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Pezhetairoi, the Guards and Hypaspists.
#1
Quote:
Paralus:2z6t5oec Wrote:There is good evidence that it was the aesthetairoi who in fact were Philip's and Alexander's regularly hoplite armed troops - a proposition well argued by EM Anson.

Now here I would "vehemently disagree" :lol: :lol: ....but I repeat, if this fascinating subject, with fragmentary evidence for both points of view, is to be re-visited, it should be by re-opening the Hypaspist thread, not here........
Meanwhile, back in Sparta.....

I’m a naughty boy as I answered this on the thread in which it was baldy stated. Nevertheless, I bow to editorial fiat and transfer the lot to here: a hypaspist thread.

Quote:Confusingly, in Hellenistic times the name ‘Peltasts’ was used for the guard element of the Macedonian Phalanx, who carried Peltai (c.f. use of ‘Hypaspist’ = ‘aspis carrier’ for Macedonian Guards earlier in Alexander’s army).

Paullus will vehemently disagree - nicely enough - but far too much is made of aspis in the name hypaspist. Indeed there is almost an adolescent's fixation on size (er..of the shield) in this debate. I often wonder why there is no debate on foot size when these hypapspists were pezos-hetairoi for surely it was their feet that defined them?

Towards the end of Philip's reign - if not at the beginning of Alexander's - the king's foot guard - the pezhetairoi - took the titilature "hypaspists of the Companions". This then differentiated them from their former title, pezhetairoi which from then on applied to the heavy infantry, aside from the aesthetairoi, as a group. These units were the kings' guard and the royal hypaspists - the agema of the hypaspists - were literally the king's shield bearers. A job aptly performed by the royal hypaspists around Alexander in the Malli town including Peucestas.

Diodorus (17.98.5), when relating this incident, interestingly notes the following:

Quote:The Macedonians were still busy fighting along the wall. Alexander seized a ladder, leaned it against the walls of the citadel, and clambered up holding a light shield above his head. So quick was he to act that he reached the top of the wall before the defenders could forestall him.

Alexander is on foot and is without any doubt, as the narrative goes on to show, surrounded by his hypaspists. He ascends the wall under his "light" shield - the Greek being pelte (as at 99.3). It is unlikely, one might think, that he has decided to ascend the wall under a different shield to that used by his hypaspists. Why would the king decline a hoplite's aspis in favour of a pelte? Becuase it is likely that is what was being carried by them here. Aside from Peucestas who was bearing the king's ceremonial shield.

There is good evidence that it was the aesthetairoi who in fact were Philip's and Alexander's regularly hoplite armed troops - a proposition well argued by EM Anson. The hypaspists were a unit that went well back into Philip's reign and were cross trained in all manner of armament. A fact exemplified by their actions over the course of Alexander's campaigns and afterward.

Many epigoni were armed and trained in the Macedonian manner and were much sought after in the wars following Alexander's death. These troops provided invaluable service to the Diadochoi and could hold the field against any infantry. Paraetecene and Gabiene demonstrate that they'd much to learn from Philip's and Alexander's veterans though.
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

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#2
Quote:He ascends the wall under his "light" shield - the Greek being pelte
How do you know this?
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
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#3
Quote:
Quote:He ascends the wall under his "light" shield - the Greek being pelte
How do you know this?
Khaire
Giannis

Diodorus, 17.98.5:
Quote:tôn de Makedonôn peri tên teichomachian eti diatribontôn harpasas klimaka kai tois tês akras teichesi prosereisas kai tên peltên huper tês kephalês echôn prosanebaine. tês de kata tên energeian oxutêtos phthanousês tous promachomenous tôn barbarôn tacheôs epebê tôi teichei.

The Macedonians were still busy fighting along the wall. Alexander seized a ladder, leaned it against the walls of the citadel, and clambered up holding a light shield above his head. So quick was he to act that he reached the top of the wall before the defenders could forestall him.

And, 99.3:

pollas men gar eis to kranos elambane plêgas, ouk oligas de eis tên peltên edecheto...

He took many blows upon the helmet, not a few upon the shield.

Now, what I don't have is the Loeb of Arrian. You haven't an (original) Greek of Arrian 6.9 where he describes the incident in some detail do you Giannis?

It is absolutely clear in Arrian's description that the soldiers about Alexander are those of his "confidential" guard (somatophylakes) and his hypaspists. This is absolutely to be expected - it is their remit to guard the king. These later are the troops - in grave fear for their king - desperately attempting to scale the collapsing ladders and force entry. They are certainly royal hypaspists as will Peucestas have been and they all, seemingly one after another, covered the fallen king with their shields.

There is much to this action in line with their nomenclature: these troops were literally the king's shield when he was on foot. Peucestas is actually bearing the "king's shield" from Troy.

Off to mothers' day lunch and will return later...
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

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#4
The Loeb version has it as: Aspida.....Anabasis 6-10

....bending over his shield (aspida)...

Johnny
Johnny Shumate
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#5
Why couldn't Alex climb the wall so fast precisely because he had a ligher shield than the men around him?
Multi viri et feminae philosophiam antiquam conservant.

James S.
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#6
Quote:The Loeb version has it as: Aspida.....Anabasis 6-10

....bending over his shield (aspida)...

Johnny

Indeed. And, I would argue that there existed a shield that was neither a pelte nor a classical Greek hoplite aspis involved. There is archaeological evidence for these with diameters of some 75cm or so.

Quote:Why couldn't Alex climb the wall so fast precisely because he had a ligher shield than the men around him?

Why would Alexander, fighting amongst the agema of the hypaspists, carry a smaller shield? One would suppose his shield would be similar in this situation. If - as has been argued - the royal hypaspists carried the regular hoplite aspis, why then would their commander - the king - carry a pelte?
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

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#7
Paralus wrote:-

Quote:Indeed. And, I would argue that there existed a shield that was neither a pelte nor a classical Greek hoplite aspis involved. There is archaeological evidence for these with diameters of some 75cm or so.
......whoa! Confusedhock: Radical, man ! You postulate a "third" type of Makedonian shield?
Caution is called for here given individual sized shields, I would really hesitate to postulate such a thing....some sources/references and some more detail, e.g. did this 'new' type of shield have a name?.....did it have a rim? etc would be appreciated.....
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#8
Quote:Paralus wrote:-

Quote:Indeed. And, I would argue that there existed a shield that was neither a pelte nor a classical Greek hoplite aspis involved. There is archaeological evidence for these with diameters of some 75cm or so.
......whoa! Confusedhock: Radical, man ! You postulate a "third" type of Makedonian shield?

After several schooners and decent red for Mothers' day (I'm definitely a mother), I'm to bed.

That's not quite what the intent was. Markle and another (I shall need to start re-readinfg the Paralus Library of Congress) have shown the existence of shields that are in-between the "classic" pelte and aspis. this may only be "individual difference"; it is not clear. The point was that we do not really know. As I've suggested (in the Ancient Warfare piece) it is hard to believe that Alexander descended into the Malli town with a two foot pelte as his shield. Diodorus is crystal clear though: on every occasion he mentions the "shield" it is "pelte".

Perhaps it is indeed a "lighter" shield: "lighter" than the traditional aspis but not - as the received wisdom indicates - the two foot phalangite pelte.

Either way, the job performed by the hypaspists (royal and otherwise) is instructive: they are the king's shield.
Paralus|Michael Park

Ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας, ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοὺς μετὰ Φιλίππου καὶ Ἀλεξάνδρου τὰ ὅλα κατειργασμένους

Wicked men, you are sinning against your fathers, who conquered the whole world under Philip and Alexander!

Academia.edu
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#9
Good posts. These soldiers would most probably be the best armed troops in the army. They would probably have muscled bronze or even iron thorakes(or linothorakes,as their protections seems to have been rather good) and they are shown with greaves and the such. Perhaps this is a reason why they trusted themselves with lighter shields. It's also given that they were far better armed than any of their oponents. And another given thing is that the hoplite shield is definately disadvantageous in any other than the hoplite battle,more so on a wall fight! The truth is that in the Alexander sarcophagus they are depicted with large full size hoplite shields. The difference is that they are shown fighting in a plain and not on a wall.
Those said,I think the hypaspists(who in other cases are used alternativeley for bodyguards,and this is their actual meaning,were trained to fight in different ways,supporting their king whenever on foot.
Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
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#10
Some of the answers to what what I will say might need to go to the "Greek Cavalry" thread.
Here it goes:
Shields were never really abandoned abandoned by Greek horsemen.
There is a crater in Paul Getty Museum shoeing classical horsemen curring peltae. What if Alexander started the action mounted armed with a pelte -could be even thracian shield. He dismounts and charges with what happened to have at hand at that moment.

Just an option.

Kind regards
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#11
But why would the king want to fight on horseback in a wall fight? I'd find it more logical if even the hetairoi were employed in a pedestrian fight. After all,they had to climb on the walls and they don't seem to have achieved to break any part of them. Wasn't it in Gasa that Alexander was again woonded by a catapult arrow? Wasn't he on foot again?
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#12
He started directing the and coordinating the action mounted and seeing progress too slow for his taste (We all know what a patient person Alex was :twisted: ) he dismounted and charged forward using the apropriate foul language too :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Kind regards
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#13
Yeah...start writing a novel Stefane :lol: I'm sure we'll all enjoy it. Alexander must have been somewhere there close among the rest,fighting like his hypaspists,for if Alex never fought among them,what kind of hypaspists would these be?Who would they protect? Because as I said,the word hypaspist is not equal to "peltasts" for they don't take their name after their shield type,but after their task,to protect someone with thewir shields. I'm with Paralus on this one,it's a clear indication that the hypaspists were carrying a pelte(in this particular occasion),
Does anybody know any source stating that the hypaspists or any other unit in Alexandrian army had their hekmets painted blue? I know there are at least two soldiers in Alex's sarcophagus with such helmets,I wonder if thei can be identified as of any particular unit. Because although Alexander is among them fighting,he's on horseback,like some other Macedonians.
Khairete
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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#14
To our Greek gentlemen:-
Could we please have some sources for your statements.....

Greek and Makedonian cavalry in Alexander's day and before carrying shields while mounted? :?

A crater in the Getty museum? What date? Details, please?

Alexander began the action mounted? :?

They didn't make a 'break' in the walls?

IIRC, according to Arrian, there was at least one other ladder successfully raised against the wall by the Makedonians, besides Alexander's, but it's late Sunday night here.......checking must await tomorrow....

And to Paralus ( doubtless peacefully asleep as I type... :wink: ) " ..the King's shield" ? Nice hyperbole....is it in a source, or is it your own fine turn of phrase?......... certainly not the proper meaning, or literal one, of 'Hypaspist'
"dulce et decorum est pro patria mori " - Horace, ODES
(It is a sweet and proper thing to die for ones country)

"No son-of-a-bitch ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country" -GeorgeC Scott as General George S. Patton
Paullus Scipio/Paul McDonnell-Staff
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#15
Paul,by "breaking the walls" i mean literally,so as to cavalry being of any use.(Although even in such occasions cavalry must have been useless in an asoult)
As for shielded Greek and Macedonian cavalry...I admit I don't know for macedonian one or even in Alexander's era,but there are dozens of representations of earlier cavalrymen with every kind of shield. This doesn't mean I believe Alexander was mounted and attacked on foot.
Khaire
Giannis
Giannis K. Hoplite
a.k.a.:Giannis Kadoglou
a.k.a.:Thorax
[Image: -side-1.gif]
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