The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Jeanne Reames » Fri May 20, 2016 12:25 am

Sean -- I'm not a great expert on metallurgy, but there has been some on the Hittite development of iron recently. I don't have citations. Check Snell's Blackwell's Companion to the Ancient Near East. That's rather earlier than Greek, however.
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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Xenophon » Mon May 23, 2016 5:52 am

Jeanne wrote:
Modern bibliography of import: Hanson, who most folks here seem to know, but also Hans van Wees, and while I may not agree with some of his conclusions, he has several key correctives to Hanson. Those are the two heading the different versions of hoplite warfare. Kagan and Viggiano's Men of Bronze (2013), a collection of essays from a conferences concerting the Hanson-van Wees conflict must also be read for some of the most recent work on Greek hoplite warfare. Make note of the authors in the collections.

Judging from the above, I'm guessing that ancient Greek warfare is not a major interest of yours. It is disappointing to see that hoary old chestnut "The Othismos debate" still being referred to as if it had any relevance when it has long since been debunked. The question goes back to Grote in 1846, whose English public school education led him to think of hoplite warfare as being rather like a 'rugby scrum' consisting of lots of shoving (othismos). A moment's thought should have disabused the notion of 'scrums' consisting of thousands of men pushing against one another.... This became the 'orthodox' view in what came to be the ridiculous debate, with Van Wees opting for an 'open order' spear duelling....the so-called 'revisionist' view.

Both of these 'either or' views regarding Hoplite battle mechanics are completely, and demonstrably, wrong!! In fact Hoplites drilled and manouevred in 'open order' with 6 ft intervals, and then closed up and fought in 'close order' with 3 ft intervals, with the rear ranks moving up, thus halving their depth.

The details of Hoplite Battle Mechanics have been well known since studies of Xenophon's drill methods, and subsequent Hellenistic Tactical manuals for the later Macedonian pike phalanx emerged in the 1970's and since.

The student of Greek and Macedonian battle mechanics is referred, for example, to J.K. Anderson's excellent "Military Theory and Practice in the Age of Xenophon" [1970]; Peter Connolly's "Greek Armies" [1977]; my own contributions to "Warfare in the Classical World"by J. Warry [1980]; Connolly's "Greece and Rome at War" [1981].....and many other works since.

Men of Bronze is simply the latest work in this Dead End line........and I don't recommend it at all to any serious student of ancient warfare.

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Matthew Amt » Mon May 23, 2016 2:59 pm

Xenophon wrote:Men of Bronze is simply the latest work in this Dead End line........and I don't recommend it at all to any serious student of ancient warfare.
Just as an aside, I was afraid to read "Men of Bronze" for several years, fearing it would be just another assembly of outdated misinformation. On the contrary, when I finally took a chance, I found it to be a fascinating clash of different ideas, and a wealth of usable data. Even the chapters/authors I vehemently disagreed with had cogent arguments filled with nice citations and quotes, all useful stuff even if they used it badly. ("Oh, is THAT where you got that idea! You're wrong, but at least I can see how you got there...") The danger, of course, is that it is most useful to people who are already well-versed in ancient military subjects, who can pick out the errors and flaws. For someone just getting started, it's a bit more of a minefield...

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Xenophon » Tue May 24, 2016 12:01 am

Matt wrote:
The danger, of course, is that it is most useful to people who are already well-versed in ancient military subjects, who can pick out the errors and flaws. For someone just getting started, it's a bit more of a minefield...
I would entirely agree, Matt, which is why I wouldn't recommend it generally......not to mention that it perpetuates "outdated misinformation." :evil:

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Xenophon » Wed May 25, 2016 1:03 am

Xenophon wrote:
In fact Hoplites drilled and manouevred in 'open order' with 6 ft intervals, and then closed up and fought in 'close order' with 3 ft intervals, with the rear ranks moving up, thus halving their depth.
Just to show how simple and straightforward hoplite drill really was, see the diagram below. ( sorry it is side on, but I can't seem to get it to post rotated).
Xenophon in his various works refers to hoplite drill several times. In his idealised 'fictional' work, the "Cyropaedia", he describes how hoplites practise drill when lining up for dinner. The diagram reads from right to left, and describes how the 'lochoi'/platoons form up beside one another, then form in double files, then in files of (typically) eight, and finally form in 'close order'( 3 ft interval per man, shields all but touching). Xenophon's text appears below the diagram, with each 'lochos' shown a different colour. Each file is led by a 'dekadarch'/generic file leader, and each half-file by a 'pampadarch'/half-file leader.

The overall depth was typically files of eight, but could differ depending on numbers present, and the width of the selected battlefield. The phalanx marched and drilled in 'open' order, only closing up into half-files when combat was imminent.

Using simple drill such as this, hoplites who had never met before, such as the various mercenary contingents in the "Cyropaedia" could quickly and easily form phalanx....
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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Paralus » Wed May 25, 2016 5:26 am

Perhaps anyone wishing to revisit the so called "dinner drill" might be better advised to go the 'Taktike' thread.
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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Xenophon » Thu May 26, 2016 4:12 am

Paralus wrote:Perhaps anyone wishing to revisit the so called "dinner drill" might be better advised to go the 'Taktike' thread.
......only for those interested in the 'minutiae' of the subject and the usual various digressions. For readers generally, I can save them the trouble of ploughing through approximately 145,000 words on 16 pages of the thread!

The only alternative to the formation and drill shown above was put forward by the late Agesilaos, and his version proved to be impractical, in fact all but impossible.[ see page 1] IIRC, Paralus did not offer an explanation of formations/drill/Taktike - despite this ostensibly being the subject matter of the thread!

Much of the thread was taken up with hair splitting over the technical meanings of various Greek words...... the thread never did get down to discussing the three versions of a Hellenistic drill manual that have come down to us via Arrian, Ascepiodotus and Aelian in detail, getting rather stuck on Xenophon and classical hoplite drill.......

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by amyntoros » Thu May 26, 2016 1:50 pm

Xenophon wrote:
Paralus wrote:Perhaps anyone wishing to revisit the so called "dinner drill" might be better advised to go the 'Taktike' thread.
......only for those interested in the 'minutiae' of the subject and the usual various digressions. For readers generally, I can save them the trouble of ploughing through approximately 145,000 words on 16 pages of the thread!
I would suggest that the only people interested are those "interested in the minutiae" of the subject. If one is going to take the trouble of examining a chart (such as the one you presented) in order to understand your proposition, then that person is more than a "general reader" of the subject, in my opinion. Which brings me to ....
Xenophon wrote:The only alternative to the formation and drill shown above was put forward by the late Agesilaos, and his version proved to be impractical, in fact all but impossible.[ see page 1]
You should add your own "in my opinion" here. The fact that the Taktike thread is 16 pages long should be enough for anyone to see that Agesilaos did not agree with your statement above, hence the debate and the "hairsplitting" which Agesilaos certainly felt was relative. He can no longer defend his version from being called "impractical, in fact all but impossible" so if anyone is really interested in Macedonian drills I also suggest that they visit the Taktike thread and form their own opinion, although if anyone new to the subject has the wish to discuss this further I suggest they start a new thread to put forth their own views.

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Alexias » Thu May 26, 2016 9:13 pm

Thank you, Amyntoros. My response would have been less on-topic.

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Paralus » Fri May 27, 2016 12:10 am

I'd echo Alexias' view. As Amyntoros has said, the above was challenged over many pages on the Taktike thread. Regardless of how one might choose to describe a discussion of the correct meaning / usage of ancient Greek words, anyone interested enough might make their own mind up on Agesilaos' position (and Xenophon's) by reading that thread. One protagonist saving people 'the trouble' by presenting both his theory and the argument against it being "impractical" or "impossible" as 'fact' on this thread is a tad rich.
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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by sean_m » Fri May 27, 2016 5:58 pm

Matthew Amt wrote:
Xenophon wrote:Men of Bronze is simply the latest work in this Dead End line........and I don't recommend it at all to any serious student of ancient warfare.
Just as an aside, I was afraid to read "Men of Bronze" for several years, fearing it would be just another assembly of outdated misinformation. On the contrary, when I finally took a chance, I found it to be a fascinating clash of different ideas, and a wealth of usable data. Even the chapters/authors I vehemently disagreed with had cogent arguments filled with nice citations and quotes, all useful stuff even if they used it badly. ("Oh, is THAT where you got that idea! You're wrong, but at least I can see how you got there...") The danger, of course, is that it is most useful to people who are already well-versed in ancient military subjects, who can pick out the errors and flaws. For someone just getting started, it's a bit more of a minefield...

Matthew
The chapter on the history of the hoplite questions in “Men of Bronze” is very useful. I think that readers of “Men of Bronze” can decide for themselves which debates about classical Greek combat have been settled and which ideas from the 1980s and earlier can still be defended!

Since Alexander did most of his fighting on horseback, the mechanics of cavalry combat might be another good topic. There are some good books on that like I.G. Spence's one on the horsemen of Athens, and of course Carolyne Willikes' PhD thesis is online as Dr. Reames mentioned.
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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Xenophon » Sat May 28, 2016 12:17 am

Amyntoros wrote:
I would suggest that the only people interested are those "interested in the minutiae" of the subject. If one is going to take the trouble of examining a chart (such as the one you presented) in order to understand your proposition, then that person is more than a "general reader" of the subject, in my opinion.
I disagree. I take the view that the general, non-specialist, reader on this thread neither needs nor wants to plough through all 16 pages and 145,000 words, especially when everything relevant to this thread and a brief description of hoplite battle mechanics is contained on page 1. Nor is it correct to refer to "your proposition"(sic) - it has been around for over 40 years (perhaps much longer) and was not mine at all. I first became aware of it circa 1970 in the works of J.K.Anderson, and the facts of Xenophon's descriptions have been widely accepted ever since then, if not earlier. I don't know of any serious disagreement, and if you take the trouble to read page 1, you'll see that Agesilaos and I were in broad agreement as to the basic nature of what Xenophon of Athens wrote.

Amyntoros wrote:
Xenophon wrote:
The only alternative to the formation and drill shown above was put forward by the late Agesilaos, and his version proved to be impractical, in fact all but impossible.[ see page 1]
You should add your own "in my opinion" here. The fact that the Taktike thread is 16 pages long should be enough for anyone to see that Agesilaos did not agree with your statement above, hence the debate and the "hairsplitting" which Agesilaos certainly felt was relative.
Firstly, as I have just pointed out, it is not just an 'opinion', but widely accepted as fact, especially by experts in the admittedly small world of the subject. Moreover, even if it was only 'opinion', not all opinions are equal. I have considerable military experience, including drill in detail. Agesilaos, as was evident from his suggested mechanics, had never experienced drill in his life, otherwise he would have readily appreciated why his suggested mechanics were impractical in real life, and in fact all but physically impossible (whole units deploying on the flanks of other whole units in a mile long phalanx line). [see my post page 1 June 13 2014] He did in fact come to realise this for on page 2, his post of June 28 2014 he wrote:
I hold my hands up to getting the organisation of Xenophon’s fantasy files wrong
Furthermore, only the first page and maybe the second relate to classical hoplites, as being discussed in this thread - the remaining 14-15 pages have no relevance to the subject, as you would be aware if you troubled to read them all. And it was saving other readers time and effort that prompted me to summarise the relevant parts of that long thread - though of course those interested might decide to read more..
He can no longer defend his version from being called "impractical, in fact all but impossible" so if anyone is really interested in Macedonian drills I also suggest that they visit the Taktike thread and form their own opinion, although if anyone new to the subject has the wish to discuss this further I suggest they start a new thread to put forth their own views.
Paralus wrote:
As Amyntoros has said, the above was challenged over many pages on the Taktike thread. Regardless of how one might choose to describe a discussion of the correct meaning / usage of ancient Greek words, anyone interested enough might make their own mind up on Agesilaos' position (and Xenophon's) by reading that thread. One protagonist saving people 'the trouble' by presenting both his theory and the argument against it being "impractical" or "impossible" as 'fact' on this thread is a tad rich.
I regard that accusation - which is utterly untrue anyway - as despicable. It is Amyntoros and Paralus who misrepresent Agesilaos' position on the matter of Xenophon of Athens drills and the use of files and half-files, through careless misreading. Agesilaos and I were actually in agreement on the matter.

Firstly, I have not re-opened some imaginary 'posthumous' debate, merely summarised what was written two years ago, using exactly the same words as previously written (from page 1 of that thread). Agesilaos had ample opportunity, and did, respond. Summarising a two year old thread is not the same as re-opening the subject.

Secondly, as I mentioned , Macedonian/Hellenistic formations and drills were never discussed in detail, so reading the whole thread for that purpose would be futile.

Thirdly - and most importantly -Agesilaos did not disagree with hoplites forming in files and half-files - Xenophon of Athens words are plain enough. He simply devised a different drill to achieve this, which he later acknowledged was wrong. ( see above and p.2 'Taktike' thread ). There was no 'debate' on the use of files and half-files, as can be seen from his diagram and comments. Hoplite drills using files and half-files was NOT "challenged over many pages",contra Paralus and Amyntoros. They are quite wrong on that score - and demonstrating the dangers of not getting their facts straight before making false accusations of a deeply offensive nature.

I feel apologies would not be amiss.

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Paralus » Sat May 28, 2016 2:54 am

Xenophon wrote: He did in fact come to realise this for on page 2, his post of June 28 2014 he wrote:
I hold my hands up to getting the organisation of Xenophon’s fantasy files wrong
The full quote might be better:
agesilaos wrote:I hold my hands up to getting the organisation of Xenophon’s fantasy files wrong but that is a side issue (no pun intended), the issue is whether ‘paragoge’ the word used by Xenophon in his dinnertime manoeuvres can mean ‘half-file insertion’ . The answer is no and we can find proof in Polybios’ description of Philopoeman’s cavalry reforms X 23 v
[5] ἐπὶ δὲ τούτοις ἐκτάξεις ἐφ᾽ ἑκατέρων τῶν κεράτων ἢ διὰ παρεμβολῆς ἢ διὰ παραγωγῆς τῆς παρὰ τοὺς οὐραγούς.
next to deploy into line on both wings, either by filling up the intervals in the line (parembole) or by a lateral movement (paragoge) on the rear.
Since the most qualified Greek historian recognises these as two entirely different manoeuvres it would be best to follow his lead.
And the debate, regarding the nature of hoplite phalanx evolutions and the terms describing such, continued for another fourteen pages. With the occasional digression introduced by battle illustrations.
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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Xenophon » Sat May 28, 2016 4:54 am

I have no intention of re-running the 'Taktike' thread here. And certainly not the issue over the meaning of 'paragoge'.
That is just Paralus attempting a 'red herring'.

Paralus wrote:
And the debate, regarding the nature of hoplite phalanx evolutions and the terms describing such, continued for another fourteen pages. With the occasional digression introduced by battle illustrations.
What tosh! The thread moved on to all sorts of subjects, including terminology as you say, but there was NO 'debate' over the question of files and half-files being the way hoplites fought according to Xenophon, because Agesilaos and I were in complete agreement that this was the case ( along with most knowledgeable experts).

Amyntoros and Paralus undoubtedly got their facts w..wrong ( yes, that thing that Paralus can never admit to :lol: ) in making their false accusations, and anyone who cares to ( which I suspect will be no-one) can check what I say by reading the thread.

I am disappointed that you do not have the grace to apologise. I expect better of you, old friend. :(

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Re: The Sword of Alexander in the Batman vs Superman film

Post by Alexias » Sat May 28, 2016 10:33 am

Xenophon, you appear to be missing the point. The fact was that you caused offense to at least three people on this thread with your dismissive and superior tone.
......only for those interested in the 'minutiae' of the subject and the usual various digressions. For readers generally, I can save them the trouble of ploughing through approximately 145,000 words on 16 pages of the thread!


The only alternative to the formation and drill shown above was put forward by the late Agesilaos, and his version proved to be impractical, in fact all but impossible.[ see page 1] IIRC, Paralus did not offer an explanation of formations/drill/Taktike - despite this ostensibly being the subject matter of the thread!

Much of the thread was taken up with hair splitting over the technical meanings of various Greek words...... the thread never did get down to discussing the three versions of a Hellenistic drill manual that have come down to us via Arrian, Ascepiodotus and Aelian in detail, getting rather stuck on Xenophon and classical hoplite drill.......
How does anyone know that what you are giving them is an accurate and unbiased summation? Human nature being what it is you will undoubtedly slant the view towards your own opinion as you were one of the antagonists. And Agesilaos is no longer here to contest your assumption of superior wisdom on the subject. Thoughts of conduct unbecoming to a gentleman spring to mind, and you would have done better to let the matter lie, and given others the respect for their intelligence to judge for themselves.

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