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Fortification plans of Fort San Diego, Acapulco

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Plan of Fort San Diego, Acapulco, Mexico in 1776, designed by Spanish engineers a few years after 1600 (Instituto de Historia y Cultura Militar, Madrid).

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Militaty architecture: Fortification plans by S. Fernández de Medrano, 1677

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As many of the readers will surely have guessed, militaty architecture and even more, Renaissance militaty architecture, is among my favourite pursuits. These plans on the construction of the characteristic bastion fortifications, belong to the treatise “Rudimentos Geométricos y Militares” by the Spanish engineer Sebastián Fernández de Medrano, printed in 1677 at Brussels. Spanish and Italian engineers at the service of the Spanish crown were among the best in the world at that time.
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Μία περίπτωση ελληνικής επιρροής στο αρχαίο ιβηρικό οπλοστάσιο: κελτιβηρικό κράνος χαλκιδικού τύπου

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στη σύζυγο μου Νέλλη, για την έμπνευση και την ενθάρρυνση που μου προσφέρει

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Η κελτιβηρική περικεφαλαία χαλκιδικού τύπου

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Π. Δεληγιάννης

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Για την ακρίβεια, αυτό το κείμενο αφορά ένα αντικείμενο με το οποίο ασχολούμαι στη μελέτη μου: The Greek influence on the weaponry and armoury of the Iberians, Turdetani and other ancient peoples of the Iberian Peninsula.

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Οι σχέσεις των Ελλήνων θαλασσοπόρων με την Ιβηρική Χερσόνησο υπήρξαν πανάρχαιες, ήδη από την εποχή του Μινωικού και του Μυκηναϊκού πολιτισμών, αν και ήταν περιορισμένες. Μετά την κατάρρευση του Μυκηναϊκού κόσμου και γενικά του κόσμου της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου λόγω της οικονομικής κατάρρευσης και των εισβολών των Λαών της Θάλασσας (13ος-12ος αιώνες π.Χ.), οι σχέσεις των Ελλήνων με τους λαούς της Ιβηρικής διακόπηκαν για αρκετούς αιώνες, έως την Αρχαϊκή Περίοδο (700-479 π.Χ.). Τότε, Ελληνες θαλασσοπόροι από τη Σάμο, τη Φώκαια, τη γειτονική Μασσαλία και άλλες πόλεις, ανακάλυψαν πάλι την Ιβηρική Χερσόνησο και αποκατέστησαν τις εμπορικές σχέσεις με τους λαούς της. Κυρίως η Φώκαια και η θυγατέρα της, Μασσαλία, πρωτοστάτησαν στην ίδρυση ελληνικών αποικιών στις ανατολικές ακτές της Ισπανίας, δηλαδή στην αρχαία εθνική περιοχή των Ιβήρων. Παρότι παλαιότερα θεωρείτο ότι οι Ιβηρες ήταν η μεγαλύτερη εθνική ομάδα της χερσονήσου, τις τελευταίες πέντε δεκαετίες διαπιστώθηκε ότι συνιστούσαν ένα περιορισμένο ποσοστό του πληθυσμού της το οποίο κατοικούσε στη βορειοανατολική ακτή της Ισπανίας. Οι σύγχρονοι Καταλανοί είναι οι βασικοί απόγονοι των Ιβήρων.

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ROME MUST BE DESTROYED (Part I): What if Alexander the Great had not died so young?

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phalanx(artwork  copyright: Johny Shumate)

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By Periklis Deligiannis
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Many readers know that I have written a historical novel entitled ‘Rome must be destroyed : What if Alexander the Great had not died so young?’  (See List of my Published Books and Articles  and also the book’s cover on the left of this page) which has been published a few years ago in Greek. I quote here the prologue, the beginning of the first chapter and the accompanying Historical Note for the English-speaking readers. I hope you enjoy it. I apologize in case that the translation in English is not ”literary” enough (or maybe it is!). Copyright is mine, thereby for a probable reproduction of this text, please send to me an email message.

Some more text of the novel you can read in Part II
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The official abstract of the novel (from the Greek edition):
What if Alexander the Great had not died so young? Would he be able to conquer the peoples of the Known World of his era? This is an exciting novel on the adventures and the new conquests of the great king, on the glory that in reality his early death (only 33 years old) had deprived him of. Through the narration of Aelius Sembronius Vulca, an adventurous Roman mercenary in Alexander’s army, an enthralling era is coming alive. Vulca, the main hero of the novel, is following Alexander at every step of his campaigns, until around 315 BC the warrior-king turns against the peoples and states of the Western Mediterranean and dismisses all mercenaries from those regions.
Vulca, the devout soldier of Alexander who fought for ten years at his side ready to sacrifice his life for his commander, will be found on the battlefields confronting him and enemies who until then were his brotherly friends, defending his homeland against the formidable Macedonian phalanx … Will he manage to prepare Rome, Carthage and the other Italian and Western Mediterranean states for the approaching threat? A Rome torn, ravaged by wars in Italy, intrigues and personal ambitions? Alexander is determined: Rome has to open her gates or be destroyed!…
This unique alternative history novel is the first part of a trilogy on the hypothetical march of Alexander to the Western Mediterranean and Europe. It is a work based on solid historical evidence, which enthrals the reader from the first page. An exciting adventure historically based on the real plans of the great warrior-king which, if not cancelled by his sudden death, may have formed completely different the World map until today … A novel that came so close on becoming reality…
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ROME MUST BE DESTROYED

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“… To built a thousand warships larger than triremes, in Phoenicia, Syria, Cilicia and Cyprus, for the needs of the campaign against the Carthaginians and the other peoples who inhabit the coasts of Libya and Iberia and all neighboring coasts around Sicily … “
(projects of Alexander the Great  quoted by Diodoros of Sicily, Book 18, 4).

“… Others say that (Alexander) was thinking (of sailing) to Sicily and the Cape of Iapygia; instigated also by the name of the Romans whose reputation was extended.”
(projects of Alexander  quoted by Arrian in his  Alexandrou Anabasis)

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FOREWORD

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About Alexander… About the years that we fought as his soldiers and as his enemies. This is what they asked me to recount every night around the fire. Members of my family, people of my clan, archons of our community, other young or mature men who would like to hear the man who lived all these harder than anyone else. To listen about this heroic age, as they were calling it … They didn’t know…
Now, at the end of my life, now that involuntarily comes to mind the account of the life of a man, now the image of all these is more intense than ever! Sometimes I remember them with suffering, sometimes with nostalgia. And sometimes when I’m alone, tears appear on my eyes. I succeeded or not on what I was requested to do? Was I the man who had to be in those difficult times? Did I save my people? The Senate and the People of Rome…
These questions are no longer torturing me anymore. They cannot be answered by me. Let my people judge me.
“Recount your memories Vulca … Speak to us…”

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Urban Plans of Caesaraugusta (Roman Saragossa)

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Saragosa

Site Plan of Caesaraugusta  (Roman Saragossa)

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Never surrender: Native tribes of Colonial Spanish America never subdued by the Spaniards

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mapuche

“El joven Lautaro”, an already classic painting by P.Subercaseaux depicts the Mapuche warlord Lautaro (who confronted the Conquistadores in the mid-16th century) along with his army and people. Note the horses and the European weapons and helmets on the right, captured from the Spaniards (credit: Wikimedia commons).

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By Periklis Deligiannis

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The Spanish Conquistadores and mostly the European microbes and diseases that they brought to the New World (smallpox, measles, ‘influenza’ and others) – which often were decimating the native tribes even before the physical appearance of the Spaniards themselves – managed between 1492 and 1600 to conquer huge areas of the North, Central and South America starting with the Caribbean world. Due to the spread of the European diseases, the thrashing superiority of the arms, armour and tactics of the Spaniards, their superior socio-political and financial system and other factors, just 11,000 Conquistadores more or less were proved to be enough for the subjugation of many millions of Amerindians in those years.

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A case of Hellenic influence on the ancient Iberian weaponry: a Celtiberian helmet of Chalcidian design

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03 Views of the Celtiberian helmet of Chalcidian type. Its crest-holder is of Italian design.
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By Periklis  Deligiannis

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Actually, this text concerns an item from my study: The Greek influence on the weaponry and armoury of the Iberians, Celtiberians, Turdetani and other ancient peoples of the Iberian Peninsula.
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The contacts of the Aegean seafarers with the Iberian Peninsula were ancient enough, ever since the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, although they were very limited. After the dissolution of the Mycenaean world and in general the Eastern Mediterranean world due to the economic collapse and the invasions of the Sea Peoples (13th-12th centuries BC), the relations between the Greeks and the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula were interrupted for many centuries until the Archaic Period (700-479 BC). In the Early Archaic Era navigators from Samos, Phocaea, Zakynthos, Massalia and other Greek cities, “rediscovered” the Iberian peninsula and restored trade relations with their peoples. Mostly Phocaea and her daughter-city Masallia, took the lead in establishing Greek colonies on the eastern coast of Spain, that is in the ancient ethnic territory of the Iberians. Although earlier in the 20th century it was thought among the scholars that the Iberians were the largest ethnic group of the peninsula, actually it was proved that they constituted a small portion of the population, living on the northeast coast of Spain and the immediate hinterland. The modern Catalans are the main descendants of the Iberians.

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Ancient genomes link early farmers to Basques

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Republication from Heritage Daily

 

The burial was found deliberately sheltered by large limestone blocks and three other blocks carefully protected the child´s head. The grave was scattered with grave goods suggesting a special status of this boy. The burial is covered by different ornaments, such as ceramics fragments of different sizes sealed with a green-like clay, vessel parts, flint flakes, a bone arrowhead, quartzite and, most surprisingly, the boy was left accompanied by an almost complete calf in anatomical position. This child possibly died of malnutrition as evidenced by a series of lesions in his skull and bones indicating the boy suffered from rickets and/or scurvy (Castilla et al, 2014) at different stages of his life. CREDIT Eneko Iriarte

An international team led by researchers at Uppsala University reports a surprising discovery from the genomes of eight Iberian Stone-Age farmer remains.

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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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THE SPANISH ARMADA CONQUERS ENGLAND (1588) (Part ΙI): AN HISTORICAL SCENARIO

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portuguese galleonA Portuguese galleon.
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mapA map of the subjection of England by the Spanish and their allies (Welsh and Irish) according to my scenario. The arrows denote their operations for the capture of London, Bristol and other cities.
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By Periklis Deligiannis
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CONTINUED FROM PART I
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The next day Santa Cruz sent message to the Duke of Parma who was waiting with his army in Dunkirk and the neighboring ports, to be ready for the departure of his shallow landing crafts for the English coasts (Note).
Most of the English naval squadron of Dover which by then was guarding Parma’s landing fleet, had to join Howard’s main fleet during his desperate attempt to protect Portsmouth. The English reckoned that the Dutch navy allied to them, was guarding Parma’s fleet but they were mistaken. The Hollanders never really trusted their unnatural friendship with the English, although Elizabeth’s defeat would probably mean also their own subjection to Spain. They were furious by the fact that the Queen was still negotiating with the Duke of Parma on a peace treaty, ignoring their own war against him. They feared that Elizabeth and the Duke had moved much closer to a peace treaty which would leave the Spaniards undisturbed to subdue the Netherlands.
The Duke of Parma had contributed to their confusion by spreading misleading information that his landing fleet would not be heading to England but to the coasts of Holland. After that, the Dutch did not hesitate to keep their warships moored in their ports in order to protect themselves from the threat of Parma’s landing army.

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ENGLAND COLLAPSING

The bad weather delayed the military operations for two days. Santa Cruz was urgent to operate because the English were rapidly concentrating land forces in neighboring Southampton to recapture Portsmouth. After the improvement of the weather, the Armada ships covered the maritime area from Portsmouth to Dunkirk in order to protect Parma’s shallow landing crafts. The English navy attacked for the ultimate deterrence effort. The Englishmen fought furiously unleashing a barrage of shells and thus managed to destroy many galleons of Santa Cruz and sink some of the vessels of the Duke of Parma. But they were finally fought off with heavy losses, by the Spanish who kept unbreakable their “wooden wall” that had set up in the Channel waters. Captain Hawkins, a renowned Sea Dog, was among the casualties, lost together with his galleon.
At the same time, the attacks of the English Army under Leicester (from Southampton) against the Spanish garrison of Portsmouth, had no success because Santa Cruz’s marines and mercenaries who were guarding the city, were experienced soldiers and protected by strong fortifications reinforced by the rapid work of Italian and Spanish engineers. In the final attack, Leicester’s English and a few mercenary troops came very close to recapture the city killing many Spaniards, but they were finally pushed back. Thereby in two days, half of the total soldiers of the Duke of Parma were in Portsmouth, in the English coast ready for the land invasion. Soon the nearly unprotected ports of Brighton and Dover fell into Parma’s troops.

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