Byzantine Military Manuals as Literary Works and Practical Handbooks: The Case of the Tenth-Century Sylloge Tacticorum

1st Edition

Georgios Chatzelis

Published January 29, 2019
Reference - 202 Pages
ISBN 9781138596016 - CAT# K386696


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This book studies the Sylloge Tacticorum, an important tenth-century Byzantine military manual. The text is used as a case study to connect military manuals with the challenges that Byzantium faced in its wars with the Arabs, but also with other aspects of Byzantine society such as education, politics, and conventions in the productions of literary texts and historical narratives.

The book explores when the Sylloge was written and by whom. It identifies which passages from classical or earlier works were incorporated in the Sylloge and explains the reason why Byzantines imitated works of the past. The book then studies the extent to which the Sylloge was original and how innovation and originality were received in Byzantine society. Despite the imitation, the author of the Sylloge adapted and updated his material to reflect the current operational needs as well as the ideological, cultural and religious context of his time. Finally, the book attempts to estimate the extent to which Byzantine generals followed the advice of military manuals, and to explore whether historical narratives can be safely used to draw information as to how the Byzantines and the Arabs fought.

Therefore, along with a detailed study of the Sylloge Tacticorum, this monograph also addresses broader issues of the pen and the sword such as military manuals in connection with Byzantine warfare, politics, literature, historiography and education.

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