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http://www.aeneastacticus.net/index.html Hunter, L.W., Handford, S.A. (1927), Aineiou Poliorketika. Aeneas on Siegecraft, Oxford:Clarendon Press. Minor changes have been made to the original text of the translation, mostly regarding punctuation. Titles The manuscripts of the text give titles to most of the chapters. These titles are probably not original. In some cases titles have been supplied or were used for the paragraph, although they are located in a different place in the text. Any such changes are indicated in the text with the appropriare brackets What do the brackets mean? ( ) Text in round brackets contains comments which are in the original text. [ ] Text in square brackets has been added by me (Greek terms in transliteration, crossreferences) < > text in angle brackets: Greek text restored by editors where there were clearly gaps (caused by the copying of manuscripts). The translation used here only marks longer interpolations in this way. Where is the original ancient Greek text? Due to the difficulties in displaying ancient Greek with all the correct accents in a form that everybody can read, this website is currently keeping Greek at a bare minimum, and where individual words in Greek are used, these will be transliterated (usually without indicating long vowels and accents). Please refer to the bibliography for a list of editions which include the Greek text of Aeneas' work. The text is also available online at the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae (subject to subscription). Introduction 1. When men leave their country and engage in warfare and encounter perils beyond their own frontiers, and disaster occurs by land or sea, the survivors still have their own country and city and fatherland between them and utter destruction; 2. but for those who have to fight for all that is most dear to them, for temples and fatherland, for parents and children and all they posses, the struggle is of a wholly different kind: a successful and stout resistance to the enemy will make them dreaded by their foes and more secure from future invasion, while any weakness in meeting the peril will leave them no hope for safety. 3. When, therefore, men have to fight for all these precious stakes, they must omit no preparation and no personal effort: rather they must think beforehand of every possible precaution, that the world may never see them beaten through their own fault, 4. and if disaster does come, the survivors may be able later on to make good the loss, like certain of the Hellenes who have
been reduced to the direst straits and yet have recovered. 1 [Organizing Troops] 1. The organization of troops should be made with reference to the size of the city, the situation of its buildings, the posting of guards and rounds, and any other service for which troops are required in the city: all these points must be borne in mind in making the allotment. 2. Expeditionary forces must be organized with reference to the country through which they have to pass, provision being made for negotiating dangerous points, strong positions and defiles, plains, commanding heights, and spots suitable for ambushes; attention must be given also to river crossings, and to the formation of a battle line under such conditions. 3. On the other hand, the organization of troops employed on garrison or police duty depends on no such considerations, but on the points of vantage in the city and the needs of the moment. 4. In the first place the most skilful and experienced soldiers must be set apart to form the magistrates’ bodyguard; 5. it then remains to make a roll of the men who will be most capable of exertion and to divide them into companies, so as to form an organized and serviceable body for making counter-attacks, for furnishing rounds, for bringing assistance to anyone in difficulties, and for other similar duties. 6. These must be men who are loyal and satisfied with the established government; for a united body like this is a protection, as strong as any citadel, against the plots of traitors, and will intimidate malcontents within the walls. 7. Their commander and supervisor should also be a stout and able soldier, and also a man who has everything to fear from a change of government. 8. Of the rest, those who are youngest and strongest should be picked out for guards and stationed on the walls, and the remainder should be divided according to the length of the nights and the number of guards, and posted accordingly; 9. while the bulk of the inhabitants should be distributed, some in the market place, some in the theatre, and the rest in whatever open places there are in the city, that as far as possible no part of the city may be left unguarded. 2. [Securing the City] 1. To avoid the necessity of stationing troops to defend the unwanted open spaces of the city, it is advisable to block them by digging trenches and raising all possible obstacles to any disaffected citizens who might want to occupy them. 2. Thus, when the Thebans broke into their city, the Lacedaemonians pulled down the nearest houses, and filled baskets with earth and stones taken from them and from fences and walls in different quarters of the town; it is said that they even took from their temples numbers of large bronze tripods, which they used to block up the entrances, passages and open spaces of the citadel, and in this way defeated the enemy’s attempts to break into the citadel itself. 3. Similarly, the Plataeans, when they discovered during the night that some Thebans had entered their city, soon noticed that there were not many of them and that they were not taking proper precautions, because they fancied they were masters of the city; and concluding that a sudden onslaught would easily dispose of them, they promptly devised the following scheme. 4. While some of the magistrates discussed terms with the Thebans in the market place, others secretly passed word to the citizens not to leave their houses indiscriminately in ones and twos, but to break through the partition walls between them, and so muster without the enemy’s knowledge. 5. Having thus got a presentable force together, they used carts without horses to block up the alleys and streets, and then, at a given signal, attacked the Thebans in a body; 6. meanwhile,
the women and children gathered on the housetops. The Thebans, having to manoeuvre and defend themselves in the dark, found the carts even more formidable than their assailants. For they fled without any idea where to turn for safety, owing to the presence of the barricades, while their pursuers, knowing the ground well, soon dispatched numbers of them. 7. On the other hand, the arguments against this practice must be admitted: when there is only one open space left in the city, the inhabitants are in a dangerous situation if the traitors are the first to occupy it: for the first move is all important when there is only one such meeting place. But when there are two or three such spaces, there are certain advantages: 8. if one or even two of them are seized, the third is still left for the defenders; while if all are occupied, the detached sections of the attacking force will be in a weaker position to resist the combined forces of their opponents, unless each section by itself outnumbers the whole of the defenders. Similarly, when any other decision has to be made, factors which may tell against the rules laid down must be taken into account; for an unconsidered choice may lead to something very different from what was intended. 3. Another System of Organizing City Guards 1. When an unforeseen danger threatens a city whose inhabitants have not been previously organized, the quickest way to organize them for the defence of the city will be to assign by lot a section of the wall to each tribe; each tribe will then at once proceed to its station and there mount guard; the number of men in the different tribes will determine the length of wall assigned to each. 2. Then those from each tribe who are capable of hard work must be chosen for duty in the market place and on rounds, or for any service for which such men are required. 3. So, too, when a fort is held by allies, a portion of the wall should be assigned to each contingent of the allies to guard. If the citizens suspect one another of treachery, trustworthy men should be stationed at each place where the wall can be ascended, to prevent unauthorized persons from mounting. 4. But the citizens should have been already organized on time of peace on the following plan. First of all, there should be appointed as commander for each street a man selected for his character and ability, whose house will serve as a rallying point in the event of any sudden night alarm. 5. The commanders of the streets nearest to the market place should lead their men to the market place, those of the streets nearest the theatre to the theatre, and similarly all the other commanders should assemble at the open spaces nearest to them with the armed men who have reported to them. 6. In this way each party will arrive at its proper post without loss of time, and the men will be near their own homes; they will thus be able to send domestic instructions to their households – their children and wives –, being still close at hand. Lots should have been cast before hand to decide the spot to which each of the magistrates is to go, that he may send detachments of the troops there assembled to the battlements and see to the taking of such other measures as are required, when once the commands have been apportioned as above. 4. Of Signals 1. First of all, signals should be already arranged, so that the defenders may not fail to recognize anyone who approaches. For this is what once happened. Chalcis on the Euripus was captured by an exile who started from Eretria, with the help of a friend in the city who contrived the following plan. 2. He went to the most deserted part of the city, near a gate which was not opened, and waited there with a saw or file which he kept ready day and night, until he succeeded one night in sawing through the bar unobserved and admitting soldiers at that point. 3. When about two thousand men had assembled in the market place, the alarm was sounded hastily, and many of the men of Chalcis were cut down through failing to
recognize their foes: for in their panic they fell in with the enemy, each man thinking that they were his friends and that he was late in coming up. 4. In this way, most of them were destroyed, one or two at a time, and when they finally discovered the true state of affairs, the city was already in the enemy’s hands. 5. In time of war, therefore, and when the enemy are close at hand, troops sent out from the city for any object, whether by land or sea, should not be dispatched until signals have been arranged by which they can communicate with the garrison by day or night, so that when enemies appear before the walls, the defenders may know for certain whether they are friends or foes. 6. Further, when they have set out, observers should be dispatched from the city to ascertain how they are faring, in order that the garrison may allow their movements as far out as possible; for it is a great advantage to be prepared well beforehand for whatever is coming. 7. The result of neglecting these precautions will be well shown from incidents which have actually occurred – to give in passing something in the way of illustration and clear evidence. 8. Pisistratus, when general at Athens, was informed that a force coming from Megara by sea intended to attack the Athenian women by night, while they were celebrating the Thesmophoria at Eleusis. On hearing this he laid an ambush for them. 9. The force from Megara disembarked, as they thought without attracting attention, and were some way from the coast when Pisistratus burst from his ambush and overpowered them, destroying the greater number of them, and also captured their boats. 10. These he filled without delay with his own troops and, taking with him such of the women as he thought best for this purpose, put into Megara late in the evening, keeping at some distance from the city. 11. On sighting the boats, a crowd of Megarians, including all the magistrates, flocked down to meet them, seeing, as they thought, a fine cargo of female prisoners. to disembark with daggers in their hands, and to strike some of them down, but to carry off alive to the boats all the distinguished citizens they could capture. And these orders they carried out. 12. It is clear from this story that no troops should be mustered, and no expedition dispatched, without signals to ensure that the different parties are known to one another. 5. Of Gate-sentries 1. In the next place, the sentinels at the gates must be men specially selected for intelligence and presence of mind, who will not fail to look with suspicion upon everything brought into the town; they should also be well-to-do men, and bound by ties of family – that is to say, a wife and children – to be loyal to their city, not men whom poverty, difficulty in meeting their commitments or other troubles might make ready supporters or actual instigators of any mutinous design. 2. Leucon, tyrant of Bosporus, used to discharge even members of his bodyguard who got into debt through gambling or any kind of loose living. 6. Outposts by Day 1.Outposts, too, must be posted by day in front of the city, on high ground visible from as great a distance as possible: each group should consist of at least three men, specially chosen for their experience. Otherwise, you will have scouts who know no better, imagining dangers and reporting them by hand signal to the city, thus causing needless panics. 2. Such false reports are spread by men who have never seen active service, and so fail to understand which of the enemy’s operations and movements are due to design, and which to accident. 3. On the other hand, the reports of an experienced man will be accurate: for he will know the meaning of the enemy’s preparations and numbers, of his line of march and his other movements. 4. If there are no places from which signals can be sent direct to the city, stations must be arranged at different points to transmit the signals to the city as they are made. 5. The men on outpost must be good runners, able to reach the city quickly and bring
messages from distant points, in cases where signals cannot be used and messages have to come by word of mouth. 6. Where there are cavalry and the country is suitable for their employment, it is best to keep mounted men at each post, that messages may be delivered more quickly. The outposts should be sent from the city at daybreak or while it is still dark, to prevent the enemy’s scouts from seeing them to go to their posts, as would happen if they went by day. 7. Their password must be different from that of the garrison, so that if captured, they may not have it in their power, willing or unwilling, to betray the password for entering the city. The men on outpost duty should be ordered to display their recognition signs at intervals during the day, in the same way as fire-signallers raise their torches at night. 7. [Calling the Population Into the City] 1. At harvest-time, if the enemy are close at hand, it is probably that many of the citizens, in their anxiety to save their crops, will remain in the fields near the walls. 2. These must be summoned to the city in the following way. First of all, a signal must be given at sunset for those outside the walls to leave their work and come into the city; if they are scattered over a wide area, transmitting stations will be required for the signals: for everyone, or nearly everyone, should be within the walls by night. 3. When the signal has been given for those outside to leave their work, another should be given for those within to take their dinner, and a third for mounting guard, whereupon the watch should be duly posted. 4. The method of signalling and of raising fire-signals is described at greater length in my Preparations for Defence: I will leave it to be studied there, to avoid the same ground twice. 8. [Securing the Countryside] 1. Next, if invasion by a superior force is anticipated, access, encampment, and foraging must be rendered difficult for the enemy; rivers must be made hard to cross and their banks flooded. 2. Besides this, traps must be laid to hinder landing on sandy or rocky shores; booms must be placed at the mouths of harbours in the city or home territory, to prevent the enemy from sailing in, or to cut off the escape of any ships that have sailed in; 3. articles purposely left in the fields which are likely to be useful to the enemy, as for making walls or tents, or for any similar purpose, must be either rendered useless or else put out of sight; 4. food, drink and growing crops ; all standing water in the neighbourhood must be made unfit to drink; ground suitable for the operations of cavalry must be made impracticable; and so forth. 5. All particulars of these arrangements I here omit, to avoid, as I said, undue repetition: a full discussion of them will be found in my Preparations for Defence. 9. [Deterring the Enemy] 1. If your assailants are inclined to be aggressive, you may deal with them in this way. First send men to occupy certain points of vantage in your own territory. Then call together your soldiers or citizens and, telling them that an attack is to be made on the enemy, issue the necessary orders, bidding those of military age be ready, when the trumpet sounds at night, to take their arms, muster at a given point, and follow their leader. 2. When news of this reaches the city or camp of the enemy, it may very well dissuade them from their intended attack. 3. By this means your boldness and readiness to take the offensive will inspire your own men with confidence, and also deter the enemy from stirring beyond their own frontier. 10. [Notices] 1.The following order, too, should have been already issued: ‘All citizens who possess cattle or slaves are to lodge them with neighbours across the frontier, and on no account to bring them into the city.’
2. In the case of those who have no friends with whom to place them, the magistrates must deposit them on behalf of the state with people living near, and take means to ensure their safe keeping. (Notices) 3. Then, after a certain interval, notices to the following effect should be published, to intimidate and deter intending traitors: ‘All free men and crops are to be brought in and lodged in the city: offenders are liable to the seizure of their property without redress.’ 4. ‘All festivals are to be celebrated within the walls; no private meetings may be held anywhere either by day or by night; all necessary meetings are to be held in the prytaneion, council chamber, or other such public place’. ‘No prophet is to sacrifice privately without the presence of the magistrate.’ 5. ‘No communal dinners are allowed; all are to dine in their own houses, except in the case of a wedding, or funeral feast, and then only after due notice has been given to the magistrates.’ 6. If there are exiles from the city, proclamation should be made of the penalties attaching respectively to any citizen, foreigner, or slave who absconds. If anyone is seen with any of the exiles, or with any emissaries sent by them, or sends letters to them or receives letters from them, he should be liable to some penalty or fine; and all letters going out or coming in should be submitted to a board of censors before being sent out or delivered. 7. A list should be made of all those who have in their possession more than one set of arms, and no one should be allowed to carry arms out of the city or to take them in pledge. It should be forbidden to hire soldiers or to serve for hire without leave from the magistrates. 8. No citizen or resident alien should sail out of the city except with a pass; and orders should have been given beforehand to ships to anchor only in front of those gates which are specified in a proclamation. 9. All strangers entering the city should carry their arms openly and ready to hand, and be disarmed immediately upon entrance; no one, not even an innkeeper, should take them without leave from the magistrates, who should keep a list of them, and of the addresses of any who take lodgings. 10. At night all inns should be locked up by the magistrates from the outside; and after a specified time all strangers who are vagrants should be given notice to quit, but a list should be made of members of neighbouring states residing in the city for educational and other purposes. 11. When official embassies come from other cities, tyrants or camps, the general public should not be allowed to mix and converse with them, but a number of citizens specially selected for their loyalty should always attend them, sharing their quarters during the whole time of their stay. 12. When the city is short of corn, oil or other supplies, a premium proportionate to the value of his cargo should be offered to any merchant who brings in a consignment, and also a wreath as a mark of honour, while the captain should be granted exemption from harbour dues. 13. Parades should be held frequently, and on each occasion strangers living in the city should be ordered to remove temporarily to a specified place or to keep within doors; if discovered elsewhere, they should be liable to prosecution. 14. At a given signal all stores and shops should be closed and all lights put out, after which the public should be forbidden to walk abroad: 15. anyone who is obliged to go out is to carry a lamp, until further notice. A reward should be offered to any man who brings information about any traitor, or gives
evidence of the commission of any of the offences above mentioned; this reward should be displayed openly in the market place, or an altar, or in one of the temples, to encourage people to give such evidence more readily. 16. In the case of any monarch, general or ruler who is in exile, it should be further announced that and that if the slayer himself is slain, the reward will be paid to his children, or, if there are no children, to his next of kin. 17. Even if a follower of the exiled ruler, monarch or general conspires against him, he should be paid part of the reward and allowed to return from exile; this will be a strong inducement to make the attempt. 18. The mercenary troops should be assembled, silence ordered, and the following proclamation made in the hearing of all: 19. ‘If anyone is discontented and wishes to depart, he may take his discharge now; after this, any malcontent will at once be sold as a slave. Minor offences will be punished according to the recognized law by imprisonment, but if any man is caught tampering with the army and inducing men to desert, he will pay for it with his life.’ 20. In the next place, all other classes should be kept under careful supervision. It should first be ascertained whether the citizens are all of one mind: for this would be the greatest advantage possible in time of siege; if they are not, it is advisable unostentatiously to get rid of some of those who are discontented with the present government, especially when they have been prominent on or responsible for any intrigue in the city: this may be done plausibly by sending the suspects elsewhere on embassies or other public service. 21. It was thus that Dionysius dealt with his brother Leptines, when he saw that he was in high favour with the people of Syracuse, and that his position was in many ways a strong one: suspecting his loyalty, he determined to remove him, but did not attempt to banish him openly, knowing that his popularity would gain him considerable support, and that violent measures might lead to revolution. His plan was this. 22. He dispatched him with a few mercenaries to a city called Himera, with orders to replace the present garrison by the troops he had with him; and on his arrival there sent him further orders to remain until he was definitely recalled. 23. When a city which has given hostages is attacked, the parents and relatives of the hostages should be removed from it until the siege is over, that they may not see their children brought up with the enemy as they attack, and meeting a cruel death: for if within the walls they might go so far as to offer resistance to the authorities. 24. If it proves difficult to use the pretexts I have mentioned for sending them away, they must remain, but should be assigned as small a part as possible in the conduct of operations, and should not know in advance where they will be sent or what they will have to do. They must be left as little as possible on guard by themselves, either by day or by night; and even when they are left alone, a number of people should, without raising suspicion, keep coming upon them in the execution of various commissions and special services: under whose observation they will be really under guard rather than on guard. 25. They should also be separated, for purposes of supervision; in this way there will be little chance of their making trouble. Further, no lamp or other light should be taken by a man when he goes to bed; for it has happened before now that when people’s attempts to revolt and intrigue with the enemy were completely baulked, 26. they hit upon the plan of bringing lanterns, torches and laps to their posts, as well as the baskets and rugs they usually carried, saying that they must have some light to go to bed by, and by means of these lights made signals to the enemy. A sharp look-out, therefore, must be kept for all such devices. 11. Plots 1.Again, it is necessary to keep an eye on the citizens who are known to be
disaffected, and never to adopt suggestions too readily. 2. To illustrate this, I will give in order an account of the several plots mentioned in my treatise on the subject which owed their origin to the treachery of magistrates or private persons, and also relate how some of them were frustrated and failed. 3. When Chios was on the point of being betrayed, a magistrate who was in the plot deceived his colleagues by persuading them that, as it was peace time, it was advisable to have the harbour boom hauled ashore, dried, and pitched, the old tackle of the ships sold, and the leaky roofs of the ship-houses put in a state of repair, as well as the colonnade adjoining the docks and the tower next to it, in which the magistrates resided: this served as a pretext to provide ladders for those whose object it was to seize the dockyard, colonnade and tower. 4. He also advised the discharge of a greater number of the city guards, on the plea of saving expense. 5. By these and similar arguments he persuaded his colleagues to agree to the very measures that would facilitate the capture of the city by the traitors’ attack. It is, therefore, important always to keep an eye on people who busy themselves to prepare the way for such schemes. 6. At the same time, he fastened to the walls and hung out stag-nets and boar-nets, as if for drying, and in another place sails with their ropes hanging outside; and by these some of the enemy climbed up under cover of night. 7. In Argos the following measures were taken against the revolutionary party. When the wealthy party was about to make its second attempt against the democracy, and was calling in mercenary troops, the democratic leader, perceiving what was on foot, induced two of the hostile party which was meditating the attack to become his secret accomplices, and thus, while representing them to be his enemies and treating them as such in public, obtained from them privately information about the traitors’ plans. 8. The wealthy party was on the point of bringing in the mercenaries, accomplices in the city were ready, and the attempt was to be made on the following night, when the democratic leader saw fit to summon a special meeting of the assembly, and without disclosing the plot, which might have thrown the whole city into commotion, said in the course of his speech that it was expedient for all citizens to assemble by tribes and to remain under arms during the coming night: 9. and that anyone who conveyed his arms to any other point, or appeared with them anywhere else, was to be punished as a traitor and conspirator against the people. 10. Now the object of this was that the wealthy men, being divided according to their respective tribes, might be prevented from forming a united body and taking part with the mercenaries in the attack: for by this tribal arrangement they would be distributed in small groups among their fellow tribesmen. By this clever and effective plan the attempt was frustrated entirely without risk. 10a. Similarly, at Heracleia Pontica, when under a democratic regime the wealthy party was plotting against the people and contemplating an attack, the leaders of the people, discovering their intention, persuaded the populace to substitute for their normal arrangements of three tribes, with four centuries in each, a division into sixty centuries, in which the wealthy men were to be distributed for guard-duty and other public services. 11. Here, too, the result was that they were divided, so that in each century there were only a few of them along with a large number of ordinary citizens. 12. A similar incident is said to have occurred long ago at Sparta. The magistrates were informed that an attack would be made ‘when the cap was lifted’, and defeated the attempt by ordering those who were about to raise the cap to refrain from doing so. 13. At Corcyra, when a revolt of the wealthy oligarchs against the people was impending (Chares the Athenian, who was stationed there with a guard, was in sympathy with this revolt), recourse was had to the following device. 14. Certain officers of the guard cut themselves about the body with cupping glasses, and run out into the market place covered with blood, like wounded men; whereupon the rest of the soldiers and the Corcyraean
conspirators, who were standing by in readiness, immediately brought out their weapons, the rest of the populace knowing nothing of the plot. 15. Then the assembly was summoned, and the leaders of the people were arrested on the charge of instigating a revolution, while the conspirators proceeded to make the changes necessary to secure their position. 12. Precautions With Regard to Allies 1. When allies are brought into the city, they should never be quartered all together, but in separate detachments, in the manner suggested above and for the same reasons. 2. In he same way, when mercenaries are to be deployed for any purpose, the citizens who employ them should always be superior in numbers and strength: otherwise, they and their city are at the mercy of the foreigners. I will give an instance. 3. The people of Chalcedon during a siege received a garrison from Cyzicus, which was then their ally; when the Chalcedonians proceeded to frame their plans according to their own interests, the troops of the garrison said they would consent to nothing that was not expressly approved by the Cyzicenes as well; and the end of it was that the people of Chalcedon became far more afraid of the garrison inside the city than of the enemy without. 4. It should, therefore, be a rule never to admit into one’s own city a foreign force stronger than the available citizen army, and when mercenaries are employed, there should be a considerable margin of superior strength on the side of the home forces; for it is not safe to be under foreign control and in the power of mercenaries. 5. The inhabitants of Heracleia Pontica found this to their cost. They called in too strong a mercenary force, and so, after crushing the opposing faction, found that they had brought ruin upon themselves and their city: for the mercenary captain made himself tyrant. 13. [The maintenance of mercenaries] 1. If it is necessary to maintain mercenaries, it may be done with least risk in the following manner. (The maintenance of mercenaries) The wealthiest citizens should be required to provide one, two or three mercenaries apiece, according to their means; when a sufficient number has been collected, they should be divided into companies, under the command of the most trustworthy citizens. 2. These mercenaries should receive their pay and maintenance from those who hire them, partly at the expense of the latter, partly from funds contributed by the state. 3. Each party of them should be quartered in the house of the man who has engaged them, but those who are told off for any public service, night watches, or other duties assigned by the magistrates, should always be assembled under the supervision of their commanders. 4. Repayment should be made after a certain time to those who have advanced money on account of the mercenaries, the sum in question to be subtracted from taxes paid by each man to the state. This will provide the quickest, safest and cheapest system of maintaining mercenaries. 14. [Suggestions for Securing Unanimity] 1.Particulars have already been given of the way to deal with political malcontents. (Suggestions for securing unanimity) It is very important that unanimity (homonoia) among the citizens in general should be secured for the time being by various conciliatory measures, such as the relief of debtors by the reduction or abolition of interest: in a very dangerous crisis even the capital sum owed may be partly, or, of necessary, wholly cancelled, as insolvent debtors are very dangerous adversaries to have sitting by, watching for their opportunity. Those in want of the necessaries
of life should be amply provided for. 2. How this may be done fairly and without laying an undue burden on the rich, and from what funds such provision should be made, I have described in detail in my Ways and Means. 15. [Expeditions Into the Countryside] 1. So much for preparations within. If after this a message arrives by hand or firesignal, asking for help in the country, an expedition should be made to the district attacked. 2. The generals should be present on the spot to marshal the force, and to prevent small parties from marching out one after another to rescue their own property; for such ill-organized and ill-timed exertions would lead to disaster by affording an easy prey to ambushes. 3. The men should be assembled at the gates as they come up, till a certain number, say one or two companies, has arrived; then, after they have been properly formed up and a capable leader placed in command, they should be sent on as fast as they can go without losing their formation. 4. In this way one detachment after another should be dispatched without delay, until the expeditionary force is considered sufficiently strong: the object is to keep several detachments in touch with one another on the march, and, in case one detachment should require another’s assistance or the whole force be compelled to engage, to make concentration easy, so that no troops will have to come up at the double from a distance. 5. Any cavalry and light troops available should be sent out first in advance, also in good order, and should reconnoitre and occupy commanding positions, in order that the main body may have as much notice as possible of the enemy’s plans, and thus be secure from a sudden attack. 6. At bends in the road, at the foot of hills, and at turnings – wherever there is a choice of roads – signals should be placed, to prevent stragglers who do not know the way from taking a wrong turning. 7. In returning to the city every precaution should be taken, especially against ambushes; for lack of caution has before now involved an expedition in the sort of mishap which I am now going to relate. 8. A raid made by the Triballi into the country of Abdera was met in a splendid fashion by the men of Abdera, who marched out and were victorious in a pitched battle against this powerful and warlike tribe, inflicting great loss on them. 9. The Triballi, mortified by their defeat, retired to collect their forces, and then advanced a second time, posting an ambush as they went, and proceeded to lay waste to the territory of Abdera within a short distance of the city. The men of Abdera, whose previous success had made them despise their enemy, rushed out and charged them with the utmost vigour and enthusiasm; the enemy led them on, step by step into the ambush; 10. and therefore they lost more men, it is said, than any other city of the same size ever lost in so short a space of time. For even when news reached the city of the fate of the first sally, men kept pouring out, cheering one another on in their eagerness to rescue those who were in front, until not a man was left within the walls. 16. Anther Method of Relief 1. Another way of ordering an expedition against invaders may therefore be preferable. 2. In the first place, it is undesirable to attempt immediate reprisals ; for you must remember that before daybreak your men will be unprepared and in great disorder, some eager to save their own property on the farms without loss of time, others afraid to advance boldly to meet the danger, as is natural in the case of sudden alarm, others again caught entirely unprepared. 3. You must, therefore, make ready for the expedition not only by mustering troops without delay, but by removing apprehensions, inspiring confidence, and, where necessary, providing arms. 4. For you must know that if your adversaries are men of judgement and skill, they will at first keep their best troops in hand when in the enemy's country; for they will expect an
attack and be prepared to repulse it. Some of them in small detachments will be going about the country plundering, while others will probably be in ambush, ready for any undisciplined attempts of reprisal on your part. 5. You should not, therefore, attack and harass them at once, but should wait till they grow reckless and contemptuous of your opposition, and intent only on satisfying their greed by looting. Soon, too, they will be full of food and drink, and drunken men are careless and disobey orders. 6. Men in this condition are likely to make a poor show in battle and in retreat, if you choose the right moment for attack. 7. This will be when your force is in readiness at the place appointed and the enemy have dispersed in search of plunder: then is the time to attack, cutting off their lines of retreat with your cavalry and using your picked men for ambushes; the rest of the light troops should keep in touch with the enemy, while heavy infantry is brought up in column not far from the detachments sent in advance. Make your attack in a position where you need not fight if you do not want to, but where the advantage will be on your side if you choose to fight. 8. From what I have said you will see that it is sometimes a good plan to give the enemy rein and allow them to lay waste your territory as far as they please, for when they are engaged in pillage and encumbered with spoil, you will have an easy opportunity of revenge; the loot will be all recovered and the robbers will receive their just reward. 9. On the other hand, you will endanger your own men if you attempt reprisals hastily, and when they are unprepared and in disorder; while the enemy, although they will have had time to do a little damage, will not yet have lost their formation, and so will get away unpunished. 10. It is, as I have said, far better to give way for the moment, and then catch them unprepared. 11. If you do not succeed in finding or intercepting your captured property, you should not pursue along the roads or through the country which the enemy have traversed; send only a few men that way to make a demonstration, with orders not to overtake the enemy, but to let him think they are trying to do so, while the main army, in full strength, makes a forced march by another road. After outdistancing the robbers, wait in ambush on the confines of their territory 12. (it will still be easy to outdistance them and reach their frontier first, as the spoil they carry will delay their march), and choose their dinner-hour for your attack; for when the plunderers are safely across their frontier, they will relax their vigilance, and will thus have less chance of escape. 13. If you have boats available, it is best to make a pursuit by sea and so keep the soldiers fresh; for thus you will outdistance the enemy and secure the other advantages you need, as long as your passage by sea is unobserved. 14. It is said that the people of Cyrene and Barca and some other cities, when they sent relief expeditions over their long carriage roads, used carts and chariots. After driving to a likely spot they drew up their chariots in line, and heavy infantry alighted and fell in, fresh and ready for an immediate attack on the enemy. 15. a good supply of vehicles is therefore a great asset, providing a quick way of bringing your men fresh to the point required. The carts will also serve at the time to barricade the encampment, and can be used afterwards to take back to the city those who are wounded or injured in any other way. 16. If your country is not easy to invade, and the ways leading into it a few and narrow, these, as I have said, should be occupied in advance: then, with your detachments posted at the several entrances, you should resist the attack of the force moving on the city; your dispositions should be made in advance, and the fortunes of each detachment made known to the others by fire signals, to enable them to reinforce each other in case of need.
17. If, on the other hand, your country is not hard to enter, and can be invaded by a large force at several points, you must occupy positions within your territory that will make it difficult for the enemy to advance upon the city. 18. If this, too, is impracticable, your next resort is to occupy positions near the city which will help you to fight at an advantage, and to withdraw easily from your position when you desire to retire to the city; then, directly as the enemy enters the country and marches upon the city, you to must assume the offensive with these positions as your base. 19. Your familiarity with the ground must always be used to advantage in delivering attacks; you will gain a great deal by previous knowledge of the country, and by being able to entice the enemy into whatever sort of country suits you best, where you know your ground and are at liberty to act on the defensive, to pursue, retreat, or withdraw either secretly or openly to the city (especially as you will also know where to find your supplies); while the enemy, strangers in an unfamiliar country, can derive from it none of these advantages: 20. for it is well known that a man who does not know the ground is not only unable to carry out his own plans, but finds it hard enough to retreat in safety, if the defenders choose to attack him. Thus with no heart for anything and afraid to move, because they cannot foresee their opponents' movements, they are doomed to failure. For there will be as much difference between your position and theirs if they were fighting in the dark and you in broad daylight, supposing this could happen at once. 21. If you have a fleet, your ships will be ready manned; for an attack by sea will cause the enemy just as much embarrassment as one by land, if the fleet is kept threatening their sea-board and the roads along the coast: they will then be embarrassed both by your attack on land and by the descent made by the fleet upon their rear. 22. By this means you will attack the enemy when they are least prepared to resist, and your movements will take them by surprise. 17. [Precautions During Festivals] 1. Where the citizens are not of one mind, but suspicious of one another, careful watch must be kept on occasions when the crowds go out to see torch races, horse races, or other games – that is all public celebrations and armed processions outside the walls; and also the public docking of ships and at public funerals: for even on these occasions loyal citizens may be involved in disaster, 2. as I shall proceed to show by an actual instance. At Argos a public festival took place outside the city, at which there was an armed procession of all the men of military age; and a number of the conspirators made ready and joined in the demand for arms to carry in the procession. 3. Their attempt was made close by the temple and the altar: most of the company piled their arms at some distance from the temple and went to the service of prayer at the altar; but some of the conspirators remained by the arms, while others, armed with daggers, took their places at the ceremony next to the magistrates and most prominent citizens, each picking his man. 4. After these had been struck down, others ran off with the arms to the city; while another party of conspirators, who had remained in the city, occupied points of vantage, armed with the extra weapons they had collected, so as to allow only those whom they wished to enter the city. At no time, therefore, should you neglect to be on your guard against such plots. 5. When the people of Chios celebrate their Dionysiac festival with a splendid procession to the altar of Dionysus, they line the streets leading to the market place with guards and pickets in force, thus making things very difficult for would-be revolutionaries. 6. The best plan is for the magistrates to conduct the celebrations first, attended by the bodyguard I mentioned earlier, and not to allow the general public to assemble until the officials are clear of the crowd.
18. [Closing the Gates] 1. When those who come in from the country are within the city and evening is coming on, the signals should be given for dinner and for mounting guard. While the guards are getting ready, you should inspect the gates to see that they are shut fast; for disasters are very apt to result from the magistrates slackness in regard to bolts. 2. If a magistrate does not attend in person to the duty of bolting the gates, but delegate it to the sentinel, tricks can be played by the sentinel who wishes to let in the enemy by night. I will give examples. 3. One of them poured sand into the socket in the day-time, so that the bolt should remain outside instead of slipping down into the hole. Even bolts already in position are said to have been undone by pouring sand gradually into the socket, 4. and working the bolt to and fro noiselessly, so as to avoid notice, until, as the sand fell in, the bolt was gradually lifted and could easily be taken out. 5. Once, too, a gatekeeper who had been deputed by his general to fasten the bolt, stealthily cut a notch into it with a chisel or file, tied a knot of string round it, pushed home the bolt, and, after waiting a short time, pulled it up again by the string. 6. Another prepared a fine net with a string attached, pushed home the bolt enclosed in the net, and afterwards drew it up. The bolt has also been removed by being knocked upwards. Again, it has been taken out with a small pair of pincers: one nipper of the pincers must be hollowed like a channel, the other flat, so that you can receive the bolt with the channelled pincer and get a hold upon it with the other. 7. Another traitor succeeded in turning round the cross-bar without being noticed, when he was about to insert the bolt, so that it could not fall into its socket, and the gate could be opened afterwards with a push. 8. At a city in the district of Achaea, where they were plotting secretly to let in mercenaries, their first step was to take the measurements of the bolt in the following manner. 9. They inserted into the socket during the daytime a loop of fine strong string, with ends projecting but concealed; and when the bolt was inserted at night they pulled it up, along with the loop, by pulling the ends of the string, took its measurements and replaced it in the socket. Their next step was to get a key made to those measurements, which they did as follows. 10. They had a tube and a rush-mat needle forged: the tube was of the usual pattern, as was the greater part of the needle, including the sharp end; but its handle was made hollow, like the hole in a spike where the shaft is inserted. 11. A shaft was put in at the smithy, but taken out when they carried it home, so that the needle could be driven against the bolt and made to grip. The trick played to get the instruments made without the smith's suspecting the object for which he had made them was certainly a very clever one. 12. Once, too, the circumference of the bolt was measured, while it was in the socket, in the following way. Potter's clay wrapped in fine linen was inserted and pressed down with a tool round the bolt; then the clay was pulled up, an impression of the bolt taken, and a key made to fit it. 13. An agreement was once made to betray Teos, a Ionian city of considerable size, to Temenus the Rhodian, with the complicity of the sentinel at the gate. Among other arrangements they fixed upon a dark night when there would be no moon, on which the sentinel was to open the gates and Temenus was to enter with his mercenaries. 14. During the day before the night when the attempt was due, a man waited by the sentinel; when it grew late and the guards were being posted along the wall, and the gates were about to be shut, this man slipped out in the gathering darkness, after making fast one end of a ball of spun cord which would stand a good strain. 15. Unrolling the ball as he went, he made his
way to a spot five stades from the city, where the attacking force had arranged to meet him. 16. When the general came round to shut the gates and as usual gave the sentinel the bolt to insert, he took it and, without making a noise or attracting notice, cut a notch in it with a file or a chisel, so that a thread would catch; next he slipped a loop round the bolt and let it down with the thread attached to it; and then, after shaking the bar to show the general that the gate was secure, kept quiet. 17. After a time he pulled up the bolt and tied the end of the cord to his person, so that, if by any chance he fell asleep, he would be roused by a pull of the cord. 18. Meanwhile Temenus was ready waiting, with the force which was to make the attack, at the place agreed upon with the man who had the ball of cord. It had been arranged that Temenus should go to the place and pull the cord: 19. and if the sentinel had succeeded in making all ready, he was to have fastened to the cord a piece of wool and let it go; on seeing this, Temenus was to have made a rush for the gates. But the sentinel was unsuccessful in his enterprise, he let the cord go with nothing attached to it, so that Temenus had plenty of time to escape unobserved: they had, after all, noticed during the night in the city that the cord was there, and so it was impossible to proceed further. 20. Another way in which a city was betrayed by a gatekeeper was this. He made a custom of going out with a pitcher just before the gates were shut, as if to fetch water; on reaching the spring he used to place stones on a spot agreed upon with the enemy, who would come up and discover from the stones placed there the message which the sentinel wished to convey. 21. If he was keeping the first watch, he put one stone down on the appointed place, if the second, two, if the third, three, if the fourth, four; he also signified to what point of the walls and to which guard-station the lot had assigned him. In this way he imparted the information which betrayed the city. In view of these various devices no precaution must be omitted: the magistrate must shut the gate in person, and not give the bolt to anyone else. 22. When engaged in any enterprise of the sort [i.e. an attempt to open a gate] yourself, you should take away the cross-bar altogether: for once some of the opposite party appeared unexpectedly and shut the gates again by main force, as the bar was still at hand; care must therefore be taken to prevent any such occurrences. 19. Sawing a Bar 1. When you are sawing through a bar, you should pour oil on it: this will help the work and deaden the sound. And if a sponge is fastened to the saw and the bar, the sound will be much less distinct. I could mention many other similar devices, but must now pass on. 20. The Prevention of Tampering with Bars and Bolts 1. To prevent any tricks being played with these, a general should, first of all, go in person to shut the gates and make his inspection, before he has dined, and not entrust anyone else with the task when he is disposed to be lazy; in time of war he will need to have all his wits about him in the performance of his duty. 2. Secondly, the bar should be covered throughout its whole length with three or four thicknesses of iron, so that it cannot be sawn through. Thirdly, three bolts of different patterns may be put in on different days: one of these should be kept by each general; or if the generals should be too many in number, their days for this duty must be decided by lot. 3. And it is best to have the bolts not removable, but held down by an iron place, so that when the bolt is being taken out, it may never be lifted by the pincers higher than will enable it to be inside the bar while the gates are being shut or opened. The pincers must be so made as to slip under the plate and lift the bolt without trouble.
4. At Apollonia on the Pontus, where one of the above ruses had been practiced with success, the gates were so constructed as to be shut to the sound of a big hammer, which made a tremendous noise, so that almost the whole city could hear when the gates were being shut or opened, the fastenings being very heavy and plated with iron. 5. And the same thing was done at Aegina. When the gates are shut the guards should be given the password and the accompanying signal, and sent to their several posts. 21. [Cross References] 1. The provision of tools, and the methods of putting friendly territory in a state of defence and of concealing or rendering useless to the enemy things left on the land, I will not now discuss, as I have treated them at length in my Preparations for Defence. The posting of guards, rounds, sudden alarms, passwords and signals must be reserved for full treatment in the manual on Campaigning, but a few hints may be given now. 22. Watches 1. Watches at night must be strictly kept in time of war and when the enemy are close to the city or camp. 2. The commander-in-chief and his bodyguard should be stationed round the town hall and market place, if this position is a defensible one, otherwise, he should have previously occupied the strongest place in the city, and the most conspicuous from all quarters. 3. The bugler and the dispatch-runners should always be quartered next to the general’s lodging, ready at hand in case bugle-calls or messages are needed, so as to give the guards and the rounds notice of what is to be done, wherever they happen to be in their circuit of the city. 4. Secondly, the guards on the wall, in the market place and at the town hall, the entrances to the market place, the theatre, and other points occupied should have short periods on duty: the reliefs should be frequent and their numbers strong. 5. For in a short period on guard a man will not have time to effect communication with the enemy and complete any treasonable design before he is relieved, and men will be less likely to fall asleep at their posts if they are on duty for a short time only; and with large numbers it is more likely that information will leak out concerning any attempt at treachery. 5a. Thus it is desirable that as many men as possible should be on the alert at time of danger, and that everyone should go on guard duty during the night, so that there may be as many men as possible in each relief; 6. with small numbers and infrequent reliefs men are likely to fall asleep owing to the length of their watch, and intending traitors will have ample time to communicate with the enemy unobserved before they are relieved. These considerations, therefore, have to be borne in mind. 7. At a critical time these further precautions should be added. None of the sentinels should know beforehand in which relief or at what point in the city he will be on guard; nor should the same commanders be always in charge of the same detachment; in all matters concerned with the supervision of citizens changes should be made as frequently as possible. A traitor will have far less chance of betraying anything to outsiders or receiving information from the enemy, 8. when no-one knows beforehand at what point of the wall he will be at night, or who his companions will be, but everyone is in complete ignorance of his destination. Those who have kept guard by day should not do so at night as well: for it is inadvisable that men should know in advance on what duties they will be deployed. 9. Patrols from the sentries on the wall may be sent out in the following manner. In
every watch one man from every guard station is to patrol as far as the next station; from there another on to the next, and so on; the order for all these patrols to start should be given by one signal. 10. Thus there will be several men on their rounds at once, and each will only have a short way to go; neither will the same men remain together, but new guards and new patrols will be constantly meeting each other. This system will prevent treachery on the part of the guards. 11. The patrols, when not actually on their round, should stand facing each other: in this position they will be able to survey the country in all directions, and are least likely to be surprised by anyone coming stealthily upon them, a misfortune which, as we saw, has happened before in the case of day outposts. 12. During stormy or dark nights they should throw down one stone after another onto the ground outside the walls, and challenge as if they saw someone coming: for in this way anyone approaching will inevitably be discovered. 13. If it is thought advisable, the same may be done on the city side as well. Some, however, say that this is a bad plan: for the enemy approaching in the dark are warned by the voices of the men on their rounds and the throwing of stones not to attack at that particular point, but rather at a place where no sound is to be heard. 14. The best plan on such nights is to keep watchdogs chained up outside the wall: these will be quicker to detect the enemy’s spies, deserters stealing up to the city, or anyone making his way out at any point with intent to desert; their barking, too, will wake the sentinel if he happens to be asleep. 15. The quarters of the city which are most accessible to attack should be guarded by the wealthiest and most distinguished citizens, whose interests are most closely bound up with those of the city: for they more than anyone else will have reasons for seeing that they do not turn aside to self-indulgence, but always attend diligently to their duty. 16. During public festivals those of the troops on guard in the city who are untrustworthy and most suspected by their own comrades must be dismissed from their posts with leave to keep the feast at their own houses: 17. this will seem to them as a special mark of distinction, and at the same time give them no chance of causing mischief. Others more loyally disposed should be placed on guard in their place; for it is at festivals especially that revolutionary designs are put into execution. 18. The disasters that have happened on such occasions are described elsewhere [in chapter 17]. 19. At these times, therefore, it is also better for the ways up onto the wall to be rendered difficult of access and kept closed, so as to give an intending traitor no opportunity of seizing any part of the wall, which will be manned by guards of your own choosing who have no alternative but to stay at their posts; while if the party succeeds in climbing up from the outside unobserved, they will not be able to come down off the walls into the city without some trouble and delay, unless they are willing to take the risk of jumping down from a height in full view of an enemy awaiting them. This plan of blocking the ways to the wall will be useful also in a tyrant’s citadel. 20. After the battle of Naxos, Nicocles, the commander of the garrison, against whom a plot was being formed, had the ascents blocked up, posted guards on the walls, and kept up a patrol with dogs outside the city; for a treacherous attack was expected from without. 21. When there is no disaffection or suspicion within the city, lights should be kept burning in lamps by night at the posts on the walls, so that a signal can be given to the general by raising the lamps when a hostile move is directed against any point. 22. If the nature of the ground prevents the general from seeing a lamp on the wall, a transmitting station must forward the signal with another lamp, whereupon the general should communicate the news to the other posts, either by bugle-call or orderly, as is most convenient. 23. At such critical times, when the sentries are kept strictly at their posts in this way, orders should be issued to the rest of the populace that after the signal none are to leave
their houses: if anyone finds it necessary to do so he must take a lamp, so as to be seen clearly at a distance by the men on their rounds. 24. No craftsmen must work at night, lest the noise should disturb the guards. The fair and equal distribution of the watches among the troops, varying with the length of the nights, must be regulated by a water-clock. This should be made to the change of the reliefs. 25. It is better for its inside to have a coating of wax: as the nights grow longer some of the wax should be removed, to allow room for more water; as they grow shorter, more wax should be inserted, so that the clock holds less. Enough then of the question of the fair distribution of watches. 26. When danger is less imminent, half of the numbers indicated above will be sufficient for the guards and rounds, and so half of the army will be on guard each night. In time of peace, when there is no danger, as few men as possible should be troubled with sentry duty, and to the least possible extent. 27. If the general has to send out rounds, a stick with a seal upon it should be delivered from the general to the first sentinel, passed by him to the next, and so on until the stick has completed the circuit and is returned to the general. Orders should be given to each patrol not to carry the stick further than to the next sentry; 28. and if on arrival he finds the post vacant, to return the stick to the man from whom he received it, so that the general may be notified, and identify the offender who is absent from his post. 29. If a man is not present to mount guard at the place appointed, his company commander must at once sell his post for whatever premium it will fetch and appoint a man to keep watch instead of him. Then the citizen who engaged him must supply money to pay the man who bought the post, and next day he regimental officer must inflict the usual fine on the defaulter. 23 Secret Sallies at Night 1. When making a sally at night to surprise the enemy outside your walls the following precautions should be observed. First of all, take care that no-one deserts; secondly, that there are no lights in the open air: for a glow in the sky over the city may betray your intentions. 2. Any chance of dogs’ barking or cocks’ crowing must be done away with: you can keep them quiet for the time by cauterizing some parts of their bodies; for the noise they make by barking or crowing altogether betrays what is going on. 3. The following device has been employed in making a sally. The citizens made a plausible pretence of sedition within the city, watched their opportunity for a sally, and made a surprise attack on the enemy with complete success. 4. In another city the besieged surprised the enemy by sally in the following way. They walled up the gates in full view of the enemy; but at the point where an attack upon the latter was most practicable, they let down a sail and after a while drew it up again. This surprised the enemy at first, but on its frequent repetition they ceased to take notice of it; 5. then, at night, the besieged made a hole in the wall large enough for their purpose, built a retired wall across the gap and stretched the sail over; when the opportunity came, they made their sally and took the enemy by surprise. While they were doing all this they took good care that no one should desert. None of these points, therefore, must be neglected. 6. But you should never, not even at night, go out incautiously with a disorganised mob: in times of danger traitors both within and without devise plans with the special object of drawing an attack, by such tricks as lighting fires or setting fire to a dockyard, gymnasium, or public shrine, in short, by any ruse likely to entice a crowd of unusual size out of the city. You must therefore use care, and not be too ready to take such proceedings seriously. 7. I will mention here a scheme originated by certain magistrates. They arranged for an alarm to be raised in the country and for a report to be brought in from the fields of an intended attack by robbers, which they know would bring the citizens in haste to the rescue. 8. When the alarm
was raised, these magistrates and their supporters called upon the citizens to go to the rescue. When the citizen body had mustered at the gates under arms, their next manoeuvre was to direct the assembled force to divide into three detachments and lay ambushes at a little distance from the city: 9. an order which suited their own plans without exciting the suspicions of their hearers. 10. Thereupon they led out the force and posted it in likely spots with directions to lie in wait for the invaders; they themselves with their accomplices went on ahead, saying that they would test the truth of the report and meet the danger first, their plan being, nominally, to entice the enemy into the ambush by a pretended flight. 11. They then went ahead to a spot where a force of mercenaries, who had arrived secretly by sea, was ready waiting, picked them up, and without attracting notice, succeeded in conveying them into the city by another route: for it looked as if they were merely leading back the citizens on their return from the expedition. Then, when the mercenaries were in occupation of the city, some of the citizens who had formed the ambush were banished, and the rest permitted to return. All such reports, therefore, should be looked at with suspicion, and no sallies in force should be made at night without due precautions. 24. Of Passwords 1. In giving the password, if your force includes men of different cities or nationalities, take care not to give a word whose meaning can be equally well expressed by another word, as for instance Dioscuri and Tyndaridae, where the two different words mean the same; 2. or again Ares and Enyalius, Athena and Pallas, sword [xiphos] and cutlass [encheiridion], lamp and light, and similar expressions which are hard to remember because of the different usages in every nation [ethnos], and are a source of danger if a dialect form instead of one generally familiar is issued as the password. 3. Thus when mixed mercenary troops or allies of different nationalities form part of your force, such passwords should be avoided. I will give as an instance what happened in Aeolis to Charidemus of Oreus, after he had captured the town of Ilion by the following stratagem. 4. The governor of Ilion had a slave who constantly went out to steal, especially at night, when he used to go out and return again each time with the results of the night’s work. 5. After a time Charidemus found this out, made the slave’s acquaintance, and came to a secret understanding whereby he induced him to go out as if to steal on a specified night: he was to go out during the night with a horse, so that the gates might be opened for him on his return, instead of his entering by the passage (or wicket), as he usually did. 6. When he arrived outside, he interviewed Charidemus and chose from his force about thirty mercenaries, armed with breastplates, daggers, shields, and close-fitting helmets. 7. These he led off in the dark, in shabby clothing and with their arms concealed, making them look like prisoners, and brought them into the town along with some women and children, also dressed as prisoners, the gates being opened to let the horse pass through. 8. No sooner had they entered than they set to work, slew the sentinel, behaved as mercenaries usually do, and succeeded in occupying the gates, at which troops at once arrived and seized the citadel; for Charidemus was close at hand. 9. Afterwards Charidemus himself entered with the main body, 10 but took care at the same time to place a detachment in ambush, suspecting that a force would be sent to recapture the city, as was indeed the case. For on hearing the news, Athenodorus of Imbros, who with his army was at no great distance, tried at once to send help. 11. He, too, was a shrewd man and also had his suspicions about an ambush: so he avoided the route to Ilion on which the ambush was
placed, took another road in the dark without being seen, and arrived at the city gates. 12. Then some of his men slipped into the city, passing amid the confusion for members of Charidemus’ army. 13. But before any more could enter, they were discovered by means of the password, and some were driven out, others slain at the gates; for the relieving force gave the password as ‘Tyndaridae’, while Charidemus’ password was really ‘Dioscuri’. 14. This, and nothing else, saved Ilion from being at once recaptured by Athenodorus the same night. The passwords given should therefore be easy to remember, and as nearly related as possible to the business in hand: 15. for instance, for a foray ‘Artemis the Huntress’; for secret exploits ‘Hermes the cunning’; in case of an assault ‘Heracles’; for open attacks ‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’; and so on as far as possible, using words that will be intelligible to all. 16. Iphicrates used even to say that rounds and sentries should not have the same password, but that a different one should be assigned to each: for instance, the man challenged would answer ‘Zeus the Saviour’ (if this happened to be the word), and the reply of the challenger might be ‘Poseidon’. This would minimise the risk of disasters arising from the betrayal of a password to the enemy. 17. In case the guards get separated, arrange in advance for them to communicate by whistling: for this will convey nothing to those who do not know it, whether they are Hellenes or Barbarians. 18. But look after your dogs: otherwise, when they hear the whistle, they may cause trouble. Whistling was used to collect the troops at Thebes during the recapture of the Cadmeia, when they got separated and did not know one another in the dark. 19. Rounds and patrols should both demand the password: it is no use for only one to do so. For an enemy might challenge just as well as a man going the rounds. 25. Signs to accompany the password 1. A sign is sometimes employed as well as the password to prevent panics and for the better recognition of friends. 2. These signs must be as distinctive as possible, and such as an enemy will be least likely to recognize: here are some examples. On dark nights the challenger should also utter some further sound or simply make an audible signal, and the man challenged should give the password and also utter a prearranged sound or make some noise. But in god light the challenger should take off his cap [pilos], or, if he has it in his hand, put it on; 3. or he may press his cap down over his brow, or set it back on his head, 4. or plant his spear in the ground as he approaches, or pass it over to his left hand, or hold it aloft in his hand, or simply raise it; the other man should give the password in answer and also make some such prearranged movement. 26. Rounds 1. In time of danger rounds are necessary. And first two of the companies stationed in the market-place should take turns to go to the rounds under the city-wall, equipped with their ordinary armour, and instructed in signs which will enable them to distinguish each other with certainty from a distance. 2. The men on duty in the first watch must go their rounds before their dinner: for men on patrol in the first watch are apt to be lazy and insubordinate if they have come straight from their dinner. 3. Rounds should be made without lanterns, except on very dark and stormy nights; if one is carried, it should be screened so as not to shed any light upwards, but only on the ground in front of the men’s feet. 4. In a city which keeps horses and where the ground is fit for their use, rounds should be made on horseback in winter; for in the cold and mud of the long nights they will be sooner over this way.
5. If men are going their rounds on the wall as well, so that a lookout is being kept on both sides of it, 6. those on duty should on dark nights have stones to throw down one after another to the ground outside the walls; though some object to this, for the reasons I have given above [22.13]. 7. When there is fear of treachery, the rounds should be made under the wall, and no-one allowed on the top except the sentinels. If the army is in a bad state owing to a reverse in the field, or to heavy loss from casualties or desertion by allies, or is disheartened and humiliated by any other mishap, and the presence of the enemy is a continual menace, the arrangement of the watches mentioned above should be carried out. 8. At these times the rounds should be made frequently, but you should not be too anxious on the rounds to detect patrols who are asleep at their posts or to worn out to keep proper guard; for it is unwise to depress still further an army in this condition, and a man is sure to lose heart if he is caught neglecting his duty: you should rather set about attending to their wants and restoring their morale. 9. At such times the approach of rounds should be indicated from a greater distance by speaking loudly some way off, so that if a sentinel is asleep he may wake up and prepare himself to answer the challenge. 10. It is best under such circumstances for the general in person to make each round carefully with his own regular bodyguard. On the other hand, when your force is overconfident, the supervision of the guards must be stricter. 11. The general should never keep to the same time for his rounds, but choose his own time, to prevent the soldiers’ knowing long beforehand the moment at which their general will arrive, and keeping especially careful watch at that hour. 12. Some adopt the following plan, which certain people suggest and recommend. In case the governor of the city, from fear of danger or ill health, is reluctant to make the rounds in person, but nevertheless wishes to discover which men in any watch are neglecting their duty, he may do as follows. 13. A lantern signal may be prearranged with all the guards on the wall: and all patrols must answer this signal by raising their own lanterns. This signal should be made on the spot from which all on duty on the wall will be able to see it; 14. if there is no such place, a raised platform must be constructed somehow, as high as is practicable. From this a lantern should be raised, and every man at each post must acknowledge the signal. The number should then be counted: hence you can discover whether all the patrols have acknowledged your signal, or whether there are any defaulters. 27. Of Panics 1. For dealing with sudden alarms or attacks of terror occurring by day or night in the city or camps, sometimes called panics (a Peloponnesian word, especially common in Arcadia), the following measures have been recommended. 2. Signals should be prearranged which the troops in the city will recognize, and perceive that a panic has occurred; there should also be a beacon-fire, in accordance with a pre-concerted plan, and on a spot visible, as far as may be, from all quarters of the city. 3. It is best to have issued orders in advance that wherever the alarm takes place, all troops are to remain at their posts and raise a paean, or pass the word round from man to man that it is only a panic. 4. If in any part of the force the paean is not raised in answer, you may assume that the panic has occurred there. If the general sees some real ground for apprehension, the bugle should be sounded: this should be the recognised alarm-signal.
Panics generally take place after a defeat in battle, occasionally in the day time, at night frequently. 5. To prevent their occurring so often, all the troops should have orders for the night to remain by their arms as far as possible, in readiness for emergencies: 6. this warning will probably prevent them, when emergency does arise, from being taken by surprise and thrown into confusion by a sudden panic, with disastrous results. 7. Euphratas, the Spartan governor in Thrace, finding night alarms of very frequent occurrence in his army, and being unable to stop them in any other way, issued the following orders for the night. 8. In the event of an alarm, the men were to sit up at once on their beds and to reach for their arms, but no-one was to stand up. Anyone standing upright he publicly ordered them to treat as an enemy. 9. Everyone, he thought, would take care to remember this order from fear of the consequences. And to show that he really meant what he said, when a panic did occur, one of his best men was struck down, though not killed, and some of the less valuable men actually lost their lives. 10. After this the men obeyed orders, and took care to have no more panics, and never again to leave their beds in a fright. 11. Another way of stopping a panic was this. While the camp was in an uproar one night, the herald called for silence and made the following proclamation: ‘Whosoever reports the person who let loose the horse which has caused this commotion…’ 12. If an army is subject to this sort of thing at night, men of each company or regiment should in each watch be posted on the flanks and in the centre, so that if anyone is seen waking in a fright or otherwise beginning to make a disturbance, one of them will be immediately at hand to check and restrain him. 13. One man from each mess in the rest of the army should also be on guard to look out for groundless alarms and check panics in his own section. 14. You yourself should alarm the enemy’s forces at night by giving your heifers or other beasts wine to drink, and then driving them into the enemy’s camp with bells round their necks. Reveille 15. When day dawns, the guards should not be dismissed from their posts until the ground outside has been thoroughly explored, and it is known to be clear of hostile troops: the guards may then be dismissed, not all at once, but by detachments, to ensure there being always a certain number of men on duty. 28. On Gate Keeping 1. The following precautions, too, should be taken in a city which is afraid of attack.
All gates should be kept shut except one, which should be in the part of the city most difficult to access, and so situated that anyone approaching it will be visible a long way off. 2. Even here only the wicket gate should remain open, so that men have to pass in or out one by one: in this way anyone seeking to desert or a spy seeking to gain entrance will have little chance of escaping detection – that is if the sentry at the gate has his wits about him. 3. To open the whole gate for beasts of burden, carts, and merchandise is dangerous. If it is necessary to bring in without delay corn, oil, wine or similar articles in carts or with a number
of carriers, they must be taken in at the nearest gate : this will be the quickest and easiest way. 4. As a rule, gates should not be opened incautiously early in the day, but only later on, and no-one should be allowed to leave the city until the immediate neighbourhood has been thoroughly explored. Again, boats must not come to anchor in front of the gates, but lie further off, since even in the daytime the opening of both gates has been the occasion for many successful attempts, aided by stratagems or pretexts which I will now illustrate; for many similar ruses have been employed for this same object. 5. Python of Clazomenae, who had accomplices in the city, waited carefully for the quietest time of day, at which he had arranged for carts to bring in a load of wine-casks [pithoi], and then seized Clazomenae while the carts were standing in the gateway this enabled a force of mercenaries, waiting in concealment close at hand, to make their way in and capture the city, some pf the citizens not knowing what was going on, and some being too late to prevent it, while others were accomplices in the plot. 6. Again, Iphiades of Abydos was trying to take Parion on the Hellespont. Besides making secret preparations for scaling the wall by night, he filed carts with faggots and brambles, and sent them up to the wall after the gates had been shut, as if they belonged to the town. They actually came right up to the gates and bivouacked there, pretending to be afraid of the enemy. 7. The arrangement was there, pretending that the carts were to be set alight at a certain time so that the gates might catch fire; then, while the citizens were all intent on putting out the fire, Iphiades himself was to enter at another point. I have thought it best to collect these precepts to show the several precautions which should be taken at the various times, that no-one may be too ready to accept anything without due examination. 29. The Smuggling of Arms 1. I will now deal with the bringing into the city of vessels and freights in which articles are hidden out of sight; for cities and their citadels have been captured by this means before now. 2. In this matter the closest and most careful supervision must be exercised, especially by the sentinel at the gates, at times when attacks are feared either from without or within; and he must pay special attention to goods coming in. 3. I will give as an example a trick once put into practice, which, with the assistance of traitors, resulted in the capture of a city during public festival. 4. The first step was to bring in arms for the use of foreigners already resident and of those citizens in the plot who did not already possess them: so linen cuirasses, jerkins, helmets, shields, greaves, daggers, bows and arrows were packed up in transport cases apparently containing garments and other merchandise, 5. which the custom-officials opened, inspected and sealed up as containing nothing but garments, until the valuation was forthcoming from the importers. 6. The cases were then stored in the proper place near the market, while small spears and javelins were brought in wrapped in wicker-work, crates, and half-woven sails, and quietly placed in convenient positions; bucklers and small shields were hidden among the contents of vessels full of chaff and wool, other less bulky articles in baskets full of raisins and figs, daggers in jars of wheat, dried figs and olives; 7. more daggers, without sheaths, were smuggled in inside ripe pumpkins, pushed in at the bottom into the seed of the pumpkins. The ringleader of the plot was carried into the city in a load of firewood. 8. At night the conspirators mustered for the attack, each waiting for the appointed time, when the rest of the inhabitants were about the streets full of wine, as usually happens
on a feast day. First the load was untied, and their captain sprang out ready; then some unwound the wicker-work to get hold of the spears and javelins, others emptied the jars of chaff and wool, others cut open the baskets, others opened the cases and took out the arms, while others smashed up the jars, as to get hold of the daggers quickly. 9. All these preparations went forward at once and at no great distance from each other on a signal given in the city, as if for a battle array. 10. Then, when each man had found his proper arms, some rushed off to seize the towers and gates, where more of their number were let in; others made for the town hall and houses opposite, while the rest occupied various points of vantage. 11. On similar occasions men in want of shields, and unable to provide them in any other way or to convey arms into the city, had recourse to importing osiers and with them workers in osier, who plaited other articles in the daytime, 12. but at nights worked wicker armour, consisting of helmets and shields, to the rims of which they fixed leather and wood. Moreover, you should keep a sharp look-out on boats, both large and small, which take up moorings nearby, either by day or at night: the harbour officials and dockyard superintendents should go on board and inspect the cargoes in person, bearing in mind that the Sikyonians for instance suffered a great disaster from neglect of these precautions. 30. Of the Importation of Arms 1. Precautions must be taken, too, in regard to arms imported for sale or displayed in the market place, or in the shops and stores: these, if collected, might make a large pile, and so they must be placed beyond the reach of intending traitors. 2. It would be very foolish to make everyone who enters the city give up his arms, while you let quantities of them, boxes full of shields and chests full of daggers, lie ready to hand in the market or in lodging houses. Imported arms, therefore, which have been collected should not be exposed in the market place or left for the night wherever they happen to be placed: with the exception of a sample, official permission should be required before a consignment is displayed. 31. Of Secret Messages 1. As regards secret messages, there are all sorts of ways of sending them: a private arrangement should be made beforehand between the sender and the recipient. I will give some of the most successful methods. 2. A message was once sent in the following manner. A book or some other document, of any size and age, was packed in a bundle or other baggage. In this book the message was written by the process of marking certain letters of the first line, or the second, or the third, with tiny dots, practically invisible to all but the man to whom it was sent: then, when the book reached its destination, the recipient transcribed the dotted letters, and placing together in order those in the first line, and so on with the second line and the rest, was able to read the message. 3. Another, similar way of sending just a short message is this. Write an ordinary letter at some length on any subject, and employ the same device of marking letters, indicating by these whatever you wish, The marking should be made as inconspicuous as possible, either by placing dots at long intervals, or by strokes of unusual length: in this way the message will be intelligible to the recipient, without arousing the suspicions of anybody else. 4. Again, a man may be sent with a message or even a letter on some other subject, not anything private, while a letter is secretly inserted between the sole and the lining
of the messenger’s shoes before he starts, and sewn up. In case the road is wet and muddy, the message should be written on a thin sheet of tin to prevent the letters from being obliterated by the water. 4a. When the messenger has reached his destination and is asleep at night, the person for whom the letter is intended must undo the stitches in his shoes, take out the letter, read it, write a reply unobserved while the man is still asleep, sew it up in the sole, and send him off, after giving him the answer to be delivered openly. 5. In this way, neither the messenger nor anyone else will know the secret: only take care to make the stitches in his shoes as inconspicuous as possible. 6. Again, a message was brought to Ephesus in the following way. A man was sent with a letter written on leaves, the leaves being bound on a wound in his leg. 7. Again, writing may be conveyed in women’s ears, wrapped in thin pieces of lead worn instead of earrings. 8. Again, a letter containing an offer of betrayal was once conveyed by a traitor into the enemy’s camp near at hand in the following manner. One of a troop setting out from the city for a foray had a note sewn up under the skirt of his cuirass, with orders, if the enemy came into view, to fall from his horse as if he had been thrown, and allow himself to be made a prisoner; on arrival in the enemy’s camp he was duly to deliver the note. In this case he was assisted by a brother trooper. 9. Another man sent out a trooper with a note sewn up in his bridle rein. Here is another story about a letter. During a siege the bearer of some letters arrived within the city, but, instead of delivering them to the traitor and those for whom they were intended, went and laid information before the governor, and offered the letters to him. 9a. On hearing his story, the governor bade him deliver the letters he already had to those for whom they were intended, but to bring the traitor’s reply to him, if there was any truth to his story. His informant did so; whereupon the governor, after receiving the replies, summoned the traitors and confronted them with the seals of their own signets, which they were forced to acknowledge, and then opened the letters and discovered the plot. 9b. He certainly convicted them very cleverly by not taking the original letters from the bearer: for the traitors might have denied complicity and asserted that it was a plot against them; but by getting hold of the replies he convicted them all beyond dispute. 10. Another way of conveying letters is to get a bladder to fit an oil-flask, the bladder being of whatever size you please, according to the length of the letter you wish to send: inflate this, tie it up and dry it thoroughly, then write your message on it in ink mixed with glue. 11. When the writing has dried, let the air out of the bladder, squeeze it and push it into the flask; but let its mouth project beyond the lid of the flask. 12. Then blow up the bladder to its fullest extent inside the flask, fill it with oil, cut of its projecting end and fit it to the mouth of the flask so that no-one will notice it; put a put a bung in the flask, and carry it about openly. The oil will now be plainly seen in the flask, and there will not appear to be anything else in it. 13. When the flask reaches the man for whom it was intended, he will empty out the oil, blow up the bladder and read the message; and after sponging off the writing he may write his reply on the same bladder and send it back. 14. Again, a man has before now poured wax on a writing tablet, after writing on the wooden part, and has written another letter on the wax: when it has come to its
destination, the recipient has scratched off the wax, read the letter, written the reply in the same way, and sent it off. Another device recorded is to write on a boxwood tablet with the very best ink, let it dry, then whiten it over to conceal the writing. When the tablet reaches the man to whom it was sent, he must take it and put it in water: and in the water every word will come out clearly.
15. Again, you may write any message you wish on a votive tablet: then whiten it thoroughly, dry it, and draw on it a picture, say, of a horseman with a torch, or anything else you like; his dress and horse should be white, or, if not white, any colour but black. Then give it to someone to set it up in some temple near the city, as if you were paying a vow. 16. The man who is to read the message must come into the temple, identify the tablet by some prearranged mark, carry it home, and dip it in oil: then all the writing will become visible. The hardest method of all to detect, but the most troublesome, that without writing, I will now explain. It is as follows. 17. Take a good sized die [an astragalos or knuckle bone] and bore in it twenty-four holes, six on each side. These holes are to represent the twentyfour letters of the alphabet; 18. and be careful, too, to remember, counting from one side, whichever it is, on which the A comes first, the letters which follow on each side in turn. Afterwards, when you wish to place a message on this contrivance, pass a thread through. Suppose, for instance, that you wish to signify AINEIAS by the way in which the thread is passed through. Begin from the side of the die where the A is, and pass over the succeeding letters till you come to I; when you reach the side where the I is, pull the thread through again; then leave out the next letters, and do the same where N happens to be; then again leave out the next letters and pull the thread through at E; and in the same way copy the rest of the message on the die by passing the thread through the holes, as in the case of the letters AINE, which we have just placed on the die. 19. In this way, there will be a ball of thread wound round the die when it is dispatched, and the recipient must read the message by writing on a tablet the letters signified by the different holes, the thread being unwound from the holes in the reverse order to that in which was wound on. It does not make any difference that the letters are written on the tablet in the reverse order: they will be intelligible just the same. But the task of reading the message is really harder than the composition of it. 20 A handier method would be to get a piece of wood seven or eight inches long, and bore as many holes in it as there are letters in the alphabet; then pass the thread through the holes in the same way as before. When it happens that the thread has to go through the same hole twice, that is when the same letter occurs twice in succession, twist the thread once around the wood before passing it through the hole again. 21. Another plan would be this: instead of the die or the piece of wood, make a wooden disk and polish it; next bore twenty-four holes in a line round the circumference for the letters of the alphabet, and to disarm suspicion, bore holes in the middle as well. After this the thread must be passed through the different letters in the line. 22. When you have to repeat a letter, pass the thread through one of the holes in the middle before returning to the same letter – by ‘letter’ I mean of course hole. 23. Again, a note has been written on very thin papyrus, in long lines of fine
characters, so as to make the packet as small as possible; it was then inserted into the shoulder of a tunic [chiton], and part of the tunic folded back on the shoulder. A good way of getting the letter through without suspicion would, I think, be for a man to put the tunic on and carry it in this way. 24. Here is the proof of the difficulty of thwarting plots for bringing things into a city. The men round Ilion, after all this time, and in spite of their efforts, are not yet able to prevent the Locrian maidens from coming into their city, for all their eager watching: a few men by studious precautions have managed to smuggle in women unobserved every year. 25. In earlier years the following trick was once played. Timoxenus wished to betray Potidaea to Artabazus: they therefore agreed upon a certain spot in the city chosen by Timoxenus, and one in the lines chosen by Artabazus, 26. into which they used to shoot arrows carrying any information which they wished to communicate to each other, ; the following was the device they used: they wound the note round the grooved end of an arrow, which they then feathered and shot into the places agreed upon. 27. But Timoxenus’ treachery was discovered: for Artabazus shot in the usual direction, but owing to the wind and the bad feathering of the arrow missed his mark, and hit a Potidaean in the shoulder. As often happens in war, a crowd ran up to the wounded man: and they at once seized the arrow and took it to the generals, so that the plot was discovered. 28. Again, when Histiaeus wished to communicate with Aristagoras, and could find no other safe means of sending a message, as the roads were guarded and it was very difficult for a letter to get through without detection, he took his most trusty slave and shaved his head, then tattooed the message on it, and waited till the hair grew again. As soon as it had grown, he sent him to Miletus, with no other orders than to tell Aristagoras, when he reached Miletus, to shave his head and examine it. The marks told Aristagoras what to do. 30 Again, you may use the following cipher. Arrange beforehand to represent the vowels by dots, a different number of dots according to the order in which each vowels stands in the alphabet. For example: DEAR DIONYSIOS D: . R D:. ::N:::S:. :: S Or again: HERACLEIDAS WANTED H : R . CL : :. D . S W . NT : D
And the messages in some place known by the recipient, to whom arrival of the man in the city to buy or sell something should be a signal that a letter has come for him, and has been deposited in the place agreed upon. In this way the messenger does not know for whom the letter was brought, nor will it be known that the recipient has it. 32. Dogs were often used in Epirus in the following way. They led them away from
their homes on leashes, and fasted round their necks a strap in which a letter was sewn up. Then, either by night or by day, they let them go and find their way home, which they were sure to do. This method is used in Thessaly. 33. All letters that arrive should be opened at once. A letter was sent to Astyanax, tyrant of Lampsacus, containing information of the plot which proved fatal to him: since, however, he did not open it at once and read the contents, but took no notice and attended to other business first, he was murdered with the letter unopened in his fingers. 34. The same delay caused the capture of the citadel in Thebes, and something like it happened in Mytilene in Lesbos. 35. When Glous the Persian admiral went up to see the king, and found it impossible to carry his memoranda into the presence chamber (the matters of which he had to speak being numerous and important), he noted down in the spaces of his fingers the subjects he had to discuss. The sentry at the gates must keep a sharp lookout for such things as I have described, to see that nothing, whether arms or letters, enters the city unobserved. 32. Contrivances for Repelling Assaults 1. I will now mention some methods of repelling an enemy’s assaults, whether made by machines or by storming parties. First, sails offer protection against missiles coming over the wall from towers or masts or the like. Cover them with something tear-proof, use capstans to stretch them taut, and once they are in position, the projectiles will have to overshoot them. At the same time make a big fire which will emit thick fumes. 2. Wooden towers should be raised in defence, or other tall structures made either of baskets filled with sand or of stones or of bricks; missiles may be kept off by wicker-work made of reeds woven crosswise. 3. Defences should also be prepared against battering rams and similar engines directed against the battlements: hang in front of them sacks filled with chaff, bags of wool, or fresh ox hides, inflated or stuffed, and similar articles. 4. When the ram is making a breach in a gate or any part of the wall, you must catch its projecting end in a noose, and so prevent the engine from delivering its blow. 5. And have ready a rock large enough to fill a cart, to drop on it and smash its nose to pieces. This stone should be dropped from the projecting beams, where it can be held in position by grappling hooks. 6. Make sure that the stone shall not miss the nose of the ram as it falls by letting down a plumb line first, and when this drops on the nose, immediately let the stone go after it. 7. It is best, too, to prepare as follows against engines attempting to breach the wall. When you know where the ram is to be applied, get ready at this point a counter-ram on the inside, digging through a part of the wall, but only as far as the brickwork on the further side, so as to keep the enemy still in ignorance of your proceedings. Then, when the enemy’s engine is close up, deliver a blow from the inside with your counter-ram. The counter-ram should be much the stronger of the two. 8. When you have to deal with big machines which bring up a number of men to discharge missiles from catapults, slings and so on, and burning arrows to set fire to thatched roofs – contrivances of this sort must be met, first, by setting the inhabitants of the city to dig secretly beneath the spots where the assaults will be made, so that the wheels of the machine will fall through and sink into the excavations; next raise a breastwork against them as best you can with baskets full of sand and with stones, which will raise above the level of the machine and render the enemy’s missiles ineffective. 9. Hang out as well strong curtains or sails as a shelter against the missiles, to catch them as they come over the wall; they can then be easily collected, and none will reach the ground. 10. Do the same, too, at any other
point where the missiles may fly over the wall and disable or wound workmen and passers-by. 11. At whatever point he enemy bring up a shelter to enable them to dig through or knock down part of the wall, you must be ready to resist their attack. 12. Where they are digging through, light a great fire, and where they are knocking down the wall, dig a trench inside to prevent their getting in. 33. Methods of setting on fire 1. On shelters brought up by the enemy you should pour pitch and drop tow and sulphur: then fasten to a rope some burning brushwood and let it down onto the shelter. Materials of this kind may be slung out from the wall and dropped on the engines which are being brought up. 2. The best way to set fire to them is to get pieces of wood shaped like pestles, but much larger, and hammer sharp iron spikes into the ends of the wood; and round the other parts of it, both on the top and underneath, fasten separate pieces of highly inflammable stuff, till it looks like a thunderbolt as represented in pictures. This instrument should be dropped on the engine which is being brought up: it is made in such a way that it will fix itself in the engine, and so that the burning stuff will not fall off when it is fixed. 3. If there are any wooden towers in the city, or if any part of the wall is made of wood, they must have coverings of felt and hide on the side facing the enemy, to prevent their being set on fire. 4. If the gates catch fire, you should bring logs and pile them up to make the fire as big as possible, until you can dig a trench inside and build a retired wall with such materials as are immediately at hand: if there are none forthcoming, you must get them by pulling down the nearest houses. 34. Materials for Quenching Fire 1. If the enemy attempt to set anything on fire with highly inflammable materials, you should use vinegar to put the fire out: this will make it hard to set alight again. Better still, smear it beforehand with birdlime: for this is fireproof. 2. Men engaged in putting out fires below them should wear a shield over their faces, so as to be less inconvenienced by the leaping flames. 35. Inflammable Materials 1. You yourself may make a fierce fire, which is impossible to put out, with the following materials: pitch, sulphur, tow, pounded gum of frankincense, and pine sawdust. Put these into a vessel, set a light to them, and apply them to any articles belonging to the enemy which you wish to catch fire. 36. Hindrances to the Placing of Ladders 1. The planning of scaling ladders against the wall should be resisted. If the ladder, when in position, projects over the top of the wall, you must wait until the man coming up reaches the top, and then push him or the ladder away with a pitchfork, supposing a discharge of missiles from below prevents you from stopping him in any other way. If the ladder is just level with the top of the wall, you will not be able to push it away: in that case you must push off the men who come over the top. 2. If this does not seem practicable, have a frame like a door made out of planks, and when the ladder is being placed against the wall, slip the frame out under its upper end before it touches the wall: when the ladder leans against the frame, the frame runs back of its own accord upon a roller placed ready under it, and the ladder falls down, so that it will be impossible to place it into position. 37. The Discovery and Prevention of Mines
1. The digging of mines should be prevented by the following measures. If you think you are being undermined, the trench outside must be dug to a great depth, so that the enemy’s mine will open into the trench and their men will be seen plainly at work. 2. Where you have enough material, you should also build a wall in the trench, using the strongest and largest stones you can get. If you have no stones to build a wall, bring all pieces of wood you can find, 3. and if the mine runs up against the trench at any point, there pile up logs and the odd pieces of wood, and set light to them, covering up all other faces of the pile, so that the smoke passes into the enemy’s workings, and stifles the men at work there; it is even possible that many of them will die in suffocation. 4. Once the workmen in a mine were tormented by swarms of wasps and bees let loose into it. 5. If, however, you know at what spot they are digging, you should dig countermines and engage them underground, barring their progress and burning them out. 6. There is an old story in this connexion, Amasis, while besieging Barca, started to dig mines. The citizens, on realizing his intention, were greatly dismayed, fearing that he would defeat their vigilance, until a smith thought out a plan, which was to go round inside the walls with a bronze part of a shield and apply it to the ground. 7. There was no sound where the shield was applied, except at the point where the mines were being dug. There the mining caused it to ring. Here then the men of Barca dug countermines and killed many of the enemy’s miners. So this method is still employed at night in discovering the whereabouts of mines. 8. I have now described the best method of defence against the enemy’s stratagems. When you are starting mining operations yourself, the following will prove the most effective screen. 9. Take two carts, and tilt them up together from behind like opening doors, until their poles are high in the air and converge towards the same point; and tie the poles together. Next on this framework bind other poles and wickerwork, or anything else to serve as a screen above, and daub the whole with clay. The wheels will enable you to bring this contrivance wherever you want it, and to take it away afterwards, and under this shelter the miners can work. 38. Reserves 1. At times when assaults are being made on the wall either by machines or by actual storming parties, the fighting force of the city should be divided into three parts, so that there may always be one part in action, another off duty, and the third preparing for action: thus the troops will always be fresh. 2. A larger detachment of picked troops should go all round the walls with the general, relieving any part of the fighting force which is hard pressed. For the enemy are more afraid of a foe whose attack they know to be imminent than of one with whom they are actually engaged. 3. For the time being all dogs should be chained up: for at the unfamiliar sight of armed men hurrying up and down the city and making a noise, they might run at them and make themselves a nuisance. 4. During the fight you should encourage the men on the wall with tact and discrimination: give a word of praise to those who deserve it; make a special appeal to those who need it. Do not lose your temper with any of the rank and file: it will only dishearten them; if a reproof for negligence and insubordination is necessary, 5. single out the most wealthy and influential citizens; then it will serve as a warning to the others as well. The occasions on which these various offences should be passed over are mentioned in my manual on Addressing Troops.
6. Do not allow stones to be thrown indiscriminately, and take measures, too, to recover at night those which have been thrown during the day. 7. Men should be lowered over the wall in baskets to pick them up; and you should hang out boar-nets or stag-nets or rope ladders to enable the men engaged on this duty to climb up again. 8. There should be a ladder for each man, so that if any of them get into difficulties there will be no time lost in climbing up. The gates should not on any account be opened by night: use ladders of this kind, or anything you please. 39. Ruses 1. Another device to which you should resort during a siege is this. Dig a trench in the gateway and for some way into the city, leaving a passage on each side. Then let some of your force make a sally, and skirmish so as to entice some of your opponents to pursue them into the city. 2. The citizens, as they flee into the city, should run in along the passages left on each side, but their pursuers, knowing nothing of the trench, which should be concealed, will probably fall into it and be killed inside the city; a force should be drawn up for the occasion in the streets and in the spaces near the gates where the trenches are. 3. If more of the enemy are running in after these and you wish to stop them, you must have ready a door of stout timber to let down from the beam above the gate and have it plated with iron. 4. When you wish to check the enemy as they rush in, let this door fall straight down: it will kill some of them as it falls, and prevent the rest from getting in. Meanwhile some of the men on the wall must shoot down the enemy near the gates. 5. But you must always have a prearranged rendezvous for your own men, where they are assemble if ever the enemy follow them into the city, so that they may be distinguished by their position: for it is no easy task to know friend from foe when they rush in pell-mell in the confusion of the fight. 6. Once when an enemy became too venturesome and advanced too close to the wall, lassos were prepared for day and night (by day they were concealed and by night used openly: the object was to entice the enemy up to the city by skirmishing and haul up those who were caught in the lassos. 7. The noose itself should be made of the strongest rope obtainable; the line that pulls up the man should be a chain for the first three feet from the noose, so that it cannot be cut through; the hauling end should be of rush rope. The whole apparatus is let down and hauled up from inside the walls, by ropes or swing-beams. If the enemy try to cut the rope, the defenders reply by letting it down with a run by means of the swing-beams, to prevent them from doing so: the use of the chains [for the whole length] to prevent such an occurrence is undesirable, for they are troublesome things and awkward to handle, and also not worth the expense. 40. Garrisoning a City 1. If the city is a large one and the inhabitants too few to guard the whole circuit of the walls, but you nevertheless wish to guard it securely with the men you have, use any available material to build up high such parts of the wall as are easy of access from outside. Then, if any of the enemy make their way up either by stealth or by force, they will find themselves in an unfamiliar position, and will not be able to jump down from such a height, but will have to go back because they cannot find a way down. Such men as are available should be posted here and there along the parts that have been built up, to dispatch any who dare to make the jump. 2. Dionysius once wished to occupy a city which he had conquered: some of its inhabitants were dead and some were in exile, and it was too large to be defended by a small garrison. 3. He therefore left behind him a few men whom he could spare to look after the city, and married some of the slaves of the most prominent citizens to the daughters, wives and
sisters of their masters: this, he thought, would make them most bitterly hostile to their masters and increase their loyalty to himself. 4. Again, the men of Sinope, when at war with Datamas, were in a critical position and in want of men. They therefore disguised and armed the fittest of their women, so as to make them look as much as men as they could, gave them jars and similar brass utensils to represent armour and helmets, and marched them round the walls in full view of the enemy. 5. They were not allowed to throw anything: for you can tell a woman a long way off by the way she throws. And they took care to prevent the betrayal of the stratagem by deserters. 6. If you wish rounds on the wall to appear stronger than they really are, they should march round two abreast, the front rank carrying their spears on their left shoulders, the second rank on their right shoulders: in this way they will look as if they were four abreast. 7. If the patrol is a file of three men, the first man should have his spear on his right shoulder, the second on his left shoulder: in this way they will look as if they were two abreast. 8. As to the provision of food when there is no corn, shortage of supplies during a siege, and the way to render water fit for drinking, these matters have been discussions in my Preparations for Defence. And since they have been dealt with, I shall proceed to naval arrangements. A fleet may be equipped in two ways. … (This is where the text breaks off – it seems that the last sentence is the start of a treatise on a naval theme).
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