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Answering to a New Yorker author’s criticism on my articles about the Argonautica (and making an exception)

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ArgoGathering of the Argonauts, Attic red-figure krater, 460–450 BC, Louvre (G 341) (Wikipedia commons)
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Periklis  Deligiannis

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Sometimes some of my articles are criticized by various scholars, historians, researchers and other readers around the world. These criticisms are sometimes positive, sometimes negative and sometimes malicious or aggressive/abusive. Except the latter, all of them are welcome.
The most recent criticism (negative criticism, but I think not malicious) was made by an editor and writer from New York, Jason Colavito, who wrote here a long article in which he presents a number of his ‘arguments’ based on which he is trying to question the conclusions of my two articles on the Argonautica. Although I generally do not answer to the criticism of others, I will make an exception for Mr Colavito because my vacations have already started and I have plenty of time (no, I’m not on a beach of a Greek island, but in the cement-city of Athens under a heat wave!).

Mr Colavito writes that “Deligannis makes a number of errors, beginning with the fact that he takes the developed Argonaut myth of the Classical and Hellenistic period as representative of the state of the story in the Archaic period and earlier, including all of the people and places of the standard version of the myth. There is no evidence that the full complement of fifty some-odd Argonaut celebrities drawn from all over Greece were original to the myth. Homer knows nothing of them, nor does Hesiod’s Theogony. The Hesiodic fragments contain episodes…”

It is obvious that the writer of the above paragraph/argument does not have a picture in depth, of the topography, geography and settlement history of the Mediterranean region in Antiquity, which probably plays the most important role in dating the Argonautic myth and mostly the chronology of its approximately final form. The myth of the Argonauts mentions several cities such as Peiresiae, Oechalia, Iolkos, Titaros, Alope, Tipha, Lerna, Pylos, Arene and others which in the Classical and Hellenistic period either no longer existed and no one knew their location, or had become insignificant villages, overshadowed by famous nearby cities. Additionally, the legend does not mention at all very important cities of the Classical and Hellenistic period of the same areas such as Chalkis, Eretria, Histiaia, Megara, Marathon, Eleusis, Corinth (Ephyra), Sicyon, Patrae, Orchomenos in Arcadia, Mantineia, Olympia and many others. And above all, no one in the Classical and Hellenistic period knew for sure the location of the Bebryces, Salmydessos, the Symplegades, not even of Colchis (Colchis’ location at the foothills of the Caucasus was a reasonable hypothesis made by the subsequent Greeks but not a certainty).
The Classical and Hellenistic Greeks knew only the location of Lemnos, Samothrace, and the territories of the Doliones and the Mariandyni, but specifically for the Mariandyni this is doubtful because the homonymous people of their time is not certainly identical to the tribe encountered by the Argonauts. All these peoples, figures and cities obviously belong to a very ancient period (Proto-Mycenaean period, archaeologically known as Middle-Helladic); so ancient that the Classical and Hellenistic Greeks knew them only as ‘empty names’ without location or personal history. I think it is very unlikely for the later and much later (Hellenistic) Greeks to attach the lesser legends of such ’empty’ place names, peoples and other to the ‘central’ myth of the Argonautica. After all, that central myth would be very reduced in its original form.  I think that this evidence is enough to demonstrate that the Argonaut myth of the Classical and Hellenistic period is representative enough of the state of the story in the Archaic period and earlier, including all of the people and places of the standard version of the myth.

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JASON’S ARGONAUTS (part II): a Historical and Geopolitical approach to the myth of the Argonautica

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argoA modern reconstruction of the Argo, the ship of the Argonauts or rather their flagship, by the Historical Association “Argonauts 2008”. Argo was an early Bronze Age penteconter.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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As it was mentioned, the Argonauts docked at first in Lemnos Island, where Jason had a love affair with the local queen Hypsipyle with whom he had two sons. This episode is sometimes interpreted as a Minyan colonization of Lemnos and the neighbouring and closely related island of Imbros. During the Trojan War, the people of the two islands were not sided with the Mycenaeans, at least from the beginning of the war, but that does not mean that they were not akin to them. The reason is that the mentioned islands were near the coasts of the Troad and Thrace (most of the Thracians were allies of the Trojans) and thereby they were obliged (or threatened) to join the Trojan alliance. It is also very plausible that the mercantile and geopolitical interests of the Lemnians and the Imbrians were identical to those of the Trojans. Other ancient literary sources inform us that after the destruction of Troy, Lemnos and Imbros were occupied by Pelasgians who actually were non-Greek Tyrsenians from Lydia, kinsmen of the Etruscans of Italy. It is obvious that the Pelasgi/Tyrsenians evicted the Minyan settlers from the two islands. In the Archaic period the latter became Greek again, when the Athenians occupied them evicting their Tyrrhenian/Tyrsenian inhabitants and colonizing them.
After Lemnos, the Argonauts anchored at the island of Samothrace very close to the Thracian coasts, then crossed the Hellespont and from there they faced adventures in the territories of the Doliones, the Bebryces and the city-principality of Salmydessos, which they lie on the south coasts of the Propontis (Sea of Marmara) with the probable exception of the latter. Next the Argonauts crossed the perilous strait of the Symplegades (probably the modern Bosphorus in Turkey) and thus managed to reach the Black Sea. There, they first docked in the land of the Mariandyni tribe at the north coast of Asia Minor. The aforementioned peoples of the south Propontis coasts were rather of proto-Phrygian and proto-Thracian stock who had already settled in Asia Minor, while the country of the Mariandyni can be identified with the one of the Palaites (the land Pa(ph)la, the subsequent Classical Paphlagonia) or even of the Gasga (Kaska) mentioned in the Hittite royal archives at Hattusas.

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JASON’S ARGONAUTS: a Historical and Geopolitical approach to the myth of the Argonautica (part I)

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Dendra2Dendra1

The Mycenaean Dendra armor (15th c. BC) belongs to the era in which the Argonaut campaign took place. On top of the armor there is a characteristic boar-tusk helmet which in this case is equipped with bronze cheek-protectors.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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TABLE: LIST of the ARGONAUTS and their origins

The first two columns of the table quote the legendary heroes of the Argonaut campaign and the city of origin of each one, according to the ancient literature. I composed and added the third column in order to present the peoples/tribes who were the bearers of the traditions or cults of the respective heroes (local deities or agathodemons) or the peoples/tribes inhabiting the listed cities. Hercules is usually referred as a Theban in the ancient texts, but he was a hero/deity of the Achaeans, as possibly was Hylas as well. For this reason I place the Cadmeian people to the city of Thebes, who surely were in control of her in the time of the Argonautica.
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ARGONAUT / REGION or CITY  / TRIBE(People)
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THESSALY
Jason / Iolkos /Minyans
Akastos / Iolkos / Minyans
Admetos / Pherae / Minyans
Peleus / Phthia / Achaeans
Aethalides / Alope / Achaeans
Eurytos / Alope / Achaeans
Echion / Alope / Achaeans
Eurydamas / Ktemene / Dolopes
Asterion / Peiresiae / Lapiths
Polyphemus / Larissa / Lapiths
Koronos / Gyrton / Lapiths
Iphiclos / Phylake / Minyans
Mopsus / Titaros / Lapiths
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THRACE
Orpheus / – / Thracians
Kalais / – / Thracians
Zetes / – / Thracians
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AETOLIA
Meleager / Kalydon / Aetolians (?)
Laokoon / Kalydon / Aetolians (?)
Iphiclos / Pleuron / Aetolians (?)
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ΤΗΕ GELOAN WAR MACHINE (ANCIENT SICILY) – PART II

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phalanx

cavalryThe hoplite phalanx (vase-painting above) and the cavalry of the Archaic type (artwork below, by Giussepe Rava) were the two main army formations of the Siciliot and Italiot Greeks including the Geloans.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I
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Gela completed her hegemonic march when eventually Gelon, her greatest son, made Syracuse his capital. Henceforth, Acragas substituted Gela as the second most powerful city-state of Sicily, a great rival for Syracuse.
Many readers accustomed to the History of World War II, must have known Gela, because her site was one of the main landing areas of the Allied assault on Sicily on the 10th of July 1943.
After this historical introduction, I am going to deal in greater detail with ancient Gela’s armed forces.
The main military disadvantage of Gela was the lack of natural harbours in her core territory. Because of this geophysical situation, the Geloans never had a navy of some account. When the Geloan tyrants formed the ‘Geloan Empire’, they exploited the ports and the warships of the subject naval city-states to establish a navy.
The limited occupation of the Geloans with shipping and the fertile plain around their city turned them into an agricultural and ranching life. Moreover the ancestors of most settlers, although all of them islanders, were more attached to the land occupations than to sea life: these were the Cretans, the Coans and the colonists from the city-states Hialysos and Kamiros of Rhodes; the Lindians were actually the exception to this ‘general rule’.

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ΤΗΕ GELOAN WAR MACHINE (ANCIENT SICILY) – PART I

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1The  anthropomorphic  bull  in  a  coin  of  Gela  (480-470  BC),  apparently  a  popular  emblem  on  the  shields  of  the  Geloans.

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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The city of Gela  was  founded  in  688  BC  on  the  south  coast  of  Sicily,  near  the  river  Gelas,  by Cretan,  Rhodian  and  other  Dodecanese  Dorian  settlers.  This  new  Greek colony  was  originally  named  “the Lindians”  from  the  “ethnic name”  of  Lindos,  the  most  important  city-state  of  Rhodes.  Lindos  had  significantly  higher  shipping  than  any  other  city-state  of Rhodes,  Crete  and  the Dodecanese,  and  apparently  supported  the  colonial  mission  with  her  navy.  However,  because  most  of  the  colonists  had  not  Lindian  origin,  the  name  “Gela”  finally  prevailed originating  from  the  indigenous Sicanian  name  of  the  nearby  river  (the Gelas River).

From  the  beginning  the  Geloans  (the citizens  of Gela)  had  a  high level of militancy,  seeking  the expansion  of  their  territory  in  the  Sicilian  mainland,  at  the  expense  of  the  natives  of  Sicily  and  other  Greek  colonists.  The  natives  were  the  Sicani  (Sicans),  the  Elymians  (probably  a  Sicani  tribal  offshoot)  and  the  Siculi  or  Sikels  (actually  of  Italian  mainland  origins).  The  first  phase  of  the  impressive  conquests  of Gela,  belongs  to  the  wars  against  the  neighboring  Sicani.  The  Sican  townships  of  Kakyron,  Omphake  (now  Monte  Desusino),  Ariaiton  (or  Ariaitis),  Inykon  and  others,  succumbed  to  the  army  of  Gela,  despite  their  resistance.  The strong  resistance  of  the  Sicani  is  demonstrated  by  the  fact  that  the  Geloans  spent  nearly  two  centuries  until  the  subjugation  of  the  last  independent  Sicani of their territory.  The  Greeks  had  a  decisive  military  advantage  against  the  natives,  thanks  to  their  hoplite  phalanx and their cavalry.

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Η ΜΑΧΗ ΤΟΥ ΠΟΤΑΜΟΥ ΣΑΒΙΔΟΣ (57 πΧ)

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 Sabis 57Ρωμαίοι αντιμετωπίζουν Βέλγους στα νερά του ποταμού Σάβιδος, σε έναν κλασσικό πλέον πίνακα του Mark Churms.
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ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ Α΄ ΜΕΡΟΣ

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Ο Καίσαρ προχώρησε με τις έξι παλαιότερες λεγεώνες του προς τον ποταμό Σάβι στέλνοντας πρώτα ένα σώμα ιππικού προκειμένου να ανακαλύψει μια ασφαλή τοποθεσία στην οποία θα εγκαθιστούσε το στρατόπεδο του. Οι νεοσύστατες λεγεώνες 13η και 14η ακολουθούσαν σε απόσταση συνοδεύοντας την ρωμαϊκή εφοδιοπομπή.
Το ρωμαϊκό ιππικό είχε περάσει μαζί με σώματα «ψιλών» στην δεξιά όχθη του Σάβιδος προκειμένου να επιτηρεί τους Βέλγους. Οι Κέλτες ξεπρόβαλαν ξαφνικά μέσα από το δάσος, αλαλάζοντας και κραδαίνοντας τα ξίφη τους. Σύντομα απώθησαν το τρομοκρατημένο ιππικό του Καίσαρα και διάβηκαν τον ποταμό κολυμπώντας. Όταν πέρασαν στην αριστερή όχθη άρχισαν να ανεβαίνουν ελαύνοντας με μεγάλη ταχύτητα στην πλαγιά του λόφου, κατευθυνόμενοι προς την κορυφή του όπου εργάζονταν οι Ρωμαίοι στρατιώτες. Ο Καίσαρ βρέθηκε σε πολύ δύσκολη θέση αφού έπρεπε να δράσει αστραπιαία για να διασώσει τους ασύντακτους και άοπλους λεγεωνάριους του. Έπρεπε να σαλπίσουν τα βούκινα, να σηκωθούν τα κόκκινα λάβαρα που καλούσαν τους λεγεωνάριους να συγκεντρωθούν για μάχη, να συγκεντρώσει τους άνδρες του που έκοβαν δένδρα, κ.ο.κ., όλα αυτά «σε μία στιγμή» όπως γράφει.
Ευτυχώς για τους Ρωμαίους, ο Καίσαρ είχε δώσει εντολή στους αξιωματικούς του να μην απομακρυνθούν από τους άνδρες τους αν δεν ολοκληρωνόταν η κατασκευή, οπότε αυτοί μπόρεσαν να συγκεντρώσουν γρήγορα τους λεγεωνάριους τους. Οι Ρωμαίοι βοηθήθηκαν επιπροσθέτως, από το υψηλό επίπεδο εκπαίδευσης και πειθαρχίας τους. Όταν οι περισσότερο απομακρυσμένοι λεγεωνάριοι αντιλήφθηκαν την θυελλώδη επίθεση των Βέλγων, έδρασαν ψύχραιμα. Δεν έψαξαν να βρουν τις μονάδες τους αλλά πήραν τα όπλα τους και έτρεξαν στο κοντινότερο ρωμαϊκό πολεμικό λάβαρο που είχε ανυψωθεί. Έτσι σχηματίσθηκε σε απίστευτα μικρό χρονικό διάστημα μια ρωμαϊκή γραμμή μάχης. Το δεξιό κέρας των Ρωμαίων αποτελείτο από τις λεγεώνες 7η και 12η, ευρισκόμενο έναντι των Νερβίων. Οι λεγεώνες 8η και 11η συγκροτούσαν το ρωμαϊκό κέντρο που θα αντιμετώπιζε τους Ουιρομάνδουους. Τέλος, η 10η και η 9η λεγεώνα, υπό την διοίκηση του Καίσαρα, αποτελούσαν την ρωμαϊκή αριστερή πτέρυγα, απέναντι από τους Ατρεβάτες.

Συνεχεια αναγνωσης

Ο ΠΡΩΤΟΣ ΠΟΛΕΜΟΣ ΤΟΥ ΚΑΙΣΑΡΑ ΕΝΑΝΤΙΟΝ ΤΩΝ ΒΕΛΓΩΝ- μέρος Α΄ (57 π.Χ.)

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RomansΑναπαράσταση Ρωμαίων λεγεωνάριων στο English Heritage Festival του 2011 (photo by Lichfield Lore). Η φωτογραφία θα μπορούσε να απεικονίζει λεγεωνάριους με φόντο τα πυκνά βελγικά δάση αν οι παρόντες λεγεωνάριοι δεν ήταν της αυτοκρατορικής περιόδου και όχι της Δημοκρατικής.
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Το 58 π.Χ. η εκστρατεία του Ιουλίου Καίσαρα για την υποταγή της Γαλατίας συνεχιζόταν. Εκείνο το έτος ο Καίσαρ νίκησε συντριπτικά τους Γερμανούς Σουήβους οι οποίοι σκόπευαν επίσης να καταλάβουν τη Γαλατία. Το επόμενο έτος στράφηκε εναντίον των απειλητικών Βέλγων. Πολλοί Γαλάτες ανακουφίστηκαν με την καταστροφή των Σουήβων οι οποίοι απειλούσαν την πατρίδα τους. Άλλοι κατανόησαν ότι ο Καίσαρ σκόπευε να μετατρέψει την χώρα τους σε ρωμαϊκή επαρχία.
Οι Βέλγοι ήταν μια μεγάλη ομάδα εκ-κελτισμένων λαών κυρίως της Βορειοδυτικής προ-κελτικής εθνογλωσσικής ομάδας τους οποίους οι Γερμανοί είχαν εκδιώξει από την κοιτίδα τους στα ανατολικά του Ρήνου, με αποτέλεσμα να εγκατασταθούν στην βορειοανατολική Γαλατία, μεταξύ των ποταμών Σηκουάνα, Μάρνη και Ρήνου. Είχαν υιοθετήσει σχεδόν πλήρως τον πολιτισμό Λα Τεν και μάλλον θεωρούσαν τους εαυτούς τους Κέλτες. Ο Καίσαρ τους χαρακτηρίζει ως τους πολεμικότερους των Γαλατών. Οι Βέλγοι είχαν ισχυροποιηθεί από τους μακρόχρονους πολέμους τους με τους Γερμανούς. Η πλειοψηφία τους ήταν φανατικά αντιρρωμαϊκή και διατηρούσε ακέραιο χαρακτήρα που δεν υπέκυπτε στις δωροδοκίες των Ρωμαίων.
Οι Βέλγοι αντιλήφθηκαν ότι ο Καίσαρ θα εκστράτευε εναντίον τους και άρχισαν να ανταλλάσουν ομήρους προκειμένου να ισχυροποιήσουν περισσότερο τους δεσμούς της φυλετικής ένωσης τους. Ο Λαβιηνός ενημέρωσε τον Καίσαρα για τις πολεμικές προετοιμασίες τους. Ο δεύτερος είχε στρατολογήσει στις σύγχρονες Παδανία και Προβηγκία άνδρες για δύο νέες λεγεώνες, την δέκατη τρίτη και την δέκατη τέταρτη (XIII και XIV). Η πλειοψηφία των λεγεωνάριων, παλαιών και νεοστρατολογημένων, ήταν πάντοτε Ιταλοί αλλά ένα ποσοστό αποτελείτο από Ισπανούς και Γαλάτες. Πολλοί από τους τοξότες ήταν Κρήτες οι οποίοι φημίζονταν ως οι καλύτεροι στην Μεσόγειο. Ο Καίσαρ έφθασε με τις νέες λεγεώνες στο Ουεσόντιο όπου ενώθηκε με τη στρατιά του Λαβιηνού και μια μεγάλη δύναμη γαλατικού συμμαχικού ιππικού, κυρίως Αιδούων υπό τον Διβικιακό (57 π.Χ.). Ο Αίδουος αρχηγός αποτελούσε επιπροσθέτως τον κύριο σύμβουλο και διαπραγματευτή του Καίσαρα.

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AD FINEM DESOLATUM! : ROME’S FEROCIOUS 2nd CELTIBERIAN WAR (154-133 BC) Part II

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Modern reconstruction of the fortifications of Numantia, Spain (source:  Wikipedia commons).
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By Periklis Deligiannis

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CONTINUED FROM PART I

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Scipio realized that the Roman war effort should focus on Numantia, the center of the resistance. When he observed her strong walls, made of stone and plinths and supported by wooden towers and defensive obstacles in front of them, he understood that the fortress-city (rather a town according to the Greco-Roman standarts) which had repelled four Roman armies, could not be conquered by assaults and generally by an energetic siege. For this reason, he decided to cut her of the rest of Spain, surrounding her with a powerful ring of fortifications extending 10 km around the city. The Roman siege wall consisted of a wooden wall with towers in which ballistae and catapults were installed. There were also six legion camps embedded in the siege wall. In overall, 60-70,000 Romans would face a few thousands of Numantine defenders who were inside the town together with a few more thousands of non-combatants. The neighboring Celtiberian tribes did not help Numantia because of fear for the huge Roman army and mainly their envy for her growing power and influence. Once again, the typical Celtic discord was the strongest “weapon” of the Romans in their wars against any Celtic enemy.

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AD FINEM DESOLATUM! : ROME’S FEROCIOUS 2nd CELTIBERIAN WAR (154-133 BC)

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centurionΑ Republican Roman centurion leads his legionaries through a storm of arrows. Artwork by Radu Oltean.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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In the 4th century BC, the ethno-linguistic situation in the Iberian Peninsula (or simply called Iberia) was settled. Most likely, her area was shared by at least five ethno-linguistic groups. The three of them consisted of indigenous peoples of the Pre-Indo-European Mediterranean substrate: the Vasconian or Aquitanian group dwelled in the northern area, being the ancestors of the modern Basques. The Vascones belonged to the same group with the pre-Celtic Aquitani of southern Gaul. The southern part of the Peninsula belonged to the Tartessian group, with the Turdetani being its principal tribe and the River Ana (today Guadiana) being its northern border. The eastern Mediterranean coast of Spain was dwelled by the Iberian group. Some decades ago it was believed that the Vascones and the Tartessians were branches of the Iberians, but today it is almost certain that they were independent ethno-linguistic groups. This ‘misunderstanding’ was due to the Greek and Italian navigators/explorers who first came into contact with the Iberians. Because of this meeting they called “Iberia” the whole peninsula when in fact the Iberians were a rather limited part of the total population. In the mentioned period, the original Tartessian group was already divided to a Paleo-Tartessian and a Turdetanian subgroup.
The other two ethno-linguistic groups of the Peninsula were Indo-European: the Lusitani who were linguistically an Indo-European population but probably pre-Celtic, and the Celtiberians who were linguistically Celts. Some researchers believe that the Lusitani spoke proto-Celtic dialects originating from the local Urnfield Culture, older than the Celtiberian dialects (being  q-Celtic, rather originating from the Hallstatt Era) but there are many objections to this view.

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MILITARY ENGINEERING and ARCHITECTURE IN MID-17th century EUROPE: MATTHIAS DOGEN’S TREATISE of 1647

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0016Fortifications of Ostend (in modern Belgium), from Dogen’s treatise.

0009A characteristic diagram of the study

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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A treatise on military engineering and architecture in which I have to make a special mention is the profound work of the German engineer of the Renaissance, Matthias Dögen, entitled Architectura militaris moderna. It was published in 1647 in Amsterdam (which is mentioned as Amstelodamum in the study) mainly thanks to the interest of Frederick-Henry of Nassau, Prince of Orange (1584-1647). The treatise was published just a year before the end of the devastating Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) which shook Europe; but on the other hand, the war needs of the fighting states gave great impetus to the European art of war and generally to the techniques, practices and methods of warfare of that era. Therefore I consider Matthias Dogen’s treatise a very important work because it belongs to a “fragile” period for the art and science of fortification because of the steadily growing power of the bombing on cities and fortresses by increasingly heavier artillery guns.
Matthias Dögen (1605-1671) was born in Brandenburg and specifically in the province of Pomerania. Today, this region belongs to Poland, but in the time he was born, Pomerania was inhabited by Germans. The German population evacuated her in the few years from 1945 and on, due to the advance of the Red Army and the final defeat of Germany, and was replaced by Poles. At a young age, Dogen moved to the Netherlands where he studied mathematics and military engineering at Leiden, in the renowned local School of Mathematics.

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New Branch Added to European Family Tree

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Genetic analysis reveals Europeans descended from at least three ancient groups

By Stephanie Dutchen
September 17, 2014

This skull of a 7,000-year-old German farmer was among the ancient human bones that revealed more about the genetic heritage of present-day Europeans. Image: Joanna Drath/University of TübingenThis skull of a 7,000-year-old German farmer was among the ancient human bones that revealed more about the genetic heritage of present-day Europeans. Image: Joanna Drath/University of Tübingen

The setting: Europe, about 7,500 years ago.

Agriculture was sweeping in from the Near East, bringing early farmers into contact with hunter-gatherers who had already been living in Europe for tens of thousands of years.

Genetic and archaeological research in the last 10 years has revealed that almost all present-day Europeans descend from the mixing of these two ancient populations. But it turns out that’s not the full story.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School and the University of Tübingen in Germany have now documented a genetic contribution from a third ancestor: Ancient North Eurasians. This group appears to have contributed DNA to present-day Europeans as well as to the people who travelled across the Bering Strait into the Americas more than 15,000 years ago.

“Prior to this paper, the models we had for European ancestry were two-way mixtures. We show that there are three groups,” said David Reich, professor of genetics at HMS and co-senior author of the study.

“This also explains the recently discovered genetic connection between Europeans and Native Americans,” Reich added. “The same Ancient North Eurasian group contributed to both of them.”

The research team also discovered that ancient Near Eastern farmers and their European descendants can trace much of their ancestry to a previously unknown, even older lineage called the Basal Eurasians.

The study was published online Sept. 17 in Nature.

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