscript; the English translation by figures that further correct or adapt them. The two sets of figures are thus not the same, nor in the same places in the text. Where useful, I've highlighted the tags or callouts on the English side with color and keyed the text to them; on the Greek side, I've left the diagrams as they are printed in the Loeb edition.

Marginal Notes

In addition to the numbered footnotes, at the foot of almost every page of the English translation the parallel passages of Aelian are cited. Formatting for the Web, where pages run on continuously without breaks, made it clearer to move these citations to the left margins. The full text of the first citation, at the beginning of chapter 1, includes a clarification:

Asclep. i.1 = Ael. II.1‑3 (= Arrian II.1‑3 in Köchly and Rüstow's parallel column edition, so that references to Aelian below are understood to include Arrian as well).

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: The Greek name Ἀσκληπιόδοτος in the center of a rectangular border containing 6 pairs of small circles on each of the long sides and 3 pairs on each of the short sides, with a square grouping of 4 circles in each corner. It serves on this website as the icon for my transcription of the Loeb edition and translation of Asclepiodotus.]

The background of the icon with which I indicate this work is the blue that I use in the Roman Gazetteer section of the site as the background for Roman monuments of the Republican period, an age to which our author belongs (despite himself) — and to which in fact the antiquarian character of his descriptions is due. I've boxed his name in one of his own diagrams, as found on p320 of the Greek text; the 'forward' and 'back' thumbnails in the chapter header bars are taken from the diagram of the wedge on p319 of the English translation.

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Site updated: 28 Nov 12