Were the Mauryans vassals of the Seleucids?

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
Kings changed mounts during the battle if required. From an elephant to a horse or vice-versa. One can't do much of fighting while sitting on an elephant. Shooting arrows and throwing spears. If Porus fought Alex, then perhaps he had changed his mount according to the need of the battle. All this is guess work only. As for a king, handling his elephant as well as fighting and commanding his army, I have my reservations. Too much bother.
I mean, its not like any of us is trained in elephant back combat, so there's no way to answer this. But having sat on numerous elephants, I'd argue that height wise, its a great height for a spearman to get an angle on cavalry. The horseman will have to strike up to get at you, while you're lunging down, at vulnerable areas such as the neck and shoulders. A soldier handy with a spear could probably do a fair bit of damage. As to difficulty - Hellenistic cavalry rode horses without stirrups and yet fought. And we should all have an idea how difficult that should be, yet the cavalry units such as the Companions or Cataphracts were known to be heavy hitters in ancient warfare. In some interpretations, Alexander is supposed to have swung the battle of Chaeronea with cavalry. So if well trained soldiers could manage that balancing act, not sure why its so improbable to imagine to well trained soldiers doing similar things on elephants - animals which are considerably smarter than horses if I may say so.
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,484
New Delhi, India
In theory anyway, but I have doubts how many followers of a lord would actually have been prepared to die given human nature.
Perhaps not in Europe. But it was commonplace in India. A soldier returned to his newly-wedded wife in defeat, the lady cut of her head and had it sent to him on a plate; a mother would not see the face of the son because he had wounds on his back. Rajput code of honor.
I wasn't trying to limit the argument to only written sources. Just saying that there's no positive evidence of an additional rider with Porus at Hydaspes.
There is no positive evidence for many things. What we are discussing is speculative history.
 
Likes: No Bias FTW

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
A horse without saddle is easier than an elephant without a howda. It will be like trying to straddle a rail compartment. But yes, you seem to have your views.
This is based on... what? I admit I have experience in riding neither. But few people would have experience today, and there's no real way to test how well a Mahout could wield a spear. We can't just assume one is easier than the other, let alone impossible.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
Perhaps not in Europe. But it was commonplace in India. A soldier returned to his newly-wedded wife in defeat, the lady cut of her head and had it sent to him on a plate; a mother would not see the face of the son because he had wounds on his back. Rajput code of honor.There is no positive evidence for many things. What we are discussing is speculative history.
You cannot contrast speculative history with what is known. What we do have from the evidence suggests Porus was alone on his elephant and fighting. To contradict that requires either that the evidence be rejected (leaving you with no information on Porus) or that evidence to the contrary be produced (leaving you with alternative theories)

We can't just make up the argument that Porus had a Mahout or that he was directing from the back, when we have positive evidence saying the exact opposite.
 
Nov 2008
1,346
England
Offtopic, but the Spartans seemed to have some of that no? I was under the impression that one of the Spartiates who survived Thermopylae fought like a maniac at Plataea because of some stigma that attached to him for surviving it. The Dilios character in 300 was a loose interpretation of him as I recall.
Well, the tradition amongst the Spartans was to fight to the death. A Spartan mother seeing her son march off to war is supposed to have told him, "Return carrying your shield or on it." It wasn`t always so, however. At the battle of Sphacteria 425 BC during the Peloponnesian War, nearly 300 Spartans surrendered to the Athenian led forces, of which 120 were members of the Spartiate class.
 
Nov 2011
1,011
The Bluff
We can't just make up the argument that Porus had a Mahout or that he was directing from the back, when we have positive evidence saying the exact opposite.
Aside from the evidence of the coins which clearly show a mahout. That the written souces simply describe Poros mounting an elephant does not negate that elephant having a driver. Similar had he mounted a chariot.
 
Nov 2011
1,011
The Bluff
There is no positive evidence for many things. What we are discussing is speculative history.
No, this not speculative as Tornada has pointed out. It relies on source testimony and howdahs are not mentioned nor are any other infantry described as doing what Poros did. He alone mounted an elephant to turn the battle. The coins commemorate the action.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,385
India
Aside from the evidence of the coins which clearly show a mahout. That the written souces simply describe Poros mounting an elephant does not negate that elephant having a driver. Similar had he mounted a chariot.
Ooh wait you're right. I hadn't looked carefully at that coin. For some reason I assumed it was showing two elephants with riders, because the shape of the head made me think it was supposed to be multiple elephants.

But you're right, my bad. Its an elephant with a Mahout and a Rider. Might make the Howdah more likely for Porus then... or not. Depends on whether we believe the Porus medallion is accurate to the battle or simply accurate to how combat with elephants was conducted at the time the medallion was struck.

Weirdly the one you linked
1555392612257.png
Doesn't seem to have Nike. But other depictions of the coin do. I wonder why that is.
 
Nov 2008
1,346
England
Ooh wait you're right. I hadn't looked carefully at that coin. For some reason I assumed it was showing two elephants with riders, because the shape of the head made me think it was supposed to be multiple elephants.

But you're right, my bad. Its an elephant with a Mahout and a Rider. Might make the Howdah more likely for Porus then... or not. Depends on whether we believe the Porus medallion is accurate to the battle or simply accurate to how combat with elephants was conducted at the time the medallion was struck.

Weirdly the one you linked
View attachment 17864
Doesn't seem to have Nike. But other depictions of the coin do. I wonder why that is.

This shows Alexander wielding the thunderbolt, which was a divine characteristic of Zeus. It was probably in commemoration of the launch of Alexander`s attack on Porus` army under the cover of a thunderstorm. The thunderstorm was thus seen as divine intervention, Zeus giving help to Alexander during the victory.