Module Reflection Post

What have been the major obstacles you have faced in putting a research project together?

One of the major obstacles that I have faced during this module is access to primary and secondary sources. My topic is based in the Late Middle Ages, so access to primary sources has been rather difficult. The university library has been helpful, however the majority of sources I required were not available online and could only be physically accessed. As someone who is not staying in Stirling due to covid, this was particularly frustrating. Apart form this set back, there have been no other major obstacles to overcome.

What strategies have you adopted to overcome these obstacles?

Limited access to online resources has forced me to become more resourceful in my research. Using JSTOR, BRILL and other online libraries, that I barely used in the past, certainly broadened my research abilities. I also discovered a number of useful websites such as the US Congress library and MEMSO, that housed some of the primary sources I was looking for.

What has this taught you about approaching your dissertation?

Overall, I would say that this module has helped my develop my researching capabilities and has taught me a number of ways to circumvent limitations regarding availability. The dissertation requires the need to have a wide range of sources to examine, so they can be narrowed down to the most appropriate. Therefore, overcoming this module has given me the means of acquiring a greater level of secondary and primary sources, so that my topic can be thoroughly researched.

Which aspects of the 9X6 module have been the most useful in helping you get your project ready to start?

I feel the 9X6 module really helped me get going in the right direction, regarding planning out my topic. I feel that the module clearly set out a careful plan that was effective in helping me decide and expand on my chosen topic. However, I feel that the module catered more to topics that where more recent. The sample essays provided where all based on topic covering the last century, where primary sources are easier to obtain. I wish that there would have been more variety in the sample essays, maybe some medieval examples.

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.