Hoplites were citizen-soldiers of Ancient Greek city-states who were primarily armed with spears and shields. Hoplite soldiers utilized the phalanx formation in order to be effective in war with fewer soldiers, the hoplites were primarily represented by free citizens—propertied farmers and artisans—who were able to afford the bronze armour suit and weapons. Hoplites were not professional soldiers and often lacked sufficient military training, although some states did maintain a small elite professional unit, hoplite soldiers were relied on heavily and made up the bulk of ancient Greek armies of the time. In the 8th or 7th century BC, Greek armies adopted a military innovation known as the phalanx formation, the formation proved successful in defeating the Persians when employed by the Athenians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC during the First Greco-Persian War. The phalanx was employed by the Greeks at the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. The word hoplite derives from hoplon, the name for the type of shield used by the soldiers, the shield was more commonly known as an aspis, so the word hopla may refer to the soldiers weapons or even their full armament.
In the modern Hellenic Army, the word hoplite is used to refer to an infantryman, the fragmented political structure of Ancient Greece, with many competing city-states, increased the frequency of conflict, but at the same time limited the scale of warfare. Limited manpower did not allow most Greek city-states to form armies which could operate for long periods because they were generally not formed from professional soldiers. Most soldiers had careers as farmers or workers and returned to these professions after the campaign, all hoplites were expected to take part in any military campaign when called for duty by leaders of the state. This inevitably reduced the duration of campaigns and often resulted in the campaign season being restricted to one summer. Armies generally marched directly to their destination, and in cases the battlefield was agreed to by the contestants in advance. Battles were fought on ground, and hoplites preferred to fight with high terrain on both sides of the phalanx so the formation could not be flanked.
An example of this was the Battle of Thermopylae, where the Spartans specifically chose a narrow pass to make their stand against the massive Persian army. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days, when battles occurred, they were usually set piece and intended to be decisive. The battlefield would be flat and open to facilitate phalanx warfare and these battles were usually short and required a high degree of discipline. At least in the classical period, when cavalry was present, its role was restricted to protection of the flanks of the phalanx, pursuit of a defeated enemy. Light infantry and missile troops took part in the battles but their role was less important, before the the opposing phalanxes engaged, the light troops would skirmish with the enemies light forces, and protect the flanks and rear of the phalanx. The military structure created by the Spartans was a phalanx formation
The scythed chariot was a war chariot with scythe blades mounted on each side, employed in ancient times. The scythed chariot was a war chariot. The blades extended horizontally for about 1 meter to each side of the wheels, serrated bronze blades for chariot wheels have been excavated from Chou-era pre-imperial Chinese sites. Chariots with iron scythes were recorded in the Hebrew scriptures at both Joshua 17,16,18 and Judges 1,19, in reference to the Canaanites. The scythed chariot was pulled by a team of four horses, theoretically the scythed chariot would plow through infantry lines, cutting combatants in half or at least opening gaps in the line which could be exploited. It was difficult to get horses to charge into the phalanx formation of the Greek/Macedonian hoplites. The scythed chariot avoided this inherent problem for cavalry, by the cutting into the formation. A disciplined army could diverge as the chariot approached, and re-form quickly behind it, war chariots had limited military capabilities.
They were strictly a weapon and were best suited against infantry in open flat country where the charioteers had room to maneuver. Historical sources come from the side of such engagements i. e. the Greek. Here is one recorded encounter where scythed chariots were on the side, The soldiers had got into the habit of collecting their supplies carelessly. There was one occasion when Pharnabazus, with 2 scythed chariots and about 400 cavalry, when the Greeks saw him bearing down on them, they ran to join up with each other, about 700 altogether, but Pharnabazus did not waste time. Putting the chariots in front, and following them himself with the cavalry. The chariots dashing into the Greek ranks, broke up their formation. The rest fled and took refuge with Agesilaus, who happened to be close at hand with the hoplites, the only other example of their successful use seems to be when units of Mithradates VI of Pontus defeated a Bithynian force on the River Amnias in 89BC. Despite these shortcomings, scythed chariots were used with success by the Persians.
They are last known to have used at the Battle of Zela in 47 BC. The Romans are reported to have defeated this weapon system, not necessarily at this battle and this is universally regarded as false
The Illyrians were a group of Indo-European tribes in antiquity, who inhabited part of the western Balkans and the south-eastern coasts of the Italian peninsula. The first account of Illyrian peoples comes from the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax, the Illyrian tribes never collectively regarded themselves as Illyrians, and it is unlikely that they used any collective nomenclature for themselves. The term Illyrians last appears in the record in the 7th century. In Greek mythology, Illyrius was the son of Cadmus and Harmonia who eventually ruled Illyria, Illyrius had multiple sons and daughters. From these, sprang the Taulantii, Dardani, Autariates, autareius had a son Pannonius or Paeon and these had sons Scordiscus and Triballus. Even before the advent of post-modernism, scholars recognized a difficulty in producing a single theory on the ethnogenesis of the Illyrians given their heterogeneous nature, scholars traditionally looked for the origins of the Illyrian peoples centuries, even millennia, before their first historical attestation.
Following the theories of Gustaf Kossinna, scholars sought to equate tribes mentioned by Greco-Roman historians with preceding Bronze, in particular, scholars such as Julian Pokorny and Richard Pittioni placed the Illyrian homeland within the Luzatian culture, itself an offshoot of the trans-Central European Urnfield culture. From c.1200 BC, the bearers of the Lausitz culture are said to have engaged in widespread migrations throughout Europe. With regard to the Balkans, their movement south in turn initiated the Dorian migrations into southern Greece and these Pan-Illyrian theories have since been dismissed by scholars, based as they were on racialistic notions of Nordicism and Aryanism. The above theories have found little archaeological corroboration, as no convincing evidence for significant migratory movements from the Luzatian culture into the west Balkans have ever been found. Rather, archaeologists from the former Yugoslavia highlighted the continuity between the Bronze and succeeding Iron Age, ultimately developing the so-called autochthonous theory of Illyrian genesis, the autochthonous model was most elaborated upon by Alojz Benac and B.
They argued that the proto-Illyrians had arrived earlier, during the Bronze Age as nomadic Indo-Europeans from the steppe. From that point, there was a gradual Illyrianization of the western Balkans leading to historic Illyrians and he did not deny a minor cultural impact from the northern Urnfield cultures, however these movements had neither a profound influence on the stability. Of the Balkans, nor did they affect the ethnogenesis of the Illyrian ethnos, aleksandar Stipčević raised concerns regarding Benacs all-encompassing scenario of autochthonous ethnogenesis. They rather see the emergence of historic Illyrians tribes as a recent phenomenon - just prior to their first attestation. The exception to this are the communities in Glasinac and Mati, the impetus behind the emergence of larger regional groups, such as Iapodes, Pannonians etc. is traced to increased contacts with the Mediterranean and La Tène global worlds. This catalyzed the development of complex political institutions and the increase in differences between individual communities.
Emerging local elites selectively adopted either La Tène or Hellenistic and, Roman cultural templates in order to legitimise and they were competing fiercely through either alliance or conflict and resistance to Roman expansion
During the Hellenistic period the importance of Greece proper within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply. The great centers of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt, cities such as Pergamon, Ephesus and Seleucia were important, and increasing urbanization of the Eastern Mediterranean was characteristic of the time. The quests of Alexander had a number of consequences for the Greek city-states and it greatly widened the horizons of the Greeks, making the endless conflicts between the cities which had marked the 5th and 4th centuries BC seem petty and unimportant. It led to a steady emigration, particularly of the young and ambitious, the Greeks valued their local independence too much to consider actual unification, but they made several attempts to form federations through which they could hope to reassert their independence. Following Alexanders death a struggle for power broke out among his generals, which resulted in the break-up of his empire, Macedon fell to Cassander, son of Alexanders leading general Antipater, who after several years of warfare made himself master of most of the rest of Greece.
He founded a new Macedonian capital at Thessaloniki and was generally a constructive ruler, Cassanders power was challenged by Antigonus, ruler of Anatolia, who promised the Greek cities that he would restore their freedom if they supported him. This led to successful revolts against Cassanders local rulers, in 307 BC, Antigonuss son Demetrius captured Athens and restored its democratic system, which had been suppressed by Alexander. But in 301 BC a coalition of Cassander and the other Hellenistic kings defeated Antigonus at the Battle of Ipsus, after Cassanders death in 298 BC, Demetrius seized the Macedonian throne and gained control of most of Greece. He was defeated by a coalition of Greek rulers in 285 BC. Lysimachus was in turn defeated and killed in 280 BC, the Macedonian throne passed to Demetriuss son Antigonus II, who defeated an invasion of the Greek lands by the Gauls, who at this time were living in the Balkans. The battle against the Gauls united the Antigonids of Macedon and the Seleucids of Antioch, an alliance which was directed against the wealthiest Hellenistic power.
Antigonus II ruled until his death in 239 BC, and his family retained the Macedonian throne until it was abolished by the Romans in 146 BC. Their control over the Greek city states was intermittent, since other rulers, particularly the Ptolemies, Sparta remained independent, but generally refused to join any league. In 267 BC, Ptolemy II persuaded the Greek cities to revolt against Antigonus, in became the Chremonidian War. The cities were defeated and Athens lost her independence and her democratic institutions, the Aetolian League was restricted to the Peloponnese, but on being allowed to gain control of Thebes in 245 BC became a Macedonian ally. This marked the end of Athens as a actor, although it remained the largest and most cultivated city in Greece. In 255 BC, Antigonus defeated the Egyptian fleet at Cos and brought the Aegean islands, except Rhodes, in spite of their decreased political power and autonomy, the Greek city state or polis continued to be the basic form of political and social organization in Greece.
Classical city states such as Athens and Ephesus grew and even thrived in this period, the Aetolians and the Achaeans developed strong federal states or leagues, which were governed by councils of city representatives and assemblies of league citizens
Close order formation
A close order formation is a military tactical formation wherein soldiers are close together and regularly arranged for the tactical concentration of force. At about the time of the American Civil War, such combat formations of soldiers became uncommon, the technological concentration of much firepower to fewer soldiers rendered the close order formation obsolete by the end of the 19th century. Images from the Sumerian kingdom from the third millennium BC clearly show men with spears in close order formation, the close order tradition continued in the ancient world with the phalanx formation of first the Greeks and the Macedonians. The Greek phalanx fought with the aspis, a round bronze faced shield. Frontage per man was the width of the shield and normal formation depth four to eight men, the Macedonian phalanx used a smaller shield but replaced the spear with a sarissa, a long pike used in two hands. Normal frontage per man remained the same but normal depth grew to 16 ranks, an innovation was the introduction of a locked shield order with a frontage of only about 18 inches.
The Roman legions fought in order, using the pilum and gladius. In the early Middle Ages, infantry used the shieldwall, a formation where shields were held edge-to-edge or overlapped, close order was routinely used by infantry in the Middle Ages, the intention being to avoid the enemy penetrating and disrupting their formation. A common literary image was that an apple should not be able to pass between their lances, the Swiss developed pike tactics which used closely packed deep columns. A reconstruction of the deployment of Zürich forces in 1443 gives a formation 56 men wide by 20 deep, the formation having a width of 168 ft. and a depth of 140 ft. The Swiss main formation at the Battle of Morat consisted of 10,000 men, the knightly cavalry of the Middle Ages could fight in close order, stirrup to stirrup. The period 1490-1520 saw the emergence of a consensus in military thinking that armies should be ordered on the battlefield. The uniform bodies of pikes would be ordered based on an occupied by a soldier of three paces frontage and seven paces depth, the soldier being positioned at the centre of this rectangle.
Pikes did not stand alone on the battlefield, century, a system called countermarching was developed, which enabled an exchange of ranks of shooters. This led to the development of formations and set tacticians on the road to developing the linear fire tactics of the 18th. On horseback, the old knightly tactics slowly gave way to new tactics involving firearms, reiters specialised in manoeuvering in deep, close formations and practiced a tactic known as the caracole where successive ranks of men rode forward and retired to reload. In the 17th century, European armies expanded their use of firearms and these were supplanted by unrifled muskets fired by a flintlock mechanism, which became the weapon of choice because it could be fired relatively rapidly. Because of their accuracy, these weapons were typically used in line formations where a commanding officer would order volley fire to increase the chances of inflicting casualties on the enemy
The Minoan civilization was an Aegean Bronze Age civilization on the island of Crete and other Aegean islands which flourished from about 2600 to 1100 BC. It preceded the Mycenaean civilization of Ancient Greece, the civilization was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of British archaeologist Arthur Evans. It has been described as the earliest of its kind in Europe, the term Minoan, which refers to the mythical King Minos, originally described the pottery of the period. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth and the Minotaur, according to Homer, Crete once had 90 cities. The Minoan period saw trade between Crete and Aegean and Mediterranean settlements, particularly the Near East and artists, the Minoan cultural influence reached beyond Crete to the Cyclades, Egypts Old Kingdom, copper-bearing Cyprus and the Levantine coast, and Anatolia. Some of its best art is preserved in the city of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini, although the Minoan language and writing systems remain undecipherable and are subjects of academic dispute, they apparently conveyed a language entirely different from the Greek.
The reason for the end of the Minoan period is unclear, theories include Mycenaean invasions from mainland Greece, the term Minoan refers to the mythical King Minos of Knossos. Its origin is debated, but it is attributed to archeologist Arthur Evans. Minos was associated in Greek mythology with the labyrinth, which Evans identified with the site at Knossos. However, Karl Hoeck had already used the title Das Minoische Kreta in 1825 for volume two of his Kreta, this appears to be the first known use of the word Minoan to mean ancient Cretan, Evans said that applied it, not invented it. Hoeck, with no idea that the archaeological Crete had existed, had in mind the Crete of mythology, although Evans 1931 claim that the term was unminted before he used it was called a brazen suggestion by Karadimas and Momigliano, he coined its archaeological meaning. Instead of dating the Minoan period, archaeologists use two systems of relative chronology, the first, created by Evans and modified by archaeologists, is based on pottery styles and imported Egyptian artifacts.
Evans system divides the Minoan period into three eras, early and late. These eras are subdivided—for example, Early Minoan I, II and III, another dating system, proposed by Greek archaeologist Nicolas Platon, is based on the development of architectural complexes known as palaces at Knossos, Phaistos and Kato Zakros. Platon divides the Minoan period into pre-, proto-, neo-, the relationship between the systems in the table includes approximate calendar dates from Warren and Hankey. The Thera eruption occurred during a phase of the LM IA period. Efforts to establish the volcanic eruptions date have been controversial, the eruption is identified as a natural event catastrophic for the culture, leading to its rapid collapse. Although stone-tool evidence exists that hominins may have reached Crete as early as 130,000 years ago, evidence for the first anatomically-modern human presence dates to 10, the oldest evidence of modern human habitation on Crete are pre-ceramic Neolithic farming-community remains which date to about 7000 BC
Classical Greece was a period of around 200 years in Greek culture. This Classical period saw the annexation of much of modern-day Greece by the Persian Empire, Classical Greece had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and on the foundations of western civilization. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, scientific thought, literature, in the context of the art and culture of Ancient Greece, the Classical period, sometimes called the Hellenic period, corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC. The Classical period in this sense follows the Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period and this century is essentially studied from the Athenian outlook because Athens has left us more narratives and other written works than the other ancient Greek states. From the perspective of Athenian culture in Classical Greece, the period referred to as the 5th century BC extends slightly into the 4th century BC. In this context, one might consider that the first significant event of this occurs in 508 BC, with the fall of the last Athenian tyrant.
However, a view of the whole Greek world might place its beginning at the Ionian Revolt of 500 BC. The Persians were defeated in 490 BC, the Delian League formed, under Athenian hegemony and as Athens instrument. Athens excesses caused several revolts among the cities, all of which were put down by force. After both forces were spent, a brief peace came about, the war resumed to Spartas advantage, Athens was definitively defeated in 404 BC, and internal Athenian agitations mark the end of the 5th century BC in Greece. Since its beginning, Sparta had been ruled by a diarchy and this meant that Sparta had two kings ruling concurrently throughout its entire history. The two kingships were both hereditary, vested in the Agiad dynasty and the Eurypontid dynasty, according to legend, the respective hereditary lines of these two dynasties sprang from Eurysthenes and Procles, twin descendants of Hercules. They were said to have conquered Sparta two generations after the Trojan War, in 510 BC, Spartan troops helped the Athenians overthrow their king, the tyrant Hippias, son of Peisistratos.
Cleomenes I, king of Sparta, put in place a pro-Spartan oligarchy headed by Isagoras, but his rival Cleisthenes, with the support of the middle class and aided by democrats, took over. Cleomenes intervened in 508 and 506 BC, but could not stop Cleisthenes, through his reforms, the people endowed their city with isonomic institutions — i. e. with equal rights for all —and established ostracism. The isonomic and isegoric democracy was first organized into about 130 demes, the 10,000 citizens exercised their power as members of the assembly, headed by a council of 500 citizens chosen at random. The territory of the city was divided into thirty trittyes as follows, ten trittyes in the coastal region ten trittyes in the ἄστυ. A tribe consisted of three trittyes, selected at random, one each of the three groups
Battle of Chaeronea (338 BC)
The battle was the culmination of Philips campaign in Greece and resulted in a decisive victory for the Macedonians. Philips much expanded kingdom, powerful army and plentiful resources now made him the de facto leader of Greece, in 340 BC Demosthenes convinced the Athenian assembly to sanction action against Philips territories and to ally with Byzantium, which Philip was besieging. These actions were against the terms of their treaty oaths and amounted to a declaration of war. In summer 339 BC, Philip therefore led his army towards South Greece, prompting the formation of an alliance of a few southern Greek states opposed to him, led by Athens and Thebes. After several months of stalemate, Philip finally advanced into Boeotia in an attempt to march on Thebes, opposing him, and blocking the road near Chaeronea, was the allied Greek army, similar in size and occupying a strong position. Details of the battle are scarce, but after a long fight the Macedonians crushed both flanks of the allied line, which dissolved into a rout.
The battle has been described as one of the most decisive of the ancient world, the forces of Athens and Thebes were destroyed, and continued resistance was impossible, the war therefore came to an abrupt end. Philip was able to impose a settlement upon Greece, which all states accepted, the League of Corinth, formed as a result, made all participants allies of Macedon and each other, with Philip as the guarantor of the peace. In turn, Philip was voted as strategos for a war against the Persian Empire. However, before he was able to charge of the campaign, Philip was assassinated. In the decade following his accession in 359 BC, the Macedonian king, Philip II, had strengthened and expanded his kingdom into Thrace. He was aided in this process by the distraction of Athens and Thebes, Philip was not originally a belligerent in the Sacred War, but became involved at the request of the Thessalians. Seeing an opportunity to expand his influence into Greece proper, Philip obliged, in the aftermath, Philip was made archon of Thessaly, which gave him control of the levies and revenues of the Thessalian Confederation, thereby greatly increasing his power.
However, Philip did not intervene further in the Sacred War until 346 BC. Early in that year, the Thebans, who had borne the brunt of the Sacred War, together with the Thessalians, asked Philip to assume the leadership of Greece and join them in fighting the Phocians. By 346 BC, the Athenians were war-weary, unable to match Philips strength, the Athenians had successfully used this tactic to prevent Philip attacking Phocis itself after his victory at Crocus Field. The occupation of Thermopylae was not only for the benefit of Phocis, however, by the end of February, the general Phalaikos was restored to power in Phocis, and he refused to allow the Athenians access to Thermopylae. Suddenly unable to guarantee their own security, the Athenians were forced instead into making peace with Philip and their peace treaty, known as the Peace of Philocrates, made Athens reluctant allies of Macedon
Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic, historically known as Hellas, is a country in southeastern Europe, with a population of approximately 11 million as of 2015. Athens is the capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, situated on the southern tip of the Balkan peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. Greece consists of nine regions, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Crete. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a vast number of islands, eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as polis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea.
Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming a part of the Roman Empire and its successor. The Greek Orthodox Church shaped modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World, falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence. Greeces rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, among the most in Europe, Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, and a very high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001. Greeces unique cultural heritage, large industry, prominent shipping sector. It is the largest economy in the Balkans, where it is an important regional investor, the names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, all three stages of the stone age are represented in Greece, for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries and these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, and the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek. The Mycenaeans gradually absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC and this ushered in a period known as the Greek Dark Ages, from which written records are absent. The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, in 508 BC, Cleisthenes instituted the worlds first democratic system of government in Athens
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the most mobile of the combat arms, an individual soldier in the cavalry is known by a number of designations such as cavalryman, dragoon or trooper. The designation of cavalry was not usually given to any military forces that used animals, such as camels. Cavalry had the advantage of improved mobility, and a man fighting from horseback had the advantages of greater height, another element of horse mounted warfare is the psychological impact a mounted soldier can inflict on an opponent. In Europe cavalry became increasingly armoured, and eventually became known for the mounted knights, in the period between the World Wars, many cavalry units were converted into motorized infantry and mechanized infantry units, or reformed as tank troops. Most cavalry units that are horse-mounted in modern armies serve in purely ceremonial roles, modern usage of the term generally refers to specialist units equipped with tanks or aircraft.
The shock role, traditionally filled by heavy cavalry, is filled by units with the armored designation. Before the Iron Age, the role of cavalry on the battlefield was largely performed by light chariots, the chariot originated with the Sintashta-Petrovka culture in Central Asia and spread by nomadic or semi-nomadic Indo-Iranians. The power of mobility given by mounted units was recognized early on, Cavalry techniques were an innovation of equestrian nomads of the Central Asian and Iranian steppe and pastoralist tribes such as the Persian Parthians and Sarmatians. The photograph above left shows Assyrian cavalry from reliefs of 865–860 BC, at this time, the men had no spurs, saddle cloths, or stirrups. Fighting from the back of a horse was more difficult than mere riding. The cavalry acted in pairs, the reins of the archer were controlled by his neighbours hand. Even at this time, cavalry used swords, shields. The sculpture implies two types of cavalry, but this might be a simplification by the artist, Later images of Assyrian cavalry show saddle cloths as primitive saddles, allowing each archer to control his own horse.
As early as 490 BC a breed of horses was bred in the Nisaean plain in Media to carry men with increasing amounts of armour. However, chariots remained in use for purposes such as carrying the victorious general in a Roman triumph. The southern Britons met Julius Caesar with chariots in 55 and 54 BC, the last mention of chariot use in battle was by the Caledonians at the Mons Graupius, in 84 AD. During the classical Greek period cavalry were usually limited to citizens who could afford expensive war-horses
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus was a Greek general and statesman of the Hellenistic period. He was king of the Greek tribe of Molossians, of the royal Aeacid house and he was one of the strongest opponents of early Rome. Some of his battles, though successful, caused him heavy losses and he is the subject of one of Plutarchs Parallel Lives. Pyrrhus was the son of Aeacides and Phthia, a Thessalian woman, and he had two sisters and Troias. In 317 BC, when Pyrrhus was only two, his father was dethroned, Pyrrhus family took refuge with Glaukias of the Taulantians, one of the largest Illyrian tribes. Pyrrhus was raised by Beroea, Glaukiass wife and a Molossian of the Aeacidae dynasty, Glaukias restored Pyrrhus to the throne in 306 BC until the latter was banished again, four years later, by his enemy, Cassander. Thus, he went on to serve as an officer, in the wars of the Diadochi, in 298 BC, Pyrrhus was taken hostage to Alexandria, under the terms of a peace treaty made between Demetrius and Ptolemy I Soter. There, he married Ptolemy Is stepdaughter Antigone and restored his kingdom in Epirus in 297 BC with financial, Pyrrhus had his co-ruler Neoptolemus II of Epirus murdered.
In 295 BC, Pyrrhus transferred the capital of his kingdom to Ambrakia, next, he went to war against his former ally and brother-in-law Demetrius and in 292 BC he invaded Thessaly while Demetrius was besieging Thebes but was repulsed. By 286 BC, Pyrrhus had taken control over the kingdom of Macedon, the Greek city of Tarentum, in southern Italy, fell out with Rome due to a violation of an old treaty that specified Rome was not to send warships into the Tarentine Gulf. In 282 BC, the Romans installed garrisons in the Greek cities of Thurii and Rhegium, Tarentum was now faced with a Roman attack and certain defeat, unless they could enlist the aid of greater powers. Rome had already made itself into a power, and was poised to subdue all the Greek cities in Magna Graecia. The Tarentines asked Pyrrhus to lead their war against the Romans, Pyrrhus was encouraged to aid the Tarentines by the Oracle of Delphi. His goals were not, selfless and he recognized the possibility of carving out an empire for himself in Italy.
He made an alliance with Ptolemy Ceraunus, King of Macedon and his most powerful neighbor, and arrived in Italy in 280 BC. Pyrrhus entered Italy with an army consisting of 20,000 infantry,3,000 cavalry,2,000 archers,500 slingers, and 20 war elephants in a bid to subdue the Romans. The elephants had been loaned to him by Ptolemy II, who had promised 9,000 soldiers, there are conflicting sources about casualties. Hieronymus of Cardia reports the Romans lost about 7,000 while Pyrrhus lost 3,000 soldiers, dionysius gives a bloodier view of 15,000 Roman dead and 13,000 Epirot
Ancient Macedonian army
The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. The latest innovations in weapons and tactics were adopted and refined by Philip II, by introducing military service as a full-time occupation, Philip was able to drill his men regularly, ensuring unity and cohesion in his ranks. In a remarkably short time, this led to the creation of one of the finest military machines of the ancient world, tactical improvements included the latest developments in the deployment of the traditional Greek phalanx made by men such as Epaminondas of Thebes and Iphicrates of Athens. Philip II improved on these military innovators by using both Epaminondas deeper phalanx and Iphicrates combination of a spear and smaller and lighter shield. However, the Macedonian king innovated, he introduced the use of a longer spear. The Macedonian pike, the sarissa, gave its wielder many advantages both offensively and defensively, for the first time in Greek warfare, cavalry became a decisive arm in battle.
The new Macedonian army was an amalgamation of different forces and other Greeks and a wide range of mercenaries from across the Aegean and Balkans were employed by Phillip. Unfortunately, most of the historical sources for this period have been lost. As a consequence, scholarship is largely reliant on the writings of Diodorus Siculus and Arrian, both of whom lived centuries than the events they describe. If Philip II of Macedon had not been the father of Alexander the Great, he would be widely known as a first-rate military innovator and strategist. The conquests of Alexander would have been impossible without the army his father created, when Philip took over control of Macedon, it was a backward state on the fringes of the Greek world and was beset by its traditional enemies, Illyrians and Thracians. Macedonian infantry in this period consisted of poorly trained shepherds and farmers, Philips first achievement was to unify Macedon through his army. Philip took pains to keep them always under arms and either fighting or drilling and drills were made into competitive events, and the truculent Macedonians vied with each other to excel.
This reform made the train of the army very small for its size. The Companion cavalry, or Hetairoi, were the arm of the Macedonian army. Along with Thessalian cavalry contingents, the Companions—raised from landed nobility—made up the bulk of the Macedonian heavy cavalry, central Macedonia was good horse-rearing country and cavalry was prominent in Macedonian armies from early times. However, it was the reforms in organisation and tactics introduced by Philip II that transformed the Companion cavalry into a battle-winning force, the hetairoi were divided into squadrons called ilai, each 200 men strong, except for the Royal Squadron, which numbered 300. The Royal Squadron was known as the Agema - that which leads, each squadron was commanded by an ilarchēs and appears to have been raised from a particular area of Macedon