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Miltiades\' helmet
#16
The Spartans sent half of their citizen manpower compliment to Plataia as Michael suggests. Even with such a crucial situation as that final confrontation with the Persians, they were not going to risk leaving the city defenceless. Two reasons for this: (a) they always feared an uprising from helots and periokoi; (b) the Persians (or sympathetic Greeks, or even nominally neutral Greeks like Argos) could outflank them and attack the city in the absence of the army. Obviously, if the figures are to believed a massive amount of supporting helot light troops were present at Plataia, so that possibly lessens threat (a); but being a naturally cautious bunch, the Spartans still would not have committed their entire force. The other 5,000 troops were self-evidently periokoi hoplites whom the Spartans would have used in the normal course of events anyway (qualifying as Lakedaimonians too).

Just adding my tuppenceworth, although I assume we are all clear on that point.
[size=75:2kpklzm3]Ghostmojo / Howard Johnston[/size]

[Image: A-TTLGAvatar-1-1.jpg]

[size=75:2kpklzm3]Xerxes - "What did the guy in the pass say?" ... Scout - "Μολὼν λαβέ my Lord - and he meant it!!!"[/size]
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#17
Quote:Just adding my tuppenceworth, although I assume we are all clear on that point.

Your tuppenceworth is welcome Howard. Perhaps sixpence next time?

The figures are, to my mind, a clear exaggeration. It is clear that the Persian supply situation was, by now, critical. Herodotus claims 300,000 Persians (at Plataea) and this is a nonsense if we believe that a greater horde had lived from this land (and sea supply) prior to Xerxes' departure. Herodotus would have us believe that another "Athens" now lived in central Greece awaiting Greek movement.

No. Thus Herodotus' figures for the Greeks need moderating. I doubt the Spartans took 35,000 helots with them. This - as the list of Greek states and their contingents - is to somehow make the Greek force somehow realistic compared to the barbarian horde. Thus Herodotus reduces (by some 50%!)the Persian fleet prior to Artemesium. As well, even given the distinct lack of reporting of the efforts of light forces in the classical period, the complete silence about these troops is thundering.

I do agree that the Spartans will have left a strong force at home for the reasons you say. I don't know that this was 5,000 though. Any number depends, of course, on estimates of the homoioi at the time. I'd think a majority - not the great majority though - will have marched. That based on Demaratus' supposed statement that the city of Sparta was "a city of about eight thousand men" (clearly homoioi; Hdt.7.234.2). In that light the 5,000 of Plataea seems right?
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

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#18
Quote:... I do agree that the Spartans will have left a strong force at home for the reasons you say. I don't know that this was 5,000 though. Any number depends, of course, on estimates of the homoioi at the time. I'd think a majority - not the great majority though - will have marched. That based on Demaratus' supposed statement that the city of Sparta was "a city of about eight thousand men" (clearly homoioi; Hdt.7.234.2). In that light the 5,000 of Plataea seems right?

The figures are always problematic. I agree with your logic, however. 8,000 or 10,000 - both figures are quoted in the sources at various times. In either scenario, 50%+ would seem sensible and practical. Herodotos seemed intent on playing up the Athenian contribution and downplaying the Spartan one for some reason, but the helot figures do seem extremely exaggerated. I cannot imagine the Spartan authorities wanting to allow such a mass gathering of these subservient troops who might have thrown in their lot with the Persians! According to H the periokoi were 'picked' and represented 50% of the Lakedaimonian hoplite force, whereas more normally (and increasingly in future) they would have more likely provided 60/70%+ of the figures. Ultimately, the Spartans just did not like fighting far from home, and it would take extreme events (like Plataia surely was) to induce them to cross the Isthmos.

Hans van Wees (Greek Warfare - Myths & Realities) seems to agree with H's 35,000 helots as being fully armed in an extraordinary fashion. He postulates the view (which I don't share) that the Spartan line was 8 deep with the first rank of homoioi and the seven ranks behind all fully armed helots! He further cites a reference to later Dipaia where the Spartans are reputed to have fought only one shield deep, as proof of this thin red line approach. His is surely a misreading of H who always calls the helots psiloi?
[size=75:2kpklzm3]Ghostmojo / Howard Johnston[/size]

[Image: A-TTLGAvatar-1-1.jpg]

[size=75:2kpklzm3]Xerxes - "What did the guy in the pass say?" ... Scout - "Μολὼν λαβέ my Lord - and he meant it!!!"[/size]
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#19
We'll never know the real figures. The ancient Greeks didn't and so we're at some disadvantage! A figure closer to Demaratus' 8,000 might suit what we find within a couple of generations though. We've no real idea what the earthquake disaster cost in homoioi but they seem hugely precious by Sphacteria.

Are we off topic yet Howard??!!
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

Academia.edu
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#20
Quote:Are we off topic yet Howard?

Probably! :lol: But how much more is there to say about Miltiades' helmet? :wink:

Why not join me in discussing the Spartans' merits against Roman legionaries? Here:

http://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat.html?fu...0&start=20
[size=75:2kpklzm3]Ghostmojo / Howard Johnston[/size]

[Image: A-TTLGAvatar-1-1.jpg]

[size=75:2kpklzm3]Xerxes - "What did the guy in the pass say?" ... Scout - "Μολὼν λαβέ my Lord - and he meant it!!!"[/size]
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#21
Quote:
Paralus post=305885 Wrote:Are we off topic yet Howard?
Probably! :lol:
Then kindly close this one and move to a new, fresh topic! :-D
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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#22
You shouldn't really be so anal about these things Robert.
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

Academia.edu
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#23
Funny how this helmet next to Miltiades' one generated such a discussion about Spartans, when it bears an inscription saying that the Atenians took it from the Medes! ;-)
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
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#24
Oh nvm, it's got nothing to do with this discussion.
Real name - Peteris Racinskis
TWC name - any variation of "Roach". Blatta Optima Maxima as of now.
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