Annotated Bibliography for Blog, Marcus Moller-Jensen

My Dissertation will focus on the influence of Roman writings, on the evolution of medieval warfare. More specifically, at the moment, I will be focussing on how methods and tactics from ancient military manuals that were incorporated into the tactics used by the Byzantine Empire during the early Middle Age period.

Primary Sources

Flavius Vegetius Renatus, ‘De Re Militari (Concerning Military Affairs):the Classic Treatise on Warfare at the Pinnacle of the Roman Empire’s Power’(Leonaur 2012) :

This primary source is a military manual from the Late Roman Period recording the various tactics, disciplines and methods used by the Roman Army during the late republic. The manual itself is considered one of the most influential and widely used military handbooks throughout the middle ages especially by the Byzantine Empire. This source will not only give valuable insight into the structure of the Roman army, but will also allow me to compare it to the military structure of the Byzantine military so that a connection can easily be established.

Maurice’s Strategikon: Handbook of Byzantine Military Strategy (The Middle Age Series), University of Pennsylvania 2001 :

Maurice’s Strategikon is a military handbook created by Emperor Maurice (582-602) that details the military tactics of the Byzantine/East Roman Empire. The purpose of the manual was to combine ancient and modern tactics, drawing on knowledge from the tactics of Ancient Rome, in order to better prepare the future generations of army officers. This source is particularly useful as evidence of Roman writings influencing the future tactics of the byzantine military in the early middle ages.

Taktika of Emperor Leo VI the Wise, Revised Edition (Dumbarton Oaks Texts 2014)

This later Byzantine military manual is heavily influenced by Aelianus Tacticus, a Greek military writer who lived in Rome. Its updated edition in the 10th century, Sylloge Tacticorum, written by Leo’s son Constantine VII draws upon numerous Greek and Roman military techniques. This can be used as another example of Roman writing influencing middle age Byzantium.

Secondary Sources

Keen, Maurice, ed. Medieval Warfare : A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Incorporated, 1999. Accessed February 7, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central.

This source details the evolution of medieval warfare throughout the middle ages, to its end in 1500. It is particularly useful as it mentions that Roman defences were re-used in areas such as Winchester, highlighting an influence from the ancient world. Furthermore, Maurice also mentions that Vegetius’s manual, as mentioned above, was used throughout this time period, thus showing us the legacy of the Roman Army being put to use.

Haldon, John. Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World 560-1204. London: Taylor & Francis Group, 1999. Accessed February 7, 2021. ProQuest Ebook Central.

This source details the structure of the Late Roman Army after the Diocletian and Constantine reforms highlighting the change in structure of the Roman army so it could adapt to new challenges regarding the preservation of its borders. Haldon also examines the evolution from the Late Eastern Roman Empire to the Byzantine, accounting for the values, methods and standards that remained and continued throughout this change from the ancient to middle ages. This can be used to shows us how military methods evolved from Roman to Byzantine, allowing us to appreciate the influence that Roman writings had on its successor.

Dahm, Murray. “Learning from the Romans: The Use of Vegetius in the Middle Ages.” Medieval Warfare 5, no. 6 (2016): 50-53. Accessed February 7, 2021. doi:10.2307/48578518.

This article details the influences of Vegetius’s manual throughout the medieval world. What’s useful about this source is the Dahm, gives examples of battles in which the influences of this manual can be seen. This can be used to give a more specific account as evidence of Roman influence.

2 thoughts on “Annotated Bibliography for Blog, Marcus Moller-Jensen”

  1. Christopher Allmand’s The De Re Militari of Vegetius: The Reception, Transmission And Legacy Of A Roman Text In The Middle Ages (2014) may have covered some fo the ground you want (though not perhaps in a Scottish context) – maybe focus on later middle ages, too, for access to sources?

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