Dioekeseis (satrapies) of Alexander the Great’s Empire

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These are some interesting maps on the Dioekeseis of Alexander the Great’s State, aka the old satrapies of the Achaemenid State which he conquered, that is the administrative districts of the old Persian empire. Alexander and his Successors generally used the same administrative system but actually they did not use (at least officially) the Persian term ‘satrapy’ but their own Greek term ‘dioekesis’ which had the same meaning. The governor of a dioekesis was the dioeketes, the one that the Persians used to call ‘satrap’ (‘kshatrapa’ in Avestan Persian, coming from the same root as the Indo-Aryan ‘kshatriya’).




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phrygo-boeotian helmetPhrygoboeotian helmet.

By Periklis Deligiannis

This is a little bit late dedication, but I was just informed about the death of the great Russian archaeologist, academician, historical author and illustrator Mikhael V. Gorelik (Михаил Викторович Горе́лик) who died on January 2015 in Moscow. Gorelik had been one of my favourite scholars and writers. I really admire his lifetime work especially on the study of the warfare of the Eurasian Steppes nomadic peoples.

The Phrygoboeotian (Phrygo-Boeotian) helmet is a case of hybrid helmet used by the Macedonian armies of Alexander the Great and his Successors (Diadochoi and Epigonoi), as the archaeological finds demonstrate – either original pieces or artistic representations.
The Phrygoboeotian helmet was actually the old Boeotian casque with the addition of the peak of the “ethnic” Macedonian helmet known as Phrygian or Thracophrygian.
The Boeotian helmet was a patent of the Boeotians, initially appearing when they manufactured in metal form the shape of their characteristic leather caps. Xenophon in his “Hipparchikos” considers this casque as the ideal one for the cavalry due to its advantages, mainly the fact that it ensures a wide visual range for the cavalryman.




By  Periklis    Deligiannis


A  Thraco-Phrygian  helmet, characeristic of the pezetairoi (pikemen) of the Macedonian phalanx.


Spear-heads from 3rd-1st cent. BC Greece, probably originally parts of sarissae (the sarissa was the main weapon of the Macedonian phalanx).

The  Macedonian  phalanx  and  the  ‘manipula’  of  the  Roman  legion  were  the  two  most  successful  battle  formations  of  Antiquity.  The  Macedonian-type  phalanx  of  pikemen  (pezetairoi  in  Greek)  was  founded  by  Philip  II  of  Macedonia  in  the  mid-fourth  century  BC,  when  he  was  influenced  deeply  by  the  military  innovations  of  the  Athenian  general  Iphicrates  and  the  Theban  general  Epaminondas.  The  Macedonian-type  phalanx  had  a  great  course  in  history.  The  Macedonians  were  those  who  used  it  for  the  first  time,  and  then  bequeathed  it  to  the  Greek/Hellenistic  Kingdoms  that  finally  formed  after  the  disintegration  of  the  Empire  of  Alexander  the  Great.  Thus,  the  Macedonian-type  phalanx  was  used  by  the  Antigonid,  Lysimachid,  Seleucid,  Ptolemaic  and  Attalid  (Pergamene)  Greeks  and  also  by  the  Greek  Kingdoms  of  Bactria  and  India,  the  Hellenized  Kingdom  of  Pontus  and  other  lesser  Greek  and  Hellenized  states  of  the  Middle  East.  In  mainland Greece,  the  Epirotes,  the  Achaeans,  the  Boeotians  and  the  Spartans  formed  at  different  times,  their  heavy  infantry  as  Macedonian-type  phalanxes.  On the other hand,  the  Athenians  and  the  other  Greeks  of  mainland Greece,  and  also  the  Greeks  of  Sicily, Italy,  Gaul-Iberia  (Marseille/Massalia  and  its  colonies),  Cyrenaica  (modern  eastern Libya)  and  the  northern  Black  Sea,  never  adopted  this  type  of  phalanx.  Only  the  Tarantines  of  Magna  Graecia  formed  a  short-lived  Macedonian-type  phalanx  (leukaspis)  led  by  Pyrrhus  of  Epirus.

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The battles against the Gauls were of the last to be fought by the hoplites. During the fifty years that followed, hoplite warfare was abandoned mainly due to the new socio-political conditions that prevailed in the Greek World. In the artwork: Hoplites of the Archaic era (artwork/copyright: Karl  Kopinski).


By Periklis Deligiannis

Continued from PART I

The hordes of Bolgios and Kerethrios were the vanguards of the Gauls because shortly after (279 BC) the main Gallic army appeared led by Brennos (Brennus) and Akichorios, which invaded Macedonia through the Axios Valley. The Senonian Gaul conqueror of Rome (387 BC) was also called Brennos, a ‘name’ which was probably the Celtic title for the king. Centuries later, the Welsh word brennin had the same meaning (king). Brennos was the supreme warlord of the Galatians while Akichorios, Bolgios and Kerethrios were probably his lieutenants (commanders). The Celts were marching with their families in wagons, evidence that they intended to settle in the area. They were strengthened by their vassal warriors: Illyrians, Dardanians, Thracians, fugitive slaves and others. The ancient sources quote that the third (and main) Gallic horde consisted of 150,000 infantry and 15,000 to 60,000 cavalry, figures generally dismissed as exaggerated. The number of infantry is almost common in all ancient writers and probably account for all combatants and non-combatants. If we remove from that number the non-combatants (about 3/4 of the ancient populations), then the warriors would be around 35 to 40,000 men. The real number of the cavalry cannon be estimated, but a figure of 10,000 is plausible. Each Gaul cavalryman (a noble with armor) was accompanied by two horsemen. This military unit of three riders was called “Trimarkesia” (from the Celtic word “mark” which meant among other things, the horse).




 By  Periklis DeligiannisCelts

The ancient peoples of the South-Central Balkans and the routes of the Gallic invasion in the region and in Asia Minor.

In 366 BC the metropolitan Greeks watched the Gauls in combat for the first time, and they were certainly impressed. It was then that Dionysius of Syracuse, who had many Celtiberian and Padanian Gallic mercenaries in his service, sent 2,000 of them to aid his overseas ally, Sparta. Thucydides describes the flexible tactics used by the Celtic horsemen against their Greek opponents. Theopompos of Chios mentions the conflicts between the Galatians (Gauls, in the Greek lang.) and the Illyrian tribes in an area located in the vicinity of the river Naro of Dalmatia. During the Archaic Period, the Glasinac culture  flourished in modern Bosnia; a culture that  later became the powerful tribal union of the Autariatae Illyrians. In 359 BC Bardylis, probably the king of the Autariatae, and his forces defeated the Macedonian army killing the king Perdiccas and 4,000 of his men, paving the way for Philip II to the Macedonian throne. Next year, Philip II avenged by crashing the Autariatae and killing 7,000 of them. However the worst for the Autariatae was the beginning of their war with the Danubian Gauls.




Syracuse ortygia Β

Οι  Συρακούσιοι  ήταν  οι  επινοητές  της  πεντήρους.  Στην εικόνα: άλλη άποψη  του νησιού  της  Ορτυγίας,  ακρόπολης  των  αρχαίων  Συρακουσών.




Η  πεντήρης  ήταν  η  πιο  επιτυχημένη  από  τις  πολυήρεις  που  εμφανίστηκαν  κατά  την  ελληνιστική  περίοδο,  επειδή  βρισκόταν  σε  μια  ενδιάμεση  θέση  μεταξύ  της  κλασσικής  τριήρους    και  των  εξήρων,  οκτήρων,  δεκήρων,  κ.α.   Διατηρούσε  σημαντικό  μέρος  από  την  ταχύτητα  και  την  ευελιξία  της  πρώτης  ενώ  ταυτόχρονα  ήταν  προικισμένη  με  το  εκτόπισμα  και  την  σταθερότητα  που  απαιτούσαν  οι  νέες  συνθήκες.  Επρόκειτο  για  μια    σχετικά    ελαφριά    κατασκευή    μικρού    βυθίσματος,  αλλά  αρκετά    βαρύτερη    και    ισχυρότερη    από    την  τριήρη.  Είναι  γνωστό  ότι  η  τελευταία  μπορούσε  να  τραβηχτεί  με  τα  χέρια  των  ανδρών  της  σε  μια  ακτή,  κάτι  που  φαίνεται  ότι  συνέβαινε  και  με    την  πεντήρη.    Όπως  και  στην  τριήρη,  τα  κουπιά  της  πεντήρους  έπρεπε  να  ξεκινούν  από  τα  πλευρά  της – προκειμένου  να  συναντήσουν  την  επιφάνεια  του  νερού – ευθυγραμμισμένα  μεταξύ  τους,  ξεκινώντας  από  το  ίδιο  κάθετο  επίπεδο.  Κάτι  τέτοιο  θα  ήταν  αδύνατον  αν  ξεκινούσαν  απευθείας  από  τις  καμπύλες  πλευρές  του  πλοίου.  Την  ευθυγράμμιση  τους  εξασφάλιζε  ένα  είδος  παραλληλόγραμμου  κιβωτιόσχημου  ζυγοστάτη,  ο  οποίος  προεξείχε  από  τα  πλευρά  του  πλοίου  και  είχε  την  ονομασία  «παρεξειρεσία»  (ή  «πάραδος»).  Ο  ίδιος  ζυγοστάτης  παρατηρείται  και  στις  ιταλικές  αναγεννησιακές  γαλέρες,  όπως  και  πολλά  άλλα  στοιχεία  τα  οποία  δεν  αφήνουν  αμφιβολία  ότι  οι  Ιταλοί,  οι  Ισπανοί  και  άλλοι  Ευρωπαίοι  ναυπηγοί  της  περιόδου  στηρίχθηκαν  σε  αρχαιοελληνικά  πρότυπα  ναυπήγησης.    Η  παρεξειρεσία  των  πεντήρων  και  των  άλλων  πολυήρων  ήταν  κατάφρακτη,  δηλαδή  καλυμμένη  από  το  κατάστρωμα  του  πλοίου,  χαρακτηριστικό  που  της  έδινε  το  σχήμα  επιμήκους  κιβωτίου.  Αυτή  η  κάλυψη  προστάτευε  τους  θρανίτες  ερέτες,  ενώ  ταυτόχρονα  λόγω  της  εκτεταμένης  προεξοχής  της  παρεξειρεσίας  από  το  καθαυτό  σκάφος,  χρησίμευε  και  ως  εξέδρα  από  όπου  οι  πεζοναύτες  της  πεντήρους  μπορούσαν  να  αποβιβαστούν  στο  εχθρικό  κατάστρωμα  (το  γνωστό  «ρεσάλτο»).  Αυτό  το  στοιχείο  ήταν  ιδιαίτερα  χρήσιμο  στην  ελληνιστική  περίοδο,  επειδή  οι  ναυμαχίες  κρίνονταν  πολύ  συχνά  ως  «πεζομαχίες»,  δηλαδή  από  την  συμπλοκή  των  αντίπαλων  πεζοναυτών  στα  καταστρώματα.  Οι  Ρωμαίοι  είχαν  ενισχύσει  την  παρεξειρεσία  των  δικών  τους  πεντήρων  ειδικά  για  αυτόν  τον  σκοπό.


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