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Re: orion-list 1Chr 27, 1QM and 11QT on militia
first I have to correct my somewhat overhasty argument based upon a modern
but misleading reference in Polybius 30.25.1-11 by M. M. Sage in_Warfare in
ancient Greece_ Routledge, NY 1996.
[The following is extracted from B. bar Kochva_ The Seleucid Army_ Cambridge
Classical Studies, NY 1976, esp. pp. 55ff.]
The Royal Guard of the argyraspides ('silver shields') numbered 10,000 foot
between the battle at Raphia 217 BC and the parade at Daphne 165 BC,
whereas the 'crack force' of the hypaspists was a picked part of the
argyraspides and numbered 2,000 foot. Therefore the ordinary argyraspides
formed two of the largest Seleucid units called strategoi of 4,000 foot
each, thus leaving two chiliarchies of 1,000 foot for the storm troops of
Now I don't know exactly why bar Kochva had changed his above opinion in a
later book (which is not a hand here!), nevertheless I'll try to reconstruct
it from the misleading reference in Polybius 30.25.1-11:
"... [The festival at Daphne] was led by 5,000 men in the prime of their
life (i.e., picked force, former part of the genuinely 10,000 argyraspides)
equipped in Roman fashion ... Next came 20,000 Macedonians of whom 5,000
chalkaspides carried bronze shields (see the "Romans" above) and the
remainder (15,000) argyraspides silver shields..."
Here we realize that the elite troops numbered 15,000 argyraspides (plus
5,000 'Romans'). No doubt an error according to the strength of the
chalkaspides or standard phalangites, for now they would form an unrealistic
minority within the phalanx! However, the 15,000 argyraspides (!) - if seen
as the *complete* Guard - are divisible into three strategoi of *ordinary*
argyraspides numbered 12,000 (that's your 'Guard'), thus leaving three
chiliarchies of 1,000 foot to the hypaspists. Maybe that was the reason for
the remarkable Royal Guard of 12,000 foot - in any case a mistake, for the
levy quote of the military pool of the argyraspides, the rural military
settlements called katoikiai had reached its maximum at 10,000 young men.
Bar Kochva's *new* thesis seemingly not only undermines his earlier one
from the late 70s but it seems to be completely aside the beaten tracks of
classical scholarship and everything we have learned of the selection
schemata of the argyraspides.
However, we should remember that Daphne is clearly linked with the Maccabean
uprising on the timeline, thus leaving neither enough time nor good reasons
for an increase of the argyraspides beyond the possibilities of the military
Nb. I guess if you use a different translation of the War Scroll, for the
troops in my text are developed on all *four* sides of the camp in equal
strength, a maneuver problem worth to handle with *seven* legions. Therefore
you'd need either four or eight legions to do battle on all sides...
In the meantime I'll stay close to my thesis of *four* corps formed by seven
(in the source *six*) brigades, the somewhat non-Seleucid 1/4-wing (cf.
1Macc 5) in the overall strength of 8,750 resp. 7,500 combatants.
For private reply, e-mail to "Dierk" <haGalil@gmx.net>
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