greek macedonia

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Palace of Phillip II

Aigai (todays Vergina), Macedonia

336 BCE

length 78 m, height 13.60 m. 


At the foot of the hill of the Acropolis, in a raised terrace that dominates the area and is marked by an ancient oak tree, the impressive remains of the palace lay. 

The floor plan of the ancient housewas of a peristyle courtyard with rooms surrounding it.  The house coudl accomosdate 4,000 residents and 500 guests.

The palace is organized around a large colonnaded courtyard and includes a temple dedicated to Hercules Patroos and luxurious banquet rooms for the king and his officials. In one of them the mosaic floor was preserved beautifully.

The  architect was famous Pytheas, who designed the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus (355-350 BC), one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the temple of Athena Polias in Priene in Asia Minor. This important monument, dating back to the second half of the 4th century BC, was a major attraction of the building program of Philip II. It should have been completed in 336 BC, when King to excuse the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra to the king of Molossos Alexander of Epirus.

military mondays: Why did Alexander the great never lose a battle? 

as suggested by: @knightopolis

Alexander the III of Macedon, Hegemon of the Hellenic league, Pharaoh of Egypt, Lord of Asia, Khaleesi of the great grass sea, mother of dragons, breaker of chains, considered among the greatest commanders of all time, tutored by aristotle, given command of an army at 16, proclaimed king by 20, conquered the Perisan empire by the age of 26, and dead by 32. In terms of personality alexander was calculating, clever and charismatic, however he was prone to violent bursts of anger, impulsiveness and arrogance. Despite this Alexander never lost a battle. But how did he do this?

Citizens army - Alexander became king after his father was assisinated in 336 BC, he inherited a large army. This army was a professional army made up of macedonian citizens. This army was paid a good wage and was able to be drilled everyday. This was not a mob of peasants and conscripts, this was their job. Each company of troops came from the same area of macedon, ensuring close bonds of friendship and shared culture which lead to greater cohesion on the battlefield. 

Combined arms - Alexander made sure every possible man was part of the action. He used variety, his army could be made up of Phalanxes, archers, javelin throwers, siege towers and companion cavalry. Each unit would be assigned a job that played to their strengths and complimented the other units weaknesses. 

The Phalanx - The phalanx was often the most used unit in alexanders army. 256 men arranged 16 across and 16 deep. Each armed with a small shield and a Sarissa, this 18ft macedonian pike gave the phalanx greater reach than the spearman. This formation was a bristling hedgehog of spearpoints. Although inflexible. The phalanx was Skilled at both defense and offense. The phalanx dominated the ancient battfields of persia and asia minor. 

Hammer and the anvil - Alexanders preffered tactic and highly effective, the phalanx would pin the enemy in place either by a frontal assualt or a defense. Remember horses would not charge a row of spears. While the enemies main force was engaged. Alexander would send his companion cavalry on the flanks. This cavalry was heavily armoured and the finest in the ancient world, this is called “Shock cavalry” their frightening charge and long lances would force the enemy to retreat inward. The enemy now completley surrounded would be sandwhiched between the infrantry and the cavalry. 

Flexibility - Alexander was a clever man. Tutored by aristotle himself. This is shown most prominently at he battle of Gaugamela. Alexander faced a persian force commanded by darius III, estimates vary but the persian army was around 250,000 strong compared to the macedonian force of 40,000 men Alexander took his cavalry and rode parralel to the persian heavy cavarly. He had hidden spear throwers and skirmishers called peltasts behind the cavalry, they ran beside him, keeping up with the pace of the horses. Alexander was taunting darius and he took the bait. The persian heavy cavalry gave chase and left a hole in the battle lines, alexander did a 160 turn and poured his cavalry into the gap, his skirmishers let loose at the persuing persians, which unbalanced the perisan cavalry preventing them from turning and chasing alexnader. Alexander then cut a bloody path to darius, who fled into the mountains. The battle was won. 

Leading by example - Alexander realised morale was key. He led his personal unit of companion cavalry, 300 strong into battle. Fighting alongside the men in his army, giving them hope and courage. He suffered wounds himself in battle, and bled beside his veterans. At Gaugamela, alexander cut off his pursuit of darius and turned to rescue his friend and general Parmenion. Showing his troops he really did care about their wellbeing. 

Campaigning through egypt, babylon, and asia minor. At its height his empire stretched from greece to northwest India. 

If you have any ideas for what I should post for next military monday, it can be anything, a battle, a leader, an idea, a concept or tactic, a military unit or formation. Do not hesitate to send in your suggestions, either by message or comment.

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try” - Alexander the great 

Portrait of Hephaistion
Artist unknown
Greek, about 320 BC.; marble

The son of a noble Macedonian family, Hephaistion was the beloved companion of Alexander the Great. Together since boyhood, Hephaistion fought alongside Alexander as he created his great empire. When Hephaistion died in Persia in 324 B.C., Alexander mourned him extravagantly. He was given a royal funeral and Alexander ordered the cities of Greece to worship Hephaistion as a hero.

This head of Hephaistion, broken from a full-length statue, was originally part of a multi-figured group, which might have depicted a sacrificial scene. The J. Paul Getty Museum has more than thirty fragments of this group. The participants include Alexander, Hephaistion, a goddess, Herakles, a flute player, and several other figures, as well as animals and birds. This group may have served as a funerary monument for some nobleman who wanted to associate himself with Alexander, or it might be a monument erected in response to Alexander’s call for the creation of a hero cult.

The appearance of this head has changed over time. A metal ribbon or diadem once circled the head, although only a shallow groove remains today. The head was also re-carved in antiquity, with the hair shortened and the lower eyelids altered.

Source: The J. Paul Getty Museum

Archaeological Museum of Dion:

Votive relief depicting Aphrodite riding a goat, from the sanctuary of Isis, a votive to the statue of Aphrodite Hypolimpidia.

The city-states of ancient Greece established colonies in almost every part of of their known world. Later Alexander of Macedonia through his conquests spread hellenic culture both east to Asia and south to Egypt. One of the lesser-known legacies of Alexander’s excursions is the Greeks who stayed in northern India, ruling there for twenty generations.
—  Benjamin J. Broome, Professor of Communication, “Exploring the Greek Mosaic: A Guide to Intercultural Communication in Greece”

Rare Greek Gold Nugget Bracelet,  6th-5th Century BC

Gold was very scarce in Greece in the late sixth and fifth centuries BC, and the display of natural gold nuggets is a remarkable and no doubt ostentatious sign of wealth and status. Other examples of mounted gold nuggets are rare. One nugget with a suspension loop was found in an early fifth-century BC tomb in Lydia, the kingdom in Asia Minor famously rich in gold. Another gold nugget with loop, now in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, was excavated in Nubia, which had long supplied gold to Egypt.

In Greece, gold was found only in the far north, in the mines of Macedonia and Thrace. The present bracelet was most likely made in this region.

Archaeological Museum of Dion:

Funerary stele depicting a young hunter with his dog. From Kitros. (4th century B.C)