CLAS 175: Notes as of 2/8/96

VIII. End as of 2/1/95

To Notes as of 2/1/96

A. Cavalry--a great solution to light infantry

1. Traditional role (even today) of tracking the enemy and picking off stragglers

2. Again, run up casualties if the enemy breaks and flees

3. Exploit any gap in the enemy's defenses

4. Fight off the enemy's cavalry!

1 I should mention Herald (I, too, know that this is a war AND peace course).

A. Heralds are sacrosanct--it's an act of great impiety to touch one!

5. Was this because heralds were under the protection of Hermes, herald of the gods OR

6. Because killing one somewhat locks you into a fight to the death?

7. Even the U.S. and Nazi Germany kept a line of communication open via the Swiss in WWII.

B. Identified by a herald's staff

C. They ONLY communicate--as in, can we send out a negotiator?

D. Heralds traditionally go to the enemy general to ask for the right to retrieve the dead

1. Ritual? Try, 'convention.' You have the battlefield,

2. We want to honor our dead

3. And to start talking again.

2 And, the Greek military ethic.

A. We've mentioned what the two fundamental works of Greek literature were:

1. The Iliad, or how (not) to lead an army, how to be a friend and comrade, and how to accept the inevitable

2. The Odyssey, THINK, soldier, and protect your home, which is worth fighting for.

B. A little etymology, a sneaky way of getting behind people's foreheads.

1. Greek word for courage: andreia, that which distinguishes a man.

a) A man is supposed to fight and not run

b) A man defends his family and city as part of the social contract.

2. Highest Greek value? Arete, we translate TERRIBLY as "excellence."

a) Note the root--ares, war, something that comes out in battle, as it does (Alvin York, Roger Young).

b) A display of arete is called an aristeia, as in Iliad V when Diomedes cuts down half the Trojan army and a couple of gods too dumb to get out of the way.

c) Just to cover myself--this term got absorbed into other uses, e.g. Plato's, but that was a transference of its original military significance.

C. Basic Greek philosophy? Be the best at whatever you're doing. Sort of requires competition, does it not?

D. Speaking of competition, what about the Olympics, which the Greeks themselves more or less considered the start of their civilization? War or Peace?

1. Absolute truce no matter what--everyone was supposed to be free to go.

2. Friendly competition? Yeah, right. Where are the Spartans, hmm? No event where you had to surrender--boxing, wrestling.

3. Consider the events, puhleeze:

a) The discus, or how to throw a rock. Why no target? (You're going to miss an army?).

b) The long-jump, or how to cross a brook.

c) The javelin throw, or how to throw a javelin.

d) Boxing? Bronze knuckles and no holds barred?

e) Wrestling, close to ditto.

f) The Pankration, anything goes?

g) What, again, IS a chariot, and for that matter, what's a horsein rocky, hilly, oxen-for-plowing Greece?

h) Even the footrace--originally in armor, mind.

i) Why stay fit? Because your life and the lives of a great many people may depend on it. And we're not talking cholesterol counts, here.

IX. Now, what about these Persians?

1 Well, they'd started out (as had the Greeks, mind) as nomads, and cavalry was always (as it was with the Greeks) a status arm.

2 As regards the empire, a good chunk of it came out of the Assyrian system:

1 Central, decisive authority in the person of the king of kings, the Great king, to the Greeks, "the King."

2 Large central army, with a core corps of 10,000 "Immortals," full-time soldiers (with their families), picked from the whole army and kept up to strength.

A. These men were equipped with both a spear, and a bow, and usually a light, but strong wicker shield.

B. The king would always have a better army than any of the local governors, the satraps, who controlled the outlying areas and were responsible for sending in the revenues.

3 Like the Assyrians, an excellent road network, like our Interstate system.

A. Revenues and merchandise could come in,

B. The central army could come OUT

C. The "king's eyes and ears" of the intelligence service could make their reports in a timely fashion.

4 Tactically, pretty damn good:

A. The sparabara--archers and shield-bearers detailed as a two-man unit, a very good system of small-group dynamics.

B. The osier (reed) and leather shield they used could stop an arrow and not much else. You could run with it, though.

C. Takabara, basically Persian peltasts, in which physical shape is going to be an issue.

D. Mounted archers show up, at not quite the Parthian's level of sophistication. These are dangerous men, but Greece is pretty rocky and hilly.

E. Shielded cavalry: dragoons?

F. HEAVY cavalry--armor on the man, and on the horse, but is it heavy enough? How about the horse? And what about those long spears?

G. HEAVY infantry: the kardakes. The Greeks did it better.

H. Chariots, with their limitations and those imposed by Greece.

X. End as of 2/6/96

XI. (And then came the Field Trip and the March of the Less than 10,000)

XII. End as of 2/8/96

To Notes as of 2/15/95