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Taxiarchos

(84 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] (ταξίαρχος; taxíarchos). In Greek and Macedonian armies he was commander of a τάξις/ taxis ; in Athens, the highest military rank after the strategos I (e.g. Aristoph. Ach. 569; Aristoph. Av. 353; Thuc. 4,4,1; 8,92,4; Dem. Or. 4,26; Aeschin. Leg. 169). He commanded the members of his phyle, appointed lochagoi (Aristot. Ath. Pol. 61,3; lóchos), and probably maintained the roll of the phyle (Aristoph. Pax 1172 ff.). The closest Roman equivalent of the taxiarchos is the centurio. Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…
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