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The Roman Art of War: Theory and Practice. A Study of the Roman Military Writers

Gilliver, C.M.; (1993) The Roman Art of War: Theory and Practice. A Study of the Roman Military Writers. Doctoral thesis, University of London. Green open access

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This thesis is a comparative study of the theory and practices of Roman warfare. The content of the various treatises, both extant and lost, is described, along with a discussion of the ancient traditions of textbook composition, their role in education and their possible practical use. The following chapters consider various aspects of Roman warfare for which sufficient historical and archaeological evidence exists and which are dealt with fully in the treatises. The size and internal organization of the different units of the Roman army are discussed with particular reference to the de munitionibus castrorum and Vegetius; a discussion of marching camps follows which considers the origins of these camps and an estimation at the density of soldiers per acre through the application of the rules of the de munitionibus castrorum to examples in Britain. The practices of the Roman army in the field are dealt with in the next three chapters., the order of march, pitched battles, and siege warfare. The first of these includes a discussion of Arrian's order of march and the relationship between the order of march and the line of battle whilst that on pitched battles considers the role of auxiliaries in the battles of the early Empire and the suggested reintroduction of the Greek style phalanx in the second century AD. The development of siege techniques, both offensive and defensive, is discussed, and this is followed by an analysis of the 'rules of war'. Although it is difficult to argue how much influence the treatises may have had on actual practices, the thesis illustrates the very close correlation between the treatises and actual field practices of the Roman army and shows that some of the treatises were of practical value.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:The Roman Art of War: Theory and Practice. A Study of the Roman Military Writers
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information:Thesis digitised by British Library EThOS
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Institute of Archaeology

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