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Go Back   Armchair General and HistoryNet >> The Best Forums in History > Historical Events & Eras > Warfare Through the Ages > The Ancient Era

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The Ancient Era Discuss Ancient Warfare! Romans, Carthaginians, Greeks, etc.

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  #31  
Old 13 Sep 06, 23:34
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I've always been fascinated by Xenophon and the Ten Thousand. Betrayed, ambushed, their leaders slaughtered at a 'peace conference' and still they fought through Persia and Armenia to the Black Sea.

I'm also a romantic and love lost causes, so I submit Boudica's revolt. Ultimately futile, but it cost Rome three cities, the loss and disgrace of Legio IX Hispana, an estimated 70,000-80,000 dead and almost convinced Nero to abandon Britian.

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  #32  
Old 06 Oct 06, 12:38
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Roman phalagists

An interesting episode of antiquity warfare is when emperor Caracalla in about 214 AC organized a corp of 16 000 men equipped and trained as Alexander's phalangists, for his projected campaign against the Parthians. I don't think it actually saw action, and probably it was disbanded after the death of the emperor in 217. However the idea of a Macedonian style phalanx in the third century side by side with the legions sounds interesting, even if it was most probably militarily redundant and was only created because of Caracalla's admiration for Alexander.

Do any of you have any informations about this corps?
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  #33  
Old 07 Oct 06, 08:46
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Originally Posted by Proconsul View Post
An interesting episode of antiquity warfare is when emperor Caracalla in about 214 AC organized a corp of 16 000 men equipped and trained as Alexander's phalangists, for his projected campaign against the Parthians. I don't think it actually saw action, and probably it was disbanded after the death of the emperor in 217. However the idea of a Macedonian style phalanx in the third century side by side with the legions sounds interesting, even if it was most probably militarily redundant and was only created because of Caracalla's admiration for Alexander.

Do any of you have any informations about this corps?

This indeed an interesting period in many aspects
As I recall from grammar school and university your information is completely correct. Caracalla, like so many Roman emperors was a great admirer of Alexander the Great. In his case this admiration took the shape of forming and drilling quite an atavistic phalanx formed of original Macedonians , which Caracalla called 'Alexanders phalanx'. Its officers were ordered to take names of Alexander's commanders. Somehow it seems that even Caracalla realised it was a charade and that he placed more trust in his legions than in the phalanx as the commanders of the new units never got really important commands and were not taken seriously.
Additionally he tried to form a Spartan phalanx by men from Sparta and an 'Alexandrian' with young men from Alexandria, to further relive and honour the glorious classical past. The new units were strengthened with elephants!

In order to be on a par with Alexander, Caracalla too organized a campaign to the East, into Parthian lands, where these phalanxes and elephants were to be put into action in the Alexandrian way. Although there were fights with the Parthians I think neither phalanxes nor elephants saw action, and we have no idea how they would have performed.
I guess Caracalla's successor, who was not really interested in military extravaganza, just disbanded the phalanxes.
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  #34  
Old 21 Nov 06, 00:39
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I know it's a little bit after 450, but the fall of Rome. I'm a sucker for both last stands (Thermopylae is a close second for me) and apocolyptic scenarios. I am especially inpsired by the Byzantines who stood firm as the foundations of the Empire fell around them, and how they tried and brilliantly succeeded for a awhile to reconquer the area under Belisarius. The Byzantine army's entrance into recaptured ROme must have been dramatic.
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  #35  
Old 21 Nov 06, 03:44
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Hmmm...

I find all military history fascinating, and history in general the most vital of all educational fields; it is, after all, a record of man's successes and failures, and teaches a great deal about human nature to those who are interested in more than simple dates, places, and names.
This period is one of my favorites; in my opinion, some of the more significant events and what-ifs (not neccessarily in order of importance) are:
1. Salamis (the west as we know it may not ever have arisen without this victory).
2. Cannae (one of a handfull of large battles where an army that was outnumbered 2-1 executed a double envelopement of, and decisively defeated it's opponent).
3. Cynosephalae (an outstanding example of how one man can make a difference- when an unnamed tribune acted on his own initiative, took 20 maniples, attacked the Macedonians in their rear, and won the battle and campaign.
4. Greek unification under Philip II of Macedonia.

I saw an earlier post regarding the Macedonian Army vis-a-vis the Roman Army. Much would have depended on the commanding generals of each. How would Philip II or Alexander III have fared against, say, Scipio Africanus (probably the only Roman general of the Republican period to truly appreciate the value of a well-trained cavalry arm). I believe that Macedonian cavalry would have still have been superior to the Romans, but a phalangial order cannot compare to a manipular or cohortal legionary formation, because of it's limited maneuverability, and vulnerable flanks and rear. Could the legionaires have broken up the phalanx before the Macedonian cavalry drove off their Roman counterparts?


Last edited by Sgt. Saunders; 21 Nov 06 at 03:48..
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  #36  
Old 21 Nov 06, 05:58
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Punic Wars and Alexander's campaigns. In particular I thought I'd look into the way Rome withstood Hannibal - the first 'total war'?
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  #37  
Old 21 Nov 06, 07:35
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Welcome aboard Thucydides & Sgt Saunders!

It is good to have you here!

Make yourselves confortable, there are some good people here.

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  #38  
Old 21 Nov 06, 17:23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfc TAZ View Post
Caesar's battle at Alesia with the Gauls.

He built fortifications that surrounded and besieged the town of Alesia and then built fortifications facing the opposite way to defend against a force of 250,000 men coming to relieve the siege.
I quite quote you! It was a great strategy's example.
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  #39  
Old 06 Dec 06, 07:03
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Marathon

Another favourite moment of mine is the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.
Here the hoplites of Athens, who only recently had introduced democracy in their city fought off the feared massed bands of the 'King of Kings' Darius I of Persia. The Persian Navy had crossed the Aegean and landed its army close to Marathon. Athens had to fight the Persians alone, as the Spartans didn't want to break their holy week by marching off to war.
The clash between the Athenian hoplites (armoured in metal) and the Persians (not armoured, wicker shields, its cavalry absent because reloaded on the boats the night before in order to circumvent the opposing army and land them close to Athens) was as one could expect in retrospect but definitely wasn't anticipated before. While traditional clashes of two phalanx armies resulted in broken spear shafts and initial stalemates till one side broke, at Marathon the Athenians appeared to be slicing through Persian battle lines.
After the battle was won, the ordeal wasn't over: the Athenian army had to double time back to Athens (42,195 kms!) to receive the Persian naval transports with the cavalry on board. They just made it in time!
This march and not the run of the famous messenger Philippides from the battlefield to Athens, where he could utter: 'we won' before he died from exhaustion is the origin of the 'marathon run'.
The Spartans who arrived too late to participate at Marathon, with their usual professionalism towards warfare, inspected the battlefield and made notes. They got to give respect to the democratic fighters from Athens but at the same time did not find much that gave them cause for concern from the Persian side. It is possible that these notions gained at Marathon influenced them taking decisions ten years later at Thermopylae.
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  #40  
Old 27 Jan 07, 17:56
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I agree with many other people who have posted on this thread. Thermopylae has always been one of my favorite moments in the Ancient World. I have found another event that led up the Thermopylae that I have also found very interesting. Before Persia invaded Greece they sent ambassadors to every city demanding a jar of earth and a jar of water. Many cities sent the earth and water while others respectfully said no but it was the Spartan and Athenian answers that were the best. In athens the ambassadors were tried and put to death and in Sparta they were thrown down a well and told if they wanted earth and water they could find it down there.
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  #41  
Old 02 Jun 07, 19:31
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Well...my favourite period in the ancient era would be the fall of the Roman Empire, when the first barbarians really started invading the Empire: Roughly between 250 and 350 a.d. I find all those tribes and barbarians very interesting !!!
The favourite moment, would almost certainly be the the Battle of the Teutoburgerwald though ! It must have been creepy as a Roman legionnaire marching through those dense forests and suddenly see all those barbarians yelling and screaming while rushing out of from behind those trees to hack you to pieces !!!!!



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  #42  
Old 02 Jun 07, 20:30
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Coming in late; yeah, shame on me.

Best Comeback line: Response to the fact that the Persian arrows would block out the sun: 'So We'll fight in the shade!' Appearantly it was really said at Thermoplyae!

But one who stands out in my mind: Cinncinnatus. Brought out of retirement to defeat one of the barbarian hordes and was offered dictatorial powers. He declined to go back to his plantation/farm.
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  #43  
Old 02 Jun 07, 21:00
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That's an easy one, even with such a vast subject: King David in the Bible. The best story to me is the one where he cut Saul's robe and left him alive, just to show that he could have killed him but didn't want to.
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  #44  
Old 02 Jun 07, 21:18
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I always been kinda intrigued by what I'd heard of Cincinnatus from me Grand Father, when I was a wee lad. I've never really followed up on him much since those days. Richard, anybody else... got any reference materials I might track down & peruse?

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Old 02 Jun 07, 22:18
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The invention of Women!

Seriously- Salamis, the Persian King had a ringside seat to the destruction of his fleet.
Way Cool- If you were a Greek, that is.
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