Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This project examines the pervasive influence of ancient Roman and Greek figures, historical events, literature, and military methods on the leaders and practitioners of eighteenth-century warfare. Rulers, generals, military theorists, and officers frequently consulted classical histories and literature for solutions to the common military problems of the period – tactical, operational, and strategic – showing remarkable faith in ancient military methods despite their growing dependence on gunpowder weaponry and related technologies. This dissertation examines why this was the case and concludes that classical antiquity not only maintained the credibility of its wisdom in the context of modern warfare, but also played a role in the establishment of several characteristic eighteenth-century military innovations like the column of attack, the oblique order, military self-study, and the citizen-soldier. This consultation of antiquity was international in nature, characteristic of greater cultural trends of the Age of Enlightenment, and directly influential on the results of battles, campaigns, and conflicts in Europe and North America. This study also breaks new ground in the historiography of the Military Enlightenment by examining the influence of classical antiquity on this period at a level of detail unseen in previous studies dedicated to the history and practices of the eighteenth-century militaries.



Committee Chair

Marchand, Suzanne