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The Taktika of Leo VI

George T. Dennis, editor

Dumbarton Oaks Texts

Military History, Historical Texts: Facsimiles and Translations, Byzantine Studies, Byzantine History


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.

Dumbarton Oaks Texts 12 / CFHB 49

 

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