Aeneas Tacticus 7: Calling the people in from the fields.

Aeneas discusses signals to call people from the countryside back into the city.






7. [Calling the Population Into the City]

1. At harvest-time, if the enemy are close at hand, it is probably that many of the citizens, in their anxiety to save their crops, will remain in the fields near the walls. 2. These must be summoned to the city in the following way. First of all, a signal must be given at sunset for those outside the walls to leave their work and come into the city; if they are scattered over a wide area, transmitting stations will be required for the signals: for everyone, or nearly everyone, should be within the walls by night. 3. When the signal has been given for those outside to leave their work, another should be given for those within to take their dinner, and a third for mounting guard, whereupon the watch should be duly posted. 4. The method of signalling and of raising fire-signals is described at greater length in my Preparations for Defence: I will leave it to be studied there, to avoid the same ground twice.






Since farming was the main economic activity in most (probably all) Greek cities, a large number of people would regularly go out into the countryside to do agricultural work. In some cases, a part of the population lived in villages outside the town, and many may have stayed out in the fields for some days at times when intensive work was needed (e.g. ploughing, harvest). However, this could put the city into a very difficult position if an enemy attacked while so many people were busy outside. For example, Mantinea in 362 BC - see Xenophon, Hellenica 7.5.14-17.




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