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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…

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…

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…

Aelianus

(806 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Bowie, Ewen (Oxford) | Baltes, Matthias (Münster) | Lakmann, Marie-Luise (Münster)
[German version] [1] Greek military author Greek military author, wrote the τακτικὰ Αἰλιανοῦ; Taktikà Ailianoû, a textbook addressed to Trajan, in which the tactics and structure of the Greek and specifically the Macedonian armies of the classical and Hellenistic eras are explained. A. was a theoretician without any practical experience and it is for this reason that his work appears mechanical. By his own admission (1,2), he drew on the work of many older authors (Aeneas Tacticus, Pyrrhus of Epirus, Posidoni…

Helepolis

(219 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] The helepolis (ἑλέπολις; helépolis, literally ‘city-taker’) was a large mobile siege tower, fitted with wheels, designed to bring up soldiers and catapults to the walls of a besieged city. The term is first attested for a tower built by Posidonius for Alexander the Great (Biton 52f. Wescher; cf. for the siege of Tyre, Arr. Anab. 2,18-24), helepoleis were probably also already used by  Dionysius [1] I of Syracuse (Diod. Sic. 14,51,1). They may be of oriental or Carthaginian origin (Diod. Sic. 13,55). The helepoleis used by  Demetrius [2] Poliorcetes for the sie…

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…

Lipotaxiou graphe

(133 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (λιποταξίου γραφή; lipotaxíou graphḗ) in Attic law was a legal action for leaving the line of battle without authorization. The crime was punished like other military offences with atimía (Dem. Or. 15,32; cf. for Sparta Isoc. Or. 8,143). Aeschines attributes the corresponding law to Solon (Aeschin. In Ctes. 175f.), which however remains uncertain. According to Andocides (And. 1,74; cf. Lys. 14,5-7), the prosecution of military offences like the graphḕ astrateías (failure to obey a call-up), the deilías graphḗ (legal action for cowardice) and the graphḕ toû apobeb…

Hetairoi

(285 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] Hetairoi (ἑταῖροι/ hetaîroi, ‘companions’) constituted the king's retinue in Greek monarchies, even on the battlefield (e.g. Hom. Il. 1,179). In the Classical period hetairoi were especially important in Macedonia: selected by the king himself, they made up his immediate entourage as his closest advisers and as the next generation of leaders. The king went to war at the head of their unit, which probably resulted in the original, military meaning of the term. Hetairoi (often supplemented by βασιλικοί, basilikoí) are attested for the Macedonian cavalry with …

Chiliarchos

(102 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (Χιλίαρχος). Commander of a 1,000-man contingent in the Macedonian and Ptolemaic armies (e.g. Arr. Anab. 1,22,7). At the same time, the term serves as a Greek translation for the commander of the royal guard in Persia, the 1,000 μηλοφόροι ( mēlophóroi) (Aesch. Pers. 304). After the conquest of Persia the expression came to apply to the most important office in the new imperial order after Alexander's death (Diod. Sic. 18,48,4). The military and political powers attached to it are unclear. With the emergence of the kingd…

Fortifications

(2,871 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Miller, Martin (Berlin) | Blech, Michael (Madrid) | Pingel, Volker (Bochum) | Baatz, Dietwulf (Bad Homburg)
[German version] I. Greece After the massive Mycenaean fortified palaces had been abandoned, several centuries passed before larger fortifications were again built in Greece. During the Geometric Period fortification construction in the motherland remained modest. Simple structures were built that left few if any remains, and the ruins of Mycenaean fortifications sufficed for protection requirements. However, citadels (acropoleis), peninsulas, and other topographically suitable locations were fortif…

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 …
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