Tactical interactions: dialogues between Greece and Rome in the military manuals of Aelian and Arrian

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Abstract

This chapter looks at two interconnected texts which were published within two or three decades of each other: Aelianus Tacticus’ Tactical Theory (addressed to Trajan) and Arrian’s Tactics, published two or three decades later under Hadrian. Both texts appear to draw on the same source material, and it is reasonable to suppose that Arrian was aware of Aelian’s earlier treatise, although there is no direct interaction between them. Their different approaches to the same material offer an opportunity to explore different models of literary and cross-cultural interaction, and also to examine our go-to metaphors and interpretative models for analysing them. While Aelian establishes a series of polemical comparisons between age-old Greek military theory and currently effective Roman military practice, Arrian hints at overlaps between Greek and Roman traditions, both by incorporating a section on Roman cavalry manoeuvres and by interacting with a speech delivered by Hadrian to the Roman army at Lambaesis in 128. Both approaches are equally tactical; and both are revealing of the complex dynamics of cross-cultural interaction, which took place on and off the page, and in literary and less literary forms of writing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLiterature and Culture in the Roman Empire, 96–235
Subtitle of host publicationCross-Cultural Interactions
EditorsAlice König, Rebecca Langlands, James Uden
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter6
Pages143-156
ISBN (Electronic)9781108637336
ISBN (Print)9781108493932
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
EventLiterary and Cultural Interactions in the Roman Empire: 96-235 (13-14th June, 2016; Exeter) - Exeter, United Kingdom
Duration: 13 Jun 201614 Jun 2016

Other

OtherLiterary and Cultural Interactions in the Roman Empire: 96-235 (13-14th June, 2016; Exeter)
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityExeter
Period13/06/1614/06/16

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