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Full Version: Those coupling-sleeves again...
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Just received my copy of Ancient Warfare XIII.1 and what do I see in the background? Epirote phalangites wielding sarrisae with coupling-sleeves... Angry Matthew's An Invincible Beast had 'em, but I could ignore the specific chapter, as it's a decent work, while Dahm's Macedonian Phalangite vs Persian Warrior: Alexander confronts the Achaemenids, 334–331 BC  lazily regurgitated it, like a pair of Hawkwood's dismounted men-at-arms wielding a single spear. Why is the coupling sleeve still perpetuated, despite no other examples and no mention of it in accounts?
(07-30-2019, 01:29 AM)Condottiero Magno Wrote: [ -> ]Just received my copy of Ancient Warfare XIII.1 and what do I see in the background? Epirote phalangites wielding sarrisae with coupling-sleeves... Angry Matthew's An Invincible Beast had 'em, but I could ignore the specific chapter, as it's a decent work, while Dahm's Macedonian Phalangite vs Persian Warrior: Alexander confronts the Achaemenids, 334–331 BC  lazily regurgitated it, like a pair of Hawkwood's dismounted men-at-arms wielding a single spear. Why is the coupling sleeve still perpetuated, despite no other examples and no mention of it in accounts?

I guess they just cannot imagine how else you could make such a long pike.... so it would seem logical, even if the evidence doesn't fit the logic.

Thought it worthwhile to check Theophrastus "Enquiry into plants" and low and behold...

The reference is to Cornelian Cherry, Cornus mas, European Cornel (apparantly this can grow up to 12m tall) :

"The height of the male tree is at most 12 cubits, the length of the longest macedonian spear"

I have no idea if this is true, that the longest spear is 12 cubits or about 18ft but at least its contemporary, and if so would suggest you could make the Sarissa from one piece with no need for any join.

Wink
They had no trouble making pikes up to 25 feet long in the Middle Ages. Why not in earlier times?
(07-30-2019, 06:50 AM)Crispianus Wrote: [ -> ]
(07-30-2019, 01:29 AM)Condottiero Magno Wrote: [ -> ]Just received my copy of Ancient Warfare XIII.1 and what do I see in the background? Epirote phalangites wielding sarrisae with coupling-sleeves... Angry Matthew's An Invincible Beast had 'em, but I could ignore the specific chapter, as it's a decent work, while Dahm's Macedonian Phalangite vs Persian Warrior: Alexander confronts the Achaemenids, 334–331 BC  lazily regurgitated it, like a pair of Hawkwood's dismounted men-at-arms wielding a single spear. Why is the coupling sleeve still perpetuated, despite no other examples and no mention of it in accounts?

I guess they just cannot imagine how else you could make such a long pike.... so it would seem logical, even if the evidence doesn't fit the logic.

Thought it worthwhile to check Theophrastus "Enquiry into plants" and low and behold...

The reference is to Cornelian Cherry, Cornus mas, European Cornel (apparantly this can grow up to 12m tall) :

"The height of the male tree is at most 12 cubits, the length of the longest macedonian spear"

I have no idea if this is true, that the longest spear is 12 cubits or about 18ft but at least its contemporary, and if so would suggest you could make the Sarissa from one piece with no need for any join.

Wink

Sekunda quoted Theophrastus in his Macedonian Armies after Alexander 323–168 BC , but said ash was preferred due to its light weight, strength and flexibility: a 15ft cornel wood shaft, without metal parts, would weigh 4kg, nearly double the weight of an ash shaft. I think the majority of the coupling sleeve crowd have accepted that trees can grow to such lengths, so they changed the subject to the benefits of having a two piece pike. Rolleyes I've quoted Matthews on another thread, concerning the tactical use and logistical benefits of the coupling link, but there are no other surviving examples nor any contemporary mention of this Macedonian ingenuity.

(07-30-2019, 10:50 PM)Dan Howard Wrote: [ -> ]They had no trouble making pikes up to 25 feet long in the Middle Ages. Why not in earlier times?
Laziness...

I barely know Italian, but with the help of Google translator, the passage concerning Hawkwood's tactics, it clearly said the dismounted men-at-arms wielded their lances two handed, like hunting boars, not two men holding a single shaft. Probably due to Charles Oman, the mistranslation has been accepted without question. The same applies to sarissae, due to dubious reconstructions, based on a single find. The tube could've been the forerunner of a cup and ball game. Big Grin
(07-31-2019, 12:17 AM)Condottiero Magno Wrote: [ -> ]Sekunda quoted Theophrastus in his Macedonian Armies after Alexander 323–168 BC , but said ash was preferred due to its light weight, strength and flexibility: a 15ft cornel wood shaft, without metal parts, would weigh 4kg, nearly double the weight of an ash shaft. I think the majority of the coupling sleeve crowd have accepted that trees can grow to such lengths, so they changed the subject to the benefits of having a two piece pike. Rolleyes I've quoted Matthews on another thread, concerning the tactical use and logistical benefits of the coupling link, but there are no other surviving examples nor any contemporary mention of this Macedonian ingenuity.

Ash Would be my choice the longest spear shaft though that I've made was 12ft or so, I wouldn't call it a light wood though or significantly lighter then Cornel for such a relatively small mass, what I mean by this is that were perhaps talking about a Ib or two on the weight of a pike, the extra heft as long as its not excessive might be an advantage, I can see why an alternative may be used though as poor conservation of resources could easily end in tears...

European Ash 4x4cm x 15ft is 5.19kg, Dogwood non specific 5.49kg. 4kg ish would likely be about right for a round section tapered towards the ends still capable of being handled. Ash though is a bit lighter so would allow for a longer pike at the same weight also likely easier to find.

It makes no sense to me to make such a thing from two pieces there would be an inherent weakness built in, so the strength would be compromised with no apparant method of fixing it in place.

The reference to two men wielding a single pike has got to be an error.

Did a quick search for the Vergina components as I couldn't find any on my PC (maybe on a stick) and came across this: https://hetairoi.de/en/the-sarissa-experiment they also used a 4cm shaft on later prototypes which is of course is to big for the "tube" join from Vergina, Sorry if its nothing new.
Unfortunately, the serious information on Greek arms and armour is mostly published in Greek and German in very expensive and hard-to-obtain volumes. The classicists who claimed early Greek warfare as their turf are not very keen on material culture, while hobbyists and reenactors often can't obtain and read the detailed information. So both repeat ideas by a handful of folks in the 1960s and 1970s like Anthony Snodgrass, M. Andronicos, and Minor M. Markle III who didn't always have a very good practical understanding of arms and armour, woodworking, metalworking, etc. and were not always as obsessed with getting the details right as many fans of early Greek warfare today.

If you read Jona Lendering's site, this is a case of bad information drives out good. Until archaeologists are given an equal footing in the debate with the philologists, and until specialists in classical arms and armour publish summaries which ordinary people can obtain, it will be a problem.
(07-30-2019, 01:29 AM)Condottiero Magno Wrote: [ -> ]Just received my copy of Ancient Warfare XIII.1 and what do I see in the background? Epirote phalangites wielding sarrisae with coupling-sleeves... Angry Matthew's An Invincible Beast had 'em, but I could ignore the specific chapter, as it's a decent work, while Dahm's Macedonian Phalangite vs Persian Warrior: Alexander confronts the Achaemenids, 334–331 BC  lazily regurgitated it, like a pair of Hawkwood's dismounted men-at-arms wielding a single spear. Why is the coupling sleeve still perpetuated, despite no other examples and no mention of it in accounts?


Thanks for clearing that up. I don't know much about that period but it did attract some attention. More attention was drawn by that multi-pectoral musculata in front though, which seems to be based on modern Indian models rather than ancient Greek ones? Wink