by agesilaos » Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:19 pm
For the evidence that at the end of his reign, Alexander’s phalanx numbered 8x2,000 ‘Taxeis’, see Ueda-Sarson pp 6-7 of 8, which is also the total number referred to in the Hellenistic manuals and elsewhere.
Since you continue to cite, note definition below (it is not a synonym for ‘to quote’)
"refer to (a passage, book, or author) as evidence for or justification of an argument or statement, especially in a scholarly work
That is not the only definition of 'cite'. The Oxford dictionary defines it ( inter alia) as " quote a passage book or author in support of a position"
and certainly it is customary to quote when citing....
Please pin down which arguments you claim support this view.
Much of what you criticise are his postulations, taken out of context. Naturally postulations need not necessarily be evidenced. Almost all your postulations here are unevidenced from our sources. I would rather interested readers read the whole for themselves.
Furthermore, the creation of a seventh 2000-man unit would soak up more of the 6000 Macedonian foot reinforcements that arrived at Susa from Macedonia than a 1500-man unit would (Arrian 3.16.11); it may even be that two such units were formed, giving eight taxeis (see below)
Hey why not three and soak them all up? Arrian does not actually give the number of reinforcements.
No, but Diodorus and Curtius do give numbers, as a footnote in the Penguin Arrian explains. These reinforcements arrived late in 331 BC, 500 cavalrymen and 6,ooo infantrymen (Diod. xvii 65.1; Curt. v I.4o).
Ueda-Sarson explains the reasoning for a total of eight below, in part in the paragraph you quote.....
You even referred to these 6,000 phalangite reinforcements yourself earlier. You even refer to Curtius yourself below !
 …τοὺς πεζοὺς δὲ προσέθηκενταῖς τάξεσι ταῖς ἄλλαις, κατὰ ἔθνη ἑκάστους ξυντάξας.
and the foot he added to the various regiments of infantry, arranging each according to nationalities
that comes from Curtius V 1 xl, as quoted previously.
A final piece of evidence comes from the combination of two sources I believe have not been related together before. The Roman historian Dio records (78.7.1-2, see David Karunanithy's article in Slingshot 213, 33-40) that when the emperor Caracalla recreated an entire Macedonian phalanx, was said to be 16000 strong, just as the Hellenistic manuals claim their (and therefore Alexander's) phalanx was. Although there were only 6 taxeis at Gaugamela, by the battle of Hydaspes there were seemingly more. Arrian in fact names 11 taxiarchs in the Indian campaign (see Brunt's notes to the Loeb Arrian, p487), but some of these were not always commanding infantry at the time - Koenos (5.16.3), Kraterus (5.11.3), and Kleitos (5.22.6) all seemingly commanded hipparchies at the battle of Hydaspes, so there may have been only 8 actual taxeis, and 8 taxeis of 2000 men would fit Dio and the 3 Hellenistic manuals admirably.
So you think Caracalla actually raised a four legion worth pike phalanx? Of course, since all the ‘Manuals’ predate Caracalla he could have just taken the organisation from them so the match is hardly surprising, nor illuminating.
I don’t know whether Caracalla actually raised this unit or not, but in addition to Dio, Herodian and the ‘Historia Augustaei’ also refer to these ‘imitation’ phalangites. Further there is apparently an unpublished tombstone of a legionary of the II Parthica who died in Persia in the mid 230's AD, whose epitaph allegedly describes him as a "phalangarius" - which if true would be a direct confirmation of the above account.
It does demonstrate that the Romans knew the idealised phalanx of Alexander was supposed to number 16,000, whether they got that from the Hellenistic manuals or some lost source – and the manuals are the most important evidence for this figure.
Further Caracalla was not the only alleged re-enactor in purple the Scriptores Historiae Augusti says this for Severus Alexander, successor to Heliogabalus, Severus Alexander 50 v
He therefore raised his own silver shields and golden shields, he also raised a phalanx of 30,000 men, whom he ordered to be called phalangarii and did much with them in Persis; these were the equivalent of six legions and had the same arms, most, indeed remaining enlisted after the Persian War
 fecerat denique sibi argyroaspidas et chrysoaspidas, 1 fecerat et phalangem trigintamilium hominum, quos phalangarios vocari iusserat et cum quibus multum fecit in 2 Perside; quae quidem erat ex sexlegionibus similium armorum, stipendiorum vero post bellum Persicum maiorum.
That, as is clear is simply a matter of nomenclature - the six Legions are still organised and equipped as Legionaries, just given title of 'phalanx' and 'silver shields' and 'golden shields'. (Incidently the latter 'Golden shields' never existed in Hellenistic armies.)
He follows with a good illustration of the folly of thinking ‘taxis’, always a general catch-all, plain and ordinary, ‘unit’ in Arrian. Several of the 11 taxeis are in fact light infantry, once they are eliminated seven remain. No grounds for a fictional eighth.
That is supposition on your part, and you seem to overlook the fact that the 11 named 'Taxiarchs' are all known to have led 'Taxeis' of the Macedonian phalanx at various times - not taxeis of light infantry.
Nor is an eighth 'Taxis' necessarily fictional, though you would have it so ( even though it runs contra to your argument that Perdiccas had more, not fewer 'Makedone' pikemen, and you then have to resort to manipulating numbers to postulate an entirely unevidenced 'Taxis' of 2,500, in order to give Perdiccas 7,500 Macedonian pikemen ( plus 3,000 Silver Shields)!! What were you saying about Ueda-Sarson's scholarship ?
Further, think back to those re-inforcements; they are distributed among the units ‘kata ethne’; did Alexander create two new ethnai? Why not stick with the actual evidence and have the seven ‘phalanges’ attested, six entirely ethnic and a seventh for the overspill?
That's an illogical argument, since if you allow a seventh 'mixed' ethne 'Taxis' there is no reason not to allow an eighth also.....mind you we don't know that the original six were still strictly 'kata ethne', for when other reinforcements arrive, we are not told this necessarily happened, and there is also the likelihood that ethnicity had been diluted by incorporating ex-Greek allies and mercenaries as replacements into the ranks. We can't know for sure.
Then there is this
Babylon, 324 BC: 4000 Argyraspids, in 4 chiliarchies of 1000; 16000 Pezetairoi in 8 taxeis of 2000, 1000 archers, 300 agema Companions, 4000 other Companions in 4 ephipparchies of 1000 (plus 1000 other Companions and 30000 mostly Persian Pezetairoi).
Babylon, 323 BC: 1000 Argyraspids; 10000 Pezetairoi in 5 taxeis of 2000 (some of which are having Persian missile troops incorporated into their ranks), 300 agema Companions, 4000 other Companions in 4 ephipparchies of 1000 (plus 1000 mostly Persian Companions, 1000 Persian Hypaspists, 1000 Persian Argyraspids, 1000 Persian agema and 27000 other mostly Persian Pezetairoi)
So when Krateros takes his 10,000 plus veterans there are still a further 10,000 left? And 3,000 Argyraspides quit Babylon? This is not scholarship.
Those figures are not part of the article I referenced on the infantry, but a second similar article on cavalry that completes his study of "Macedonian Unit Organisations.
I don't share his speculation here on the numbers at Babylon, and he doesn't explain exactly how he has arrived at these. However, if his speculations in this regard are "not scholarship", then what of your own equally speculative numbers ( such as your 2,500 man 'taxis' replacing your earlier conviction of a 1500 man 'Taxis') throughout this thread.
And what to make of this?
1. Eg. the translator of the Loeb version of Asklepiodotos, Oldfather, says of the number "no one would dream of allowing it to interfere with practical considerations";
one would rather have thought the number is a power of two precisely because of such practical considerations as the requirement to be able to double and halve depths, etc
Does he really not understand that all that matters to be able to halve or double depth is that the file has to be divisable by two, can three or five or forty-three files of sixteen cannot form depths of eight or thirty-two???
I think you have misread or misunderstood what he is explaining. It is a footnote to this:
"Turning first to the infantry, Hellenistic tactical manuals exist by Ailian, Arrian and Asklepiodotos that give us some insight into the organisation of Macedonian-style infantry phalanxes. Each is similar to the other, and they all probably derive from a lost manual of Polybios'. It has been greatly debated to what extent these manuals reflect Hellenistic military reality, and to what extent they are the workings of armchair philosophers; it is also debated to what extent they reflect later Hellenistic organisation, rather than that under Philip or Alexander. Ailian for instance claims (0.6) his work represents Macedonian formations under Alexander, but all the sources he cites are post-Alexandrian (1.2).
Asklepiodotos' infantry phalanx organisation is as follows:
lochos (formerly synomotia or dekania)
syntaxiarchia or syntagma
merarchia (formerly keras or telos)
keras or diphalangia
The other manuals give virtually identical prescriptions for their idealised phalanxes. It should go without saying that a 'chiliarchia' would not have had exactly 1024 men in it: this is an ideal establishment strength and its actual numbers would have varied somewhat as attrition occurred. However this has not stopped some scholars attacking these manuals because they deal with parade-ground strengths, despite firm literary evidence that the later Seleucid and Macedonian phalanxes were indeed 16000 men strong.1
1. 1. Eg. the translator of the Loeb version of Asklepiodotos, Oldfather, says of the number "no one would dream of allowing it to interfere with practical considerations"
He himself makes the point that in practice, these theoretical ideal numbers would not occur, and that there might well in reality be odd numbers of files, or even odd numbers of men in a file.
No doubt this is an irrelevant digression, yawn, and you do not wish to discuss the work you have cited; but fortunately you arrived at his conclusions independently and before him by over a decade, perhaps you can share what led you to the relevation?
"I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in this subject ! It is not just Luke’s idea, though. Many others have realised the unlikelihood if not impossibility of a 1500 man ‘Taxis’ in the Macedonian phalanx, before him. For example, as long ago as the 1970’s I concluded that the phalanx numbered 2,000 (in round figures for much the same reasons as Luke ( see “Warfare in the Classical World” Warry [ Salamander 1980] pp80 and 81 for example) and I’m sure many others before and since".
Read the paragraph above you have quoted, where I explain my reasoning is similar to Ueda-Sarson's ( though not identical). It is also my belief that the best evidence is the manuals themselves, clearly based on Alexander’s Macedonian phalanx, which his Successors especially in Macedon seem to have enshrined.
You are right that I'm not going to discuss Ueda-Sarson's paper any further. As I said, interested readers can read the whole thing and make up their own minds. You may stick with your own convictions if you like.
Note that like me, Ueda-Sarson does not make rigid assertions, but speaks of 'possibilities' and evidence that is 'consistent with' other evidence.
Bear in mind too that ( for the 'nth' time) I do not necessarily
say there were 8 taxeis, simply that it is possible, and perhaps probable on the balance of the evidence. Same for other numbers. For the purposes of my original post, it is the possible
maximum numbers that concerns us.