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Divers
#1
Here is a picture of an Assyrian diver on a relief that is now in the British Museum. I was wondering if similar military divers are known from Greek or Roman armies. I have never heard of them, but I may simply have read the wrong books. Anyone any thoughts?
[Image: assyrian_diver2.JPG]
Jona Lendering
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#2
A quick thought....

If I remember correctly, in Alexander`s siege of Tyre there were some kind diving activity between the opposite sides (cutting ropes of the boats etc.)...

I can`t remember the source right now, sorry!

Regards,
Virilis / Jyrki Halme
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#3
Not to nitpick, but this fellow is actually not a diver - he is just using an inflated skin to swim across a moat or a river. There are a number of such depictions in Neo-Assyrian palace reliefs, including ones showing the soldiers also carrying their shields on their backs as they swim. To the best of my certain knowledge, while they used many creative methods to *cross* water, the Assyrian military never tried to go under it. They saved their ingenuity for getting under/through/over city walls.

Best,
Jamie
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#4
The divers at Tyre are mentioned by Arrian; he does not mention inflated skins or a similar device.
Quote:he is using an inflated skin to swim across a moat or a river
Yes, that was my first thought too, cf. the picture below. However, I think the man on the first picture appears to have something in his mouth. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible that he is not a diver but an inexperienced swimmer. Do you known any publications on this guy?
[Image: rafts.JPG]
Jona Lendering
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#5
These images are impressing!!! Wow!! :o o shock: Confusedhock:
[Image: 120px-Septimani_seniores_shield_pattern.svg.png] [Image: Estalada.gif]
Ivan Perelló
[size=150:iu1l6t4o]Credo in Spatham, Corvus sum bellorum[/size]
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#6
Quote:These images are impressing
One of the delights of London: the British Museum's Assyrian department. There's a charming website here that deals with the siege of Lachish: [url:wv2gq6ah]http://www.mesopotamia.co.uk/warfare/home_set.html[/url] (if "charming is the word for war).
Jona Lendering
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#7
Quote: Yes, that was my first thought too, cf. the picture below. However, I think the man on the first picture appears to have something in his mouth. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible that he is not a diver but an inexperienced swimmer. Do you known any publications on this guy?

No, don't know of publications. There are a couple general ones about water transport in Mesopotamia by Salonen (Studia Orientalia 8 & 11), but I admittedly have not had the chance to go through them to see what is there.

I vaguely recall reading somewhere the suggestion, which I suspect is quite correct, that he holds in his mouth a tube that allows him to keep the goat skin inflated. When opportunity permits, I'll look over the representations (I have been making a database of them as I go over reliefs for armor details) and see what else I can find. It's possible that in some, they are carrying things with their teeth. One from the Southwest Palace of Sennacherib has the soldiers carrying their shields or baskets of equipment on their backs. In any case, if he were actually diving, he would certainly not be wearing a helmet.

Interesting stuff!

Best,
Jamie
LU2.DUB.SAR
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#8
Quote:he holds in his mouth a tube that allows him to keep the goat skin inflated. [...]
In any case, if he were actually diving, he would certainly not be wearing a helmet.
Good points, thanks!! I happen to be in London in April, will make a picture of this little detail.
Jona Lendering
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#9
Quote:
Quote:he holds in his mouth a tube that allows him to keep the goat skin inflated. [...]
In any case, if he were actually diving, he would certainly not be wearing a helmet.
Good points, thanks!! I happen to be in London in April, will make a picture of this little detail.
Iconographically speaking, that could identify him as a soldier... just an artistic convention.
[Image: 120px-Septimani_seniores_shield_pattern.svg.png] [Image: Estalada.gif]
Ivan Perelló
[size=150:iu1l6t4o]Credo in Spatham, Corvus sum bellorum[/size]
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#10
Quote: Iconographically speaking, that could identify him as a soldier... just an artistic convention.

Very true, Assyrian art did certainly use many such conventions. But at the same time, there are many depictions of soldiers without helmets. One wonders where their clothing and equipment is, and very likely, it was a detail simply ommitted by the artists. This sculpture is from the Northwest Palace (a.k.a., the 'Juniper Palace') of Assurnasirpal (884-859 BC) at Nimrud, and so dates to the very beginning of the Neo-Assyrian period- later, a bit mroe care was taken with detail. In a relief of Sennacherib (705-681 BC) at his Southwest Palace at Numrid (the 'Palace-Without-Rival', written extensively about by Russell), there is a depiction of soldiers swimming with inflated skins - they wear their helmets (presumably because it was easier than carrying them) and carry their equipment in cane baskets on their backs, which suggests that they did indeed cross water this way.

Here are a couple scans I made from Assyrian Sculpture in the British Museum - Assurnasirpal II (if anyone wants the full citation, I can dig it out).


[url:115wy3ny]http://members.chello.at/jamie.szudy/rASBM-AnpII_pl21.jpg[/url]

This one is the full scene that our swimmer was taken from - note that in the boat behind our swimmer is a chariot, the axel sitting on the gunwhales and the wheels hanging over the sides. They are all on their way to attack a city.


[url:115wy3ny]http://members.chello.at/jamie.szudy/rASBM-AnpII_pl13.jpg[/url]

This scene is of some other guys swimming across a moat - they appear to be enemies (that is, non-Assyrians) fleeing to their fortified city - note that they have no weapons or armor, and that one has a couple arrows in him. Dead or wounded Assyrians are NEVER shown (bad for propaganda, you know...and I will try to be good and not make any modern parallels...), so they must be enemies. Note that one of the three is swimming without the aid of an inflated skin. Also note that the other two have the inflating tube held in their mouths. I don't have the book at hand, however, so I can't check to see what inscription (if any was preserved) went with it.

Sorry, don't have a scan of the Sennacherib relief at the moment.

Best,
Jamie
LU2.DUB.SAR
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#11
Sorry for my parcially joke, but I rather like the Ninja technic about floating under water!....I always wanted to try it! :lol:


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Remarks by Philip on the Athenian Leaders:
Philip said that the Athenians were like the bust of Hermes: all mouth and dick. 
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#12
Syracusans and Athenians used divers and other naval commando tactics and are mentioned in Thukidides.
Herodotus speaks of Trachinian and Evoic divers who made a fortune salvaging things from Persian wrecks in Artemision.

Passing river on air inflated skins was mentioned by a Rodian to Xenophons 10000. The idea was rejected.

Gioi, It takes 2 weeks preparation in Naval Comando training for your suggested attempt to try the Ninja trick. If you don have a qualified instructor watching over you DO NOT do it!!!. Unless you want to leave you children orfans.

Kind regards
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#13
They are amazing.....
I am looking at the fish too, in the first one it looks to be smiling and heading for the skin... Big Grin
What type of fish are they, one looks like a dolphin in the full scan?
regards
Arthes
Cristina
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The enemy is less likely to get wind of an advance of cavalry, if the orders for march were passed from mouth to mouth rather than announced by voice of herald, or public notice. Xenophon
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#14
Quote:Passing river on air inflated skins was mentioned by a Rodian to Xenophons 10000. The idea was rejected.
Interestingly, the anonymous author of the late 4th c. de rebus Bellicis also proposed such an idea.

Quote:
Quote:he is using an inflated skin to swim across a moat or a river
Yes, that was my first thought too, cf. the picture below. However, I think the man on the first picture appears to have something in his mouth. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible that he is not a diver but an inexperienced swimmer. Do you known any publications on this guy?
[Image: rafts.JPG]
About this guy, how on earth would it be possible to float across anything sitting on that? It's instable - you'd fall off as soon as your feet don't touch the ground anymore.
I've inflated a lot of things for my kids - I know. :?
Now, if he would hang on to it with his arms, OK. But either the artist heard of it and depicted the technique all wrong, or the guy is doing something different than floating.
Robert Vermaat
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#15
Quote:
Jona Lendering:2ktc5w56 Wrote:
Quote:he is using an inflated skin to swim across a moat or a river
Yes, that was my first thought too, cf. the picture below. However, I think the man on the first picture appears to have something in his mouth. Nevertheless, it is indeed possible that he is not a diver but an inexperienced swimmer. Do you known any publications on this guy?
[Image: rafts.JPG]
About this guy, how on earth would it be possible to float across anything sitting on that? It's instable - you'd fall off as soon as your feet don't touch the ground anymore.
I've inflated a lot of things for my kids - I know. :?
Now, if he would hang on to it with his arms, OK. But either the artist heard of it and depicted the technique all wrong, or the guy is doing something different than floating.

It looks like he is holding on to something. Maybe a boat?

Damnit, I need to get to London with my digital camera...
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Volker Bach
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