ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

This moderated forum is for discussion of Alexander the Great. Inappropriate posts will be deleted without warning. Examples of inappropriate posts are:
* The Greek/Macedonian debate
* Blatant requests for pre-written assignments by lazy students - we don't mind the subtle ones ;-)
* Foul or inappropriate language

Moderator: pothos moderators

User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2823
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Paralus » Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:57 am

Xenophon wrote:Whilst probability may favour this, the alternative is still a possibility i.e. that there was some unknown ( to us) reason to hurry to Persepolis - e.g. to secure more treasure before it could be removed?

As I said;
so the reason for the haste or 'error' must remain a mystery....
There are, of course, always unknowns. Many of these unknowns are filled by assumptions when it is better simply to go with what we have. It is readily assumed that Eudamus murdered Porus so as to gain his elephants and thus head west in 318. Here reasons for a notation in the text (that Eudamus killed Porus) are assumed when the entire context of the murder is nowhere given. Diodorus only notes the murder as an explanation as to why Eudamus had so many elephants. The murder might well have occurred anytime after Triparadeisus and the fact that Eudamus has access to so many elephants is simply a result of the murder not, of necessity, the reason for it.

Similar factors are at play here. No notice of any treasures of Persepolis are made. In a context where Diodorus thrice notes the removal of stored treasures on this return west by Antigonus (Ecbatana noted; Susa 19.48.7-8 and Cyinda 56.5), the absence of any such removal of treasure from (or treasure stored at) Persepolis is rather telling. As well, the last note in the sources of treasure at Persepolis is of Alexander's root and branch removal of same (17.71-1.2). This then is not any reason for haste.

At 17.18.1-3 Diodorus implies an arduous march via a road "very hot and very dangerous for a foreign army to traverse". Here, no matter that Antigonus was "forced to march by night" Antigonus "lost a large number of men because of the extreme heat". This is from Susa to the Coprates (the modern Dez) - a mere 60 stades. Surely it is again likely that he compressed the description of his source that Antigonus' march through the whole of proverbially hot Susiane in July was conducted by night and that lost not a few men; not that he lost this large number in a single night march of 60 stades?

I do think the simplest and best explanation is Diodorus corrupting information via his summarising.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu

User avatar
Xenophon
Hetairos (companion)
Posts: 846
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:16 am

Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Xenophon » Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:29 am

Paralus wrote:
I do think the simplest and best explanation is Diodorus corrupting information via his summarising.
.

...and I agree that this is the most probable, as I said.....but we can't entirely rule out that D.S. is correct, for some reason that Diodorus' summarising/compression has left out....because Ecbatana to Persepolis in "about twenty days" is not by any means impossible, for the reasons we have discussed.

sean_m
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by sean_m » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:54 pm

Apropos of nothing I see that the Ancient World Mapping Center has a (script-heavy!) map of where Duane Roller thinks Nora was. She has just published a commentary to Strabo's Geography. http://awmc.unc.edu/awmc/applications/strabo/

I find the Barrington Atlas of the Classical World and Der Neue Pauly Historischer Atlas very helpful for Roman roads, but we do need more articles on ancient geography which lay out different possible routes and the arguments for each! Often people just sketch out their best guess. Pity that the area isn't the safest for travelling right now, but Ramsay's guess for Nora might be.

I have something on the 4000 year history of the road from more or less Mazaka to somewhere near Melitene scheduled for Ancient Warfare Magazine. I think that Herodotus' road from Susa to Sardis took this east-west pass, others think it took the one running north-west to south-east from Sebasteia/Sivas to Melitene/Malatya.
My blog (Warning: may contain up to 95% non-Alexandrian content, rated shamelessly philobarbarian by 1 out of 1 Plutarchs)

sean_m
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by sean_m » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:16 pm

Also, I agree with Xenophon that the location of Thapsacus is very much unknown. That is another area which won't be safe for scholarly ramblers for a good long time, but at least until the site is found nobody can loot it into a crater-field. As Agesilaos said, maps, even in scholarly books by university presses, often give a false sense of security (and Pierre Briant was not impressed with Engels, he wrote without realizing what a network of storehouses littered the Persian empire and how different the environment was in antiquity).

Another reason for double marches can be fodder or water which are sufficient for the usual caravans (which were not huge in the Old Assyrian period or on the early trade around the Takalamakan) but not for a large army. But water supplies were different in antiquity, springs appear and dry up, slopes are deforested and lose the ability to retain water close to the ground, or someone digs a deep well. So again, finding answers is hard work!
My blog (Warning: may contain up to 95% non-Alexandrian content, rated shamelessly philobarbarian by 1 out of 1 Plutarchs)

User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2823
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Paralus » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:37 pm

What a fascinating map. Script heavy indeed! I'll have to peruse when not at the office.
Paralus
Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους;
Wicked men, you sin against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander.

Academia.edu

sean_m
Pezhetairos (foot soldier)
Posts: 204
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2014 4:00 pm

Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by sean_m » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:43 pm

This is a very good thread, the digressions are all 'good digressions' and I agree that the rules of thumb people suggest are trustworthy rules of thumb.

I found a Robert Rollinger footnote on the location of Thapsacus, from Robert Rollinger, "Griechische Spezialisten im alten Vorderasien, oder: Alexander der Große und die altorientalische Tradition"
Die verkehrsgeographische Bedeutung des Ortes wird aber auch im Werk des Eratosthenes deutlich, wo Thapsakos als Ausgangspunkt einer Reihe von Entfernungsmessungen dient (Honigmann 1934, 1275). Allerdings ist die genaue Lage des Ortes seit jeher umstritten (Zur älteren Forschungsliteratur vgl. Honigmann 1934, 1277-1279. Siehe auch Gawlikowski 1996, 125-127, der ebenda, 123 festhielt: „One of the most uncertain points of historical geography of ancient Syria concerns the site of Thapsacus, even if the uncertainty has sometimes been disguised by assertive pronouncements. This city had enjoyed considerable importance during Persian period, and possibly earlier, as a major crossing of the Euphrates and the main link between Syria and Mesopotamia”. Zur Verkehrsgeographie sowie zur historischen Geographie des Raumes vgl. man Joannès 1999). In jüngerer Zeit trat Otto Lendle entschieden für eine Lokalisierung bei Qal’at Najim ein (Lendle 1988. Lendle 1995, 40f.) Dies fand jedoch keine einhellige Zustimmung, und der Ort wird nach wie vor sowohl weiter nördlich als auch wesentlich weiter südlich gesucht (Lipiński 2000, 91 mit Anm. 82, 97), wobei etwa jüngst Gawlikowski für eine Gleichsetzung mit Birecik eintrat (Gawlikowski 1996.) . Wie dem auch sei, gewinnen wir mit Thapsakos zumindest für die Zeit Alexanders jenen Verkehrsknotenpunkt am Euphrat, von dem aus Baumaterialien, Bauhölzer und Truppenkontingente nach Süden verschifft wurden. Die diesbezügliche Bedeutung des Ortes dürfte aber wesentlich weiter zurückreichen.
  • Honigmann 1934 = Ernst Honigmann, s. v. Θάψακος. In: RE V A,1 (1934), 1272-1280.
  • Gawlikowski 1996 = Michal Gawlikowski, Thapsacus and Zeugma: The Crossing of the Euphrates in Antiquity. In: Iraq 58 (1996), 123-133.
  • Joannès 1999 = Francis Joannès, Structures et opérations commerciales en Babylonie à l’époque néo-
    babylonienne. In: Jan Gerrit Dercksen (Hg.), Trade and Finance in Ancient Mesopotamia
    (MOS Studies 1), Istanbul 1999, 175-194
  • Lendle 1988 = Otto Lendle, Wo lag Thapsakos? (Xenophon Anabasis I 4, 10ff.). In: Hermann Büsing und
    Friedrich Hiller (Hg.), Bathron. Beiträge zur Architektur und verwandten Künsten für
    Heinrich Drerup zu seinem 80. Geburtstag (Saarbrücker Studien zur Archäologie und Alten
    Geschichte 3), Saarbrücken 1988, 301-305.
  • Lendle 1995 = Otto Lendle, Kommentar zu Xenophons Anabasis (Bücher 1-7), Darmstadt 1995.
  • Lipiński 2000 = Edward Lipiński, The Aramaeans. Their Ancient History, Culture, Religion (OLA 100), Leuven – Paris – Sterling 2000.
I will see what I can say about Birecik and Qal’at Najim, but they straddle the Turkish-Syrian border about 60 km apart.
My blog (Warning: may contain up to 95% non-Alexandrian content, rated shamelessly philobarbarian by 1 out of 1 Plutarchs)

Post Reply