The theorike and practike of moderne vvarres discoursed in dialogue vvise. VVherein is declared the neglect of martiall discipline: the inconuenience thereof: the imperfections of manie training captaines: a redresse by due regard had: the fittest weapons for our moderne vvarre: the vse of the same: the parts of a perfect souldier in generall and in particular: the officers in degrees, with their seuerall duties: the imbattailing of men in formes now most in vse: with figures and tables to the same: with sundrie other martiall points. VVritten by Robert Barret. Comprehended in sixe bookes.
Barret, Robert, fl. 1600.

VVherein is discoursed of militarie valour: and the sundry parts therof: as mili∣tary prudence, with sundry stratagems of warre: with many other martiall points.


WEll now, sith you haue declared vnto vs the first point, and qua∣lity of a Generall (which is experience) I pray proceede to the rest.


The second I spake of, was to haue militarie valour and prudence.


How is this military valour to be vnderstood?


Military valour,* is to be vnderstood with vs, as true Magnanimitie with the Latinists: which is, besides his care in the actions of warre; he is to haue in∣dustrie to practise them, and readinesse to effect them, and constancy and true fortitude of mind in all perillous and daungerous successes,* as had Edward the third at the battel of Cressy, and his son, the braue Prince of Wales, at the battel of Poitiers; and as had our noble Henry the fift at Agincourt field: and as had of late, this present king of Fraunce and Nauarre, in his honourable battell, against his re∣bell, the Duke de Mayne, with all his braue assistants, vpon an Ashwednesday, be∣ing the fourth of March in Anno. 1590. By whose magnanimity and martiall valour (next vnder God) was the victory most honourably atchieued, euen at such time of extremity, as his troupes were disarayed and ready to flie; who most magnanimously, in the very pinch and point of that disaray, rushed boldly a∣mongst them, saying; C'est moy, mes enfants, Voyez, icy vostre Roy. It is I my childrē, loe here your King: whereby they were so comforted, and encouraged, that they regathered themselues, made a fresh head, and conquered in fine their con∣quering enemies.

This fortitude, moreouer doth wonderfully ayde and helpe to the ouerthrow∣ing and quenching of all disordinate appetites:* and to the end you may the better vnderstand me, I will declare the parts more particularly. To little purpose were it for a Captaine Generall to be experienced,* as before I haue sayd, if his experi∣ence and skill did not manifest the same with his valiant actions: and to put the same in execution, it is necessary that he be carefull, vigilant, and diligent in all the matters which hee is to attempt, and put in practise, and moreouer to haue a naturall instinct and humour befitting the same:* as particularly to know the qualities of the enemies Commander; whether he be ouer bold, rash, and inconsiderate, or timerous, sober, and reposed in his actions: and whether he bee Page  172 subtill,* politike, and diligent, or blunt, base minded, and sluggish: whether he be a man desirous to come to fact of armes, or a man of delay, auoyding the same: al∣so to know what counsellours, conductors, and officers he hath, and in fine of what determinations: whether his enemies Army bee of new reared people and Bisognios, or of practised, skilfull, and auncient bandes, and of what nation they be: what desseignes and intents they hold, and vnto what end they aspire: and also to consider and paralleill his owne forces with the strength and powers of the aduersary: helping himselfe in most of these matters, with good and trustie espi∣als, and those to be well rewarded and payed,* the which many times are as souer∣aigne Antidotes against the poysonous practises of the enemy: as the most brauest and skilfullest Commanders of the world haue vsed: as did Lewes the eleuenth, king of raunce,* against Phillip, Duke of Burgundy, and as did Charles the fift, a∣gainst the Protestants in Germany: and as now doth king Phillip of Spaine, too too much in all nations; and (no doubt) other Princes do practise the same: whereby many desseignes bee often discouered, and thereby preuented without fact of armes, onely with military prudence: the which may be effected and done with continuall diligence,* and ceaselesse care. For a braue mind and of high con∣ceit, ought neuer to bee tired in toyling after vertue, and to attaine with cost of trauell the glorious issues of his deepe desseignes: as did our famous King, Henry the eight, and others his predecessors, in their honourable attempts and atchiue∣ments in Fraunce: and as did Charles the fift in his actions in Germany and Italy: & as did Alexander, Iulius Caesar, Hanniball, and Scipio, with many others more in their honourable enterprises and conquests.

And for asmuch, as from such military care and diligence, there is to be expec∣ted good successe,* it is conuenient that the Captaine Generall bee very industri∣ous, to know howe to inuente newe occasions of warre, to entertaine the e∣nemy with long delay, if the case so require it; imitating Quintus Fabius Maximus, when he warred against Hanniball. And many times to corrupt with money; as did Lewes the second king of Fraunce often practise; and as did Monsier dela Tres∣moille, Monsieur de Leuy and Triuultio, Generals to Lewes the twelth King of Fraunce, when hee corrupted with money the Switzers which serued vnder the pay of Lodowik Sforza, Duke of Millan, vpon whom they layed hands, and vilely deliuered him to his enemies, the French: and as did the Prince of Parma, with the traytors, Yorke, and Stanley, and the betraying and deliuery of Sutphen vnto the Spaniards. And as principally doth King Phillip of Spain corrupt with his gol∣den Pistolets the most parts of Europe;* according to their grand Captaine, Gonsalo Fernandes, saying: that Princes, Generals, and great Commanders, ought by one meanes, or other seeke to ouercome, and gaine their purposes: bee it by right or by wrong, a Spanish principle.

Moreouer he may by cunning meanes, and fained letters, cause the enemies Captaines to be suspected,* and blemished; as did Burbon and Tryuultio, the King of Fraunce his Generals, being besieged, and very hardly distressed within Myllau, by the Emperour Maximilian, who sent of politike purpose, a seruant of Triuul∣tios (who spake the Switzer tong perfectly well) with fained letters vnto the Cap∣taines of that nation, then seruing in Maximilians Campe, thereby to cause them to be suspected and doubted,* the which faining messenger being taken by Page  173 the Sentinels and watches, cunningly (like Synon at Troy) humbly beseeched them his life and pardon, and that he would deliuer them certaine things which he had to deliuer vnto the Colonels and Captaines of the Switzers: the which be∣ing graunted him,* he drew out of his shoe the deuised letter, which he carried to cause a suspition to grow vpon these Captaines: the which being seene and read by the Emperour, holding for certaine their contents to be true, and mistrusting some treason,* as they had before vsed vnto Lodowik Sforza, raised presently his campe, and withdrew himselfe, with lesse constancy and credit, then to his honor and reputation was conuenient.

Also he ought to haue great industry and skill to know how to encampe his Army,* and to dislodge the enemy, cutting him from victuals and other commo∣dities; with blocking vp of all passages and straights about the besieged place, and to reknowledge and consider all the places of most strength and commoditie: wherefore it is needefull that he bee both learned and skilled in Geographie, as well of the countrey & prouince where he warreth, as of al other parts in generall; well informing himselfe of the situations and dispositions of the same,* of what temperature they be, of what firtilite they are, of what thinges they abound, and of what things they want, what maner of people do inhabite thē, & those of what cōditions & maner of life; what religiō they hold, with what lawes they be gouer∣ned, what Princes do rule them, and what power and valour they are of. All the which considerations, and many more stratagems are to be attained with lear∣ning, & often reading of histories; as by all braue Commanders which euer were yet, may well be vnderstood, and therefore let no man thinke, but that a souldier ought to be learned and read,* the which conioyned with experience, makes him a perfect man of warre: and without this learning and reading a souldier may haunt many yeares the warres, and neuer attaine to the deepe points of soldierie, the which by much reading and fewer yeares of experience, may be farre better perfected:* as was seene by Lucullus the Romaine commander, and many others of other nations.

And also to haue the more particular skill and knowledge herein,* it importeth much to haue drawne plats, mappes, and models of euery seuerall prouince, countrey, and region, with the descriptions of their mountaines, valleys, hils, champain fields, forrests, woods, riuers, brookes, fennes, lakes, pastures, and ara∣ble grounds, and whether their fields be open or inclosed, narrow or large; what straights and passages difficult to passe, what strong places and castels, what townes, cities, and boroughs, what Noble mens places, and houses of pleasure, and what distance there is betwixt place, & place; wherby to giue assured directi∣ons and traces vnto euery action they pretend and attempt; as did many of our fa∣mous Commanders in their honourable warres in Fraunce and Scotland, and as did the Marquis de Pescara and Antonio de Leyua,* and other imperiall Captaines in their warres with the French, in the prouinces of Naples, Lombardy, and Pie∣mont, who with a farre lesser number, badly payed, and worse preparations of war, with only industry, courage, pollicy, & boldnesse, came to atchieue many en∣terprises, and to great encounters, layed many Ambuscados, and gaue many surpri∣ses and Camisadas to the enemy, therereby gaining both honour and victory: as was seene in the battell of Pauia,* where Francis the French King was taken pri∣soner, Page  174 and his Army quite ouerthrowne, with the states that he held in Italy. The like did many of our braue English Kings in France, Scotland and other places, namely at the battell of Poytiers, Agincourt fielde, and else where, where with a small number of English souldiers, the whole strength and cheualry of Fraunce was ouerthrowne, slayne, and taken prisoners, onely by valour and martiall in∣dustry. All the which was performed with wonderfull diligence, speede, secre∣cy, and resolution, which bee matters of great importance in the conduction of warre.


*How say you, that it is a very important thing to execute the effect of warre with great speede and diligence, sith you said but euen now, that it was a great point to know how to entertaine the enemy with delayes, as did Quintus Fa∣bius with Hannyball?


*It is true, that in good martiall discipline, that Generall is more to bee accounted of, and esteemed, which knoweth how to ouercome with policy, wise∣dome, stratagems, and prudence, then with dint of sword and rigour of weapons. For battels are subiect vnto a thousand hazards, and perils, as to the temerity and rashnesse of heady Captaines and souldiers, and vnto the cowardize sometimes of some particulars; with a number of such accidentall fortunes: and therefore in effect, prudence and patience, and not pride and rashnesse, do produce good and happy euents in warre:* and therefore the Emperour Octauius Augustus did more esteeme the kingdome of Mauritania, then all the other prouinces which he pos∣sest, for that he had gayned the same without bloud, and the king of Naples Don Alonso,* being chalenged by his Competitor and enemy, the Duke of Aniou to come to battell, he refused the same, saying; that it was the part of a good Cap∣taine to knowe howe to gayne, and not to come to battell at the enemies ap∣petite.

But this is principally to be vnderstood, when a Prince is set vpon and distressed in his own coūtry, as was then the said king Don Alonso, & the case being such, let no Prince nor Generall vse the temeritie and rashnesse, as did Lewes the King of Hungaria,* who ioyned in battell vnaduisedly with Solyman the great Turke, being badly counselled thereunto by the Archbishop Tomeres, being farre inferiour to his enemy in numbers: yea, although he were equall, yet were it better to weary him with delayes, and cause him by such lingerings to be weary of the acti∣on; and so retire in fine. And therefore to this ende the Signory of Venice will haue their Generals to be rather warie and long delayers,* then rash and furious warriours, not sparing any cost to prolong the same, alwaies auoyding the doubt∣full and vncertaine successes of battell, yea although they hold for certaine to gaine; if it be thought to cost much bloud, yet better to be refused: as Iulius Cae∣sar declared very well, saying: that hee ought to bee accompted an vniust Cap∣taine if he did not more esteeme the safety of his Army, and the life of his souldi∣ers, then his owne proper commodity and life. For those which do measure the hope of the victory, without the due consideration of the profit or losse, that succeedes the same, doe desire vaine and disordinate things, and do find many times the euents and issues contrary to their thoughts: as it chaunced vnto the French at the battell of Poytiers,* where although they were in full hope of victo∣ry, yet they lost therein a number of their nobility, with their King and his sonne Page  175 taken prisoners: and againe, as it befell the sayd French at the battell of Rauenna, where although they remained victors,* yet they lost Monsieur de Foyx their Ge∣nerall, and many of his braue Captaines, whereby those which remained were constrained to retire, and passe ouer the Alpes, with more then good speede. Therefore to entertaine the enemy with long delayes, without bringing ones selfe into the daunger of fact of armes, and to be at choise to accept or refuse the bat∣tell, if it be presented,* there is to be vsed many policies, deuises, and stratagems, and to attempt the venturous effects (of necessity) speede, and diligence is to be required; as in lodging Ambuscados, to giue Camisadas, to sallie in skirmish, and to make incursions and great Caualgados to surprise victuals and conuoies, to pre∣uent their allodgements, to possesse straights and passages, to cut them from vic∣tuals, and such like peeces of seruice: and especially if there be two of the ene∣mies powers seperated the one from the other, and being necessary to fight with them before they come to ioyne; then I say, is wonderfull dispatch, speede and se∣crete conduction to be required:* as did Claudius Nero a Romaine Captaine, when he defeated and slew Asdruball Barquinus, who was come out of Spaine into Italy to ioyne with his brother Hannyball. The like did the Duke of Bauier, before that fresh aydes were come to ioyne with his enemy, the Emperor Frederik. And as did the Duke of Alua, holding Graue Lodwike besieged within Monts in Hen∣nault, who vnderstanding, and seeing his brother the Prince of Orange, com∣ming with a strong power to relieue him, the very same night that he approched neare, gaue him a most furious Camisado, and slew many of his people, whereby he was enforced the next day to returne without effecting his intent.* And in the conquest of any country, city, or prouince, there is also great celerity and quicke dispatch to be vsed by the Captaines, and Generals; as was performed by the Duke de Alua, and the Marquis Sancta Cruz in their Portugall wars, preuenting by their martiall prudence, many difficulties, not otherwise easie to be dispatched, if the Portugals had had more wit, valour, and counsell, then they had. And howe much this celerity in some cases doth auaile, may well be seene by the braue ex∣ploites of Sir Francis Drake,* and Captaine Caerleil, at Sant Domingo, Carthagena, and Nombre de Dios, with other parts of the Indies. Sundry other examples might be recited of actions performed with celeritie, and secrecy: and for not applying quickenesse & celerity in the execution, many times actions haue bin greatly hin∣dered, and great inconueniences haue ensued: as it happened vnto Hanniball; who hauing the victory and conquest of all Italy in his handes after the battell of Can∣nas,* lost all those aduantages, only for not pursuing the aforesayd victory. But yet in all these occurrants and occasions,* there is great care and consideration to be had, to conserue the Army what possible may be, and not to hazard the souldiers with daungerous assaultes; for commonly in such attempts the brauest men go to wracke, as was well to be seene among the Spaniards in the expugnation of Ha∣erlem, Mastricht, Sluce, and other fortes of the low countries. And therefore Sci∣pio the younger, when being perswaded by some of his Captaines to take Numan∣tia by battery and assault, he aunswered them, saying: that he esteemed more the sauing of one Romaines life, then the killing of all those within Numantia; conside∣ring that the best men are commonly lost in such attempts.

Page  176*A Generall ought also to bee very constant in hazardes and perils; for many times it happeneth, that the determinations which men do take in pleasant mo∣tions, and with great vigour of minde, before the very daunger; but the perill being once presented, and when it is most neede to put the businesse in execu∣tion, then being amazed and striken with chilly feare, doe they leaue off the at∣temptes, and dishonorably retire; and will by no meanes be reencouraged there∣unto: as did

*And hee is to bee accounted an excellent Generall, which contemneth and des∣piseth all imminent daungers, in respect to conserue his reputation and honour: as many of our famous kings of England haue done, in their owne persons, and as many times Henry,* now present king of Fraunce and Nauarre, hath done in ma∣ny encounters which he hath had: and as did the Countie Lodron, when Castra∣neo the Emperour Ferdinando his Generall forsooke the Army vnder his charge in Hungaria, and fled away with the most part of the horsemen, for feare of the Turkes; the sayd Countie Lodron being with those footemen which remained, was by them most humbly entreated to be their Conductor and Generall in that disastred successe, seeing that he, which was their Generall and Commander had so shamefully forsaken them: the which the sayd Countie accepted with great modestie, vsing vnto them many graue speeches, and honorable wordes, with abhorring the fowle flying away of his companion, and encouraging them braue∣ly to defend themselues, with their manfull resisting of their enemies, without imagining or thinking vpon any thing else, then valiantly to fight, and couragi∣ously to ouercome. Then an ancient Almaine souldier, seeing this Countie so full of spirite, and constant, sayd in gracious maner thus vnto him; My Lord, let it not seeme vnto you so great a wonder the flying away of our Generall, seeing that he was mounted vpon so gallant a courser, as he was; which seemed that hee expe∣cted to see how his horse would runne. Now, the Countie vnderstanding the craftie meaning of this old souldier, dismounted with all dexteritie from his horse, and drawing out his curtilax, cut off his horse legges, saying vnto them with a chearefull countenaunce;* My good companions, and deare countreymen, this day will I be both Captaine and souldier, and will fight on foote euen as you doe; Performe you the partes of valiant men, for not to deceiue mine opinion of you; & gaine ye the victory, or dye most honorably with reuenging your deathes; and finishing this warre with your end and mine.

*Now to conclude with this militarie vertue: Great Commaunders and Cap∣taines Generals, should not suffer themselues to bee ouerruled with disordinate lustes,* and appetites: for in a noble personage one onely vice is inough to ob∣scure and blemish a number of good vertues, as was seene by Alexander, and Phi∣lip his father, by the fowle excesse of wine drinking; and by many others stained with such other vices.* And per contra, one singular vertue did wonderfully grace and exalte the possessors thereof: and if it finde foundation of Nobilitie and Il∣lustrious Bloud, it frameth thereupon the fabrica and building of a most excellent Personage: and if it finde no such foundation, yet it layeth sufficient foundation of it selfe: which hath bene seene in many Captaines, who from base degree and state, haue ascended to bee great Commaunders and Princes, by their wise and vertuous cariage, and by their modestie in maners, and by their singular absti∣nence; Page  177 whereof we haue many and singular examples of sundry vertuous men: as of Francis Sforza,* Duke of Millan, who imitating Scipio Aphricanus, would not once touch or abuse a most bewtifull yong mayden, which was taken by his soul∣diers in the Castell of Casa noua, and presented vnto him, whom he receiued into his pauillion; being a matter of more importance to suppresse the vices insulting in the minde,* then to encounter a mightie enemy. And by this example of him selfe, might this Generall, and many other such, which haue bene in the world, reforme their Campes; not permitting their souldiers and people of warre, to grow licentious, and to soyle themselues in vices, sith that nothing doth make them more effeminate,* and more vnprofitable for warre then the same: as well appeared in the expugnation and sacke of Numantia, being there ouerthrowen so many Conductors and Consuls,* without performing any thing: for being the Romaine Armie so corrupted with vices, vntill Scipio Aemilianus came to com∣maund; who reformed the same, and banished all light women and bad house∣wiues out of his campe, and caused his souldiers to forsake and shake off all kinde of curiositie and daintinesse, compelling them to eate their meate standing, and continually to practise their weapons: the which reformations were of such im∣portancie and effect, that within a short time after, those of Numantiae sallying forth to skirmish, with their accustomed confidence and courage, they were con∣strained to retire, and turne their heeles: whom, at their returne into the Citie, being reprehended & blamed by their Generall, for so flying from the Romanes, whom they had so often before time beaten, they answered him, saying; that the Romane souldiers were the very same,* but that their Commaunder was another, and a man of more valour and better gouernement then those before passed.