XXIX. End as of 3/28/96
To Notes as of 3/28/96
A. Some class business:
1. 'Oops' on the Syllabus, corrected text on the Home Page, and it's a good exercise/efficient/easier (for me! Hey, you knew it anyway) for you to print it off Lynx or Netscape. If you don't know how, LEARN.
2. Your papers vs. 'reports,' college vs. high school, the Ivy League vs. Just getting by.
3. Grading policies: the Navy 'Yall.'
XXX. The Sport of Kings: The Audience is on the Field
A. Historiographical Note: The Slaughter of the Innocents
1. Sometime between the 1st centuries B.C.-A.D. the librarians at Alexandria and Pergamon established a set of literary criteria for what books they would buy, and, accordingly, would be copied and preserved.
2. Don't think that this sort of thing isn't going on today, said the frustrated poet and writer (Although...!)
3. Their standard for historiography was Thucydides: an intricate style that only the truly brilliant and erudite and well-read (such as themselves) could appreciate.
4. Content was less important than style, and since the writers between their time and Thucydides' had DARED to have their own literary style, writers such as:
(1) The man who had FINANCED the coup that put Dionysius I in power in Syracuse (406) in one of the most stunning uses of a Democracy's freedoms to destroy it.
(2) Got banished for asking to marry into the Royal Family--Tyrants don't repay favors.
(3) The man who personally contested Plato's effort to educate Dionysius II and WON (Historians 1, Philosophers, 0)
b) Hieronymous of Cardia
(1) Secretary and aide to Alexander's Greek secretary Eumenes, the one historian who ever came close to world empire until his army defected to Antigonus in 316 (Historians 0, Generals 1)
(2) Befriended by both Monopthalmus, his son Demetrius, and HIS son Antigonus Gonatas
(3) Personally present at most of the major events until at least 248 and whose history provided much of what Plutarch and Arrian (tried) to hand down to you.
(4) Believed in checking his sources and facts.
c) The Rhodian historians
(1) Whom I, at least, have argued had access to the official state naval reports and intelligence surveys, and used them
(2) And who we know wrote thorough and detailed, accounts of the Rhodian democracy's way of war
d) Personal memoirs such as:
(1) Ptolemy I's, Alexander's cavalry commander and one of the Diadochi.
(2) Pyrrhus's own memoirs and his book on tactics,
(3) The work of Cineas, Pyrrhus's diplomatic hired gun, who personally negotiated with the Senate AND
e) Even a good chunk of Polybius never made it. The holes in the record of Greek history between Thucydides and their time (and sometimes after it) are just staggering.
f) Remember how I'm always asking YOU to tell me the consequences?
(1) The "Classical" snobbery lasted for centuries and still does damage today, said the unhireable Hellenisticist (who would LOVE to be proven wrong.
(2) People can read the accounts of the Pyrrhic War and deny that Rome as as much a Hellenistic power as Macedonia, Syria, and Carthage. Well, it lets the Roman Historians goof off, as many of my teachers did.
(3) With so much unknown, good peopel have felt there was nothing they could say, while very BAD people
(a) Tarn, at his worst, e.g. Antigonas Gonatas
(b) The egregious, if readable, Peter Green
(c) De Ste Croix made some REALLY serious mistakes and
(d) The CAH2. Use the CAH1 for this period. Poor Walbank!
(4) Have said a great deal.
(5) Good work can and has been done, by honored names like Prince Michael Rostovtzeff, Edouard Will, Magie, Gruen, and Sherwin-White. Can't think of anyone else...
5. The Romans were pleased to put all their eggs, when they laid them, in a basket named Livy, and when a good big chunk of Livy went, there went their data.
6. Plutarch and some others (e.g., Appian) did the best they could to repair the data--witness his note in Dem. 2 that people aren't sure if Demetrius was Antigonus's son or nephew.
7. Note the character study in Dem. 1, some great anecdotes. People (including Plutarch) always tend to find the villains more interesting). It was a pretty dog-eat-dog age and an age of chivalry--cf. Olympias, Cassander, Ceraunus's assassination of Seleceus Nicator (in 281) vs. Ptolemy returning Demetrius's furniture after Gaza (307) and the siege of Rhodes.
B. And as for the common people?
1. Demetrius at Athens, Plu. Demet. 23-26--the Athenians desperate to be nice to anyone in power particularly Monopthalmus's son.
2. Inscription after inscription, as this or that city tried to keep this or that would-be Alexander happy with honors/a statue/submission.
3. Political chaos as the isolated Greek cities tried to band together into organizations that would have to be courted rather than conquered, e.g:
a) Demetrius's effort to revive Philip's League of Corinth in 307.
b) Antigonus' similar effort to establish the Nesiotic League, which the Rhodians ended up leading.
c) The Aetolian League: People on the border of Macedon and allied with anybody fighting Macedon at the time, first Egypt, then Rhodes. Everybody else was required (at spear point) to contribute to their War effort.
d) The Achaean League, the people to the south of them, who wanted the Macedonians to help them against the Aetolians, give them presents, and then, if they didn't mind, GO AWAY.
e) Rhodes and Pergamon, you've heard/will hear about.
4. The old Macedonian women (shortly before Macedonia defected to Lysimachus and Pyrrhus): "If you haven't time to read petitions, then don't be a king!" Plu. Demet. 42.
5. That old farmer again, looking for Antigonus (Plu. Pho. 29). Remember what I said about Phocion, duty, and Stoicism? The good ones (and there were good ones) would be remembered, and the contrasts noted.
C. Well, you've had the historiagraphy, and the Social History. I suppose you'll need the "political history" (which is NOT military history, if you haven't figured out yet).
1. By 315, Cassander had overcome Polypercheron (who ended up a general for hire) and controlled Macedonia and most of Greece.
2. Monopthalmus, however, who knew the value of hearts and minds and that
a) Killing the Royal Family had been something of a bad PR move and that
b) Cassander's setting up a tyrant (Demetrius of Phaleron who spent his time when he wasn't tyranting writing an intellectual history of Athens) in Athens was generating lots of bad press.
c) In 314 announced that, as Satrap of Asia and on behalf of the Crown (WHOSE CROWN?), he was going to liberate the cities of Greece.
d) Antigonus had swatted Eumenes' bid for rule by appealing to the Macedonian snetiments of Eumenes' army, Eumenes being a Greek (his life by Plutarch is not in your Penguin, which 'excites' me.
e) He had previously driven Seleceus, Satrap of Babylon, to shelter with Ptolemy in Egypt.
f) Mopnopthalmus was smart enough to set Greece free after driving out Cassander, again, with an effort to get Philip's old league going on again, and he was very popular, as noted.
3. Antigonus had one great asset which was often a liability: Demetrius.
a) They loved and supported each other, which was absolutely amazing to everybody else at the time, but damn useful on strictly pragmatic grounds, if you think about it.
b) The kid made the same equation Dionyius I and Philip II had made: New weapons were worth developing. See Plut. Dem. 20, a passage worth discussing.
c) Demtrius had lost, but not done badly, attacking Ptolemy's defenses at Gaza in 312
d) In 307 he evicted Cassander's forces from Athens, where he was immensely popular until he did and said some extremely stupid things. Plutarch loves tragic flaws, you'll notice.
e) In 306, in an incredible victory, he tore Ptolemy's navy to pieces with catapult fire and an oblique assault off Cyprian Salamis, erected his first 9-storey siege tower, and took Salamis and Cyprus.
XXXI. End as of 4/2/96
a) It began to look as if the firm of Monopthalmus & Son was going to end up with it all, particularly after Demetrius let the Athenians hail him as king and sent a crown off to dad. There's the 'Official' collapse of Alexander's empire...
XXXII. Mechanized Warfare by Land and Sea: So What? Always ask for the consequences! Why does all this hardware matter? Many people don't bother to learn or ask.
A. The answer that should come right to a 20th Century American's mind is 'because it advanced ancient technology.' After all:
1. When NASA tries to justify its ever-shrinking budget (which only buys the Florida and Texas vote), it points out what came out of the Space program: Tang, Velcro, and ballpoint pens that write upside down.
2. If the current cuts in the defense budget continue, the Department of Defense may end up having to point out some of the technological advances that came out of MODERN warfare, e.g:
a) Transportation? The screw propellor and turbine engine, four wheel drive and the diesel engine, modern aeronautics, the submarine and SCUBA.
b) Industry? Mass production (Eli Whitney), development of aluminum (Zeppelins), the Bessemer process (Bessemer was out to build cannons).
c) Medicine? How about penicillin, dramamine, anesthesia, and modern trauma therapy?
d) World devastation? Biological and chemical warfare (either one quitea as capable as anything of wiping out the world), white phosphorus, napalm, and The Bomb. Hmm. Maybe that's why the DoD's kept its mouth shut so far... Should they?
B. Having told you all that, cancel it out in the ancient world. Very little enduring comes out of it all.
1. They do invent the ratchet, which helps in cocking the catpults, but they never come up with the CRANK, which allows you to apply continuous force. They make do with the capstan, which has its own strengths and weaknesses.
2. We know they could cast large amounts of bronze for rams and certain HUGE statues (which had internal iron bracing), but they never come up with the drawplate for making wire. Trust me, wire is important.
3. Hints at mass production in the Athenian and Rhodian arsenals (for ships); the Romans tended to standardize equipment, but the really big explosions never ocurr.
4. One argument as to why: Slavery. I told you the story of my father and the parts cleaner: "I got a ni**er to do that." Whatever the guy's choice of terms, it also meant that somebody kept his job.
a) All the fighting kept a pretty constant stream of two- legged booty going into the "civilized world."
b) Brief note: people sometimes forget the mechanisms of slavery in evaluating it.
(1) No question but that thousands and thousands of African died, horribly, as a result of the Slave Trade, BUT:
(2) To call it 'a genocide' is to ignore the disgusting fact: the people were valuable because other people could profit off their labor--provided that they were more savage than Adam Smith wanted to think about.
(3) War, consequently, COULD be profitable if it brought in slaves-- which explains a lot of why the Romans were always having difficulties with their neighbors.
5. Here's another, also economic: Military technology wasn't profitable even in its own terms:
a) You (were supposed to have) read about Alexander's siege of Tyre: Moles, fireship, divers, whirling catapult bolt repellers, siege towers, ship-mounted rams...
b) What took Tyre? Alexander brought in a fleet that could beat the Tyrian navy and made a landing inside the harbor!
c) Rhodes: You got the details.
(1) IT, the Helepolis, the largest land-going weapons system ever constructed.
(2) men inside it, 1,000 pushing from the rear.
(3) Closing gunports, iron armor (not very thick), internal water supply (for the gunners, too!) and twin staircases.
(4) 'Furniture caster wheels, carefully balanced, largely pre- fabricated.
(5) Bad and Worse: the two 1,000 man rams on either side of it--all that momentum on the end of a single sharp point.
(6) People forget what Demetrius sent into the harbor (which he tried to close with a floating spiked boom): armored gunboats with long- range incendiary weapons, assault craft, and two towers mounted on a pair of ships each. Hmm... That idea had potential... One character trait you tend to notice in Demetrius: he was one hell of an optimist.
(7) And the Rhodians were not exactly waiting in amused toleration.
(a) This is the city that had the stipend and the competition for a city defensive engineer, one of whom supposedly trapped the Helepolis in a bog generated by diverting the city's sewers. That's believable.
(b) One night the Helepolis was hit by 800 incendiaries and 1,500 standard bolts which forced the Helepolis to withdraw, knocked off some plates, and wiped out anybody standing near the thing.
(c) The Rhodians had moved up nearly everything they had and opened up.
(d) And one of the reasons Demetrius was so surprised might have been the polybolos, which Philo says was invented at Rhodes and used at the siege:
(i) Gatling catapult: two hexagonal gears linked by a chain drive, powered by a windlass.
(ii) Ratchet pulled back the arms of the catapult on one end, on the other rotated a "toothpick dispenser" that tossed bolts into the firing slot and released the trigger.
(8) And, after all that, Demetrius couldn't take the city.
d) Syracuse: Archimedes did his best, the Romans did their worst, and somebody got drunk and left a door open one night.
e) It didn't seem to justify that kind of expense--look where it didn't get Demetrius.
f) And, I should mention the naval war (which I find terrifically interesting).
(1) Again, old Dionysius I had put more than one person on an oar for the extra horse power.
(2) The ships got broader, which meant they were slower, which meant less maneuvering, but put lots more marines on their decks and left room for catapults! New kind of technology, new kind of war.
(3) Demetrius took that still farther, probably after Rhodes, by linking two hulls together with a REALLY broad platform between them, CONSEQUENTLY:
(4) Demetrius, after everybody else ganged up on him and Monopthalmus and beat them at Issos, 305, was able to retreat into the Mediterranean. Those big ships could stay at sea much longer than the old ones.
(5) Soon, everybody was building them:
(a) Lysimachus, who hated everything ABOUT Demetrius asked for a demonstration, took one look, called off a war and hired his own naval architect to build the Leontophoros.
(b) Gonatas built a monster 17, the Isthmia, which he used at Cos and Andros to stand off the IMMENSE Ptolemaic navy, which was
(c) A product of the scare after Salamis, including at the end 2 30's, and culminating in the 40. Aint NOBODY gonna threaten the Ptolemies from the sea!
(6) On the other hand, they were too expensive to risk losing... Result? Stalemate. Where have we run into THAT, before?
C. All right, then: SO WHAT? Why should we care?
1. Well, first of all, the mechanics of failure are interesting enough. Technology didn't prove profitable economically or military, so it didn't develop.
2. Second of all, what happened the meanwhile?
a) You saw the consequences arising from the changes to ship design: Naval warfare could suddenly involve farmers from the depths of Egypt, drafted into pulling those huge oars, or Italians, who only had to do with the trained man on the end was doing to fight the Carthaginians.
b) For a brief, spectacular period, people could get really rich by manufacturing, which meant that a lot of old and new cities got a lot of cash, which made the Hellenistic world as urbanized as it was: Greek-SPEAKERS in the cities, subjugated naval populations outside.
c) Oddly enough, all that large ship technology did have an economic payoff, in the construction of huge grain freighters that kept the Greek world fed and allowed a chain of Roman politicians, at the end calling themselves "emperors," to but votes or quiescence with "panem et circenses," but especially the bread.
3. And here's the word that's the counter to angst (and also German, there's food for thought): Schrecklichkeit: 'frightfulness.'
a) The Germans coined that term to describe weapons so horrible that people would surrender before you had to use them. Remember how Demetrius gave the Rhodians a good look at what was coming, at every opportunity?
b) There are modern scholars dumb enough to think that Demetrius' nickname "the Besieger" is ironic.
c) They say this about the guy who opened up Salamis like a can of sardines and who took every major defended citadel in Greece.
d) Another thought: would another city want to go through what Demetrius did to Rhodes?
e) Consider life on the coast, knowing that Demetrius's fleet was on the loose in the Mediterranea.
f) What all this horrible technology did was to emphasize (as it does now) the difference between a power and a superpower. A great many cities are going to start jumping up and down whenever the word 'frog' escapes Demetrius's lips.
4. That's good enough, I think!
XXXIII. End as of 4/4/96
To Notes as of 4/9/96
Roman Army @