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Ancient Warfare Vol VIII-4 - The ancient world's fragile giant

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Ancient Warfare VIII.4 Theme : The ancient world's fragile giant: the Seleucid Empire at war... mehr
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Ancient Warfare VIII.4

Theme: The ancient world's fragile giant: the Seleucid Empire at war

Introduction: Michael J. Taylor, "Historical introduction"

Seleucus, who eventually acquired the epithet 'Nicator' was not a prime candidate to succeed to the largest share of Alexander the Great's empire when the king died in Babylon in 323 BC. He certainly held some rank in Alexander's chain of command, but he was not a member of the inner circle, and a host of men had greater claim to rule. As things turned out, this was a good thing for Seleucus, as an early start in the age of the successors usually meant an early end.

Theme: Mark McCaffery, "Seizing Alexander's Asian conquests: the rise of Seleucus"

The forty years following the death of Alexander the Great, in Babylon in the year 323 BC , witnessed continuous struggles between his various successors, otherwise referred to as the Diadochi. Under the guise of preserving the empire for Alexander'sroyal heirs (i.e. his son Alexander IV and/or his half-brother Philip Arrhidaeus), some of these Diadochi aspired to dominate individual satrapies. Others, like Perdiccas and Antigonus, aspired to dominate Alexander's empire of old. Yet in the estimation of Arrian (7.23), the greatest king amongst Alexander's successors was Seleucus. From a commander of the hypaspists under Alexander to ruling over the greatest extent of territory of anyone during the successor period, Seleucus negotiated an incredible career.

The Reenactor: Spyros Bakas, "An officer of the middle third century BC: Seleucid royal guard"

The army of Alexander was made for campaigns of conquest. It was dedicated to the purpose of continuous expansion. But the armies of Alexander's successors, including the Seleucid armies, had different objectives. These armies were more concerned with defence and consolidation. The officers and men of the Seleucid Empire were concerned with protecting the ruler and his vastdomain.

Theme: Dennis Pricolo, "Seleucid war elephants: beasts of battle"

The use of elephants in battle is one of the most intriguing elements of Hellenistic warfare. Having faced the large and terrifying beasts at the Battle of the Hydaspes during Alexander's sojourn in India, many of his generals felt that elephants were important weapons of warfare to be integrated into their armies. Among the Diadochi (or Successors), Antigonus, Eumenes and Polyperchon all included elephants in their armies for the initial struggles over Alexander's empire. Later, Pyrrhus of Epirus and Hannibal of Carthage famously used them in their battles against Rome.

Theme: Kai Grundmann, "Hannibal at the court of Antiochus the Great: a meeting of great minds"

Hannibal, perhaps the greatest military commander of Antiquity, had lost the Second Punic War. In the aftermath of the defeat, internal rivalries as well as Roman pressure forced him to flee to the east. There he found refuge at the court of Antiochus III . Antiochus himself was preparing for another campaign, this time against the west, which would lead to war with Rome. Having Hannibal at his side, a brilliant commander with ample experience fighting Romans, seemed like a great advantage. However, Antiochus did not offer him a noteworthy command, which begs the question: why?

Theme: Marc G. DeSantis, "The naval war with Antiochus the Great 191-190 BC: the revenge of Polyxenidas"

The origin of Rome's war with King Antiochus III , monarch of the Seleucid Empire, lay in the breakdown of Ptolemaic Egypt and the decay of its once mighty navy. Peasant uprisings, dynastic infighting, and economic mismanagement had combined to drasticallyweaken Egypt. This vulnerability excited the avarice of King Philip V of Macedonia, who sought to acquire Ptolemaic bases in the Aegean, and also that of Antiochus, who seized the opportunity to add Egyptian possessions in Syria and Lebanon to his already vast empire.

Theme: Konstantin Nossov, "The mainland wall of Iasus: a mysterious wall in Caria"

Iasus - or Iasos, the modern village of Kiyikislacik, about 30km west of Milas - is one of the most beautiful and mysterious places in Asia Minor. The windows of the only hotel reveal an unforgettable view of a bay, the entrance of which was once guarded by two towers. There was an ancient town on the peninsula; the top of the hill is still crowned with a medieval fortress. However, the most intriguing site that Iasus can boast is the so-called Land Wall. About 3km of this defensive stone wall survive, but even local inhabitants are ignorant of its existence. Its age and function are still a subject for debate.

Theme: Gabriele Esposito, "Organization and structure of the late Seleucid army: the army of Antiochus IV"

The late Seleucid army was very different from the earlier military machine that had given the successors of Seleucus I a prominent role in the Hellenistic world. The aim of this article is to describe the main components of the late Seleucid army, in particular during the kingdom of one of the last 'great' Seleucid kings: Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

Special: Dan Howard, "Reconstructing Homeric armour: raising the shade of Agamemnon"

The Iliad has been stirring imaginations for millenia with ancient armies full of larger-than-life characters and graphic battle scenes. Of the main characters in the poem, most of the attention has been given to Achilles and his wondrous armour and shieldbut arguably the most spectacular armour in the book was worn by Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. The intricacy of Bronze Age metalwork means that it is very difficult to accurately reconstruct the armours of this time period and only the best craftsmen have attempted it. This attempt was made by the enormously talented Jeffrey Hildebrandt of Royal Oak Armoury and he has produced a wonder.

The Debate: Jessica Billing, "Were "parade" helmets used in actual combat? Roman cavalry helmets from Hadrian's Wall"

The military equipment of the Roman Army continues to fascinate academics and enthusiasts alike, the most elaborate and ornamental pieces being the so called 'parade' helmets supposedly worn by cavalrymen during ceremonies and displays. Indeed, a private collector recently paid over £2.2 million ($3.7 million or 2.8 million Euro) for the Crosby Garrett Helmet, an original cavalry helmet dating from the second to third century AD and discovered by a metal detectorist in Cumbria, England, in 2010. But, were these beautifully decorative and expensive pieces of military kit only ever used, and intended for, elaborate displays?
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