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Two kinds of sarissa?
#1
My copy of Christopher Matthew's An Invincible Beast: Understanding the Hellenistic Pike Phalanx in Action came in and while I have only skimmed through it, my attention was drawn to chapter 2 on the sarissa. The author states his reasoning for why the pike came in two halves, with reenactment photos, while discussing other uses of the tube.


Quote:It is also possible that the term longche is the correct name for a pike that comes in two parts, while the sarissa could be the name for a single piece weapon - a name that later became a generic term for the Macedonian pike regardless of its configuration. If this is the case, then the Macedonian phalangite could have carried either a dual or single piece weapon depending upon the unit he was attached to and the duties that this contingent was expected to undertake. While the attribution of the term longche to a throwing/stabbing weapon used by Macedonian phalangites may not be accurate, McDonnell-Staff's conclusion that they carried such a weapon may be partially correct if it is assumed that the longche is the sarissa; either the front half or the whole pike. Either interpretation would then account for Plutarch describing pikemen as 'longche bearers'. pg. 59  

Have additional connector tubes been found? Lukewarm to the possibility of a modular pike, when no one else bothered to field any in later centuries, even the 17th Century experimenting double-armed men.
aka T*O*N*G*A*R
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#2
Matthew's book is a great read and I had the honor of reviewing the manuscript and sending back notes prior to it being published. I personally don't know of any additional connector tubes that have been found besides the well-known one from the tomb. I have always been highly skeptical of a sarissa having a connecting tube between two halves. Especially when you consider the small length of the one found, it just doesn't make sense in terms of structural integrity.
Scott B.
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#3
(04-02-2016, 08:33 PM)rocktupac Wrote: Matthew's book is a great read and I had the honor of reviewing the manuscript and sending back notes prior to it being published. I personally don't know of any additional connector tubes that have been found besides the well-known one from the tomb. I have always been highly skeptical of a sarissa having a connecting tube between two halves. Especially when you consider the small length of the one found, it just doesn't make sense in terms of structural integrity.

I'd like to see Matthew's rationale for the longche not being a throwing / thrusting spear. I cannot for the life of me see that a longche was 'half' a sarisa. Like Rocktupac, I do not hold with the connector tube theory and for much the same reasoning. I'd also add that the only (posited) one found has no nail holes thus meaning that friction alone held such together. Were I a phalangite, I'd be most concerned planting my sarisa into the enemy for fear of leaving the business half behind on withdrawal. While our sources describe infantry facing the sarisa phalanx as pulling at the weapon, none describe them pulling the business half out of this supposed connector. That can really be the only result of doing so for if the enemy cannot pull the front from the socket how does a phalangite disassemble it?

Matthew is rather well known for some 'out there' theorising.
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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#4
(04-09-2016, 07:41 AM)Paralus Wrote: I'd like to see Matthew's rationale for the longche not being a throwing / thrusting spear. I cannot for the life of me see that a longche was 'half' a sarisa. Like Rocktupac, I do not hold with the connector tube theory and for much the same reasoning. I'd also add that the onlly (posited) one found has no nail holes thus meaning that friction alone held such together. We I a phalangite, I'd be most concerned planting my sarisa into the enemy for fear of leaving the business half behind on withdrawal. While our sources describe infantry facing the sarisa phalanx as pulling at the weapon, none describe them pulling the business half out of this supposed connector. That can really be the only result of doing so for if the enemy cannot pull the front from the socket how does a phalangite disassemble it?

Completely agree! The points you make, to me, should end the debate over a connector piece.
Scott B.
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#5
If I recall correctly, Lonchae was actually not as long as half of a Sarrisa, around 2m in length or less.. Carthaginians used lonchae, yet it was stated their "spears were shorter than those of Romans".. to me, it sounds like Lonchae was most likely shorter than Hasta, or even shorter than heavier Pilum that would be also useable in close combat if needed.. but there is not a single mention of Carthaginians actually forming Pike Phalanx. Yes, Peter Connolly stated it before, but he based his theory on the use of the word "Sperai", but Greek historians used it not only with Pike Phalanx, but also with Roman Maniple or practically any formation of heavy infantry..  Plus, Romans fought Pike Phalanx during war with Pyrrhus, yet no Roman or Greek historian actually mentioned anything similar to what they described with Pyrrhus.

Some modern historians also suggest that Carthaginians might have addopted Macedonian panoply when Spartan Mercenary Xanthippus reformed them during first Punic war, yet, seems to me they kinda forget when actually Spartans adopted the Pike Phalanx themselves - at the time of Cleomenes, around 227 BC, so Spartan Xanthippos could hardly teach Carthaginians how to fight in Pike formation more than 20 years earlier...
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#6
Also, i remember reading some time ago, that Macedonian Phalangites were often called Peltast due to their shield Pelta. Yet, they were not trained just like Pikemen, but also extensively trained with javelins. Whenever there was a need, they would drop the sarissa, and instead would use lighter javelins. Specifically remember reading this regarding Roman Macedonic campaign which lead to Pydna - Macedonian troops are mentioned holding the mountain passes against Romans, fighting against them with javelins from elevated positions. They were also supposed to use these Lonchae when storming walls. Overall, i think it would be quite strange training a corps of pikemen, and then not have troops that could also fight outside of Pike Phalanx if the need occurred. More sensible would be train these men to be able to fight both within Phalanx, but also outside of it. Otherwise such force would be extremely vulnerable during marches, or during engagements in terrain not suitable for phalanx deployment..
Jaroslav Jakubov
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#7
At the labs at Vergina i had the chance to examine the infamous "link" of Andronicus. Actually only resin casts of them because the originals had been sent for an exhibition in Oxford.

There is no way that thing was a sarissa link! There is also little proof the two famous spear points belonged to the same weapon. The supposed head has a bigger diameter socket than the butt, and weigh about the same. The link has a smaller diameter than both! It also doesn't have a uniform diameter, neither a uniform thickness, being considerably thinner near its two sides, which haven't been welded together. It couldn't have been internal to the shaft either, since it is no cylindrical either, it has many sides. I wonder why people keep on reenacting the double shaft, using of course solid cylinder, of much bigger width and length, often with inserted nails...There is of course the transportation issue inside a car, I understand that, but to claim that this is based on actual finds and "theories" of archeologists...that's a plain lie!
   

   
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
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#8
I had read that this "thing" was too small to be a connector. But geez, 10 centimeters* ! that's almost comical.
Any hint to its actual use ? I think I read somewhere it may have been used to re-inforce/protect the shaft, but if its diameter won't allow it to fit over it...


*about 4 inches.
Timothee.
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#9
Connolly gives the exact measurements in his article. I don't currently have it at hand.
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
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#10
Excellent pictures! Thank you!!

I never thought a connector was needed, and from a structural standpoint it makes no sense. One would also think that more than a single example of one would have been uncovered throughout the ages. If hundreds of thousands of these things were produced (had they been connectors to sarissae), you would think one would show up somewhere else.

Great stuff!
Scott B.
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#11
(08-23-2016, 04:46 PM)Giannis K. Hoplite Wrote: Connolly gives the exact measurements in his article. I don't currently have it at hand.
Quote:The find consisted of a large "spearhead" 0.55m long weighing 1.265kg, a small "spearhead" 0.273m long weighing 0.097, a winged butt spike 0.445m long weighing 1.070kg and a tube 0.170m long for which no weight was given. Andronicos thought the tube had been used to join the 2 halves of the wooden stave. [...]

From Connolly 2000 JRMES 11. 
For further reference.
Timothee.
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#12
(08-23-2016, 05:15 PM)rocktupac Wrote: One would also think that more than a single example of one would have been uncovered throughout the ages. If hundreds of thousands of these things were produced (had they been connectors to sarissae), you would think one would show up somewhere else.

Indeed I can say the same for Roman spears, nothing has turned up in the archaeological record. Plia of course have, but only the metal parts. The closest we get to (long) spear shafts is from the Scandinavian bog finds.
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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