The ability to take fortified places was one of the greatest single reasons for the Macedonians’ success, combined with a rapidity of movement, for Philip’s men marched as hard as they fought. Especially numerous were the Thracians; the Thracian peltasts performed the same function in battle as the Agrianians, but for the left wing of the army. Talk:Ancient Macedonian army. Alexander's cousin Pyrrhus of Epirus is described as wearing a helmet with cheek pieces in the shape of ram's heads. They could throw their javelins at will at the enemy and, unencumbered by armour or heavy shields, easily evade any counter-charges made by heavily equipped hoplites. By introducing military service as a full-time occupation, Philip was able to drill his men regularly, ensuring unity and cohesion in his ranks. [8] The Greek cavalry was not considered as effective or versatile as the Thessalian and Macedonian cavalry. [46], Alexander the Great appears to have been the first general to use artillery on the open field of battle, rather than in a siege. The Macedonian army was one of the first military forces to use 'combined armstactics', using a variety of specialised troops to fulfill specific battlefield roles in order to form a greater whole. They appear to have been armed with javelins and swords. Antigonid Peltasts. This was a light shield made of leather-faced wicker. But more important than his good fortune was the army he inherited from his father, Philip II. [26] Other nationalities also provided peltasts for the Macedonian army. The king wears a composite cuirass which copies the shape of the linothorax. All the while Philip’s men could jab and wound the enemy. A modern reconstruction of the gastraphetes, The dramatic change in the abilities of Greeks to operate against fortifications owed much to the development of effective artillery. Horse-archers from the nomadic peoples of the Steppes proved a very effective asset in Alexander’s campaigns in Afghanistan and India. The Thessalian heavy cavalry accompanied Alexander during the first half of his Asian campaign and continued to be employed by the Macedonians as allies until Macedon's final demise at the hands of the Romans. This method of warfare was intimately linked with the ideal of citizenship in the Greek city-states. It was created and made formidable by King Philip II of Macedon; previously the army of Macedon had been of little account in the politics of the Greek world, and Macedonia had … It was composed of the 'girdle' a tubular section, often of four vertical panels, that enclosed the torso. Philip II spent much of his youth as a hostage at Thebes, where he studied under the renowned general Epaminondas, whose reforms were the basis for a good part of Philip's tactics. The Hypaspist regiment was divided into three battalions (chiliarchies) of 1,000 men, which were then further sub-divided in a manner similar to the Foot Companions. But Macedonian society was different. . Saved from en.wikipedia.org. One experienced Roman general later described the advance of the Macedonian phalanx as the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. However, it was the reforms in organisation, drill and tactics introduced by Philip II that transformed the Companion cavalry into a battle-winning force. In this period the Macedonian kings and the rich people had their own paid army. The Infantryman. Firing their bows whilst mounted, they offered highly mobile missile fire on the battlefield. This was a hard combination to beat, until after Alexander’s death the Macedonian leaders turned on each other to tear apart his short-lived empire. The Hypaspists (Hypaspistai) were the elite arm of the Macedonian infantry. Explore. (Image source: WikiMedia Commons). The oblique advance with the left refused, the careful manoeuvring to create disruption in the enemy formation and the knock out charge of the strong right wing, spearheaded by the Companion cavalry, became standard Macedonian practice.[49]. The Thessalian and Greek cavalry would have been armed similarly to the Companions, though the Thessalians also used javelins. If the lance broke, the Companion could reverse it and use the other end, or draw his sword. Continuum, London, pp. The thong made the javelin spin in flight, which improved accuracy, and the extra leverage increased the range achievable. However, when engaging in heavy hand to hand fighting, for instance during a siege or pitched battle, they would have worn body armour of either linen or bronze. The army led by Alexander the Great into the Persian Empire included Greek heavy infantry in the form of allied contingents provided by the League of Corinth and hired mercenaries. Ancient depiction of a Macedonian infantryman (right). Properly nice figures sculpted by Steve Saleh and Nick Collier with Mark Copplestone, they paint up a treat, pics below are armoured phalanx prior to adding the shields and basing effects. There, Alexander did not dare assault the dense infantry formation with his cavalry, but rather waited for his infantry to arrive, while he and his cavalry harassed their flanks. Nevertheless, they performed a valuable function in facing down attempts by the Persian cavalry to surround the Macedonian army and helped deal with the breakthrough of some Persian horsemen who went on to attack the baggage. The phalanx carried with it a fairly minimal baggage train, with only one servant for every ten men. First there were warriors and later there were high educated soldiers. Philip waited until the inevitable gap appeared in the left of the Illyrian square, he then threw his cavalry at this gap. [34] The royal burial in the Vergina Tomb contained a helmet which was a variation on the Thracian/Phrygian type, exceptionally made of iron, this would support its use by cavalry. 32,000+ - the field army for Alexander the Great's invasion of the Persian Empire - according to Diodorus Siculus. Philip and Alexander employed troops from the confederated Greek states and hired thousands of mercenaries from various nations to round-out their armies. Alexander the Great was an ancient Macedonian ruler and one of history’s greatest military minds who, as King of Macedonia and Persia, established the largest empire the ancient … The Paeones had been conquered and reduced to tributary status by Philip II. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. The term hetairos became an aulic title in the Diadochi period, and the hetairoi were divided into squadrons called ilai (singular: ilē), each 200 men strong, except for the Royal Squadron, which numbered 300. A complete cuirass of plate iron, decorated with gold and modelled on the form of the linothorax, was discovered in the Macedonian royal burial at Vergina. In a remarkably short time, this led to the creation of one of the finest military machines of the ancient world. Macdonald Phoebus, London, p. 71. The Royal Squadron was also known as the Agema - "that which leads." One ancient source notes that this was an elderly and highly experienced army, and this was certainly true by modern standards. The Macedonians had developed their siege tactics under Philip. They were very effective at scouting and in screening the rest of the army from the enemy. In battle, they performed much the same function as the Prodromoi and Paeonians, except they guarded the flank of the Thessalian cavalry on the left wing of the army. Nearly all the men and the vast majority of officers at the start of the Persian expedition had campaigned extensively with Philip. At Issus and Gaugamela, the Thessalians withstood the attack of Persian cavalry forces, though greatly outnumbered. Ancient Macedonia was a small kingdom located in northern Greece. Typical light infantry peltasts would be armed with a number of javelins. Led by their own chieftains, the Paeonian cavalry was usually brigaded with the Prodromoi and often operated alongside them in battle. They carried their arrows in a quiver with a protective flap over its opening. Detail of the so-called Alexander Sarcophagus, excavated at Sidon. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. It is no exaggeration to speak of a military revolution under Philip and Alexander, and most of the reforms occurred under the father. The army of the Kingdom of Macedonia was among the greatest military forces of the ancient world. [23] As well as this, they would have carried a sword, either a xiphos or a kopis. [19], Each phalangite carried as his primary weapon a sarissa, which was a type of pike. Agrianian peltast - modern reconstruction by Johnny Shumate. The peltasts raised from the Agrianes, a Paeonian tribe, were the elite light infantry of the Macedonian army. At this time, Alexander abandoned the regional organisation of the ilai, choosing their officers regardless of their origins. Javelin-armed Thracian horseman - hunting wild boar. The Pezhetairoi. Alexander not only took this notion to the extreme, he combined it with shrewd tactical and strategic thinking. He immediately initiated a series of military reforms. Alexander the Great’s wild successes were as much the result of his father Phillip II’s military reforms as they were the young ruler’s daring and imagination. Ancient Macedonian army is similar to these war factions: Macedonia (ancient kingdom), History of Macedonia (ancient kingdom), Alexander the Great and more. At Ecbatana, the Thessalians with Alexander's army were mustered out and sent home. 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