Military Texts

Eric McGeer

in The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199252466
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Classics and Ancient History

Military Texts


Byzantium inherited and preserved a corpus of ancient military treatises that would become the basis of Byzantine military literature, which belongs to a tradition of war writings in Greek dating back to the fourth century BCE. These treatises can be divided into five genres that treat war in its various aspects: taktika, strategika, poliorketika, naumachika, and strategemata. The reign of Leo's son Constantine VII (913-59) was a decisive phase in the history of Byzantine military literature. The single most important Byzantine treatise is the Strategikon composed by Maurice around the year 600. The soldier-emperor Nikephoros Phokas also wrote or inspired tactical handbooks that close the gap between theory and practice.

Keywords: Byzantium; military literature; military treatises; wars; Constantine VII; Strategikon; Nikephoros Phokas

Article.  3542 words. 

Subjects: Classical Studies ; Middle Eastern Languages

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