No one is trying to stretch into some "modern" concept. The astronomical pointer is secure: Arcturus (the brightest star in Bootes) would be visible in early March as the sky began to darken (very late Feb depending on latitude). After this the sparrow signals the beginning of spring. What's difficult here?
More wriggling ?
....you are quite correct that when a particular star, in this case Arcturus, rises depends on latitude, and a little checking reveals that depending on where you are in Greece that time can be late January-February - not March. Can we check this ? Yes ! Hesiod is quite specific that for his latitude, in 700 BC aprox, Arcturus rises 60 days after the winter solstice, which we have already determined is the 19th of February give or take a day !!
"For myself"... so this is your view.
Yes, and when I pointed out that certain editors had tampered with the text regarding these distances, you agreed, and did not quibble with those distances then.....
Firstly Philip's "regular" 300 stade marches are clearly training; that such occurred with regularity in campaigning is another matter (though why train if not to do - if required?).
I don't claim that such distances were marched with 'regularity' - that is a 'forced march' distance - I have just posted a reminder of 'march distances' on the "Nora + Forced march distances thread."
Well, by comparison there is his march on Thebes (as you have erroneously noted). Unfortunately, for your "timing", he did not march upon Thebes from the Danube - or anywhere near it. He departed from Pelion in Illyria (Arr. 1.7.5) and so the "400 miles" can be dismissed. This march was so fast the Thebans did not realise he was past Thermopylae until he was well within Boeotia. How fast? A march of a little over 230 miles in 14 days or 16-17mpd.
Not erroneous at all, though I grant that my 'compressed' language might be a little misleading - thoughts racing ahead of typing fingers. I was trying to work back from Alexander's apparent arrival at Thebes in September to work out when the campaign began. The "400 miles or so" is the right approximate figure for Alexander's march north and return to Pelion ( that's 'map miles' - on the ground it was probably more.) There is a mistake though. I didn't allow time for the serious campaigning - about a month or six weeks worth, and I forgot to add in the time it took to get to Boeotia - 7 days from Pelion to Pelinna in Thessaly - right across the alps of 'Upper' Macedonia, then a descent into the Thessalian plain, 100 plus miles, or 14-15 miles per day up and down mountain ranges, no doubt utilising the river valleys and crossing via watersheds - a very creditable performance implying flat out 'forced' marching pace with no rest days, followed by Pelinna to Onchestus on the shores of Lake Copais a few miles north of Thebes, via Thermopylae. This is another 120 miles or so, carried out in six days [20 mpd] on mostly flat, but some mountainous terrain! An amazing performance - the Thebans only got news that he had passed "the gates" at Thermopylae, some 46 miles to the north, when Alexander had already arrived at Onchestus, just 12 miles or so north of Thebes itself, as you referred to !!
A wonderful example of 'forced' marching for a prolonged period ( 13 days). Adding this ( the march to Thebes and the actual campaigning )to my earlier "July, perhaps as late as early August " takes us back to the beginning of June, and that in turn implies that the 'call-up' went out to Upper Macedonia as soon as the snow season was over in mid-March or so, as referred to previously, with the Army setting off perhaps in June, when the grain harvest was in, in 'Lower' Macedonia, but perhaps a little sooner.....
I believe armies of this day regularly marched 10-12 miles or so per day (given time to forage as Xenophon rightly stresses elsewhere). Marching 16-20+mpd is asking some (going by Alexander's efforts) and 35mpd - especially in the autumn going into winter - something quite different again.
If you mean 'Strategic' marching when progress is limited by the speed of oxen [2 mph], then I'd agree, but marching 16-20 mpd is not an "ask" at all, it is routine for soldiers in any era, fully laden - and even now, at my age, I can still routinely cover this sort of distance 'bush-walking' with full gear. That this was so back then is readily seen from the detailed breakdown of the march of Cyrus - where we see the army routinely marching 17 mpd or more, then after a few days when their rations grow short, they 'rest/pause' for a few days while the oxen- powered wagon train ( the 'moving market') catches up and replenishes them. Alexander's march sequence - 'caterpillaring' - will have been the same. 'Forced marching' at the height of summer or in a snowy winter is indeed 'something else' as some of the many examples I gave earlier demonstrate. Spring or Autumn are a better time of year.....and need I remind you I have a bit of personal experience of what I am talking about, having marched 50 miles a day for 3 days running on several occasions in my army service many moons ago ?
You have, more than once, posited "apologia" for Olympias and, in connection with this, "exaggeration" on Diodorus' behalf. I find this most interesting. What reason might you have for Diodorus apologising for Olympias' conduct of the siege and his supposed exaggeration?
I have been giving the reasons as I go....it would appear you have not been paying attention !!
Or could it be the first sign of "oldtimers disease"....the symptoms of which I have noted in myself !
I have always been suspicious of this story, for it just does not make sense.......
For convenience, I shall summarise and expand :
Firstly, Diodorus' 'apologia' is not for Olympias' conduct, but rather for the conduct of her bodyguards, who include some Ambracian cavalry and Polyperchon's remaining elephants, in surrendering relatively quickly.
Secondly, the total number consists of simply her court and bodyguards, perhaps a few hundred personnel at most. These take refuge in a walled 'polis' which must number many thousands of people, yet the addition of a relatively small number tips them into starvation mode? Did Pydna have no granaries? One would expect such a city to have sufficient grain to get through the winter, and on until the next harvest in June whose grain would not be consumable until August, and a reserve to boot. The addition of Olympias' several hundreds ( certainly not thousands, she brought no army) should not have caused the city to run out of food within weeks of her entering it.
Next, DS claims it was "a very long siege" when it patently wasn't, being 3 months or so at most - an obvious exaggeration. Then he claims that each soldier received a mere 5 choinices a month grain ration, and the grooms etc ( horsemen not in the ranks) nothing at all ! This is an obvious gross exaggeration, for that represents 5 days
'normal' ration, and no-one would have survived a month on that basis, let alone 3 months. ( a choinix provides about 2,500 calories, pretty close to the bare daily minimum to avoid starvation ). Presumably the citizens had even less ? Why would Olympias have even gone there if the civil authorities solemnly advised her on arrival, as they would have, that there was less than 3 months food in the place and the city was on the verge of starvation ?
Not to mention that the soldiers would naturally have raided the food supplies of the civilian population, which would have been more than ample to get them through a short 3 month siege.
At the other extreme, we are told they ate the horses and pack-animals. A cow ( or horse or mule) weighs around 1,000 lbs and when butchered yields about 750 lbs of meat, which when 'dressed' for the supermarket is reduced to 5-600 lbs. However, in a starvation scenario, there would be more than 750 lbs, for all including skin and offal would be utilised. Let us take that figure, though, for a rule of thumb calculation. Let us guess 500 animals. That gives 375,000 lbs of meat. Arbitrarily halve it on the assumption the animals are slowly starving and getting thinner ( which they wouldn't have been). Allow a generous half pound of meat ration per day gives 375,000 'rations' . Divide by 90, rounded up to 100 for simplicity, days (of the siege) that's enough meat for 3,750 people for the duration of the siege, and Olympias' entourage couldn't have numbered anything like this. Even if we assume only the barest minimum animals - say 250 - hence only enough for 1875 people, and then double the ration to a pound a day, that gives 1,000 people 4 'Big Mac quarter pounders' per day for the duration !!
Or looked at another way, assume each of her followers had an animal each - riding or pack animal (regardless of their number). That's 750 lbs of meat per capita at least! Enough to last several years. And that's not taking into account the elephants !
Even if the animals themselves starved to death, as DS says the elephants did, and the carcasses rotted, there would have been enough viable meat to get them through. This is inherently unlikely, for Pydna would have contained enough fodder for its domestic animals to survive until at least Spring/Summer, and the Royal entourage's animals would have taken precedence and so had ample fodder, such that they could be slaughtered at need.
Then we are told that these 'starving' soldiers had the strength to carry bodies up to the top of the walls and throw them over...something rather difficult for men who are starving, who can normally barely stand or walk......
Next "many of the soldiers...appealed to Olympias" who graciously permits them to withdraw - she obviously wouldn't have had an alternative. This, of course, was tantamount to a full unconditional surrender.
Next Cassander greets these men, whom DS now calls 'deserters', in friendly fashion. What happened to the same men being honourably discharged by Olympias a few lines earlier ? Cassander sends these 'starving' deserters, ex-followers of Olympias, off to the other Macedonian cities post-haste to spread the glad tidings of her surrender. If they were 'starving' and unfit, he'd have sent other messengers, so they were obviously hale and hearty.
I have a plausible but unprovable hypothesis of my own. Olympias and her court including the soldiers were not starving at all. "As spring came on" everyone knew ( as DS tells us) that an assault was inevitable in short order, and certain death for Olympias' followers/guards with it ( not to mention the poor innocent civilians of Pydna). Bearing in mind the 'fickleness' of the Macedonians, and the not-yet-known precedent of the "Silver shields", I have the deepest suspicion that what actually happened was that the 'followers' - Ambracian cavalry and bodyguards - surrendered Olympias and her court to Cassander 'toute de suite' when the weather broke, in exchange for their lives.....
The whole story was a concoction to cover up the shameful act of surrender by those concerned ( after all, no-one of Olympias' court entourage survived terribly long to gainsay them ). It paints a spurious depiction of loyalty unto death - "no small number of the soldiers also met the same fate....", but the story has as many holes as a swiss cheese, it is an unlikely fairy tale and simply doesn't add up......
For my money, the alternate hypothesis seems far more likely, and is the way to bet....were I a gambler.