182 relations. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. He wears a helmet in the form of the lion-scalp of Herakles. The tactics used by the Macedonian army throughout the various campaigns it fought were, of course, varied; usually in response to the nature of the enemy forces and their dispositions, and to the physical nature of the battlefield . Macedon itself was not unified, it consisted of a heartland inhabited by the Macedonians proper and many highland 'baronies' peopled by tribesmen ruled by semi-hellenised chieftains who recognised the power of the king only when it was in their interest. The thong made the javelin spin in flight, which improved accuracy, and the extra leverage increased the range achievable. The sarissa was over 6 m (18 ft) in length, with a counterweight and spiked end at the rear called a sauroter; it seems to have had an iron sleeve in the middle which may mean that it was in two pieces for the march with the sleeve joining the two sections before use. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. At Gaugamela, the Greek infantry formed the defensive rear of the box formation Alexander arranged his army into, while the Macedonians formed its front face. Antigonid Infantry Organization. 68-69. The men of the rear ranks raised their sarissas so as to provide protection from aerial missiles. According to Aelian, a syntagma was accompanied by five additional individuals to the rear: a herald (to act as a messenger), a trumpeter (to sound out commands), an ensign (to hold the unit's standard), an additional officer (called ouragos), and a servant. The largest lithoboloi could fire stones up to 80 kg in weight. The army of the Kingdom of Macedon was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. Led by their own chieftains, the Paeonian cavalry was usually brigaded with the Prodromoi and often operated alongside them in battle. Recent reconstructions of the sarissa and phalangite shield showed that the shoulder strap supporting the shield effectively helps to transfer some of the weight of the sarissa from the left arm to the shoulders when the sarissa is held horizontally in its fighting position.[45]. The ability to take fortified places was one of the greatest single reasons for the Macedonians’ success, combined with a rapidity of movement, for Philip’s men marched as hard as they fought. It is possible that the lance was aimed at the upper body of an opposing cavalryman in the expectation that a blow which did not wound or kill might have sufficient leverage to unseat. The Illyrians broke after a fierce struggle, and three-quarters of Bardylis' army were slaughtered. These structures were wheeled and were a number of stories high, they were covered with wet hide or metal sheathing to protect from missile fire, and the largest might be equipped with artillery. Ancient Macedonia was a small kingdom located in northern Greece. By 338 BC, more than a half of the army for his planned invasion of Persia came from outside the borders of Macedon — from all over the Greek world and the nearby barbarian tribes. He is equipped with a hoplon (Argive) shield, so probably is a Hypaspist. Macdonald Phoebus, London, p. 77. At close range, such large weapons were of little use, but an intact phalanx could easily keep its enemies at a distance; the weapons of the first five rows of men all projected beyond the front of the formation, so that there were more spearpoints than available targets at any given time. In battle, they were used in a shock role to protect the right flank of the Companion cavalry. Defences of a similar appearance composed of quilted textile are also described. Adrian Goldsworthy has taught at Cardiff University, King’s College, and the University of Notre Dame in London. The battle fought in 358 BC near Lake Ohrid was intended to free Macedon of the threat from Illyria and recover some western areas of Macedon from Illyrian control. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons). Ancient Macedonian army The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. The Pezhetairoi. The Thessalian cavalry was famed for its use of rhomboid formations, said to have been developed by the Thessalian Tagos (head of the Thessalian League) Jason of Pherae. At the heart of this change were sweeping reforms of the Macedonian state and army. [31] This is usefully illustrated in the Alexander Mosaic, King Alexander is shown thrusting with his xyston underarm, whilst immediately behind him a cavalryman is employing the overarm thrust. Alexander Mosaic showing the Battle of Issus. The Macedonian army perfected the co-ordination of different troop types, an early example of combined arms tactics — the heavy infantry phalanx, skirmish infantry, archers, light and heavy cavalry, and siege engines were all deployed in battle; each troop type being used to its own particular advantage and creating a synergy of mutual support. [17] Foot Companions were levied from the peasantry of Macedon. They were, however, quite vulnerable to shock-capable cavalry and often operated to particular advantage on broken ground where cavalry was useless and heavy infantry found it difficult to maintain formation.[27][28]. Alexander Sarcophagus. The Antigonid Phalanx. Manoeuvres and drills were made into competitive events, and the truculent Macedonians vied with each other to excel. Some scholars have noted that Asclepiodotus defined the Macedonian shield as being different from other Greek shields, in dimensions and construction. They had for the first time conducted successful sieges against strongly held and fortified positions. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. Continuum, London, pp. Many examples of helmets from the period have crest or plume-holders attached, so that a high degree of martial finery could be achieved by the wearing of imposing headpieces.[37]. From descriptions of combat, it would appear that once in melee the Companion cavalryman used his lance to thrust at the chests and faces of the enemy. [40] It is to be doubted that this type of armour was worn by persons other than of royal or very exalted rank. All the while Philip’s men could jab and wound the enemy. Alexander did not actually use the phalanx as the decisive arm of his battles, but instead used it to pin and demoralize the enemy while his heavy cavalry would charge selected opponents or exposed enemy unit flanks, most usually after driving the enemy horse from the field. In terms of weaponry, they were probably equipped in the style of a traditional Greek hoplite with a thrusting spear or doru (shorter and less unwieldy than the sarissa) and a large round shield (hoplon). “Nuts!” – The Story Behind the Famous American Reply to the German Surrender Ultimatum at Bastogne. In battle, the Greek hoplites had a less active role than the Macedonian phalangites and hypaspists. The conquests of Alexander would have been impossible without the army his father created. Alexander had 600 Greek cavalrymen at the start of his campaign against Persia, probably organised into 5 ilai. He also wears a linothorax cuirass and a Thracian helmet. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. They usually adopted an open order when facing enemy heavy infantry. These soldiers from Macedonia proper were supplemented by considerable forces from other territories. Their armour appears to have varied depending on the type of mission they were conducting. The elite Companion Cavalry. The size of the phalanx fielded by Macedon and its various successor states varied greatly. It was created and made formidable by King Philip II of Macedon; previously the army of Macedon had been of little account in the politics of the Greek world, and Macedonia had been regarded as a second-rate power. [46], Alexander the Great appears to have been the first general to use artillery on the open field of battle, rather than in a siege. They were typically entrusted with the defensive role of guarding the left flank from enemy cavalry, allowing the decisive attack to be launched on the right. Each file of 16 men, a lochos. [34] The royal burial in the Vergina Tomb contained a helmet which was a variation on the Thracian/Phrygian type, exceptionally made of iron, this would support its use by cavalry. The traditional Greek hoplite used his spear single-handed, as the large hoplon shield needed to be gripped by the left hand, therefore the Macedonian phalangite gained in both weapon reach and in the added force of a two handed thrust. Its organization and weaponry were similar to the Companion Cavalry. Towards the end, however, there was a general slide away from the combined arms approach, and the phalanx once more became the arm of decision, much like in the days of the earlier hoplites. The Macedonian pike, the sarissa, gave its wielder many advantages both offensively and defensively. Philip massed his cavalry on his right flank and arranged his army in echelon with the left refused. Such rams were usually provided with a wheeled, roofed covering to protect their users from missile fire; they were employed to batter down gates or to dislodge masonry from walls and so cause a breach (this latter form was sometimes called a 'drill' rather than a ram).[48]. Central Macedonia was good horse-rearing country and cavalry was prominent in Macedonian armies from early times. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. The Paeones had been conquered and reduced to tributary status by Philip II. [26] Other nationalities also provided peltasts for the Macedonian army. Peltasts were armed with a number of javelins and a sword, carried a light shield but wore no armour, though they sometimes had helmets; they were adept at skirmishing and were often used to guard the flanks of more heavily equipped infantry. At Ecbatana, the Thessalians with Alexander's army were mustered out and sent home. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! He conspicuously shared the rigours of marching and riding thousands of miles with his men, enduring fatigue, hunger, thirst and the extremes of climate. Language; ... WikiProject Military history (Rated B-Class) This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. your own Pins on Pinterest Philip inherited a kingdom that was weak, vulnerable and apparently on the verge of being dismembered by stronger neighbours. -- Seven Strange Facts About One of America's Most Iconic Paintings. They were very effective at scouting and in screening the rest of the army from the enemy. There are pteruges of leather or stiffened linen at the shoulders and hips. [30] Art. Lendon, J.E. There, Alexander did not dare assault the dense infantry formation with his cavalry, but rather waited for his infantry to arrive, while he and his cavalry harassed their flanks. In appearance, they would have been almost identical to the hypaspists. Initially only one squadron strong, they received 500 reinforcements in Egypt and a further 600 at Susa.[15]. Like most successful leaders, Alexander was lucky; he could have been killed or crippled by wounds early on in his campaigns. Philip's first achievement was to unify Macedon through his army. The rise of Macedon, its conquest and political consolidation of most of Classical Greece during the reign of Philip II was achieved in part by his reformation of the Ancient Macedonian army, establishing the Macedonian phalanx that proved critical in securing victories on the battlefield. Prior to the reign of Philip II (382–336 BC) Macedonia was a comparatively minor state with a mixed Hellenic and Barbarian culture. They could throw their javelins at will at the enemy and, unencumbered by armour or heavy shields, easily evade any counter-charges made by heavily equipped hoplites. Considered semi-barbarous by the metropolitan Greeks, the Macedonians were a martial people; they drank deeply of unwatered wine (the very mark of a barbarian) and no youth was considered to be fit to sit with the men at table until he had killed, on foot with a spear, a wild boar.[2]. These men knew their job and knew each other. Like Alexander, Philip spent most of his life on campaign and – apart from a few setbacks – not just fighting war after war, but winning them. These infantrymen would have been equipped as hoplites with the traditional hoplite panoply consisting of a thrusting spear (doru), bronze-faced hoplon shield and body armour. [9], The individual Companion cavalry squadron was usually deployed in a wedge formation, which facilitated both manoeuvrability and the shock of the charge. Previous wars such as the Persian and Peloponnesian War had demonstrated that the old ways were no longer dependable. The Macedonian army was one of the first military forces to use 'combined arms tactics', using a variety of specialised troops to fulfill specific battlefield roles in order to form a greater whole. The most common form of armour was the linothorax, which was a cuirass of stiff linen built up of glued layers of textile. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons). The Hellenic states allied to, or more accurately under the hegemony of, Macedon provided contingents of heavy cavalry and the Macedonian kings hired mercenaries of the same origins. By the time Alexander campaigned in India and subsequently, the cavalry had been drastically reformed and included thousands of horse-archers from Iranian peoples such as the Dahae (prominent at the Battle of Hydaspes), other mounted missile troops, plus Asiatic heavy cavalry. Learn how your comment data is processed. Detail of the Alexander Mosaic (A Roman copy of a Hellenistic painting). He used massed artillery to fire across a river at a Scythian army, causing it to vacate the opposite river bank, thus allowing the Macedonian troops to cross and form a bridgehead. Philip waited until the inevitable gap appeared in the left of the Illyrian square, he then threw his cavalry at this gap. It was created and made formidable by King Philip II of Macedon; previously the army of Macedon had been of little account in the politics of the Greek world, and Macedonia had been regarded as a second-rate power. The hunter on the right is wielding a kopis cutting sword, the hunter on the left holds a scabbarded xiphos straight sword. [43] The most common decorative motifs depicted on shields (from coins, ceramics, reliefs and other sculptural monuments) are variations on solar symbols. Six syntagmata formed a taxis of 1,500 men commanded by a strategos, six taxeis formed a phalanx under a phalangiarch. Their abilities as scouts would seem to have been mediocre because when Persian light cavalry were recruited into the Macedonian army following Gaugamela they took over these duties, with the Prodromoi assuming a purely battlefield role as shock cavalry. The Macedonian army could also deploy various forms of suspended, metal-tipped, ram. All the while Philip’s men could jab and wound the enemy. [18] Through extensive drilling and training, the Foot Companions were able to execute complex manoeuvres well beyond the reach of most contemporary armies. This was a hard combination to beat, until after Alexander’s death the Macedonian leaders turned on each other to tear apart his short-lived empire. Prominent in a number of sieges, including the epic Siege of Tyre (332 BC), were siege towers; these allowed men to approach and assault the enemy walls without being exposed to potentially withering missile fire. May 13, 2016 - History of #Macedonia, a kingdom of ancient #Greece - A drawing of a Macedonian phalanx. This number steadily grew as the campaign progressed, with 300 reinforcements arriving from Macedon after the first year of campaigning. Macdonald Phoebus, London, p. 58. The sources also indicate that the phalangites were on occasion armed with javelins. The style of shield used by cavalry, if any, is less clear; the heavy cavalry of Alexander's time did not employ shields.[43]. In the 4th century bce it achieved hegemony over Greece and conquered lands as far east as the Indus River, establishing a short-lived empire that introduced the 32,000+ - the field army for Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Empire - according to Diodorus Siculus. There were also the hypaspists, elite professional infantrymen equipped more like hoplites. [29] Archers were also raised from Macedonia and various Balkan peoples. The sound of myriads of pikes moving though the air in unison, as they were deployed, was said to be most impressive, and very demoralising to the ears of enemy troops. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. A modern reconstruction of the gastraphetes, The dramatic change in the abilities of Greeks to operate against fortifications owed much to the development of effective artillery. The Hypaspists were of privileged Macedonian blood and their senior chiliarchy formed the Agema[21] foot bodyguard of Alexander III.[22]. [36], The Alexander Sarcophagus shows Alexander the Great wearing an elaborate helmet in the form of the lion scalp of Herakles. It was easier to turn than a square formation because everyone followed the leader at the apex, "like a flight of cranes." The Macedonians grew accustomed to victory and also well used to working as a team. Spearmen from Pontus and Phrygia were also employed. Alexander's cousin Pyrrhus of Epirus is described as wearing a helmet with cheek pieces in the shape of ram's heads. [14], These light cavalry were recruited from Paeonia, a tribal region to the north of Macedonia. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. If Philip II had not been the father of Alexander the Great, he would be more widely known as a first-rate military innovator, tactician and strategist, and as a consummate politician. Nearly all the men and the vast majority of officers at the start of the Persian expedition had campaigned extensively with Philip. However, there were a number of features of the tactics employed by the Macedonians in pitched battles which can be identified as being typical. The sarissa ensured the enemy was kept at a distance and would need to struggle to get in close enough to the Macedonians to strike a blow. The Infantryman. This formation was very efficient for manoeuvring, as it allowed the squadron to change direction at speed while still retaining cohesion. Virtually all helmets in use in the Greek world of the period were constructed of bronze. Following the defeat of Lycophron of Pherae and Onomarchos of Phocis, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of the Thessalian League; his death induced the Thessalians to attempt to throw off Macedonian hegemony, but a short bloodless campaign by Alexander restored them to allegiance. Nevertheless, they performed a valuable function in facing down attempts by the Persian cavalry to surround the Macedonian army and helped deal with the breakthrough of some Persian horsemen who went on to attack the baggage. A Macedonian hypaspist. Nearly all the men and the vast majority of officers at the start of the Persian expedition had campaigned extensively with Philip. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. None lasted more than a day, and for all their importance, far more time was spent in raids, skirmishes and most of all sieges of cities, towns and villages. Properly nice figures sculpted by Steve Saleh and Nick Collier with Mark Copplestone, they paint up a treat, pics below are armoured phalanx prior to adding the shields and basing effects. This seems to have changed by Alexander's time as during the mutiny at Opis in 324 BC the men were chastised by Alexander for having run up debts despite earning "good pay". Aug 9, 2020 - Explore CJ Cropper's board "Ancient Macedonian Army" on Pinterest. One reason Alexander could lead charges was that he trusted subordinate commanders at all levels to deal with any local crisis and exploit any opportunity. [23] As well as this, they would have carried a sword, either a xiphos or a kopis. This, alongside the evidence of the depiction of Alexander the Great in the Alexander Mosaic, shows that the technology to make plate armour in iron existed at this time. One experienced Roman general later described the advance of the Macedonian phalanx as the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. They were prominent in accounts of Alexander's siege assaults in close proximity to Alexander himself. It lacks its cheek pieces. Cretan archers were famed for their powerful bows, firing arrows with large, heavy heads of cast bronze. The Hypaspists (Hypaspistai) were the elite arm of the Macedonian infantry. Antigonid Cavalry. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Junior officers, one at the rear and one in the centre, were in place to steady the ranks and maintain the cohesion of the formation, similar to modern-day NCOs. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. It may have resembled the later manica armour used by Roman gladiators and cataphract cavalry. They appear to have been armed with javelins and swords. The Macedonian cavalry also trained hard, enjoyed better equipment. 74 relations. These helmets were worn by the heavy infantry. Concentrated missile fire from light infantry was used by Alexander to counter both scythed chariots and war elephants.