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From reading various posts in many different topics it seems that the general consensus on the coupling sleeve found by Andronicos is that is was not a device used to connect together two halves of shaft to make a full sarissa. And I agree with that, I do not think it was used in that way. So if it wasn't used as a sleeve to connect two parts of shaft to make a sarissa then what was it used for?

I've been curious about this as everyone who writes about the sarissa comments on the sleeve, as one would expect, but those that reject its use in forming the sarissa never give their theory of what it might be. One thing that popped in my mind was that this could possibly be used as a counter-weight that simply wrapped around the rear of the sarissa, being flush with the back end. This would help to balance the sarissa and wouldn't have the negative features of the typical (sharp) butt-spike; i.e. it would eliminate the threat of being speared by your buddy in front of you. I realize there is no visual or literary evidence for this type of butt-spike but it is at least an atractive theory (in my mind) and the sleeve clearly belonged to something.

What does everyone else think?
In fact it could have had any given function that we can't know. For instance,how can we know that next to the spear there wasn't a standard or any other pole part of which this "sleeve" was,and no traces have been left. One could assume that the spear placed there didn't need to be functional anymore and for some reason the cut it in two during the funeral process and they only joined them inside the tomb. Crazy speculation that now might not have any sence,but there is no way this sleeve was meant to hold two parts of a spear together during battle. It isn't joined and it doesn't even have a hole for a nail or anything. Not to mention that a sarissa would probably be much wider than this sleeve. Remains of a guilded sarissa from the "prince" tomb are much wider,even though greatly tappered.
And of course your interpretation cannot be rulled out,even though the weight that it would add would be minimal. Most of the weight was transferred by the tapper,visible even in the "cavalry sarissa" on the Alexander mosaic.
Khaire
Giannis
I have been told that more of these have been found, in context with other Sarissa items.
I am in two minds about the joining theory... I used to disregard it, before talking to Swiss friend, who knows a lot about the evolution of the later pike.

A point he made about pikes, is that trees have to be especially grown to make the shaft. You can't use any old tree. This throws up some interesting points.
One: how tall do the trees in Macedonia grow.
Two: how long would the tree need to be grown in advance before a pike could be made from it?
Given the relatively short time that the Philip revolutionised the phalanx, would the resources be in place already for him to have them constructed? would a new forest of trees have been grown to maturity and cut in time for Alexander’s invasion?

Now, trees were obviously already grown for the construction of Spears, could it be that two 'spear' trees were used for the construction of a Sarissa and joined with the sleeve (and glued with pitch?) to enable an army to be equipped very quickly and using resources already at hand?
If a sarissa was broken, only one end would need to be replaced, with a shaft from a shorter tree.. and not the entire shaft from an older, taller tree. Presumably across Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Iran, and so on, trees were being grown for the construction of short spears. These could be used to supply the army on campaign. It would not be easy to source the wood for a full size sarissa shaft, unless massive amounts were bought on route from Macedonia.

Another thing to think about is whether the two halves could facilitate the multi role phalangite that seem to have existed. Simply, the end with the head could be 'un-glued' used as a spear and re-joined when it needed to be.

Last of all, it is worth reading about how pikes are managed in wooded areas. Troops often cut them short so they could march through forested areas (normally against orders). This is well documented in later periods. I like to wonder, how did they march across the Indian jungle with them?
And is it worth to a king to place a "second quality" or "repaired" sarissa together with the many kilos of gold inside the tomb? The Macedonian sarissa hasn't been longer than other pikes throughout history and they needn't be joined. Macedonian had the resources on wood to build all the fleets of Athens, it was(and still is) a fairly wooded land and if we add the forests in North Macedonia and all the regions that Macedonia ruled under Philip and Alexander,it doesn't seem really that much of a problem to equip some thousand phalangites.
Modern tries to join shafts with much more elaborate joints don't seem convincing...
So i'm still very sceptical about the "sleeve" being a joint.
Khaire
Giannis
Quote:And is it worth to a king to place a "second quality" or "repaired" sarissa together with the many kilos of gold inside the tomb? The Macedonian sarissa hasn't been longer than other pikes throughout history and they needn't be joined. Macedonian had the resources on wood to build all the fleets of Athens, it was(and still is) a fairly wooded land and if we add the forests in North Macedonia and all the regions that Macedonia ruled under Philip and Alexander,it doesn't seem really that much of a problem to equip some thousand phalangites.
Modern tries to join shafts with much more elaborate joints don't seem convincing...
So i'm still very sceptical about the "sleeve" being a joint.
Khaire
Giannis

Hi Giannis,
I think you are missing my point. Im not saying that only the repaired sarissa's had the joint, but all. This made repairs on campaigns easier.
You can't make a strong pike from any tree, the wood that is fit for construction may not be fit for weapons. You cannot have a knot in a pike shaft for example.
England and Switzerland are both very heavily wooded (or were) and we still needed to specially grow trees to make our pikes.

I am not sure about the joint either, but I found this argument convincing.
I've been looking over the evidence relating to the various finds of "Andronicos sarissa" parts lately, and firstly I would just point to this post I made on the Ancient Warfare forums in which I go over some of the basic evidence pertaining to finds which have been claimed as sarissae.

http://www.ancient-warfare.com/cms/foru ... .html#1021

If any serious discussion of these finds is going to be made, it must firstly be established that we do not know at all what sarissa parts look like, and we can't do anything more than make a guess. Almost all claims to identifying finds from the tombs at Vergina and elsewhere as sarissae are flawed in some respect, and so we have to keep that in mind.

As far as I am aware from combing through Macedonian archaeology, while multiple flanged butts and spearheads similar to those claimed by Andronicos as beloning to sarissae have been found, only a single coupler has been. This was found outside a small tomb in Vergina alongside the aforementioned butt and large spearhead, as well as with a much smaller and lighter spearhead. Chances are that the large head and butt went together, while the smaller head went with the "coupler," considering that the diameters of the sockets of the large head and butt are 36 and 34 mm in diameter, respectively, while the smaller head and "coupler" are 19 and 28 mm in diameter.

What purpose did it serve? One very basic answer is that it was slipped over the end of the shaft of a spear lacking a butt in order to keep it in better shape and prevent it from splitting. The two guard figures painted outside the entrance of the late 4th c. BC Agios Athanasios tomb carry long spears about 12 feet long, and on one on which the end of the shaft is visible, it has just such an iron "cap" on it. As you also note, Scott, this probably provided a nice counterbalance as well.

Quote:I have been told that more of these have been found, in context with other Sarissa items.

Can you elucidate this? Like I said, I've done some extensive research, but I've never found any other examples.

Quote:A point he made about pikes, is that trees have to be especially grown to make the shaft. You can't use any old tree. This throws up some interesting points.
One: how tall do the trees in Macedonia grow.
Two: how long would the tree need to be grown in advance before a pike could be made from it?
Given the relatively short time that the Philip revolutionised the phalanx, would the resources be in place already for him to have them constructed? would a new forest of trees have been grown to maturity and cut in time for Alexander’s invasion?

Now, trees were obviously already grown for the construction of Spears, could it be that two 'spear' trees were used for the construction of a Sarissa and joined with the sleeve (and glued with pitch?) to enable an army to be equipped very quickly and using resources already at hand?

Sekunda thankfully addresses these issues quite clearly. Firstly, ash, the tree most popular in early modern Europe for making pike shafts, grew abundantly in Macedonia (Theophrastus, History of Plants, 3.11.3-4); Pliny says that "in Macedonia there is a very large ash making a very flexible timber" (Natural History 16.24.63), and while this flexibility may seem like it would rule out the use of such wood for a long pike, Pliny also states that this flexibility can be lessened if the trees are left standing and are dried by ringing around the trunk (16.79.219). Statius furthermore writes that Macedonians "by custom shake ash sarissae" (Theb. 7.269), so it is all but certain that sarissae were made from ash.

Diocletian's code of prices records the standard length of timbers as being 21 feet long, and during the First World War ash timbers up to 32 feet in length "with straight and even grain throughout the whole length, and free from the slightest defect" were regularly grown for use in constructing aircraft. Furthermore, it is recorded in early modern Europe that if large numbers of ash trees were planted in close proximity to one another at the same time, it would force rapid and straight growth. However, it still took trees decades to grow to that length, and so it can be speculated that Philip established royal groves in which ash was planted on a large scale that could provide enough material for thousands of pikes in later years. For his first phalangites, he may simply have relied on what suitable trees could be found in Macedonia's natural forests.

Quote:If a sarissa was broken, only one end would need to be replaced, with a shaft from a shorter tree.. and not the entire shaft from an older, taller tree. Presumably across Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Iran, and so on, trees were being grown for the construction of short spears. These could be used to supply the army on campaign. It would not be easy to source the wood for a full size sarissa shaft, unless massive amounts were bought on route from Macedonia.

Another thing to think about is whether the two halves could facilitate the multi role phalangite that seem to have existed. Simply, the end with the head could be 'un-glued' used as a spear and re-joined when it needed to be.

Last of all, it is worth reading about how pikes are managed in wooded areas. Troops often cut them short so they could march through forested areas (normally against orders). This is well documented in later periods. I like to wonder, how did they march across the Indian jungle with them?


These are good questions, but I see serious problems in using such couplers. The primary problem I see is that with a coupler only 17 cm long (which is the length of the Andronicos example), the integrity of the sarissa's shaft would be greatly compromised, and such a short piece of metal surely could not prevent a 20+ foot pike from sagging. What is more, it would probably be very difficult and time consuming to "unglue" and "reglue" the two portions together, considering that the Andronicos coupler has no nail holes or any visible means of securing it to a shaft. As a phalangite, why would any soldier do that rather than simply carrying an extra fighting spear?
I forgot to mention a very important thing. There is good reason to believe the butt spike and the spear "head" that the "sleeve" was found with did not belong to the same spear! Have you read Connolly's article on the Macedonian Sarissa? He is very convincing in my opinion that Andronikos' original identification was wrong. Just to give an indication,the spear "head" is actually heavier that the butt! The butt together with the sleeve weigh only slightly more than the "head" alone,which in all doesn't follow the style of the other heads that are candidates for the sarissa points.
I insist though that the arguement that all sarissae were joined doesn't have base and the whole theory has been bases on this one find of Andronikos,who in fact seems to have been very wrong in believing to have found a set of sarissa points.
Khaire
Giannis
Quote:And is it worth to a king to place a "second quality" or "repaired" sarissa together with the many kilos of gold inside the tomb? The Macedonian sarissa hasn't been longer than other pikes throughout history and they needn't be joined. Macedonian had the resources on wood to build all the fleets of Athens, it was(and still is) a fairly wooded land and if we add the forests in North Macedonia and all the regions that Macedonia ruled under Philip and Alexander,it doesn't seem really that much of a problem to equip some thousand phalangites.
Modern tries to join shafts with much more elaborate joints don't seem convincing...
So i'm still very sceptical about the "sleeve" being a joint.
Khaire
Giannis

Just a note Giannis, but the Andronicos coupler did not come from any of the major tombs at Vergina; it came from a tiny, almost entirely-looted tomb nearby in Tumulus ?.
Thanks for the correction! Sorry for posting after your previous post. I agree with you. I would like to point out though,that not only the big head is heavier than the butt,it also has wider socket!
Khaire
Giannis
Sarissa 40 km away from me ...
I will make myself available for examination at a time.
now there's video and pictures on my ...
best regards.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea ... D=56279042

http://sivassarissa.com.tr/sarissa.html
Quote:Sarissa 40 km away from me ...
I will make myself available for examination at a time.
now there's video and pictures on my ...
best regards.

http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea ... D=56279042

http://sivassarissa.com.tr/sarissa.html

I think there is a misunderstanding.... We are talking about the Macedonian weapon known as the sarissa, while I think you are talking about the Anatolian city known as Sarissa.
hi
Yes, I misunderstood.
come easy.
Thank you. :wink:
Quote: The primary problem I see is that with a coupler only 17 cm long (which is the length of the Andronicos example), the integrity of the sarissa's shaft would be greatly compromised, and such a short piece of metal surely could not prevent a 20+ foot pike from sagging. What is more, it would probably be very difficult and time consuming to "unglue" and "reglue" the two portions together, considering that the Andronicos coupler has no nail holes or any visible means of securing it to a shaft. As a phalangite, why would any soldier do that rather than simply carrying an extra fighting spear?

I read your comment on the AW site and can only fully agree with the above. The supposed "coupler" has always, to my mind, seemed far too short to be of any real and practical use. This even more so if one agrees to the use of the large leaf blade of some 51 centimetres and the lack of nail holes. I find it difficult to conceive that two shafts - with a weighty large blade and souroter - were secured by some 8.5 cm (or a little over three inches) of tube.

In describing the campaign of Cynoschepalae, Polybius remarks on the inability of Greeks to carry palisading with them:

Quote:Pol 18.18.3-4:
For the Greeks have difficulty in holding only their pikes when on the march and in supporting the fatigue caused by their weight, but the Romans, hanging their long shields from their shoulders by leather straps and only holding their javelins in their hands, can manage to carry the stakes besides.


This can be read simply as the weight being oppressive on the march, as it is often translated, with the Macedonians' hands being occupied with two parts of the sarisa. It might also be read as those hands having to manhandle a corporate sarisa (that is, one piece) and thus being unable to carry palisading. I would imagine that a corporate sarisa will have been that much more burdensome.

The two armies here are, in a sense, shadowing each other and it is tempting to suspect that such armies on the march will have their weaponry to hand. One imagines that for longer marches where battle was not expected (some of Alexander's across Asia for example) other transport was used for the sarisa?

I found Sekunda's argument for the slender more pointed blade persuasive: the penetrating power of the weapon is amply attested and thinner blades are far more penetrative.
Under the assumption that 2 pieces from Vergina tomb were for a sarissa and apoint from Thessaloniki museum
I spent 2 days handling the "beast". (19 and 28 mm diameters)
http://s197.photobucket.com/albums/aa16 ... C04403.jpg
http://s197.photobucket.com/albums/aa16 ... C04412.jpg
The "coupler" at least in the specimen I used does not need nail holes.

Is is possible that rust made the holes to disappear.

Mind you the heavy bat spike was a blessing.
Its tough to handle but once you get used to it no problem at all

Just my two pennies worth.

Kind regards
If you have never seen a comparison of the two spear heads and the sauroter to scale, I attached one below. As Giannis pointed out, the large spearhead is of larger socket diameter than the sauroter, which is unlikely. The smaller head on the other hand is much smaller in diameter, indicating a severe taper. Given the taper, the "sleeve", which is about 1 inch inner diameter is possible.

I'm agnostic on the issue of the sleeve, but I will note that bronze "tubes" of similar diameter have been found in many locations, below is a sample from Isthmia from a location where a similar sauroter was found. Whether this makes a sleeve more likely or less is unclear. I have seen "tubes" that could be confused withthese as part of the handle structure of bronze cauldrons.

On the notion of counterweighting the shaft of spears. I happened upon images of these little bronze rings that fit around iron sauroters. The language is german, which I don't read, but they sure look like what I would expect counterweights to look like. A translation would be welcome.
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