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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…

Argyraspides

(106 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle)
[German version] ‘The Silver Shields’, an elite corps of heavy Macedonian infantry, which can be identified with the hypaspists of Alexander the Great. It is not known if the name was already used by the end of his rule (no earlier than the India campaign) or only under the Diadochi. Considered to be particularly loyal to the king, they became part of the army of Eumenes in 318/17. After his end, to which their faithlessness contributed, they were sent to Arachosia by Antigonus and then dissolved. Later a unit in the Seleucid army was called by this name after their example. Burckhardt, Leonhar…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Thorax

(592 words)

Author(s): Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Welwei, Karl-Wilhelm (Bochum) | Lohmann, Hans (Bochum)
(θώραξ; thṓrax). [German version] [1] Cuirass Cuirass. As a part of Greek hoplite armour, the thorax protected the chest and the back. In the Geometric and Archaic Periods, it was commonly a bell-shaped armour made of bronze; it consisted of two hip-length plates that widened towards the bottom and were attached to each other at the sides. This thorax offered excellent cover against blows from lances and swords or shots from arrows, but it was extremely heavy and cumbersome and limited the soldiers' mobility to a great extent. It was therefore replaced…

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) …

Aeneas

(1,657 words)

Author(s): Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld) | Heckel, Hartwig (Bochum) | Burckhardt, Leonhard (Basle) | Hadot, Pierre (Limours)
[German version] [3] Stratēgos of the Arcadians around 366 BC (Αἰνέας; Ainéas). From Stymphalus. Stratēgos of the Arcadians around 366 BC (Xen. Hell. 7,3,1). Whether identical to  Aeneas [2] Tacticus, cannot be clarified.  Thebae Schmitz, Winfried (Bielefeld) Bibliography D. Whitehead, Aineias the Tactician, 1990, 10-13 A. Winterling, Polisbegriff und Stasistheorie des Aeneas Tacticus, in: Historia 40, 1991, 191-229, 201. [German version] [1] Myth Mythical figure from Trojan war (Αἰνείας, Αἰνέας [Aineías, Ainéas]; Latin Aeneas). Thraco-Illyrian name [17. 311 f.]. Hecke…

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…
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