Byzantine military manuals

Byzantine military manuals

This article lists and briefly discusses the most important of a large number of treatises on military science produced in the Byzantine Empire during its thousand-year existence.


The East Roman or Byzantine Empire was, for much of its history, one of the major powers of the medieval world. The inheritor of the traditions and institutions of the Roman Empire, throughout its history it was assailed on all sides by various numerically superior enemies. The Empire therefore maintained a highly sophisticated military system, which relied on discipline, training, knowledge of tactics and a well-organized support system. A crucial element in the maintenance and spreading of this military know-how, along with traditional histories, were the various treatises and practical manuals. These continued a tradition that stretched back to Xenophon and Aeneas the Tactician, and in many Byzantine works, use is made of the works of ancient authors.

List of works

The number of such works that have survived intact or in a fragmented form exceed 200. They proliferate greatly in the 10 century, when the Byzantines embarked on their conquests in the East and the Balkans, and dry up after the 11th century.

* The mid-6th century "Anonymous Treatise on Strategy" (περὶ στρατηγικῆς) written by a retired military engineer.
* The late-6th century "Strategikon" is attributed to Emperor Maurice (r. 582-602), and concerns the setting up of an army in formation for battle, giving special emphasis to cavalry. It also includes a section on the fighting methods and habits of the various enemies of the Empire. The "Strategikon", although relatively unknown, is widely considered a masterpiece of military art, and forms the core of Byzantine military thought, from which all later treatises borrow.
* The "Naumachiai" (Ναυμαχίαι, "Sea Battles") of Syrianos Magistros on sea warfare, written in the 6th century
* The "Tactica" of Emperor Leo VI the Wise (r. 866-912), written ca. 903. In most aspects, they are a verbatim copy of the "Strategikon", with a few emendations to reflect changes and contemprary practice.
* The so-called "Three Treatises on Imperial Military Expeditions", an appendix to the "De Ceremoniis" of Emperor Constantine VII.
* The "De velitatione bellica" (περὶ παραδρομῆς πολέμου) attributed to Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas (r. 963-969). It is an essay on light infantry and skirmishing warfare.
* The "Praecepta militaria" of Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas, which presents the army of the latter 10th century during the "Byzantine Reconquest", composed of heavy infantry and heavy cavalry.
* The "Sylloge Tacticorum", compiled in the latter half of the 10th century.
* The "Parangelmata Poliorcetica", a manual on siege warfare, by the so-called Hero of Byzantium.
* The "Tactica" of Nikephoros Ouranos, one of the best generals of Basil II, written ca. 1000. It draws upon the "Praecepta", but also includes chapters from Ouranos' own experience on raiding and sieges.
* The "Strategikon" of Kekaumenos, written ca. 1075-1078. Not strictly a military manual, it contains general advice in military, administrative and household affairs, often illustrated by examples from 11th century events.



*cite book
first = John F.
last = Haldon
title = Warfare, state and society in the Byzantine world, 565-1204
year = 1999
publisher = Routledge
isbn = 1857284941

*cite book
first = Dennis F.
last = Sullivan
coauthors = Heron
title = Siegecraft: Two Tenth-century Instructional Manuals
year = 2000
publisher = Dumbarton Oaks
isbn = 0884022706

* cite book
title=The Reign of Leo VI (886-912): Politics and People

*cite book
title=Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081
first=Warren T.
publisher=Stanford University Press

* cite conference
first = Frank
last = Trombley
title = The "Taktika" of Nikephoros Ouranos and Military Encyclopaedism
booktitle = Pre-modern Encyclopaedic Texts: Proceedings of the Second COMERS Congress, Groningen, 1-4 July 1996
pages = 261-274
publisher = BRILL
date = 1997
location =
url =
accessdate =
id = ISBN 9004108300

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Byzantine battle tactics — The Byzantine army evolved from that of the late Roman Empire. The language of the army was still Latin (though later and especially after the 6th century Greek dominates, as Greek became the official language of the entire empire) but it became… …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine navy — Infobox War Faction name= Byzantine Navy war= the Justinianic Wars, the Byzantine Arab Wars, the Rus Byzantine Wars, the Crusades and the Byzantine Ottoman wars caption= active= 330 1453 AD ideology= leaders= Byzantine Emperor (Commander in… …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine army — Infobox War Faction name= Byzantine Army war= Wars of the Byzantine Empire caption= active= 330 1453 AD ideology= leaders= Byzantine Emperor (Commander in chief) headquarters=Constantinople area= Balkans, Asia Minor, Middle East, Italy, North… …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine law — Byzantine Culture Art • Architecture • Gardens Literature • Music Aristocracy &am …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine Empire — This article is about the medieval Roman empire. For other uses, see Byzantine (disambiguation). Roman Empire Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων, Ῥωμανία Basileia Rhōmaiōn, Rhōmanía Imperium Romanum, Romania …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine architecture — The Pammakaristos Church in Constantinople. Byzantine architecture is the architecture of the Byzantine Empire. The empire gradually emerged as a distinct artistic and cultural entity from what is today referred to as the Roman Empire after AD… …   Wikipedia

  • Byzantine coinage — Numismatics Terminology Portal Currency …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of the Byzantine Empire — See also: Index of Byzantine Empire related articles The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Byzantine Empire: Contents 1 Nature of the Byzantine Empire 2 Geography of the Byzantine Empire 3 Government and pol …   Wikipedia

  • Military history of Italy — The military history of Italy chronicles a vast time period, lasting from the overthrow of Tarquinius Superbus in 509 BC, through the Roman Empire, Italian unification, and into the modern day. The Italian peninsula has been a centre of military… …   Wikipedia

  • Military history of Italy during World War II — The maximum extent of the Italian Empire pink areas were held for just brief periods of time. History of Italy …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”