Marching to the Beat. So How on Earth Does a 3000-Year-Old Military Manual Dating from the Roman Empire Relate to Modern-Day Small Business Best practice?Solicitor Director at Greenhalgh Pickard John Greenhalgh Explains

Article excerpt

IN BUSINESS, people often rely on parallels with either fiction, on non-fiction material. No doubt you will have heard of Sun Tzu's Art of War or the European business translation of it, or Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings.

These are texts which give instruction on various personal philosophies which can be translated to how you conduct yourself in business. I find that much of the content is esoteric, and also often vague. My favourite text is based on the civilization that, when it failed, plunged Europe into the Dark Ages.

Starting (albeit it loosely) in 600BC, the Western half the Roman empire lasted for some 1000 years, whist the Eastern half continued for another 1000 years after that.

At the height of the Roman Empire, only 0.05% of the population was in the army. Bearing in mind that its borders where in the deserts of Africa and the Middle East, as far as Scotland (for a brief time) and most of present day Germany, it makes you wonder how they maintained such an extraordinary business of governance, for such a long time.

In my view, it was based on good business principles, good administration and justice system. Also a well-trained and supportive army. However, I believe above all, generally people didn't want to see it fail.

Many people say that the strength of Rome was its army. So if you are looking to derive the quintessential aspects of Rome, you should consider Military Institutions of the Romans by Vegetius. This book was written in late 300 BC, and was Vegetius's attempt to revive the virtues of discipline, courage and training to the army, based on the works of the ancients. …