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Alexander the Great was antiquity\'s greatest commander
#16
Quote:Politically Spartan kings like Agesilaus and Cleomenes dominated the political field in Sparta; the same does not seem to be true for Leonidas.

I have the impression he was a true Spartan, still fighting in the field, rather than a political figure. This would also have driven him, after hearing the words of the oracle, to lead the men into battle leaving the other king, which seems to be Leotychidas, and the regents to rule until his son became of age?
Quote:His death was very inspiring, after the Greeks won, but at the time I don’t see the Greeks being all that cheerful about it. The navy at Artemisium was not exactly cheering when it left and Herodotus describes it as a disaster (8.27).

I meant in the respect that it gave the Greeks a new initiative to fight back. Leonidas and the others had bought them a little more time.
Quote:Compare the Lamian war - Nobody talks a lot about the battle of Crannon, except to mention in was somehow a ‘crushing’ defeat for the Greeks in 322 BC (and of course because there is no detailed report about the battle). The reality is that Crannon was not much of a defeat; the Athenian lead Greeks outnumbered by Antipater almost 2:1 fought Alexander’s veteran troops and marshals to a standstill and retired in good order. The Athenians were simply out resourced; they provided the bulk of the army and the entire Greek navy. With part of their fleet tied down watching Antipater’s fleet, the remainder (~170-180+) ships was overmatched by Kleitos and the 240 or so ships he brought from Asia in a series of 2 or 3 battles around Amorgos. Crannon was something of a dice roll by the Greeks with the Macedonian fleet victorious it was worth one last try to get lucky; if they could pull off a smashing victory and maybe kill another Macedonian general or two, than they might still have a chance. A close fought, even battle was not enough (unfortunately).
To be honest, I hadn't heard of Crannon...I don't know all the various Diadochi battles..
Is that another Kleitos?

Laudes :wink:
Cristina
The Hoplite Association
[url:n2diviuq]http://www.hoplites.org[/url]
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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#17
Quote:
Vortigern Studies:rtkk2ikp Wrote:Their commander is not remembered as one of the British' greatest generals!
They don't tend to make lists like that about the Britons...only the Romano Britons and the Saxons....and Mynyddawg was from North of the Vallum...!

What do you mean about such lists? The Gododddin poem is very British. And 'Minidog' Big Grin may have been from the north, but he did not lead the army that went into battle!
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#18
Quote:Did you include the Roman general Venditius..? He was the only one who was successful against the Parthians...

Quote:TIER 2
...
Publius Ventidius Brassus

Same guy, although the late Sir Ronald Syme argued that the cognomen Bassus is a mistake.

Quote:Latomus[/i] 17, 1958, p.78,":3vpw0dai]The greater part of warfare is movement and supply. Caesar discovered and promoted the army-contractor Ventidius, who became a general of splendid talent. By a swift march after the campaign of Mutina he saved Antonius from destruction; and he was more than a match for the mobile Parthians. Ventidius is not the only example of business capacity applied to warfare. ...
posted by Duncan B Campbell
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#19
I would like to loudly applaud the position of Philip of Macedon on the list.
Marshal White

aka Aulus FABULOUS 8) <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cool.gif" alt="8)" title="Cool" />8) . . . err, I mean Fabius

"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
- Pericles, Son of Athens
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#20
Quote:What do you mean about such lists? The Gododddin poem is very British.
We have lists that include Ambrosius Aurelianus and Macsen Wledig aka Magnus Maximus (a favourite of Comitatus..lol) and Arthur (of course)
but how many lists do you see that include Rhydderch Hael, Cadwallon or Coel Hen- even if he was the Dux Britanniarum...? Most people know the latter from the nursery rhyme... Big Grin ! (yes, they usually are surprised to find out he was really a British warrior king...!)

Quote:And 'Minidog' Big Grin may have been from the north, but he did not lead the army that went into battle!
Didn't he....I thought they were his men :oops: Cynon...?
Cristina
The Hoplite Association
[url:n2diviuq]http://www.hoplites.org[/url]
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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#21
Quote:So why does Leonidas deserve to be in TIER 3.

He lost the only significant battle he ever fought, was not noted as being involved in any of the strategic decisions of the campaign, etc.

Wars are won by breaking your enemy's will to fight and I know of no other battle in the ancient world that accomplished this more then Leonidas stand in that mountain pass, not to mention the fact that he was a spartan king at the age of fifty. thats atlest 20 diffrent wars he fought in before thermopylae. Now I'm not saying hes the greatest general of all time but Xenophon has a place in Tier 3 and his career wasn't much better
Valour is the strength, not of arms and legs,but of the heart and soul
-Lee
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#22
Quote:I know of no other battle in the ancient world that accomplished this more then Leonidas stand in that mountain pass

To play the devil's advocate, I can think of one: Caesar at Uxellodorum (where he amputated the hands of several thousand Gauls as an example
Marshal White

aka Aulus FABULOUS 8) <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cool.gif" alt="8)" title="Cool" />8) . . . err, I mean Fabius

"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
- Pericles, Son of Athens
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#23
touche
but that wasn't so much the battle as the aftermath
Valour is the strength, not of arms and legs,but of the heart and soul
-Lee
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#24
Quote: Wars are won by breaking your enemy's will to fight and I know of no other battle in the ancient world that accomplished this more then Leonidas stand in that mountain pass,

I just don’t see any breaking of will – the Persians defeated Leonidas and marched on… Artemisium and Salamis broke the ability of Persia to sustain the invasion; they never lost will to will to until after Eurymedon River and even then they simply moved to other means giving up only armed invasion.

Quote: not to mention the fact that he was a spartan king at the age of fifty. thats atlest 20 diffrent wars he fought in before thermopylae. Now I'm not saying hes the greatest general of all time but Xenophon has a place in Tier 3 and his career wasn't much better

That’s a possible assumption; but wars at best your mostly talking about would have minor actions in the Peloponnesus, that are largely undocumented and in which Leonidas was not prominently noted in relation to any innovative strategy or tactics.

I’m not denying Leonidas’ bravery, but rather just that based on the extent record there seems little evidence to rate him T3 - he was at best competent but I would argue that you can also concluded possibly quite a bit less than competent. The problem is (as I see it) that even if you argue Leonidas was competent and effective T3 would seem to demand more otherwise we would have to add thousands of commanders across antiquity…

Given that the Greeks won and Sparta’s (not to mention the anti-democratic, pro Spartan literary set at Athens) desperate need to find an answer to the fact that the naval rabble of Athens (and Aigina) saved Greece (and not to forget Sparta’s rather grudging and late participation – missed Marathon, only stirred north of the Isthmus with token forces until Athens practically threatened to join Persia) combined with the PR black eye that was Pausanias (and he no peach command wise either unable to mange his maneuvering at Plataea and dithering when battle was upon him) it is important to separate the post-victory mythologizing from the actual event. At the time the Greeks seemed to have expected Leonidas to hold the pass for more than just 3 days, which is ‘does not meet expectations’ not a good resume item.
Paul Klos

\'One day when I fly with my hands -
up down the sky,
like a bird\'
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#25
There was a reason that Xerxes had Leonidas's body mutilated and crucified, rather than honour him, as any decent person would have done (look at Alexander and Darius).
Not only that Leonidas refused to be a vassal of Xerxes and took a fair few of his Immortals down along with the rest of the Persian army (talking as a collective of Spartans and Thespiaens under his command, as well as Leonidas himself)
Xerxes was scared and even jealous of Leonidas, a man who could compel such bravery from his men that they died trying to protect his body. Leonidas shamed Xerxes , he shamed the whole Persian army.
Alexander was the only man to conquer the Persian army, Leonidas as well as Alexander shamed them.
Cristina
The Hoplite Association
[url:n2diviuq]http://www.hoplites.org[/url]
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
-
Reply
#26
Look I dont mean to say that "bold Leonidas and his brave 300" single handedly won the war and saved greece, or that they were the greatest ones to ever draw a sword, but Leonidas is well whorthy of being in tier 3.and as for breaking the will of his enemy, the Persain army marched into greece expecting little resistence along the way to Athens. The stand of the 7 thousand changed that, and yes I know they had lost 10 years before at Marathon but loseing when you have 3 to 1 odds and loseing when you have 200 to 1 odds are a bit diffrent.
I also know we do not have any records of the vast amount of wars fought by Sparta in Leonidas life but we do know that sparta went to war just about every summer and that Leonidas was the more war like out of the two spartan kings, so its logical that he was a very experinced and skilled leader of men at arms. And I dont exactly inspireing all the rest of greece to fight to the death a "failute to meet expectations". Any man willing to make that sacriface so the rest of his men can get away safely is for damn sure the actions of a worthy and great general
Valour is the strength, not of arms and legs,but of the heart and soul
-Lee
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#27
worthy*
Valour is the strength, not of arms and legs,but of the heart and soul
-Lee
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#28
Although he was defeated at Issus and Gaugamela, I think that Darius III Codomannus deserves a place. He was a very brave man and a great organizer: take the cost of life in Babylon when he was mustering an army (the same as usual) and compare it to 323, when Alexander was there (prizes sky high). Or take the brilliance of his campaign in 331: Alexander behaved like a puppet and walked straight into the trap Darius had set at Gaugamela. Darius would have won, if the omens had been better; see my essay over here or the website here.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
My website
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#29
Quote: There was a reason that Xerxes had Leonidas's body mutilated and crucified, rather than honour him, as any decent person would have done (look at Alexander and Darius).
Why make it a character thing? Why say Xerxes was indecent? He was a very powerful king of a superpower, and in his view the Greeks were pain-in-the-ass rebels. Kings do such things with rebels, why classify that as indecent?
Alexander and Darius is not really a comparison, Alexander saw Darius as an equal, never as a rebel against his rule.

Quote:Xerxes was scared and even jealous of Leonidas, a man who could compel such bravery from his men that they died trying to protect his body. Leonidas shamed Xerxes , he shamed the whole Persian army.
Scared and jealous? I think not. In Xerxes’ view, Leonidas was a rebel and a criminal, comparable to Spartacus in the eyes of Crassus. And his body was treated in that view – I’ve little doubt that he would have been treated similarly if taken alive.

Do we even know that Leonidas’ body was fought over? We know that Herodotus tries to write like Homer, and his depiction of this phase of the battle may well be modelled solely on how Homer describes the mythic battles around Troy – it’s not based on eyewitness accounts.

Quote:Alexander was the only man to conquer the Persian army, Leonidas as well as Alexander shamed them.
I thought that in-between these battles, Greek armies proved to be a problem for Persian armies – the Persians were unable to defeat Xenophon’s Greeks in battle as well as in retreat, for instance. And I recall there were some naval victories too?
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#30
Quote:Although he was defeated at Issus and Gaugamela, I think that Darius III Codomannus deserves a place. He was a very brave man and a great organizer: take the cost of life in Babylon when he was mustering an army (the same as usual) and compare it to 323, when Alexander was there (prizes sky high). Or take the brilliance of his campaign in 331: Alexander behaved like a puppet and walked straight into the trap Darius had set at Gaugamela. Darius would have won, if the omens had been better; see my essay over here or the website here.

So, I didn't see any mention in your article of Parmenion's struggle for survival on the left wing? The Persian's right seemingly ferocious attack on the Macedonian left doesn't seem like the kind of action that would be taken by men who were voiding their bowels in fear. Nor, unless I'm mistaken, did they give up the fight until Alexander and the Companions returned from their attack on Darius and broke the Persian right.
Marshal White

aka Aulus FABULOUS 8) <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_cool.gif" alt="8)" title="Cool" />8) . . . err, I mean Fabius

"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
- Pericles, Son of Athens
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