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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…
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