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THE BATTLE OF PLATAEA, 479 BC (Part I)

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Thorax1A bell-shaped hoplite thorax of the archaic period with an extended bell-type projection in the waist, for the repulse of the enemy arrows, javelins, stones etc.

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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[Actually, this paper is a  subchapter of my published book: The Spartan army, Athens 2007].
In the Greco-Persian Wars (490-479 BC) between the Achaemenid Persian Empire and the defensive Alliance of the city-states of South Greece, the victory of the latter at the sea Battle of Salamis (480 BC) on Xerxes’ fleet, secured the control of the sea for them. The Asiatic fleet (mainly East Phoenician) was neutralized and fell back to the eastern Aegean. However, the Persian army remained almost untouched. King Xerxes, fearing the possibility being trapped in Greece and eventually captured or killed after a possible defeat on land, withdrew “discreetly” in Asia officially considering that the objectives of his campaign had been achieved. Before he withdraws, he left his cousin Mardonios (Mardonius in the Western historiography) as head of the army in order to continue the military operations. Mardonios was a stubborn and brave man (his name means the “gallant” in ancient Iranian, originating from the word “mard” for the man or the warrior). On the other hand, in the winter of 479 BC a change occurred in the Spartan military leadership, which proved to be very important for the Greek defense against the invasion. Shortly after Salamis, the Spartan royal commissioner (regent) Kleombrotos died. His office was occupied by his son, Pausanias.

Mardonios initially tried to gain over the Athenians. But the victors of the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) would not be subdued to the losing side in that battle, and twice rejected the tempting terms that he offered them, assuring at the same time the Spartan envoys who were at Salamis Island (the military base of the Athenian army and fleet) that they would never betray their Greek compatriots. Till that moment, the Spartans were avoiding the confrontation with Mardonios’ army. But at that time, they were pressed even more intensely by their Athenian, Megarian, Plataean and Aeginetan allies whose countries were either occupied by the Persians or directly threatened by them. The Spartans had to satisfy the demand of their allies and finally sent their army led by the regent Pausanias, to face the invaders who had already occupied Attica (the territory of Athens) for the second time during the Second Persian campaign (480-479 BC). The women and children of the Athenians had long ago found refuge in Peloponnese and the small islands of the Saronic Gulf. The Athenian resistance was concentrated in the Island of Salamis, where they had defeated the enemy fleet almost a year ago.

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ΝΟΡΔΙΚΕΣ (ΠΡΟ-ΒΙΚΙΝΓΚ) ΠΕΡΙΚΕΦΑΛΑΙΕΣ VENDEL και VALSGäRDE

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Πλάγια όψη κράνους το οποίο βρέθηκε στο κοιμητήριο Vendel στην Ταφή 1 (7ος αι.).
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Σύγχρονη αποκατάσταση της περικεφαλαίας του κοιμητηριου Vendel, Ταφής 14 (βλ. παρακάτω), και ενός ξίφους και ασπίδας από το ίδιο. Αναπαράσταση από τον ιστορικό Σύλλογο Wulfheodenas (αυτό υποθέτω).
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Η περίοδος Vendel (Φέντελ ή Βέντελ στα αγγλικά) της Ιστορίας της Σουηδίας, ουσιαστικά της ανατολικής Σκανδιναβίας, είναι η περίοδος μετά τη Μεγαλη Μεταναστευση των Λαών και πριν την εποχή των Βικινγκς. Διήρκεσε από τα μέσα του 6ου αιώνα μΧ έως το τέλος του 8ου αι και χαρακτηρίζεται από πλούσιες ταφές πολεμαρχων με εντυπωσιακά όπλα. Αυτή η περίοδος της Νορδικής (Σκανδιναβικής) Ιστορίας και ο ομώνυμος πολιτισμός (Vendel) έλαβαν την ονομασία τους από την τοποθεσία Vendel της ιστορικής περιοχής Ούπλαντ (Uppland) της ανατολικής Σουηδίας, όπου ανακαλύφθηκαν κοιμητήρια αυτού του τύπου. Όπως φαίνεται η Ούπλαντ στην οποία αναπτύχθηκαν αργότερα οι σημαντικές πόλεις της εποχής των Βικινγκς Ουψάλα (Uppsala) και Ζιγκτούνα (Sigtuna) ήταν πολύ σημαντική πολιτικά και κατά την περίοδο Vendel. Η περιοχή ήταν μάλλον το πολιτικό κέντρο της φυλής των Σβέαρ (Πρωτο-Σουηδοί) οι οποίοι επεκτάθηκαν σε αυτήν από τη Zβέαλαντ (Svealand), την κοιτίδα τους στα νότια.
Μία άλλη πολύ σημαντική αρχαιολογική τοποθεσία της περιόδου Βεντελ είναι η Valsgärde (Φάλσγέρντε), περίπου τρία Χλμ βορείως της Παλαιάς Ουψάλα, της αρχαίας πρωτεύουσας των Σβέαρ βασιλέων. Οι τύμβοι που ανασκάφηκαν στη Valsgärde είχαν ευρήματα του ίδιου τύπου με αυτά της τοποθεσίας Vendel.

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CAPPADOCIANS, ARMENIANS and GREEKS IN BYZANTINE EASTERN ASIA MINOR: AN ETHNOLINGUISTIC APPROACH

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Asia_Minor_ca_780_AD

Map of Byzantine Asia Minor in 780 AD, with the classic regions in black letters.  These regions must not  be confused with the Byzantine themata (provinces) in red letters (map source: wikipedia)
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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In the 4th century BC, before the conquests of Alexander the Great, Asia Minor (or Anatolia) was a multiracial area inhabited by several peoples with different ethno-linguistic origins. The Lydians, Carians, Lycians and the natives of Pamphylia and Cilicia were of Luwian origins. The Lycaonians, the Pisidians and the Phrygians belonged to the Phrygian group of peoples. The regions of Ionia, Aeolis, Doris, Troas and the coasts of Pamphylia and Cilicia had Greek population (descended from the Mycenaean and Archaic Greek colonization and the Hellenization of the natives). The Mysians and Doliones were Proto-Thracian populations, while the neighboring Bithynians were a Thracian proper tribe. The Cappadocians of Cappadocia proper and the Western Pontos (see below) were speaking several “hybrid” Phrygian, Iranian, Luwian, Hurri-Urartian and Palaeo-Caucasian  dialects like the neighboring Armenians did, but the mixed Irano-Phrygian ethnic character with a lead of the Phrygian element, tended to prevail in both mentioned peoples.

The Kartvelian (Palaeo-Caucasian) tribes were the main population in Eastern Pontos (Pontus in Latin). In Paphlagonia, the local Palaic language (of the region Pala or Pa(ph)la in the Hittite archives) was loosing speakers in favour of the Phrygian. The following clarification needs to be made on the place terms “Cappadocia” and “Pontos”. Both regions were initially a geographical unit: Cappadocia, which extended to the south coast of the Black Sea (Euxeinos Pontos for the ancients) but since the establishment and development of the Hellenistic kingdom of the Mithridatids in coastal Cappadocia (3rd-2nd century. BC), known as “Cappadocia of Pontos”, or possibly even earlier, the specific area was geographically separated from the mainland and was eventually called simply “Pontos”. Moreover a geophysical separation of the region from the rest of Cappadocia existed, because of the high mountains that stretch between them. Finally, the north coast of Anatolia was also dotted with Greek city-colonies.
I do not mention Anatolian Galatia because this area was just a state, being the result of an invasion and not an ethnic region. The area of Galatia was comprised from parts of Cappadocia and Phrygia. The Gallic/Celtic overlords were scant in number compared to their numerous native subjects. That is why in this study I consider Galatia as the western part of Cappadocia and the eastern part of Phrygia.

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MAGNIFICENT VENDEL and VALSGäRDE HELMETS (part III)

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Side view detail of the helmet found at Vendel , grave I, 7th century.

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A reproduction of the Vendel helmet of the burial XIV (see below) and a Vendel sword and shield by the historical association Wulfheodenas (I suppose).
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By Periklis Deligiannis

MAGNIFICENT VENDEL and VALSGäRDE HELMETS (part II)

The numerous tribes of the Vendel age gradually began to join in larger tribal unions or confederations, usually by force, while most Jutes, Angles and Northern Saxons of modern Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein had already migrated to Britain at the beginning of this period (starting at the early 5th century AD, of the pre-Vendel era). The Svear and the peoples of Scandinavia possibly related to the continental Goths – that is to say the Heruli (Heruls) and the Gotar (Gott Gutar and/or Geats) and their branches of modern Gotaland and the Oland & Gotland Islands (in modern southern Sweden) – went on living side by side during the Vendel period (550-793 AD) and the Viking age (793– early 11th century AD). Finally after several confrontations, around the 12th century they joined in a single kingdom, after all not being significantly different in language, origins and culture. Thereby they were both assimilated in the Swedish nation.

In the Viking age, the Danes seem to have absorbed the Fervir, the Bergio, the Jutes and the part of the Heruli tribe that used to live in part of the Sjaelland Isle. It also seems that the total tribe of the Angles had already migrated to Britain, leaving their almost vacant homeland to the Dane newcomers.
Concerning again the Vendel-type helmets, sometimes they are referred as ‘Viking helmets’. In fact, they were mostly helmets of the early Leidang armies, i.e. Nordic armies that were operating inside the Scandinavian homeland. But several post-Vendel types and some Vendel proper helmets survived up to the Viking age (some of them perhaps as family heritage or heirloom) being used by Viking combatants, i.e. warriors of raiding groups or armies that were operating overseas, mostly away from Scandinavia. On the other hand, the Vendel types did spread out of Scandinavia, mainly in Britain and the South Frisian lands (the coasts of modern NW Germany and the Netherlands) by the Anglo-Saxon invaders and through military and commercial interaction with the southern Frisians who were sharing many common cultural elements with the Nordic peoples (some historians – including the author of this article – consider them as almost Nordics).
In the 20th century some researchers used to believe that there is a connection of the place name ‘Vendel’ with the Vandals, the East Germanic tribe who finally conquered Roman Africa and sacked Rome itself, but nowadays this theory doesn’t seem to have many followers.

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ΚΑΠΠΑΔΟΚΕΣ, ΑΡΜΕΝΙΟΙ και ΕΛΛΗΝΕΣ στην ΑΝΑΤΟΛΙΚΗ ΒΥΖΑΝΤΙΝΗ ΜΙΚΡΑ ΑΣΙΑ: ΜΙΑ ΕΘΝΟΓΛΩΣΣΙΚΗ ΠΡΟΣΕΓΓΙΣΗ

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Asia_Minor_ca_780_AD Xάρτης  της  Βυζαντινής Μικράς Ασίας με τις κλασσικές εθνο-γεωγραφικές περιοχές και τα βυζαντινά θέματα (πηγή  χάρτη: wikipedia)

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Π. Δεληγιάννης

Κατά τον 4ο αι. π.Χ., πριν τις κατακτήσεις του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου, η Μικρά Ασία ήταν μία πολυφυλετική περιοχή κατοικούμενη από αρκετούς λαούς με διαφορετική καταγωγή. Οι Λυδοί, Κάρες, Λύκιοι και οι αυτόχθονες της Παμφυλίας και της Κιλικίας είχαν λουβική καταγωγή. Οι Λυκάονες, οι Πισίδες και οι Φρύγες ανήκαν στη φρυγική ομάδα λαών. Ειδικά για τους Πισίδες μερικοί θεωρούν ότι ίσως μιλούσαν λουβικές διαλέκτους. Η Ιωνία, η Αιολίδα, η Δωρίδα, η Τρωάδα και οι ακτές της Παμφυλίας και της Κιλικίας είχαν ελληνικό πληθυσμό (προερχόμενο τόσο από τον μυκηναϊκό και τον Αρχαϊκό ελληνικό αποικισμό όσο και από εξελληνισμό των γηγενών). Οι Μυσοί και οι Δολίονες συνιστούσαν πρωτοθρακικούς πληθυσμούς, ενώ οι γειτονικοί τους Βιθυνοί ήταν καθαυτό Θράκες. Οι Καππαδόκες της καθαυτό Καππαδοκίας και του δυτικού Πόντου μιλούσαν διάφορες «υβριδικές» φρυγικές, ιρανικές, λουβικές, χουρριτικές-ουραρτικές και παλαιοκαυκάσιες διαλέκτους, όπως και οι γειτονικοί τους Αρμένιοι, αλλά ο μικτός ιρανοφρυγικός χαρακτήρας με ένα προβάδισμα του φρυγικού στοιχείου, έτεινε να επικρατήσει και στους δύο αναφερόμενους λαούς. Στον ανατολικό Πόντο επικρατούσαν οι καρθβελικοί πληθυσμοί (Παλαιοκαυκάσιοι).

Στην Παφλαγονία, η τοπική παλαϊκή γλώσσα (της χιτττιτικής Πά(φ)λα) είχε υποχωρήσει έναντι της φρυγικής. Πρέπει να γίνει η εξής διευκρίνιση σχετικά με τους όρους «Καππαδοκία» και «Πόντος»: αρχικά οι δύο περιοχές αποτελούσαν γεωγραφική ενότητα, την Καππαδοκία η οποία εκτεινόταν έως τη νότια ακτή του Ευξείνου Πόντου, όμως από την εποχή της συγκρότησης και ανάπτυξης του ελληνιστικού βασιλείου των Μιθριδατιδών στην παράκτια Καππαδοκία (3ος-2ος αι. π.Χ) τη γνωστή ως «Καππαδοκία προς Πόντω», ενδεχομένως και νωρίτερα, η συγκεκριμένη περιοχή διαχωρίσθηκε γεωγραφικά από την ενδοχώρα και τελικά αποκλήθηκε απλά «Πόντος». Εξάλλου υπήρχε ήδη γεωφυσικός διαχωρισμός της περιοχής από την υπόλοιπη Καππαδοκία, λόγω των υψηλών ορέων που εκτείνονται ανάμεσα τους. Τέλος, και η βόρεια μικρασιατική ακτή ήταν διάσπαρτη με ελληνικές πόλεις-αποικίες.

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MAGNIFICENT VENDEL and VALSGäRDE HELMETS (part II)

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13 Helmet from Valsgärde Cemetery
Helmet from the Valsgärde Cemetery

14 Helmet reconstruct. Valsgärde
Reconstruction of a helmet from the Valsgärde burials (RoyalOakArmoury.com).
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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MAGNIFICENT VENDEL and VALSGäRDE HELMETS (part I)

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According to the literary sources and the chronicles (Jordanes, Beowulf epic and others) in that period the largest tribes of eastern and southern Scandinavia (i.e. modern Sweden and Denmark) were the Svears (Suiri, Suehans, the Swedes), the Gotar (Geats, Gott) and their probable branches – the Gauthigoth, Ostrogothae, Vagoth, Gutar, Theustes – the Jutes (maybe a tribal offshoot of the Gotar/Geats), the Heruli (the major part of the tribe played an important role in the Age of Migrations in the continent), the Screrefennae (the Finns, the sole non-Germanic people in the region), the Bergio, the Fervir, the Wulfingas, the Hallin, the Danes, the North Frisians, and in modern western Schleswig-Holstein the metropolitan Saxons (the core tribe of the Saxon confederacy). Western Scandinavia (modern Norway) was inhabited by even smaller tribes and clans, such as the Ragnaricii, Raumaricii, Otingis, Rugii (possibly the core tribe of the continental Rugii who settled in Pannonia and Italy), Adogit, Arothi and others.
The Vendel graves are rich, and very similar to the ones excavated in Britain, namely at Sutton Hoo in the principality of East Anglia. After all, taking into account literary, linguistic and other evidence, it is possible that the dynasty of East Anglia was of Geat/Gotar origins (possibly a branch of the Wulfings). In my point of view, there is also a strong connection of the names of the Angles (forebears of the national name of the English) and the Ynglings (Ynglingas, Scylfings). After all, they seem to have been both bearers of the Vendel cultural elements. Taking into account that the Angles were a small tribe (less numerous than the Saxons and the Jutes: possibly a few clans) I would hypothesize that they were a tribal offshoot or close relatives of the Ynglings. It is possible that the Angles originating from modern Sweden were at first established in southern Jutland and modern Schleswig-Holstein and then invaded Britain becoming royal dynasties in East Anglia, Bernicia, Deira, Mercia and possibly elsewhere.

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