Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

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Nicator
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Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by Nicator »

Hello again Pothosians...

I'm presently using an 1812 translation of Arrian by Brooke (because it's one of the only sources I have available on .pdf) that makes mention of Thracian 'Darters' under Sitalces on the left and 'Targeteers' in front on the right at Sagalassos. Does anybody have a clue as to the disposition of these forces? Darters means...archers, javelin throwers, peltasts, all of the above? Same question for Targeteers.

Thanks again...
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
agesilaos
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Re: Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by agesilaos »

'darters' are akontistai - javelinmen and 'targeteers' would be peltasts as they are named for the 'pelte' a small shield or target. Alexandersources.org has Chinnock's slightly more erecent translation, but beware of his habit of slipping glosses into his text.
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Nicator
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Re: Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by Nicator »

Ahh, excellent and timely. Thanks agesilaos. I wrote the entire Sagalassos set piece today but being past 2:00 am here, I'm going to have to do the rewrite tomorrow. Had to pull 3 couplets from the Guagamela set piece over that scythed chariot deal. Few things are more painful than having to delete well constructed couplets. :x

Most of the smaller/smallish raids and sieges were originally omitted in the epic. But I found too much missing from the overall work and too much that seemed to jump or leapfrog in a discrete manner without the reasons or understanding why from battle to battle and campaign to campaign. So, decided to beef it up by adding detail and additional commentary throughout. Particularly weak was the Asian Minor campaign. Issus was 8 pages before and paled in comparison to Guagamela and Hydaspes (both of which exceeded 20 pages in length). Now Issus is around 20 pages, with a bit of detail yet to add on Darius' dispositions before battle. And too much was missing in regards to Philip II. This was also intentional with the book entitled...The Epic of Alexander. But Philip's campaigns and personality were too important to omit altogether (though a significant amount of work was included in as summarized a form as possible). This I haven't gotten back to yet. But it's on the plate.

I'll be out of the USSA for a few more months and this time, hopefully, will allow me to focus and expand the epic to a real point of completion.
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
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Xenophon
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Re: Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by Xenophon »

I would agree with Agesilaos' translation. 'Akontistai'/javelin throwers were originally 'psiloi'/ light infantry, generally unshielded and often composed of the servants of the Hoplites of the army of a city-state, or occasionally especially recruited as such. From the time of the Peloponnesian War onwards, their role was taken up by Thracian 'peltasts' = armed with light shield as well as javelins, often hide-covered and 'pelta'/crescent-moon shaped. Other shapes were also used. Eventually, 'Imitation' Thracian peltasts were also recruited, often as mercenaries from the Greek lower classes. The javelins or darts in question were generally 3-4 ft long, a little over thumb sized in thickness, and a peltast might carry up to half-a-dozen or so. Their throwing range was often increased by the use of an 'ankyle'/throwing thong. This was a loop attached,which the thrower slipped his fore and middle finger into, thus increasing the leverage.

Alexander had a plentiful supply of the genuine tribal Thracian peltasts, such as those commanded by the Thracian Prince Sitalkes, or the famous Agrianes.In his day, the 'akontistai' and 'peltasts' were usually the same troop type - skirmishing missile troops.

Javelin-throwers could also be mounted light cavalry, and were generally shieldless in Alexander's time, and Arrian often refers to them as 'ippokontistas'/horse javelin-throwers. These were recruited from his Persian subjects after the death of Darius. [Arrian III.24.1]
Nicator
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Re: Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by Nicator »

I presently have them written as 'skirmishers' and may leave it at that with a footnote. Thanks for the info. :lol:
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
system1988
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Re: Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by system1988 »

Nicator wrote:I presently have them written as 'skirmishers' and may leave it at that with a footnote. Thanks for the info. :lol:
With all reservations and thanks in advance for this but who is Christakis whose words you quote? Is he a writer? I could not find him anywhere.
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Nicator
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Re: Arrian's 'Darters' and 'Targeteers' ??

Post by Nicator »

system1988 wrote:
Nicator wrote:I presently have them written as 'skirmishers' and may leave it at that with a footnote. Thanks for the info. :lol:
With all reservations and thanks in advance for this but who is Christakis whose words you quote? Is he a writer? I could not find him anywhere.
That would be me. The quote is an excerpt from "The Battle on the River Hydaspes" from the yet to be published..."The Epic of Alexander: The Historic Poem of Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.)"
Later Nicator

Thus, rain sodden and soaked, under darkness cloaked,
Alexander began, his grand plan, invoked...

The Epic of Alexander
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