Top 10 Greek Generals of the Classical Period

Nov 2011
1,146
The Bluff
Another thing which should be borne in mind is that, no matter the author, the writers of our narrative sources were not writing technical manuals; they were writing narrative history. Not only that, they were, for the most part, using prior sources. Diodoros, Arrian, Plutarch and others all used existing writer's works to create their own histories. When they did so, they picked up the language or terminology used by those sources. This is most often noted for Diodoros whose work improves immensely for Books 18-20 when using an ultimate source much given to detail and documents. It is also well apparent in Arrian's Anabasis. In the first two books, for example, Arrian describes the Macedonian phalangites as "hoplites". They are not classic Greek style hoplites of course, but Arrian's source uses the term simply to describe them as heavy-armed infantry of the line, not as hoplites in any technical sense.

Markle references Arrian 1.6.1-2 where Alexander puts his phalanx through drills, to the consternation of Glaukias, as proof that the phalanx at the time was armed as hoplites and not sarissa armed. This because Arrian describes the infantry as hoplites (ὁπλίτας) and as using δόρατα/dorata or "spears". The description of the action - raising "spears", then lowering and "extending forward" (ἀποτεῖναι ἐς προβολήν), then closing up, then inclining to right or left - is far more redolent of sarissa use than an eight or nine foot spear. Interestingly, although Arrian continually describes the Macedonioan phalanx as being "hoplites" at Issos (see, for example, 2.8.2 where line after line of "hoplite regiments" / ὁπλιτῶν τάξιν are marched into battle line), he has no problems with these hoplites being actual phalangites. This because of sarissa heads discovered at Chaironeia. Again, these are not technical manuals and if there is no problem with an ultimate source describing sarissa armed infantry at Issos as "hoplites", then I see no problem with a source describing sarssai (at Illium above 1.6.1-2) as "spears".
 
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Sep 2019
187
Vergina
@Salaminia Do you have any thoughts on Arrian 1.1.9-10 where the Thracian carts roll over the Macedonian shields? I have seen controversy over this before and I notice Markle used it as evidence for the hoplite shield.
 
Nov 2011
1,146
The Bluff
@Salaminia Do you have any thoughts on Arrian 1.1.9-10 where the Thracian carts roll over the Macedonian shields? I have seen controversy over this before and I notice Markle used it as evidence for the hoplite shield.
Indeed he did - as has Heckel. The argument by Heckel is that the contingent involved are the hypaspists and they are apsis bearers or some form of hoplite. While I won't get into the argument over hypaspists and their arms (forests have been felled for the papers!), the other regiments are told to open gaps (a la Gaugamela). Nothing supposes those "hemmed in" and unable to so open are hypaspists and Arrian's source, yet again, refers to all as hoplites. Even are they hypapsists, the evidence for Macedonian shields is not limited to 65cm "targets". In the article I wrote on these troops, we illustrated them with 76cm shields as there is evidence of these also. Indeed, I'd suggest the hypaspists used the deeper bowled Macedonian shield of 76cm or so. Big enough to join together for such defense. In any case, no matter the size, this was the only tactic available.
 
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Nov 2011
1,146
The Bluff
For anyone interested in views countering Markle's rather strained views of the sarissa and cavalry xyston, the below, by Peter Manti, are required reading:

The last is a rather stinging review of Markle's theories and commentary on his methods. Nice to see I'm not the only one. Manti finishes with: "If this paper alerts future researchers to the hazards of any reliance on Markle's articles, it will have served its purpose". Ouch.
 
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