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Chelone

(93 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] Chelonai (χελώνη; chelṓnē, ‘tortoise’) were for the most part movable, wooden protective devices used by besieging armies. In the form of χ. χωστρίδες ( chelṓnai chōstrídes) they protected sappers as they i.a. levelled the ground by raising dykes; in the form of χ. ὀρυκτρίδες, oryktrídes (Lat. musculi) as they penetrated or undermined walls. ‘Ram tortoises’ protected battering rams. Used in Greece probably since the 5th cent., they were especially widely used during the Hellenistic and Roman periods.  Fortifications;  Siegecraft Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) Bib…

Parabatai

(104 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (παραβάται; parabátai). Warriors who fought standing next to to the charioteer ( hēníochos, ἡνίοχος) were called parabatai (Hom. Il. 23,132; Eur. Supp. 677; Xen. Cyr. 7,1,29; Str. 15,1,52: Indians; Diod. Sic. 5,29,1: Gauls; Diod. Sic. 20,41,1; Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 7,73,3). The 300 Boeotians who fought in the first line at Delium in 424 BC were referred to as hēníochoi kaì parabátai (Diod. Sic. 12,70,1); they were probably precursors of the Theban 'Sacred Band'. In the contingent of the Bastarni (2nd cent. BC), the parabatai were soldiers who fought at the side of…

Hippegos

(87 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (ἱππηγός/ hippēgós, ἱππαγωγός/ hippagōgós, Latin hippago, hippagogus). Special ship for transporting horses for naval forces in antiquity (Persia: Hdt. 6,48; 6,95,1; Tyre: Arr. Anab. 2,19,1; Demetrius Poliorcetes: Diod. Sic. 20,83,1; Pergamum: Liv. 44,28,7; Rome: Pol. 1,27,9). In Athens old triremes were converted to hippegoi (e.g. B. Thuc. 2,56,2; IG II2 1628,466; 471); they carried 30 horses (Thuc. 6,43,2). Pliny (HN 7,209) wrongly attributes the invention of the hippegos to Samos or Athens (cf. Hdt. 6,48; 6,95,1).  Navies Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) Bibli…

Katalogos

(195 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (κατάλογος; katálogos). The katalogos was probably a register of all hoplites in Athens (although this is contested by Hansen) which was used by the strategoi for determining the deployment for a campaign (Thuc. 6,43; 7,16,1; 8,24,2; Aristot. Ath. Pol. 26,1; Xen. Mem. 3,4,1). Lists of troops were kept for individual campaigns as well (Thuc. 6,31,2). Beginning in the 4th cent. BC at the latest, it included all 18 to 60 year old citizens (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 53,4), probably organized by year of birth. Those unfit for service were referred to as ὑπὲρ τὸν κατάλογον ( hypèr tòn k…

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…

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…

Rhomphaia

(99 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (ῥομφαία/ rhomphaía). A big, double-edged iron sword similar to a halberd. It had a long wooden handle and was worn over the right shoulder. In the Hellenistic Period, it was the characteristic weapon of the Thracians (Plut. Aemilius 18,3; Liv. 31,39,11: rumpia); Phylarchus FGrH 81 F 57; Arr. FGrH 156 F 103; Gell. NA 10,25,4; Val. Fl. 6,98). In Jewish-Christian literature, however, rhomphaia refers to any big double-edged sword (LXX Gn 3,24; 1 Sam 17,51 (Goliath's sword); Lc 2,35; Ios. Ant. Iud. 6,190). Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) Bibliography H. O. Fiebiger, s. v. ῥ…

Pez(h)etairoi

(174 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (πεζέταιροι; pez(h)étairoi). Pezhetairoi, 'foot companions', are first mentioned in Demosthenes (Demosth. Or. 2,17). In the Macedonian army the term pezhetairoi designated heavy infantry equipped with pikes ( s aríssa ) and small shields (Shield), but not breastplates, which was the most important branch of the army. Although, according to Theopompus (FGrH 115 F 348), under Philip [4] II only the elite troops of the royal guard were so called, Alexander [4] the Great then gave the whole  ph…

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 …

Machimoi

(109 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] The term máchimoi (μάχιμοι, ‘the pugnacious’; troops fit for action) was used by Greek authors primarily for non-Greek armies. Herodotus differentiates the machimoi from the retinue of the Persian army (Hdt. 7,186,1) and refers with this word to the class of professional warriors in ancient Egypt (2,164f.). In the Ptolemaic army, machimoi were the native soldiers who performed the duties of auxiliary, guard and police units until c. the end of the 3rd cent. BC, afterwards however, at the latest from the battle of Raphia in 217 BC, also constitute…

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…

Deilias graphe

(170 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (δειλίας γραφή; deilías graphḗ). In Attic criminal law the indictment for cowardice. Although the existence of deilias graphe alongside other military offences (λιποταξίου γραφή, ἀστρατείας γραφή, γραφή τοῦ ἀποβληκέναι τὴν ἀσπίδα) is indicated in various places (And. 1,74; Lys. 14,5-7; Aeschin. 3,175f.; Aristoph. Ach. 1129; Equ. 368), it was disputed by older authorities [2; 5]. However, no concrete case of a deilias graphe is known. Distinction of the generalized deilias graphe from the more precisely defined offences given above is of course probl…

Taxis

(115 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (τάξις; táxis). In the military sense, the term is primarily used to designate the battle order, the disposition of the army or the individual battle line. As a military unit, it referred at Athens to the army contingent provided by each phyle [1] (431 BC: c. 1,000 men), in Macedonia to the regionally recruited and most imporant tactical unit of the phalanx of the pezhetairoi (Arr. Anab. 3,11,9 f.), and in Asclepiodotus (2,8) to a force of 128 men. The expression was also used for other armies, e.g. that of the Greek mercena…

Peltastai

(457 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (πελτασταί; peltastaí). The πέλτη ( péltē) was a small, light, round shield made of wood or wicker-work that was covered with fur (schol. Eur. Rhes. 311; Aristot. fr. 498 Rose); a type of lightly-armed soldiers was named p eltastai after it (Diod. Sic. 15,44,3; Nep. Iphicrates 11,1,3f.). Aside from the shield, their weapons consisted of one or two javelins, a sword and a thrusting lance. Peltastai could be deployed both in long-range and in short-range warfare because of their weapons. Initially the peltastai in Greece were mainly foreign mercenaries who came p…

Decas

(89 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (δεκάς; dekás). From Homeric into Hellenistic times, the basic unit in Greek and Macedonian infantry and cavalry armies (Hom. Il. 2,126; Hdt. 3,25,6; Xen. Hell. 7,2,6; Hipp. 4,9; Arr. Anab. 7,23,3; Anaximenes FGrH 72 F4; P. Cairo Zen. 1,7-11; 2,22-24; Frontin. Str. 4,1,6), which was commanded by a decadarch (Xen. Hipp. 2,2-6). Normally, the unit comprised ten men with a possible further division into groups of five; deviations from this practice occurred. Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) Bibliography 1 Kromayer/Veith 90f. 2 M. Launey, Recherches sur les armées …

Lochos

(133 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (λόχος; lóchos). The lochos is attested in many Greek armies as a military unit of varying size; in general the commanders of the lochoi were the lochagoi. 7 lochoi that probably each had 512 men fought on the Spartan side at Mantinea in 418 BC (Thuc. 5,68,3; cf. Hdt. 9,53,2f.; 9,57,1f.); in the 4th cent. BC, Sparta had twelve lochoi (Xen. Hell. 7,5,10). The Boeotian infantry, the táxeis (táxis) of the Athenians and mercenary armies were also divided up into lochoi (Thuc. 4,91; Xen…

Sarissa

(197 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (σάρισσα/ sárissa or σάρισα/ sárisa). Long pike of the Macedonian infantry and cavalry, weighing 6-7,5 kg and having a length of 4,5-5,4 m (Theophr. Hist. pl. 3,12,2; Asclepiodotus 5,1; Pol. 18,29; [1]). It consisted of a wooden shaft, preferably made of European cornel, and had pointed metal tips at both ends. The bottom point served as spare part, as a counterweight and for fixing the sarissa on the ground against a cavalry attack. Since the sarissa was held with both hands during the fight, the foot soldiers armed with it could carry only a small ro…

Phalanx

(745 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
(φάλαγξ; phálanx). [German version] I. The phalanx of hoplites As early as in Homer the word phalanx is used to describe a battle-line or a lined-up army section (cf. e.g. Hom. Il. 11,214f.; 13,126f., cf. 16,215-217). Phalanx is used, like στίξ ( stíx, '(battle-)rank'), almost always in the plural, phálanges; after Homer the expression is not used again until Xenophon (Xen. An. 1,8,17; 6,5,27; Xen. Cyr. 1,6,43; Xen. Hell. 4,3,18; 6,5,18). Today it is recognised that by the Homeric period (8th cent. BC) mass fighting was already decisive; the phalanx as a uniformly equipped and centr…

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…
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