[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: orion-list 1QM Col. ix.3-5; Origins of differentworkinghypotheses .
Dierk van der Berg suggests that the army of the Sons of Light was
subdivided into four hosts, based in part on analogy affinities between the
War Scroll (especially column 1) and Jub. 38, where the sons of Jacob divide
into four groups of three to fight enemies on four sides of the fortress at
However, it is likely that Jub. 38 simply draws on the wilderness camp in
Numbers, where three tribes were assigned to each side of the camp. This is
also the source for the idealized tribal organization of the Sons of Light
into four divisions of three tribes each at 1QM iii 14, each with a "banner
of the camp chiefs of the three tribes." Clearly the stationary camp of the
Sons of Light was laid out in a square, after the model in Numbers, perhaps
also influenced by the famed square camps of the Roman legions (described at
length in Polybius book 6). The arrangement of the 1QM camp with three
tribes per side was theoretical, since the army from Jerusalem consisted only
of Levites, Judahites, and Benjamites (1QM i 2), but perhaps these banners
still existed for morale purposes - could troops have been assigned honorary
membership in a unit of Simeon, e.g., for defensive deployment on a specific
side of the camp? What is significant is that (1) these are banners of the
"camp chiefs" -- that is, relating to the stationary camp of the army at
rest; (2) such terms as "chiefs of the three tribes" only occur in col.
iii-iv, not in col. v-ix which deal with deployment of the army on the field
of battle. On the battlefield we have seven legions of 4000 troops each in
four lines of a 1000, as in the 2nd century Roman legions.
In columns iv-ix we do occasionally have the term "camps" applied to the
mobile army in the field, contrary to Dierk's view that 1QM vi 10 gives
instructions for the cavalry to "take up position on all [four] flanks of the
[stationary] camp." 1QM vi 8-10 is quite explicit in naming _two_ flanks:
"right" and "left", "one" side and the "other", on the "first flank" and
"second flank" of the line facing the enemy army. 1QM vi 10 can thus only
refer to "position on all [both] flanks of the [mobile] camp." Dierk writes:
> To reduce the sides of the camp merely to the two flanks of a standard
> formation <snip> would consequently mean, that the scroll conserves
> two different definitions of 'camp' as a technical term.
> And that seems to be less probable, at least to me.
1QM does use both definitions of camp, both that of a fortified
stationary field camp and a mobile camp (the army in battle maneuvers). For
a very relevant parallel, consider the use of the term 'camp' at 1 Macc.
6.32, 33, 38, 40, 42, 48. At 6.32 the term is used to refer to the
stationary camp of Lysias at Beth-zur. At 6.33, 38, 40, 42, 48 it refers to
the armies in motion on the road to Beth-zechariah (e.g. 6.42 "And Judah and
his camp approached the battle..."). Here the same terminology is used to
refer to the camp at rest and in motion. Since 1 Maccabees is a translation
from the Hebrew, this fluctuating terminology in Greek reflects a similar
variation in usage of the term in Hebrew. Of especial relevance is 1 Macc.
6.38, "And the rest of the horsemen they positioned on either side of the
[mobile] camp..." -- an exact parallel to 1QM vi 10, where the cavalry "take
position on all [both] flanks of the camp." Cavalry were required to defend
the vulnerable flanks of the infantry on the battlefield. I can recall no
instance where cavalry were used to defend the stationary camp of the army at
rest - trenches, palisades, and infantry were used for this.
Dierk also writes:
> For me the columns 3-9 are nothing but a worth maneuver,
> simply because the redactors are unable to construct coordinated actions,
> e.g. to develop the flanks by a classical cavalry attack on a specific
> wing, the first thing we'd expect in an ancient battle. Instead of that,
> scroll starts with skirmishing, which refers to an enemy who has no
> for skirmishers are utmost vulnerable against counterattacks by cavalry.
Romans and Greeks alike had the same three phases of battle, namely
(following the lucid account at Bar-Kochva, _Judas Maccabaeus_ 21-26) (a) an
exchange between skirmishers, (b) a cavalry attack on the flanks, and (c) the
clash of the heavy infantry. Dierk is mistaken in saying cavalry attacks
typically came first. Dierk's contention that the opposing army in the War
Scroll lacked cavalry is also mistaken. 1QM vi 9 has the skirmishers
accompanied by cavalry: this was required to defend against counterattacks
by the enemy cavalry. And 1QM ix 6-7 has the cavalry of the Sons of Light
active at the enemy wings, contrary to Dierk's reading of col. iii-ix.
Finally, Dierk suggests that the seven divisions of the War Scroll army
enter the battle in a sort of single file, only the first engaging the enemy.
> The only possibility to understand the tactical intentions of the source
> the text!) is to assume, that we see a kind of later literary overworking
> Lysias' historical march on rough terrain to Beit Zachariah. There it was
> temporarily impossible for the Seleucid Army to develop a frontline wider
> than a single chiliarchia and their small wing cavalry, so they formed
> similar to the 'northern' War Scroll corps a defile of eight units of a
> Thousand one behind the other, whereas the lights of both infantry and
> cavalry made themselves superfluous in the hills on both sides of the
> and played to role in the battle.
If Lysias was forced to march his chiliarchia in sequence due to terrain
(as inferred by Bar-Kochva from 1 Macc. 6.40), this would scarcely become the
basis for all subsequent general tactics of the Jewish army. For one thing,
Lysias marched all his chilirachia side-by-side in the broader parts of road
to Beth-Zechariah (as inferred by Bar-Kochva from 1 Macc. 6.38). It was only
in the narrow defile that Lysias was forced to march the chiliarch in
sequence (and indeed in a narrow column of only 32 phalangites abreast). It
was most likely this difficult terrain and consequentially unusual military
formation that prompted Judas Maccabaeus to ambush Lysias' army at this
location. This vulnerable, relatively defenseless military formation of
Lysias' army would scarcely have been thereafter adopted as the standard
formation of the Sons of Light! Besides, Maccabees and Josephus both mention
only the narrow defile, not the eight chiliarchia marching in sequence: the
latter is only an inferred reconstruction by Bar-Kochva (albeit a correct
one), the point being that I doubt the War Scroll authors read Bar-Kochva.
In any case, the seven legions of the War Scroll must be understood to have
fought side by side, in accordance to standard Roman (and Greek) practices.
To face several enemy legions with only one of your own would be pure
suicide. Finally, historical allusions indicate that 1QM 2-9 was written in
winter 163 BCE, and the final redaction of the War Scroll in summer 163 BCE,
before the battle with Lysias in late summer / early fall.
For private reply, e-mail to RGmyrken@aol.com
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to email@example.com with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.