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orion-list War Scroll String
As a student of the career of Alexander the Great this string on
the War Scroll has been highly interesting.
I have two impressions:
o - It explains why the Diadochi fared so poorly in battle;
o - It makes clear how much of scripture was created.
Some personal data: I trained as an Officer Cadet during the late
forties/early fifties in the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps. One
of our instructors was a RAOC Captain who had served as a Brevet
Brigadier in the Sudanese Army. Acquired my enthusiasms for MG-
TCs from him and a lot of other things. Brigadier J.F.C. Fuller,
who wrote THE BOOK on Alexander's Campaign, was known to him. My
Ordnance Corps training gave me an edge on appreciating Donald
Engels' small but definitive text on _Alexander the Great and the
Logistics of the Macedonian Army_, published in 1978.
Did not G. Julius Caesar once feel he had reached the age Alex-
ander died and had done nothing to compare?
I say so by noting that little of the deployments the War Scroll
extols were followed by Alexander as best I can tell from Fuller
and my own readings. He seemed to consider the Phalanx a week
reed on anything but smooth ground but used his cavalry and light
mobile slingers to great advantage, often seizing the moment of
attack personally to effect a win.
Two examples of this are the Battles of Issos and Arbela/Gau-
gemala. Yet his finest and most brilliant effort was fought
on crossing and on the banks of Hydapses in Kashmir where he
created a marvellously effective neutralizing of elephants in his
first contact with them.
The Jerusalem Temple scribes sources for the War Scroll must come
from the generals serving under Eumenes, Alexander's secretary
and simply dolled up to match the sort of errors the Diadochi
were developing from Alexander's brilliant and economic use of
small forces to defeat large ones.
The Romans turned the Phalanx into a brutally effective machine
by changing the armor they wore and weapons they used. The
sarissa was not only next to useless in close quarters as Alexan-
der knew, but a major and lethal impediment. The short Roman
pila and gladius turned Roman foot soldiers into something as
effective as sentiant and thinking modern tanks.
The War Scroll will entertain military scholars for years but I
don't think it represented any sort of reality for the Maccabean
Marvellous hortative literature nonetheless.
Remember the qualification!
P.S. If the Agrippa that Pliny uses was Marcus Vipsanius then Herod
himself likely showed him Masada.
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