CLAS 175 Notes as 2/1/96

V. End as of 1/25/96

To Notes as of 1/25/96

A. Corinth was the metropolis, mother-city of Syracuse, and Syracuse then on a city-to-city basis went to Mom for help and got it.

B. Timoleon was politically suspect because he had violated a fundamental social contract, that of the family, by killing his brother, whom he claimed was plotting a city-based coup. Note that the city did not support him in that.

C. In 345 he was sent with the vast resources availble- -four ships--to get rid of Dionysius II and save Syracuse from the Carthaginians, also products of a powerful city and a mother city, Tyre.

D. Timoleon bought off the local threats, revived democracy in Syracuse, and against all odds slaughtered the Carthaginians in the rain at the Crimisus in 341--a significant battle...

1. Carthage, being a city, not really an empire, usually fought with mercenaries to save their population--they could afford it!

2. Like Corinth and Timoleon, they held their generals responsible for success and failutre--they crucified losers.

3. Yet, here, in order to beat the Greek heavy industry, the Carthaginians themselves joined the army--and got slaughtered!

4. Carthage would go back to mercenaries, the efforts to obtain which would first involve and then frighten another famous city...

E. Timoleon became revered as a 2nd founder of the city and his tomb was where Agathocles and his conspirators met for the next coup!

VI. Ritual or Convention?

I. The title of this lecture comes from arguments advance by one Victor Davis Hanson, who argues, in Chapter 4 and elsewhere, that ritual and structure determined how the Ancient Greeks fought.

II. It's all very hot today--and Hanson himself is very popular at the moment--to attribute human activities to "power structures" and tradition.

III. The real problem is that giving psychological explanations for things makes some people, I'd say Hanson and Ferrill among them, abandon rational analysis in favor of dredging up anything they want from the murky cesspool of the human mind.

I. One reason besides ego and "publish or perish" to explain all this is the lack of evidence we have for the origins of Hoplite warfare--you noticed that we're using Homer and vases.

A. As the poets said, no one could doubt that there had been wars before Homer.

B. In Homer, you've got men in VERY heavy armor, so heavy that they need APC's (armored personell chariots) to carry them into combat, and out of it.

C. Chalcis and Eretria on Euboea (Th. 6.3), fought the first large-scale war of which we know over the fertile Lelantine plain in the middle of the island (Thuc. 1.15) and which sucked in much of the Greek World (6th B.C.?)

D. Argos seems to have made improvements enough to the phalanx to dominate the Peloponnese with it for most of the 6th Century, much to the annoyance of Sparta, whom Argos under King Pheidion defeated at Hysiae in the early 7th Century (669?).

II. The trouble is, what evidence we can find works quite well to support basic human rationality, which seems to apply in life or death affairs such as national survival.

IV. You can find a rational, logical, perfectly pragmatic explanation for every aspect of ancient warfare, which leaves you standing gibbering on top of a pile of dismembered theories, wielding Occam's razor.

V. Here's an example: British at Concord & Lexington vs. Americans at Germantown, Cowpens, Saratoga, and Yorktown. Firepower, discipline, command and control, etc. Why do you think we have monument to Von Steuben?

I. Why does the enemy invade our <1XWREA>1? Because they want our land and our harvest.

II. Why do we march out and fight them? Because we want our land and our harvest?

III. Why do we fight in two long opposing lines? Because that's the best way to get relatively untrained men to fight.

IV. Why is the battle over when side breaks? Because the other side is running like hell.

V. Why do we put up a trophy? So the other side knows it lost.

VI. Why don't we wipe out the other side utterly? Too hard--that's why they built those walls, after all. Besides, we just wanted the land.

VI. All that said, as it had to be, let's do some analysis of the way the Greek hoplites, heavy infantry, made war.

I. One thing you should know--this style of combat remained pretty constant from the Mycenean era, say 1650 B.C., all the way down to Pydna, 169. Lots of improvements, but guys shoulder to shoulder with long spears is a constant.

A. Lazenby p. 55 tells you of the transition from the throwing spear to the thrusting spear, required by the new shield, BUT

B. Don't forget that the javelin and troops equipped to throw it (akontistai) stayed in the army and the Olympics

1. You don't refine what you're not using, therefore, consider refinements such as the thong-sling. We don't use them because we want to evaluate the athlete. The Greeks used them because they wanted Javelins to travel far.

2. Another case of not looking--you CAN stab with a javelin, and they also had the <1STRYMON>1, butt-spike, which seems to indicate (like the M-16 bayonet) the idea of close combat wasn't inconceivable to even a javelineer.

C. Just

D. In the famous Macedonian phalanx, the spears got as long as 25 feet.

II. Lazenby (on whom no flies), is wise to point out the consequences of the apparently minor alterations of the shield (M-1 vs. Arisaka), the consequence of which you've had demonstrated to you.

VII. One reason that Lazenby and others can guess that Hysiae was the first "true" Hoplite battle is because of something we sometimes call the "Hoplite Revolution."

VIII. Surprise, surprise! It's more of an economic change than a military one! Anyone surprised at link between national wealth and the ability to wage warfare is awarded my 1996 Nuclear Freeze Naivety Medal.

I. Basically, as people started making more money from trade and industry than the aristocracy made from lands and agriculture, you get a shift from gentelmanly raiding with horses (Scotland--riding the borders) and knights and squires to pitched battles between larger numbers of heavy infantry than the Mycenean system made possible.

II. People are buying their own equipment. The guy on foot is much harder to kill than ever he's been, while the guy on his little horse (Centaurs) is not.

A. Protection: as much as you can afford and carry. Gilbert & Sullivan--Princess Ida

1. The shield--as long as you have that, you haven't run, and you haven't betrayed your buddies. Homer vs. S.L.A. Marshall and small-group combat dynamics.

2. Corinthian helmet, lousy hearing, but great protection.

VII. End as of 1/30/96

I. Remember what I said about LOOKING at something? If you can't hear an order, how are you going to keep in formation? Eye and physical contact, G.I. And don't get fancy in the line, please.

A. And what about the Crest? Great I.D., and nice if you're fighting cavalry (blow from above) but the other guy and grab it and the nose guard-- TANSTAAFL.

a) Piloi--conical metal/felt helmets. One wonders if Lazenby has ever heard the phrase "Helmet liner."

1. Greaves--Having played soccer, I can testify to their immeasurable utility.

2. Cuirass

1. Doesn't require your attention to protect you.

2. Why a linen (and glue--cf. Kevlar) cuirass over a bronze "bell cuirass?" I'll give you a hint--it ain't primarily weight.

I. All right--there's the hardware? Now how do we fight?

I. Genl. Order 1, issued to U.S. Marines in the Ardennes, 1918. Advance, make contact with the enemy, and continue to advance until you are ordered to stop. You will never receive that order. What my father called "Classic Warfare."

II. Not a bad policy for weekend warriors (consider, please--how can one be a soldier and productive economically?)

III. The <1O)QISMOC>1 vs. the duel--and the British handicap vs. the U.S. and Australians.

A. How the British "conceptualize" the <1O)QISMOC>1? The 'Rugger Scrum,' demonstrate unless student Rugby players available, also contrast with 19th Century American football.

B. The duel--Homer, King Arthur, but then there's Herodotus's criticism of Aristodemus for leaving the line at Plataea.

C. Rice's solution--U.S. football.

IV. What about the pros?

A. The Spartans, like the Assyrians, employed anything that would give them an edge, starting with Argos's phalanx.

B. Higher standard of drill (explain difference between close order, open order) than other cities

1. Continued use of flutes to keep in step

2. Tyrtaeus to keep the boys inspired after the 3rd Messenian War.

C. By staying in the field full time (vicious circle), they could practice and perfect maneuvers such as the Laconian countermarch and the Anastrophe, v. pp. 64-65 of your book.

D. Psychological warfare:

1. They WANTED other nations to recognize who and what they were!

1. Long hair--yeah, I dare you to grab it.

2. Red cloak--hides wounds, distinctive (Fantasia joke, o shamless one)

3. Lambda on their shields--yeah, you're up against the 1st team, now.

2. Also employment of fake retreat to make the other guy break formation.

E. Employment of women in their war effort:

1. Healthy wives, trained to keep the slaves down and bear strong children

2. "With your shield or on it"--no one to whom to run home.

F. Organization: a function of drill and experience on both men and officers.

1. Morai were the largest Spartan unit, around 1,280, expected to fight on its own? The one Iphicrates wiped out in 390 was operating independently--Sparta's ideal strength was six.

2. Two lochoi, say, 640 men, 10 units of the basic phalanx.

3. Four pentekostes, c. 160, four phalanxes.

4. Four enmotiai, each of 32, this being what you'd expect to find in the Spartan mess, the syssition. Again, back to small unit dynamics--you'll find this same system in the Roman army, the German army, and the U.S.

5. Formations were/are great ways of keeping the men fed, controlled, and a way to break off a part of the army for other uses, such as hitting the enemy in the flank.

V. Accordingly, who needs to bring in ritual to explain anything? Does practicality provide what Occam's razor requires?

A. A final point: Greek hoplites and Greek athletes often performed naked, ritual, right?

B. Have you guys noticed that it gets hot when you're close to that many other people? Ever seen a picture of an ancient canteen (they almost certainly had them).

II. Few final points:

I. Having spent all this time on the Hoplites, I should mention the other kinds of troops.

A. We did the javelin-throwers, akontistai.

B. Two other kinds of missile troops, to wit

1. Archers, toxotai, string drawn to the nose, bows short and single- withe construction.

1. Not much ranger or penetrating power

2. Good for harassment and siege or shipboard combat

3. Get out the Iliad--not a skill the Greeks fancied, particularly, but would hire. Mention the Scythian archers in Athens.

2. Slingers, sphendontai, as much or longer range than the archers and greater penetrating power

1. Incredibly portable weapon, the sling--used as belts or even headbands.

2. _Glandes_, lead sling bullets, made horrible wounds, and were ballistically shaped and mass-cast.

3. Disadvantages: open formation required, amount of training.

4. Rhodians could use them on shipboard or short notice, mention Xenophon.

C. Light infantry--the peltast. Don't turn your back on these guys!

1. Recall the basic reason an army is in the field--to go someplace or stop another army from going someplace.

2. Light troops could not STOP the hoplites from going anywhere, but they could certainly make their lives a living hell.

3. Originally from Thrace, carried two light dual-purpose spears, a dagger which Iphicrates turned into a sword, and a light wooden shield.

4. They were used as "skirimishers," making an armed reconaissance of the battlefield and

5. When the other army had broken, these guys (on the cheap) could help increase the casualty list.

VIII. End as of 2/1/96

To Notes as of 2/8/96