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Tessarakonteres, “Super-carrier” of Antiquity

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40eres

A tessarakonteres (40reme) according to L. Casson’s theory, that is two eikoseres (20remes) stably bound by a common deck.  

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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The Early Successors of Alexander gave a boost in the use and the development of the polyeres-type warships (multimeremes), using them widely in their wars (321 BC – early 3rd century BC). The Successors have built fleets comprised of numerous large warships, reaching the building of colossal vessels such as the ‘eikoseres’ (20reme, with twenty oarsmen on each vertical group of oars) and the enormous ‘tessarakonteres’ (40reme, with forty oarsmen on each vertical group of oars). These warships resembled to floating fortresses, very similar in size to the modern large battleships and aircraft carriers. The tessarakonteres had a crew of 6.000 men (officers, oarsmen, sailors, marines and others), as many as a modern aircraft carrier.

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THE GALLIC-CELTIC INVASION IN MACEDONIA & THRACE – CHANGES IN SOUTHERN GREEK TACTICS, Part II

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 hoplites

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).

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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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).

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THE GALLIC-CELTIC INVASION IN MACEDONIA & THRACE – CHANGES IN SOUTHERN GREEK TACTICS, Part I

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 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.

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XANTHIPPOS THE SPARTAN: REFORMING THE DISPIRITED CARTHAGINIAN ARMY

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phalanx

A  Macedonian  type phalanx, in  an  excellent  work  by  Johny  Shumate. The  Carthaginian  phalanx  of  the  same  type  had  much  of the  same  appearance,  because  the  Carthaginians  had  adopted  a  great  part  of   the  Greek  military  equipment (copyright: Johny Shumate)

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By  Periklis    Deligiannis

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Since  the  Archaic  Εra (7th-6th cent. BC),  Sparta  used  to  employ  mercenaries,  specifically  Cretan  archers  (Dorian  relatives  of  the  Spartans).  Since  the  time  of  the  Peloponnesian  war,  and  mostly  during  the  Hegemony  of  Sparta  over  Greece (after  404  BC),  this  city-state  became  a  significant  employer  of  Greek  mercenaries,  due  to  its  limited  number  of  hoplites.  However,  mostly  the  Spartans (Lacedaemonians)  themselves  were  sending  units  of  their  army,  under  the  leadership  of   experienced  Spartan  ‘warlords’,  to  serve  as  mercenaries  other  states,  because  of  the  financial  problems  of  their  city  which  became  more  and  more  pressing.  Despite  the  loss  of  its  power  after  368  BC,  Sparta  became  a  great  supplier  of  mercenaries,  not  only  of  its  own  Spartans  but  of  other  Greeks  also.  Gythium (the  main  Spartan/Laconian  seaport)  and  other  seaports  of  the  Tainaron  Peninsula  (Laconia)  became  during  the  4th-3rd  centuries  BC,  the  largest  mercenary  recruitment  centers  in  Greece.  The  Lacedaemonian/Spartan  mercenary  troops  consisted  mainly  of  “neodamodeis” (freed  helots),  other  Greeks (mostly  Peloponnesians),  and  secondly  by  ‘perioikoi’ (free  Laconian  and  Messenian  subjects  of  Sparta).  The  only  real  Spartans  in  these  expeditions  were  the  leader  of  the  expedition  and  a  number  of  unit  commanders  or  military  advisors.  The  expeditions  of  the  mercenaries  were  performed  under  license  of  the  official  Spartan  state.  The  mercenary  forces  used  to  depart  in  ships,  from  the  Tainaron  Peninsula.

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