Aeneas Tacticus

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Aeneas Tacticus
Native name
Αἰνείας ὁ Τακτικός
Period4th century BC
SubjectArt of war
Notable worksHow to Survive under Siege

Aeneas Tacticus[1] (Greek: Αἰνείας ὁ Τακτικός; fl. 4th century BC) was one of the earliest Greek writers on the art of war and is credited as the first author to provide a complete guide to securing military communications.[2] Polybius described his design for a hydraulic semaphore system.[3][4]

Part-title page of the first printed edition of Aeneas Tacticus, by Isaac Casaubon, an appendix to his edition of Polybius (Cologne, 1609)

According to Aelianus Tacticus and Polybius, he wrote a number of treatises (Ὑπομνήματα) on the subject. The only extant one, How to Survive under Siege (Ancient Greek: Περὶ τοῦ πῶς χρὴ πολιορκουμένους ἀντέχειν, Perì toû pôs chrḕ poliorkouménous antéchein), deals with the best methods of defending a fortified city. An epitome of the whole was made by Cineas, minister of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. The work is chiefly valuable as containing a large number of historical illustrations.[5]

Aeneas was considered by Isaac Casaubon to have been a contemporary of Xenophon and identical with the Arcadian general Aeneas of Stymphalus, whom Xenophon (Hellenica, vii.3) mentions as fighting at the Battle of Mantinea (362 BC).[5]


  1. ^ The error or typo "Tacitus" instead of "Tacticus" is more frequent than expected. See "Tacticus vs. Tacitus". Google Ngram Viewer. Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  2. ^ Newton, David E. (1997). Encyclopedia of Cryptography. Santa Barbara California: Instructional Horizons, Inc. p. 7.
  3. ^ Polybius, 10.44–45
  4. ^ Guarnieri, Massimo (2018). "A Historical Survey of Light Technologies". IEEE Access. 6: 25881–25897. doi:10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2834432. S2CID 46975329.
  5. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Aeneas Tacticus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 257.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aeneas Tacticus, Asclepiodotus, Onasander. Translated by Illinois Greek Club. Loeb Classical Library. ISBN 0-674-99172-9
  • Whitehead, David. 2002, Aineias the Tactician: How to Survive Under Siege. Second edition (First edition 1990). Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 978-1-85399-627-6.
  • Jenkins, Thomas E. 2006. "Epistolary Warfare" in Intercepted Letters: Epistolarity and Narrative in Greek and Roman Literature. Lexington Books. pp. 51–59. ISBN 978-0-7391-1714-9.
  • Kai Brodersen: Aineias/Aeneas Tacticus. Poliorketika (Tusculum). Greek and German. De Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-054423-7.

See also Chisholm 1911 for a long list of editions and commentaries.

External links[edit]