Ancient warfare, Cavalry, horse, medieval warfare, Military, Military technology
Republication from Archaeology.org
(Bridgeman-Giraudon/Art Resource, New York)
Bayeux Tapestry, France, 11th c. A.D.
By the mid-second millennium B.C., the use of horses in warfare had become common throughout the Near East and Egypt. This development was made possible by advances both in the design of chariots, in particular the invention of the spoked wheel, which replaced the solid wooden wheel and reduced a chariot’s weight, and the introduction of all-metal bits, which gave chariot drivers more control over their horses. Though chariot warfare was expensive, and its effectiveness was determined by the durability of the chariots and suitability of the terrain, the vehicles became essential battlefield equipment.
Ancient warfare, Crete, Knossos, Military history, Military technology, Military topics, Minoan civilization, Minoans, Mycenae, Mycenaean, Trojan War
A collection of bronze swords and daggers from the Arkalochori Cave, Crete, belonging to the Late Minoan Era (1700-1450 BC) before the Mycenaean conquest of Knossos (c.1450). (Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, Crete).
Achaeans, Ancient warfare, Architecture, Asia Minor, engineering, Hittites, Military architecture, Military history, Military technology, mycenaean civilization, Mycenaeans, Trojan Horse, Trojan War, Troy
Restored Plan of Troy’s citadel adapted from W. Dorpfeld’s excavations. The successive archaeological and urban levels are noted. Note also the outer and inner walls of Troy VI.
By Periklis Deligiannis
My initial intention was to give an outline of the military architecture of Troy but the detailed studies of W. Dorpfeld, M. Wood, H. Schliemann, R. Neumann, C.W. Blegen, J.L. Caskey, M.Rawson, M. Korfmann, D. Easton and others, most of which are free on the internet, does not leave any room to add something new to the subject beyond the usual data. Therefore, in this article I will deal with the essential result of that architecture, namely the difficulty of conquering the mighty fortress which Troy VI had been.
Which of the archaeological urban levels of the city discovered and excavated by H. Schliemann at the hill of modern Hissarlik was the city of Homer’s epic? This is one of the main problems concerning the Homeric Epic Cycle. It is considered certain that the Homeric Troy corresponds to one of the levels VI (about 1900-1250 BC) and VIIa (about 1250-1180 BC). Wilhelm Dörpfeld who in 1893-94 continued Schliemann’s excavations in Troy, indicated level VI as the Homeric city. Dörpfeld found that the last phase of that level (VIh) was hit by an earthquake and concluded that after the blow, the city was captured by enemies who according to his view they were the Homeric Achaeans. The German archaeologist found that the earthquake caused damage to the city but the destruction was the work of man, a view based on the discovery of extensive fire traces in the VIh destruction level and on archaeological evidence, mainly traces of military activity.
This theory of Dörpfeld and those who agree with him today (e.g. M. Wood and others) is the most believable in my opinion, that is why in this article I will base my analysis on the assumption that Homer’s Troy was the archaeological level VI (phase VIh). In a future article I will deal with the arguments of those who argue that Homer’s city was the level VI and the ones of those who argue that that city was level VII (less likely).
A rare and detailed representation of the total city of Troy (urban area and citadel). Most of the modern representations use to deal just with the architectural and engineering status of the citadel. Most of the defensive features mentioned in the text are noted, but please observe notably the scalar urban distribution of the buildings of the lower city and the citadel, essentially being the fourth defensive line of Troy (Copyright: National Geographic Magazine. Art by William Cook. Source on Troy: Troy project).
Achilles, Ancient warfare, Homer, Iliad, Knossos, Military history, Military technology, Military topics, Minoan civilization, Mycenae, Mycenaean, Odyssey, Pylos, Trojan War, Troy
By Periklis Deligiannis
A museum collection of Mycenaean bronze weapons. It includes swords (in Linear B: qi-si-po, ξίφος), some of them called ‘phasgana’ (pa-ka-na, φάσγανα), daggers, spearheads, arrowheads etc.
The archaeological evidence and the descriptions of the Homeric Epics (ignoring the symbolic divine interventions and some obvious Later Geometric elements) are the main sources regarding the Mycenaean warfare. In the Greco-Roman world, the Homeric epics were considered fundamental writings on the study of the art of war. Especially the Mycenaean/Achaean palatial tablets from Pylos, Knossos and Mycenae, provide valuable information about the military hierarchy, organization and equipment. These tablets contain public records compiled by the bureaucrats of each palace, and reveal that the military organization and the maintenance of the heavier military equipment were controlled by the state. The Mycenaean/Achaean nobles were obliged to provide military equipment and services. The tablets on military issues were titled as “orchha” (in Linear B script: o-ka, ορχα) – a word related to the ”orchos” (όρχος, military group) – which probably means the military unit and/or command.
Two modern representation of Mycenaean armored warriors.
The warrior above wears the renowned segmented suit of armour of Dendra, which was used by the warriors of the chariots. He bears the same tusk-boar helmet with an inverted crest, and the same lance ‘enchos’ (Linear II: e-ke- a, έγχεα) holding it in a ‘low handle’ way. His greaves are based on Mycenaean finds from the Peloponnesian Achaea.
The warrior below wears a relatively rare type of Mycenaean armor (Linear II: to-ra-ke, θώρακες, armor), the scale armor. He attacks with an ‘enchos’ (έγχος), the characteristic Mycenaean elongated and robust spear/lance, holding it in a ‘high handle’ way. Note his tusk-boar helmet (Linear B: ko-ru, κόρυς), which is restored with a rare item: the double crest which is based on relevant Mycenaean representations (reenactment by the Australian Historical Association Sydney Ancients). Continue reading