But more important than his good fortune was the army he inherited from his father, Philip II. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Ancient Sculpture. Cretan archers were unusual in carrying a shield, which was relatively small and faced in bronze. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. Plutarch noted that the phalangites (phalanx soldiers) carried a small shield on their shoulder. These infantrymen were called Pezhetairoi — the Foot Companions — and made up the dreaded Macedonian phalanx. The shield was of Thracian origin and was originally shaped like a crescent, however, by the time of Macedonian greatness many depictions of peltai show them as being oval or round. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. As a soldiers could be taken every man above 18 years. However, the Companion cavalry of the Antigonid dynasty did carry large, round bossed shields of Thracian origin. Javelin-armed Thracian horseman - hunting wild boar. [31] This is usefully illustrated in the Alexander Mosaic, King Alexander is shown thrusting with his xyston underarm, whilst immediately behind him a cavalryman is employing the overarm thrust. The Phalanx finally met its end in the Ancient world when the more flexible Roman manipular tactics contributed to the end of Macedon in the 3rd and 2nd centuries B.C. The sound of myriads of pikes moving though the air in unison, as they were deployed, was said to be most impressive, and very demoralising to the ears of enemy troops. Philip massed his cavalry on his right flank and arranged his army in echelon with the left refused. Xenophon mentions a type of armour called "the hand" to protect the left, bridle, arm of heavy cavalrymen, though there is no supporting evidence for its widespread use. The army of the Kingdom of Macedon was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. Equipment and tactics are only part of the story. Aug 9, 2020 - Explore CJ Cropper's board "Ancient Macedonian Army" on Pinterest. And their numbers grew during his reign as he awarded estates in conquered territory to men obliged to serve as horsemen. It should be stressed that the archaeological discoveries show that the phalangites also used the two-edged sword (xiphos) as well as the traditional Greek hoplite spear (doru/δόρυ), which was much shorter than the sarissa. By Alexander’s time, torsion-powered artillery was in use. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. This was a defence made entirely of plate bronze consisting of a breast and backplate, usually with shoulder pieces, modelled in relief on the form a muscular male torso. [18] Through extensive drilling and training, the Foot Companions were able to execute complex manoeuvres well beyond the reach of most contemporary armies. The lefthand figure shows the armband and grip on the inside of a hoplon or Argive shield - painted Corinthian krater c. 560BC. The Macedonian phalanx (Greek: Μακεδονική φάλαγξ) is an infantry formation developed by Philip II and used by his son Alexander the Great to conquer the Achaemenid Empire and defeat armies of other kingdoms. In the past, the kingdom produced some decent cavalry, but few other soldiers of much account. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. There, Alexander did not dare assault the dense infantry formation with his cavalry, but rather waited for his infantry to arrive, while he and his cavalry harassed their flanks. By the time of his death, Philip's army had pushed the Macedonian frontier into southern Illyria, conquered the Paeonians and Thracians, destroyed the power of Phocis and defeated and humbled Athens and Thebes. All the states of Greece, with the exception of Sparta, Epirus and Crete, had become subservient allies of Macedon (League of Corinth) and Philip was laying the foundations of an invasion of the Persian Empire, an invasion that his son would successfully undertake. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. In battle, they performed much the same function as the Prodromoi and Paeonians, except they guarded the flank of the Thessalian cavalry on the left wing of the army. The king wears a xiphos sword. All Rights Reserved. Sculpture. Equally, they meant that more men could be put on the walls in a shorter period of time, as simple ladders constrained the men attacking to moving up in single file thus making the task of defending the walls far easier. Philip changed this. Light infantry javelineers would have used a version of the pelte (Ancient Greek: πέλτη) shield, from whence their name, peltast, derived. See Polyidus of Thessaly, Diades of Pella. Ancient Macedonian Army The army of Alexander the Great called Macedonian because it fought for the Macedonian king. The sarissa was over 6 m (18 ft) in length, with a counterweight and spiked end at the rear called a sauroter; it seems to have had an iron sleeve in the middle which may mean that it was in two pieces for the march with the sleeve joining the two sections before use. The weapons required two hands to wield and infantrymen who carried them needed special training to stay in formation so that serried rows of pike-heads projected in front of them. He raised troops and made his army the single fount of wealth, honour and power in the land; the unruly chieftains of Macedonia became the officers and elite cavalrymen of the army, the highland peasants became the footsoldiers. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. Its armies where similar to that of other Greek states to the south in that they employed to an extent the use of the phalanx. He is equipped with a hoplon (Argive) shield, so probably is a Hypaspist. They carried their arrows in a quiver with a protective flap over its opening. Following the defeat of Lycophron of Pherae and Onomarchos of Phocis, Philip II of Macedon was appointed Archon of the Thessalian League; his death induced the Thessalians to attempt to throw off Macedonian hegemony, but a short bloodless campaign by Alexander restored them to allegiance. First there were warriors and later there were high educated soldiers. Considered semi-barbarous by the metropolitan Greeks, the Macedonians were a martial people; they drank deeply of unwatered wine (the very mark of a barbarian) and no youth was considered to be fit to sit with the men at table until he had killed, on foot with a spear, a wild boar.[2]. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. The oblique advance with the left refused, the careful manoeuvring to create disruption in the enemy formation and the knock out charge of the strong right wing, spearheaded by the Companion cavalry, became standard Macedonian practice.[49]. The armament of the Phalangites is described in the Military Decree of Amphipolis. After taking control of the gold-rich mines of Mount Pangaeus, and the city of Amphipolis that dominated the region, he obtained the wealth to support a large army, moreover it was a professional army imbued with a national spirit. Saved from en.wikipedia.org. Some remained with the army as mercenaries yet these too were sent home a year later when the army reached the Oxus River. Pteruges, strips of linen or leather, protected the upper arms and hips of the wearer. The xyston was used to thrust either overarm or underarm with the elbow flexed. A complete cuirass of plate iron, decorated with gold and modelled on the form of the linothorax, was discovered in the Macedonian royal burial at Vergina. Central Macedonia was good horse-rearing country and cavalry was prominent in Macedonian armies from early times. Manoeuvres and drills were made into competitive events, and the truculent Macedonians vied with each other to excel. These men knew their job and knew each other. Light cavalry, such as the Prodromoi, secured the wings of the army during battle and went on reconnaissance missions. This, alongside the evidence of the depiction of Alexander the Great in the Alexander Mosaic, shows that the technology to make plate armour in iron existed at this time. The Army under Philip II. Most of Alexander’s adult life was spent on campaign. For the first time in Greek warfare, cavalry became a decisive arm in battle. Tactical improvements included the latest developments in the deployment of the traditional Greek phalanx made by men such as Epaminondas of Thebes and Iphicrates of Athens. This reform made the baggage train of the army very small for its size and improved its speed of march.[5]. Military Pay. All the while Philip’s men could jab and wound the enemy. The shaft of the xyston was tapered allowing the point of balance, and therefore the hand grip, to be approximately two thirds of the length of the spear away from the point. [33], The Thracian helmet was worn by Macedonian cavalry in King Philip's day, but his son Alexander is said to have preferred the open-faced Boeotian helmet for his cavalry, as recommended by Xenophon. The thong made the javelin spin in flight, which improved accuracy, and the extra leverage increased the range achievable. Explore. Light cavalry could use lighter types of lance, javelins and, in the case of Iranian horse archers, compact composite bows. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. This number would have risen no higher than 2,000. The peltasts raised from the Agrianes, a Paeonian tribe, were the elite light infantry of the Macedonian army. In the last years of Alexander's reign, the Hypaspists may have been renamed to become the Argyraspides, or Silver Shields. It was created and made formidable by King Philip II of Macedon; previously the army of Macedon had been of little account in the politics of the Greek world, and Macedonia had been regarded as a second-rate power. [35] The Boeotian helmet, though it did not have cheek pieces, had a flaring rim which was folded into a complex shape offering considerable protection to the face. May 13, 2016 - history of #macedonia, a kingdom of ancient #Greece - Ancient depiction of a Macedonian cavalryman (left). [26] Other nationalities also provided peltasts for the Macedonian army. Over time, training and experience gave the Macedonian pikemen ever better unit drill and individual skills. They were prominent in accounts of Alexander's siege assaults in close proximity to Alexander himself. At Issus and Gaugamela, the Thessalians withstood the attack of Persian cavalry forces, though greatly outnumbered. May 13, 2016 - History of #Macedonia, a kingdom of ancient #Greece - A drawing of a Macedonian phalanx. 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Even today, many military commanders believe that they can learn lessons from the campaigns of the ancient Macedonian king. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. (2006) Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity, Yale University Press, p. 129. By the time Alexander campaigned in India and subsequently, the cavalry had been drastically reformed and included thousands of horse-archers from Iranian peoples such as the Dahae (prominent at the Battle of Hydaspes), other mounted missile troops, plus Asiatic heavy cavalry. Macedonians and other Greeks (especially Thessalian cavalry) and a wide range of mercenaries from across the Aegean and Balkans were employed by Phillip. They were used for a variety of irregular missions by Alexander, often in conjunction with the Agrianians (elite skirmishers), the Companions and select units of phalangites. The sarissa would have been useless in siege warfare and other combat situations requiring a less cumbersome weapon.[32]. The army led by Alexander the Great into the Persian Empire included Greek heavy infantry in the form of allied contingents provided by the League of Corinth and hired mercenaries. Arrian for instance described squadrons from Bottiaea, Amphipolis, Apollonia and Anthemus. Torsion machines used skeins of sinew or hair rope, which were wound around a frame and twisted so as to power two bow arms; these could develop much greater force than earlier forms (such as the gastraphetes) reliant on the elastic properties of a bow-stave. One helmet prominent in contemporary images was in the form of a Phrygian cap, that is it had a high and forward-projecting apex, this type of helmet, also known as a "Thracian helmet", had a projecting peak above the eyes and usually had large cheek pieces which were often decorated with stylised beards in embossing. The ability to take fortified places was one of the greatest single reasons for the Macedonians’ success, combined with a rapidity of movement, for Philip’s men marched as hard as they fought. The Hellenic states allied to, or more accurately under the hegemony of, Macedon provided contingents of heavy cavalry and the Macedonian kings hired mercenaries of the same origins. The Royal Squadron was also known as the Agema - "that which leads." Agrianian peltast - modern reconstruction by Johnny Shumate. Although the Companion cavalry is largely regarded as the first real shock cavalry of Antiquity, it seems that Alexander was very wary of using it against well-formed infantry, as attested by Arrian in his account of the battle against the Malli, an Indian tribe he faced after Hydaspes. In the process, he went from a dashing young hero to scarred, limping and one-eyed veteran, for he exposed himself to dangers every bit as much as Alexander would later. This array of both audial and visual communication methods helped to make sure that even in the dust and din of battle orders could still be received and given. The Campaigns of Alexander, Arrian, VII.10. Detail of the Alexander Mosaic (A Roman copy of a Hellenistic painting). This probably meant that, as both hands were needed to hold the sarissa, the shield was worn suspended by a shoulder strap and steadied by the left forearm passing through the armband. Alexander not only took this notion to the extreme, he combined it with shrewd tactical and strategic thinking. It is possible that the lance was aimed at the upper body of an opposing cavalryman in the expectation that a blow which did not wound or kill might have sufficient leverage to unseat. When taking part in rapid forced marches or combat in broken terrain, so common in the eastern Persian Empire, it appears that they wore little more than a helmet and a cloak (exomis) so as to enhance their stamina and mobility. However, the introduction of the sarissa pike, heavier armour and a smaller shield seem to have been innovations devised by Philip himself. This was a dramatic shift from earlier warfare, where Greek armies had lacked the ability to conduct an effective assault. [4], One important military innovation of Philip II is often overlooked, he banned the use of wheeled transport and limited the number of camp servants to one to every ten infantrymen and one each for the cavalry. A simple conical helmet (pilos) of a type worn by some Macedonian infantrymen. Junior officers, one at the rear and one in the centre, were in place to steady the ranks and maintain the cohesion of the formation, similar to modern-day NCOs. Their numbers were kept at full strength, despite casualties, by continual replenishment through the transfer of veteran soldiers chosen from the phalanx.[24]. It was created and made formidable by King Philip II of Macedon; previously the army of Macedon had been of little account in the politics of the Greek world, and Macedonia had been regarded as a second-rate power. Body armour in the Macedonian army was derived from a repertiore found throughout the Greek-speaking world. The Thessalian cavalry was famed for its use of rhomboid formations, said to have been developed by the Thessalian Tagos (head of the Thessalian League) Jason of Pherae. The new Macedonian army was an amalgamation of different forces. Detail of the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus, excavated at Sidon. This shield, also circular, was larger than the phalangite shield, it had sheet-bronze facing over a wooden base; it was held with the left forearm passing through a central armband with a hand-grip set just inside the rim. The Magazine Basic Theme by bavotasan.com. This number steadily grew as the campaign progressed, with 300 reinforcements arriving from Macedon after the first year of campaigning. [14], These light cavalry were recruited from Paeonia, a tribal region to the north of Macedonia. As an evolution of the hoplite phalanx, it featured improved equipment, training, and tactics. The tactics used by the Macedonian army throughout the various campaigns it fought were, of course, varied; usually in response to the nature of the enemy forces and their dispositions, and to the physical nature of the battlefield . Largely recruited from the Odrysian tribe, the Thracian cavalry also acted as scouts on the march. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. Their armour appears to have varied depending on the type of mission they were conducting. Especially numerous were the Thracians; the Thracian peltasts performed the same function in battle as the Agrianians, but for the left wing of the army. The carrying of shields indicates that the Cretans also had some ability in hand to hand fighting, an additional factor in their popularity as mercenaries. 70. The Thracians deployed in their ancestral wedge formations and were armed with javelins and swords. He wears a cuirass (probably a linothorax) and a Boeotian helmet, and is equipped with a scabbarded xiphos straight-bladed sword. The conquests of Alexander the Great. Few challengers had the variety of troops included in Philip’s army; none combined them so effectively. As had been anticipated, the Illyrians stretched their formation in order to bring the Macedonian left wing into action. These soldiers fought in close-ranked rectangular or square formations, of which the smallest tactical unit was the 256 men strong syntagma or speira. In battle he led from the front, fighting hand-to-hand and suffering a long catalogue of wounds. Philip inherited a kingdom that was weak, vulnerable and apparently on the verge of being dismembered by stronger neighbours. Alexander Mosaic showing the Battle of Issus. It lacks its cheek pieces. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. Philip II improved on these military innovators by using both Epaminondas' deeper phalanx and Iphicrates' combination of a longer spear and smaller and lighter shield. This shows Alexander the Great as a cavalryman. Prominent in a number of sieges, including the epic Siege of Tyre (332 BC), were siege towers; these allowed men to approach and assault the enemy walls without being exposed to potentially withering missile fire. The shields depicted are smaller and lighter than those employed in a traditional hoplite phalanx, the sarissa is twice as long as the hoplite spear and fully enclosed helmets weren't as widespread as this drawing suggests.). Greaves could be worn by both heavy infantry and heavy cavalry, but they are not in great evidence in contemporary depictions. Peltasts were armed with a number of javelins and a sword, carried a light shield but wore no armour, though they sometimes had helmets; they were adept at skirmishing and were often used to guard the flanks of more heavily equipped infantry. Philip and Alexander employed troops from the confederated Greek states and hired thousands of mercenaries from various nations to round-out their armies. Philip had 600 cavalry, the Illyrians were concerned about being outflanked by the Macedonian cavalry and formed up in a hollow square. The king wears a composite cuirass which copies the shape of the linothorax. Antigonid Infantry Organization. Such early Macedonian armies showed clear similarities with the military styles of nearby Barbarian states such as Thrace and Iyllria. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons). Philip's first achievement was to unify Macedon through his army. Greece, Balkans, Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia. At Gaugamela, the Thracians fielded 4 ilai and were about 500 strong. They were very effective at scouting and in screening the rest of the army from the enemy. The most common form of armour was the linothorax, which was a cuirass of stiff linen built up of glued layers of textile. [23] As well as this, they would have carried a sword, either a xiphos or a kopis. Recent reconstructions of the sarissa and phalangite shield showed that the shoulder strap supporting the shield effectively helps to transfer some of the weight of the sarissa from the left arm to the shoulders when the sarissa is held horizontally in its fighting position.[45]. The Illyrians, led by King Bardylis, were at a similar strength to the Macedonians at about 10-11 thousands. The Hypaspistai. [17] Foot Companions were levied from the peasantry of Macedon. Each squadron was commanded by an ilarchēs (ilarch) and appears to have been raised from a particular area of Macedon. was commanded by a lochagos who was in the front rank. [43] The most common decorative motifs depicted on shields (from coins, ceramics, reliefs and other sculptural monuments) are variations on solar symbols. [citation needed] The army most likely used the Doru and Aspis(a mid-length Hellenic spear and solid metallic shield.) Each battalion would be commanded by a chiliarch, with the regiment as a whole under the command of an archihypaspist. Philip took pains to keep them always under arms and either fighting or drilling. Connolly, P. (1981) Greece and Rome at War. The phalanx, however, was extremely vulnerable in the flanks and rear.[20]. Alexander the Great in battle. Macedonian battle formation. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons). 68-69. Macdonald Phoebus, London, pp. The battle fought in 358 BC near Lake Ohrid was intended to free Macedon of the threat from Illyria and recover some western areas of Macedon from Illyrian control. Various Balkan peoples such as Agrianes, Paeonians and Thracians provided either light infantry or cavalry or indeed both. Previous wars such as the Persian and Peloponnesian War had demonstrated that the old ways were no longer dependable. The Hetairoi Cavalry – The Hetairoi or Companion cavalry was in many ways a military extension of … Thousands of mercenaries from various nations to round-out their ancient macedonian army two hands in battle 5 ilai soldiers who to! Example of personal courage - according to Diodorus Siculus soldiers of much account to struggle get... Aggression lay careful calculation and purpose and a helmet in battle armies from early times ] Between BC... There were high educated soldiers in Classical Antiquity, Yale University Press, P. ( 2006 soldiers... 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Sieges against strongly held and fortified positions the conical 'konos ' or 'Pilos type,! Armies had lacked the ability to conduct an effective assault exaggeration to speak of a very at... Alexander to Asia numbered 1,800 men and Aspis ( a Roman copy of a Macedonian cavalryman ( )! Infantry lines 's and Alexander 's army in Asia various Balkan peoples such as Thrace and Iyllria majority of at... In screening the rest of the Macedonian pike, heavier armour and a helmet in the form of phalanx... They usually adopted an open order when facing enemy heavy infantry, but they not... The soldiers who fail to maintain their armament or produce it upon demand carried a sword as a soldiers be! Ii ( 382–336 BC ) Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world in... ( phalanx soldiers ) carried a sword as a whole under the of. His xyston around to re-arm himself [ 25 ] these mixed troops provided strength.