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Contributions to Slingshot, Journal on ancient and medieval warfare

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[Slingshot 308, September-October 2016]

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Some time now I’m contributing to Slingshot, the research Journal of the Society of Ancients (published since 1964), specialized in ancient and medieval warfare, tactics and wargaming.

Many thanks for this to Paul Innes and Nick Harbud.

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Periklis Deligiannis

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The Medieval Somme: forgotten battle that was the bloodiest fought on British soil

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[Note by P. Deligiannis:  I apologize for the somewhat “mass” republishing of articles but lately I somewhat neglected my blog. I’ll try  to make amends for it]

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Republication from the Conversation

Richard Caton Woodville’s The Battle of Towton.
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Professor of Medieval History, University of Exeter

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A Battle of the Somme on British soil? It happened on Palm Sunday, 1461: a day of fierce fighting in the mud that felled a generation, leaving a longer litany of the dead than any other engagement in the islands’ history – reputed in some contemporary reports to be between 19,000 – the same number killed or missing in France on July 1 1916 – and a staggering 38,000.

The battle of Towton, fought near a tiny village standing on the old road between Leeds and York, on the brink of the North York Moors, is far less known than many other medieval clashes such as Hastings or Bosworth. Many will never have heard of it.

 

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Warhorses

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Republication from Archaeology.org

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Horses Bayeux Tapestry

(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.

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ON THE PHRYGIAN HELMET

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Thraco-Phrygian2

P. Deligiannis

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The Phrygian helmet had already become the “ethnic” helmet of the Macedonian armies around the end of the reign of Phillip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, and it had also been adopted by the Southern Greek states (from Thessaly and Epirus to the Peloponnesus), most of the Thracian tribes and even by the Etruscan city-states. In the Southern Greek states the Phrygian casque supplanted the pilos-type helmet which was the most common till then. The pilos-type casque had supplanted the earlier Corinthian helmet around the end of the 5th century BC.

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The emperor’s armour: Bronze statue of Hadrian from the legionary camp at Tel Shalem (Judaea), Israel Museum

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Republication from Following Hadrian

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A magnificent bronze statue of Hadrian, now on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, was found by chance by an American tourist in Tel Shalem (Beth Shean Valley, Israel) on 25th July 1975 while searching for ancient coins with a metal detector. Tel Shalem was once occupied by a detachment of the Sixth Roman Legion (Legio VI Ferrata). The 50 fragments of this statue were found in a building which stood at the center of the camp, perhaps in the principia (the headquarters tent or building).

Bronze statue of Hadrian, found at the Camp of the Sixth Roman Legion in Tel Shalem, 117–138 AD, Israel Museum, Jerusalem © Carole Raddato

Bronze statue of Hadrian, found at the Camp of the Sixth Roman Legion in Tel Shalem, Israel Museum, Jerusalem
© Carole Raddato

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The fortress of Valletta 1566

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Republication  from militaryarchitecture.com

Valletta, named after its founder, Grand Master of the Order of St John, Jean Parisot de Valette, was built after the Great Siege of 1565 with the financial help of a Christendom grateful for the defeat of Suleiman’s war machine.

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First non-utilitarian weapons found in the Arabian Peninsula

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Republication from HeritageDaily

56474574Two quivers made of copper/bronze, during the excavation.

An exceptional collection of bronze weapons dating from the Iron Age II (900-600 BC) has been uncovered near Adam, in the Sultanate of Oman.

The remains were discovered scattered on the ground in a building belonging to what is thought to be a religious complex, during excavations carried out by the French archaeological mission in central Oman. In particular, they include two complete quivers a nd weapons made of metal, including two bows, objects that are for the most part non-functional and hitherto unknown in the Arabian Peninsula.

 

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THE PHRYGOBOEOTIAN HELMET: a case of hybrid helmet (IN MEMORIAM MIKHAEL GORELIK)

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phrygo-boeotian helmetPhrygoboeotian helmet.

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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.

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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.

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ΦΡΥΓΟ-ΒΟΙΩΤΙΚΟ ΚΡΑΝΟΣ: μία περίπτωση υβριδικής περικεφαλαίας

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phrygo-boeotian helmet

Φρυγο-βοιωτική περικεφαλαία.
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Π. Δεληγιάννης
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Το φρυγοβοιωτικό κράνος είναι μία περίπτωση υβριδικής περικεφαλαίας που χρησιμοποιήθηκε από τους μακεδονικούς στρατούς του Μεγάλου Αλεξάνδρου και των Διαδόχων και Επιγόνων όπως δείχνουν τα ευρήματα, αυτούσια ή εκείνα που το αναπαριστούν.
Η φρυγοβοιωτική περικεφαλαία ήταν στην ουσία το παλαιό βοιωτικό κράνος με την προσθήκη της κορυφής του «εθνικού» κράνους των Μακεδόνων, γνωστού ως φρυγικού ή θρακοφρυγικού (αποκαλούμενου ενίοτε και «θρακικού», εσφαλμένα κατά την άποψη μας).
Το βοιωτικό κράνος, ευρεσιτεχνία των Βοιωτών όταν εκείνοι απέδωσαν σε μέταλλο το σχήμα του δερμάτινου καλύμματος της κεφαλής τους, θεωρείται από τον Ξενοφώντα στο έργο του «Ιππαρχικός» ως το ιδανικό για το ιππικό λόγω των προτερημάτων του, κυρίως του ότι εξασφαλίζει ευρύ οπτικό πεδίο για τον ιππέα.

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Bronze warship ram reveals secrets

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Republication from National Oceanographic Center

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Analysis of a bronze battering ram from a 2,000 year-old warship sheds light on how such an object would have been made in ancient times.

Known as the Belgammel Ram, the 20kg artefact was discovered by a group of British divers off the coast of Libya near Tobruk in 1964. The ram is from a small Greek or Roman warship – a “tesseraria”. These ships were equipped with massive bronze rams on the bow at the waterline and were used for ramming the side timbers of enemy ships. At 65cm long, the Belgammel Ram is smaller in size and would have been sited on the upper level on the bow. This second ram is known as a proembolion, which strengthened the bow and also served to break the oars of an enemy ship.

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The figure-of-eight shield and other shield types of the Bronze Age Aegean (part II)

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Reconstruction of the so-called “Shield frieze” fresco in the Old Palace at Tiryns with depicted figure-of-eight shields (photo credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I
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Most scholars believe that also the Dipylon shield of the Geometric period (10th-8th centuries BC) came from the evolution of the full-body figure-of-eight shield. The Dipylon shield, which was named after the Athenian Dipylon gate where the first pottery with images of the former, was discovered, had much in common with the figure-of-eight shield. It had a large size, covering the warrior from the chin to the knees. It was made of wicker branches and leather, without excluding its further enhancing with more wooden parts. It was curved to a degree that “encapsulated” the body of the warrior, like the figure-of-eight shield. In the middle of its surface, it had two semicircular notches which facilitated the handling of the spear and the sword. But many other scholars believe that the Dipylon and the Boeotian shield came from the main Hittite type of shield which had roughly the same shape.

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