The completely unsubstantiated allegation is that the Phokians are described by Polyaenus as throwing “large stones/petros” by hand, routing the Macedonians by doing so. As I stated in my previous post, it is not ‘early’ but rather half a century or so after the introduction of catapults, and some 20 years after they are recorded as used in mainland Greece ( e.g. in an Athenian inventory c.370 BC)Well, I don't think that there is any "alleged" about it. Petroboloi "stone throwers/stone-throwing" can be either men or machines, and its hard to explain what stone-throwing engines are doing that early in that context.
Whilst ‘petrobolos’ is not a common word, the LSJ’s Greek Word study tool reveals that Xenophon’s usage appears to be the last time the word occurs in the known literature to mean hand-thrown stones.....though the LSJ is not exhaustive.If you think that in Polyaenus' day, petroboloi were always machines, you are welcome to show how you worked with sources like the TLG and the Packard Humanities Institute to prove it! (Because you would have to go through every passage using that word or a variant). In any case, Polyaenus is drawing on sources from the fourth century BCE, possibly through intermediaries, so Xenophon is just as relevant as Diodorus. We agree that in classical Greek as a whole, "petroboloi" can be either men or machines. So deciding whether machines or men fit the context is a matter of judgement based upon our understanding of the technical details of ancient warfare.
That is when we first hear of them in action, and refers to the then-new much more powerful Torsion catapults damaging walls. Obviously, non-torsion stonethrowers/petroboloi existed before this, and are referred to by the technical author Biton. The doyen of ancient artillery scholars E W Marsden reckoned that stonethrowers were introduced some time before 353 BC,( when Onomarchus defeated Philip) but they were essentially anti-personnel weapons like arrowshooters/oxybeles, not being powerful enough to damage walls. Although there is no evidence either way, my suspicion is that they existed from the outset, because our sources mention machines which could throw either stones or bolts.People who have studied the early history of catapults seem to think that stone-throwing catapults were new in the 330s.
Catapults are certainly mentioned in Philip’s sieges, both in use by him and by the enemy defenders (e.g siege of Perinthus and Byzantium 340 BC [D.S. XVI.74], where catapults clear the battlements [which perhaps implies stonethrowers capable of destroying crenellations] but battering rams are needed against the actual walls)There are none in the descriptions of Philip's sieges, and the first sources are from, I believe, Alexander's siege of Tyre about twenty years after this battle (Diodorus 17.42.7, Marsden says there is a passage in Arrian on the siege of Halicarnassus).
Alexander uses powerful stone throwing catapults from the outset against walls at Miletus [D.S. XVII.22], then Halicarnassus [Arrian I.20; D.S.XVII.24] where the defenders too had artillery in the City’s towers. Tyre has already been mentioned.
This too is quite incorrect. It seems that most cities were defended by artillery, probably the earlier non-torsion types. Tyre had “a wealth of catapults”[D.S.XVII.41]. At his next siege, of Gaza, Alexander himself was wounded in the shoulder by a catapult bolt which penetrated his shield and armour.[Arrian II.27] The Persians even used catapults in field fortifications as part of their defences of the Persian Gates, a narrow pass on the route to Persepolis.In the Alexander historians, it is always Alexander who uses them, not his enemies.
Again, inaccurate. Alexander’s sieges are the first solid evidence for catapults capable of destroying walls and creating breaches.There was a long process of development between the first small dart-shooting catapults powered by bows and the large, winch-drawn, skein-powered catapults which are more familiar to us today. And for the purpose of this story, the question is whether catapults capable of throwing large stones existed at the time in question.
The fourth century BCE was a period of rapid change in catapult technology, and our sources are very limited and not interested in chronology. Scholars try to find dates for the names in the catapult manuals and hope for the best. The history of catapults before the siege of Motya in Sicily is even more of a blank, but we have traces of other traditions than the one in Diodorus (see, say, Campbell's Besieged pp. 25-29, 50-51). But the last time I checked, the first solid evidence for stone-throwing catapults is stories about the sieges of Alexander.
Even Campbell acknowledges there is no evidence for catapults before 399 BC......
That illustration is wholly inappropriate, being a reconstruction of a large Roman torsion-powered machine – a type which did not exist in Onomarchus’ day! The non-torsion powered early stonethrowers were much smaller, being 8-10 feet or so long, and a similar bow width and stood no more than 3-4 ft high ( see below - the diagram is from Marsden and a 'dactyl' on the scale is about 0.75 ins)People are welcome to check their libraries for the evidence that catapults had limited ability to shoot downwards (before reconstructions we had Plutarch, Marcellus, 15.5 http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/R ... .html#15.5), or at steep upwards angles (just look at the length of the slider), and the size and concealability of stone-throwing catapults. Marsden's Greek and Roman Artillery, Campbell's Besieged, Kern's Ancient Siege Warfare, and Connolly's Greece and Rome at War are the books I am most familiar with. Here is one modern interpretation of a Hellenistic "three-pounder" at maximum elevation:
That reasoning is a logical fallacy of the type called “argument from authority” and invalid. However, if you are going to bandy about “authorities”, the greatest is Marsden who is in no doubt that Onomarchus used machines/petroboloi. For that matter, I have studied ancient artillery and siege warfare for over 50 years, and was published on the subject long before Campbell (20 years or so!). I and respected authorities on the subject such as Alan Wilkins agree with Marsden.So in this case my judgement agrees with that of Duncan B. Campbell, who has been studying the technical details of ancient sieges for thirty years and has published books, peer-reviewed articles, and academic reviews on the subject. Other people have other opinions.
But let us go ‘the horse’s mouth’ so to speak and see what Polyaenus actually said :
Polyaenus (2. 38. 2) writes: "Onomarchus, drawing up his men in battle order against the Macedonians, occupied a crescent shaped mountain in his rear. After he had concealed large stones/petros
and stone-throwers/petroboloi in the heights on both sides, he led his forces into the underlying plain. When the Macedonians, coming against them, hurled their javelins , the Phocians pretended to flee into the midst of the mountain. The Macedonians in spirited and quick pursuit pressed against them, but the Phocians by discharging/hurling/shooting/ballontes stones from the heights shattered the Macedonian phalanx. Then Onomarchus signalled the Phocians to turn around and close with the enemy. The Macedonians, with their adversaries attacking them from the rear and discharging/hurling/ballonton large stones at them from above, were put to flight and retreated with much suffering."
I take exception to this ‘Americanism’, which means the fallacious debating tactic of simply drowning your opponent in a torrent of small, interlocking arguments intended to prevent your opponent from being able to rebut your conclusions. In one definition it is defined as “spouting bullsh*t”. I sincerely hope you were not using the term as a euphemism, for that is an offensive ‘ad hominem’ insult and certainly not what I do. Secondly, there is no multitude of arguments in my post. I simply refuted Campbell’s three flimsy points. Since we cannot get a linguistic conclusion, I then offered two reasons from the context that support the ‘machines’ viewpoint – the Macedonians refusal to take the field after their defeat [D.s.XVI.35.2-3] and Philip’s great interest in artillery in the succeeding years.But your post is a bit of a 'Gish Gallop' and its hard to pick out the arguments which are worth replying to!
One final point. We have but a single very imperfect manuscript of Polyaenus from the 13 C AD, with lacunae of all sorts. The Excerpta Polyaeni 36,3,3 dates from the 9 C AD, and we have 4 or 5 copies which all contain the word “mechanas”. Perhaps this is what Polyaenus actually wrote, and in the much later copy that has come down to us, the copyist has carelessly left out the word?