Curtius provides detail about the pikes being dropped and short swords being drawn at Issus. And this makes sense, as the purpose of the sarissa was to penetrate the enemy front. After that initial strike, it indeed becomes quite useless. The close quarter fighting would be with the spear and sword.
What complete nonsense! You clearly have no idea of what a pike phalanx was for or how it functioned. The point of the phalanx was that there was NO close-quarter fighting as such. The foe was kept at a distance, and completely outreached. Pikes were certainly not generally 'dropped', nor was a pike useless after an initial strike......
The pike was indeed effective at keeping the enemy away from your front line. It's main use was as a penetration weapon. Once the initial strike was inflicted, the point would penetrate into the man or men driving from behind and driven into the point, after it passed completely through. In this manner, the pike became embedded and trapped in the body (or bodies) of the enemy, until it was no longer capable of being used further. The weight of the opposing forces, pushing into one another, as at Issus on the Persian left, with the Persian forces in the rear pushing the Persian forces at the front, into the pikes. This would go on, until the last row of pikemen had exhausted his last sarissa (assuming, spares were brought up, as the engagement ensued). After this transpired, spears and/or swords were to be drawn and brought to bear. So, the opening contact again shows the usefulness of the lengthened array of pikes, as a weapon for outreaching and penetrating the front rows of the enemy. But after this penetration was made, it would become a hindrance. As the spear and finally, the sword would now be drawn to finish the job. The assumption that the enemy could not reach the Macedonian phalangyte et al, is simply literary fanciful treatment of, what would otherwise be, a bloody, chaotic, grappling, affair.
There are many scenarios that could be considered for the usefulness of the sword in such a battle and surely this was not missed by an army trained and equipped by Philip (who very likely received considerable input from Greek (and other) mercenaries throughout the developmental stage). Also, consider that it was well known that the phalanx was always vulnerable on its flank. This, being well known by both the Macedonians and Greeks, forced the necessity of keeping a sidearm. Typically, the sword.
In the center, we must take into consideration that the opposing Greeks, were by now, familiar with the Macedonian piked phalanx and had developed countering tactics (like knocking the point down, and breaking it off in the dirt, for instance). And it seems quite clear, that the Greeks penetrated and infiltrated the Macedonian phalanx, yet, the phalanx was not thoroughly dismantled nor did it disintegrate. Had sidearms not been available, and put to use, we may have seen a quite different outcome.
Being an engineer, I like to think things through, where possible, beyond the source material. And, since I am an engineer, I have that capability.
Curtius provides detail about the pikes being dropped and short swords being drawn at Issus. And this makes sense, as the purpose of the sarissa was to penetrate the enemy front. After that initial strike, it indeed becomes quite useless.
More nonsense. ( see above) Also, Curtius does NOT refer to pikes being dropped at Issus. It is the Persians who draw swords after throwing their javelins [Curtius III.11.4]
In general, there is good reason for the length of swords in ATG's era. The quality of the steel available, was still too primitive to produce length with strength. This would come later with the Roman legion's infamous short sword. Spear points, daggers, short swords (shorter and heavier, if memory serves) than the Roman short sword (itself quite heavy), all stand testament to the primitive state of metallurgy of the Phil-Alexandrian era.
Where do you get this stuff from? It couldn't be more wrong!!
To begin with, swords weren't "steel", which had yet to be developed.Some races DID use long swords e.g. the contemporary Gauls. Short swords were preferred by troops who fought in close order ( as the Macedonians and Romans did) as being handier in a press. Macedonian swords were generally of two types; the 'kopis' or 'machaira', a machete-like sword designed as such and which was quite capable of lopping off arms and legs, and the 'xiphos', a straight-bladed cut-and-thrust sword. Neither Macedonian nor Roman swords were 'heavy', but well balanced. Just as the Macedonians primary weapon was the pike, the Romans primary weapon was the 'pilum'/heavy javelin, which was launched in relays by small groups dashing out, and sometimes kept up for hours until the enemy broke. Only then was the secondary gladius drawn for the pursuit.( as a generalisation, battles were individual, of course.)
Metallurgy was certainly not 'primitive', but quite advanced, and many items could not be surpassed even by modern metallurgy
Sure, being 'iron', is not the same as being 'steel'.
Sorry, don't remember where I read this about the steel being less capable than during the Roman era. But glad you were able to provide some input regarding the Macedonian sword, nonetheless. My thinking, in lieu of my old aged memory, is that the the pike was about a foot and half in length, the spear tip, perhaps 7 inches, and hence, the sword was kept shorter due as much to metallurgical limitations, as to cost...until the Roman era. That Philip had to equip thousands of soldiers with arms, may have also played a part in their length and quality. But that could
work both ways.