Essay on On Roman Military Matters by Vegetius

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On Roman Military Matters, commonly referred to as De Re Militari, by Flavius Vegetius Renatus is essentially a field manual focusing on Roman military organization and how to field an army in a time of war. Vegetius discusses not only the development of the Roman soldier, from recruitment to final training, but also the organization, weaponry, strategy and tactics employed by the Romans legions. Though Vegetius, through evidence, had no military background or experience, and it is unclear on what evidence he based his argument, he accurately and in great detail described the structure of the Military of the late Roman Empire. Vegetius was an author of the 5th Century Roman Empire with only two surviving works, De Re Militari and…show more content…
If the recruit failed the examination, a ceremony that Vegetius fails to describe, a better candidate would replace them. Initial training, according to the author, consisted of marching, running, jumping and swimming. Vegetius placed great importance on what seem like basic human actions and believed that those skills were essential in the development of a fit soldier. Following the initial training, levies were outfitted and trained on the use of the primary Roman weaponry, the short sword, javelins, bow, sling, and introduced to the wear of the requisite Roman armor. Vegetius concluded with the subsequent training of the soldiers in order to sustain their level of readiness. The author contended that his purpose for Book I was to point out methods required to field a “good and serviceable” army and discussed that some nations lost their sense of military discipline and that fact caused their downfall on the battlefield. In Book II “The Organization of the Legion,” Vegetius described the composition of the Roman legions. He began with the explanation of the differences between legions and auxiliaries, legions being Romans and auxiliaries being “drawn from barbarians.” Here, Vegetius discussed the decay of the legion and stated that it was up to the eEmperor to restore the Roman army to greatness, a

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