The Floating Warhorses of Alexander the Excellent: The Menacing Mount of the Macedonians

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The rider should have a firm seat when going at complete speed more than all sort of ground

and should also be in a position to use his weapons nicely on horseback.   ( Xenophon, On Horsemanship , eight)

When Philip II came to the throne of ancient Macedon in the turbulent days of 359 BC, the nation was besieged. Illyrians had been amassing to the north, Greeks occupied the main coastal cities, Thracian tribes and Persian gold had been vying to topple the state to set up a puppet regime. The young Macedonian king had 3 survival solutions: marry daughters of hostile warlords to forge new alliances, bribe his way out of difficulty, or create an army that could repel any foreign menace. Philip’s holistic approach employed all 3.

Philip II of King of Macedon, a Hellenistic-era sculpted bust, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Public Domain)

Philip II of King of Macedon, a Hellenistic-era sculpted bust, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek ( Public Domain )

Philip’s Vision and Legacy

Via the subsequent 20 years of his consolidating energy, which culminated in the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC and absolute handle of Greece, Philip trebled the landmass below Macedonian handle and raised its revenue several-fold, principally from occupied gold and silver deposits and mines. His most enduring legacy, having said that, apart from his precocious son who was destined to conquer Persia, was his reform of the state’s military. Arguably the most notable advance was the revised part of cavalry.

The exiled Athenian combatants and historians Thucydides and Xenophon supplied a image of the early composition of the Macedonian army in the prior century in the course of the reign of King Perdiccas II (448-413 BC) which overlapped with the Peloponnesian War, a conflict which had itself shaken up tactical believed. The military comprised a tiny achieved corps of cavalry – principally applied in ancillary roles such as scouting and skirmishing, having said that – a modest quantity of hoplites, and a additional various force of light troops from domestic tribes or client princes, nonetheless brigaded by tribe as Nestor advised in the Iliad. This was all set to transform.

A drawing of a Macedonian phalanx. F. Mitchell, Department of History, United States Military Academy (Public Domain)

A drawing of a Macedonian phalanx. F. Mitchell, Division of History, United States Military Academy ( Public Domain )

The Day the Hoplite Died

As a teenager, Philip had been a hostage at Thebes in the reign of his oldest brother, Alexander II, at a time when Theban military innovators had gained primacy in Greece following victory more than Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC.

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David Grant is author of In Search of the Lost Testament of Alexander the Excellent and his new book, Unearthing the Loved ones of Alexander the Excellent , the Exceptional Discovery of the Royal Tombs of Macedon

Top rated Image : An ancient fresco of Macedonian soldiers from the tomb of Agios Athanasios, Thessaloniki, Greece, 4th century BC ( Public Domain )

By David Grant

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