Aeneas Tacticus 10.1-20: Martial Law.

Aeneas gives a list of proclamations which should be made to the people if conflict is imminent. Normal city life goes on, but under severe restrictions, all designed to prevent people from putting themselves in harm's way, or from plotting against the current government, either by hatching plots within the city or by communicating with outsiders.






10. [Notices]

1.The following order, too, should have been already issued:
‘All citizens who possess cattle or slaves are to lodge them with neighbours across the frontier, and on no account to bring them into the city.’
2. In the case of those who have no friends with whom to place them, the magistrates must deposit them on behalf of the state with people living near, and take means to ensure their safe keeping.


3. Then, after a certain interval, notices to the following effect should be published, to intimidate and deter intending traitors:
‘All free men and crops are to be brought in and lodged in the city: offenders are liable to the seizure of their property without redress.’
4. ‘All festivals are to be celebrated within the walls; no private meetings may be held anywhere either by day or by night; all necessary meetings are to be held in the prytaneion, council chamber, or other such public place’.
‘No prophet is to sacrifice privately without the presence of the magistrate.’
5. ‘No communal dinners are allowed; all are to dine in their own houses, except in the case of a wedding, or funeral feast, and then only after due notice has been given to the magistrates.’
6. If there are exiles from the city, proclamation should be made of the penalties attaching respectively to any citizen, foreigner, or slave who absconds. If anyone is seen with any of the exiles, or with any emissaries sent by them, or sends letters to them or receives letters from them, he should be liable to some penalty or fine; and all letters going out or coming in should be submitted to a board of censors before being sent out or delivered.
7. A list should be made of all those who have in their possession more than one set of arms, and no one should be allowed to carry arms out of the city or to take them in pledge.
It should be forbidden to hire soldiers or to serve for hire without leave from the magistrates.
8. No citizen or resident alien should sail out of the city except with a pass; and orders should have been given beforehand to ships to anchor only in front of those gates which are specified in a proclamation.
9. All strangers entering the city should carry their arms openly and ready to hand, and be disarmed immediately upon entrance; no one, not even an innkeeper, should take them without leave from the magistrates, who should keep a list of them, and of the addresses of any who take lodgings. 10. At night all inns should be locked up by the magistrates from the outside; and after a specified time all strangers who are vagrants should be given notice to quit, but a list should be made of members of neighbouring states residing in the city for educational and other purposes.
11. When official embassies come from other cities, tyrants or camps, the general public should not be allowed to mix and converse with them, but a number of citizens specially selected for their loyalty should always attend them, sharing their quarters during the whole time of their stay.
12. When the city is short of corn, oil or other supplies, a premium proportionate to the value of his cargo should be offered to any merchant who brings in a consignment, and also a wreath as a mark of honour, while the captain should be granted exemption from harbour dues.
13. Parades should be held frequently, and on each occasion strangers living in the city should be ordered to remove temporarily to a specified place or to keep within doors; if discovered elsewhere, they should be liable to prosecution. 14. At a given signal all stores and shops should be closed and all lights put out, after which the public should be forbidden to walk abroad: 15. anyone who is obliged to go out is to carry a lamp, until further notice. A reward should be offered to any man who brings information about any traitor, or gives evidence of the commission of any of the offences above mentioned; this reward should be displayed openly in the market place, or an altar, or in one of the temples, to encourage people to give such evidence more readily. 16. In the case of any monarch, general or ruler who is in exile, it should be further announced that and that if the slayer himself is slain, the reward will be paid to his children, or, if there are no children, to his next of kin. 17. Even if a follower of the exiled ruler, monarch or general conspires against him, he should be paid part of the reward and allowed to return from exile; this will be a strong inducement to make the attempt.
18. The mercenary troops should be assembled, silence ordered, and the following proclamation made in the hearing of all: 19. ‘If anyone is discontented and wishes to depart, he may take his discharge now; after this, any malcontent will at once be sold as a slave. Minor offences will be punished according to the recognized law by imprisonment, but if any man is caught tampering with the army and inducing men to desert, he will pay for it with his life.’
20. In the next place, all other classes should be kept under careful supervision. It should first be ascertained whether the citizens are all of one mind: for this would be the greatest advantage possible in time of siege; if they are not, it is advisable unostentatiously to get rid of some of those who are discontented with the present government, especially when they have been prominent on or responsible for any intrigue in the city: this may be done plausibly by sending the suspects elsewhere on embassies or other public service.









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