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Re: orion-list 1QM Col. ix.3-5; Origins of different working hypotheses .
Dierk van der Berg points out a difficult passage, 1QM ix.3-5. It is useful
to consider column ix as a whole in context. The previous column dealt with
the deployment of three waves of skirmishers (slings, javelins, spears and
swords), with accompanying trumpet blasts. At ix.1-2 it is presumed that the
skirmishers [and presumably light cavalry] have been effective enemy line has
been disrupted, and so the seventh lot of battle is about to begin, i.e. the
clash of the main infantry battalions.
"... And all the throng shall stop the alarm signal, but the priests shall
continue blowing the trumpets of destruction to direct the battle until the
enemy has been routed and turns its back, and the priests shall follow,
blowing, to direct the battle." (Martinez translation 1QM ix.1-7.)
Here the trumpets of destruction control the action of the final infantry
clash in which the enemies are routed and flee.
"And when they have been routed in front of them, the priests shall blow the
rallying trumpets, and all infantry-men shall go out towards them from the
midpoint of their front lines." (1QM ix.3-4.)
The previous trumpets of destruction had been to signal the clash of
infantry. Now the rallying trumpets are used to _maintain order_. In
battles in ancient times, there was a tendency for the apparently victorious
army to simply take up a disorganized pursuit once the enemy lines had been
breached. This sometimes had disastrous results, as when e.g. the other
general ordered part of his forces to feint a retreat, launching a
counter-offensive when the "victorious" army's discipline broke in the heat
of pursuit. The above passage indicates that the infantry advance in
pursuit of a routed, retreating army must be orderly, the entire front line
keeping even with the battalion in the center.
"Six battalions shall take up position together with the battalion which is
fighting, seven lines in all, twenty-eight thousand warriors and six thousand
on horse." (1QM ix 4-5.)
All seven legions are deployed side-by-side in a rectangular formation, the
seven "lines" being the seven front battalions in direct contact with the
enemy. The above passage, as I read it in light of ancient military tactics,
envisions that the enemy breakup has been accomplished starting in one of
these seven divisions, "the battalion which is fighting." The other six
battalions of the front line are to keep even ("take up position together")
with the seventh battalion, the whole army of 28,000 troops (in seven legions
of 4000 each) and 6000 cavalry entering the fray, but in an orderly fashion.
"All these shall pursue the enemy to exterminate them in God's battle for
eternal destruction. The priests shall blow the trumpets of pursuit for
them, and they shall divide for the pursuit to destruction of all the enemy.
And the cavalry will make them return to the battle zone, until their
annihilation." (1QM ix.5-7.)
While the trumpets of rallying are being sounded, the legions are to advance
in strict coordination, keeping even rank. It is only when the priests give
the signal with the "trumpets of pursuit" that the battalions are permitted
to "divide" (i.e. act independently) to pursue the fully routed enemy, the
cavalry herding them back from the edges.
>From my analysis of 1QM ix, there is nothing inconsistent with legionary
tactics; likewise column v, which refers to seven "front line" battalions
when the seven legions are initially arrayed side-by-side, the rest of the
troops behind them.
Dierk van der Berg concludes as follows:
> The similarities between the earlier stages of redaction and the
> Seleucid organization during Lysias' march to Beith Zacharia are utmost
> remarkable; see Bar-Kochva_The Seleucid Army_pp.174ff.
It would be interesting to read the specific parallels you perceive. Note
that Lysias' army of summer 163 BCE was a mixture of Hellenistic and Roman
armed-and-trained troops. One could argue for the following parallels
between his army and that of 1QM.
(1) Elephants with "towers" cf. the "tower" formation of 1QM ix.10-16 (almost
certainly coincidence in terminology).
(2) Polished shields of gold and brass (1 Macc. 6.39 cf. brass shield
material in 1QM v.4-5).
(3) It is probable that the Seleucid army included units of cataphracts, i.e.
armored horsemen, as the Seleucids incorporated such units since ca. 210-206
BCE (see Bar-Kochva, _Judas Maccabaeus_ 12-14). 1QM vi.15 has been taken by
some (including Dierk) to refer to cataphracts, although the crucial word in
a a lacuna.
Are these possible parallels real or illusory? I'm skeptical, but open to
argument. It is interesting that the battle of Beth-Zechariah was in late
summer 163, directly after the War Scroll was written per my arguments in
"Historical Allusions in the War Scroll", DSD 5 (1998) 172-214. And indeed
the War Scroll was written as the Maccabean war manual in direct anticipation
of the coming encounter with Lysias, per that article. It is remotely
conceivable that 1QM retains a few minor features of their opponents'
Hellenistic warfare - if so, this requires clear proof - but in substance it
clearly reflects the weaponry, structure and tactics of the Roman legions.
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