What is the latest case of employment of Cretan archers in Antiquity?

What is the latest case of employment of Cretan archers in Antiquity?

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It is known that Cretan archers were widely used (presumably as mercenaries) across Mediterranean by Greek armies and were occasionally included in Roman armies of Republic and of Imperial period. I do not remember if there is a secure evidence for that so cannot provide reference, but somewhere I have seen the Cretan archers mentioned in Dacian wars of emperor Trajan.

But what is the latest known case of employment of Cretan archers, supported by reliable evidence? Is there any evidence for the use of Cretan archers in Roman Empire in III-V centuries AD?

Ancient Greece

Ancient Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάς , romanized: Hellás) was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity (c. AD 600). This era was immediately followed by the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine period. [1] Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the age of Classical Greece, from the Greco-Persian Wars to the 5th to 4th centuries BC. The conquests of Alexander the Great of Macedon spread Hellenistic civilization from the western Mediterranean to Central Asia. The Hellenistic period ended with the conquest of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, and the annexation of the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Classical Greek culture, especially philosophy, had a powerful influence on ancient Rome, which carried a version of it throughout the Mediterranean and much of Europe. For this reason, Classical Greece is generally considered the cradle of Western civilization, the seminal culture from which the modern West derives many of its founding archetypes and ideas in politics, philosophy, science, and art. [2] [3] [4]


The Turkish name of the city is Trabzon. It is historically known in English as Trebizond. The first recorded name of the city is the Greek Tραπεζοῦς (Trapezous), referencing the table-like central hill between the Zağnos (İskeleboz) and Kuzgun streams on which it was founded ( τράπεζα meant "table" in Ancient Greek note the table on the coin in the figure). In Latin, Trabzon was called Trapezus, which is a latinization of its ancient Greek name. Both in Pontic Greek and Modern Greek, it is called Τραπεζούντα (Trapezounta). In Ottoman Turkish and Persian, it is written as طربزون . During Ottoman times, Tara Bozan was also used. [5] [6] [7] [8] In Laz it is known as ტამტრა (T'amt'ra) or T'rap'uzani, [9] in Georgian it is ტრაპიზონი (T'rap'izoni) and in Armenian it is Տրապիզոն Trapizon. The 19th-century Armenian travelling priest Byjiskian called the city by other, native names, including Hurşidabat and Ozinis. [10] Western geographers and writers used many spelling variations of the name throughout the middle ages. These versions of the name, which have incidentally been used in English literature as well, include: Trebizonde (Fr.), Trapezunt (German), Trebisonda (Sp.), Trapesunta (It.), Trapisonda, Tribisonde, Terabesoun, Trabesun, Trabuzan, Trabizond and Tarabossan.

In Spanish the name was known from chivalric romances and Don Quixote. Because of its similarity to trápala and trapaza, [11] trapisonda acquired the meaning "hullabaloo, imbroglio" [12]

Iron Age and Classical Antiquity Edit

Before the city was founded as a Greek colony the area was dominated by Colchian (Caucasian) and Chaldian (Anatolian) tribes. It is possible that the settlement origins of Trabzon go back to these tribes. The Hayasa, who had been in conflict with the Central-Anatolian Hittites in the 14th century BC, are believed to have lived in the area south of Trabzon. Later Greek authors mentioned the Macrones and the Chalybes as native peoples. One of the dominant Caucasian groups to the east were the Laz, who were part of the monarchy of the Colchis, together with other related Georgian peoples. [13] [14] [15]

According to Greek sources, [ citation needed ] the city was founded in classical antiquity in 756 BC as Tραπεζούς (Trapezous), by Milesian traders from Sinope. It was one of a number (about ten) of Milesian emporia or trading colonies along the shores of the Black Sea. Others included Abydos and Cyzicus in the Dardanelles, and nearby Kerasous. Like most Greek colonies, the city was a small enclave of Greek life, and not an empire unto its own, in the later European sense of the word. As a colony Trapezous initially paid tribute to Sinope, but early banking (money-changing) activity is suggested occurring in the city already in the 4th century BC, according to a silver drachma coin from Trapezus in the British Museum, London. Cyrus the Great added the city to the Achaemenid Empire, and was possibly the first ruler to consolidate the eastern Black Sea region into a single political entity (a satrapy).

Trebizond's trade partners included the Mossynoeci. When Xenophon and the Ten Thousand mercenaries were fighting their way out of Persia, the first Greek city they reached was Trebizond (Xenophon, Anabasis, 5.5.10). The city and the local Mossynoeci had become estranged from the Mossynoecian capital, to the point of civil war. Xenophon's force resolved this in the rebels' favor, and so in Trebizond's interest.

Up until the conquests of Alexander the Great the city remained under the dominion of the Achaemenids. While the Pontus was not directly affected by the war, its cities gained independence as a result of it. Local ruling families continued to claim partial Persian heritage, and Persian culture had some lasting influence on the city the holy springs of Mt. Minthrion to the east of the old town were devoted to the Persian-Anatolian Greek god Mithra. In the 2nd century BC the city with its natural harbours was added to the Kingdom of Pontus by Pharnaces I. Mithridates VI Eupator made it the home port of the Pontic fleet, in his quest to remove the Romans from Anatolia.

After the defeat of Mithridates in 66 BC the city was first handed to the Galatians, but it was soon returned to the grandson of Mithradates, and subsequently became part of the new client Kingdom of Pontus. When the kingdom was finally annexed to the Roman province of Galatia two centuries later, the fleet passed to new commanders, becoming the Classis Pontica. The city received the status of civitas libera, extending it judicial autonomy and the right to mint its own coin. Trebizond gained importance for its access to roads leading over the Zigana Pass to the Armenian frontier or the upper Euphrates valley. New roads were constructed from Persia and Mesopotamia under the rule of Vespasian. In the next century, the emperor Hadrian commissioned improvements to give the city a more structured harbor. [16] The emperor visited the city in the year 129 as part of his inspection of the eastern border (limes). A mithraeum now serves as a crypt for the church and monastery of Panagia Theoskepastos (Kızlar Manastırı) in nearby Kizlara, east of the citadel and south of the modern harbor.

Trebizond was greatly affected by two events over the following centuries: in the civil war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger, the city suffered for its support of the latter, and in 257 the city was pillaged by the Goths, despite reportedly being defended by "10,000 above its usual garrison", and being defended by two bands of walls. [16]

Although Trebizond was rebuilt after being pillaged by the Goths in 257 and the Persians in 258, the city did not soon recover. Only in the reign of Diocletian appears an inscription alluding to the restoration of the city Ammianus Marcellinus could only write of Trebizond that it was "not an obscure town." Christianity had reached Trebizond by the third century, for during the reign of Diocletian occurred the martyrdom of Eugenius and his associates Candidius, Valerian, and Aquila. [17] Eugenius had destroyed the statue of Mithras which overlooked the city from Mount Minthrion (Boztepe), and became the patron saint of the city after his death. Early Christians sought refuge in the Pontic Mountains south of the city, where they established Vazelon Monastery in 270 AD and Sumela Monastery in 386 AD. As early as the First Council of Nicea, Trebizond had its own bishop. [18] Subsequently, the Bishop of Trebizond was subordinated to the Metropolitan Bishop of Poti. [18] Then during the 9th century, Trebizond itself became the seat of the Metropolitan Bishop of Lazica. [18]

Byzantine period Edit

By the time of Justinian, the city served as an important base in his Persian Wars, and Miller notes that a portrait of the general Belisarius "long adorned the church of St. Basil." [19] An inscription above the eastern gate of the city, commemorated the reconstruction of the civic walls following an earthquake at Justinian's expense. [19] At some point before the 7th century the university (Pandidakterion) of the city was reestablished with a quadrivium curriculum. The university drew students not just from the Byzantine Empire, but from Armenia as well. [20]

The city regained importance when it became the seat of the theme of Chaldia. Trebizond also benefited when the trade route regained importance in the 8th to 10th centuries 10th-century Muslim authors note that Trebizond was frequented by Muslim merchants, as the main source transshipping Byzantine silks into eastern Muslim countries. [21] According to the 10th century Arab geographer Abul Feda it was regarded as being largely a Lazian port. The Italian maritime republics such as the Republic of Venice and in particular the Republic of Genoa were active in the Black Sea trade for centuries, using Trebizond as an important seaport for trading goods between Europe and Asia. [4] Some of the Silk Road caravans carrying goods from Asia stopped at the port of Trebizond, where the European merchants purchased these goods and carried them to the port cities of Europe with ships. This trade provided a source of revenue to the state in the form of custom duties, or kommerkiaroi, levied on the goods sold in Trebizond. [22] The Greeks protected the coastal and inland trade routes with a vast network of garrison forts. [23]

Following the Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071, Trebizond came under Seljuk rule. This rule proved transient when an expert soldier and local aristocrat, Theodore Gabras took control of the city from the Turkish invaders, and regarded Trebizond, in the words of Anna Comnena, "as a prize which had fallen to his own lot" and ruled it as his own kingdom. [24] Supporting Comnena's assertion, Simon Bendall has identified a group of rare coins he believes were minted by Gabras and his successors. [25] Although he was killed by the Turks in 1098, other members of his family continued his de facto independent rule into the next century.

Empire of Trebizond Edit

The Empire of Trebizond was formed after Georgian expedition in Chaldia, [26] commanded by Alexios Komnenos a few weeks before the sack of Constantinople. Located at the far northeastern corner of Anatolia, it was the longest surviving of the Byzantine successor states. Byzantine authors, such as Pachymeres, and to some extent Trapezuntines such as Lazaropoulos and Bessarion, regarded the Trebizond Empire as being no more than a Lazian border state. Thus from the point of view of the Byzantine writers connected with the Lascaris and later with the Palaiologos, the rulers of Trebizond were not emperors. [27] [28]

Geographically, the Empire of Trebizond consisted of little more than a narrow strip along the southern coast of the Black Sea, and not much further inland than the Pontic Mountains. However, the city gained great wealth from the taxes it levied on the goods traded between Persia and Europe via the Black Sea. The Mongol siege of Baghdad in 1258 diverted more trade caravans towards the city. Genoese and to a lesser extent Venetian traders regularly came to Trebizond. To secure their part of the Black Sea trade, the Genoese bought the coastal fortification "Leonkastron", just west of the winter harbour, in the year 1306. One of the most famous persons to have visited the city in this period was Marco Polo, who ended his overland return journey at the port of Trebizond, and sailed to his hometown Venice with a ship passing by Constantinople (Istanbul) on the way, which was retaken by the Byzantines in 1261.

Together with Persian goods, Italian traders brought stories about the city to Western Europe. Trebizond played a mythical role in European literature of the late middle-ages and the Renaissance. Miguel de Cervantes and François Rabelais gave their protagonists the desire to possess the city. [29] Next to literature, the legendary history of the city – and that of the Pontus in general – also influenced the creation of paintings, theatre plays and operas in Western Europe throughout the following centuries.

The city also played a role in the early Renaissance The western takeover of Constantinople, which formalized Trebizond's political independence, also led Byzantine intellectuals to seek refuge in the city. Especially Alexios II of Trebizond and his grandson Alexios III were patrons of the arts and sciences. After the great city fire of 1310, the ruined university was reestablished. As part of the university Gregory Choniades opened a new academy of astronomy, which housed the best observatory outside Persia. Choniades brought with him the works of Shams al-Din al-Bukhari, [30] Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Abd al-Rahman al-Khazini from Tabriz, which he translated into Greek. These works later found their way to western Europe, together with the astrolabe. The observatory Choniades built would become known for its accurate solar eclipse predictions, but was probably used mostly for astrological purposes for the emperor and/or the church. [31] Scientists and philosophers of Trebizond were among the first western thinkers to compare contemporaneous theories with classical Greek texts. Basilios Bessarion and George of Trebizond travelled to Italy and taught and published works on Plato and Aristotle, starting a fierce debate and literary tradition that continues to this day on the topic of national identity and global citizenship. They were so influential that Bessarion was considered for the position of Pope, and George could survive as an academic even after being defamed for his heavy criticism of Plato.

The Black Death arrived at the city in September 1347, probably via Kaffa. At that time the local aristocracy was engaged in the Trapezuntine Civil War. Constantinople remained the Byzantine capital until it was conquered by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II in 1453, who also conquered Trebizond eight years later, in 1461.

Its demographic legacy endured for several centuries after the Ottoman conquest in 1461, as a substantial number of Greek Orthodox inhabitants, usually referred to as Pontic Greeks, continued to live in the area during Ottoman rule, up until 1923, when they were deported to Greece. A few thousand Greek Muslims still live in the area, mostly in the Çaykara-Of dialectical region to the southeast of Trabzon. Most are Sunni Muslim, while there are some recent converts in the city [ citation needed ] and possibly a few Crypto-Christians in the Tonya/Gümüşhane area to the southwest of the city. Compared to most previously Greek cities in Turkey, a large amount of its Greek Byzantine architectural heritage survives as well.

Ottoman era Edit

The last Emperor of Trebizond, David, surrendered the city to Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire in 1461. [32] Following this takeover, Mehmed II sent many Turkish settlers into the area, but the old ethnic Greek, Laz and Armenian communities remained. According to the Ottoman tax books (tahrir defterleri), the total population of adult males in the city was 1,473 in the year 1523. [33] Approximately 85% of them were Christian and 15% Muslim. Thirteen percent of the adult males belonged to the Armenian community, while most of the other Christians were Greeks. [33] However, a significant portion of the local Christians were Islamized by the end of the 17th century - especially those outside the city - according to a research by Prof. Halil İnalcık on the Ottoman tax books (tahrir defterleri). Between 1461 and 1598 Trabzon remained the administrative center of the wider region first as 'sanjac center' of Rum Eyalet, later of Erzincan-Bayburt eyalet, Anadolu Eyalet, and Erzurum Eyalet. [34]

In 1598 it became the capital of its own province - the Eyalet of Trebizond - which in 1867 became the Vilayet of Trebizond. During the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, his son Prince Selim (later Sultan Selim I) was the Sanjak-bey of Trabzon, and Selim I's son Suleiman the Magnificent was born in Trabzon in 1494. The Ottoman government often appointed local Chepni Turks and Laz beys as the regional beylerbey. [ citation needed ] It is also recorded that some Bosniaks were appointed by the Sublime Porte as the regional beylerbeys in Trabzon. [ citation needed ] The Eyalet of Trabzon had always sent troops for the Ottoman campaigns in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Trebizond had a wealthy merchant class during the late Ottoman period, and the local Christian minority had a substantial influence in terms of culture, economy and politics. A number of European consulates were opened in the city due to its importance in regional trade and commerce. In the first half of the 19th century, Trebizond even became the main port for Persian exports. However, the opening of the Suez Canal greatly diminished the international trading position of the city. In the last decades of the 19th century, the city saw some demographic changes. Many residents from the wider region (mostly Christians, but also some Jews and Greek or Turkish speaking Muslims) started to migrate to the Crimea and southern Ukraine, in search for farmland or employment in one of the booming cities along the northern and eastern coasts of the Black Sea. Among these migrants were the grandparents of Bob Dylan and Greek politicians and artists. At the same time, thousands of Muslim refugees from the Caucasus arrived in the city, especially after 1864, in what is known as the Circassian genocide.

Next to Constantinople, Smyrna (now Izmir) and Salonika (now Thessaloniki), Trebizond was one of the cities where western cultural and technological innovations were first introduced to the Ottoman Empire. In 1835, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions opened the Trebizond Mission station that it occupied from 1835 to 1859 and from 1882 to at least 1892. [35] Hundreds of schools were constructed in the province during the first half of the 19th century, giving the region one of the highest literacy rates of the empire. First the Greek community set up their schools, but soon the Muslim and Armenian communities followed. International schools were also established in the city An American school, five French schools, a Persian school and a number of Italian schools were opened in the second half of the 19th century. [36] The city got a post office in 1845. New churches and mosques were built in the second half of the 19th century, as well as the first theater, public and private printing houses, multiple photo-studios and banks. The oldest known photographs of the city center date from the 1860s and depict one of the last camel trains from Persia.

Between one and two thousand Armenians are believed to have been killed in the Trebizond vilayet during the Hamidian massacres of 1895. While this number was low in comparison to other Ottoman provinces, its impact on the Armenian community in the city was large. Many prominent Armenian residents, among them scholars, musicians, photographers and painters, decided to migrate towards the Russian Empire or France. The large Greek population of the city was not affected by the massacre. [37] Ivan Aivazovsky made the painting Massacre of the Armenians in Trebizond 1895 based on the events. [38] Due to the high number of Western Europeans in the city, news from the region was being reported on in many European newspapers. These western newspapers were in turn also very popular among the residents of the city.

Ottoman era paintings and drawings of Trebizond

Trebizond from the sea by Ivan Aivazovsky

Engraving of the port at Çömlekçi by C. Lapante

Trebizond from the sea by Y.M. Tadevossian

Trebizond from the south by Godfrey Vigne

The quarantine station by Jules Laurens

Modern era Edit

In 1901 the harbour was equipped with cranes by Stothert & Pitt of Bath in England. In 1912 the Sümer Opera House was opened on the central Meydan square, being one of the first in the empire. The city lost many young male citizens at the Battle of Sarikamish in the winter of 1914–15. The coastal region between the city and the Russian frontier was the site of key battles between the Ottoman and Russian armies during the Trebizond Campaign, part of the Caucasus Campaign of World War I. A bombardment of the city in 1915 by the Russian navy cost the lives of 1300 citizens. [39]

In July 1915, most of the adult male Armenians of the city were marched off south in five convoys, towards the mines of Gümüşhane, never to be seen again. Other victims of the Armenian genocide were reportedly taken out to sea in boats which were then capsized. [40] [41]

The Russian army landed at Atina, east of Rize on March 4, 1916. Lazistan Sanjak fell within two days. However, due to heavy guerrilla resistance around Of and Çaykara some 50 km to the east of Trabzon, it took a further 40 days for the Russian army to advance west. [42] The Ottoman administration of Trabzon foresaw the fall of the city and called for a meeting with community leaders, where they handed control of the city to Greek metropolitan bishop Chrysantos Philippidis. Chrysantos promised to protect the Muslim population of the city. Ottoman forces retreated from Trabzon, and on April 15 the city was taken without a fight by the Russian Caucasus Army under command of Grand Duke Nicholas and Nikolai Yudenich. There was an alleged massacre of Armenians and Greeks in Trabzon just before Russian takeover of the city. [43] Many adult Turkish males left the city out of fear for reprisals, even though governor Chrysantos included them in his administration. According to some sources the Russians banned Muslim mosques, and forced Turks, who were the largest ethnic group living in the city, to leave Trabzon. [44] [ verification needed ] However, already during the Russian occupation many Turks who had fled to surrounding villages started to return to the city, and governor Chrysantos helped them to re-establish their facilities such as schools, to the dismay of the Russians. During the Russian Revolution of 1917 Russian soldiers in the city turned to rioting, with officers commandeering Trebizonian ships to flee the scene. The Russian Army ultimately retreated from the city and the rest of eastern and northeastern Anatolia. In December 1918 Trabzon deputy governor Hafız Mehmet gave a speech at the Ottoman parliament in which he blamed the former governor of Trebizond province Cemal Azmi – a non-native appointee who had fled to Germany after the Russian invasion – for orchestrating the Armenian Genocide in the city in 1915, by means of drowning. Subsequently, a series of war crimes trials were held in Trebizond in early 1919 (see Trebizond during the Armenian Genocide). Among others, Cemal Azmi was sentenced to death in absentia.

During the Turkish War of Independence several Christian Pontic Greek communities in the Trebizond province rebelled against the new army of Mustafa Kemal (notably in Bafra and Santa), but when nationalist Greeks came to Trabzon to proclaim revolution, they were not received with open arms by the local Pontic Greek population of the city. At the same time the Muslim population of the city, remembering their protection under Greek governor Crhysantos, protested the arrest of prominent Christians. Liberal delegates of Trebizond opposed the election of Mustafa Kemal as the leader of the Turkish revolution at the Erzurum Congress. The governor and mayor of Trebizond were appalled by the violence against Ottoman Greek subjects, [45] and the government of Trabzon thus refused arms to Mustafa Kemal's henchman Topal Osman, who was responsible for mass murders in the western Pontus. Osman was forced out of the city by armed Turkish port-workers. [46] Following the war and the annulment of the Treaty of Sèvres (1920), which was replaced by the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), Trebizond became part of the new Turkish republic. The efforts of the pro-Ottoman, anti-nationalist population of Trebizond only postponed the inevitable, because the national governments of Turkey and Greece agreed to a mutual forced population exchange. This exchange included well over one hundred thousand Greeks from Trebizond and the vicinity, to the relatively new Greek state. [47] During the war Trebizond parliamentarian Ali Şükrü Bey had been one of the leading figures of the first Turkish opposition party. In his newspaper Tan, Şükrü and colleagues publicized critiques of the Kemalist government, such as towards the violence perpetraited against Greeks during the population exchange.

Topal Osman's men would eventually murder parliamentarian Şükrü for his criticism of the nationalist government of Mustafa Kemal. Topal Osman was later sentenced to death and killed while resisting arrest. After pressure from the opposition his headless body was hanged by his foot in front of the Turkish parliament. Ali Şükrü Bey, who had studied in Deniz Harp Okulu (Turkish Naval Academy) and worked as a journalist in the United Kingdom, is seen as a hero by the people of Trabzon, while in neighboring Giresun there is a statue of his murderer Topal Osman.

During World War II shipping activity was limited because the Black Sea had again become a war zone. Hence, the most important export products, tobacco and hazelnuts, could not be sold and living standards degraded.

As a result of the general development of the country, Trabzon has developed its economic and commercial life. The coastal highway and a new harbour have increased commercial relations with central Anatolia, which has led to some growth. However, progress has been slow in comparison to the western and the southwestern parts of Turkey.

Trabzon is famous throughout Turkey for its anchovies called hamsi, which are the main meal in many restaurants in the city. Major exports from Trabzon include hazelnuts and tea.

The city still has a sizable community of Greek-speaking Muslims, most of whom are originally from the vicinities of Tonya, Sürmene and Çaykara. However, the variety of the Pontic Greek language - known as "Romeika" in the local vernacular, Pontiaka in Greek, and Rumca in Turkish - is spoken mostly by the older generations. [48]

Trabzon Province has a total area of 4,685 square kilometres (1,809 sq mi) and is bordered by the provinces of Rize, Giresun and Gümüşhane. The total area is 22.4% plateau and 77.6% hills. The Pontic Mountains pass through the Trabzon Province.

Trabzon used to be an important reference point for navigators in the Black Sea during harsh weather conditions. The popular expression "perdere la Trebisonda" (losing Trebizond) is still commonly used in the Italian language to describe situations in which the sense of direction is lost. [4] The Italian maritime republics such as Venice and in particular Genoa were active in the Black Sea trade for centuries. [4]

Trabzon has four lakes: Uzungöl, Çakırgöl, Sera and Haldizen Lakes. There are several streams, but no rivers in Trabzon.

Climate Edit

Trabzon has a climate typical of, but slightly warmer than most of the Black Sea region, a humid subtropical climate (Köppen: Cfa, Trewartha: Cf) with ample precipitation. [49] While local classifications classify the city as oceanic, [50] as Trabzon's summers are warmer than 22.1 °C (71.8 °F), and only 4 months of its cooler season have an average temperature below 10 °C (50 °F), it fails to qualify according to both climate classifications. Even then, however, only 1 or 2 percent of the province is classified as subtropical, [ citation needed ] as rural areas near the shores are oceanic (Cfb/Do), the mountainous offshores are humid continental (Dfb/Dc), subarctic (Dfc/Eo) and tundra (ET/Ft) in the peaks of the Pontic Alps. [51]

Summers are warm, the average maximum temperature is around 28 °C (82 °F) in August, while winters are generally cool, the lowest average minimum temperature is almost 5 °C (41 °F) in February. Precipitation is heaviest in autumn and winter, with a marked reduction in the summer months, a microclimatic condition of the city center compared to the rest of the region. [52] Snowfall is somewhat common between the months of December and March, snowing for a week or two, and it can be heavy once it snows.

The water temperature, like in the rest of the Black Sea coast of Turkey, is generally mild, and fluctuates between 8 °C (46 °F) and 20 °C (68 °F) throughout the year.

Climate data for Trabzon (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 25.9
Average high °C (°F) 11.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.7
Average low °C (°F) 5.0
Record low °C (°F) −7.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 88.8
Average precipitation days 10.82 9.68 11.09 11.32 11.00 9.95 7.32 9.32 9.64 11.27 9.27 10.64 121.3
Average relative humidity (%) 69 69 73 75 77 75 73 73 74 73 70 68 72
Mean monthly sunshine hours 83.7 90.4 105.4 126.0 170.5 210.0 182.9 173.6 147.0 139.5 108.0 83.7 1,620.7
Mean daily sunshine hours 2.3 3.0 3.2 4.5 5.5 6.4 5.7 4.9 4.9 4.1 3.5 2.1 4.2
Source 1: Turkish State Meteorological Service [53]
Source 2: Weatherbase [54] [55]

As of 1920, the port at Trabzon was considered "the most important of the Turkish Black Sea ports" by the British. It traded as far as Tabriz and Mosul. As of 1911, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey signed an agreement to develop a harbor at the port. When the Russians occupied Trabzon, a mole was built. [56] They built a breakwater and were responsible for creating an extended pier, making loading and unloading easier. In 1920, Trabzon produced linen cloth, silver filagree, tanning and small amounts of cotton, silk and wool. Tobacco and hazelnuts were exported. [57] The tobacco produced in Trabzon was called Trebizond-Platana. It was described as having "large leaves and a bright colour." [58] Trabzon was known for producing poor quality cereals, most which were grown for local use. [59]

Trabzon produced a white green bean, which was sold in Europe. It was, as of 1920, the only vegetable exported out of the province. [58] Poultry farming was also popular in Trabzon. Sericulture was seen in the area before 1914. [60] The area produced copper, silver, zinc, iron and manganese. Copper was kept for local use by coppersmiths. During the Balkan Wars production ceased due to poor exportation and fuel supplies. [61]

The current ethnic background of the people of Trabzon is mostly Turkish. [62] [63] There are also descendants of Circassian muhajiris [64] in the city, as well as smaller number of Laz people, Muslim Greeks (Romeyka-speakers) and Armenians (Hemshin). [62] [65] Local Turks are mostly of Chepni Turkmen origin. [66] The main language of these ethnic groups is Turkish. [67] Modern migration since the dissolution of the Soviet Union has brought a significant number of Russians, Ukrainians and people from the Caucasus (mostly Georgia) into the city. Russian language shops and facilities can be found in the town.

Pontic Greek has been spoken in the region since early antiquity. The local dialect developed along its own lines and is today partly intelligible to speakers of Standard Greek. It was spoken mainly by a Greek Orthodox multi-ethnic population up to the population exchange nearly all speakers of this local variant of Pontic Greek are now Muslims. [ citation needed ] A very similar dialect is spoken by a community of about 400 speakers, descendants of Christians from the Of valley now living in Greece in the village of Nea Trapezounta (New Trebizond), today part of Katerini, Central Macedonia. [68]

Laz people, who are native to the area, also live in Trabzon. Numerous villages inside and out of Trabzon of the Laz date back as early as the period of Queen Tamar's rule (Georgian: თამარი, also transliterated as T'amar or Thamar c. 1160 – 18 January 1213) in the newly unified Kingdom of Georgia. During the Queen's rule, sizeable groups of immigrating Georgians moved to Trabzon where they continue to preserve their native tongue. There was an Armenian community in Trebizond as early as the 7th century. [69]

During the 13th and 14th centuries, numerous Armenian families migrated there from Ani. [69] Robert W. Edwards published part of an early 15th-century diary from the Castilian ambassador who visited Trabzon and compared the churches of the Greek and Armenian communities. [70] It was stated by the ambassador that the Armenians, who were not well-liked by the Greeks, had a population large enough to support a resident bishop. According to Ronald C. Jennings, in the early 16th century, Armenians made up approximately 13 percent [71] of the city's population. [72] At present, Trabzon does not have an Armenian-speaking community.

The Chepni people, a tribe of Oghuz Turks who played an important role in the history of the eastern Black Sea area in the 13th and 14th centuries, live in the Şalpazarı (Ağasar valley) region of the Trabzon Province. [73] Very little has been written on the Turkification of the area. There are no historical records of any considerable Turkish-speaking groups in the Trabzon area until the late 15th century, with the exception of the Chepnis. The original Greek (and in some regions Armenian) speakers imposed features from their mother language into the Turkish spoken in the region. Heath W. Lowry's [74] work with Halil İnalcık on Ottoman tax books (Tahrir Defteri) [75] provides detailed demographic statistics for the city of Trabzon and its surrounding areas during the Ottoman period.

2. The history of the archer corps

On the eve of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles reassured the Athenian dēmos (‘people’) that they had the required armed forces to win. The third corps of which he spoke were the 1,600 archers (Thuc. 2.13.8). Forty years later, Andocides negotiated a peace treaty for ending the Corinthian War (Andoc. 3.33–5). On his return from Sparta he spoke in favour of it. The treaty that had ended the Peloponnesian War led to the overthrow of Athenian democracy (e.g. Lys. 2.61–4 Xen. Hell. 2.2–4). Andocides thus had to convince the dēmos that this would not happen again (Andoc. 3.1). Consequently he argued that there had been three earlier treaties with Sparta and that each had strengthened the state's armed forces (2.4, 6, 10). After the second, he claimed, their forebears had created a 1,200-strong corps of toxotai (‘archers’) at the same time as they had massively expanded the cavalry (Andoc. 3.7 cf. Aeschin. 2.174). It is tempting to combine these two sources.

Together Thucydides 2.13.8 and Andocides 3.7 would suggest that the archer corps, while the newer of the two branches, was also developed in two stages. Footnote 1 Nevertheless the account that Andocides gave of fifth-century history contains ‘remarkable historical and chronological errors’. Footnote 2 Admittedly IG i 3 511's discovery on the Acropolis corroborated his claim about the cavalry's two-stage creation. Footnote 3 This branch's expansion can be independently dated to the later 440s. Footnote 4 Yet Andocides manifestly got a lot more wrong about the archers. Aeschylus noted how toxotai had fought alongside hoplite epibatai (‘marines’) in the naval battle of 480/79 at Salamis (Pers. 454–61 see also Plut. Vit. Them. 14.1). There is no reason to doubt that the Athenians had recruited these archers locally. Footnote 5 Ctesias wrote that they had summoned them from Crete (FGrH 688F13.30). Against this is Herodotus’ clear evidence that the Cretans collectively decided to reject Greek calls to join the anti-Persian alliance in the late 480s (7.169). Footnote 6 The Athenian archer corps distinguished itself at Plataea in 479/8 (Hdt. 9.22.1–23.2 Anth. Pal. 6.2). During this land battle the Spartans even asked for this corps’ help (Hdt. 9.60.3). Athenian toxotai were still fighting the Persians in the late 460s (IG i 3 1147.1–3, 67–70, 127). In the 450s they formed part of the garrison that Athens installed in Erythrae after its attempted revolt (IG i 3 14.42 15.23–4). Footnote 7 Toxotai would have been no less helpful against the Persians at Marathon in 490/89. However, as the Athenians deployed no archers in this battle (Hdt. 6.112.2), the modern consensus is that they only created this branch in the 480s. Footnote 8

The earliest evidence for the archer corps is the so-called decree of Themistocles. This inscription recorded the decision of the dēmos to evacuate their families from Attica and to fight at sea that had been taken immediately before the Second Persian War. The decree had only been known from literary references. Footnote 9 Demosthenes, for one, noted how it was read out to assembly-goers in the 340s (19.303), while post-classical writers quoted from it (e.g. Plut. Vit. Them. 10.3–4). In 1960 M. H. Jameson set the world of Greek epigraphy on fire, when he published what he claimed to be an ancient copy of the original decree. Footnote 10 He had found it at Troezen on the opposite side of the Saronic Gulf to Athens. Footnote 11 This was where many of Attica's evacuated families went (Hdt. 8.41.1 Plut. Vit. Them. 10.3 ML 23.6–8). In the third century the Troezenians decided to commemorate the sanctuary that their forebears had given these evacuees (e.g. Paus. 2.31.7). Footnote 12 Erecting a copy of Themistocles’ decree was part of this commemoration. Some epigraphers immediately objected that the decree was based on a fourth-century forgery. The first reason that they gave was the inclusion of phraseology in it that appeared only in Attic inscriptions from 350. Footnote 13 But Jameson and others replied that such anachronisms need not be the work of a forger. Footnote 14 Fourth-century speeches quite often included decrees from the previous century. When the original decrees survive, it is clear that the speeches paraphrased them. Footnote 15 In so doing, public speakers regularly introduced anachronisms. Footnote 16 Therefore third-century Troezenians could well have copied a reworded version of the original decree from a fourth-century Athenian speech. Footnote 17

The second reason that some gave for why the decree was a forgery was Herodotus’ ‘clear, coherent and logical’ evidence. Footnote 18 The decree ordered the immediate evacuation of Attica and the sending of 100 triremes to Artemision and another 100 to Salamis (ML 23.4–8, 40–4). By contrast, Herodotus wrote that the evacuation was carried out in 480/79, only after the battle of Artemision and just before Salamis (8.40). The response of N. G. L. Hammond was that the decree better fitted with 7.144.3, where Herodotus described how the Athenians, one year earlier, had passed a decree to fight the Persians at sea. Footnote 19 In 481/0 Athens was still at war with Aegina (Hdt. 7.144.1 Plut. Vit. Them. 4.1 Thuc. 1.14.3). Keeping half of the Athenian fleet within the Saronic Gulf therefore made good sense. But in the course of this year a lot changed: Athens and Aegina reconciled (Hdt. 7.145.1), Attica's evacuation became less urgent the longer the Persians took to arrive, and a new strategy had to be found after Sparta's failure to stop them at Thermopylae. This was the different situation that Hdt. 8.40 described. This heated debate among epigraphers initially made ancient historians reluctant to use the decree of Themistocles. Footnote 20 Yet over the decades the case for its authenticity seems to have won the day. It is now widely seen as reliable evidence for Athenian military history. Footnote 21

The decree told the Athenian generals how they should mobilize the 200 trireme crews (ML 23.18–40). For the ten marines and the four archers on each ship it instructed them to use katalogoi or conscription lists (23.23–6). Footnote 22 That they had to specify which toxotai would be conscripted shows that the archer corps already had more than 800 members. For the rest of the fifth century an Athenian trireme would normally have four archers on board (e.g. Thuc. 2.23.1–2). Footnote 23 In 481/0 the triremes on which they served were mostly new. Two years earlier the dēmos had agreed to spend unanticipated high income from local silver mines on building new warships (e.g. [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 22.7 Hdt. 6.87–93, 7.144). Footnote 24 Themistocles had convinced them to do so for the sake of both the war against Aegina and the expected return of the Persians (Thuc. 1.14.1–2). Before his proposal, in the early 480s, Athens had owned only seventy warships (Hdt. 6.89, 92, 132). While some of these vessels probably were triremes, the majority were smaller penteconters. Footnote 25 The 200 triremes that Athens had after its shipbuilding was Greece's largest state-owned navy. Footnote 26

Thus it appears that in 483/2 the dēmos had agreed to a massive expansion and upgrading of their naval forces. Archers had a lot to contribute on trireme decks: they could kill another fleet's rowers by targeting them from a distance, help to prevent the enemy's boarding of their own ship, and, failing that, fight alongside the epibatai to save their fellow sailors. Footnote 27 ‘Archers at sea were also probably useful for killing the crews of rammed, half-sunk triremes or for enforcing their surrender.’ Footnote 28 In view of such potential, the dēmos probably saw placing archers on deck as a good way to increase the naval advantage that they sought. Footnote 29 Their naval expansion would also require many more of them to serve as sailors. Consequently, individual Athenians had a real interest in the extra safety that toxotai could give trireme crews. Likewise, the dēmos realized that archers would also help to protect those serving as hoplites from the Persian archers that they would soon be facing. Greek states normally recruited toxotai by hiring mercenaries among peoples that already practised archery (e.g. Xen. Hell. 4.2.16, 7.6). Footnote 30 This method was normally adequate for a one-off war. But it was slow and could be unreliable (e.g. Hdt. 7.169 Thuc. 3.3.2). To have an ongoing capacity to embark toxotai quickly, the Athenians decided that they must have their own archer corps. Assembling and training this force would have taken quite a lot of time. Therefore it is likely that they took the decision to establish their archer corps as part of the naval reform of 483/2. Footnote 31

IG i 3 138 shows that the members of the archer corps did not share the same legal status. This decree created a treasury to finance the upkeep of Apollo's Lyceum (IG i 3 138.9–19). Footnote 32 It was passed before 434/3, when such sacred treasuries, excluding Athena's, were amalgamated into one (IG i 3 52). Footnote 33 Jameson plausibly dated it between the mid-440s and 434/3. Footnote 34 Athens’ archers, hoplites, and horsemen most often used this athletics field for musters before going on a campaign (Ar. Pax 354–5). Footnote 35 Consequently, the decree levied an annual poll tax on them (IG i 3 138.1–7). It ordered the commanders of the archer corps to collect this tax from ‘both the astoi and the xenoi archers’ (3, 6–7). Their ability to do so presupposes that they had a central record of corps members. Footnote 36 The Athenian used astos as a synonym for citizen (e.g. Ar. Pax 32–4 [Xen.] Ath. Pol. 1.12). Footnote 37 Xenos described either a foreigner, a metic, or an ally (e.g. Dem. 49.22 Xen. Vect. 2.2). Footnote 38 Obviously corps members had to base themselves in Athens. Critically the state required any foreigner who lived there for more than a month to become a metic (e.g. IG ii 2 141.30–6). Footnote 39 He or she did so by registering an Athenian as his or her prostatēs (‘patron’) and starting to pay the metic tax (e.g. Aesch. Supp. 605–10, 963 Lys. 31.9). Failure to do either could result in enslavement (e.g. [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 59.2 Dem. 25.57 [Dem.] 35.48). Footnote 40 It is therefore certain that the xenoi of the archer corps were metics. Footnote 41

We will see that acute poverty drove citizens to join this corps. This meant that Athenian archers were certainly thētes. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that their membership of Solon's lowest-income class made them liable for archer service. We simply do not know how the corps’ commanders recruited its members. Toxotai presumably volunteered to join the corps just as rowers certainly did for naval campaigns. Footnote 42 Plassart argued that the sharp decline in thetic numbers that the Peloponnesian War had caused led to the disbandment of the archer corps. Footnote 43 For Plassart the corps was no more by 413/12. But subsequent epigraphical discoveries proved him wrong. A casualty list of 412/11 included an Athenian toxarkhos (IG i 3 1186.80).

IG i 3 1032 originally recorded the names of trireme crews from 405/4. Footnote 44 In the 1960s D. R. Laing brilliantly assembled it from eleven fragments that had mainly been found near the Erechtheum on the Acropolis. Footnote 45 His editing suggests that the original inscription, which was over 2 metres high and 1 metre wide, displayed the complete crew lists of eight triremes. Footnote 46 The lists of four triremes, which he numbered from 1 to 4, partially survive. While the extant inscription only preserves data on the legal status of three archers (1032.168–71), each of them was an Athenian. Yet this naval catalogue does point to a smaller corps, because there were only two or three archers on each ship (47–9, 168–71, 303–4). Footnote 47 An assembly speech of 403/2 also claimed that many toxotai were still citizens (Lys. 34.4). This is the last reference to the Athenian archer corps. Footnote 48 Clearly the decline in the number of thētes was not the reason for this corps’ disappearance.

What is the latest case of employment of Cretan archers in Antiquity? - History

Thucydides’ account of the Athenian war dead creates a false image of a clean and efficient, syst. more Thucydides’ account of the Athenian war dead creates a false image of a clean and efficient, systematic processing of the dead. To look beyond his description it is necessary to assess the practicalities involved in the process. In so doing, it has been necessary to reassess our own historical models. The logistics of identifying the dead accurately, combined with the amount of wood necessary to offer a complete cremation for hundreds of bodies, brings into question the notion that the war dead were cremated by tribe and kept separate up to their public burial. Similarly the notion of ash or bone returning to Athens is too clean, so use of the term “cremains” is proposed to offer an accurate terminology and bring ancient history in line with archaeological practices. When the practicalities and logistics involved in the processing of the dead are considered, some significant issues are raised concerning not only our own presumptions, but also the narrative that Thucydides himself offers.

Thucydides’ account of the Athenian war dead creates a false image of a clean and efficient, syst. more Thucydides’ account of the Athenian war dead creates a false image of a clean and efficient, systematic processing of the dead. To look beyond his description it is necessary to assess the practicalities involved in the process. In so doing, it has been necessary to reassess our own historical models. The logistics of identifying the dead accurately, combined with the amount of wood necessary to offer a complete cremation for hundreds of bodies, brings into question the notion that the war dead were cremated by tribe and kept separate up to their public burial. Similarly the notion of ash or bone returning to Athens is too clean, so use of the term “cremains” is proposed to offer an accurate terminology and bring ancient history in line with archaeological practices. When the practicalities and logistics involved in the processing of the dead are considered, some significant issues are raised concerning not only our own presumptions, but also the narrative that Thucydides himself offers.

The classical Greek siege has a very poor reputation. When compared to some more illustrious prac. more The classical Greek siege has a very poor reputation. When compared to some more illustrious practitioners of siege warfare, such as the Assyrians or the Macedonians, the Greek form has been tried and found wanting. To that end it is an oft neglected area of Greek military history its absence justified by the under developed nature of its execution. Yet, by re-evaluating Greek sieges a picture emerges that can, on the one hand, challenge this prejudice, and, on the other hand, offer greater breadth to our understanding of wider Greek military practices.

This paper will examine Greek siege tactics and their execution, showing how adaptable and innovative Greek armies were capable of being as both the aggressors and the besieged. Concurrently this paper will explore the various forms that sieges could take – from the siege of a walled city, to the siege of a barbarian village, and even the siege of an island. By surveying the wide array of sieges available for study this paper will show that the Greeks were very adept in their task-specific craft and, contrary to current scholarship, very capable of this multi-faceted form of warfare.

Battles are the foundation upon which military history is based. They form the core material from. more Battles are the foundation upon which military history is based. They form the core material from which all subsidiary interests must relate, and yet they so often get over looked for grander questions.

It is no secret that traditional military history, of battle maps and tactical manoeuvres, has become more and more the realm of popular history rather than academia, but as this paper will show, this is causing some fundamental problems to arise in scholarship which are still going unaddressed. Our over-reliance upon a set number of battles are predetermining our conclusions, usually in accordance with our preferred scholarly model of Greek combat, and warfare as a whole. It will be argued that when a much larger array of battles are examined at face value, many of our pre- existing assumptions are shown to be false. By showing how the cherry-picking of our battles can so easily create predetermined conclusions, this paper will argue that Greek military history needs to return to basics – and there is nothing more basic, nor fundamental to our subject, than the battle narrative.

There is a great divide within scholarship regarding the use, or even abuse, of modern trauma mod. more There is a great divide within scholarship regarding the use, or even abuse, of modern trauma models such as Post-traumatic Stress/Combat Stress, within the ancient historical context. The split rests very strongly on the debate regarding universality – whether there is a ‘Universal Soldier’. One side stands on universalist principles that accept all combat experience to be inherently the same, and because modern combat produces stress related trauma this must always be the case wherever and whenever there is, or has been, war. Where-as the other side places trust in the concept of individualism, and the idiosyncratic nature of every culture and their styles of warfare in turn, sometimes choosing to refuse the notion of trauma because it is in itself too unique and individual a concept to project through history.

The single greatest problem within this debate is that neither side has really attempted to set down a methodological underpinning to their argument resulting in an almost polemic argument based on scholars believing or not believing in this universalism. It is the aim of this paper to suggest a different avenue for discussion, without trying to place a method within either camp. Rather than the theoretical psychology of communal group dynamics, red-mist and beserkerism, or various social or combat relevant affects on morale, this paper will look more closely at the underpinning, biological attributes present in all humans that makes them susceptible to combat stress related trauma – and the evidence for these in the Greek sources.
By identifying the universal element of the ‘Universal Soldier’ hopefully the debate can move from could the Greeks have struggled with combat stress and trauma, to did they? Alternatively, if they did not struggle with it, then why not?

The expansion of trauma theory within the historical field has caught the imaginations of writers. more The expansion of trauma theory within the historical field has caught the imaginations of writers and critics alike. As more and more work is being expounded, a fundamental flaw is becoming more and more evident ancient historians don't understand combat trauma.

What this paper will show is the biological reality of combat trauma rather than the speculative theories so often preferred by historical commentators. By exploring neurobiology this will show, not only the effects and symptoms of trauma, but it will also fill in the methodological gaps that are preventing combat trauma from being an accepted reality of ancient Greek warfare.

Contrary to current trends, such as that of Shay (1995 & 2003) and Tritle (2002), this paper will explore trauma from a methodological perspective, meaning it will focus on the cause rather than the effect the impact of varying forms of stress rather than the sociological effects of trauma. Most importantly of all it shall be interwoven with evidence from our sources, allowing us to jump the final hurdle of imposing modern science on the Ancient world. From this redirection of enquiry this paper will show how military history can make a major impact in both its wider discipline and the outside world.

Much has been written on the modern effects of battlefield trauma it has overwhelmed scientific . more Much has been written on the modern effects of battlefield trauma it has overwhelmed scientific journals, flooded our media and has become a great focus point of the history of modern warfare. What it gives the historian is the missing link of individual experience within combat and afterwards. However, any historians who have attempted to use the template of trauma to examine cultures further into the past, say the British Civil Wars or even as far back as Ancient Greece, have been met with controversy and even derision. Through an examination of such historical enterprises it can be seen that a common theme arises that explains the lack of acceptance within the historical, as well as scientific communities a lack of scientific understanding. By separating the biological from the social issues of trauma, a more in-depth understanding opens itself for the military historian.

What this paper shall address are the scientific fields open to the historians in their study of war trauma and how the many theoretical and philosophical issues that arise can be dealt with, once armed with the right knowledge. By examining the biology of trauma, this paper will show that history can remove itself from the theoretical debates of social continuity and begin to accept trauma as a natural repercussion of warfare. Once this can be established, a greater understanding of the societies we are studying will come.

What is the latest case of employment of Cretan archers in Antiquity? - History

In Part 2 of my Prosopographic analysis of the poems of Chrétien’s Arthurian poems, I take a clos. more In Part 2 of my Prosopographic analysis of the poems of Chrétien’s Arthurian poems, I take a closer look at the few characters who feature only in the three stories Chrétien tells in his Erec and Enide poem. What these show is that, at the time he wrote this first poem, Chrétien was quite unfamiliar with the tradition he was drawing upon. And this led his to cast some characters, such as Yder, Son of Nut, into roles at odds with the Welsh tradition behind their names.

Again, a heavily truncated version of this paper was presented at the Fourth Annual Symposium on Medieval and Renaissance Studies in St Louis, Missouri, USA in June 2016.

In Le Chevalier de la Charette, the hero, Lancelot, spends the first half of the romance unnamed. more In Le Chevalier de la Charette, the hero, Lancelot, spends the first half of the romance unnamed, and apparently unrecognised, even though, as presented later in the poem, he is clearly a prominent figure at Arthur's court. Why was he left unnamed for so long? Is it merely one of Chrétien's literary device? A distortion by the poet of an older tradition about Lancelot, such as we find presented in the Lanzelet? Or does something else lie behind it? The question clearly vexed the author of the parallel section of the Prose Lancelot, considering the lengths he went to, to rationalise the events of Chrétien's poem. In this paper I would like to offer an alternative interpretation. A comparative study that also draws parallels with the Fair Unknown tales and L'Atre Perilleux (The PerilousGraveyard).

Presented at the XXth International Arthurian Congress in Bangor, Wales, July 2002.

Today, most people know the story of Arthur drawing the sword from the stone, and many also know . more Today, most people know the story of Arthur drawing the sword from the stone, and many also know the tale of his taking the sword from a hand rising out of the middle of a lake. Yet if you ask them to name Arthur’s sword, only one name, Excalibur, will spring to mind. So, did Arthur have two swords, only one of which was named, or was there only one sword, with two different accounts of its origins?

This paper examines how the modern confusion has arisen from the way the legend of Arthur’s sword was transmitted across cultures over the course of the Middle Ages. Starting with the earliest Welsh accounts, references to Arthur’s swords are traced through the Latin, Old French and Middle English texts. But it is in the early French tradition that we find the seeds of much of the later confusion. Here, a simple misunderstanding produced much later confusion as to just whose sword Excalibur really was. Thereafter, the story of Arthur’s “swords” becomes a struggle to account for, and lay the puzzle to rest. In the course of this, new tales began to be introduced to account for the origins of Arthur’s sword, and to relate its passing, while at the same time, new swords are introduced to fill the place of Excalibur in Arthur’s hand.

Most of these swords are now largely forgotten, but the stories told to account for them have much to tell us about the way cultural and linguistic differences and sometimes simple biases continually reshaped the very Arthurian legend itself. And they also reveal something too often overlooked about the role of the King’s sword in the hand of the King’s Champion.

This paper was presented and published in 1999. The current text has been subject to minor revisions to correct typographical errors, but the substance of the text remains unchanged.


In all history, nothing is so surprising or so difficult to account for as the sudden rise of civilization in Greece. Much of what makes civilization had already existed for thousands of years in Egypt and in Mesopotamia, and had spread thence to neighbouring countries. But certain elements had been lacking until the Greeks supplied them. What they achieved in art and literature is familiar to everybody, but what they did in the purely intellectual realm is even more exceptional. They invented mathematics1 and science and philosophy they first wrote history as opposed to mere annals they speculated freely about the nature of the world and the ends of life, without being bound in the fetters of any inherited orthodoxy. What occurred was so astonishing that, until very recent times, men were content to gape and talk mystically about the Greek genius. It is possible, however, to understand the development of Greece in scientific terms, and it is well worth while to do so.

Philosophy begins with Thales, who, fortunately, can be dated by the fact that he predicted an eclipse which, according to the astronomers, occurred in the year 585 B.C. Philosophy and science&mdashwhich were not originally separate&mdashwere therefore born together at the beginning of the sixth century. What had been happening in Greece and neighbouring countries before this time? Any answer must be in part conjectural, but archaeology, during the present century, has given us much more knowledge than was possessed by our grandfathers.

The art of writing was invented in Egypt about the year 4000 B.C., and in Mesopotamia not much later. In each country writing began with pictures of

the objects intended. These pictures quickly became conventionalized, so that words were represented by ideograms, as they still are in China. In the course of thousands of years, this cumbrous system developed into alphabetic writing.

The early development of civilization in Egypt and Mesopotamia was due to the Nile, the Tigris, and the Euphrates, which made agriculture very easy and very productive. The civilization was in many ways similar to that which the Spaniards found in Mexico and Peru. There was a divine king, with despotic powers in Egypt, he owned all the land. There was a polytheistic religion, with a supreme god to whom the king had a specially intimate relation. There was a military aristocracy, and also a priestly aristocracy. The latter was often able to encroach on the royal power if the king was weak or if he was engaged in a difficult war. The cultivators of the soil were serfs, belonging to the king, the aristocracy, or the priesthood.

There was a considerable difference between Egyptian and Babylonian theology. The Egyptians were preoccupied with death, and believed that the souls of the dead descend into the underworld, where they are judged by Osiris according to the manner of their life on earth. They thought that the soul would ultimately return to the body this led to mummification and to the construction of splendid tombs. The pyramids were built by various kings at the end of the fourth millennium B.C. and the beginning of the third. After this time, Egyptian civilization became more and more stereotyped, and religious conservatism made progress impossible. About 1800 B.C. Egypt was conquered by Semites named Hyksos, who ruled the country for about two centuries. They left no permanent mark on Egypt, but their presence there must have helped to spread Egyptian civilization in Syria and Palestine.

Babylonia had a more warlike development than Egypt. At first, the ruling race were not Semites, but 'Sumerians', whose origin is unknown. They invented cuneiform writing, which the conquering Semites took over from them. There was a period when there were various independent cities which fought with each other, but in the end Babylon became supreme and established an empire. The gods of other cities became subordinate, and Marduk, the god of Babylon, acquired a position like that later held by Zeus in the Greek pantheon. The same sort of thing had happened in Egypt, but at a much earlier time.

The religions of Egypt and Babylonia, like other ancient religions, were originally fertility cults. The earth was female, the sun male. The bull was usually regarded as an embodiment of male fertility, and bull-gods were common. In Babylon, lshtar, the earth-goddess, was supreme among female divinities. Throughout western Asia, the Great Mother was worshipped under various names. When Greek colonists in Asia Minor found temples to her, they named her Artemis and took over the existing cult. This is the origin of 'Diana of the Ephesians'.2 Christianity transformed her into the Virgin Mary, and it was a Council at Ephesus that legitimated the title 'Mother of God' as applied to Our Lady.

Where a religion was bound up with the government of an empire, political motives did much to tansform its primitive features. A god or goddess became associated with the State, and had to give, not only an abundant harvest, but victory in war. A rich priestly caste elaborated the ritual and the theology, and fitted together into a pantheon the several divinities of the component parts of the empire.

Through association with government, the gods also became associated with morality. Lawgivers received their codes from a god thus a breach of the law became an impiety. The oldest legal code still known is that of Hammurabi, king of Babylon (2067&ndash2025 B.C.) this code was asserted by the king to have been delivered to him by Marduk. The connection between religion and morality became continually closer throughout ancient times.

Babylonian religion, unlike that of Egypt, was more concerned with prosperity in this world than with happiness in the next. Magic, divination, and astrology, though not peculiar to Babylonia, were more developed there than elsewhere, and it was chiefly through Babylon that they acquired their hold on later antiquity. From Babylon come some things that belong to science: the division of the day into twenty-four hours, and of the circle into 360 degrees also the discovery of a cycle in eclipses, which enabled lunar eclipses to be predicted with certainty, and solar eclipses with some probability. This Babylonian knowledge, as we shall see, was acquired by Thales.

The civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia were agricultural, and those of surrounding nations, at first, were pastoral. A new element came with the development of commerce, which was at first almost entirely maritime. Weapons, until about 1000 B.C., were made of bronze, and nations which did not have the necessary metals on their own territory were obliged to obtain them by trade or piracy. Piracy was a temporary expedient, and where social and political conditions were fairly stable, commerce was found to be more profitable. In commerce, the island of Crete seems to have been the pioneer. For about eleven centuries, say from 2500 B.C. to 1400 B.C., an artistically advanced culture, called the Minoan, existed in Crete. What survives of Cretan art gives an impression of cheerfulness and almost decadent luxury, very different from the terrifying gloom of Egyptian temples.

Of this important civilization almost nothing was known until the excavations of Sir Arthur Evans and others. It was a maritime civilization, in close touch with Egypt (except during the time of the Hyksos). From Egyptian

pictures it is evident that the very considerable commerce between Egypt and Crete was carried on by Cretan sailors this commerce reached its maximum about 1500 B.C. The Cretan religion appears to have had some affinities with the religions of Syria and Asia Minor, but in art there was more affinity with Egypt, though Cretan art was very original and amazingly full of life. The centre of the Cretan civilization was the so-called 'palace of Minos' at Knossos, of which memories lingered in the traditions of classical Greece. The palaces of Crete were very magnificent, but were destroyed about the end of the fourteenth century B.C., probably by invaders from Greece. The chronology of Cretan history is derived from Egyptian objects found in Crete, and Cretan objects found in Egypt throughout, our knowledge is dependent on archaeological evidence.

The Cretans worshipped a goddess, or perhaps several goddesses. The most indubitable goddess was the 'Mistress of Animals', who was a huntress, and probably the source of the classical Artemis.3 She apparently was also a mother the only male deity, apart from the 'Master of Animals', is her young son. There is some evidence of belief in an after life, in which, as in Egyptian belief, deeds on earth receive reward or retribution. But on the whole the Cretans appear, from their art, to have been cheerful people, not much oppressed by gloomy superstitions. They were fond of bull-fights, at which female as well as male toreadors performed amazing acrobatic feats. Sir Arthur Evans thinks that the bull-fights were religious celebrations, and that the performers belonged to the highest nobility, but this view is not generally accepted. The surviving pictures are full of movement and realism.

The Cretans had a linear script, but it has not been deciphered. At home they were peaceful, and their cities were unwalled no doubt they were defended by sea power.

Before the destruction of the Minoan culture, it spread, about 1600 B.C., to the mainland of Greece, where it survived, through gradual stages of modification, until about 900 B.C. This mainland civilization is called the Mycenaean it is known through the tombs of kings, and also through fortresses on hill-tops, which show more fear of war than had existed in Crete. Both tombs and fortresses remained to impress the imagination of classical Greece. The older art products in the palaces are either actually of Cretan workmanship or closely akin to those of Crete. The Mycenaean civilization, seen through a haze of legend, is that which is depicted in Homer.

There is much uncertainty concerning the Mycenaeans. Did they owe their civilization to being conquered by the Cretans? Did they speak Greek, or were they an earlier indigenous race? No certain answer to these questions is

possible, but there is evidence which makes it probable that they were conquerors who spoke Greek, and that at least the aristocracy consisted of fair-haired invaders from the North, who brought the Greek language with them.4 The Greeks came to Greece in three successive waves, first the Ionians, then the Achaeans, and last the Dorians. The Ionians appear, though conquerors, to have adopted the Cretan civilization pretty completely, as, later, the Romans adopted the civilization of Greece. But the Ionians were disturbed, and largely dispossessed, by their successors, the Achaeans. The Achaeans are known, from the Hittite tablets found at Boghaz-Keui, to have had a large organized empire in the fourteenth century B.C. The Mycenaean civilization, which had been weakened by the warfare of the Ionians and Achaeans, was practically destroyed by the Dorians, the last Greek invaders. Whereas previous invaders had largely adopted the Minoan religion the Dorians retained the original Indo-European religion of their ancestors. The religion of Mycenaean times, however, lingered on, especially in the lower classes, and the religion of classical Greece was a blend of the two. In fact some of the classical goddesses were of Mycenaean origin.

Although the above account seems probable, it must be remembered that we do not know whether the Mycenaeans were Greeks or not. What we do know is that their civilization decayed, that about the time when it ended iron superseded bronze, and that for some time sea supremacy passed to the Phoenicians.

Both during the later part of the Mycenaean age and after its end, some of the invaders settled down and became agriculturists, while some pushed on, first into the islands and Asia Minor, then into Sicily and southern Italy, where they founded cities that lived by maritime commerce. It was in these maritime cities that the Greeks first made qualitatively new contributions to civilization the supremacy of Athens came later, and was equally associated, when it came, with naval power.

The mainland of Greece is mountainous and largely infertile. There are, however, many fertile valleys, with easy access to the sea, but cut off by the mountains from easy land communication with each other. In these valleys little separate communities grew up, living by agriculture, and centring round a town, generally close to the sea. In such circumstances it was natural that, as soon as the population of any community grew too great for its internal resources, those who could not live on the land should take to seafaring. The cities of the mainland founded colonies, often in places where it was much easier to find subsistence than it had been at home. Thus in the earliest historical period the Greeks of Asia Minor, Sicily, and Italy were much richer than those of the Greek mainland.

The social system was very different in different parts of Greece. In Sparta, a small aristocracy subsisted on the labour of oppressed serfs of a different race in the poorer agricultural regions, the population consisted mainly of farmers cultivating their own land with the help of their families. But where commerce and industry flourished, the free citizens grew rich by the employment of slaves&mdashmale in the mines, female in the textile industry. These slaves were, in Ionia, of the surrounding barbarian population, and were, as a rule, first acquired in war. With increasing wealth went increasing isolation of respectable women, who in later times had little part in the civilized aspects of Greek life except in Sparta and Lesbos.

There was a very general development, first from monarchy to aristocracy, then to an alternation of tyranny and democracy. The kings were not absolute, like those of Egypt and Babylonia they were advised by a Council of Elders, and could not transgress custom with impunity. 'Tyranny' did not mean necessarily bad government, but only the rule of a man whose claim to power was not hereditary. 'Democracy' meant government by all the citizens, among whom slaves and women were not included. The early tyrants, like the Medici, acquired their power through being the richest members of their respective plutocracies. Often the source of their wealth was the ownership of gold and silver mines, made the more profitable by the new institution of coinage, which came from the kingdom of Lydia, adjacent to Ionia.5 Coinage seems to have been invented shortly before 700 B.C.

One of the most important results, to the Greeks, of commerce or piracy&mdashat fist the two are scarcely distinct&mdashwas the acquisition of the art of writing. Although writing had existed for thousands of years in Egypt and Babylonia, and the Minoan Cretans had a script now known to be a form of Greek, the date when the Greeks acquired alphabetic writing is uncertain. They learnt the art from the Phoenicians, who, like the other inhabitants of Syria, were exposed to both Egyptian and Babylonian influences, and who held the supremacy in maritime commerce until the rise of the Greek cities of Ionia, Italy, and Sicily. In the fourteenth century, writing to Ikhnaton (the heretic king of Egypt), Syrians still used the Babylonian cuneiform but Hiram of Tyre (969&ndash936) used the Phoenician alphabet, which probably developed out of the Egyptian script. The Egyptians used, at first, a pure picture writing gradually the pictures, much conventionalized, came to represent syllables (the first syllables of the names of the things pictured), and at last single letters, on the principle of 'A was an Archer who shot at a frog.'6 This last step, which was not taken with any completeness by the Egyptians them

selves, but by the Phoenicians, gave the alphabet with all its advantages. The Greeks, borrowing from the Phoenicians, altered the alphabet to suit their language, and made the important innovation of adding vowels instead of having only consonants. There can be no doubt that the acquisition of this convenient method of writing greatly hastened the rise of Greek civilization.

The first notable product of the Hellenic civilization was Homer. Everything about Homer is conjectural, but there is a widely held opinion that he was a series of poets rather than an individual. According to those who hold this opinion, the Iliad and the Odyssey between them took about two hundred years to complete, some say from 750 to 550 B.C.,7 while others hold that 'Homer' was nearly complete at the end of the eighth century.8 The Homeric poems, in their present form, were brought to Athens by Peisistratus, who reigned (with intermissions) from 560 to 527 B.C. From his time onward, the Athenian youth learnt Homer by heart, and this was the most important part of their education. In some parts of Greece, notably in Sparta, Homer had not the same prestige until a later date.

The Homeric poems, like the courtly romances of the later Middle Ages, represent the point of view of a civilized aristocracy, which ignores as plebeian various superstitions that are still rampant among the populace. In much later times, many of these superstitions rose again to the light of day. Guided by anthropology, many modern writers have come to the conclusion that Homer, so far from being primitive, was an expurgator, a kind of eighteenth century rationalizer of ancient myths, holding up an upper-class ideal of urbane enlightenment. The Olympian gods, who represent religion in Homer, were not the only objects of worship among the Greeks, either in his time or later. There were other darker and more savage elements in popular religion, which were kept at bay by the Greek intellect at its best, but lay in wait to pounce in moments of weakness or terror. In the time of decadence, beliefs which Homer had discarded proved to have persisted, half buried, throughout the classical period. This fact explains many things that would otherwise seem inconsistent and surprising.

Primitive religion, everywhere, was tribal rather than personal. Certain rites were performed, which were intended, by sympathetic magic, to further the interests of the tribe, especially in respect of fertility, vegetable, animal, and human. The winter solstice was a time when the sun had to be encouraged not to go on diminishing in strength spring and harvest also called for appropriate ceremonies. These were often such as to generate a great collective excitement, in which individuals lost their sense of separateness and felt themselves at one with the whole tribe. All over the world, at a certain stage

of religious evolution, sacred animals and human beings were ceremonially killed and eaten. In different regions, this stage occurred at very different dates. Human sacrifice usually lasted longer than the sacrificial eating of human victims in Greece it was not yet extinct at the beginning of historical times. Fertility rites without such cruel aspects were common throughout Greece the Eleusinian mysteries, in particular, were essentially agricultural in their symbolism.

It must be admitted that religion, in Homer, is not very religious. The gods are completely human, differing from men only in being immortal and possessed of superhuman powers. Morally, there is nothing to be said for them, and it is difficult to see how they can have inspired much awe. In some passages, supposed to be late, they are treated with Voltairean irreverence. Such genuine religious feeling as is to be found in Homer is less concerned with the gods of Olympus than with more shadowy beings such as Fate or Necessity or Destiny, to whom even Zeus is subject. Fate exercised a great influence on all Greek thought, and perhaps was one of the sources from which science derived the belief in natural law.

The Homeric gods were the gods of a conquering aristocracy, not the useful fertility gods of those who actually tilled the soil. As Gilbert Murray says:9

'The gods of most nations claim to have created the world. The Olympians make no such claim. The most they ever did was to conquer it&hellip. And when they have conquered their kingdoms, what do they do? Do they attend to the government? Do they promote agriculture? Do they practise trades and industries? Not a bit of it. Why should they do any honest work? They find it easier to live on the revenues and blast with thunderbolts the people who do not pay. They are conquering chieftains, royal buccaneers. They fight, and feast, and play, and make music they drink deep, and roar with laughter at the lame smith who waits on them. They are never afraid, except of their own king. They never tell lies, except in love and war.'

Homer's human heroes, equally, are not very well behaved. The leading family is the House of Pelops, but it did not succeed in setting a pattern of happy family life.

'Tantalos, the Asiatic founder of the dynasty, began its career by a direct offence against the gods some said, by trying to cheat them into eating human flesh, that of his own son Pelops. Pelops, having been miraculously restored to life, offended in his turn. He won his famous chariot-race against Oinomaos, king of Pisa, by the connivance of the latter's charioteer, Myrtilos, and then got rid of his confederate, whom he had promised to reward, by flinging him into the sea. The curse descended to his sons, Atreus and

Thyestes, in the form of what the Greeks called ate, a strong if not actually irresistible impulse to crime. Thyestes corrupted his brother's wife and thereby managed to steal the "luck" of the family, the famous golden-fleeced ram. Atreus in turn secured his brother's banishment, and recalling him under pretext of a reconciliation, feasted him on the flesh of his own children. The curse was now inherited by Atreus' son Agamemnon, who offended Artemis by killing a sacred stag, sacrificed his own daughter Iphigenia to appease the goddess and obtain a safe passage to Troy for his fleet, and was in turn murdered by his faithless wife Klytaimnestra and her paramour Aigisthos, a surviving son of Thyestes. Orestes, Agamemnon's son, in turn avenged his father by killing his mother and Aigisthos.'10

Homer as a finished achievement was a product of Ionia, i.e. of a part of Hellenic Asia Minor and the adjacent islands. Some time during the sixth century at latest, the Homeric poems became fixed in their present form. It was also during this century that Greek science and philosophy and mathematics began. At the same time events of fundamental importance were happening in other parts of the world. Confucius, Buddha, and Zoroaster, if they existed, probably belong to the same century.11 In the middle of the century the Persian Empire was established by Cyrus towards its close the Greek cities of Ionia, to which the Persians had allowed a limited autonomy, made a fruitless rebellion, which was put down by Darius, and their best men became exiles. Several of the philosophers of this period were refugees, who wandered from city to city in the still unenslaved parts of the Hellenic world, spreading the civilization that, until then, had been mainly confined to Ionia. They were kindly treated in their wanderings. Xenophanes, who flourished in the later part of the sixth century, and who was one of the refugees, says: 'This is the sort of thing we should say by the fireside in the winter-time, as we lie on soft couches, after a good meal, drinking sweet wine and crunching chickpeas: "Of what country are you, and how old are you, good Sir? And how old were you when the Mede appeared?"' The rest of Greece succeeded in preserving its independence at the battles of Salamis and Plataea, after which Ionia was liberated for a time.12

Greece was divided into a large number of small independent states, each consisting of a city with some agricultural territory surrounding it. The level of civilization was very different in different parts of the Greek world, and only a minority of cities contributed to the total of Hellenic achievement.

Sparta, of which I shall have much to say later, was important in a military sense, but not culturally. Corinth was rich and prosperous, a great commercial centre, but not prolific in great men.

Then there were purely agricultural rural communities, such as the proverbial Arcadia, which townsmen imagined to be idyllic, but which really was full of ancient barbaric horrors.

The inhabitants worshipped Hermes and Pan, and had a multitude of fertility cults, in which, often, a mere square pillar did duty in place of a statue of the god. The goat was the symbol of fertility, because the peasants were too poor to possess bulls. When food was scarce, the statue of Pan was beaten. (Similar things are still done in remote Chinese villages.) There was a clan of supposed were-wolves, associated, probably, with human sacrifice and cannibalism. It was thought that whoever tasted the flesh of a sacrificed human victim became a were-wolf. There was a cave sacred to Zeus Lykaios (the wolf-Zeus) in this cave no one had a shadow, and whoever entered it died within a year. All this superstition was still flourishing in classical times.13

Pan, whose original name (some say) was 'Paon', meaning the feeder or shepherd, acquired his better-known title, interpreted as meaning the All-God, when his worship was adopted by Athens in the fifth century, after the Persian war.14

There was, however, in ancient Greece, much that we can feel to have been religion as we understand the term. This was connected, not with the Olympians, but with Dionysus, or Bacchus, whom we think of most naturally as the somewhat disreputable god of wine and drunkenness. The way in which, out of his worship, there arose a profound mysticism, which greatly influenced many of the philosophers, and even had a part in shaping Christian theology, is very remarkable, and must be understood by anyone who wishes to study the development of Greek thought.

Dionysus, or Bacchus, was originally a Thracian god. The Thracians were very much less civilized than the Greeks, who regarded them as barbarians. Like all primitive agriculturists, they had fertility cults, and a god who promoted fertility. His name was Bacchus. It was never quite clear whether Bacchus had the shape of a man or of a bull. When they discovered how to make beer, they thought intoxication divine, and gave honour to Bacchus. When, later, they came to know the vine and to learn to drink wine, they thought even better of him. His functions in promoting fertility in general became somewhat subordinate to his functions in relation to the grape and the divine madness produced by wine.

At what date his worship migrated from Thrace to Greece is not known, but it seems to have been just before the beginning of historical times. The cult of Bacchus was met with hostility by the orthodox, but nevertheless it established itself. It contained many barbaric elements, such as tearing wild animals to pieces and eating the whole of them raw. It had a curious element of feminism. Respectable matrons and maids, in large companies, would spend whole nights on the bare hills in dances which stimulated ecstasy, and in an intoxication perhaps partly alcoholic, but mainly mystical. Husbands found the practice annoying, but did not dare to oppose religion. Both the beauty and the savagery of the cult are set forth in the Bacchae of Euripides.

The success of Dionysus in Greece is not surprising. Like all communities that have been civilized quickly, the Greeks, or at least a certain proportion of them, developed a love of the primitive, and a hankering after a more instinctive and passionate way of life than that sanctioned by current morals. To the man or woman who, by compulsion, is more civilized in behaviour than in feeling, rationality is irksome and virtue is felt as a burden and a slavery. This leads to a reaction in thought, in feeling, and in conduct. It is the reaction in thought that will specially concern us, but something must first be said about the reaction in feeling and conduct.

The civilized man is distinguished from the savage mainly by prudence, or, to use a slightly wider term, forethought. He is willing to endure present pains for the sake of future pleasures, even if the future pleasures are rather distant. This habit began to be important with the rise of agriculture no animal and no savage would work in the spring in order to have food next winter, except for a few purely instinctive forms of action, such as bees making honey or squirrels burying nuts. In these cases, there is no forethought there is a direct impulse to an act which, to the human spectator, is obviously going to prove useful later on. True forethought only arises when a man does something towards which no impulse urges him, because his reason tells him that he will profit by it at some future date. Hunting requires no forethought, because it is pleasurable but tilling the soil is labour, and cannot be done from spontaneous impulse.

Civilization checks impulse not only through forethought, which is a self-administered check, but also through law, custom, and religion. This check it inherits from barbarism, but it makes it less instinctive and more systematic. Certain acts are labelled criminal, and are punished, certain others, though not punished by law, are labelled wicked, and expose those who are guilty of them to social disapproval. The institution of private property brings with it the subjection of women, and usually the creation of a slave class. On the one hand the purposes of the community are enforced upon the individual, and, on the other hand the individual, having acquired the habit of viewing his life as a whole, increasingly sacrifices his present to his future.

It is evident that this process can be carried too far, as it is, for instance, by the miser. But without going to such extremes prudence may easily involve the loss of some of the best things in life. The worshipper of Dionysus reacts against prudence. In intoxication, physical or spiritual, he recovers an intensity of feeling which prudence had destroyed he finds the world full of delight and beauty, and his imagination is suddenly liberated from the prison of every-day preoccupations. The Bacchic ritual produced what was called 'enthusiasm', which means, etymologically, having the god enter into the worshipper, who believed that he became one with the god. Much of what is greatest in human achievement involves some element of intoxication,15 some sweeping away of prudence by passion. Without the Bacchic element, life would be uninteresting with it, it is dangerous. Prudence versus passion is a conflict that runs through history. It is not a conflict in which we ought to side wholly with either party.

In the sphere of thought, sober civilization is roughly synonymous with science. But science, unadulterated, is not satisfying men need also passion and art and religion. Science may set limits to knowledge, but should not set limits to imagination. Among Greek philosophers, as among those of later times, there were those who were primarily scientific and those who were primarily religious the latter owed much, directly or indirectly, to the religion of Bacchus. This applies especially to Plato, and through him to those later developments which were ultimately embodied in Christian theology.

The worship of Dionysus in its original form was savage, and in many ways repulsive. It was not in this form that it influenced the philosophers, but in the spiritualized form attributed to Orpheus, which was ascetic, and substituted mental for physical intoxication.

Orpheus is a dim but interesting figure. Some hold that he was an actual man, others that he was a god or an imaginary hero. Traditionally, he came from Thrace, like Bacchus, but it seems more probable that he (or the movement associated with his name) came from Crete. It is certain that Orphic doctrines contain much that seems to have its first source in Egypt, and it was chiefly through Crete that Egypt influenced Greece. Orpheus is said to have been a reformer who was torn to pieces by frenzied Maenads actuated by Bacchic orthodoxy. His addiction to music is not so prominent in the older forms of the legend as it became later. Primarily he was a priest and a philosopher.

Whatever may have been the teaching of Orpheus (if he existed), the teaching of the Orphics is well known. They believed in the transmigration of souls they taught that the soul hereafter might achieve eternal bliss or suffer eternal or temporary torment according to its way of life here on earth. They

aimed at becoming 'pure', partly by ceremonies of purification, partly by avoiding certain kinds of contamination. The most orthodox among them abstained from animal food, except on ritual occasions when they ate it sacramentally. Man, they held, is partly of earth, partly of heaven by a pure life the heavenly part is increased and the earthly part diminished. In the end a man may become one with Bacchus, and is called 'a Bacchus'. There was an elaborate theology, according to which Bacchus was twice born, once of his mother Semele, and once from the thigh of his father Zeus.

There are many forms of the Dionysus myth. In one of them, Dionysus is the son of Zeus and Persephone while still a boy, he is torn to pieces by Titans, who eat his flesh, all but the heart. Some say that the heart was given by Zeus to Semele, others that Zeus swallowed it in either case, it gave rise to the second birth of Dionysus. The tearing of a wild animal and the devouring of its raw flesh by Bacchae was supposed to re-enact the tearing and eating of Dionysus by the Titans, and the animal, in some sense, was an incarnation of the god. The Titans were earth-born, but after eating the god they had a spark of divinity. So man is partly of earth, partly divine, and Bacchic rites sought to make him more nearly completely divine.

Euripides puts a confession into the mouth of an Orphic priest, which is instructive:16

Lord of Europa's Tyrian line,

Zeus-born, who holdest at thy feet

The hundred citadels of Crete,

I seek to Thee from that dim shrine,

Roofed by the Quick and Carven Beam,

By Chalyb steel and wild bull's blood,

In flawless joints of Cypress wood

Made steadfast. There is one pure stream

My days have run. The servant I,

Initiate, of Idaean Jove17

Where midnight Zagreus18 roves, I rove

I have endured his thunder-cry

Fulfilled his red and bleeding feasts

Held the Great Mother's mountain flame,

I am set free and named by name

A Bacchos of the Mailed Priests.

Robed in pure white I have borne me clean

From man's vile birth and coffined clay,

And exiled from my lip alway

Touch of all meat where Life hath been.

Orphic tablets have been found in tombs, giving instructions to the soul of the dead person as to how to find his way in the next world, and what to say in order to prove himself worthy of salvation. They are broken and incomplete the most nearly complete (the Petelia tablet) is as follows:

Thou shalt find on the left of the House of Hades a Well-spring.

And by the side thereof standing a white cypress.

To this well-spring approach not near.

But thou shalt find another by the Lake of Memory,

Cold water flowing forth, and there are Guardians before it,

Say: 'I am a child of Earth and of Starry Heaven

But my race is of Heaven (alone). This ye know yourselves.

And lo, I am parched with thirst and I perish. Give me quickly

The cold water flowing forth from the Lake of Memory.'

And of themselves they will give thee to drink from the holy well-spring,

And thereafter among the other heroes thou shalt have lordship&hellip.

Another tablet says:&mdash'Hail, Thou who hast suffered the suffering &hellip Thou art become God from Man.' And yet in another:&mdash'Happy and Blessed One, thou shalt be God instead of mortal.'

The well-spring of which the soul is not to drink is Lethe, which brings forgetfulness the other well-spring is Mnemosyne, remembrance. The soul in the next world, if it is to achieve salvation, is not to forget, but, on the contrary, to acquire a memory surpassing what is natural.

The Orphics were an ascetic sect wine, to them, was only a symbol, as, later, in the Christian sacrament. The intoxication that they sought was that of 'enthusiasm', of union with the god. They believed themselves, in this way, to acquire mystic knowledge not obtainable by ordinary means. This mystical element entered into Greek philosophy with Pythagoras, who was a reformer of Orphism as Orpheus was a reformer of the religion of Dionysus. From Pythagoras Orphic elements entered into the philosophy of Plato, and from Plato into most later philosophy that was in any degree religious.

Certain definitely Bacchic elements survived wherever Orphism had influence. One of these was feminism, of which there was much in Pythagoras, and which, in Plato, went so far as to claim complete political equality for women. 'Women as a sex,' says Pythagoras, 'are more naturally akin to piety.' Another Bacchic element was respect for violent emotion. Greek tragedy grew out of the rites of Dionysus. Euripides, especially, honoured the two chief gods of Orphism, Dionysus and Eros. He has no respect for the coldly self-righteous well-behaved man, who, in his tragedies, is apt to be driven mad or otherwise brought to grief by the gods in resentment of his blasphemy.

The conventional tradition concerning the Greeks is that they exhibited an admirable serenity, which enabled them to contemplate passion from without, perceiving whatever beauty it exhibited but themselves calm and Olympian. This is a very one-sided view. It is true, perhaps, of Homer, Sophocles, and Aristotle, but it is emphatically not true of those Greeks who were touched, directly or indirectly, by Bacchic or Orphic influences. At Eleusis, where the Eleusinian mysteries formed the most sacred part of Athenian State religion, a hymn was sung, saying:

With Thy wine-cup waving high,

With Thy maddening revelry,

Contest Thou&mdashBacchus, Paean, hail!

In the Bacchae of Euripides, the chorus of Maenads displays a combination of poetry and savagery which is the very reverse of serene. They celebrate the delight in tearing a wild animal limb from limb, and eating it raw then and there:

O glad, glad on the Mountains

To swoon in the race outworn,

When the holy fawn-skin clings

To the joy of the quick red fountains,

The blood of the hill-goat torn,

The glory of wild-beast ravenings

Where the hill-top catches the day,

To the Phrygian, Lydian mountains

'Tis Bromios leads the way.

(Bromios was another of the many names of Dionysus.) The dance of the Maenads on the mountain side was not only fierce it was an escape from the burdens and cares of civilization into the world of non-human beauty and the freedom of wind and stars. In a less frenzied mood they sing:

Will they ever come to me, ever again,

On through the dark till the dim stars wane?

Shall I feel the dew on my throat, and the stream

Of wind in my hair? Shall our white feet gleam

O feet of the fawn to the greenwood fled,

Alone in the grass and the loveliness

Leap of the hunted, no more in dread,

Beyond the snares and the deadly press.

Yet a voice still in the distance sounds,

A voice and a fear and a haste of hounds,

O wildly labouring, fiercely fleet,

Onward yet by river and glen&mdash

Is it joy or terror, ye storm-swift feet?

To the dear lone lands untroubled of men,

Where no voice sounds, and amid the shadowy green

The little things of the woodland live unseen.

Before repeating that the Greeks were 'serene', try to imagine the matrons of Philadelphia behaving in this manner, even in a play by Eugene O'Neill.

The Orphic is no more 'serene' than the unreformed worshipper of Dionysus. To the Orphic, life in this world is pain and weariness. We are bound to a wheel which turns through endless cycles of birth and death our true life is the stars, but we are tied to earth. Only by purification and renunciation and an ascetic life can we escape from the wheel and attain at last to the ecstasy of union with God. This is not the view of men to whom life is easy and pleasant. It is more like the Negro spiritual:

I'm going to tell God all of my troubles

Not all of the Greeks, but a large proportion of them, were passionate, unhappy, at war with themselves, driven along one road by the intellect and along another by the passions, with the imagination to conceive heaven and the wilful self-assertion that creates hell. They had a maxim 'nothing too much', but they were in fact excessive in everything&mdashin pure thought, in poetry, in religion, and in sin. It was the combination of passion and intellect that made them great, while they were great. Neither alone would have transformed the world for all future time as they transformed it. Their prototype in mythology is not Olympian Zeus, but Prometheus, who brought fire from heaven and was rewarded with eternal torment.

If taken as characterizing the Greeks as a whole, however, what has just been said would be as one-sided as the view that the Greeks were character ized by 'serenity'. There were, in fact, two tendencies in Greece, one passionate, religious, mystical, otherworldly, the other cheerful, empirical, rationalistic, and interested in acquiring knowledge of a diversity of facts. Herodotus represents this latter tendency so do the earliest Ionian philosophers so, up to a point, does Aristotle. Beloch (op. cit., I, 1, p. 434), after describing Orphism, says:

'But the Greek nation was too full of youthful vigour for the general acceptance of a belief which denies this world and transfers real life to the Beyond. Accordingly the Orphic doctrine remained confined to the relatively narrow circle of the initiate, without acquiring the smallest influence on the State religion, not even in communities which, like Athens, had taken up the celebration of the mysteries into the State ritual and placed it under legal protection. A full millennium was to pass before these ideas&mdashin a quite different theological dress, it is true&mdashachieved victory in the Greek world.'

It would seem that this is an overstatement, particularly as regards the Eleusinian mysteries, which were impregnated with Orphism. Broadly speaking, those who were of a religious temperament turned to Orphism, while rationalists despised it. One might compare its status to that of Methodism in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

We know more or less what an educated Greek learnt from his father, but we know very little of what, in his earliest years, he learnt from his mother, who was, to a great extent, shut out from the civilization in which the men took delight. It seems probable that educated Athenians, even in the best period, however rationalistic they may have been in their explicitly conscious mental processes, retained from tradition and from childhood a more primitive way of thinking and feeling, which was always liable to prove victorious in times of stress. For this reason, no simple analysis of the Greek outlook is likely to be adequate.

The influence of religion, more particularly of non-Olympian religion, on Greek thought was not adequately recognized until recent times. A revolutionary book, Jane Harrison's Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, emphasized both the primitive and the Dionysiac elements in the religion of ordinary Greeks F. M. Cornford's From Religion to Philosophy tried to make students of Greek philosophy aware of the influence of religion on the philosophers, but cannot be wholly accepted as trustworthy in many of its interpretations, or, for that matter, in its anthropology.19The most balanced statement known to me is in John Burnet's Early Greek Philosophy, especially chapter ii, 'Science and Religion'. A conflict between science and religion arose, he says, out of 'the religious revival which swept over Hellas in the

sixth century B.C.,' together with the shifting of the scene from Ionia to the West. 'The religion of continental Hellas', he says, 'had developed in a very different way from that of Ionia. In particular, the worship of Dionysus, which came from Thrace, and is barely mentioned in Homer, contained in germ a wholly new way of looking at man's relation to the world. It would certainly be wrong to credit the Thracians themselves with any very exalted views but there can be no doubt that, to the Greeks, the phenomenon of ecstasy suggested that the soul was something more than a feeble double of the self, and that it was only when "out of the body" that it could show its true nature&hellip

'It looked as if Greek religion were about to enter on the same stage as that already reached by the religions of the East and, but for the rise of science, it is hard to see what could have checked this tendency. It is usual to say that the Greeks were saved from a religion of the Oriental type by their having no priesthood but this is to mistake the effect for the cause. Priesthoods do not make dogmas, though they preserve them once they are made and in the earlier stages of their development, the Oriental peoples had no priesthoods either in the sense intended. It was not so much the absence of a priesthood as the existence of the scientific schools that saved Greece.

'The new religion&mdashfor in one sense it was new, though in another as old as mankind&mdashreached its highest point of development with the foundation of the Orphic communities. So far as we can see, the original home of these was Attica but they spread with extraordinary rapidity, especially in Southern Italy and Sicily. They were first of all associations for the worship of Dionysus but they were distinguished by two features which were new among the Hellenes. They looked to revelation as the source of religious authority, and they were organized as artificial communities. The poems which contained their theology were ascribed to the Thracian Orpheus, who had himself descended into Hades, and was therefore a safe guide through the perils which beset the disembodied soul in the next world.'

Norman Thompson N. T. 4

Norman Thompson N.T.4 by Maxim-Lysak

Norman Thompson N. T. 4

The Norman Thompson N. T. 4 is perhaps the least known of all the large flying-boats employed on coastal patrol by the RNAS in the First World War. It never enjoyed the fame that attended the American Curtiss boats, or the Felixstowe series, but nevertheless was responsible for a good deal of routine anti-submarine reconnaissance from a string of bases between Calshot and Scapa Flow.

The N. T. 4 was the first new design to appear after the old White and Thompson Company changed its name to the Norman Thompson Flight Company in October 1915, and its emergence coincided with the Curtiss H. 4. For this reason, in the somewhat haphazard custom of those days, it was known by the name of ‘America’, and later changed to ‘Small America’, in the same way as the Curtiss. This may account for the obscurity in which its operational record is shrouded, as there may have been some confusion between the two types in official archives.

A feature of the N .T. 4 was the completely enclosed accommodation for the crew. In the earlier version the view was poor and the cabin was progressively improved, so that in the late production models the cabin-top was glazed as well as the sides.

The first batch of aircraft (Nos. 8338 to 8343) were fitted with two 150 hp Hispano-Suiza engines. Subsequent machines had 200 hp geared Hispanos, were designated N. T. 4A and were allotted the serial numbers 9061 to 9064 and N2140 to 2159. Production ceased in the summer of 1918 after 30 had been built.

One of the N. T. 4 flying-boats (No. 8338) was the subject of an interesting experiment in armament. It was fitted with a Davis two-pounder recoil-less gun mounted above the cabin. The installation was never embodied in production aircraft.

RNAS coastal air stations at Calshot, Cattewater. Dundee, Felixstowe, Invergordon, Killingholme and Scapa Flow.

Description: Anti-submarine reconnaissance flying-boat with a crew of four. Wooden structure, with wood and fabric covering.

Manufacturers: Norman Thompson Flight Co Ltd, Bognor Regis, Sussex.

Power Plant: Two 200 hp Hispano-Suiza.

Dimensions: Span, 78 ft 7 in. Length, 41 ft 6 in. Height, 14 ft 10 in. Wing area, 936 sq ft.

Weights: Empty, 4,572 lb. Loaded, 6,469 lb.

Performance: Maximum speed, 95 mph at 2,000 ft 91 mph at 10,000 ft. Climb, . 3 min 50 sec to 2,000 ft 31 min 5 sec to 10,000 ft. Service ceiling, 11,700 ft.

Armament: Possibly provision for free-mounted Lewis gun firing through a side window and racks for bombs beneath lower wings.

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The Praetorian Guard

Pre-to’-ri-an: “My bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other, places” (Php 1:13 the King James Version). This verse is translated in the Revised Version (British and American), “My bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole praetorian guard, and to all the rest,” and is noteworthy.

Pretorium in Philippians–Usual View

It has been usual to connect the words, “the soldier that guarded him,” Ac 28:16, with this statement in Php 1:13, that the apostle’s bonds were manifest in the whole praetorium, and to understand that the former was the cause of the latter that the result of Paul’s making the gospel known in his own hired house to those soldiers to one of whom he was chained by the wrist day and night, was that it became known in all the praetorian regiment that his bonds were endured for Christ’s sake, that it was for conscience’ sake that he was suffering wrongfully, that he was no wrongdoer but a prisoner of Jesus Christ. In this way the gospel would spread through the whole of the praetorian guard in that regiment’s headquarters which were situated in a permanent camp established by Tiberius in Rome, outside the Colline Gate, at the Northeast of the city. This verse would also mean that the gospel had been proclaimed in the same way to those members of the praetorian guard who were on duty as the bodyguard of the emperor and who were lodged in one of the buildings which adjoined the emperor’s palace on the Palatine Hill.

Lightfoot on Interpretations

Thus, Lightfoot, discussing the meaning of the phrase “in the whole praetorium” (Commentary on Philippians, 99 ff), reviews the different interpretations which have been given of the word, and shows (1) that no instance is to be found of its signifying Nero’s palace on the Palatine Hill (2) that there is no authority for the interpretation which would make it mean the praenterinn barracks on the Palatine (3) that neither is there any authority for making it mean the praetorian camp outside the walls of Rome. In Lightfoot’s words (op. cit., 101), “All attempts to give a local sense to `praetorium’ thus fail for want of evidence.” Lightfoot accordingly defends the interpretation, “the praetorian guard,” and the Revised Version (British and American), above cited, follows him in this.

View of Mommsen and Ramsay

One of the meanings of “praetorium” is a council of war, the officers who met in the general’s tent (see PRAETORIUM). Lightfoot is very decided in interpreting “praetorium” to mean the praetorian regiment, the imperial guards, and he adds, “in this sense and in this alone can it be safely affirmed that the apostle would hear the word praetorium used daily,” and that this sense is in all respects appropriate. But the other meaning, though not appropriate here, namely, a council of war composed of the officers and their general, is much nearer to that which is now accepted by such authorities as Mommsen and Sir W.M. Ramsay, who hold that in this passage “praetorium” means a council, not of war, however, but the council of judgment, the emperor’s court of appeal in which he was assisted by his legal assessors (see Mommsen, Berlin Akad. Sitzungsber., 1895, 501 Ramsay, Paul the Traveler and the Rein Citizen, 357 Workman, Persecution in the Early Church, 35). Over this court there presided the emperor or his delegate, the prefect of the praetorian guard, and associated with him were twenty assessors selected from the senators. Formerly their votes were taken by ballot, but Nero preferred to receive from each a written opinion and on the next day to deliver his judgment in person. Such, it is now believed, is the praetorium to which Paul refers.

The meaning, therefore, of the words, “My bonds in Christ are manifest in the whole praetorium,” will be that when Paul wrote the Epistle to the Philippians his first Roman trial was already so far advanced that he had been able to impress upon his judges, the twenty assessors and their president, the fact that he was no evildoer, but that the sole cause of his imprisonment was his loyalty to Christ. It was manifest to all the members of the emperor’s court of appeal that Paul was enduring his long imprisonment, suffering wrongfully, but only for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Bearing on Paul’s Captivity and Trial

The important bearing will be seen which this signification of “praetorium” in this passage has on the question of the order in which Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon–the epistles of Paul’s captivity in Rome–were written. On subjective evidence Lightfoot concludes that Philippians is the earliest of them, basing his opinion largely on the resemblance which exists in many particulars between the thoughts and expressions in Philippians and in the Epistle to the Romans, making Philippians, as it were, a connecting link between Paul’s earlier and his later epistles. See Lightfoot, Philipplans, 42 f he writes: “These resemblances suggest as early a date for the Epistle to the Philippians as circumstances will allow,” earlier, that is, than Colossians and Ephesians. But Lightfoot’s argument is set aside by the new light which has been thrown upon the real meaning of “praetorium.” Sir W.M. Ramsay (St. Paul the Traveler, 357) writes: “The trial seems to have occurred toward the end of AD 61. Its earliest stages were over before Paul wrote to the Philipplans, for he says, `The things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the progress of the Good News so that my bonds became manifest in Christ in the whole Pretorium, and to all the rest and that most of the Brethren in the Lord, being confident in my bonds, are more abundantly bold to speak the word of God without fear.’ This passage has been generally misconceived and connected with the period of imprisonment and here again we are indebted to Mommsen for the proper interpretation. The Praetorum is the whole body of persons connected with the sitting in judgment, the supreme Imperial Court, doubtless in this case the Prefect or both Prefects of the Praetorian Guard, representing the emperor in his capacity as the fountain of justice, together with the assessors and high officers of the court. The expression of the chapter as a whole shows that the trial is partly finished, and the issue as yet is so favorable that the Brethren are emboldened by the success of Paul’s courageous and freespoken defense and the strong impression which he evidently produced on the court but he himself, being entirely occupied with the trial, is for the moment prevented from preaching as he had been doing when he wrote to the Colossians and the Asian churches generally.”

Bearing on Date of Epistle

Thus, the correct meaning of “praetorium” enables us to fix the date of the Epistle to the Philippians as having been written close to the end of Paul’s first Roman imprisonment. That this inference is correct is confirmed by various other facts, such as his promise to visit that city, and the fact that in Php 2:20 f the King James Version he says regarding Timothy, “I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.” We could not conceive of Paul writing like this if Mark, Tychicus, Aristarchus, and especially if Luke had been with him then, and yet we know (Col 4:7,10,14) that each and all of these companions of the apostle were with him in Rome when he wrote the Epistle to the Colossians. They had evidently, along with others, been sent on missions to Asia or other places, so that Paul now had only Timothy “likeminded” when he wrote to Philippi.

All these facts and considerations confirm us in accepting the signification of “praetorium” as the emperor’s supreme court of appeal, before which Paul when he wrote the Epistle to the Philippians had so conducted his defense as to produce a most favorable impression, from which he inferred that he might soon be liberated from imprisonment. And his liberation, as the event proved, soon followed.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Old Glory Cretan Archers


Those look great already! Your upcoming WAB game at Enfilade should be the best looking game at the convention.

Well after the Sharpes Practice game anyway.

Thanks for you kind words - but, I'll be happy if folks just show up to play them :)! Anyway, looks like these archers should do the trick. I appreciate your offer for the use of your guys though. Regards, Dean

Hi Dean, those are nice little miniatures. How do they compare sizewise with Foundry WotGs, please?

Theyre looking excellent good job.

I'll be sure to post a comparison shot with the other makes I have - so far, Foundry, Crusader, Redoubt, and Magister Militum I used to have A&A foot, but now only the guys in the Companion cav wedge. Dean

Nice work, Old Glory can produce some real gems.

I totally agree - in fact, my experience so far, is that they have more good ranges than bad. Dean

Watch the video: 2805 The ubiquity of the Cretan Archer in Ancient Warfare - Part 2 (November 2022).

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