Macedonian Military Numbers

Discuss the wars of Alexander's successors

Moderator: pothos moderators

User avatar
Paralus
Strategos (general)
Posts: 2846
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 7:13 am
Location: Sydney, Australia
Contact:

Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Paralus »

Part of the intent of the Exiles Decree was that these mercenaries would return to their home cities, I agree. A good portion of these will have been the disenfranchised turned to mercenary service. Diodorus makes a point of the secrecy in which Athens and Leosthenes went about both recruiting mercenaries and the arranging of the alliance. Overt action only comes to the fore after it is certain that Alexander is dead. Antipatros will have heard of the death of Alexander promptly and will have realised that this would signal uprisings in Greece and his preparations will have commenced once he knew. Although Diodorus makes it read as if he sent for aid immediately he confirmed Alexander's death, it is more likely that he sent for that once he confirmed the nature of the alliance against him. Diodorus has him find this out as if it came as some sort of surprise (18.12.2). It most likely was: he will have known that the Aetolians and Athens were on the march to war but it is doubtful that he knew the full extent of the alliance outside of these two which Diodorus lists for us at 18.11.1-3. In any case, Antipatros raises 13,000 Macedonian infantry and 600 horsemen clearly intending to fill this out with contributions from the Greek states of central Greece. Unfortunately, almost all are listed in Diodorus' list of allies and are not available to him. This would be no repeat of 331. It is more likely now that Antipatros, having "learned of the movement concerted against him by the Greeks" and with allies not forthcoming, will have urgently sent to Leonnatos and Krateros.

In the event Leonnatos, pursuing his own agenda, comes to his aid. Diodorus (18.14.5) is specific in Leonnatos' recruiting (again likely reflecting his source) stating that Leonnatos
crossed over, therefore, into Europe and went on to Macedonia, where he enlisted many additional Macedonian soldiers. When he had gathered together in all more than twenty thousand infantry and fifteen hundred cavalry, he led them through Thessaly against the enemy.
Leonnatos has not recruited in Asia Minor and nor has he done so in Thrace - the latter being in some turmoil and a work in progress for Lysimachos (14.2-4). Diodorus is also specific in that Leonnatos recruited "many additional Macedonian soldiers". That the bulk of these were infantry and phalanx infantry is likely as the battle description implies. Diodorus presents this largely as a battle of cavalry in which the Thessalians defeated Leonnatos and his cavalry. Diodorus then states (15.4):
the Macedonian phalanx, for fear of the cavalry, at once withdrew from the plain to the difficult terrain above and gained safety for themselves by the strength of the position.
There would appear to be a substantial component of Macedonian phalanx infantry in this army. How large is anyone's guess, but if it was difficult for Antipatros to hire mercenary heavy infantry or recruit allied infantry, it was no easier for Leonnatos. Especially as his recruiting was done in Macedonia (this might well have been a similar recruiting drive to that of Philip V for Kynoskephalai - it was certainly that important). Antipatros then retires to Macedonia with both forces. That's a certain 13,000 plus whatever Lennatos brought to the conflict. A conservative guess would be 4 - 6,000. In the following year Krateros brings his "over 10,000" veterans to add to these figures. Discounting the army left with Sippas we have something in the order of 27-29,000 Macedonians and possibly more.

In 320 Antipatros and Krateros march into Asia to what, for them, can only have been a showdown for empire with the royal army of Perdikkas. This army had to be of a decent size and will have had a substantial number of Macedonian phalanx infantry as its core. Now Diodorus (18.29.6) says the army was divided into two parts and gives the impression these are equal parts. Plutarch (Eum. 6.3) is clearer in stating that Krateros took the larger part of this division. Both writers are clear that Antipatros was sent to Kilikia and Diodorus (ibid) makes it quite plain that the rejoined forces will than have marched on Perdikkas with the help of Ptolemy. Thus Krateros took the larger part of the infantry - 20,000 the "greater number of which" were Macedonians (I set aside Hammond's rather forced translation for the sake of his argument) . Here we might posit somewhere in the order of 12,000 - certainly Eumenes was in no way interested in taking on this phalanx despite his cavalry numbers. We might also suggest that Antipatros kept some 2 - 4,000 with himself giving a total of 14-16,000 and leaving some 13,000 - 15,000 in Macedonia

If these numbers are in the ballpark, Antipatros is clearly able to gift 8,500 of these to Antigonos and return with some 5,500 - 7,500. On Krannon's estimates, there are some 13 - 15,000 either active or able to be called up for service and hence Polyperchon's reluctance to take the field against the 26,500 strong Aetolian/Thessalian army (18.38.3). Added to this are the 3,000 men Antigonos returns to Macedonia. Without additions for age groups or whatever comprised Sippas' army, there are possibly 21,500 - 25,500 available for call up in spring 318. Again, these are conservative estimates but estimates they remain. In any case, it is not "impossible" for Polyperchon to have 20,000 Macedonian infantry at his disposal in spring 318.
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
Ciliciashipyard
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 9:00 am

Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Ciliciashipyard »

Hello to everyone.
I saw some interesting ideas on the shipyard of silifke Dana Island at internet during the surf on the subject. I am the author of the abstarct which you could not find the full paper. Some of your notes are very nice and we will think and work on them. Some of the others are far from the scientific realities and i will be happy to answer if you wish to ask. And of course we will be happy if you wish to add some scientific contribution especailly on 3rd century BC. Best regards.
Post Reply