Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics

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METHODS TO PREVENT MUTINY IN AN ARMY.

An army drawn together from different parts sometimes is disposed to mutiny. And the troops, though not inclined to fight, pretend to be angry at not being led against the enemy. Such seditious dispositions principally show themselves in those who have lived in their quarters in idleness and effeminacy. These men, unaccustomed to the necessary fatigue of the field, are disgusted at its severity. Their ignorance of discipline makes them afraid of action and inspires them with insolence.

There are several remedies for this evil. While the troops are yet separated and each corps continues in its respective quarters, let the tribunes, their lieutenants and the officers in general, make it their business to keep up 131 so strict a discipline as to leave them no room to harbor any thoughts but of submission and obedience. Let them be constantly employed either in field days or in the inspection of their arms. They should not be allowed to be absent on furlough. They should be frequently called by roll and trained to be exact in the observance of every signal. Let them be exercised in the use of the bow, in throwing missile weapons and stones, both with the hand and sling, and with the wooden sword at the post; let all this be continually repeated and let them be often kept under arms till they are tired. Let them be exercised in running and leaping to facilitate the passing of ditches. And if their quarters are near the sea or a river, let them all, without exception, be obliged in the summer to have the frequent practice of swimming. Let them be accustomed to march through thickets, inclosures and broken grounds, to fell trees and cut out timber, to break ground and to defend a post against their comrades who are to endeavor to dispossess them; and in the encounter each party should use their shields to dislodge and bear down their antagonists. All the different kinds of troops thus trained and exercised in their quarters will find themselves inspired with emulation for glory and eagerness for action when they come to take the field. In short, a soldier who has proper confidence in his own skill and strength, entertains no thought of mutiny.

A general should be attentive to discover the turbulent and seditious soldiers in the army, legions or auxiliaries, cavalry or infantry. He should endeavor to procure his intelligence not from informers, but from the tribunes, 132 their lieutenants and other officers of undoubted veracity. It would then be prudent in him to separate them from the rest under pretence of some service agreeable to them, or detach them to garrison cities or castles, but with such address that though he wants to get rid of them, they may think themselves employed by preference and favor. A multitude never broke out into open sedition at once and with unanimous consent. They are prepared and excited by some few mutineers, who hope to secure impunity for their crimes by the number of their associates. But if the height of the mutiny requires violent remedies, it will be most advisable, after the manner of the ancients, to punish the ring-leaders only in order that, though few suffer, all may be terrified by the example. But it is much more to the credit of a general to form his troops to submission and obedience by habit and discipline than to be obliged to force them to their duty by the terror of punishment.

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Chicago: "The Military Institutions of the Romans, Book 3: Methods to Prevent Mutiny in an Army," Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics in Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics, ed. Thomas R. Phillips (Harrisburg, PA: The Military Service Publishing Company, 1940), Original Sources, accessed October 4, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L7PQUPDYVM3ZQ6D.

MLA: . "The Military Institutions of the Romans, Book 3: Methods to Prevent Mutiny in an Army." Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics, in Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics, edited by Thomas R. Phillips, Harrisburg, PA, The Military Service Publishing Company, 1940, Original Sources. 4 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L7PQUPDYVM3ZQ6D.

Harvard: , 'The Military Institutions of the Romans, Book 3: Methods to Prevent Mutiny in an Army' in Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics. cited in 1940, Roots of Strategy: A Collection of Military Classics, ed. , The Military Service Publishing Company, Harrisburg, PA. Original Sources, retrieved 4 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L7PQUPDYVM3ZQ6D.