On Roman Military Matters by Vegetius

994 words 4 pages
On Roman Military Matters, commonly referred to as De Re Militari, by Flavius Vegetius Renatus is essentially a field manual focusing on Roman military organization and how to field an army in a time of war. Vegetius discusses not only the development of the Roman soldier, from recruitment to final training, but also the organization, weaponry, strategy and tactics employed by the Romans legions. Though Vegetius, through evidence, had no military background or experience, and it is unclear on what evidence he based his argument, he accurately and in great detail described the structure of the Military of the late Roman Empire. Vegetius was an author of the 5th Century Roman Empire with only two surviving works, De Re Militari and …show more content…

Vegetius briefly describes the cavalry, however, the account is lacking given the importance of the cavalry on the battlefield during this period. The author discussed, in depth, the drawing up of an order of battle concerning the legion, planning the position and roles of each member of the group. Book II accurately illustrated the daily events within the legion; however, the author would have been better served to elaborate on officer-enlisted relationships within the ranks to establish the chain of command element of warfare. In the preface to Book III, “Dispositions for Action,” Vegetius’s message to the eEmperor stated that past armies were strategically superior to the Romans and that the Romans should study their tactics in order to succeed in future engagements. In this installment, Vegetius presented a step-by-step, though abridged, guide to fielding an efficient army in battle. He discussed formations, troop health and comfort, mutiny prevention, river passage, encampment, battlefield choice, and conduct during a battle. He briefly examined the role of the general on the field of battle and described how to wage the battle, facilitate retreat, conduct a retreat, and conduct of the general in the event of a defeat. Vegetius wrote an excerpt on the use