Macedonian Military Numbers

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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Xenophon »

Post by Paralus » Mon Nov 30, 2015 3:52 am
Xenophon wrote:As for the Aetolians, they were in no position to intervene even had they wanted to, having been heavily defeated previously by the Macedonians under Polyperchon. [Diod XVIII.38 ], not to mention some ‘military realities’.

In fact, the Aetolians had not been defeated by Polyperchon at all - "heavily" or otherwise. Polyperchon had waited on events, not willing to take the field against the “twenty-five thousand infantry and fifteen hundred cavalry” that Alexander, the Aetolian general, had assembled in Thessaly. Polyperchon took the field only after Alexander had departed for Aetolia along with the Aetolian levy of “twelve thousand foot soldiers and four hundred horsemen” on the news that the Acarnanians had invaded Aetolia. This is entirely logical given the greater part of the Macedonian army was in Asia ostensibly to engage in a fight for empire with the royal army under Perdikkas.
Since you are ‘hair-splitting’ in pointing out that it was the larger part of the Aetolian forces that were heavily defeated rather than the Aetolians, I’ll do so too and point out that the ‘greater part’ of the army in Asia was not serving under Perdiccas, but rather operating independently under Craterus, whom his veterans, we are told, preferred him.

At the time, then, that Polyperchon, the court and army are in Phokis, the Aetolians are yet to be dealt with for having “defeated Antipater's general Polycles in battle, killing him and no small number of his soldiers”. It is not really militarily probable that the king, court and regent are without the army while in the neighbourhood of a league which had so recently mustered 12,000 infantry and defeated a Macedonian general and his army.

Diod. 18.38
After the departure of Antipater for Asia, the Aetolians, in accordance with their compact with Perdiccas, made a campaign into Thessaly for the purpose of diverting Antipater. They had twelve thousand foot soldiers and four hundred horsemen, and their general was Alexander, an Aetolian. On the march they besieged the city of the Amphissian p119Locrians, overran their country, and captured some of the neighbouring towns. They defeated Antipater's general Polycles in battle, killing him and no small number of his soldiers. Some of those who were taken captive they sold, others they released on receiving ransoms. Invading Thessaly next, they persuaded most of the Thessalians to join them in the war against Antipater, and a force was quickly gathered, numbering in all twenty-five thousand infantry and fifteen hundred cavalry. While they were gaining the cities, however, the Acarnanians, who were hostile to the Aetolians, invaded Aetolia, where they began to plunder the land and to besiege the cities. When the Aetolians learned that their own country was in danger, they left the other troops in Thessaly, putting Menon of Pharsalus in command, while they themselves with the citizen soldiers went swiftly into Aetolia and, by striking fear into the Acarnanians, freed their native cities from danger. While, however, they were engaged in these matters, Polyperchon, who had been left in Macedonia as general, came into Thessaly with a considerable army and, by defeating the enemy in a battle in which he killed the general Menon and cut most of his army to pieces, recovered Thessaly.
It would seem the Aetolians had their hands full with the Acarnanians and the aftermath of their invasion. Even if they had fully recovered, and their army was already mustered, Polyperchon was in no danger in Phokis, where he probably stayed no more than a day or two before moving on to join Alexander and the army in Attica. Aetolia was over 100km/64 miles or thereabouts from Phokis. It would take a couple of days minimum for the Aetolians to learn Polyperchon was not with the army in Attica, and a further few days, even forced marching, to get there, getting close to a week ( assuming they even wanted to pursue him) by which time of course Polyperchon was long gone.....
‘Military realities’ again !
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

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Xenophon wrote:The source for my statement is Bosworth himself [ p.64 “Legacy...” ] “My conclusions have been
sharply challenged, by Nicholas Hammond, Ernst Badian,and Richard Billows” [N. G, L. Hammond, JHS tog ( i g S g ) (sec also ORBS 25 (1984) 51-61);E. Badian, in Ventures into Greek Historv, ; R. A. Billows, Kings and Colonists,]
You appear to have confused the point at issue greatly. The point was the "ambiguous Greek" of Diodorus 18.16.4:
He brought with him six thousand foot soldiers from those who had crossed into Asia with Alexander and four thousand from those who had been enlisted on the march, one thousand Persian bowmen and slingers, and fifteen hundred horsemen
That being, of course, Bosworth's interpretation of those who crossed the Hellespont with Alexander and those who were added to the expedition afterwards. I don't believe the page and note you've cited has any bearing whatsoever on that discussion. For those who do not have the book it runs as follows (excuse the discrepancies copying and pasting from Pdf):
Few subjects are as important and contentious as the demographic effect of Alexander's conquests. It is accepted that Macedonia was far weaker by the end of the third century than had been the case under Philip and Alexander, but what caused the debilitation is intensely disputed. In 1986 I published an article which presented the argument that Alexander's demands for reinforcements, in particular the demands he made between 334 and 330, drained the military resources of Macedonia and were ultimately responsible for her decline over the next century.' My conclusions have been sharply challenged, by Nicholas Hammond, Ernst Badian, and Richard Billows,* all of whom argue that Macedonia had the resources to cope with the demands made by Alexander and that Alexander was less responsible for the decline in Macedonian armies than his immediate successors and the Gauls who invaded Macedon in 279.

*N. G, L. Hammond, JHS tog ( i g S g ) 56-68 (sec also ORBS 25 (1984) 51-61); E. Badian, in Ventures into Greek Historv, esp. 261—8; R. A. Billows, Kings and Colonists, 183—212,
It is, in fact, the opening paragraph of the chapter on Macedonian military numbers. Bosworth states that those listed in the footnote disagree sharply with him that Alexander's predations on Macedonian manpower for the anabasis "drained the military resources of Macedonia and were ultimately responsible for her decline over the next century". Not they they disagree with his interpretation of 18.16.4. For that we need to go to page 73:
At the end of the reign there are rough figures for the Macedonians under Alexander's command. In 324 he was able to dismiss 10,000 Macedonian infantry, who were to return home under Craterus' command.30 This 10,000 is further subdivided into 6,000 survivors from the original expeditionary force at, the Hellespont and 4,000 from the reinforcements who joined the army later.31

31: Diod. 18.16.4: the distinction is between the troops 'who crossed into Asia along with Alexander' and 'those who were added to the army in transit. I take the troops added in transit to be the reinforcements who joined Alexander's army during the passage of." Asia (so Beloch iiia,2.34S; Brunt, Arrian ii.48Q; Billows 188 n, 9). There is, however, another interpretation, which goes back at least to Benedictus Nicsc (Geschichte der griechischen und makedonischen Stoat-en seit (hi' Schlacht hei Chainmeici 1,207): the troops were add.ed by Craterus himself
during his passage of Asia Minor and Macedonia (ef, Goukowsky, Diod^Te xuin 129; Hammond, ORBS 25 (1984) 54-6; .JI/5 109 (1989) 65 n. 49; Hcckel 130). This alternative view has Craterus enlist exactly the same number of troops that, he supposedly leaves in Cilicta—a remarkable coincidence. Beloch also objected (rightly, in rny mind) that we should expect an accusative in Dtodorus* text 'the 4,000 who were added in transit'), not the partitive genitive that we have ("4,000 of the men who were added in transit'). The text as we have it
w!ould imply that Craterus enlisted a larger number of Macedonian troops than he actually took to relieve Antipater. That is surely impossible. The distinction must he between the old campaigners at the Hellespont and the later reinforcements.
It might be noted that Billows (Kings and Colonists) actually agrees with Bosworth on this.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Xenophon »

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.

Ueda-Sarson wrote:
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 !

[11] …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

[5] 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:

16 men
lochos (formerly synomotia or dekania)
32
dilochia
64
tetrarchia
128
taxis
256
syntaxiarchia or syntagma
512
pentakosiarchia
1024
chiliarchia
2048
merarchia (formerly keras or telos)
4096
apotome
8192
keras or diphalangia
16384
phalangarchia.
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".[/quote]
[/quote]

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.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Xenophon »

Paralus wrote:
It is, in fact, the opening paragraph of the chapter on Macedonian military numbers. Bosworth states that those listed in the footnote disagree sharply with him that Alexander's predations on Macedonian manpower for the anabasis "drained the military resources of Macedonia and were ultimately responsible for her decline over the next century". Not they they disagree with his interpretation of 18.16.4. For that we need to go to page 73:
Yes, I thought I had included mention of p.73 and Heckel too disagreeing Bosworth's translation. But somehow it got left out when I was transferring my draft paragraph by paragraph to the 'Pothos' thread......and amidst trying to deal with lengthy posts from three proponents, I somehow missed this when checking......it is hard work trying to keep up!! :shock:

Many thanks for noticing the oversight and the clarification. :D
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Xenophon »

Pos tby agesilaos » Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:38 pm
Xenophon wrote:
Also, it would be surprising if an army consisted solely of “heavy foot” and indeed this appears to be a mistranslation in the Loeb, for the Greek simply says “pezoi” – foot or infantry, and does not say at all that they were all ‘heavy’.[Diod XVIII.16.5]


… πεζοὶ μὲν πλείους τῶντετρακισμυρίων ἐν τοῖς βαρέσιν ὅπλοις, τοξόται δὲ καὶ σφενδονῆται τρισχίλιοι,


Literally and keeping the same word order, ‘…infantry rather more than forty thousand with heavy arms, archers and slingers three thousand…

Oops! My mistake, guess I was checking the text a little too hastily.....comes from trying to do too many things at once, and deal with too many lengthy posts ! :(
However my point remains. That an army of that era would have such a high proportion of ‘hoplites’/heavy infantry would be unique I think. Almost every army included a proportion of ‘peltasts’, often tribal or mercenary, who are not mentioned here and it seems to me likely that these have been ‘lumped in’ and categorised as heavy armed....
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by amyntoros »

Xenophon wrote: A thorough presentation, but amidst all the definitions I don’t see “retire”, which is certainly not the same as ‘dismiss’, ‘discharge’ etc. So Paralus’ usage is not what the sources say.

Originally, Alexander’s stated aim was to retain 13,000 infantry ( and 2,000 cavalry), which would imply he intended to release only 2-3,000 infantry at most as ‘too old and unfit’.[Curtius X.2.8] This prompted the mutiny at Opis [C. X.2.12], with the whole army demanding to go home. The compromise reached was that 10,000 would go ( hence releasing more than he intended to retain, which would now be 4-6,000 or so infantry and 3-4,000 Hypaspists/Silver Shields). That all the 10,000 infantry (and 1,500 cavalry) are now described as the ‘old and unfit’ is a face-saving device for Alexander. That they were not so is proven by the fact that these men in fact continued to serve the Diadochi for another ten years or more, as many have noted.
Anyone who retires from the US armed services is discharged of his duties. Twenty years of service is the minimum requirement although one can serve for at least forty years. If a serviceman has reached over twenty years of service and then succumbs to a chronic illness or an injury he will be discharged for medical reasons. He will also be retired from service. This is an instance where either word is applicable. Same thing when an officer discharges himself from his command. If it is permanent and he has served his time then he is also retired. When I read Arrian I see the same situation; that it was Alexander's intention to discharge men who were unfit for service due to age, injury, etc. Therefore one can say they were being retired. The fact that many of these "old and unfit" continued to serve or were recalled to duty (so to speak) after Alexander's death doesn't surprise me as age doesn't seem to have been much of a handicap among the Macedonians, and their earlier dismissal has all kinds of political undertones. And yes, it could have been face saving on Alexander's part, but we can still interpret his actions as ordering these men to retire from duty. In this situation dismissal/discharge/retired mean much the same thing - the soldiers were no longer to be paid for active duty. Just my thoughts on this, although I'm not entirely sure why the use of one word or the other actually affects military numbers. Will likely have to reread the thread when I have time.

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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

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Xenophon wrote:That is very misleading, not to mention out of context. What I actually said at the time was: “On the contrary, I have no set viewpoint on the matter. I speak in terms of 'possibilities', 'probabilities' and 'ambiguities' and put forward what is consistent with the evidence.” Once only, in the context of showing that we don’t know what Neoptolemus was doing or where he was for a two year period, I wrote hypothetically –“There is no reason Neoptolemus could not have been archihypaspist for up to two years or so, or even a lesser period, between Alexander's death in June 323, and some time before the outbreak of hostilities, before he went to Armenia, in whatever capacity he was sent.” i.e. simply referring to a possibility.
No. You consistently argued that Plutarch's passage meant that Neoptolemus commanded hypaspists after the death of Alexander, not before as I argued. Now it is only a "possibility"?
Xenophon wrote:The only possible candidate for a Guard would be the 1,000 Persian Hypaspists raised by Alexander ( if they did in fact exist as an actual unit, which is doubtful, none of the other proposed Persian equivalents of Macedonian units, with Macedonian titles seem to have actually existed), that may have been part of Perdiccas' army in Egypt ( see the reference to Hypaspists at 'Camel's Fort ). Needless to say, there is no record of such a unit going to Europe, nor would we expect them to.
The Persian Guards are referred to by Phylarchus (as preserved by Athenaeus, Polyaenus and Aelian). Further more, they are depicted on the funeral cortege of Alexander. The Alexander sources also refer to them (beginning after the death of Darius - see, e.g., Olbrycht: "The Military Reforms of Alexander the Great during His Campaigns in Iran", Afghanistan and Central Asia, Miscellania Eurasiatica Crakoviensia Jrozjumiec Eurazji, Krakow, 2007). It is rather more certain than not that this Persian guard troop existed. What is very, very far from certain is whether Neoptolemus, who refused service under a pen-pushing Greek, would agree to command a troop of barbarian guards. Less certain is whether the Argyraspides would simply pass off the court and its kings to Persians. It beggars belief that the Macedonians would appoint somatophylakes to a king (or kings) that they felt so undeserving of a Macedonian Guard unit. The circumstantial evidence of other army functionaries speaks against such. Kings not requiring Macedonian guards - and supposedly below the interest of the Argyraspides - certainly did not need senior army adjutants. I'm afraid the evidence does not back your claim that the Argyraspides would not serve their kings as a guard unit. They obeyed all instructions issued in their name and it is a stretch to claim that had they been required as the kings' guards they would have refused.

While on these troops and Heckel's disagreement with Bosworth, that disagreement comes down to Heckel's view of what became of the Argyraspides following Opis and Babylon. I disagree with that view given the details of the Babylonian Settlement though you clearly have a different view of this.
Last edited by Paralus on Fri Dec 04, 2015 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

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Xenophon wrote:However my point remains. That an army of that era would have such a high proportion of ‘hoplites’/heavy infantry would be unique I think. Almost every army included a proportion of ‘peltasts’, often tribal or mercenary, who are not mentioned here and it seems to me likely that these have been ‘lumped in’ and categorised as heavy armed....
So this notice of Diodorus, too, is to be thrown into the "cannot be right" basket. We should stick to the evidence, which is that Diodorus plainly states that the 40,000 were heavily armed. This likely goes a long way to explaining the difficulty of the battle for the Macedonians. Diodorus describes the Greeks arranging their cavalry in front of their phalanx and wishing to decide the battle with them (18.17.3). The Macedonians obliged and a cavalry battle ensued after which Antipatros led the Macedonian phalanx forward which took the advantage and the Greeks retired, in good order, to the rough and high ground, there joined by their victorious cavalry. The battle backs Diodorus: if the Macedonians had several thousands of lights (Thracians, Agrianians, etc) the Greeks surely will have had a much worse time of it than the description. All in all it is far better to accept Diodorus' description of the Macedonian infantry as correct.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by agesilaos »

A thorough presentation, but amidst all the definitions I don’t see “retire”, which is certainly not the same as ‘dismiss’, ‘discharge’ etc. So Paralus’ usage is not what the sources say.
An interesting POV, one wonders what all the soldiers who has been ‘discharged’ would think.
Post by agesilaos » Sun Nov 29, 2015 5:12 pm
Nor do many scholars, such as Hammond, already referred to, Badian, Billows and others agree with Bosworth’s interpretation of the possibly ambiguous Greek.
I presume you have the relevant references, I won't be trying to find them, they may just be a line from 'The Huffington Post', and we know where that sort of confusion leads; so, tell us where these arguments are to be found and which ones you are willing to discuss. A reply should only be a moment unless you are just throwing out names on the off chance. Hammond of course you need not bother with as you will not discuss his article.


The source for my statement is Bosworth himself [ p.64 “Legacy...” ] “My conclusions have been
sharply challenged, by Nicholas Hammond, Ernst Badian,and Richard Billows” [N. G, L. Hammond, JHS tog ( i g S g ) (sec also ORBS 25 (1984) 51-61);E. Badian, in Ventures into Greek Historv, ; R. A. Billows, Kings and Colonists,]

If you want to know more, you’ll have to look them up yourself and start a new thread if you wish to discuss Bosworth and his critics.
Remember we are talking about the Greek, ‘the possibly ambiguous Greek’ ie XVIII 16 iv

ἦγε δὲ πεζοὺς μὲν τῶν εἰς ἈσίανἈλεξάνδρῳ συνδιαβεβηκότων ἑξακισχιλίους, τῶν δ᾽ ἐν παρόδῳ προσειλημμένων τετρακισχιλίους

So let’s look at what Bosworth’s remark and footnote applies to, that is how footnotes are used, to clarify the passage to which they are attached.
Bosworth ‘The Legacy of Alexander’. Oxford, University Press, 2005, first paperback impression, p.64.

Few subjects are as important and contentious as the demographic effect of Alexander’s conquests. It is acceptedthat Macedonia was far weaker by the end of the third century than it had been under Philip and Alexander, but what caused the debilitation is intensely disputed. In 1986 I published an article which presented the argument that Alexander’s demand for reinforcements, in particular the demands he made between 334 and 330, drained the military resources of Macedonia and were ultimately responsible for her decline over the next century [n.1 AB Bosworth,’Alexander the Great and the Decline of Macedon’, JHS 106 (1986) 1-12]. My conclusions have been sharply challenged, by Nicholas Hammond, Ernst Badian, and Richard Billows.
[n.2 NGL Hammond, JHS 109, 1989, 56-68 ‘Casualties and Reinforcements of Citizen Soldiers in Greece and Macedon’
See also GRBS 25 (1984 51-61 ‘Alexander’s Veterans after his Death’ link above with critique of relevant section.
E Badian in ‘Ventures in Greek History’ esp. 261-8 ‘Agis III:revisions and reflections’
RA Billows, ‘Kings and Colonists’ 183-212 (Brill, Leiden1995) here at the right chapter!
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=BOz ... &q&f=false

So, this has nothing to do with the ‘possibly ambiguous Greek’ at all and it is his claims that Macedon was drained of men that these three ‘sharply challenged’. In fact you are citing as support three authors who would agree with Para and myself.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by agesilaos »

OED Cite
5. To call to mind; make mention of or reference to; refer to as so and so.
When the dictionary contains a definition ‘inter alia’ which fits a usage one does not ignore it a trump another to suit ones own purpose. One wonders if you will ever cite anything fully. :evil:

I will ask the rest of the forum to accept that I can speak English as I do not intend to go to the OED every time some does not, though if a non Anglophone reader wants a meaning clarified I am happy to simplify my sometimes convoluted prose.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by agesilaos »

There’s no point repeating what is pure supposition without source evidence, no matter how “logical” you believe it to be. 1/12/2:46am
So since there is no source evidence for any rebellion in Kilikia I take it you will be dropping that point? :wink: :lol: :lol:

Still let’s look at the Pisidian intifada, which you referenced, Diod XVIII. 46 ff
46 1 Since Alcetas had had no supporters in Asia after the death of Perdiccas, he had decided to show kindness to the Pisidians, thinking that he would thus secure as allies men who were warlike and who possessed a country difficult to invade and well supplied with strongholds. 2 For this reason during the campaigns he honoured them exceedingly above all the allies and distributed to them spoils from the hostile territory, assigning them half the booty. By employing the most friendly language in his conversation with them, by each day inviting the most important of them in turn to his table at banquets, and finally by honouring many of them with gifts of considerable value, he secured them as loyal supporters. 3 Therefore even at this time Alcetas placed his hopes upon them, and they did not disappoint his hopes. For when Antigonus encamped near Termessus with all his army and demanded Alcetas, and even when the older men advised that he be surrendered, the younger, forming a compact group in opposition to their parents, voted to meet every danger in the interest of his safety.
4 The older men at first tried to persuade the younger not to permit their native land to become the spoil of war for the sake of a single Macedonian; but when they saw the young men's determination was not to be shaken, after taking counsel in secret, they sent an embassy to Antigonus by night, promising to surrender Alcetas either alive or dead. 5 They asked him to attack the city for a number of days and, drawing the defenders forward by light skirmishing, to withdraw as if in flight. They said that, when this had happened and the young men were engaged in the battle at a distance from the city, they would seize a suitable occasion for their own undertaking. 6 Antigonus, prevailed on by them, shifted his camp a long way from the city, and by skirmishing with the young men kept drawing them into battle outside the city. 7 When the older men saw that Alcetas had been left alone, selecting the most trustworthy of the slaves and those of the citizens in the prime of life who were not working in his behalf, they made their attempt while the young men were still away. They could not, it is true, take him alive, for he laid hands on himself first in order not to come into the power of his enemies while still living; but his body, laid on a bier and covered with a coarse cloak, they carried out through the gates and delivered to Antigonus without attracting the attention of the skirmishers.
47 1 By thus delivering their state from danger by their own devices, they averted the war, but they could not escape the disaffection of the younger men; for as soon as these on their return from the fighting heard what had happened, they became enraged at their kinsfolk on account of their own excessive devotion to Alcetas. 2 At first they gained possession of part of the town and voted to set the buildings on fire and then, rushing from the town under arms and keeping to the mountains, to plunder the country that was subject to Antigonus; later, however, they changed their minds and refrained from burning the city, but they devoted themselves to brigandage and guerrilla warfare, ravaging much of the hostile territory. 3 As for Antigonus, he took the body of Alcetas and maltreated it for three days; then, as the corpse began to decay, he threw it out unburied and departed from Pisidia. But the young men of Termessus, still preserving their goodwill for the victim, recovered the body and honoured it with splendid obsequies. Thus kindness in its very nature possesses the peculiar power of a love charm in behalf of benefactors, preserving unchanged men's goodwill toward them. 4 Be that as it may, Antigonus set out from Pisidia and marched toward Phrygia with all his forces.
Bearing in mind that we are dealing with an epitome here, there are still many indications of the true nature of the situation. Alketas woos the Pisidians after Perdikkas’ death yet they are part of his army already which is why they receive booty from the campaigns; he does not levy them then campaign, they formed part of the army Perdikkas left for him. This army was of 16,000 foot and 900 horse, of whom 6,000 were Pisidians (ch 45). This means that roughly a third of the army took half of the booty and a barbarian third at that, there can have been very few Macedonians in the mix. Some speculative maths based on the figures in the evidence might help to illustrate this. Suppose there were 36 Talents of booty (I am not suggesting there would be so much this is purely to simplify the figures) the Pisidians get 18 T or 3T each 1,000 (I will ignore the differentiation between ranks and just work with the contingents), so there are 18T distribute, Alexander’s allied cavalry received a bonus of 2.5 times that of the Macedonian infantry at Babylon (Diod XVII 44 vi, and Curtius V 1 xlv) there are in round figures 1,000 cav but the type is not specified, let us assign them just twice the Pisidian rate, 6T this leaves 12T between some Macedonians and the rest, either mercenaries or levies. Given the premium on Macedonian troops they must have received more than the Pisidians, otherwise they would mutiny let’s give them 4T per thousand this leaves 8T between 9,000 if there were only 1,000 Makedonians (let’s fudge it to 1T per 1,000) or only 4T if they were 2,000 strong (1/2 T per 1,000). The proportions of the distribution are likely there or there abouts: per 1,000 men 6:4:3:1. On triple rate for natives (I cannot see mercenaries accepting such a low rate) it is no wonder the Pisidians loved Alketas.

Since they were almost certainly part of the army left with Alketas there was clearly no general movement against the central government in Pisidia under Perdikkas and only the two robbers’ nests were acted against.

But after Alketas’ death the nation rose in brigandage; well a closer reading of the text gives a different picture. It is not the young men of Pisidia who are devoted but only those of Termessos, they defy their parents, form a ‘compact group’- συστραφέντες – they are οἱ νεώτεροι – youngsters, though this can be comparative and jocular here I think it does mean youths. After Alketas’ suicide and surrender they take over part of Termessos (not a very large city but still extant, though unexcavated, apparently). They decided to burn down the city, then changed their minds, apparently during the three days of Antigonos’ mistreatment of Alketas’ corpse, and opted for the life of the brigand, a national pastime in any case. This is no national rebellion but some teenagers sulking off to the hills.
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by agesilaos »

One thing is all but certain though - Diodorus' figures for Polyperchon's army can hardly be correct.
I hope to demonstrate that it is certain, and in truth I was surprised that you and Paralus did not recognise this !
. and Diodorus must be incorrect in this instance.
What you have suggested is all too obviously completely wrong.

At the end of the day, Polyperchon still could not have had as many as 20,000 Macedonian ‘sarissaphoroi’ in Attica in 318 BC, for all the reasons I have given in detail
And so on, no sign of any ifs or maybes.
For the purposes of this discussion, I have generally referred to the maximum possible numbers of troops.
Let us bear this ‘principal’ in mind and work with your own un referenced or sourced guess at the number of phalangites at Krannon, viz
The Macedonian phalanx portion will have numbered something like 20-22,000 (estimated).


So in 322 there are, according to you;
22,000 phalangites at Krannon
4,000 veterans in Kilikia
4-6,000 so 6,000 phalangites (looking for maxima, remember) with the Royal army and
3,000 hypaspists

A total of 35,000 Macedonian phalangites, of these at the end of 319
Antipatros leaves 8,500 new recruits with Antigonos
3,000 Argyraspides go to Susa
Eumenes still as 4,000 of Krateros’ veterans, possibly split with Alketas,
Arrhidaios has 1,000 Macedonians

That’s 16,500 in Asia so 18,500 in Europe plus 3,000 in the new draft; 21,500 using your own figures ! Go figure :lol: :lol: :lol:
And that's without examining your claim to be referring to ' the maximum possible numbers of troops', :lol:
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by Xenophon »

Amyntoros wrote:
Xenophon wrote:A thorough presentation, but amidst all the definitions I don’t see “retire”, which is certainly not the same as ‘dismiss’, ‘discharge’ etc. So Paralus’ usage is not what the sources say.

Originally, Alexander’s stated aim was to retain 13,000 infantry ( and 2,000 cavalry), which would imply he intended to release only 2-3,000 infantry at most as ‘too old and unfit’.[Curtius X.2.8] This prompted the mutiny at Opis [C. X.2.12], with the whole army demanding to go home. The compromise reached was that 10,000 would go ( hence releasing more than he intended to retain, which would now be 4-6,000 or so infantry and 3-4,000 Hypaspists/Silver Shields). That all the 10,000 infantry (and 1,500 cavalry) are now described as the ‘old and unfit’ is a face-saving device for Alexander. That they were not so is proven by the fact that these men in fact continued to serve the Diadochi for another ten years or more, as many have noted.

Anyone who retires from the US armed services is discharged of his duties. Twenty years of service is the minimum requirement although one can serve for at least forty years. If a serviceman has reached over twenty years of service and then succumbs to a chronic illness or an injury he will be discharged for medical reasons. He will also be retired from service. This is an instance where either word is applicable. Same thing when an officer discharges himself from his command. If it is permanent and he has served his time then he is also retired.
But the opposite is not true. If a soldier is ‘discharged’ on medical grounds, or ‘dishonourably discharged’ he is not strictly speaking ‘retired’. Discharge is equivalent to dismissal or even cashiered in military terms. Certainly not equivalent to ‘retirement’ which in essence generally occurs at the end of a working life in modern terms. To say that Alexander’s ‘Makedones’ were ‘retired’ gives the wrong connotation. Certainly, as I pointed out, many, indeed most, of the 10,000 were NOT at the end of their working lives or anything like it.
When I read Arrian I see the same situation; that it was Alexander's intention to discharge men who were unfit for service due to age, injury, etc. Therefore one can say they were being retired. The fact that many of these "old and unfit" continued to serve or were recalled to duty (so to speak) after Alexander's death doesn't surprise me as age doesn't seem to have been much of a handicap among the Macedonians, and their earlier dismissal has all kinds of political undertones. And yes, it could have been face saving on Alexander's part, but we can still interpret his actions as ordering these men to retire from duty. In this situation dismissal/discharge/retired mean much the same thing - the soldiers were no longer to be paid for active duty.
Let me explain in terms of simplistic generalisations. The origins of the Greek ( and Macedonian) military systems were that in time of danger/war the citizens were called upon to defend the state. They were thus ‘part-timers’ ( though full time officers existed in Sparta, and later other states as armies evolved). In Macedon Philip changed all that. His army was constantly called up, campaigning virtually every year of his reign, and creating Macedon’s European Empire. He created a full-time professional army in effect. This was the army Alexander inherited, effectively divided into two. The ‘field army’ – the full-timers who went on campaign to Asia; and the ‘Home defence force’ who served part-time under Antipater at home, and were called up at need. To continue your U.S. services analogy, the Regular Army and the National Guard. Macedonian soldiers were called up in their late teens, and were then liable for service until they retired in old age ( we don’t know the exact retirement age for Macedonians, but e.g. Spartan men served up to “40 years from manhood” i.e. until 60,and in dire emergency even beyond that). The ‘Silver Shields’ were never ‘discharged’ or retired ( as they complained to Eumenes – see previous posts), but continued to serve as a full-time regular unit of the field army, effectively for ‘life’. Craterus 10,000 veterans were ‘discharged’ from the field army ( as per Agesilaos’ definitions), and it was intended they would see out their term of service at home in Macedon under Antipater (in the ‘National Guard’ ) until they reached ‘retirement age’. Meanwhile drafts from Antipater’s ‘National Guard’ would be sent out to become ‘regular’ troops in their place. This did not happen, and like the ‘Silver Shields’, these men continued ‘regular’ service in the field army for many years before ultimately retiring. Thus to be ‘discharged’ from the field army was NOT equivalent to retirement, for the men were liable for military service for many more years before they finally retired. Many, possibly most, of course never got to retire at all.
Just my thoughts on this, although I'm not entirely sure why the use of one word or the other actually affects military numbers. Will likely have to reread the thread when I have time.
It doesn’t ! Just a small digression on what I regard as a careless use of terminology, for the reasons above.
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by agesilaos »

Shame none of the 'careless terminology' concerns the Greek!!!! :shock: :lol:

Looks like a case of careless and irrelevant comparison to me. Plus ca change
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Re: Macedonian Military Numbers

Post by agesilaos »

Originally, Alexander’s stated aim was to retain 13,000 infantry ( and 2,000 cavalry), which would imply he intended to release only 2-3,000 infantry at most as ‘too old and unfit’.[Curtius X.2.8] This prompted the mutiny at Opis [C. X.2.12], with the whole army demanding to go home. The compromise reached was that 10,000 would go ( hence releasing more than he intended to retain, which would now be 4-6,000 or so infantry and 3-4,000 Hypaspists/Silver Shields). That all the 10,000 infantry (and 1,500 cavalry) are now described as the ‘old and unfit’ is a face-saving device for Alexander. That they were not so is proven by the fact that these men in fact continued to serve the Diadochi for another ten years or more, as many have noted
It would be simple to just say
There’s no point repeating what is pure supposition without source evidence, no matter how “logical” you believe it to be.
Since Curtius gives no hint at how many men Alexander had at Opis it is your guess, but let’s go with it and accept that Curtius was using a good source. So we have to go with his story
Alexander senioribus militum in patriam remissis
Alexander having sent the older soldiers back to the fatherland

No ‘too old and unfit’ here nor in the whole of Curtius’ surviving text. Arrian has a different story with more detail and is, as usual, to be preferred.

But let’s go with your maths, unsupported by any source as they are: you have 14-16,000 Macedonian foot, not counting the Hypaspists who clearly, were not going to be left as Babylon’s garrison. “2-3,000’ are released leaving 11-14,000 from whom Alexander intends to select 13,000 to hold Asia, while Alexander proceeds against the West with 1,000 hypaspists (2,000 will have to stay on the worst case scenario) or the hypaspists and 1,000 phalangites. Mmmh?

In the event he has to release an additional 10,000 on Curtius evidence, assuming he too had 10,000 leave with Krateros and the 13,000 garisson must fall by the wayside.

In Arrian those to be retired are those ‘unfit for war by reason of age or injuries’ from the start, so hardly some face saving move. Sources cannot be simply conflated to suit. :roll:
When you think about, it free-choice is the only possible option.
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