Aeneas Tacticus 1: Organizing and selecting troops for different tasks

This passage allows us to see what could be expected from the citizen militia of a Greek city (possibly including some mercenaries, particularly for specialised tasks), and the sort of tasks which would be routinely expected if a city found itself under threat.






1 [Organizing Troops]

1. The organization of troops should be made with reference to the size of the city, the situation of its buildings, the posting of guards and rounds, and any other service for which troops are required in the city: all these points must be borne in mind in making the allotment. 2. Expeditionary forces must be organized with reference to the country through which they have to pass, provision being made for negotiating dangerous points, strong positions and defiles, plains, commanding heights, and spots suitable for ambushes; attention must be given also to river crossings, and to the formation of a battle line under such conditions. 3. On the other hand, the organization of troops employed on garrison or police duty depends on no such considerations, but on the points of vantage in the city and the needs of the moment.
4. In the first place the most skilful and experienced soldiers must be set apart to form the magistratesí bodyguard; 5. it then remains to make a roll of the men who will be most capable of exertion and to divide them into companies, so as to form an organized and serviceable body for making counter-attacks, for furnishing rounds, for bringing assistance to anyone in difficulties, and for other similar duties. 6. These must be men who are loyal and satisfied with the established government; for a united body like this is a protection, as strong as any citadel, against the plots of traitors, and will intimidate malcontents within the walls. 7. Their commander and supervisor should also be a stout and able soldier, and also a man who has everything to fear from a change of government. 8. Of the rest, those who are youngest and strongest should be picked out for guards and stationed on the walls, and the remainder should be divided according to the length of the nights and the number of guards, and posted accordingly; 9. while the bulk of the inhabitants should be distributed, some in the market place, some in the theatre, and the rest in whatever open places there are in the city, that as far as possible no part of the city may be left unguarded.









created 14/02/2010 - updated 14/02/2010