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Idiotes

(81 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (ἰδιώτης; idiṓtēs). The term idiotes designated a private individual who did not hold any office and did not participate in political life; in the military field idiotes was a term commonly used by historians for the simple soldier as compared to those holding command (Xen. An. 1,3,11; 3,2,32; Pol. 5,60,3; Diod. Sic. 19,4,3). In the list of men from the Ptolemaic Egyptian army the simple soldier is designated as idiotes (e.g. P Hib. 1,30,21). Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)

Lytron

(274 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (λύτρον/ lýtron, mostly used in the plural λύτρα/ lýtra). The ransom for prisoners of war was called lytron in Greek (similarly: ἄποινα/ ápoina). The expression was also used for buying the freedom of victims of piracy. Buying the freedom of prisoners was, alongside exchanging prisoners, enslaving or killing, a common practice in Greek warfare from Homeric (Hom. Il. 6,425ff.; 11,106) to Hellenistic times. According to Ducrey [1], selling into slavery was, of course, more common than buying a person's f…

Hippotoxotai

(110 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (ἱπποτοξόται; hippotoxótai). Hippotoxotai were mounted archers. The Scythians and Getae fought as hippotoxotai (Hdt. 4,46,3; Thuc. 2,96,1; Arr. Anab. 3,8,3). Hippotoxotai are documented for the Persian, Athenian, Macedonian and Hellenistic armies (Hdt. 9,49,2; Arr. Anab. 4,24,1; 5,12,2; 6,6,1; Diod. Sic. 20,113,4). During the Peloponnesian War, Athens had a squadron of 200 hippotoxotai (Thuc. 2,13,8); of these 20 served on the island of Melos, 30 in Sicily (Thuc. 5,84,1; 6,94,4), probably as skirmishers (Xen. Mem. 3,3,1). Hippotoxotai were citizens and p…

Epibatai

(191 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (ἐπιβάται; epibátai) were initially passengers on board ship (Hdt. 8,118,3), or an armed escort of soldiers serving on warships in antiquity; in Greece the epibatai were normally recruited from among the hoplites. Their numbers varied: in 494 BC ships from Chios each carried 40 epibatai (Hdt. 6,15,1), Persian ships in 480 BC carried 30 epibatai (Hdt. 7,184,2); in the Athenian fleet during the Peloponnesian War, 10 epibatai was the normal complement (Thuc. 3,94,1 and 3,95,2; cf. IG II2 1951,84f.: 11 epibatai). More epibatai were necessary on the bigger Hellenist…

Optimates

(1,147 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] The Latin term 'Optimates', found only in the plural and derived from opti mus, means 'the best'; in the works of Cicero, by far the most important source for the evidence, but also in other authors such as Livy (3,35,4; 3,39,9; 6,39,6), the word 'Optimates' is used to refer to the Roman leadership class, especially when emphasizing the difference between senatores and plebs or between Optimates and Populares . In his speech on behalf of Sestius, Cicero invests the term with considerable moral and political significance and coun…

Media, Wall of

(377 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] The wall of Media (Μηδίας τεῖχος, Mēdías teîchos) is only mentioned with this designation by Xenophon in his Anábasis, initially just in passing in connection with a defensive ditch at the Euphrates, built at the order of Artaxerxes [2] II (Xen. An. 1,7,15). Xenophon gives a comprehensive description of the wall in his report of the events following the battle of Cunaxa in 401BC (An. 2,4,12): it was supposedly 20 feet ( c. 6 m) wide, 100 feet ( c. 30 m) high, and 20 parasangs ( c. 80 km) long, built from fired bricks placed in asphalt. According to Xenophon (An. 2,1…

Armament

(2,356 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Greece The main literary source for the armaments of Greek armies of the Geometric period is the 'Iliad', and the main archaeological sources are weapon finds and vase depictions mostly from grave goods. These genres of source materials cannot always be demonstrated to be consonant, as Homer has some of his heroes use weaponry from the Mycenaean period, and these are no longer archaeologically attested (e.g. boar's tooth helmet, Il. 10,261-265; long or 'tower' shield, Il. 7,219-2…

Prodromoi

(342 words)

Author(s): Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
(πρόδρομοι/ pródromoi, 'advance runners'). [German version] [1] Wind phenomenon The north winds which blow for seven days before the heliacal rise of Sirius in the Mediterranean region. Compared with the later Etesiai, they are supposedly cooler. The seven days - like their purported relationship with Sirius and the nine days from their onset until the Etesiai - are arbitrarily determined [1; 2]. Their dates vary between 7 and 23 July (Julian calendar) (= 4 - 20 July in the Gregorian calendar). Winds Hünemörder, Christian (Hamburg) Bibliography 1 R. Böker, s. v. Windfristen, RE Su…

Toxotai

(277 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Rhodes, Peter J. (Durham)
(τοξόται/ toxótai, 'archers'). [German version] [1] Archers in general The Bow and arrow were very ancient weapons. Widespread in Greece since Mycenaean times, they were not the normal weapons of an aristocratic hero, and were held in lower esteem than the sword or the spear. Homer mentions archers and their weapons several times (for instance, Hom. Il. 4,93-126; 11,385-395; Philoctetes on Lemnos: Soph. Phil. 287-292; 707-711; 1146-1162). Near the end of the Archaic Period, Polycrates [1] of Samos relied…

Tactics

(952 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Schneider, Helmuth (Kassel)
[German version] I. Greece Tactics are understood as the planning and execution of military operations, such as marching and battles. Before the emergence of the phalanx , no tactical organization of the army is discernible. The battle formation of the phalanx, however, required the army to be divided into subunits, with a marching order, an ordered array in file and a clear system of orders. Ancient historians and military writers document various marching orders and possible transitions (often probably rather remote from reality) fr…

Mora

(998 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Schiemann, Gottfried (Tübingen)
(μόρα; mόra). [German version] [1] Division of the Spartan army In the Spartan army no later than from 403 to 371 BC mora was the usual term for the six largest divisions of the infantry and cavalry assigned to it (Xen. Lac. pol. 11,4; Xen. Hell. 2,4,31; 4,5,3-19; Diod. 15,32,1). Each mora was commanded by a polémarchos   (Xen. hell. 4,4,7; 5,4,51), had a required strength of more than 1,000 men and was organised into lochoi ( lóchos). Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) Bibliography 1 J.F. Lazenby, The Spartan Army, 1985, 5ff. [German version] [2] Default in Roman law Default in Roman law. Schiemann…

Levy

(2,093 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] I. Greece In geometrical and early archaic Greece, mainly nobles and their dependents took part in wars. With the rise of the phalanx in the 7th cent. BC, the Greek polity also levied free farmers, who could provide their weapons themselves. However, details about conscription are first known from the Classical period, especially from Athens and Sparta. In Athens, all citizens - probably with the exception of the thetai until the middle of the 4th cent. BC - were liable for military service between their 18th and 59th year; o…

War, consequences of

(1,115 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Greece The consequences of a war in Ancient Greece for individuals, cities or kingdoms depended on its duration and size, and a systematic or general assessment is thus not unproblematic. Several authors describe the terrible sight of a battlefield (Xen. Hell. 4,4,12; Xen. Ages. 2,14f.; Plut. Pelopidas 18,5; cf. Thuc. 7,84f.). During a hoplite battle in the classical period, on average 5% of the victors and 14% of the vanquished would fall [4]; in addition there would be the woun…

Mercenaries

(1,073 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
[German version] I. Greece Mercenaries (μισθοφόρος/ misthophóros or μισθωτός/ misthōtós, ξένος/ xénos) - soldiers who fought in foreign service as professional soldiers in exchange for payment ( misthós) - had existed in Greece since ancient times. In the 6th cent. BC they served Egyptian or eastern kings (Egypt: Hdt. 2,154; ML, No. 7; Babylon: Alc. 350 Lobel/Page); Greek tyrants like Peisistratus [4] or Polycrates [1] needed mercenaries to protect them (Hdt. 1,61; 3,45). Only from the Peloponnesian War onwards did the po…

Tetrarches, Tetrarchia

(1,200 words)

Author(s): Bringmann, Klaus (Frankfurt/Main) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Bleckmann, Bruno (Strasbourg)
(τετράρχης/ tetrárchēs, τετραρχία/ tetrarchía). [German version] I. Definition The noun tetrarches (from τετράς/ tetrás = 'entity of four parts' and ἄρχειν/ árchein = 'rule') designates a military rank, but specifically the head of a tribal area within a fourfold alliance ( tetrás or tetrarchía); subsequently a ruler of lesser rank (see below III.). The two meanings were brought together at the time of Diocletian, so that the term now meant rule in four parts of the Roman Empire, but with differentiated competencies for each ruler (see below IV.). Bringmann, Klaus (Frankfurt/Main) …

Cavalry

(2,665 words)

Author(s): Starke, Frank (Tübingen) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Campbell, J. Brian (Belfast)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. History With the development of the skill of driving teams of horses in the 1st half of the 2nd millennium BC, the methodological foundations of riding also were in place ( Horse III,  Horsemanship). Although there is definite evidence of mounted messengers and scouts from as early as the 14th/13th cents. BC onwards (Akkadogram LÚPETḪALLUM ‘rider’ in Hittite texts; Egyptian pictorial evidence [10]), the use of the cavalry as an armed force did not develop until during the 9th/8th cents. Decisive in this was the diff…

Prisoners of war

(1,665 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Orient In the early period (4th-3rd millennia), both in Egypt ( sqr-nḫ, 'those tied up for killing' [3]) and in Mesopotamia, POW were often killed on the battlefield. Killing - as a ritualized act - or parading POW and plunder before the ruler was ideological in character and hence a theme of pictorial representation  (southern Mesopotamia in 3100 BC: the killing of chained, naked POW in the presence of the ruler [5. 9]; 24th cent: naked male POW - probably immediately after their…

Asclepiodotus

(391 words)

Author(s): Ameling, Walter (Jena) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Hadot, Pierre (Limours)
(Ἀσκληπιόδοτος; Asklepiódotos). [German version] [1] Ptolemaean governor of Caria after 305 BC After 305 BC Ptolemaean governor (?) of Caria. Ameling, Walter (Jena) Bibliography R. Bagnall, The administration of the Ptolemaic possessions outside Egypt, 1976, 90f. [German version] [2] Military theoretician (1st cent. BC) Author of a treatise in 12 chapters on military theory (Ἀσκληπιοδότου φιλοσόφου τακτικὰ κεφάλαια; transmitted in the cod. Laur. LV-4 (F) and 11 other MSS dependent from it) and identified with a listener of Poseidonius me…

War booty

(1,607 words)

Author(s): Renger, Johannes (Berlin) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
[German version] I. Ancient Near East In the ancient Near East, the procurement of WB was directed towards obtaining important raw materials (e.g. metals - Egypt: gold from Nubia, silver from Cilicia, copper from Cyprus (Middle Kingdom); Assyria: iron from Iran, silver from Cilicia; Cilices, Cilicia) and items required for further warfare (e.g. horses, chariots in Assyria, 1st millennium BC) or served to supply the royal court with luxury goods for purposes of prestige. WB must be distinguished from '…

Armies

(3,413 words)

Author(s): Fuchs, Andreas (Jena) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Le Bohec, Yann (Lyon)
I. Ancient Orient [German version] A. General The multitude of countries and cultures in the Middle East and Egypt during the period from the 3rd to the 1st millennium BC, each with their own very individual set of conditions, is matched by the variety of their armies in terms of recruitment processes, composition, organization, fighting methods and size. Fuchs, Andreas (Jena) [German version] B. Reference sources The Ancient Orient did not produce any literature on the subject of military theory. Narrative sources are restricted to praising the ruler and his …
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