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Flavius Vegetius

(2nd half of 4th century CE)


Flavius ​​Vegetius, born as Publius Flavius ​​Vegetius Renatus was a Roman writer and historian in the second half of the 4th century CE. Author of outstanding work on military – De rei militari. In De rei militari Vegetius describes himself as a Christian.

We know little about Vegetius’ career and the private sphere. He was responsible for treasury on the court and he was certainly interested in the military and horse breeding due to written works.

Work


De rei militari

The work also called Epitoma rei militaris (“Concerning Military Matters”) consists of four books and is focusing on the subject of the military. The work was probably dedicated to Emperor Theodosius I (reigned in 379-395 CE), and the author’s goal was to emphasize the power of Roman legions from the beginning of the empire and restore discipline – like in the past times – in the army during his lifetime.

What is worth emphasizing – the work De rei militari is the only surviving treaty devoted to the military of ancient Rome. However, the author was not a specialist in history or military matters. Vegetius used the sources available at that time: Cato the Elder, Celsus, Frontinus, Paternus or official imperial documents.

Vegetius begins his work from the first book, in which he emphasizes the need for reforms in the Roman army during his lifetime. Describes the discipline and training of Roman legionaries from the early Empire. The second book deals with the organization and structure of the legion. The third book focuses on the tactics and principles that a good commander should follow. The fourth book describes Roman siege engines and the naval fleet.

Digesta Artis Mulomedicinae

A work devoted to breeding and treating horses and foals. The work also includes fragments devoted to Huns’ horses.

Sources

  • Rosenbaum Sabin, Who was Vegetius?

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