Home

Contributions to Slingshot, Journal on ancient and medieval warfare

Leave a comment

slingshot_cover_309

.

cccccccc

[Slingshot 308, September-October 2016]

.

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.

.

Periklis Deligiannis

.

 

 

Advertisements

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

1 Comment

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).

.

By Periklis Deligiannis

.

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.

More

Genetic research uncovering the origins of the British people from prehistoric and historical populations

1 Comment

[This is a republication from the “People of the British Isles” project of the University of Oxford. You can read this paper in conjunction with my paper AFTER ARTHUR: a synoptic study on the fate of the native Briton population after the Anglo-Saxon invasion and prevalence ]

 

Britain genetic

Figure  1
A genetic map of the People of the British Isles (Figure 1 from the Nature paper)
For each individual, the coloured symbol representing the genetic cluster to which an individual is assigned is
plotted at the mean position of their grandparents’ birthplaces. Cluster names are in the side-bar.

.

More

NASA TO ANNOUNCE MARS MYSTERY SOLVED

Leave a comment

Republication from www.nasa.gov

aaaaa Mars true-color globe showing Terra Meridiani.
Credits: NASA/Greg Shirah

(Nature Geoscience has Embargoed Details until 11 a.m. EDT Sept. 28)

NASA will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday, Sept. 28 at the James Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

 

More

Ancestors of Native Americans migrated in single wave, genetic study finds

4 Comments

Reblogged/ Source: news.ku.edu/2015/07/21/ancestors-native-americans-migrated-single-wave-23000-years-ago-genetic-study-finds

LAWRENCE — A new genome-scale study that includes a University of Kansas anthropological geneticist has determined ancestors of present-day Native Americans arrived in the Americas as part of a single-migration wave from Siberia no earlier than 23,000 years ago.

Later migrations of Aleuts and Eskimos occurred approximately 9,000 and 4,000 years ago.

“Using coalescence analyses, not just using one piece of DNA, but the entire genome, we find that the earliest someone could have come to the Americas was 23,000 years ago,” said Michael Crawford, head of KU’s Laboratory of Biological Anthropology and a professor of anthropology. “This study also pretty well does in the whole idea that gene flow from Europe contributed to the original migration of present-day Native Americans.”

Crawford is a co-author on the study, and the journal Science has published its results online. The Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen headed the international research team, which included co-authors Eske Willerslev, a Lundbeck Foundation professor at the center in Copenhagen; Maanasa Raghavan, a postdoctoral researcher at the center; Yun Song, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science, statistics and integrative biology at University of California, Berkeley; and David Meltzer, an anthropology professor at Southern Methodist University, among others.

To more accurately pinpoint the account of how and when modern humans populated the Americas from Siberia, the team generated genomic data from several present-day and past Native American and Siberian populations. This included an analysis of the DNA of the fossil known as Kennewick Man, found along the Columbia River in Washington State in 1996.

“This is not just mitochondrial DNA,” Crawford said. “It’s shown on the entire genome that’s been sequenced.”

More

THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER or BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO (Part II)

3 Comments

confederate
Confederate infantry reenactment (copyright: John Moore-Getty Images).
.
By Periklis Deligiannis
.

THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER or BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO (Part I)

On the night before the big showdown, there was a “singing battle” between the rival soldiers who were established in positions within a few hundred meters apart. Some Federals began to sing their ‘national’ folk songs “Hail Columbia” and especially the “Yankee Doodle”, and the Confederates answered immediately singing their own traditional songs “Dixie” and “The Bonnie Blue Flag”. Soon the two rival lines began to sing each one its own traditional song more and more loudly, in an almost unbearable squealing. Eventually a group of soldiers started to sing the nostalgic song “Home Sweet Home” for the home and the family that every soldier had left behind, which brought a “musical compromise” of the opponents. Soon, thousands of ‘Yankees’ and “Rebels” were singing simultaneously its nostalgic lyrics, as an informal peace, without knowing that in the next day they would clash in the second bloodiest battle of the Civil war, after the battle of Gettysburg.

At dawn of December 31, Major General Hardee led the Confederate left wing and a strong cavalry force against the Federal right. The impetuous Southerners quickly outflanked their opponents who fell back towards the bank of Stones River. Thus Bragg surprised Rosecrans, forcing him to cancel his own envelopment maneuver. Around 7.00 am and under the pressure of the Confederate attack, Rosecrans recalled the division of his left wing which he intended to use for the maneuver. Its commander, Major General Thomas Crittenden, had crossed with his men the Stones in order to outflank the Confederate right wing under Major General John Breckinridge. Meanwhile, in the center of the two lines, the Union division of Major General Philip Sheridan and the Confederate Army corps of Major General Polk were clashing with unusual ferocity. The two rival army corpses were “familiar” to each other since the battle of Perryville, where they had clashed with the same determination.

More

THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER or BATTLE OF MURFREESBORO (Part I)

3 Comments

Re-enactors Union troops

Union infantry reenactment (copyright: EPA).
.
By Periklis Deligiannis
.
(OK, I know that you are a little disappointed when I’m not posting on ancient and medieval topics, but as you have probably guessed the Colonial Americas and the American Civil War are among my favorite topics. This article is a summary of the chapter “The Battle of Stones River or Battle of Murfreesboro” of my book “The Civil War”)
.
In July 1862, the skilful Confederate Commander in Chief in the West, General Beauregard, was assigned back to the Eastern Front, but President Davis did not define a replacement for his office. The Confederate president confined in assigning the thrice distinguished in the Mexican War, Major General Braxton Bragg, as general commander of the armies at the Tennessee-Mississippi front, who was from now on the unofficial Commander in Chief in the West. Braxton Bragg and his subordinates Major Generals Kirby Smith and Earl Van Dorn started to prepare the Confederate counterattack in order to recover the lost territories in the Western Front. Their distressed forces were reinforced and revived by the recent conscription.

map(copyright: US Military Academy)
.
The general Confederate plans involved three synchronized campaigns in all the fronts from the Mississippi River to Virginia. In the East, General Robert Lee (the new commander of the Army of Northern Virginia) would invade Maryland. On the Western Front, the armies of Bragg and Smith would launch major offensives to Kentucky rushing from Chattanooga and Knoxville respectively (southeastern Tennessee). Simultaneously, Van Dorn would campaign from the Mississippi State against Grant’s army in western Tennessee. If he could manage to force back Grant’s army, he would then join Bragg and Smith somewhere in Kentucky. The ultimate aim of the Southerners was to encourage the (Southern after all) states of Maryland and Kentucky in leaving the Union and joining the Confederacy. Much depended on the speed of their march, the communications and the logistics.
The success of the Confederate plan would also yield benefits on the diplomatic field because Britain and France would probably acknowledge the C.S.A. as a sovereign state – a much desired aim of the Richmond government. The French Emperor Napoleon III wanted to promote his plans on turning Mexico to a French dominion or semi-colony, but he would not officially acknowledge the Confederacy if the British did not do the same. However, the British were waiting patiently watching the progress of the war.

More

Η ΙΡΛΑΝΔΙΚΗ ΤΑΞΙΑΡΧΙΑ ΤΩΝ ΒΟΡΕΙΩΝ ΣΤΟΝ ΑΜΕΡΙΚΑΝΙΚΟ ΕΜΦΥΛΙΟ ΠΟΛΕΜΟ

2 Comments

Irish Brigade at Gettysburg

H  Ιρλανδική  Ταξιαρχία  στη  μάχη  του  Γκετυσμπεργκ.  Κλασσικός  πίνακας  του   Ντον  Τροϊάνι.  Παρατηρείστε  την  χαρακτηριστική  πράσινη  σημαία  της  με  την  άρπα, ένα  από  τα  εθνικα  σύμβολα  των  Ιρλανδών.

            Η  Ιρλανδική  Ταξιαρχία  πεζικού  του  Ομοσπονδιακού  Στρατού  αποτελείτο  κυρίως  από  Ιρλανδούς  μετανάστες  και  Αμερικανούς  ιρλανδικής  καταγωγής,  καθολικούς  στο  σύνολο  τους.  Μετά  τον  Εμφύλιο  πόλεμο,  το  69ο  Σύνταγμα  πεζικού  της  Νέας  Υόρκης  θεωρείται  ως  η  συνέχεια  της  (επειδή  η  δύναμη  της  περιορίσθηκε  πολύ  από  τις  απώλειες  και  την  ελάττωση  της  μετά  τον  αποστράτευση).  Εξάλλου  το  69ο  Σύνταγμα,  το  οποίο  συνεχίζει  να  προσφέρει  τις  υπηρεσίες  του  στον  αμερικανικό  στρατό,  ήταν  ο  αρχικός  πυρήνας  της.  Η  Ιρλανδική  Ταξιαρχία  κατέστη  περίφημη  για  την  υψηλή  μαχητικότητα  των  ανδρών  της  και  τη  χαρακτηριστική  κελτική  πολεμική  κραυγή  τους  «Ανοίξτε  τον  δρόμο!»  («Fag  an  bealach!»  στην  ιρλανδική-γαελική  κελτική),  χαρακτηριστική  των  ριψοκίνδυνων  αποστολών  οι  οποίες  τους  ανατίθεντο.

Οι  Κέλτες  φημίζονταν  ανέκαθεν,  από  την  αρχαιότητα,  για  τη  γενναιότητα  τους  στο  πεδίο  της  μάχης,  συνιστώντας  επίλεκτους  μάχιμους  και  συνήθεις  μισθοφόρους.  Από  την  άλλη  πλευρά,  οι  Κέλτες  στρατιώτες  (εκτός  από  τους  Ορεσίβιους/Χαϊλάντερς  Σκώτους)  θεωρούντο  συχνά  «αναλώσιμοι»  για  τις  αγγλοσαξονικές  πολιτικοστρατιωτικές  ηγεσίες  των  ΗΠΑ  και  της  Βρετανίας  έως  τον  Α΄  Παγκόσμιο  Πόλεμο.  Ωστόσο  οι  μεγάλες  απώλειες  που  υπέστησαν  γενικά  οι  Ιρλανδοί  Ομοσπονδιακοί  στρατιώτες  κατά  τον  Εμφύλιο,  δεν  οφείλονταν  πάντοτε  και  απαραίτητα  στην  αμοιβαία  αντιπάθεια  ανάμεσα  σε  Αγγλοσάξονες  («γηγενείς»  όπως  αυτοαποκαλούντο)  και  Κέλτες  (συνήθως  νεοφερμένους  μετανάστες),  η  οποία  κατά  τη  συγκεκριμένη  περίοδο  κατέληγε  συχνά  και  σε  συμπλοκές  με  αρκετούς  νεκρούς  στις  μεγάλες  αμερικανικές  πόλεις  του  Βορρά  όπως  η  Νέα  Υόρκη,  η  Βοστόνη,  η  Φιλαδέλφεια  κ.ά.  Οφείλονταν  σε  σημαντικό  βαθμό  και  στην  προαναφερόμενη  πολεμική  φήμη  των  κελτικών  πληθυσμών.

  More

THE IRISH BRIGADE IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR

3 Comments

By  Periklis  Deligiannis

Irish Brigade at Gettysburg

The  Irish  Brigade  at  Gettysburg.  A  classic  artwork  by  Don  Troiani.


The  Irish  Infantry  Brigade  of  the  Federal  Army  (USA)  in  the  Civil  War  consisted  mainly  of  Irish  immigrants  and  Americans  of  Irish  descent,  Catholics  almost  entirely.  After  the  Civil  War,  the  69th  Infantry  Regiment  of  New  York  is  considered  to  be  the  descendant  unit  of  the  Brigade  (because  its  power  was  decreased  because  of  the  losses  and  the  demobilization  after  the  end  of  the  war).  Moreover,  the  69th  Regiment  which  goes  on  serving  the  U.S.  Army  was  the  original  core  of  the  Brigade.  The  Irish  Brigade  became  famous  for  the  high  aggressiveness  of  its  men  and  their  characteristic  Celtic  battle  cry  ‘Fag  an  bealach!’  (‘Open  the  way!’,  in  Gaelic  Celtic),  typical  of  its  risky  missions.
The  Celts  have  always  been  renowned  (already  from  Antiquity)  for  their  bravery  on  the  battlefield,  being  elite  combatants  (warriors  and  then  soldiers)  and  renown  mercenaries.  On  the  other  hand,  the  Celtic  soldiers  (expect  possibly  the  Highlander  Scots)  were  often  considered  to  be  expendable  by  the  Anglo-Saxon  political-military  leaderships  of  the  U.S.  and  Britain  until  the  end  of  World  War  I.  However,  the  heavy  losses  suffered  generally  by  the  Fed  Irish  soldiers  during  the  Civil  War  were  not  always  necessarily  due  to  this  mutual  antipathy  between  Anglo-Saxons  (‘natives’  as  they  called  themselves)  and  Celts  (usually  newcomer  immigrants),  which  in  this  period  often  ended  in  street  clashes  with  several  people  dead  in  major  American  cities  of  the  North  like  New  York,  Boston,  Philadelphia  etc.  Their  losses  in  the  war  were  due  to  a  significant  extent,  to  the  aforementioned  martial  reputation  of  the  Celts:  they  used  to  undertake  a  major  part  of  the  fighting,  thereby  they  had  such  heavy  losses.

More

SURVIVAL IN THE BACKWOODS: THE PENNSYLVANIA-KENTUCKY RIFLE AND OTHER STORIES

3 Comments

ottawa or Huron warrior 18th cent

Huron  or  Ottawa  warrior,  18th  century.  He  is  armed  with  a  curved  club  and  an  American  long  rifle,  an  acquisition  of  trade  or  warfare (artwork  by  Don  Troiani).
.

 By  Periklis    Deligiannis

.
The  Europeans  (British  and  French)  who  colonized  North  America  in  the  17th  to  18th  centuries  were  forced  to  adapt  to  the  martial  art  of  a  ‘primitive’  and  ‘savage’  environment  which  was  lost  from  Europe  since  Late  Antiquity  or  the  Early  Middle  Ages.  The  Native  American  (Indian)  who  was  their  main  rival,  unfortunately  for  them,  had  not  read  Grotius  and  Vattel,  the  founders  of  the  rules  of  the  noble  and  ‘civilized’  warfare  (corresponding  to  the  subsequent  Treaty  of  Geneva)  with  which  the  Europeans  of  the  17th  and  18th  centuries  complied.  The  Native  American  had  his  own  original  weapons  and  his  own  methods  of  war,  the  deadly  warfare  of  the  forest.  Of  course  he  did  not  know  the  pitched  battles  or  the  attack  at  the  sound  of  the  trumpet.  The  Indian  bow  unlike  the  European  harquebus  (and  afterwards  the  musket)  was  silent,  accurate,  and  able  to  unleash  fast  repeated  arrowshots,  even  in  wet  weather  (when  the  wick  and  the  gunpowder  of  the  harquebus/musket  dampened  and  made  it  useless).

More

THE SPARTAN ‘AGOGE’ (socio-military education & training) – PART II

1 Comment

 By  Periklis    Deligiannis

pilos

.

An  original  pilos-type  bronze  helmet,  typical  for  the  Spartans  of  the  Classical  period.

.
CONTINUED  FROM  PART  I
.
The  celebration  of  the  “gymnopaidiae”  was  particularly  important  and  it  took  place  every  year  in  Sparta,  in  the  mid-summer  (in  the  month  of  Hekatombaion,  corresponding  to  July).  The  Spartan  boys  were  preparing  for  this  celebration  that  included  sport  games  and  it  took  place  in  honor  of  the  divine  brothers  Apollo  and  Artemis  (two  of  the  main  Greek  gods),  their  mother  Leto  and  in  honor  of  Dionysus.  From  the  year  of  the  fifty-ninth  Olympiad  (544  BC),  the  celebration  of  the  gymnopaidiae  honored  (in  addition  to  these  gods)  the  fallen  hoplites  of  Sparta  who  died  in  the  so  called  “Battle  of  the  Champions”  for  conquering  Thyreatis  from  Argos.  Thyreatis  was  a  strategic  district  in  the  eastern  coast  of  the  Peloponnesus  (Thyrea  was  its  main  city).  In  time  of  war,  the  Spartans  declared  a  cessation  of  the  hostilities  during  the  celebration  of  the  gymnopaidiae.  Girls  and  adult  men  participated  as  well  in  the  feast.  During  the  dance  that  accompanied  the  feast,  the  boys  were  making  sport  exercises  which  depicted  the  sports  of  wrestling  and  ‘pagration’  (a  type  of  ancient  Greek  wrestling).  Simultaneously  they  sang  patriotic  paeans  (the  poems  of  Alcman  and  Thales)  in  honor  of  the  fallen  warriors  of  Sparta.  Plato  points  out  that  in  the  gymnopaidiae  the  boys  went  through  “hard  endurance”.  This  reference  indicates  the  level  of  hard  workout.  Modern  scholars  believe  that  the  gymnopaidiae  were  not  symbolic  but  essentially  agonistic.

The  contest  that  needed  the  greatest  mental  strength  was  that  of  the  “diamastigosis“,  i.e.  the  competition  of  strength  in  pain.  The  contestants  were  Spartan  teenager  trainees  who  were  whipped  in  front  of  watchers.  Among  them  were  the  parents  of  the  teens  who  encouraged  them  to  endure  the  horrible  pain  or  threatened  them  when  they  saw  them  close  to  failing  (Lucian).  Some  teens  left  their  last  breath  because  of  the  whipping,  falling  dead  in  front  of  the  watchers  and  their  parents  (as  Plutarch  mentions,  in  the  Life  of  Lycurgos).  These  misfortunes  were  possibly  rare  but  some  scholars  believe  the  opposite.  The  victory  in  this  ultimate  endurance  competition,  mental  and  physical,  was  extremely  honored.  The  winners  were  called  “vomonikes”  and  the  state  used  to  set  up  their  statues  in  public  places  in  order  all  the  Spartans  to  see  them  and  take  an  example  of  their  courage.
More

%d bloggers like this: