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Vegetius: Epitome of Military Science (Translated Texts for Historians) Paperback – May, 1993

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Paperback, May, 1993
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... by far the best English translation of Vegetius available ... -- Bryn Mawr Classical Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin
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Product Details

  • Series: Translated Texts for Historians
  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Liverpool Univ Pr; First Thus edition (May 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0853232288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0853232285
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,508,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is a wonder to me that more people have not discovered translations such as this one, Vegetius's seminal work "Epitome of Military Science". Compare Vegetius to such works as the Sun Tzu's "Art of War", but put it in the perspective of Ancient Rome and you'll be spot on.
I liked this work because it gave an excellent insight into all aspects of managing military groups. It covered not only things such as troup placement and tactics, but also much baser aspects of military life, such as the logistics of training, what or how to feed large numbers of troops, and how to deal with troop morale.
For the historian (and members of re-enactment groups similar to the SCA) this is an excellent book for research if you're willing to ignore the fact that the text is only the English translation and not a side-by-side comparison of the original and the modern.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the English translation of one of the most famous Latin books on Roman military theory and practice.

This book served as the primary handbook for most kingdoms and armies, from the final years of the Roman Empire, through the Medieval period, and into the 20th Century. It was written at the end of the Roman Empire, to try and stop the decline of the military, as territories were being lost to the Vandals and Huns. Vegetius was not a military man by experience, rather than an author trusted for his insight and writing clarity. Reputably, it was commissioned by the Roman Emperor as sort of a "last ditch " attempt to jump start the Roman military back into it's former glory and effectiveness.

It remains one of the best guidelines to Roman Military Archaeology, regarding Roman forts, military practices, and even the selection attributes ( rather humorous today ) of good army recruits. Good feet versus height, small abdomen, good eyes, and a small buttocks, more bravery versus cautionary thinking, were some of the points made in this regard.

When this handbook later surfaced, it was one of three guidebooks to be found in the libraries of all great military leaders, A-Z. I first heard of this book in my University days (copy Nr. 1 ), and then again in the military as a line officer. I happened to be at a speaking conference in Washington, DC, by the late Dr. Robin Bush from the United Kingdom ( later known for his Time Team expertise ), when this handbook was repeatedly sourced again. Ergo, copy Nr. 2, was again added to our Library.
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Format: Paperback
There is an abbreviated version of this under a different name, also available on Amazon; however, if you are interested enough in this subject to shell out bucks for a book, then Epitome of Military Science is the one to get. It is the whole work, including his treatise on strategy, accompanied with exhaustive author's notes.
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Format: Paperback
There are surprisingly few extant Latin technical works from antiquity (rather than poetry or speeches). Vegetius's Epitoma Rei Militaris seems to be the only military handbook, although I haven't checked this carefully. If you want to know about the legions, read what Romans and others at the time wrote and read archaeological details of the objects that remain, rather than reading explanations that have filtered through by generations; for example, you should know what evidence we have for the size of the Roman centuria, rather than just seeing the numbers 80 or 100 and assuming that this is certain.

I want to know how much mathematics educated Romans knew, and the passages in Vegetius for this are I.22, I.23, III.8, III.14. The preface of Book III contains the famous adage, "Therefore, he who desires peace, let him prepare for war." ("Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum")
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