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Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks
Good informative post , Bryan Smile . Many people working out "average" march speeds neglect to allow for 'rest' stops, meal stops, time taken to move a large army out of campetc, or the inevitable delays to a large body of men, such as passing a defile, or crossing a stream and so on, which generally mean the actual pace is more like 4 mph, in order to obtain those 'average' speeds. Greeks and Romans both used similar 'open' formations on the march. Hoplites often had a 'batman' to carry heavy gear such as their shields, and they could keep up a pretty hot pace by a 'forced march' when needed. The Spartans covered the 240 km/150 mile distance to Athens in just 3 days, but even so were too late for the battle of Marathon for example.[Herodotus] For phalangites we have a number of examples, such as  the march prior to the battle of Pisidia 320 BC. Antigonos Monophthalmos marched to this battle against Alketas with an army of about 47,000 for seven consecutive days, at around 40 miles a day.
Diodorus [XVIII.44-46]says ;
"Making a forced march that strained the endurance of his men to the utmost, he traversed 2,500 stades(285 miles, 457 km ) in seven days and the same number of nights, reaching Cretopolis as it is called."

For Romans there are also plenty of examples, such as Nero's forced march to the Metaurus to help defeat Hasdrubal in the second Punic War.Livy, 27.43-49: C. Claudius Nero marches some 250 miles in seven days to reinforce M. Livius Salinator at Metaurus. This averages at 35,7 miles a day. Livy mentions that "there was no loitering, no straggling, no halt except while taking food; they marched day and night; they gave to rest hardly enough time for the needs of their bodies."

Depending on the size of the army, the terrain, weather, whether a baggage train was present etc, a rough guide to a 'normal' marching rate would be 12-24 miles per day.

There are a number of threads on this subject here on RAT if you search......

Whether something is "a good idea" or not is often the basis for speculation about aspects of ancient warfare, but this is just bad methodology, without evidence ( and AFIK there is none for a 'sub-armalis' at this time). Have you considered that  since a Greek or Roman soldier spent most of his time doing laborious work such as marching or digging, and that  he might be in battle maybe once in a campaign, that wearing a thick, heavy jerkin in the heat of a Mediterranean summer campaigning season might be a very bad idea?
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff

Messages In This Thread
RE: Phalanx warfare: Closing of the ranks - by Paullus Scipio - 09-22-2016, 08:45 PM

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