ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by Xenophon »

agesilaos wrote: I think we have to accept that the forced march occurred over the stated distance but must doubt the troop numbers and those elephants;
You still have doubts ? I thought we had established on the other thread that tens of thousands can walk those distances daily for many days at a time. After all, every year a similar number of modern people, totally unconditioned, get together in Nijmegen and Appeldoorn and do just that - forced march pace over long distances, and these are all strangers to one another. Clearly there are no organisational or logistic difficulties in doing so - carrying several days rations was customary for ancient armies. I also established that Antigonus' army was not alone in this achievement, for many ancient armies achieved similar marching feats with armies numbering thousands and tens of thousands. Moreover, pachyderms have no trouble covering 50 miles a day, even those ambling along in the wild and grazing along the way.

What grounds therefore are there for doubt ? ( Sorry Amyntoros, these last two posts probably belong back on the original thread !! :lol: :lol: )
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by Paralus »

Xenophon wrote: ( Sorry Amyntoros, these last two posts probably belong back on the original thread !! :lol: :lol: )
I disagree. The "original thread" (Alexander's Remains") deals with the catafalque of the conqueror and the timeline surrounding its journey. Along the way there began a digression about the marching time of armies - not only armies but pachyderms. This got down to Antigonus' march(es) and, then, the site of Nora where Eumenes was famously locked up. These had little to do even with the evolved thread (Pothos is not exactly "anal" about its threads) and so I agree the split is good. More debate to come I would think...

Meanwhile, with respect to that original thread, I note that Taphoi, in posing as Santa, has executed yet another of his great sidesteps....
Last edited by Paralus on Tue Jan 08, 2013 11:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by agesilaos »

I agree with Paralus we did go careering off on, a very interesting, but not wholly germane tangent; and we get carte-blanche to dig into the vexed subject of march rates! Apologies for not replying to you on the thread, Xenophon, but, unusually(?) I got side-tracked, and to reply fully requires a table load of research ; I'll try to extract my digit and post by Friday.

I will just say that an army on the march is not at all like a Dutch fun run. The problem with moving large numbers off men at speed is not that humans are incapable of covering the distance in the time, it's that an army has to do it in good order and dragging supplies and animals. The alleged 70,000 infantry would, at ten abreast and the two metre marching interval cited by Polybios' critique of Kallisthenes would stretch for 14 km, add 6,000 cavalry four abreast at a four metre interval and the column becomes 20 km long or five hours between tail and head. To cover 60 km at 4 kmph takes 15 hrs so the tail would arrive at T+20 hrs, this is not a realistic schedule . I tried to show that Diodorus' figures support the idea of Antigonos having split his forces and rejoining his corps over-watching Alketas with just the cavalry (maybe double mounted) from the force he took to and acquired at Orkynia.

The cavalry alone might make an average of 6 kmph so still require a ten hour march but the tail is only forty minutes from the head. This is still a punishing march but it is paralleled by Alexander's pursuit of Dareios.

But I need to gather more info on actual marches and, just for the record, will you state with what force you think Antigonos made this forced march? There would be little point in me arguing that the elephants would slow things if you accept that Antigonos had split his pack; I have not found all the marches you kindly e-mailed me, whenever I try finding some thing in Polybios I end up following the path less relevant!

OK this isn't about where Nora :oops: Back with an analysis of Xenophon's marches in 'Anabasis'.
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by amyntoros »

agesilaos wrote: OK this isn't about where Nora :oops: Back with an analysis of Xenophon's marches in 'Anabasis'.
Please don't be concerned - ancient geography is a far from simple matter. Detailed discussion of forced marches, topography, the ability of the traversed land to feed and water an army and its animals, etc., etc., are all relevant in a thread which is trying to locate this particular city. You may never resolve this problem to the satisfaction of all participants, but the ensuing discussion has merits of its own. This was my reasoning behind copying the orginal posts to a seperate thread (plus a request/inquiry from a member) so that this debate could grow naturally without its participants worrying about going off topic. And, in the bigger picture, it is still "on topic" for an Alexander forum - the poor chap hasn't even been buried in the period under discussion!

As for Paralus' comment that "Pothos is not exactly "anal" about its threads", I read that as a positive statement. We want to encourage debate, not stifle it. :)

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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by agesilaos »

Concerned, moi? My skin is thicker than George Osbourne! This is a good mood, thread growing out of control and sprawling simply plant out the organic shoots which then have more room to blossom and other people can get in on the action. And by our reckoning Alexander was buried by the time Antigonos went on his Kappadocian campaign, only at Memphis rather than Alexandria. Personally i think the weight of evidence, the Marmor Parium putting it in Archippos' archonship and BCHP 3 putting Perdikkas' death in Philip's fourth year coupled with the time and motion study, mean that Alexander had probably been interred prior to Perdikkas' attack.
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
....I will just say that an army on the march is not at all like a Dutch fun run.
The problems of getting 40,000+ people to cover a long distance in a day down narrow roads is the same - the difficulty today in Holland being that only the narrow roads are available [ see post], and unlike trained soldiers, all these people have vastly differing levels of fitness; two difficulties not faced by an ancient general.
The problem with moving large numbers off men at speed is not that humans are incapable of covering the distance in the time, it's that an army has to do it in good order and dragging supplies and animals. The alleged 70,000 infantry would, at ten abreast and the two metre marching interval cited by Polybios' critique of Kallisthenes would stretch for 14 km, add 6,000 cavalry four abreast at a four metre interval and the column becomes 20 km long or five hours between tail and head. To cover 60 km at 4 kmph takes 15 hrs so the tail would arrive at T+20 hrs, this is not a realistic schedule.The cavalry alone might make an average of 6 kmph so still require a ten hour march but the tail is only forty minutes from the head. This is still a punishing march but it is paralleled by Alexander's pursuit of Dareios.

I would not dispute your calculations, but when armies could only move on their feet in the pre-steam age it is an indisputable fact that armies of this size could and did cover such distances in a day on occasion. The fault lies in the assumption underlying your calculations. Armies did not usually march in a single column. They marched in several parallel columns, and curiously enough did not actually march on the unpaved roads but in columns either side of it, leaving the road itself for carts and wheeled vehicles ( otherwise all the marching feet and hooves would rapidly wreck the road for the vehicles). If we allow, say, four columns then the tail arrives at a mere T+5 hours.( the terrain of Antigonus march via the inland route would allow more columns than this). The only delayers then are 'choke-points' such as bridges ( see e.g. Xerxes crossing of the two Hellespont bridges which according to Herodotus VII.54 took 7 days and nights on a double pontoon bridge, or Ulysses S Grant, who took over 5 days to get his 50,000 man army across the James river near Richmond on a single pontoon bridge [digression: This is why armies use multiple pontoon bridges wherever possible]; Antigonus obviously had no major rivers or defiles to delay him, and the weather must have been kind too.....
But I need to gather more info on actual marches and, just for the record, will you state with what force you think Antigonos made this forced march? There would be little point in me arguing that the elephants would slow things if you accept that Antigonos had split his pack;
My position is that the Diodorus is probably correct. As you know, I don't believe on the evidence that the elephants would slow the march in the slightest.
I have not found all the marches you kindly e-mailed me, whenever I try finding some thing in Polybios I end up following the path less relevant!
I have e-mailed you relevant references........I have that problem with Polybius too! Go to look something up and become engrossed and have to read on.....
OK this isn't about where Nora :oops: Back with an analysis of Xenophon's marches in 'Anabasis'.
I don't think we can take the location of the fortress Nora's location any further at this time, but separating it out of the other thread was a good idea, and now we change the subject of this thread too ! Perhaps these posts on forced marches should be split off onto a 'forced marches', or better yet, 'marches' generally, and then we can ultimately have some entertainment analysing Alexander's specific marches.....
An analysis of Xenophon's marches ? Now there's something to look forward to !
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by Paralus »

amyntoros wrote: As for Paralus' comment that "Pothos is not exactly "anal" about its threads", I read that as a positive statement. We want to encourage debate, not stifle it. :)
Exactly as I meant it - though I could see it being taken another way. Far better than sites where any deviation from the strict subject matter attracts comment (if not opprobrium) from activist-moderators!
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by amyntoros »

Xenophon wrote:I don't think we can take the location of the fortress Nora's location any further at this time, but separating it out of the other thread was a good idea, and now we change the subject of this thread too ! Perhaps these posts on forced marches should be split off onto a 'forced marches', or better yet, 'marches' generally, and then we can ultimately have some entertainment analysing Alexander's specific marches.....
An analysis of Xenophon's marches ? Now there's something to look forward to !
I think that "Forced Marches" will do it as any diversion into Alexander's specific marches would be a natural growth. So ... please see the change in the subject header on the index page. The change may or may not show up in the subject header to individual posts depending on which post you reply to, but I don't think that's important. :)

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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA?

Post by marcus »

Paralus wrote:(Pothos is not exactly "anal" about its threads)
That's coming close to being the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me ...
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by agesilaos »

Before analysing the march of Cyrus to Cunaxa some remarks on the size of his forces seems in order as part of the argument is that the size of a force is directly proportional to its march rate.

Xenophon, I 7, gives 10,400 hoplites, 2,500 peltasts and 100,000 native troops; we can take the number of Greeks as accurate but the number of natives belongs in the realm of fantasy.Cyrus says that the King's army is larger than his own and that gives us a start.

In the battle the left wing of 10,400 Greeks four deep on a three foot or 1 metre frontage did not reach the centre of the King's army but was not outflanked by so far that an oblique movement would not have brought them into contact. Their line being 2600m long we might not be too wide of the mark to allow Artaxerxes a frontage of 6000m, if this were occupied by close order infantry ten deep, which seems standard, there would be 60,000 men; this represents an upper limit, as Persian infantry order was looser than a Greek phalanx and there were definitely many cavalrymen in the line. Be that as it may let us use this figure and allow Cyrus 2/3 of the Royal army or 40,000, 10,000 of these are Greeks 30,000 natives. Cyrus' attempt on the throne appears more realistic when one considers that if his natives were also ten deep his potential frontage is 5,600m against the Royal 6,000m. Incidently, it means that Cyrus was leading an army of a similar size to Alexander's.

FROM/TO MILES DAYS RATE (mpd)
Sardis /Maeander 66 3 22
Kollosai 24 1 24
rest 0 7 -
Kelenai 60 3 20
rest 0 30 -
Peltai 30 2 15
rest 0 3 -
Potter's Market 36 2 18
Kayster Plain 60 3 20
rest 0 5 -
Thymbrion 30 2 15
Tyriaeon 30 2 15
rest 0 3 -
Ikonion 60 3 20
Lykaonia 90 5 18
Dana 75 4 18
rest 0 3 -
to Kilikian Gates ? ? ?
wait 0 1 -
crosses pass ? 1 -
Tarsos 75 4 19
rest 0 20 -
[Euphrates 12 days march away]
Psaros River 30 2 15
Pyramos River 15 1 15
Issos 45 2 22.5
rest 0 3 -
Syrian Gates 15 1 15
Myriandros 15 1 15
rest 0 7 -
Chalos River 60 4 15
source of Dardes River 90 5 18
Thapsakos 45 3 15
stay 0 5 -
Araxes River 150 9 16
rest 0 3 -
through desert to
Korsote 105 5 21
rest 0 3 -
Pylai 270 13 21
Babylonia 36 3 12
in battle order 9 1 9
Kunaxa ? 2 ?

These figures yield an average march of 18.04 miles, a maximum of 24 and a minimum of 12, ignoring the cautious advance in battle order. The longest march is for 13 days at 21 mpd and the death of pack animals is mentioned.

This army is smaller than Antigonos' and even with the pedal to the floor only manages half his marching rate.

There is a good illustration of the lag between tail and head at I 5, where the Greeks have time to encamp, cross the Euphrates trade at Charmande, get into a drunken brawl seek redress, get redress from Klearchos who can then inspect the scene of the altercation, nearly get stoned to death and gather his men to attack Menon before Cyrus arrives. As a rough check on our estimate of Cyrus' numbers we can calculate 40,000 men ten abreast at a two metre interval would stretch for 8km, Cyrus would not be at the tail but maybe in the centre, he is near the baggage waggons that get stuck just before in the narrative. He could be an hour or more behind Klearchos and the vanguard, whether that is a reasonable length of time for the trouble to break out I leave to the reader, just remember the 10,000 are more like travelling Millwall fans than a Guardian readers' ramble.
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Xenophon »

As anticipated, a most interesting post, Agesilaos ! Did this information come from Engels, someone else, or has your opisometer been working overtime ? :wink:
The problem with this sort of table is that it gives a rather misleading impression of precision. Xenophon for the most part quoted his march distance using a Persian measure called a ‘parasang’ loosely translated as ‘stage’ because it was not a terribly precise distance measure. Herodotus (v.53) speaks of an army traveling the equivalent of five parasangs per day. Other references include Histories ii.6, vi.42, and he defines the measure to be equivalent to 30 stadia. This comparison is also made by several later Greek and Roman writers (10th c. Suidas and Hesychius, 5th/4th c. BC) and Xenophon (Anab. ii.2.6). However, this latter paragraph is regarded as a later interpolation by many editors.

A similar problem arises with the stade ....linear measures varied from place to place ! Thus whilst a stade was agreed to be 600 feet, a foot could be a number of measures, the 3 common Greek ones being the “Doric” at c.327mm/ 13 inches, the “Attic” at c.294/11.75 ins, and the “Salamine’ a.k.a “common foot” at 307 mm/12.25 ins. Strabo (xi) also notes that some writers considered it to be 60, others 40, and yet others 30 stadia. The 1st century AD Pliny (Natural History vi.26) noted that the Iranians themselves assigned different lengths to it. On the authority of older sources, the 14th century Moslem historiographer Mostofi records that in the 10th century the north-eastern parasang was 15,000 paces, the north-western one was 18,000 paces, and the one of the south-west was merely 6,000 paces, but the "true" parasang, so Mostofi claims, was 9,000 paces. Recalling local legend, Mostofi also states the unit was defined to be equal to 12,000 cubits .

Following the 30-stadia definition of Herodotus and possibly Xenophon, the Greek version of the parasang would be equal to either 5.9 km (Doric stade measure) or 5.3 km (Attic stade measure). In 1920, Kenneth Mason of the Royal Geographical Society reckoned that the parasang used in Xenophon's Babylonian travel accounts was equal to only 2.4 miles (3.9 km/). More recently, Bivar ( 1985) concluded "[empirical tests] reckoning ten stades to the mile/1.609 km), and three miles/4.827 km to the parasang have given excellent results in practice. Whatever the basis of calculation, theoretical values for the stade and the parasang must be sought which do not greatly exceed [those] estimates.” Bivar's Ten stades is 2,000 ‘yards’, rather than the actual 1,760 yds to the English mile, so only an approximation !

One Stade ( Doric) is 196 m/212 yds, and a parasang of 30 stades thus 5.9 km/3.65 miles, or 1 stade (Attic) is 176m/191 yds, and a parasang of 30 stades thus 5.3 km/3.25 miles.....and of course we don’t know if Xenophon actually correctly quoted Attic measures, or was told in Persian measures and converted them himself to Attic, or what !!
Thus our ‘mileage’ is very approximate. For comparison here is an alternate list/table of the march, using an average of Doric and Attic measures of 3.45 miles to the parasang, as opposed to the rather short 3 miles ( presumably drawing on Bivar) to the parasang that the table Agesilaos produced utilises :-

BLAST! THE FORUM LAYOUT HAS RUINED MY CAREFULLY LAID OUT TABLE - THE SAME AS AGESILAOS TABLE ! SORRY IT IS NOW SO HARD TO READ, EVERYONE... :evil: :cry:

MARCHING DISTANCES AND SPEEDS OF THE TEN THOUSAND
March from Sardes to Cunaxa, 401 B.C.


Distance
Route Parasangs Miles Days Avge/day in miles

Sardes to Maeander 22 75.9* 3 25.3
Maeander to Colossae 8 27.6 1 28
Rest at Colossae 7
Colossae to Celaenae 20 69 3 23
Rest at Celaenae 30
Celaeanae to Peltae 10 34.5 2 17.25
Rest at Peltae 3
Peltae to Potters' Market 12 41.4 2 21
Potters' Market to Plain of
Cayster 30 103.5 3 34.5**
Rest in Cayster Plain 5
Cayster to Thymbrion 10 34.5 2 17
Thymbrion to Tyriaeum 10 34.5 2 17
Rest at Tyriaeum 5
Tyriaeum to Iconium 20 69 3(Jan) 23
March via Lycaonia 30 103.5 5(Jan) 20.7
March to Tyana 25 86.25 4 21.6
Battle at Cilician Gates 1
Day of Waiting 1
Day of Crossing 1***
Cil. Gates to Tarsus 25 86.25 4 21.6
Rest at Tarsus 20
Tarsus to Psaros 10 34.5 2 (Jan) 17.25
Psaros to Pyramos 5 17.25 1 17.25
Pyramos to Issus 15 51.75 2 25.9
Rest at Issus 3
Issus to Syrian Gates 5 17.25 1 17.25
Syr. Gat. to Myriandros 5 17.25 1 17.25
Myriandros to Chalos 20 69 4 17.25
Chalos to Dardas 30 103.5 5 20.7
Dardas to Euphrates 15 51.75 3 17.25
Rest at Thapsacus 5
Crossing Euphrates 1
Euphrates to Araxes 50 172.5 9 19.2
Araxes to Corsote 35 120.75 5 24.2
Rest at Corsote 3
March down Euphrates 90 310.5 13 23.9
March to Babylonia 12 41.1 2 20.7
Review and Rest 1
Advance to Median Wall
in battle array 3 10.4 1 10.4
BATTLE OF CUNAXA 1

•*Note that distance estimates here vary from those given by Agesilaos, but not significantly so, due to Bivar’s ‘2000 yard’ miles....Thus Bivar/Agesilaos first line of 66 miles x 2,000 yds = 132,000 yds while the other table has 75.9 miles x 1,760 yds = 133,584 yds - a relatively small difference of just under a mile.

•**Some editors think that Xenophon erred somehow at this point. Since the rate of march averaged 17-20 miles per day, perhaps Xenophon intended to write that the advance took five rather than three days. For myself, I think that the distance quoted of 34.5 miles per day is within the parameters whereby armies could move up to 50 miles per day on a ‘forced march’

•*** The distance from the Anatolian plateau to the Cilician plain is around 68-70 miles/110 km, descending over 1,000 m with defiles and heavy going and could take up to 5 days for armies to traverse , rather than the 1 given in both tables !!

Table from website of Turlane University
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
Before analysing the march of Cyrus to Cunaxa some remarks on the size of his forces seems in order as part of the argument is that the size of a force is directly proportional to its march rate.

Xenophon, I 7, gives 10,400 hoplites, 2,500 peltasts and 100,000 native troops; we can take the number of Greeks as accurate but the number of natives belongs in the realm of fantasy. Cyrus says that the King's army is larger than his own and that gives us a start.

In the battle the left wing of 10,400 Greeks four deep on a three foot or 1 metre frontage did not reach the centre of the King's army but was not outflanked by so far that an oblique movement would not have brought them into contact. Their line being 2600m long we might not be too wide of the mark to allow Artaxerxes a frontage of 6000m, if this were occupied by close order infantry ten deep, which seems standard, there would be 60,000 men; this represents an upper limit, as Persian infantry order was looser than a Greek phalanx and there were definitely many cavalrymen in the line. Be that as it may let us use this figure and allow Cyrus 2/3 of the Royal army or 40,000, 10,000 of these are Greeks 30,000 natives. Cyrus' attempt on the throne appears more realistic when one considers that if his natives were also ten deep his potential frontage is 5,600m against the Royal 6,000m. Incidently, it means that Cyrus was leading an army of a similar size to Alexander's.
I'd agree on the figures and frontages, and that 60,000 would be an upper limit for the King's Army, using the same rule-of-thumb calculation as you ( no other is practical given the information we have). Since Artaxerxes struggled somewhat to raise the Royal Levies, the figure might well be more like 40-50,000, with Cyrus' natives proportionally fewer. ( Xenophon gave the King's army 1,200,000 men [I.7.10-11] while Ctesias, the King's doctor gave 400,000. Allowing for the usual 'factor 10' exaggeration, that might suggest the King' army numbered some 40,000 or so.[Plutarch Artaxerxes 13]. Xenophon also tells us that a quarter of the King's army under Abrocomas, coming from Phoenicia, arrived 5 days too late for the battle)

In any event, Agesilaos' point is shrewdly observed that despite the impression in the Anabasis that Cyrus was hugely outnumbered, thanks to the large number of hoplites, the frontages of the opposing armies were comparable.
These figures yield an average march of 18.04 miles, a maximum of 24 and a minimum of 12, ignoring the cautious advance in battle order. The longest march is for 13 days at 21 mpd and the death of pack animals is mentioned.
To save readers wrestling with the shattered table in my previous post, I'll quote the stats from the same Tulane University website that the table came from:
"Cyrus and his Greek mercenaries conducted the most impressive march prior to the age of Alexander the Great. Cyrus was able to force march his army across Asia Minor in 3.5 months by using the Persian highway and supply depots. The march from Sardes to Tarsus took 107 days (including 34 days of actual marching, 71 days of rest, a day of fighting for the Cilician Gates, and a day to cross the pass). [The pass is around 70 miles long and could take an ancient army up to 5 days to cross, it being rugged, and descending 1,000 m or so from the Anatolian plateau to the Cilician plains - see previous post]
The average rate of march was 25.7 miles per day, but for every day of marching there was two days of rest. The total distance covered was 222 parasangs (765.9 miles). [ using 3.45 miles to the parasang]
Cyrus advanced from Tarsus to the battlefield of Cunaxa in two stages. First, the army marched across Syria to the Euphrates covering 105 parasangs (362.25 miles); it took 19 days of marching and 15 days at rest at an average speed of 19.1 miles per day. This was less than one day rest for every day of marching. Then Cyrus made a daring dash down the Euphrates, where provisions were scarce, to achieve strategic surprise. He covered 185 parasangs (638.25 miles) in 31 marching days and only 6 days rest (i.e. five marching days for every day of rest). The average rate of march was 20.8 miles per day.
The entire march took 6 months (85 days of marching, 92 days at rest, 2 days of crossing the Cilician Gates [ probably 3-5 days for the Cilician Gates alone] and Euphrates River, 1 day of skirmish, 1 day of battle at Cunaxa for a total of 181 days, possibly 183 days if the march to the Cayster plain is an error [ the 34.5 miles referred to is certainly possible but the factors sort of cancel out when allowance is made for a longer crossing of the Gates].
Cyrus and the Ten Thousand joined battle at Cunaxa between 9:00 and 10:00 A.M. on [or about] September 3, 401 B.C. The army commenced its march from Sardes on or about March 6, 401 B.C. [Beginning of March] Cyrus mustered, reviewed and rested his forces at three key staging points in Asia Minor: Colossae (March 10-17), Celaenae (March 20 to April 19), and Peltae (April 23-25). He thus timed the main march to start in the last week of April, because by the first week of May the grain was "milk ripe" and from June on the army had plenty of freshly harvested grain. The timing and rates of march in 401 B.C. compare favorably with the advance of Alexander the Great in 334-333 B.C. (Engels, Logistics, pp. 26-28)."
Those rates are very favourably comparable indeed when it is borne in mind that Philip had reformed the Macedonian army by stringently reducing its baggage ( Polyaenus IV.2.10 " Philippos accustomed the Macedonians to constant exercise, before they went to war: so that he would frequently make them march three hundred stades NOTE: 35 miles aprox, carrying with them their helmets, shields, greaves, and spears; and, besides those arms, their provisions likewise, and utensils for common use." and also Frontinus IV.1.6 for reduction of servants and baggage)

The reference to the death of pack animals does not necessarily imply a strained march. Even in relatively modern times animal 'wastage' on campaign is prodigious. Ancient soldiers, like many less civilised societies today, were very callous toward 'beasts of burden' and frequently overloaded them, then beat them heavily, both of which would cause casualties. This was the more so when replacements could easily be 'requisitioned'[ read: stolen] from the local populace.
...as part of the argument is that the size of a force is directly proportional to its march rate.
......This army is smaller than Antigonos' and even with the pedal to the floor only manages half his marching rate.
Whilst in (relatively!! ) short posts, one must generalise, I don't think either of these statements is strictly true. Firstly, I don't think march rates are directly proportional to numbers, only up to a point, because the larger the army, the more baggage/impedimenta it drags around with it. For example, Cyrus' native army had a large Lydian market attached to it ( which at times of scarcity could charge 50 times the going rate for grain in Athens! e.g Annals I.5.6) A large army with little baggage will march faster than a small one with a lot of baggage, as is clear from all our sources.
Secondly,Cyrus is not here making the sort of 'sprint' or 'forced marches' of 30-50 miles per day over a few days that we were originally discussing, rather the daily distances of typically 17-20 something miles are what we might term 'normal' march rates carried out over several months, and his large number of rest days imply an overall largely leisurely pace - doubtless to time his arrival with the crops being ripe, as suggested above, and to allow that Lydian market to catch up.

Terrain and weather encountered over months would also affect march rates. Also, as he got into the final stage near the Euphrates, his march rate would be hampered by the countless irrigation ditches, channels and canals to be crossed, many of which required bridging. [ see e.g Annals I.7.15, which again some editors regard as a later interpolation]. To maintain a 20 plus mile a day advance under those circumstances is pretty good indeed, especially dragging that Lydian market with him ! ( see a previous post re: pontoon bridges slowing down an army).

As to lag between tail and head, Agesilaos has made another cogent observation. Evidently, Cyrus was unaware of the problem until he arrived on the scene( albeit he was mounted ), and even marching in parallel columns, could have been between 1-2 hours march away - ample time for the events described to take place.

In summary, I think thanks to a relative wealth of information in Xenophon, we can see an army's normal march rates on a fairly lengthy campaign as being typically 17-22 miles per day aprox, rather than what an unimpeded army could 'sprint' over a period of several days up to a week, as in Antigonos' case. ( yes, a generalisation which would not necessarily be true of other armies in other locations, but it does give us some clues as to what we might expect of Alexander's army in the same country...... :) :D
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by agesilaos »

I had looked at Tulane's website, Professor Harl, I think, and I remembered that my own workings from Rex Warner's Penguin translation made the rates lower. So I reworked my calculations based on Warner and noted Harl's use of a standard length for a 'parasang'; Warner has a very good note on this
P59 n1 Translation inevitably obscures Xenophon's adoption of the formula used in recording distances in the Persian Empire, so many 'stathmoi' and so many 'parasangs'. Stathmoi (stages) were, properly, the halting places at the end of a day's journey. On the great Persian trunk roads there were guard-houses and lodging places at suitable intervals, around which there might be a settlement (cf. Herodotus V. 52, VI. 119, VIII 98.2), but Xenophon's use of the term does not necessarily denote a formally established halting-place. Parasang was, properly, a Persian measure of time, not distance, but, since the distance covered in a parasang did not vary greatly, the Greeks treated it as a measure of distance. Herodotus (II.6) equated it with thirty stades, i.e. about3.4 miles.
Since stathmoi were made where water etc. allowed the number of parasangs to the next stathmos varied even when the terrain remained the same.
Given all the variables, which you have elucidated, I took up my opisometer and found its results much closer to Warner's distances using the map in the CAH volume 6 Macedon, 1st edition, but since this is a large scale map, I went to the digital map of the Roman Empire I posted here on the 'Route from Granicus' thread, enlarged it to its largest, which on my machine is 6.5mm to the mile, and checked an identifiable stage – that from Tarsos, which is a well known location, and the Pyramos River, there being a good Roman road to follow, which probably followed the older route – Warner gives 45 miles, Harl 51.75 and measurement 43miles; that's a 4% difference compared to 20% ! Now, I know I ought to check every stage but how anal do you think I am!!? So I went with Warner.

Xenophon states, I 5 vii
7] ἦν δὲ τούτων τῶν σταθμῶν οὓς πάνυ μακροὺς ἤλαυνεν, ὁπότε ἢ πρὸς ὕδωρβούλοιτο διατελέσαι ἢ πρὸς χιλόν.
These 'panu makrous' stathmoi – extremely long marches – are the 21 mile per day ones.

Similarly I 5 v
 ἐν τούτοις τοῖς σταθμοῖς πολλὰ τῶνὑποζυγίων ἀπώλετο ὑπὸ λιμοῦ: οὐ γὰρ ἦν χόρτος οὐδὲ ἄλλο οὐδὲν δένδρον, ἀλλὰψιλὴ ἦν ἅπασα ἡ χώρα: 
The animals die of hunger not cruelty; but, equally, not because of the pace, though it cannot have helped, placing extra stress on malnourished animals.

Yes this is through a desert, but the Kappadokian plateau was similarly sparsley populated and still is climatically quite extreme (hopefully yourself, Para',and any other Antipodean members are escaping the worst of the fires on HMP Oz; there should be a joke there about the Ashes but time and place issues affect even Cynics like me – I'll never forget asking Terry Pratchett if he'd heard the one about the man who is unsure whether his wife has Altsheimer's or AIDS! Fortunately I can count on him forgetting -).

I can see this is not swaying you so next Diodorus XVIII to XX only this time I'll print out the table, scan it and attach it; rig upon role.
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
I'll print out the table, scan it and attach it; rig upon role.
Doh !!.....Now why didn't I think of that? :lol:

Here's the Table from the Tulane University website, and for convenience I'll repost the notes (mine):
•*Note that distance estimates here vary from those given by Agesilaos, but not significantly so, due to Bivar’s ‘2000 yard’ miles....Thus Bivar/Agesilaos first line of 66 miles x 2,000 yds = 132,000 yds while the other table has 75.9 miles x 1,760 yds = 133,584 yds - a relatively small difference of just under a mile.

•**Some editors think that Xenophon erred somehow at this point. Since the rate of march averaged 17-20 miles per day, perhaps Xenophon intended to write that the advance took five rather than three days. For myself, I think that the distance quoted of 34.5 miles per day is within the parameters whereby armies could move up to 50 miles per day on a ‘forced march’

•*** The distance from the Anatolian plateau to the Cilician plain is around 68-70 miles/110 km, descending over 1,000 m with defiles and heavy going and could take up to 5 days for armies to traverse , rather than the 1 given in both tables !!

Some further observations:
The frequency of 15 'Bivar' miles in your table ( 15 x 2,000 yds = 30,000 yds) and the equivalent 17.5 statute miles in the other Table ( 17.5 x 1,760 = 30,800 yds) suggests that the 'standard' stages were 5 parasangs apart - the very figure Herodotus calls a day's march ( H. V.53 )

Perhaps co-incidently, but i think not, the allegededly 'mistaken' distances by Xenophon of 34.5 miles in the table are close to double this distance i.e. 10 parasangs aprox, or a 'double day's march. This, I venture to suggest is Cyrus' actual 'forced march' pace, as opposed to a 'normal' daily march of 5 parasangs ( which as we've noted might vary to accommodate water supllies, towns etc ) .

Note too how closely this 'double day's march' is to Philip's training march rate of 35 miles per day.
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Re: ATG Geography: WHERE IS NORA? + FORCED MARCHES

Post by Xenophon »

Agesilaos wrote:
Given all the variables, which you have elucidated, I took up my opisometer and found its results much closer to Warner's distances using the map in the CAH volume 6 Macedon, 1st edition, but since this is a large scale map, I went to the digital map of the Roman Empire I posted here on the 'Route from Granicus' thread, enlarged it to its largest, which on my machine is 6.5mm to the mile, and checked an identifiable stage – that from Tarsos, which is a well known location, and the Pyramos River, there being a good Roman road to follow, which probably followed the older route – Warner gives 45 miles, Harl 51.75 and measurement 43miles; that's a 4% difference compared to 20% ! Now, I know I ought to check every stage but how anal do you think I am!!? So I went with Warner.
Yes, I am able to follow you via the convenient map pp50-51 of the Penguin edition, and the CAH map, larger size but without many of the place names. For reference and the convenience of others ( on request) we can post one or both maps, or even another one ?

Tssk, Tssk, I wouldn't call making several checks 'anal' :lol: - what the Dutch call "getting down to ant f***ing" - and one example alone seems a tad cavalier......not that I think it overly important given the variables, since in essence we are getting pretty much the same results.
These 'panu makrous' stathmoi – extremely long marches – are the 21 mile per day ones.
hhh...m..m The Loeb has "made these stages very long..." and the lexicon gives 'very' or 'altogether' but not Warner's 'extremely'.....and indeed a march of 21 miles or more, rather than 17.5 - a 20% increase per day, would indeed be 'very long' or 'altogether long', but not I venture to suggest "extremely" which we might resrve for the 'forced marches' of 34 miles and upward, rather than a 'very long' ( 21 or more miles) normal day's march ( 17.5 miles or thereabouts, varying with circumstances )
The animals die of hunger not cruelty; but, equally, not because of the pace, though it cannot have helped, placing extra stress on malnourished animals.
Yes, I was aware of that, having referenced the same passage earlier - I was trying to make a more general observation about the life expectancy on the road of baggage animals.....incidently, the same 'high wastage' applies to cavalry mounts throughout history, even though you'd expect them at least to get better care.

Not swaying me ? I thought we were pretty much in agreement. Typical 'normal' day's march, 17 or so miles per day for the whole campaigning season ( months), 'very long' normal day's march 20 plus miles, 'forced march', only possible up to a week or so, 30-50 miles....

Xenophon does not say that the marched was 'forced' in any way, simply observing ( I.5.3/p77 Penguin ) :
"Generally speaking, it was obvious that Cyrus was pressing on all the way with no pause except when he halted for provisions or some other necessity."

As we can see from the tables, these pauses for provisions/the Lydian market to catch up were frequent, and slowed his overall average pace considerably. But even when Xenophon reports the 34.5 mile/10 parasang 'double' day's march for 3 consecutive days to Caystrupedion, he does not comment on it being particularly strenuous. ( I.2.10/p.60 Penguin- Warner arbitrarily alters X's text of "30 parasangs" to 60 miles. One of my pet hates is editors who emend texts without notice to the reader. Rather than thinking they know better, they should translate text 'as is' and footnote any textual 'flaws' they may perceive...grrrr..rrrr :evil:
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