These lengthy spears were also known their distinctive small iron heads that were more conducive to breaching the armor of the enemy. But as the saying goes – “necessity is the mother of all inventions”; Philp went on to initiate a military reform of sorts that focused on training and equipping the infantry levies of Macedon, many of whom came from semi-nomadic shepherding backgrounds (as opposed to the Greek farmer/hoplite tied to his land). And in terms of armor, most of these infantrymen adopted the heavier ‘muscled cuirass’ and the ubiquitous Phrygian helmet. In this part we look at the different types of light infantry the ancient Kingdom of Macedon used. And mirroring the honored units of their cavalry counterparts, the Pezhetairoi possibly had an elite taxis of their own known as the Asthetairoi, with its members (preferably) recruited from Upper Macedonia. And, when translated in geographical terms, many of the Macedonian veterans could have claimed to cross a multitude of rivers including the Nile (in Egypt), Euphrates and Tigris (in Iraq), Oxus (in Tajikistan), Syr-Darya (in Uzbekistan) and the Indus (in Pakistan). 40 THE UNITS OF ALEXANDER’S ARMY of well-organised poleis in fourth-century Macedonia (which strengthens the resemblance between the Macedonian mon-archy and Greek confederacies),2 or the fact that ancient authors list Macedonia together with Greek federal states as While I will argue (in part 2) that Macedonian horse would also have been present, most Macedonians soldiers were Pezetairoi, and a Macedonian army without them would have been strange indeed. [115], 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. The catapult was one of the most intimidating siege weapons. (ed.s) (2013), Sekunda N. and McBride, A. Beneath this political veneer, the Royal Pages also performed a practical function. The Prodromoi (scouts) was one such Thracian unit that was attached to the Royal Army (comprising only Macedonians), and they possibly consisted of four squadrons. To that end, it is known that Alexander’s closest friend Hephiastion commanded the Bodyguards at the famous Battle of Gaugamela. While Athens would become a naval power, Sparta easily emerged as the atypical military city, initiating a strict code of conduct with intense military training for every male citizen. These features were evident in the first major battle the army, newly trained up by Philip, fought in 358 BC and could still be discerned at Gaugamela in 331 BC. Two forms of such ballista were used by the Macedonians: a smaller bolt-shooting type called the oxybeles and a larger stone-throwing machine called the lithobolos. Before the Macedonian army crossed the Hellespont, the mainstay of their infantry comprised the Pezhetairoi (or Foot Companions) – men who the formed up the dreaded ‘anvil’ of the Macedonian phalanx. These soldiers from Macedonia proper were supplemented by considerable forces from other territories. The latter group possibly pertained to the courtiers of ancient Macedon, who traveled with the basileus (king) and convened with him in the royal tent. As the noble youth of the burgeoning realm, they were indoctrinated and inducted into the loyalty-based cult of the king. Two new pixelated camouflage designs were produced beginning in 2009. In any case, as we fleetingly mentioned, beyond the scope of their armor, it was the bristling set of pointed sarissai that presented a nigh-impenetrable (albeit rigid) formation of the Macedonian phalangites. This was a light shield made of leather-faced wicker. Pertaining to the latter, it has been hypothesized that some of these allied Greek forces (along with mercenaries) were possibly relegated to garrison duties after crossing the Hellespont. The military forces of this successor state, the Antigonid Macedonian army, retained many features of the armies of Philip and Alexander. Simply put, the Bodyguards was an active combat unit (manned by the elite warriors who swore to protect their Basileus) and possibly also an institution for officer training and even staff support. In any case, they probably bore a higher rank than the members of the Macedonian phalanx, and such also comprised an agema (vanguard) known as the Royal Shield Bearers (Basilikoi Hypaspistes). 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. Although a Spartan boy learned enough to be literate, more importantly, he learned how to endure … 28mm Ancient Macedonian Army continued A Macedonian General's Command Base. RealmofHistory(C)2019. The phalangites were armed with longer pikes and as a result the phalanx itself became less mobile and adaptable than it had been in Alexander's era. Now in spite of such frugal means and lack of actual pay (that was usually replaced by the plunder taken from enemy settlements), the infantrymen who had joined Alexander in 336 BC and then embarked on his Asia-bound campaign, had traveled more than 20,870 miles (or 33,400 km) by the time Alexander breathed his last in Babylon (in 323 BC) – according to a calculation made by historian Theodore Ayrault Dodge. The shield was of Thracian origin and was originally crescent-shaped, however, by the time of Macedonian greatness many depictions of peltai show them as being oval or round. The Illyrians broke after a fierce struggle, and three-quarters of Bardylis' army were slaughtered. In terms of panoply, the Prodromoi wore light tunics (without armor), possibly complemented by rose-colored cloaks (and the panther-skin shabraque for officers). By Alexander’s time, torsion-powered artillery was in use. However, in spite of these cultural differences, the ‘hotch-potch’ of Alexander’s force was admirably successful in conducting long-lasting campaigns while enduring logistical obstacles – feats that were only matched by Hannibal and his army of ‘multinationals‘ more than 80 years later. At the same time, these Shield Bearers formed the crack units of the army, and they proved their worth in many a siege battle, by taking part in the frontal assaults conducted within cramped quarters. For instance, during the Peloponnesian War, the Spartans were never able to take Athens despite easily conquering her surrounding territory. These structures, which were wheeled and several stories high, were covered with wet hide or metal sheathing to protect from missile fire, especially incendiaries, and the largest might be equipped with artillery. 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. Collectively the Macedonians displayed a singular bloody-mindedness seldom exceeded by … Korragos has the meaning of “the leader of the army”. Many historians have theorized that the Hypaspistes (‘Shield Bearers’) had their origins as retainers of the Companions of the royal court (not to be confused with the Hetairoi Cavalry), while others have hypothesized that they evolved from the mainline Pezhetairoi infantry. And even beyond the official designations of Prodromoi cavalry, the Macedonian army was often reliant on Thracian auxiliary cavalry – as they were suited to essential scouting and raiding activities inside enemy territories. The Macedonian Army was a fighting force of exceptional and terrifying ferocity. But if we combine the two elements, we can deduce the possibility of the Somatophylakes being recruited from the Royal Pages who had shown their martial acumen (upon entering adulthood). Partly inspired by the great general Epaminondas and his Theban army, and also influenced by the contemporary Athenian general Iphicrates, Philip adopted the nascent ideas of the phalanx, wherein the infantrymen, in their deep formations, were armed with heavy, lengthy spears but armored in light attires. However, beyond their martial capacity, it is their origins that have perplexed historians. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. Now it should be noted that hetairoi as a term is pretty vague, and it could denote both the aforementioned ‘companion’ cavalry and the king’s own personal companions. The command structure of the Macedonian army was extremely complex, consisting of many separate layers of authority. Now in terms of equipment, ancient writers and pictorial evidence rather paint a vague picture of the renowned Macedonian phalangites. Diodorus talked about at least such 600 Greek horsemen crossing the Hellespont with the main expeditionary force, and they were possibly reinforced by other detachments later in the campaign. This had begun around 400 BC in Syracuse under Dionysius I. And while grouped under the general term of ‘Thracians’, Diodorus also talked about 7,000 multinational light troops accompanying the main Macedonian army at Hellespont – and they possibly comprised akontistai contingents of the Triballians, Odrysians, and Illyrians. 28mm Wargames Foundry Macedonians. Suffice it to say, fueled by the personality cult of Alexander the Great, many of the impressionable noble youths from the cavalry regiments may have also tried to mimic their leader and charged into the battle – wearing just their ritzy tunics and armed with the xysta. In fact, judging by the aforementioned figures, Alexander desperately needed more light cavalry, not just to balance his forces, but also for scouting activities in deep enemy territories that often played their part in strategic decision making. [112], Alexander the Great appears to have been one of the first generals to employ artillery on the open field of battle, rather than in a siege. So, on an average, each of these men had covered an impressive 1,605 miles (or 2,570 km) per year! Among these units, the Royal Squadron (Basilike Ile) with its double numbers held the position of honor in battles, and such its members were usually drawn from the Personal Companions and Friends (philoi) of the Basileus. Given the sometimes confusing accounts from ancient writers, historians can only deduce that the Somatophylakes or Bodyguards probably comprised a separate unit within the ancient Macedonian army. And beyond the scope of standard infantrymen and cavalry, the Macedonian army presumably also had its fair share of light skirmishers (psiloi), who fought in front of the packed phalanx formations – though not much is known about their numbers. Alexander was also the de-facto head (archon) of the Thessalian army and the commander of the League of Corinth that gave him the power to levy military support from the Greeks. Two powerful city-states rose to dominate Greece. Image of ceremonial, militari, line - 26244337 Ashley, pp. Many of these valued cavalrymen were borne by the equestrian culture prevalent in the Thessalian noble class – and as such their regiments possibly mirrored the structure of the much-heralded Hetairoi. 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