Callus Tacticus

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General Tacticus
Name Callus Tacticus (also A. Tacticus)
Race Human
Occupation Military leader
Physical appearance
Residence Ankh-Morpork, later Genua
Death long time ago
Marital Status
Books Mentioned in several books, most notably Jingo, Wintersmith
Cameos Hogfather, Carpe Jugulum, Feet of Clay, Monstrous Regiment

The greatest military theoretician in the history of the Disc (as opposed to Carelinus, the greatest conquerer), tactics are named after General Tacticus. He has been seen as too competent for his own good. The general wrote a number of military journals, most famously Veni Vidi Vici: A Soldier's Life with very practical advice for the aspiring commander, such as the following section on what to do if one army occupies a well-fortified and superior fortress and the other does not:

"Endeavor to be the one inside."

At the height of his renown, the royal family of Genua died out and Genua requested that Ankh-Morpork nominate a suitable new duke. They rewarded Tacticus with the selection; his first act after assuming the throne was to declare war on the biggest rival: Ankh-Morpork. This led to the downfall of the Empire of Ankh-Morpork, which at that time stretched all the way into Klatch and across the Sto Plains.

The General has also been referred to as A. Tacticus.


The "A. Tacticus" could derive from Aeneas Tacticus, (4th century BC) who was one of the earliest Greek writers on the art of war. His book How to Survive under Siege (Greek: Περὶ τοῦ πῶς χρὴ πολιορκουμένους ἀντέχειν), deals with the best methods of defending a fortified city...

See also Aelianus Tacticus, a Greek military writer of the 2nd century, resident at Rome. Aelian's military treatise in fifty-three chapters on the tactics of the Greeks (Περί Στρατηγικων Τάξεων Ελληνικων), is a handbook of Greek, i.e. Macedonian, drill and tactics as practiced by the Hellenistic successors of Alexander the Great. The author claims to have consulted all the best authorities, the chief of which was a lost treatise on the subject by Polybius. Perhaps the chief value of Aelian's work lies in his critical account of preceding works on the art of war, and in the fullness of his technical details in matters of drill.

Most of the legendary character TP has created seems to have been inspired by Sun Tzu, however.

Oh, and "Callous" in English means "Emotionally hardened; unfeeling". Calluses are toughened areas of skin, especially those which developed into horns (which is usually animals, but has been known in humans-Moses for example was supposed to have horns, though is more likely to be a mistransliteration of "halo").

There is also a Roman historian called Tacitus who also wrote accounts of Roman life as well as the accounts of campaigns by Generals such as Agricola.

A Roundworld referent could well be the Byzantine general Belisarius, who in the 500's progressively reconquered lands thought to have been lost to the Roman Empire after the fall of the West. After reconquering the whole of North Africa and bringing the Visigoths and Vandals to submit to Constantinople, he wrote to the Emperor explaining he was about to reconquer Italy, and could the august Caesar please see his way clear to paying the following bills incurred as a result? He repeated his request from what is today southern Switzerland, explaining that with sufficient finance, he could be on the Channel coast in a week having re-conquered Gaul, and could the Byzantine Navy sail round to the Channel, please, so as to ferry the army over to re-conquer Britain?

Shortly after his second begging letter for millions of drachma in back pay, Belisarius was recalled to Byzantium. Italy was soon lost again, and within fifty years, a Prophet called Mohammed emerged from the Arab hinterland of the Empire preaching a doctrine of kicking out the unbeliever. Byzantium never expanded again, and began an eight hundred year decline...

In 1810 Sweden found itself without an heir to the throne, and hoping for the support of the Emperor Napoleon, elected Jean Baptiste Bernadotte to be heir. He soon was running affairs as the king was dying, and in 1813 he declared war on Napoleon.