XXXIII. End as of 4/4/96
To Notes as of 4/4/96
XXXIV. To dispose of Demetrius: No easy task!
A. Demetrius acclaimed as King of Macedonia, Plu. Dem. 36- 37.
1. Problems: He had hardly spent a full year in Macedonia since his birth.
2. He had married Phila, Antipater's daughter, and that was enough for the war-weary Macedonians, once Demetrius (no slouch) had prevailed in a palace coup.
3. Demetrius gets ready for the next round of Global Conquest, Plu. Dem. 44:
a) Here's where he builds his largest ships, and Lysimachus gets his little demonstration, Plu. Dem. 43.
b) Because it was all a game to him, he could be merciful, e.g., the Rhodians and the Thebans, who had put a bolt through his neck! Plu. Dem. 40.
c) He didn't care much about being the king of Macedonia (the petitions story again) because it was just his base for the next round.
4. But the Macedonians have had enough--you can get tired of men who want to conquer the world.
a) Pyrrhus of Epirus and Lysimachus double-team him and the Macedonians drop him and defect to them, Plu. Dem. 44.
b) Phila had had enough and committed suicide. Those of you interested in Women in Antiquity would do well to consider her and her life and choices, Plu. Dem. 45.
5. Demetrius still almost pulls it out with his lightning raid on Asia.
a) His mercenaries make the best joke in Antiquity, Plu. Dem. 46: "child of the blind old man, Antigonus, to what land have you led us now?" vs. Soph. Ant. 1.
b) Like Macedonia (being, a lot of them, Macedonians), Demetrius's army defects to Seleucus.
c) Game, set, match, Gonatas does surprisingly well picking up the pieces, "Fetters of Greece:" Demetrias, Corinth, and Piraeus.
XXXV. And Now, Pyrrhus--the Romans first encounter the Hellenistic World.
A. Who he? King of Epirus, in modern Albania, Northwest of Greece, West of Macedonia
B. Descendant of Achilles
1. Note his heroic attributes! Magic toe, Plu. Pyr. 3.
2. Jaw with single notched row of bone, no teeth
3. Single combat with Demetrius's officer Pantauchus, Plu. Pyr. 7.
4. Worth noting name of opposing Roman general, Curius Dentatus
a) Historiographical considerations?
b) Romans pick their man?
c) Simple coincidence?
C. Product of unsettled times--Lost his kingdom in a coup, sheltered by Antigonus & Demetrius, fought at Ipsus, hostage and then ally of Ptolemy in Egypt, back on throne
D. A much younger cousin of Alexander, Hannibal ranked him 2nd in the list of generals behind Alexander and ahead of himself.
1. Summoned as his grandfather Alexander of Molossus had been in 334 (until the Tarentines turned on him), as Archidamus of Sparta had been in 343.
a) Taras: founded by Spartans in 710 by Parthenai, the children of Spartan women by ??? during one of the Messenian wars
b) Believed itself destined to conquer all of Southern Italy
c) Thurii (colony of Athens where Herodotus ended up) asked the Romans for support against Lucanian hill tribes
d) Taras sank seven Roman ships sent to support the Army in 282, called in Pyrrhus
2. Mythology can work against you, as well as for you!
a) The Romans had a laid a claim to Greek heritage by declaring themselves the descendants of the Trojan hero Aeneas
b) Pyrrhus, as Achilles' descendant, accordingly had a mandate for war against them.
c) Also had a mandate against Carthage, traditional foes of Western Greece since before the Halorus, 491
E. The War against Pyrrhus
1. With the truly powerful states (Syria, Thrace, Egypt) on a war footing in the East, Italy looked like easy pickings (1.528, p. 465)
2. Reputation--Alexander hadn't been there, so Pyrrhus could do something that the King hadn't already done better.
a) Bad Storm, Pyrrhus loses much of his first invasion fleet
b) Puts Tarentines on a war footing and finds out that they aren't up to it, Plu. Pyr. 16.
c) Carthaginians truly formidable at sea, across his supply lines
d) Romans truly horrifying on land.
4. Battle of Heracleia 280
a) Infantry battle dead even
b) Elephants scare off Roman cavalry (Lucanian cows)
c) Legion flanked, breaks
d) Horrible casualties--"Pyrrhic Victories," Pyrrhus's trained and superlative mercenaries vs. lots and lots of well-trained Italian farmboys, Plu. Pyr.21.
e) Pyrrhus couldn't get more mercenaries with Lysimachus and Seleuceus facing off at Corupedion, 281
5. Peace feelers vs. reality
a) Roman toughness and disdain of Greek kultur
(1) Appius Claudius: Rome doesn't start wars, we finish them, Plu. Pyr. 18-19.
(2) Philosophy anecdote, Plu. Pyr. 20, "Pray let them keep arguing like this!"
b) Pyrrhus isn't dumb either.
(1) Hannibal tried Pyrrhus's own tactic of trying to enlist Rome's victims against them.
(2) The problem there was that the Romans weren't the worst of conquerors, and they were a known evil.
(3) "The Hydra"--Comment of Pyrrhus's hired political scientist, Cineas, pupil of Demosthenes, Plu. Pyr.14. Killing one Roman just meant that Rome's ruling familes would send out another one,Plu. Pyr. 20.
6. Asculum, 279
a) Pyrrhus brings u the irresistable force to meet the Roman immovable object, Phalanx vs. Legion, the one nobody talks about.
b) The Romans fight bloodily every inch of the way before they end up in their camp, which stops the Elephants.
7. Plutarch points out Pyrrhus's flaw--"Quod agis, bene age."
a) In Sicily, Carthaginians grim, Greeks unwilling to fight for him after a century of absolute hell dating back to (you guessed it!) Dionysius I.
b) The Romans pressed him in Italy, so Pyrrhus pulled out, nasty battle with the Mamertines (Italian ex- Mercenaries): "What a lovely wrestling field we're leaving ..." Plu. Pyr. 23
8. No allies at Beneventum, 275
a) The Romans wait in the trenches, have learned to counter the elephants
b) Pyrrhus pulls out while he can
9. Back to Greece--
a) Lysimachus had died at Corupedion, but Ceraunus had assassinated Seleceus I immediately afterward and become king of Thrace & Macedonia
b) Ceraunus had been killed by the Gauls in 279 after nearly wiping out Gonatas and what was left of Demetrius's empire
c) Gonatas had beaten back the Gauls in 277 (catapults/ships), become king of Macedonia, A.E. Housman (a classicist!), "Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries."
d) Pyrrhus invades Macedonia and Greece as soon as he gets back
e) Beats Antigonus's Gallic mercenaries, last chance for the Pyrrhus, the barbarian to pose as defender of Greeks, Plu. Pyr. 26
f) Heads into Greece, shadowed by Antigonus
(1) Attack on Sparta--down, but not out, and remember what I said about the "cornered rat" defense.
(2) Antigonus on the high ground, Plu. Pyr. 31. "If you're a king, come down!" "If you're a king, come make me! Antigonus, also, was in it for keeps.
g) Gets killed due to bad planning in street fighting in Argos, 272--old lady with a roof tile. So much for chivalry.
F. Final division of the Hellenistic World--
1. Antigonids (from Monopthalmus and lies about Philip II) controlling Macedonia and Thrace, Dosun over the Hellespont in 227, Philip V vs. Rhodes in 199
2. Ptolemies in Egypt, trying to get into Syria, in Asia and a little of Europe because of their navy until Actium, 31.
3. Seleucids (from Selecus I Nicator), lose India, hold Persia in degrees.
G. Best Story to describe the wars of the Diadochi and the Epigoni: Pyrrhus and Cineas, Plu. Pyr. 14. Pyrrhus knew he was right, but the hell-bent tend to get where they are going (Thurber).
XXXVI. End as of 4/9/96
XXXVII. Rhodes in the Hellenistic World:
A. First the jokes: I had always wanted to be a Rhodes scholar, even though they told me that all Rhodes leads to is Rome. Writing my dissertation, also known as The Beast that ate 1992-4, I realized that Rhodes goes ever ever on, but reached the end of my Rhodes, graduated, and since have found my Rhodes blocked. Let us hope that all Rhodes leads to is not a dead end.
B. But, seriously, folks
C. One of the reason the thing got so big on me was that I found out, as I hope you've found out, how much background you need to have to appreciate the facts you have before you. Rhodes was at its height of power and influence during the Hellenistic Age--but it got that way from circumstances that took place long before.
D. Rhodes started out by playing the worst of all positions in a Badminton game: the shuttlecock.
1. The problem was that the island is right in the middle of the sea lanes to Greece from Egypt, in a line with the Hellespont, and in a great position for short-range coastal traffic with Asia Minor.
2. Living at a cloverleaf is very convenient, but it does tend to get a bit noisy!
a) The earliest legends discuss the Mycenean Greeks battling the Phoenicians for control of the island
b) The Greeks won that contest by stealing the oars of the Phoenicians' galleys and supply ships.
3. Myths are important, either as retrojections or projections of a mind set!
a) From that one, sagacity at sea.
b) From the legend of the Telchines, sort of sea-dwarves, technology
c) From the legend of the Helioides, invention.
d) Legend of foundation by Telegonus, and his death at Troy, sense of Greek/Argive identity.
e) From the legend of Aristomenes, love of liberty.
f) You're going to see a lot of all these things in Rhodes' history proper.
4. The Persians conquered the island, and consequently, the Rhodians fought at Salamis. Wrong side, though (blush).
5. That established a trend: Rhodians at Athens, also fighting as part of an empire on the losing side.
6. Oligarchic family of the Diagoridae betrayed the island to the Spartans by 412.
a) The Spartans turned the island into their naval base, exacted tribute, and drafted Rhodians to row their warships.
b) On the other hand, they never bothered to protect the island from retaliatory Athenian raids, keeping the island firmly on the short end of the stick.
7. By 397 the Rhodians were ready to follow Conon, the Athenian, into revolt and into the 2nd Athenian Empire.
a) Two things a fixture of independent Rhodes henceforth-- Athenian style democracy
b) And a navy that used Athenian tactics, if NEVER Athens' huge mobs of mercenary oarsmen
c) Mind you, in 395, Conon's mercenaries had gotten a little out and torn the place up quite badly, but, accidents WILL happen...
8. Then came dear sweet Mausolus, who couldn't understand why the Rhodians would choose to be part of ANY empire.
a) Persian satrap/native dynast of neighboring Caria
b) Gave the Rhodians money to build a fleet of their own, which, with smaller squadrons from others, defeated the Athenians at a battle off Chios in 357.
c) Mausolus had also been giving support to Oligarchs (powerful families) on Rhodes who didn't like democracy,
d) And when they staged their coup, they suddenly found themselves his puppets, propped up by a Carian garrison in their new capital city: Rhodes, itself.
9. The Rhodians tried, and failed, to get rid of the Carians by a sneak attack on Halicarnassus soon after Mausolus's body had grown cold after 353.
a) Unfortunately, someone betrayed the fleet, thanks, Oligarchs.
b) Artemisia (sexism can prove fatal, if that's what it was) conducted a thorough purge.
c) She also left them a lovely statue! Remember what I said about the uses of a trophy.
10. Persian authority was reasserted by the 340's, even though Rhodians working for Persia, Mentor and Memnon, were wielding it.
11. After Memnon so obliged Alexander by dying, the Rhodians were very quick to defect to Alexander.
a) Al supposedly let them re-establish their democracy. Few scholars have noted that democracies are much noisier than Tyrannies or Oligarchies when they're planning to revolt.
b) He also took pains to secure that particular piece of real estate with a garrison, possibly under the command of Monopthalmus, who always acted like the island owed him something.
c) Once Alexander had died, the Rhodians showered the Macedonians with gifts and an eviction notice. There wouldn't be another one for another 225 years.
12. Not that people wouldn't try...
a) One Atttalus, Perdiccas the regent's brother in law (does this sound like South Philadelphia?) grabbed what was left of Alexander's Mediterranean fleet and tried to conquer Rhodes, Cnidos, and Cos, in 322.
b) This was the same squadron that had beaten the Athenians at Amorgos, probably somewhat the worse for wear, but undoubtedly formidable.
c) As a U.S. Superior court ruled when someone tried to sue the police, each individual is ultimately responsible for personal self-defense, and the Rhodians had taken that responsiblity, since nobody else would.
d) Attalus went down before the Rhodian navy--HARD.
E. The Rhodians spent the intervals between the next idiot's effort to reconstruct Alexander's Empire evolving the most successful and efficient defense strategy of the Ancient World.
1. Athens had done well by having the best navy in Antiquity:
a) Trade was supported, and merchants protected.
b) Athenian ships had kept the trade routes open, and the pirates down
c) Athens' enemies found themselves doing a great deal of fighting before they ever got within sight of Athens itself.
a) Athens' navy had grown too big for its population, and they had had to hire mercenaries.
b) That had led to Athens' ships (remember your Phocion!) being as feared as those of the enemy, as desperate skippers tried to keep their crews paid and fed by outright piracy!
c) And, as they'd noticed with Conon, Mercenaries can turn on you.
3. The Rhodians would have to make do without:
a) They'd have the best navy in the Mediterranean, but they'd use NOTHING but citizen crews
b) Remember the original concept of Hoplite Warfare and you Aineas? Citizens have a stake in fighting, and winning, and VOTED to be there.
c) The non-democracies keep forgetting that, to their cost. Aaaaah.
d) All right, then, how do we manage to do what the Athenians did?
4. More with less: the Bucky O'Hare strategy:
a) ("I can't keep holding the frontier with one ship!" "But you've done that so WELL, Bucky!").
b) If every Captain was Captain Kirk, and every ship the Enterprise, think of how we could cut the defense budget.
c) The Ancient codification was "If we have ten Rhodians, we have ten ships."
5. THE BEST SHIPS--no ifs, and, or buts.
a) Fast: Hannibal "the Rhodian" blockade runner at Lilybaeum. The Rhodians could routinely outrun all comers.
b) Handy: nothing bigger than a quadrireme, large enough to hit hard, small enough to man with small crews, more maneuverable than the monsters with their ill-trained conscript crews.
c) Armed to the teeth with the best money can buy and the brains could build.
(1) Catapults--full time gunners (katapeltaphetai) in every ship's crew.
(2) Better catapults? Where did the polybolos come from?
(3) The fire-carrier: ram 'em, and burn 'em.
6. A place to which to run:
a) A fortifed harbor (Port Mandraki) that could be closed, and as Demetrius and Mithridates found out, couldn't be blocked or entered.
b) The rest of the city fortified like hell, stoutly defended, and again, better artillery than the other guy could be expected to have.
c) A larger fleet could, accordingly, neither catch nor destroy the Rhodian navy.
7. Well thought-out tactics:
a) The pirate war:
(1) Too difficult and labor intensive to root out all but the largest nests (for which, send the marines!)
(2) Make them come to you:
(a) Put all your merchant vessels into large convoys protected by long-range sailing/rowing escort vessels (the triemioliai)
(b) The pirates find YOU, you find THEM.
(c) Incidentally, that means the pirates seek easier prey--your competition.
b) Speaking of preying upon commerce...
XXXVIII. End as of 4/11/96
To Notes as of 4/18/96