• An atlas is a book of maps.
  • A dictionary is a book of words and their meanings
  • A gazetteer is a geographical dictionary used in conjunction with a map or atlas
  • A grimoire is a textbook of magic

In a similar way, is there a single word that describes a book whose principal subject is military? For my purposes, the book could treat military history, or weapons of warfare, or any aspect of martial actions.

I have heard of Jane's Fighting Ships as a reference book on warships of the world, but I have not heard of people referring to a military book as a "Jane."

My copy of Roget's Thesaurus mentions battledore, but while the name suggests the military it's the wrong type of term: a battledore is an obsolete term for a child's book to learn the alphabet.

  • 2
    I've never come across a word that would cover all the types you mention. Incidentally, a battledore is a bat for striking a shuttlecock; the child's hornbook was simply the same shape. Commented Oct 9, 2017 at 8:54
  • I've never come across a word that would cover what you mention but what difference in structure do you see between antiquarian or Victorian and militarian? Commented Oct 10, 2017 at 19:00
  • Really? Having established that, what differences in meaning do you see among antiquarian, Victorian or militarian? Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 21:49

2 Answers 2


There is no term specific to this field. The term I have seen most commonly used is treatise. Manual is used as well, especially for more technical works. Both terms are commonly used in the context of period writings on Historical European Martial Arts. Treatise is the description used in Wikipedia's articles on Sun Tzu's The Art of War and Machiavelli's The Prince. By contrast, the Wikipedia articles for On War by Clausewitz, and Gunderian's Achtung Panzer refer to these works as books, and Musashi's Book of Five Rings is termed a text.


I couldn't find an official one so I thought I would invent one to use in the interim.

Bellumcompendium (singular)

Bellumcompendia (plural)

The break-down of the word is as follows:

  • Bellum = war
  • Compendium = a concise compilation of a body of knowledge

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