4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Some timeless principles of successfully organising, preparing and training for war,
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This review is from: The Military Institutions of the Romans (Kindle Edition)
Vegetus has been for a long time the primary go-to source for the organisation of the Roman military, in spite of writing several centuries past the prime of Roman power and practically only summarising older sources. He has also not served himself in a military capacity, which may vex some readers but does not - in my opinion - lower the usefulness of advice provided.
The book includes the first three of his five book treatise but as the final two really only deal with specific matters that would have been hopelessly out of date by now, the omission is more likely to upset the professional historian than someone with an interest in the broader principles of Roman warfare.
The books included are:
- The selection and training of new levies
- The organisation of the legion, and
- Dispositions for action.
In spite of the 'advice' being over two millenia old, much of it applies equally well to today's warfare - at least on a broader, principle level. Relentless training, the use of live looking targets for operant conditioning (not that Vegetus called it thus but the effects are perhaps best explained in On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society), the need for a balanced force and 'combined arms' warfare, the need for proper engineer corps, the importance of a well organised logistical trail, etc. are all covered.
As the book was written for a ruling monarch during Vegetus' time, it is understandably brief and up to the point (i.e. it does not delve into great detail) and it is surprisingly easy to read even from a modern point of view.
I personally believe the book useful for both people interested in military history, as well as general history, as it explains how a very effective system can be put in place virtually guaranteeing success as long as it is diligently practiced. The lesson is equally valid in a business context and many of the recommendations can be transormed into a commercial setting with reasonable ease.
Overall a book I can only recommend - especially given its content delivered to time spent (and price) ratio. Not only will you understand the Roman military organisation better, you are very likely to distill some useful lessons for your current situation, too.