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Re: orion-list War Scroll String

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-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: Tom Simms <tsimms@mailserv.nbnet.nb.ca>
An: <orion@mscc.huji.ac.il>
Gesendet: Freitag, 6. August 1999 13:13
Betreff: orion-list War Scroll String

Tom states, that
> two examples of [Alexander's tactics] are the Battles of Issos and
> 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.

I'll reply with Tarn, that
"the West first made its acquaintance [with elephants] in Alexander's battle
on the
Hydaspes against Porus, for the elephants at Gaugamela were not in action.
was quite unlike Alexander's other battles; as untrained horses will not
elephants he was unable himself to help his army, beyond defeating Porus'
and pretending them from interfering. In most of his battles he saved his
men all he
could by using his brains; he never, if he could by any means avoid it,
fought a
battle like Pyrrhus' battles with the Romans, in which the two sides merely
each other till something gave way. But against the two hundred elephants of
Porus he
had no choice; all he could do was to put some of his best infantry in line
and leave it
to them. They did defeat the elephants, but it was quite evidently a fearful
The men were never quite the same again, and from that battle dates the
weariness which led to the mutiny on the Beas; while the impression made on
generals, and particularly upon Seleucus, who had led the line, was that
were an arm to be obtained at any price, and after Alexander's death every
one of
the contending generals got all the elephants he could."
                              Tarn_Hellenistic & Naval Developments_pp.93f.,
Oxford 1930

Tom continues:
> 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.

"Must come from" is somewhat exaggerated, but indeed one cannot ignore the
in late Hellenistic warfare to come back to Alexander's flexible tactics by
using mixed
battalions with decreased numbers of ranks guarded with strong wing cavalry,
whereas the gaps between the mini-phalanxes were filled by lights - already
successfully used tactics in the battles at Paraitacene and Gabiene between
and Antigonus 317 BC. In so far Tom hits the point.
See Oikonomides (ed.)_ The Ancient World_vol. XII.3-4, Chicago 1985

Tom winds up by saying
> the War Scroll will entertain military scholars for years but I
> don't think it represented any sort of reality for the Maccabean
> armies.

Maybe reverse: the Maccabean armies were history for the Scroll redaction.

However, high probably the ancient audience (of volunteers) never had the
to scrutinize the context of the scroll expressed by a certain political


[veteran - that's harmless]

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