The Ancient Library

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On this page: Warfare (continued)



1 and more to the mercenary army, which, by its intimate knowledge of the use of its

! weapons gained an immense advantage in actual war. (See mercenaries.) An im­portant novelty was oblique battle-order, the discovery of Epamlnondas. In this the great mass and strength of the hoplites was drawn up in considerable depth on one of the two wings, without any expansion of the front. The hoplites could thus make a vigorous attack on the centre of the enemy's wing, whilst the true centre and other wing of the assailants was held in reserve, with a view to advancing later to crush the enemy.

The Macedonian method of warfare, in­vented by king Philip II and his son Alexander, was founded on the Greek military organization adapted to Mace­donian requirements. For this purpose that organization was duly developed, and the different parts of the army, the in­fantry and cavalry, light and heavy-armed troops, military levies, allies and mercenary troops, were blended together into a far freer and more effective system than the Greeks ever attained in their art of war. In point of numbers the strongest com­ponent part of the Macedonian army, as elsewhere, was the heavy and light infantry. The former consisted of the pezetceroi, a body of Macedonians of free but not noble origin, corresponding to the Greek hoplites, but not so heavily armed. Like the hop­lites, they fought in a phalanx, but this was generally deeper than theirs, being eight and afterwards sixteen men deep. They fell into six taxeis, corresponding to the number of the districts of Mace­donia, each of which was represented by one taxis. (See further under phalanx.) The hypaspistce (q.v.) were the equiva­lent of the Hellenic peltasts, and were a standing corps of 3,000 men. Besides these there were strong contingents of other kinds of light infantry, especially spearmen and archers. While in the Greek armies the number of the cavalry had always been small, they formed nearly one-sixth of the whole army which Alex­ander took with him on his Asiatic expedi­tion, and consisted of an equal number of heavy and light cavalry. (See further under hippeis.) The central point in the great battles of Alexander was the phalanx ; on the right of this were placed the hypas-pistce, the heavy and light Macedonian cavalry, the spearmen, and archers; on the left, the Thracian peltasts, the Hellenic con-

on which Athens mainly relied in time of war, the Council (see boule) had to see that a certain number of vessels of war \ were built anmially. The supervision of the ships in the docks (nlona) was exer­cised by a special board, the ten Splmeletce ! of the neoria. It was their duty to consign the vessels, with the equipments allowed by the State, to the trierarchs (see lei-tourgia). wealthy citizens who undertook to complete the equipment of the vessels, to provide sailors and oarsmen, and to take the command over them; while the marines, the eplbdtai, were under their own com­manders. The strdtigoi (q.v.) held the chief command over the fleet as well as over the land forces.

In most of the other Greek states the hoplites, consisting of wealthy citizens, formed the main strength of the army, and generally helped to turn the scale in en­gagements in which the light-armed troops and the cavalry played a subordinate part. They fought in the phalanx (q.v.), in closely serried lines eight deep. The pick of the troops were stationed on the right wing as the post of honour, to advance to meet the foe amid the singing of the paean. When at a distance of eAiout 200 yards, at the signal of a trumpet, they raised the battle-try (&ldl&] and charged either at a run or at quick march. It was only the Spartans who slowly advanced at an even pace and to the sound of flutes. Requesting per­mission to bury the dead was the formal admission of defeat. The enduring token of victory was a trophy composed of the armour captured from the defeated side. It was usual to join battle on ground which was suitable for the phalanx. The Pelopon-nesian War was the means of introducing many innovations, including the formation of a regular force of light infantry, called peltastce (q.v.). Still more decisive in the transformation of the general system of Greek warfare was the famous retreat of the Ten Thousand, the first important mercenary army among the Greeks which tried to make the phalanx of hoplites suit the ground better, and to utilize at the same time the light infantry, or peltasts, and the gymnetes (spearmen, bowmen, and slingers). Iphi-crates, the first distinguished general of mercenary troops, introduced a lighter equipment by substituting a small pelta for the heavy shield, adopting a longer sword and spear, lighter shoes, and a linen corslet.

In the course of the 4th century b.c. the arm}' composed of civilians gave way more :

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