lesbiassparrow: (rose bad wolf)
[personal profile] lesbiassparrow
...and probably don't want to know. But I will tell you anyway, because that's the sort of person I am. I think that makes me very Roman, because the Romans weren't the sort of people to consult your opinion on anything. Of course, I don't actually have an empire, but maybe someone will leave one lying around so I can pick it up.

1. For a long, long time, the Spartans were the only people who could advance in step. Everyone else in ancient Greece usually only turned up a few days before the battle, but the Spartans could spend all their time training. Mind you, the Spartans also could only do this because they'd enslaved and routinely terroized their neighbours, the Messenians

2. The Spartans were also the only people with matching equipment; everyone else just turned up in what they bought privately or could borrow off friends with more money.

3. It was a long time before people worked out how to use cavalry against foot soldiers because there were no stirrups and saddles and so if you hit into a heavily armoured group of men in formation you'd probably fall off your horse and not do any damage before they killed you. Philip of Macedon was the guy who worked out that you could give them a long javelin to poke at people and solve that problem.

4. Pyrrhus (he of the Pyrrhic victory) was killed when an old woman threw a tile at his head from a roof, stunning him enough so someone could finish him off.

5. Elephants were great in war until they freaked out and trampled their own side. This happened a lot. They are also only effective against tightly packed infantry; they just sort of slide through infantry in loose formation

6. Both cities that suffered the most and offered up the biggest percentages of their manpower in the Persian Wars - Thespis and Plataea - get pretty much wiped out in the Peloponnesian War.

7. Livy once spent several very funny pages explaining why the Romans would have defeated Alexander had he attacked them. This is the earliest known example of what would later morph into the 'Superman vs. Spiderman' debate.

Date: 2007-02-02 05:08 am (UTC)
thatfangirl: (palgolak)
From: [personal profile] thatfangirl
This is the earliest known example of what would later morph into the 'Superman vs. Spiderman' debate.

For the first time in my life I want to [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes something.

Date: 2007-02-03 05:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I just love that Livy section, it really is so very funny. Perhaps almost as funny are his impossible battle descriptions...

Date: 2007-02-02 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] meyerlemon.livejournal.com
This is pretty much the greatest post ever!

ELEPHANTS. SLIDING THROUGH.

Date: 2007-02-03 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I very much enjoy thinking about elephants simply running through ranks and then wandering around being terribly astonished miles away.

Date: 2007-02-02 11:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] agentsculder.livejournal.com
I think that makes me very Roman, because the Romans weren't the sort of people to consult your opinion on anything.

Heeeee! True stuff is always funny. Gotta love those Roman ancestors of mine.

And don't worry, I find stuff like this fascinating, but then again I am a history geek. Actually, I've been meaning to read a buit more about ancient Greek and ROman history. Got any good book recommendations?

Date: 2007-02-03 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
If you have any particular interests let me know and I will try and suggest something. I am currently in the throes of reading about ancient warfare because I am teaching it, but I do read other things.

Date: 2007-02-02 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenofthorns.livejournal.com
#7 - heeeeeeeee! Awesome!

Also, this is such an exciting post for me because I'm actually reading about the Spartan Hoplites RIGHT NOW. I feel they were much like the tanks of the ancient world (only, people.) Also, I like the 'pelters' - clearly this wasn't such a novel concept for the Greeks as it was for David, eh?

Date: 2007-02-03 05:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I love that the Spartans get horribly beat up by the peltasts on several occasions even as they are all snooty about them. It seems very fitting somehow.

Date: 2007-02-06 04:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenofthorns.livejournal.com
So, in my book about the Peloponnesian War, the author keeps mentioning this great Theban general called Epaminondas who defeated the Spartans some years later - do you have any recommended readings about this guy?

Date: 2007-02-07 07:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
I don't know anything specifically on him apart from the Nepos life. :( I do have a collection of sources on the battle of Leuctra which I could email to you if you want, but beyond that I am bit out of information.

Date: 2007-02-07 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] queenofthorns.livejournal.com
Oh, that's what I thought - there just isn't much out there, eh? I was reading about how Xenophon really liked the Spartans and so avoided mentioning Epaminondas much at all. Heh!

I found out about E's revolutionary tactics, though, although they seem so simple in hindsight :P

Date: 2007-02-02 01:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chelseagirl47.livejournal.com
Fabulous info -- I particularly like the bits about Pyrrhus and Livy.

I'm rereading the Prince for class next week and your ancient warfare bits are *much* funnier than Machiavelli's.

Date: 2007-02-03 05:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Pyrrhus' ending is so very fitting somehow. I bet that old lady leapt around in triumph afterwards as well she should.

Date: 2007-02-02 01:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vaznetti.livejournal.com
Whoever has the most elephants loses. I have a vague memory that this is the first law of ancient warfare.

Livy once spent several very funny pages explaining why the Romans would have defeated Alexander had he attacked them. This is the earliest known example of what would later morph into the 'Superman vs. Spiderman' debate.

I may borrow this -- I tend to use "Enterprise vs. Death Star" but I think that marks me out as a little too geeky.

Date: 2007-02-03 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Whoever has the most elephants loses. I have a vague memory that this is the first law of ancient warfare.

I seem to remember this also. But I recently read about a battle where actually having more elephants was an advantage which upset all my preconceived notions.

Date: 2007-02-05 12:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Ipsus! The battle of Ipsus. I finally remember that it was there that having more elephants actually helped as Seleucus used them to cut off the cavalry of Demetrius.

...Sorry I just remember it and had to share this important bit of information.

Date: 2007-02-03 04:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_eliza_b/
Awesome, especially #4. Don't feel that no one else is interested in this stuff - I, for one, love historical anecdotes like these. I was going to say that it's funny how absurd the ancients were, but come to think of it, people haven't really changed...

Date: 2007-02-03 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lesbiassparrow.livejournal.com
Thank you...no people don't change much, though I do think it is awfully nice to know that the so-called 'small' people could always change the course of history.

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