Aeneas Tacticus 9: Projecting preparedness.

How to react to intelligence of a possible attack: make a show of preparing for war, both to reassure the people and to let the enemy know that you are ready.






9. [Deterring the Enemy]

1. If your assailants are inclined to be aggressive, you may deal with them in this way. First send men to occupy certain points of vantage in your own territory. Then call together your soldiers or citizens and, telling them that an attack is to be made on the enemy, issue the necessary orders, bidding those of military age be ready, when the trumpet sounds at night, to take their arms, muster at a given point, and follow their leader. 2. When news of this reaches the city or camp of the enemy, it may very well dissuade them from their intended attack. 3. By this means your boldness and readiness to take the offensive will inspire your own men with confidence, and also deter the enemy from stirring beyond their own frontier.






Aeneas seems aware that a proclamation can have various meanings, especially when it reaches different audiences. In this case, he uses this to his advantage: the measures suggested are presumably useful, but his main concern is how people will interpret these preparations. The local population will be encouraged, while the enemy will perhaps be persuaded to abandon their aggressive plans.

It is also worth noting that Aeneas simply expects that an enemy (presumably a neighbouring state) will inevitably hear very soon what was going on in the market place.




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