The Taktika of Leo VI (Dumbarton Oaks Texts)

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9780884023593: The Taktika of Leo VI (Dumbarton Oaks Texts)
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Although he probably never set foot on a battlefield, the Byzantine emperor Leo VI (886–912) had a lively interest in military matters. Successor to Caesar Augustus, Constantine, and Justinian, he was expected to be victorious in war and to subject barbarian peoples to Rome, so he set out to acquire a solid knowledge of military equipment and practice. The Byzantines had inherited a voluminous series of military treatises from antiquity on nearly every aspect of warfare, from archery to battle formations and the art of besieging or defending. Leo intended to review all this, summarize it, and present an elementary handbook for his officers on how to prepare soldiers for war and how to move them on campaign and on the battlefield. He included a chapter on naval warfare and he explained Saracen (Arab) methods of war and how to defeat them. The Tactical Constitutions, or Taktika, were the result. Painstakingly prepared from a tenth century manuscript now in Florence, this is the first modern critical edition of the complete text of the Taktika and includes a facing English translation, explanatory notes, and extensive indexes.

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About the Author:

George T. Dennis is Emeritus Professor of History, Catholic University of America.

Review:

It gives us a window into the world of the Byzantine Empire in the late 800s and early 900s. The empire faced almost constant warfare with neighboring groups of people, whether local tribes or invading Islamic warriors. This is a book for people who love military history and want a firsthand look at what it takes to lead an army in the Byzantine Empire, how the army functions and was organized. It is also a great resource for students and scholars; it is no longer just available in the Greek, translated here for the first time.
--Kevin Winter (San Francisco Book Review 2010-09-22)

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