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Greeks always fought outnumbered?
#46
Quote:That would explain your comment. However, I doubt that the Heruli and Gothic forces were so much smaller than the Hun, Avar or Bulgar armies that I mentioned.

The Hun-Avar-Bulgar raid in Greece was both swift and with non-lasting effects, mostly provoked by the total absence of the Imperial army – in the end it was solved swiftly which gives the impression of having been of the order of the earlier Heruli and Alaric’s raids. The really big invasions that created a lot of trouble and which reduced the prosperity of the Greek peninsula were the Slavic invasions of the following centuries and for the most of it the later Bulgarian invasions of the 9th and 10th centuries. Bulgarians were coming from "just next door", possessed big armies and raided extensively by dispersing their armies all over the place conducting in the latter campaign of Samuel what can be seen as an effort to genocide the local Greek population, a feat possible only by larger armies. I thus get the impression that these were the big raids that had long-lasting effects, the previous ones were successful pirate-raids with non-lasting effects.

Quote:My initial thought was that you had some anti-Greek policy in mind – glad to hear that that was not the case.
Your comments about Christianity continue to mystify me.

No, I am not the type of commenter that searches all "evil" coming from Christianity and such. In fact above I show my position that the transition from paganism to Christianity while violent and troublesome, did not really disrupt the prosperity of the Greek peninsula which was also the case of Minor Asia. My reference is more on the way the Christians rose to power from being only a minority religion in the previous century and to the fact that you could find in % many more Christians among the invading barbarians than the largely pagan locals all while the main victorious ruling classes in Constantinople and by then in Rome too were Christian. There is room for a lot of suspicion here. I do not claim to have found the answer – it is my “geopolitical” soul that speaks here, do not think I am vertical on my positions on these matters so I propose no black and white picture. Here I do take the most "possible" case. It is a case we have seen again and again – check for example how the Byzantine plutocratic oligarchies invested in Venice and welcomed the destruction of the Empire 1000 years later. Or how the Arabs were led by Byzantine oligarchs when invading in Sicily and Crete. I even heard in an online history lecture a year ago that the guides of Jenkis Han were... Venician (!), which I do personally feel the need right now to search since this can get extremely interesting, given the fabled-Marco Polo history (Marco as a figure was apparently a literary creation). The reality is that behind most raids of barbarians into Empires there is more often than not the finger of Imperial oligarchies. The example of endo-imperial oligarchies opening doors and welcoming in enemies of the state, raiders and even conquerors is not new nor unheard. Stating that Roman oligarchies used the Gothic invaders as a tool against citizens is easy to pinpoint by bringing examples such as that of the massacre of Thessaloniki. One could say that foreign troops were cheaper, which is true for a campaign army but certainly not true for a city-guard.

Quote:Stilicho was a Roman. Of Germanic descent, sure, but fully raised as a Roman. Don’t be fooled by his name or later propaganda. Stilicho never wanted to become an emperor, he knew his limits. He instead meant to set up his daughter as spouse of an emperor.

Totally agree. Stilicho was half-Vandal from father side but even his father had to be of Roman allegiance and himself was raised as a Roman citizen. I did not refer to doubts about his allegiances and his relation to the "Germanic" Goth Alaric (because this suggestion has been also played by some) but rather in relation to his own ambitions, i.e. playing his own political game but also being played around by the roman oligarchies both at Constantinople and Rome.

Quote:If we’re going into a discussion about Greeks and Christianity, I’d love to open a new thread btw.

Better not, people will accuse me of bringing foreign topics in a weapons/tactics related forum!!

Nikos (Νικόλαος)
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#47
Quote:
Quote:However you know very well one that did much more with much less, he happens to be the most well known figure in human history. He used the 1/10th of their numbers, took him less than 10 years, not 400 years, to make an Empire and at the end a great % of his initial army men were still alive and kicking, this despite having given innumerable battles on the top of major pitched encounters facing massive armies. Well, this is the thing about "efficiency"
Alexander? Alexander had a very large army by the standards of the day. If we look at logistics realistically, it is quite obvious not a single ancient army in the field could have exceeded 70 thousand men at most. And 47 thousand was a massive army by ancient standards.

The 1/10th may readily be dismissed - if we are talking the "major" battles (Granikos, Issos and Gaugamela) - as the numbers are in the realm of fantasy. There is little chance that Darius debouched 600,000 men and supply animals via the Bache Pass to Issos. That said, Alexander's army was large in - a Greek sense. No Greek city state could muster such and few "leagues" also. That his Successors could field larger arrays is beyond doubt. Had the armies at Paraetecene and Gabiene been under the one commander there'd have been some 75,000 men under a single banner. At Raphia (217) Ptolemy marched with 75,000 men (Plb.5.79.1) and Antigononus Monphthalmos, in 306 (Diod. 20.73.2):

Quote:...advanced through Coelê Syria with more than eighty thousand foot soldiers, about eight thousand horsemen, and eighty-three elephants. Giving the fleet to Demetrius, he ordered him to follow along the coast in contact with the army as it advanced. In all there had been made ready a hundred and fifty warships and a hundred transports in which a large stock of ordnance was being conveyed.

This was about the largest force feasibly gathered and co-ordinated. At Ipsos (Plut. Demetr.28.3), in 301, Antigonus fielded 80,000 (infantry and cavalry) and the "coalition of latest convenience" 79,000 infantry and cavalry (plus the famous 400 elephants).
Paralus|Michael Park

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

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#48
Indeed. Anything beyond that takes some fantasy to pull off with ancient methods of supply.
Real name - Peteris Racinskis
TWC name - any variation of "Roach". Blatta Optima Maxima as of now.
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#49
[quote][quote="Roach" post=306123]
[quote]Alexander? Alexander had a very large army by the standards of the day. If we look at logistics realistically, it is quite obvious not a single ancient army in the field could have exceeded 70 thousand men at most. And 47 thousand was a massive army by ancient standards.[/quote][quote]

You did not get my argument right. I talked of overall army numbers and capacity to continue war replenishing big numbers with big numbers. Alexander's army when he left Minor Asia was 35,000 not any huge army even by Greek standards where big army was anything bigger than 20,000. Throughout the campaign Alexander mainly did it with these men. Reinforces from Greece were not arriving often and certainly not in any significant numbers. We are talking about such a small army wandering the depths of the biggest and most populous continent on Earth mainly dealing with enemy nations and tribes (and not friends and allies as Romans made prior to invdading a place and taking 50 to 70 years to clear out the remaining 30-35% of locals who resisted). Alexander did it because he had a total faith on the tactical capacity of his army and his absolute superiority to anything that had existed at the time. And evidently he knew what he did, frankly speaking I do not know a lot of armies till discovery of machine guns that would had coped facing his army.

Rome being not any nation but a central city, union of multinational oligarchies, had an ENORMOUS numerical capacity long long before it even started thinking expanding out of its base in central Italy. Rome never went on war with lots of enemies in a lapse of a short time, they never had to go to wat against any state that had any more than the 1/3rd of their numerical capacity, they always faced smaller armies, still they were losing most of their first contact battles and then they were going on taking several decades consuming large armies to short things out - and this despite the fact that for the most of it they were already allied with lots of locals facing only a remaining resistance (eg. in Greece, in Gaul etc.). Earlier Rome nearly fell in front of a motley crew that Carthagenians had raised which however did not pass more than 80,000 men when them had more than 200,000. That a a time Carthage despite its expansion was already on its downfall spiral far away from its previous grandeur when it was able to land on Sicily armies surpassing the 300,000 (and this was a fighting force, as distance from Carthage to Sicily was low). Romans had never faced anything close to that and had they done this given their historic record, their chances of survival would be extremely low.

It is simple mathematics. With all these numbers and if Romans were so certain of their military prowess they would just go for it clearing their enemy at once. But they did not. They were not certain of the tactical capacity of their armies (for the most a motley crew of roman and levies, vassals, mercenaries etc.) and they took their measures wisely.

Alexander's army a large army? Yes for Greek standards only. Romans were losing more than Alexnder's army in single battles! Alexander's 30-40,000 phalanx men and companions is all what he had and all what he could rely upon as shown in his decision to respect their will at India when soldiers grew tiresome of the campaigns.

So really we must short out apples and oranges. We do not talk at all about the same things.

[quote="Paralus" post=306355]
if we are talking the "major" battles (Granikos, Issos and Gaugamela) - as the numbers are in the realm of fantasy. There is little chance that Darius debouched 600,000 men and supply animals via the Bache Pass to Issos. That said, Alexander's army was large in - a Greek sense. No Greek city state could muster such and few "leagues" also. That his Successors could field larger arrays is beyond doubt. Had the armies at Paraetecene and Gabiene been under the one commander there'd have been some 75,000 men under a single banner. At Raphia (217) Ptolemy marched with 75,000 men (Plb.5.79.1) and Antigononus Monphthalmos, in 306 (Diod. 20.73.2):
[/quote]

I do agree with you that huge numbers are not to be taken literally in the sense that one could not have fielded 600,000 armed men in a single battle. But then even Alexander would not have used all of the 35-40,000 men of his army at once. Usually writers refer to the overall mobilasation. While Alexander's army was multi-tasked self-sustained army provided mostly by looting the conquered areas rather than any developed logistics network (there was simply no time to develop such), the 600,000 men of the Persian imperial army refer to both men at arms and men at the logistics. For every man at arms there could be 2 to 3 men manning the services thus when we refer to 600,000 men, it means that the actual army that faced Alexander's army would be of the order of 150,000 men or a high end maximum of 200,000. In the previous campaign of Xerxes against Greece the more than 1 million force mentioned by writers referred practically to everyone involved, from service men, to sailors, to techncians and then to garissons positioned here and there with the actual fighting force being again of the 200,000-300,000 region, even that not really possibly deployed at once given the terrain. However Persians could sit in Greece and give multiple battles. Alexander if losing 1 battle would had lost everything.

You have to realise that Alexander's army was a unique case in history. The Roman army is of a totally different philosophy. I am not bashing it. I do not believe the Roman army was bad or something. It just worked under a wholy different philosophy were tacticl efficiency was not the heart of the issue but rather it being just one of the many tools that the Roman diplomacy used in order to establish its power throughout the Mediterranean world. I am in owe of Romans like everybody but for the correct reasons. Not for the tactical efficiency and capacity of their armies but for their superior politics and diplomatic skills that ensured always alliances that provided them with an endless pool of manpower.

Nikos (Νικόλαος)
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#50
Quote:I talked of overall army numbers and capacity to continue war replenishing big numbers with big numbers.

In that case, we don't disagree. However it should be noted that Achaemenid and Roman troops were quite high quality, so I doubt the argument that they relied on (and existed to do so) swarming the valiant Greeks holds any water.
Real name - Peteris Racinskis
TWC name - any variation of "Roach". Blatta Optima Maxima as of now.
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#51
Hi Roach,

Indeed when one reads my text he will think that I have a very low opinion for the capacity of the Roman army or that I inflate the capacities of the Greek armies. Let me explain why this is not the case.

First of all, let me clarify that - and this contrary to the general opinion (guess how much for a Greek then) - I do not think that the Persian army or the later Roman army was inferior to the Greek armies in the sense that all these armies were the direct products of conditions and needs. Let us take for example the Persian army. Persians had conquered, rather inherited, the Median Empire (that was in turn built over the Lydian and new-Babylonian ones following the downfall of the Assyrian Empire). The region of Iran was already a huge expanse, now adding a territory from Minor Asia to the rivers of India meant that the Empire had not only to maintain a large number of standing troops (coming from the most disparate cultures as Persians own troops did not suffice) but also to be able to move them along 1000s of kilometers. Moving a 20kg-clad hoplite from Athens to Marathon is no problem but moving such a soldier from Ekvatana to Miletos is a huge problem!!! This presents enormous challenges and hence Persians were forced to adapt to having a lighter army whose strength had to be numbers, mobility and surprise tactics rather than fielding ranks for pitched battles. The latter may had been possible against other Asian similarly built armies but impossible against Greek heavily clad hoplite armies. The main reason of the repeated failures of Persians were political: they had to show to their subjects that they dealt directly with those annoying Greeks rather than finding refuge to more complicated tactics (scorched earth, play with the enemy and move around, hit with guerilla surprise, cavalry attacks etc. etc.). But then they could not either develop a military tradition from the one day to another - the hoplite tactics were particular and were the result of a particular social organisation imbeded in Greek tradition where the soldier had a value as a human and he was not just a number. Proud Persian oligarchy somehow felt that adapting their strategies to face the Greeks would revert them back to their earlier more provincial, nomadic stage, forgotten in their myths. And their army paid that arrogance. Later when they had no more reason to be arrogant they came out with renewed tactics combining surprise tactics and heavier troops (since they did not travel anymore that far) that proved to be superior and were even adopted by the Roman army that was a sponge for everything interesting that circulated around.

The Roman army was also an Imperial army even before its expansion. We have to realise that as such it was foremost a tool in the hands of the multinational (Latins, Etruscans, Greeks) Roman oligarchy. Forget the Roman aristocrats' blah-blah, Roman army even in its earlier stages with its manipular legions of the velites and the triarii it was no "national army", i.e. it was for the most of it a tool in the hands of the Roman oligarchy that sought expansion following their earlier union of forces. Contrary to the Greek example, not only Roman leaders were staying at bay overlooking their... minions, not only Roman aristocracy watched from above but even upper middle class was staying back as part of the Triarii diving into battle only to save the day or give the final kill and take the glory. Yes it can be seen as a "tactic", one that often worked but then at basics what did we have was a force whose managing leadership viewed the mass of the soldiers as consumables: sent in the scantly-clad velites harassing the enemy no matter the losses, no matter if 2-3 Romans die in the process of killing 1 opponent, bring down the battle to the state of slaughter but always keep the back ranks in order ready to dive in if needed. At some point the enemy will not have enough soldiers to continue but Rome DOES have many more soldiers to continue and so victory of war may come through such a series of organised defeats. Even Persian kings respected more the lifes of their men than Roman aristocrats.

The above is something that was not just done once, it was bread and butter for Roman leadership. Do not expect any Ceasar, any Cicero or any pro-Roman apologist Greek writer to have written anything of this. Who would ever go out to say openly that the Roman tactic was to consume the lifes of soldiers to achieve not a battle victory but winning the greater goal of imperialist expansion. Who among Romans would ever admit that the only role of the allies and vassals in the Roman army was to be sent as bait to the enemy provoke a slaughter and get finished with both the enemy as well as the ally who was of course also a potential enemy. Victory was achieved as well as total order established among allies who would not have the forces to think of doing anything 'naughty' in future.

Under this format, the Roman army was never to become tactical efficient. And so often this hit really hard Romans as for example during the wars with Carthagenians where nothing was done to prevent losing whole armies with the dead of single battles numbering more than Alexander's total campaign numbers causing Rome to grief for years. Said this, we have to take the Roman army and their politics/diplomacy as a whole. We have to understand where this army came and what was its disposition. I do not at all propose that the Roman army was of low value. I only propose that in terms of tactical efficiency it had a far inferior level to what most people think today. As an army, the Roman army was far more organised than most Greek armies out there working along complete lines of supplies, having (after Marius reforms) a more centralised management, weaponry provision training, camps etc. The average Roman soldier received a descent training on all weapons including horseriding, was a fearsome fighter on his own, very adaptable to a change of leadership and styles, and could act independent on the battle field (this of course partly the result of the aforementioned will of Roman aristocracy to see him "consumed"). For an Imperial army employing vast numbers of soldiers, the post-Marius Roman legionaire had a surprisingly good armor and weaponry that could roughly match the earlier super-armed but extra-expensive Greek hoplites (though note that at the times of the conquest of Greece Roman soldiers carried vastly inferior weaponry and armor, the latter if any...). Hence, as an army, the Roman army strived to be a standardised tool in the hands of the leadership, a tool that bad or good had to work at all times.

Contrary to the above the Greek armies were a high-end or a low-end. Do not think I am thinking too high of all Greek armies. A large number of Greek cities, confederations and kingdoms had nothing more than a bunch of half-trained levies. Especially in South Italy were "mercenary" was the keyword, field armies were rarely of exceptional quality no matter if their anti-siege technology (even much prior to Archimedes) was understandably superb as Athenians had found out. Ionians never managed to field quality armies losing to every invader that came there waiting for mainland Greeks to free them - arguably terrain never aided them (you cannot defend in the coastline of Minor Asia anyway). The Miletian naval force during the Ionian revolt was deplorable - they were not trained enough and they could not even comprehend the need for further drills! In mainland, most states were all about small armies revolving around a few upper class super-warriors fighting like robots and a bunch of peasantry fighting light. The Macedonian army as late as just prior to Philip II's reforms was nothing more than a copy of almost Homeric-like village fighters and more or less so where all pre-hoplite armies in the rest of Greece. It was wars like those between Eretria and Chalkis (Lilantine war in the late 8th century) and Sparta and Argos in the 7th century that formed the newer tactics like the apparition of the hoplite phalanx soon adopted by many (but not all, vast areas never formed such, Thessalians did not have that, Aetolians neither, Macedonians jumped directly to their own version of phalanx, Epirots followed the Macedonian example). Even so, not all states ever developed highly skilled phalanx armies, it was not as easy nor as straightforward. You need money to buy hyper-expensive weaponry and lots of time (like Spartan and Macedonian professional armies had!) to train. Then you see that you could never adopt hoplite tactics in a vast army like the Roman or the Persian. It would be impossible to move around 100,000 hoplites and their armors for 1000s of km. Philip's reforms and the introduction of the sarissa that required a much lighter outfit could be the result of the effort to scale down both overall weight as well as expenses and logistics. In that, this particular Greek army was the rare outcome of a long tradition of seeking tactical excellence which solved the inherent mobility and combining experiences became the most successful army in history. But one could not expect this to work 200 years after it for international corporations that had been the syncretic, largely Imperial, largely capitalist Hellenistic Kingdoms that bore little similarity to the social structures that had built them which had given birth to that military excellence.

What Romans presented against that was something simpler that good or bad, under good or bad leadership, was working. You could thus arm and train 300,000 men and dispatch successively until final victory. Smart strategy. Admireable long term policy. But military tactical excellency certainly not.

Sorry for the extense of the reply, I hope I cleared out any grey areas of my position.

Nikos (Νικόλαος)
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#52
Quote:Then you see that you could never adopt hoplite tactics in a vast army like the Roman or the Persian. It would be impossible to move around 100,000 hoplites and their armors for 1000s of km. Philip's reforms and the introduction of the sarissa that required a much lighter outfit could be the result of the effort to scale down both overall weight as well as expenses and logistics.

Not sure where you are getting this from. All that a hoplite needed to be a hoplite was an aspis and a dory. Its clear from the Anabasis just how little heavy armor the mercs had. Xenophon's march shows that obviously a hoplite army could march very far in hoplite kit. Unless hoplites ate more than Sarissaphoroi, I don't buy your argument. The aspis was surely a burden, but no more so than sarissa. I've read that during the 30yrs war pikemen regularly chopped down their pikes or simply "lost" them because of the hardship of moving them.

Add to this that, generations before Alexander, a hoplite-heavy army "conquored" Persia for Cyrus just before he lost it and his life.
Paul M. Bardunias
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A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#53
Quote:Add to this that, generations before Alexander, a hoplite-heavy army "conquored" Persia for Cyrus just before he lost it and his life.

What now? The first time the army met imperial resistance, its march was stopped in its tracks.
Real name - Peteris Racinskis
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#54
Quote:Not sure where you are getting this from. All that a hoplite needed to be a hoplite was an aspis and a dory. Its clear from the Anabasis just how little heavy armor the mercs had. Xenophon's march shows that obviously a hoplite army could march very far in hoplite kit. Unless hoplites ate more than Sarissaphoroi, I don't buy your argument. The aspis was surely a burden, but no more so than sarissa. I've read that during the 30yrs war pikemen regularly chopped down their pikes or simply "lost" them because of the hardship of moving them.

Polybius also stressed the strain of bearing the sarisa during the march (18.18.3.1).
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#55
Quote:What now? The first time the army met imperial resistance, its march was stopped in its tracks.

Considering that this did not happen until the army was almost to Babylon, I think my point is made. The fact that the Greeks could not induce any of the available Persians to capitolize on the tactical victory at Cunaxa tells us nothing about the ability to move hoplites long distances.

As for being stopped it its tracks, Xenophon seems to have not believed so:

Anabasis 2.1.4
Quote:Clearchus, however, said: “Well, would that Cyrus were alive! but since he is dead, carry back word to Ariaeus that, for our part, we have defeated the King, that we have no enemy left, as you see, to fight with, and that if you had not come, we should now be marching against the King. And we promise Ariaeus that, if he will come here, we will set him upon the royal throne; for to those who are victorious in battle belongs also the right to rule.”
Paul M. Bardunias
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A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#56
Quote:
Quote:Then you see that you could never adopt hoplite tactics in a vast army like the Roman or the Persian. It would be impossible to move around 100,000 hoplites and their armors for 1000s of km. Philip's reforms and the introduction of the sarissa that required a much lighter outfit could be the result of the effort to scale down both overall weight as well as expenses and logistics.

Not sure where you are getting this from. All that a hoplite needed to be a hoplite was an aspis and a dory...>
>...Its clear from the Anabasis just how little heavy armor the mercs had. Xenophon's march shows that obviously a hoplite army could march very far in hoplite kit. ...>
>...I don't buy your argument.

I welcome your refusal to buy my argument since my argumentation is based on common logic and simple weight calculations than any direct reference of ancient sources in this case. So I do need to test it myself (do not think I am vertical on my opinion here).

But then we have first to set our definitions:

- Do we use the term hoplite in the ancient sense, man at arms? Because that could be whatever type of soldier.
- Or in the modern sense of a heavily armed infanrty fighting mostly in dense formations?

I did the 2nd, you do seem to choose the first and historically you are more correct than me.

So I was referring strictly to hoplite heavy infantry dense formation tactics. I do believe on the basis of the mere equipment that this could not had been easily transported and then of course worn by an important % of vanguard and rear-guards during long campaigns.

You refer to Xenophon where we see that the mercenary hoplites that campaigned deep into Asia became considerably aleviated in relation to the established mid 5th century standard. But this was mostly in their exit phase - in which they used every other skill of theirs on top of their dense hoplite formations! Earlier in the battle of Cunaxa they seem to had taken their traditional role of heavier infantry which implies heavier equipment than just a shield and a spear. They were a mere 13,000, so no problem for Cyrus's vastly bigger army plus non-combattants to carry such equipment. Alexander had too heavier troops but they were just a fraction of his troops. What he could not have is an army of say 30-40,000 heavy hoplites carrying their own stuff all over the place. This was possible for 200-300 kms if extraordinary events required it but impossible for several 1000s.

Now, could an aleviated hoplite force resort to phalanx tactics? Yes it could. Indeed you need just a spear and a shield to achieve the basics. Would it be successful? Yes, but as a dense formation only against an equally aleviated enemy that decided to face them head on. If having opposite a heavily-clad "proper" phalanx they would stand no chance and any descent leader would turn them into a short of hoplite-peltasts trying rather to harass than rally hit head-on. We could still call them hoplites, others would be tempted to call them peltasts. This was shown repeatedly during the Peloponesian war: the increased need for mobility coupled by strained economics meant that phalanxes had scaled down their needs in terms of equipment which actually led to the huge employment of non-phalanx tactics with light infantry and peltats even becoming prime troops something quite unthinkable 100-150 years earlier. When later on in 4th century proper phalanxes regained their place, heavy armors were back too.

So attention that the mere title "Greek soldier" or "hoplite" does not equate to strict hoplite tactics. Greek hoplites were versed in a much wider spectrum of warfare than dense formations. But in my above statement I was implying "proper hoplite tactics". I.e. lots of weight and dense formations.

So what I meant above was that, it was tactically impossible to send a sizeable army of "proper" heavy Greek hoplites in a distant campaign abroad. Practically it could had been possible but only after sending extraordinary wasteful amounts of... minions backing their logistics, which would end up in winning a couple of battles and losing the overall war. It simply was not feasible. Romans moved their average weight-equiped army only after taking decades of painstakingly organising allies and bases and provisions and still in most of their Empire making they were not really heavily clad as the hoplite mostly carrying an oval shield (one that was not really that difficult to make on spot too) a spear and a light type pot-helmet. But then even so, they had all these Greek navies to carry their troops. Even their later more sophisticated equipment like the chain armors were easier to make on the spot - its chain rings! - no1 reason that made this type popular. The more complex lorica segmentatas are mostly found in proximity campaigns (eg. in the Danubian area) and only on the western fronts associated with established bases and camps - i.e. not moving far away from basis. They are almost totally absent for the longer campaigns of the Eastern front throughout the centuries, perhaps for apparent reasons of logistics. Now, the typical Hoplite equipment from armors (composite linothoraces) to helmets (corinthian or attic ones) to shields (composite ones with particular inner structure) was of higher standards and more complex so that it had to be made prior and carried to battle, where there would be no base around. Scale it down? Yes feasible but then what, hoplites with shields and spears? Or peltasts? They would certainly not involve the same tactics as a heavy, "proper", hoplite.

The Macedonian army ended up altering all-together the rules of the earlier hoplite game. By increasing the length of their pikes they then needed lighter equipment (up to a maximum of 1/3 of earlier weight) and of course much cheaper one. As for the pikes, for the majority of them this could imply carrying only the heads, joints and savroters.The heavy wood needed could be supplied on the spot. But still even if they carried the totality, the overall weight was still a bit smaller but then the economics involved were of considerably lower scale. They knew were to find wood that was not difficult nor too expensive, nor would it be so difficult to treat the wood into the shape of the pike's components - I guess a large number of soldiers would be themselves well versed in doing so, if not part of standard training for all.

Nikos (Νικόλαος)
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#57
Quote:Considering that this did not happen until the army was almost to Babylon, I think my point is made.
1. The Greeks were just one flank of the army;
2. The first time Artaxerxes checked the march, he stopped it - this point still stands. He probably couldn't go west because the Egyptians were making forays into Palestine as well - by marching west he would expose his supply lines to the other rebels who were in contact with Kuruš.
Quote: The fact that the Greeks could not induce any of the available Persians to capitolize on the tactical victory at Cunaxa tells us nothing about the ability to move hoplites long distances.
What? No, seriously, what on earth... Tactical victory? Most of the rebel army (specifically the part that was under feudal obligation to fight, not mere mercenaries) was routed and forced to surrender, the rebel camp was taken and looted, and the "victorious" right was unable to force any kind of engagement. The usurper was dead and the cause was lost on the spot. Where is the victory again?
Quote:As for being stopped it its tracks, Xenophon seems to have not believed so:
Xenophon was heavily involved, so I wouldn't take his opinion without a pinch of salt. Or rather a bucket.
Quote:Clearchus, however, said: “Well, would that Cyrus were alive! but since he is dead, carry back word to Ariaeus that, for our part, we have defeated the King, that we have no enemy left, as you see, to fight with, and that if you had not come, we should now be marching against the King.
Aha. They chased off a fraction of the imperial host, and now they are somehow able to defeat the entire army?
Quote:And we promise Ariaeus that, if he will come here, we will set him upon the royal throne; for to those who are victorious in battle belongs also the right to rule.”
They can promise whatever they want. Arieus had been routed and his lord was dead.

Of course, to the Greeks the victor is marked by the retention of the field. So they would view a tactical retreat on the part of the enemy as a victory, especially when they have to recount their story to their fellow countrymen back home. To the Persians - not so much. The victor of any engagement is the one who holds the upper hand after it, and can pursue some strategic goal. The Greeks were a part of a defeated army, and a part that was not of primary concern to the emperor because unlike the feudal troops under Ariaeus, they had no personal stake in the matter apart from gold.
Real name - Peteris Racinskis
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#58
Quote:Earlier in the battle of Cunaxa they seem to had taken their traditional role of heavier infantry which implies heavier equipment than just a shield and a spear.

You seem to believe that a full hoplite panoply was needed to fight in a hoplite phalanx. I do not believe this. All you need is an aspis and dory. If you have the money you you would have more equipement, up to the idealized panoply of bronze thorax, helmet, greaves, etc. But this is not needed to fight in a hoplite phalanx. The scramble Xenophon writes of to find armor for the men who were made into cavalry implies to me that much of the infantry never had any.

Quote:What he could not have is an army of say 30-40,000 heavy hoplites carrying their own stuff all over the place. This was possible for 200-300 kms if extraordinary events required it but impossible for several 1000s.

Leaving aside that much of the time shields would be carried by slaves or in carts, the average hoplite with a ~7 kg aspis and 8' dory surely had no more trouble marching than a sarissaphoroi with a smaller shield, but much heavier and more unweildy weapon. Some percentage of Alexander's sarissaphoroi wore body armor and metal helmets after all- just as SOME hoplites did. A Roman with Scutum and chain mail and multiple pila would weigh more than an average hoplite.

Quote:As for the pikes, for the majority of them this could imply carrying only the heads, joints and savroters.The heavy wood needed could be supplied on the spot.

I find that statement improbable, can you source it? I would love to fight an enemy that marches with a spearhead in its hands trusting to find the right trees on its march and hoping that I will wait while the whittle.
Paul M. Bardunias
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#59
Quote:1. The Greeks were just one flank of the army;
2. The first time Artaxerxes checked the march, he stopped it - this point still stands. He probably couldn't go west because the Egyptians were making forays into Palestine as well - by marching west he would expose his supply lines to the other rebels who were in contact with Kuruš.

All of which is irrelevent to my original point, which was that a hoplite army could march to Babylon.

Quote:What? No, seriously, what on earth... Tactical victory? Most of the rebel army (specifically the part that was under feudal obligation to fight, not mere mercenaries) was routed and forced to surrender, the rebel camp was taken and looted, and the "victorious" right was unable to force any kind of engagement. The usurper was dead and the cause was lost on the spot. Where is the victory again?

No need to take that tone. Half the army routed? Show me a hoplite battle where that didn't happen. The definition of a tactical victory is that you defeat the enemy in battle. It was of course a strategic defeat.

Quote:Aha. They chased off a fraction of the imperial host, and now they are somehow able to defeat the entire army?

No, they first defeated a fraction of the host, then awaited the rest, then defeated them a second time:

Quote:And when the Greeks saw that the enemy were near them and in battle-order, they again struck up the paean and advanced to the attack much more eagerly than before; [11] and the barbarians once again failed to await the attack, but took to flight when at a greater distance from the Greeks than they were the first time.

Quote:of course, to the Greeks the victor is marked by the retention of the field. So they would view a tactical retreat on the part of the enemy as a victory, especially when they have to recount their story to their fellow countrymen back home. To the Persians - not so much. The victor of any engagement is the one who holds the upper hand after it, and can pursue some strategic goal.

And if Ariaeus or Tissaphernes had taken up the Greek offer, show me what in the battle account or the following anabasis leads you to believe that the Persians could have stopped them. Would their strategy have been to "tactically withdraw" to Bactria? "Tactically withdrawing" behind some city walls would be a better plan.

I have very little faith in purpoted feigned retreats by infantry that included egyptian hoplites. But even if we believe that, it would have been done precisely because the Persians could not stand up to Greek hoplites. Far simpler is that they met, and the Persians broke, with a result that is the same as a tactical withdrawal.
Paul M. Bardunias
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A Spartan, being asked a question, answered "No." And when the questioner said, "You lie," the Spartan said, "You see, then, that it is stupid of you to ask questions to which you already know the answer!"
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#60
Quote:[quote]Then you see that you could never adopt hoplite tactics in a vast army like the Roman or the Persian. It would be impossible to move around 100,000 hoplites and their armors for 1000s of km. Philip's reforms and the introduction of the sarissa that required a much lighter outfit could be the result of the effort to scale down both overall weight as well as expenses and logistics.

I do not understand how you would come to such conclusions. What do you mean by hoplitic tactics and why would it be impossible to adopt in large Persian or Roman armies? Why would it be impossible to move around 100,000 hoplites and what do you mean by "moving around"? How come you believe that the overall outfit encumbrance that a sarisa bearing hoplite would suffer under was less than that suffered by a traditional hoplite?

Quote:[quote]
So I was referring strictly to hoplite heavy infantry dense formation tactics. I do believe on the basis of the mere equipment that this could not had been easily transported and then of course worn by an important % of vanguard and rear-guards during long campaigns.

Why would it not be easily transported? What do you mean? Hoplitic gear would be worn during march, especially when in the proximity of the enemy no matter the era. Servants are attested bringing the shields to the men which would mean that they would have been sometimes carried in carriages or by beats of burden near the place where each hoplite would be posted but often, shields would be carried for hours, when the enemy was following near or while they were being harassed.

Quote:[quote]
You refer to Xenophon where we see that the mercenary hoplites that campaigned deep into Asia became considerably aleviated in relation to the established mid 5th century standard. But this was mostly in their exit phase - in which they used every other skill of theirs on top of their dense hoplite formations! Earlier in the battle of Cunaxa they seem to had taken their traditional role of heavier infantry which implies heavier equipment than just a shield and a spear. They were a mere 13,000, so no problem for Cyrus's vastly bigger army plus non-combattants to carry such equipment. Alexander had too heavier troops but they were just a fraction of his troops. What he could not have is an army of say 30-40,000 heavy hoplites carrying their own stuff all over the place. This was possible for 200-300 kms if extraordinary events required it but impossible for several 1000s.

The 13,000 were not all hoplites and were followed by many camp-followers, slaves, women, children and their baggage train was long. They were actually no different from any normal Greek hoplitic army. They of course made rearrangements, they strengthened the light branch of the army. During the march home, they certainly behaved like heavy hoplitic infantry, deploying in dense formations. Why would there ever be a force of 30-40,000 men without any other support troops or baggage train?

Quote:[quote]
Now, could an aleviated hoplite force resort to phalanx tactics? Yes it could. Indeed you need just a spear and a shield to achieve the basics. Would it be successful? Yes, but as a dense formation only against an equally aleviated enemy that decided to face them head on. If having opposite a heavily-clad "proper" phalanx they would stand no chance and any descent leader would turn them into a short of hoplite-peltasts trying rather to harass than rally hit head-on. We could still call them hoplites, others would be tempted to call them peltasts. This was shown repeatedly during the Peloponesian war: the increased need for mobility coupled by strained economics meant that phalanxes had scaled down their needs in terms of equipment which actually led to the huge employment of non-phalanx tactics with light infantry and peltats even becoming prime troops something quite unthinkable 100-150 years earlier. When later on in 4th century proper phalanxes regained their place, heavy armors were back too.

What do hoplites have to do with peltasts? We actually have not one text that describes an Iphicatean peltast in action and no hoplite carrying what many call a "hoplon", would ever be called a peltast, even if naked. And how come you think that light infantry was not as important in or before the Persian Wars?

Quote:[quote]
So what I meant above was that, it was tactically impossible to send a sizeable army of "proper" heavy Greek hoplites in a distant campaign abroad. Practically it could had been possible but only after sending extraordinary wasteful amounts of... minions backing their logistics, which would end up in winning a couple of battles and losing the overall war. It simply was not feasible. Romans moved their average weight-equiped army only after taking decades of painstakingly organising allies and bases and provisions and still in most of their Empire making they were not really heavily clad as the hoplite mostly carrying an oval shield (one that was not really that difficult to make on spot too) a spear and a light type pot-helmet.

Now, the typical Hoplite equipment from armors (composite linothoraces) to helmets (corinthian or attic ones) to shields (composite ones with particular inner structure) was of higher standards and more complex so that it had to be made prior and carried to battle, where there would be no base around. Scale it down? Yes feasible but then what, hoplites with shields and spears? Or peltasts? They would certainly not involve the same tactics as a heavy, "proper", hoplite.

Why would Greeks require a train that would be larger than usual? Why, should they have the unity to attempt such an endeavor, wouldn't they be able to campaign with large numbers? If they wanted to they would.

Long marches in enemy territory was nothing new nor were they rare to the Greeks. It does not matter if you march 100 or 1,000 miles into hostile territory, since the burden for each day would have been the same as would be the need for constant protection. When ships would be available they would use them of course, when not, they would not. The examples are numerous. The 10,000, Agesilaus march home, the march of the Athenians in Sicily, all these are examples of hoplitic armies marching for days and long distances. And what do you mean by distant campaigns? If the troops get to their objective on ships? I have kinda lost you here.

Quote:[quote]The Macedonian army ended up altering all-together the rules of the earlier hoplite game. By increasing the length of their pikes they then needed lighter equipment (up to a maximum of 1/3 of earlier weight) and of course much cheaper one. As for the pikes, for the majority of them this could imply carrying only the heads, joints and savroters.The heavy wood needed could be supplied on the spot. But still even if they carried the totality, the overall weight was still a bit smaller but then the economics involved were of considerably lower scale. They knew were to find wood that was not difficult nor too expensive, nor would it be so difficult to treat the wood into the shape of the pike's components - I guess a large number of soldiers would be themselves well versed in doing so, if not part of standard training for all.

The Macedonian army did not require lighter armor, the problem was that the arms were state-issued and the overall quality/heaviness could not match that of a rich city, where each hoplite was responsible to procure, not just maintain his individual equipment. Of course, a Macedonian could not use the large hoplon, this is why they adopted the Macedonian pelte, which was a sophisticated piece of equipment. The refs state that they carried them upright on the march and that they were considered very burdensome. I guess they could have been carried in carriages when in friendly territory, but I do not know if they were or whether the generals felt it would be good exercise to have their men train in the hardships of war.

Anyways, Nicanor, I fail to understand why you think that the reason why Greeks did not employ huge armies in a limited period has to do with their armament rather than with the political reality of the era. There was no united Greece, no security at home, of course no single Greek state could send a huge army on a campaign and keep the required troops back home. I think that this is a much more plausible reason than simple inability.
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