as low as the lochagi (commanders of λόχοι, companies) that the Ecclesia allowed them to select. From the Constitution (lxi. 3), however, it appears that in the 4th century, at any rate, the lochagi were appointed by the taxiarchs, not the strategi. By a gradual process in the course of the 5th century, the regimental command was transferred to the taxiarchs, the strategi thus becoming general officers in command, while they at the same time acquired important political functions (see below). On the other hand the strategi commanded by both land and sea, and thus held the power divided at Sparta between the kings and the nauarchus (admiral).
In the course of the 5th century the powers of the strategia were increased by important political functions, especially in foreign affairs; hence the office, unlike that of the archon (q.v.), remained on in its original elective character and was held by the most important men (e.g. Pericles, Nicias, Alcibiades). Owing to the fact that the Boulē was the chief administrative body, it was necessary to bring the strategi into close connexion with it; it was, therefore, provided that they, though not members, should be allowed to attend its meetings and to bring motions before it. As the Boulē of one year rarely contained members of the previous Boulē, the strategi acquired great power from the fact that they were frequently re-elected for many years together, and so had greater experience and continuity of policy. Secondly, in the Ecclesia, the strategus had the advantage over the ordinary citizen that his business took precedence (the meetings always discussed first the question of national defence) and that he could in cases of emergency convene a special meeting (cf. Thuc. ii. 59 and iv. 118).
Many historians in dealing with the strategia have been misled by modern analogies. The strategia was, for example, by no means analogous to the British cabinet, which (1) has collective responsibility and (2) is executive in the sense that its members are heads of state departments. The strategi had no such characteristics; their influence over the Ecclesia in voting was merely that of a private citizen; there was no collective responsibility, no unanimous policy. Nor was the strategia a foreign office, though it clearly performed a ministerial act in attaching its signature to treaties. In general it had no powers of originating negotiation, but merely carried out the psephism of the Ecclesia. It was their relation to the empire which gave the strategi their authority. It was they who took the oath on behalf of Athens when an alliance was concluded, and their advice would have special weight in settling the terms of the treaty and the amount of tribute to be paid. They were not, indeed, compelled to submit a budget, nor did an adverse vote by the Ecclesia involve their resignation. On the authority of Plutarch it has been asserted that there was always a president of the strategic college, and this may well have been the case during the Persian Wars (Themistocles, 480; Aristides, 478). The three alleged occasions in the later years of the 5th century when a single strategus was in absolute authority (see above) were all critical occasions and in no way represent the normal condition of affairs. It is abundantly clear that Pericles owed his long ascendancy to his personal force, not to the constitutional authority of his office. Though at first the strategi acted as a single body, in the 4th century and later special duties were assigned to particular members of the board. Thus we hear of strategi ἐπὶ τοὺς ὁπλίτας, ἐπὶ τὴν χώραν, ἐπὶ τὴν ἀκτήν, ἐπὶ τὰς συμμορίας, and inscriptions of the 3rd century refer to others. Under the Roman domination the strategus ἐπὶ τὰ ὅπλα was the chief state officer. The law of the emperor Hadrian regarding the export of oil to Athens speaks of him as managing the corn supply and presiding over the education of the Ephebi. In general, their duty was still mainly the foreign policy, offensive and defensive, of Athens; they nominated trierarchs, and, if any nominee refused to serve, brought him before the Heliaea to defend his case. They had powers of life and death over the army in the field—even a trierarch might be put in irons by a strategus. They presided over certain religious festivals and processions, and appear to have been responsible for the protection of the corn supply.
Authorities:—A. H. J. Greenidge, Handbook of Greek Constitutional History (London, 1896), especially on the question of the presidency, p. 253; Gilbert, Greek Constitutional antiquities (Eng. trans., 1895); Hauvette-Besnault, Les Stratèges athéniens (Paris, 1885); Beloch, D. att. Politik seit Perikles, pp. 276, 277; Paulus, Progr. v. Maulbronn (1883, 34 seq.); Aristotle's Constitution of Athens passim, but especially iv., xxii., lxi.; the general histories of Greece—Busolt, Meyer, Bury, Grote (ed. 1907).
- (J. M. M.)
STRATEGY, a term literally meaning “the art of the leader or general” (Gr. στρατηγός). In the strict sense the word “strategy” was originally introduced into European military literature about the opening of the 18th century, when the practice of warfare had settled down into an established routine, and the need of some term arose which should express that peculiar quality of a general's mind which rendered victory the almost certain consequence of his appearance in the field. As at that period only some small departure from established precedent—a trick or stratagem—could turn the scale between armies of about equal power, the idea of a ruse became connected with the word, and the essential quality in the general's personality which alone rendered ruses practicable, or guaranteed success in their execution, passed out of men's minds, until the gradual disappearance of these methods in the Napoleonic period focused attention again on its essential meaning, i.e. the art of the leader. Then the term “strategy” became limited as a technical term to the “practice of the art of war by an executive agent of a supreme government,” or in Moltke's words, “the practical adaptation of the means placed at a general's disposal to the attainment of the object in view.” This definition fixes the responsibility of a commander-in-chief to the government he serves. He cannot be held answerable for the “means,” not even for the training of the “means” for a particular operation, unless he be appointed to his task in adequate time. He is charged with their employment within the limits of the theatre of operations assigned to him. If he considers the means placed at his disposal inadequate he need not accept the position offered him, but he steps beyond his province as a strategist if he attempts to dictate to the government what, in the widest sense, the means supplied to him should be.
Since, however, the “means,” i.e. the conditions of the problems presented by war, are subject to infinite variation (climate, topography, equipment, arms and men, all being liable to collective or independent change) it is clear that their employment can never be reduced to a “science” but must retain to the full the characteristics of an “art.” This distinction is essential, and must be borne in mind, for no soldier can expect to become a Napoleon merely by the study of that great strategist's campaigns. But if he lack practice and experience, and above all genius, the man who neglects such teachings as the contemplation of the works of his predecessors can supply does so at his own peril; and when, as in the case of the soldier, the whole destiny of an empire may depend on his action, he must be bold indeed who would neglect all possible precautions. The cases for study, however, rest on yet broader foundations, for, though theory deduced from history can never, from the nature of things, formulate positive prescriptions, it can at any rate enable the student to throw off the chains of convention and prepare his mind to balance the conflicting claims of the many factors which at every moment clamour for special recognition.
To understand the subject thoroughly it is necessary to follow in some detail the successive stages of human evolution. From the earliest times the defeat of the fighting men of a race has been the most certain road to the acquisition of its wealth, or the trade conditions on which that wealth was based.
To defeat an enemy it was first necessary to march to meet him, and during that march the invaders must either live on the country or carry their own food. If the defender drove off the cattle and burnt the crops, the latter alternative was forced upon them. Thus, since the supplies which could be carried were of necessity small, the defenders had only to create or utilize some passive obstacle for defence which the invaders could not traverse or destroy in the limit of time (fixed by the provisions they carried) at their disposal, to compel the latter to retire to their own country. Every sedentary nation, therefore, had a fixed striking radius which could only be extended by the exercise of ingenuity in the improvement of means of transport, i.e. carts and roads. The existence of roads, however, limited the march of an invader to certain directions, and hence it became possible for the defender to concentrate his efforts for their
- All works written prior to 1891 must be read in the light of the Constitution of Athens.