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Programme and abstracts

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Programme
National Library of Wales – available from 09:00 each morning. Please note small, unavoidable changes may have to be made to this programme.
Day 1: 1ST of July
Drwm Day 1
09:00 – 09:55
Conference admin, in the foyer, in front of the Drwm.
Morning Session – Chair: Professor Nick Sekunda
10:05 – 10:45
Memorialisation of the Persian Wars: A Quantitative Analysis
Presenter: Xavier Duffy
Coffee Break 10:45 – 11:10
11:15– 11:55
The Persian Wars before Herodotus’s Histories. The fight at Psyttaleia: a trivial skirmish, or a forgotten battle?
Presenter: Giorgia Proietti
12:05 – 12:45
Keynote speech: Professor Jon Coulson
Commemorating Conflict Landscapes in the Early 21st Century
Lunch 12:45 – 14:10
Afternoon Session – Chair: Linda McGuire
14:15 – 14:55
When two sites go to war: the destruction of settlements in the late eighth century BCE
Presenter: Matthew Lloyd
15:05 – 15:45
A Poor Man’s War: Archidamos’ Strategy Against Athens
Presenter Roel Konijnendijk

Coffee Break 15:45 – 16:10

16:15 – 16:55
Mutually Assured Destruction: Heron, Ctesibius, and the rise of the catapult
Presenter Aimee Schofield

17:05 – 17:45
Jupiter or Pyrrhus?: The Symbolism of the Eagle on Roman Wartime Currency in the Third Century B.C.
Presenter: Ben Greet
***
Council Chamber Day 1.
Morning Session – Chair: Helene Whittaker

09:00 – 09:55
Conference admin, in the foyer, in front of the Drwm.

10: 05 – 10:45
Honour, War and Body Parts: The mutilation of the dead in the Iliad

Presenter: Cezary Kucewicz

Coffee Break 10:45 – 11:10

11:15 – 11:55
Deterrence and disgust of war. A reading of the controversial Lucr. DRN 5, 1341-1349
Presenter: Nicoletta Bruno

12:05 – 12:45 in the Drwn
Keynote speech: Professor Jon Coulson
Commemorating Conflict Landscapes in the Early 21st Century

Lunch 12:45 – 14:10

Afternoon Session – Chair: Josho Brouwers

14:15 – 14:55
“ὁπλῖται δὲ πλείους ἢ μύριοι”. Mobilization potential and proportional distribution of federal commitments in Boeotia and Thessaly.
Presenter: Alessandro Brambilla
15:05 – 15:45
In Capitolio?: The Location of the Republican Dilectus
Presenter: Elizabeth Pearson

Coffee Break 15:45 – 16:10

16:15 – 16:55
Mercenaries or Allies? A re-evaluation of the military role played by the Galatians during the Hellenistic period.
Presenter: Liam Gale

17:05 – 17:45
Naval Hoplites: The Social Status of Athenian epibatai
Presenter: Tristan Herzogenrath-Amelung

Day 2 – 2nd of July
Council chamber – Day 2.
Morning Session – Chair: Jon Coulson
09:15 – 09:55
Deduction without honesta missio: the coloniae of Vespasian and the status and roles of Roman soldiers.
Presenter: Lloyd Hopkins
10:05 – 10:45
Heroes and outcasts: The position of disfigured and impaired soldiers in Roman civil society
Presenter: Korneel van Lommel

Coffee Break 10:45 – 11:10

11:15 – 11:55
The Amazing Macedonians: Casualties, Attrition, and Reinforcements in the Army of Alexander the Great
Presenter: Paul Johstono
12:05 – – 12:45
Archers Shooting from Behind Shield-Bearers.
Presenter: Nicholas Victor Sekunda.

Lunch 12:45 – 14:40

Afternoon Session – Chair: Cezary Kucewicz

14:45 – 15:25
“Fas est ab hoste doceri” or How the Greek Arms and Armoury were changed by the Barbarians?
Presenter: Marek Verčík

15:35 – 16:15
Make ready, present arms: Practical and aesthetical implications in the description of weapons in Mycenaean tablets and Archaic Greek poetry
Presenter: Lothar Willms

Coffee Break 16:15 – 16:45

16:50 – 17:30
Hoplites at Roundway Down. Development of armor in Archaic Greece.
Presenter: Wawrzyniec Miscicki

17:40 – 18:20
Stop cutting me, don’t you know you’re supposed to use your spear!
Presenter: Joshua Hall

***

Drwm Day 2
Morning Session – Chair: Josh Hall

09:15 – 09:55
‘He suddenly became Alexander’: Caracalla, Alexander the Great and the historicity of the ‘Macedonian Phalanx’.
Presenter: Alex Imrie

10:05 – 10:45
280 BC, war in Lucania: reconstruction, reassigns and new associations
Presenter: Carlo Lualdi

Coffee Break 10:45 – 11:10

11:15 – 11:55
The right wing as the “centre of gravity” of the hoplite phalanx
Presenter: Simone Agrimonti

12:05 – 12:45 in the Council Chamber

Archers Shooting from Behind Shield-Bearers.
Presenter: Nicholas Victor Sekunda.

Lunch 12:45 – 14:40

Afternoon Session – Chair: Antela Borja

14:45 – 15:25
Manoeuvre, surprise and patience – Dionysius I as a military leader
Presenter: Andrzej Dudziński

15:35 – 16:15
tba

Coffee Break 16:15 – 16:45

16:50 – 17:30
When did the Roman army leave Britain?
Presenter: Edwin Pace

17:40 – 18:20
News and advice: elite women’s communications during military and political conflict in the Roman Republic
Presenter: L H McGuire

Day 3 – 3rd of July
Council Chamber
Morning Session – Chair: Roel Konijnendijk

11:15 – 11:55
Total War presentation in the Drwm

12:00 – 1700
Total War – discussions between developers and academics to assess the use of ‘Total War’ in the classroom environment (more detail to follow).
17:05 – 17:20
in the Drwm for closing remarks

Drwm
Morning Session – Chair: Jonathan Eaton
09:15 – 09:55
Modelling ancient wars/making ancient wargames: Questions of realism.
Presenter: Rob MacKinnon

10:05 – 10:45
The role of centurion in the Roman legion: a computer simulation of battle tactics
Presenter: Xavier Rubio-Campillo; Pau Valdés-Matías; Eduard Ble
Day 3: 2nd of July

Coffee Break 10:45 – 11:10

11:15 – 11:55
‘Total War’ (more detail to follow) – continues after the talk in the Council Chamber for discussions.
Presenters: developers from Creative Assembly

12:05 – 12:45

Phalanx and fallacies
Presenter: Josho Brouwers

Lunch 12:45 – 14:10

Afternoon Session – Chair: Lothar Willms

14:15 – 14:55
PTSD in Ancient Greece
Owen Rees

15:05 – 15:45
Images of Command: Affirming imperial loyalty through combat behaviour
Presenter: Jonathan Eaton

Coffee Break 15:45 – 16:10

16:15 – 16:55
To surrender, or not to surrender, that is the question: power inequalities and respect of the “other” in Ancient Greece.
Presenter: Alex Koutsoukis

17:05 – 17:20
Closing remarks
Geoff Lee
Conference ends

Day 1 Abstracts

Please note this list of abstracts is subject to alteration, small changes may need to be made due to unforeseen circumstances.
DRWM
Xavier Duffy, PhD Student, Birmingham University
Memorialisation of the Persian Wars: A Quantitative Analysis
This paper will address the memorialisation of the Persian Wars in fifth century BC Greece. Public monumentalisation is central to this paper as monuments are indicators of what has been deemed worthy of remembrance; they are potent markers of the collective consciousness. Memory of warfare is selective and is presented as an active cultural phenomenon. By extension, I assert that commemoration of conflict is a process of exchange, a dialogue between the present consciousness and how the past is intended to be interpreted. In analysing the public monuments erected in memory of the Persian Wars it will be possible to give a representation of their distribution over space and, with less certainty, over time. The data dealt with in this paper will be presented quantitatively. By presenting the data quantitatively, and displaying it graphically, I will highlight a number of themes present in the commemorative practices of the fifth century BC. It will be necessary to engage with the varied relationships between dedicator, object and commemorative space. In addition, the forms of commemoration and how these relate to both the chosen site of dedication and accompanying dedications in the same place will be explored. By addressing the variety of commemorative forms I draw attention to the diversity of strategies used to commemorate the Persian Wars.
Giorgia Proietti , University of Trento
The Persian Wars before Herodotus’s Histories.The fight at Psyttaleia: a trivial skirmish, or a forgotten battle?
Herodotus’ Histories actually represent the most thorough extant narrative of the Persian Wars. Before his reconstruction, nonetheless, the Persian Wars underwent a multifaceted process of memorialization: elegies, dramas, inscriptions, monuments, rites, and festivals all contributed to the shaping of pre-historiographical narratives of the Persian Wars.
Historical memory changes over time depending on the contemporary social frames and semantic needs: pre-Herodotean and Herodotean narratives about a same event can therefore differ a great deal. This is well exemplified by the development of the historical tradition about the clash fought by Greeks and Persians at the island of Psyttaleia, before the battle of Salamis.
Reduced to a trivial skirmish by Herodotus, the fight at Psyttaleia seems instead to have played a prominent role within Athenian contemporary memory, as both literary and epigraphic evidence suggest (Aeschylus’ Persians; IG I3 503/4). In Roman times, it is once again given much attention by Plutarch in his Life of Aristides, which seems to preserve hints of the pre-Herodotean stages of the tradition.
This paper explores the whole process of memorialization of Psyttaleia: why it was important in the immediate aftermath of the battle and why at a certain point it was confined to a secondary event within the Persian Wars. More specifically, it tries to show that this re-shaping of the memory of Psyttaleia was not due to ideological or propagandistic purposes (e.g. hoplitism vs naval imperialism), but to the very nature and mechanisms of collective memory.

Keynote speech:
Dr. Jon Coulson – St Andrews
‘Commemorating Conflict Landscapes in the Early 21st Century’.
Matthew Lloyd, University of Oxford
When two sites go to war: the destruction of settlements in the late eighth century BCE – Matthew Lloyd
At the end of the thirteenth century BCE, a wave of destructions occurred throughout Mycenaean Greece which eradicated the palatial system which had dominated in the preceding centuries, radically changing society in the Aegean. In the subsequent postpalatial period there are a number of further destructions, generally taken as indicating the instability and conflict of the time. But from the second half of the twelfth century, these stop. For around four-hundred years there is no evidence that a settlement in Greece is violently destroyed, although some are abandoned. Until, at the end of the eighth century, evidence for destruction is apparent at Lefkandi in Euboea, perhaps also Eretria, and most significantly at Asine in the Argolid. These destructions have been assimilated to literary evidence for violent conflicts in these regions: Lefkandi and Eretria become casualties of the Lelantine War; Asine is the victim of Argive expansionism against Spartan aggression. But the historical context of each of these wars has been challenged, and much of the literary evidence for them is considerably later.
This paper will re-examine the evidence for settlement destructions at Lefkandi, Eretria, and Asine in the context of late eighth-century warfare to assess how significant changes in warfare were in the development of pre-Classical Greek society. It suggests that, while violence was an important part of life in the Aegean and Ionian seas throughout the Iron Age, the destruction of Asine marks a point at which Greek warfare becomes more organized and perhaps develops a more sophisticated command structure. However, this paper will also challenge paradigms which project the hoplite phalanx back into the late eighth and early seventh centuries, taking the evidence from the Early Iron Age and early Archaic Period on its own merits, rather than relying on later testimony.
Roel Konijnendijk, PhD Student, UCL
A Poor Man’s War: Archidamos’ Strategy Against Athens
The first phase of the Peloponnesian War is usually seen as a clash between tradition and innovation – a story of naval Athens standing on its walls and laughing in the face of Sparta’s old-fashioned desire to decide the issue by hoplite battle. The Peloponnesians ravaged the land, baffled and frustrated, but the Athenians would not come out to meet them. With imported food and naval raids and overseas campaigning, they changed the face of Greek warfare forever.
Yet the Long Walls were constructed decades before the war began. As Krentz has pointed out, these walls can only have served one purpose – to facilitate an Island Strategy, by keeping the city supplied while under siege. We should therefore assume that the Spartans in 431 knew very well how Athens was planning to fight the war. They knew that ravaging their territory was unlikely to starve them into submission and might not provoke them to open battle. Why did they nonetheless insist on fighting the war in this way?
In this paper I will argue that the Peloponnesians were perfectly aware of other strategies, but did not have the means to carry them out. They could not keep their army in the field long enough to wear their enemy down; they could not raise a fleet to match that of Athens; they tried everything they could think of, but they ultimately had to rely on doing maximum damage with their land army for the short time they could afford to have it in the field. As Thucydides says, it was not tradition but a lack of money that held them back – and they were desperate to free themselves of this yoke.
Aimee Schofield: Manchester University
Mutually Assured Destruction: Heron, Ctesibius, and the rise of the catapult
The catapult, developed in around 399BC, was a weapon which had a huge impact on the way in which siege warfare developed in the fourth century and beyond. It changed the ways in cities fortified themselves against attack and compelled attacking and defending forces alike to invest in new and upgraded military technologies. This ever increasing aggression culminated in Demetrius Poliorcetes’ siege of Rhodes in 305BC, at which the defenders managed to force their opponents into a stalemate despite the huge and dramatic machines which Demetrius brought into play.
The first of our extant treatises on how to build catapults, the Belopoeica, was published around fifty years later by an Alexandrian engineer called Ctesibius. It, in turn, was republished at some point in the mid-first century AD by Heron, also from Alexandria. What part of the work are his, and which part comes directly from Ctesibius, is unclear and a matter for debate. However, the opening of the treatise presents a philosophical argument about the strategy of war which is still, to some degree, followed today.
Ctesibius, Heron, or both suggests that it is not through philosophical argument or debate that peace could be achieved between the warring Mediterranean states, but only through the equal and balanced acquisition of arms could ‘tranquillity’ or ‘calmness’ (ἀταραξία) be maintained. Part of this concept – which follows the line of si vis pacem, para bellum – is echoed in other authors, writing both before and after Ctesibius, including Thucydides, Aeneias Tacticus, Vitruvius, and Vegetius. However, this paper will argue that this passage goes beyond this point and that Heron and/or Ctesibius is making a point which is closer to our understanding of Mutually Assured Destruction.
Ben Greet, 2nd Year PhD student , Leeds University
Jupiter or Pyrrhus?: The Symbolism of the Eagle on Roman Wartime Currency in the Third Century B.C.
The eagle is one of the most recognisable symbols in Roman culture, but this association often leads to automatic, and unchallenged, assumptions on the nature of its symbolism in Roman numismatics, particularly Roman currency produced during periods of warfare. Using three examples, I would like to challenge the traditional interpretation of the eagle during this period by examining its use in the wider context of ancient Mediterranean numismatics and previous representations within Roman visual culture. The first example I will be examining is an Eagle/Pegasus aes signatum from c.280 B.C., shortly after the Punic War. The eagle has traditionally been interpreted as representing Jupiter (Crawford, 1979. Roman Republican Coinage) but looking at its wider context this is by no means certain. Instead, other interpretations are possible, for example Pyrrhus, nicknames ‘The Eagle’ and the legions, from its possible use as a standard. The second example is a Minerva/Eagle coin from c.264 B.C., the start of the First Punic War, traditionally associated with Rome’s alliance with the Mamertines. Again, the eagle’s wider symbolic context creates problems for this interpretation, especially since it ignores the implications of the eagle’s religious symbolism. The third example is a She-wolf/Eagle coin from c.217, during the Second Punic War. This coin has not received much scholarly attention, but again the eagle’s symbolism here is more complex than originally assumed. Whereas it opens the possibility of the eagle’s inclusion in Rome’s foundation myth, the wider context creates problems. Through this examination I hope to challenge not only the interpretation of the eagle on these coins, but of its assumed symbolism, and to instead use a constructed methodology of semiotics to create a definitive, yet fluid, symbolism of the eagle.

Council Chamber

Cezary Kucewicz, PhD Researcher, University College London

Honour, War and Body Parts: The mutilation of the dead in the Iliad

The attitude of ancient Greeks towards the dead could be best described in terms of respect and piety. The obligation to bury the dead was seen as one of the most powerful moral duties, constituting the key theme of many Athenian tragedies (Sophocles’ Antigone and Ajax, Euripides’ Suppliants and Trojan Women). In a similar manner, the treatment of the war dead by the Classical Greek armies was governed by a set of unwritten rules which allowed the defeated armies to retrieve and bury their dead. Any attempt at violating those rules was considered to be a serious war crime and an offence against the gods. Particularly condemned was the practice of disgracing or doing outrage to the corpse (aikia), which was widely regarded as the most unholy act. From both tragedy, and some historical accounts, we learn that maltreating the dead was a ‘practice which befitted only barbarians’; and even committed by barbarians, as Herodotus writes, the Greeks detested it (9.79). And although we hardly encounter any instances of the mutilation of the dead in Classical Greece, its prominence in Homer’s Iliad, with Achilles’ maltreatment of Hector’s body in the foreground, is puzzling, to say the least. This papers aims to address this paradox, investigating the importance of the mutilation of the dead theme in the Homeric epics and setting it in the context of the Archaic Greek concepts of honour, vengeance and death.

Nicoletta Bruno, PhD Student, Università degli Studi di Bari “Aldo Moro” and Academic Visitor Oxford University (2013-2014).
Deterrence and disgust of war. A reading of the controversial Lucr. DRN 5, 1341-1349

In a well known context of Book 5 of De rerum natura, Lucretius affirms that to ensure law and order, after the fall of the kings, much stricter laws were to be established: the violence of brutal disorder could only be erased through further violence, enforced by law which, through terror, instils the fear (metus) of punishment. Not only men would be made respectful of law by the terror of breaching it, but the fear of their opponents’ weapons, that is deterrence, could also create fear to attack the enemy, as can be read in the controversial passage 5, 1341-49. The whole passage on the development of weapons and the use of animals in warfare (1297-1349) caused long discussion among many scholars, namely Bailey 1947, who holds it as a practice of fantasy, almost an incontrovertible evidence of Lucretius’ derangement, as Jerome says. Lines 1339-1349 have been deemed as suspicious by Lachmann 1850, and by Munro 1864, who expunged them. From a more radical point of view, Deufert 1996 was certain that the passage was an interpolation. The nine lines, transmissed by main manuscripts, are in Lucretius’ peculiar style: however, that was insufficient to receive an unanimous consensus regarding its authenticity. Housman 1928, the great English classical scholar, formulated an interesting hypothesis: these lines might be a sarcastic comment made by Cicero, the first emendator of Lucretius’ works. My paper has the purpose of retreading the verses exegesis, signs of language, style and text which still make this passage hard to be considered authentic, despite Lucretius’ universal historical disgust and condemnation of military and political life and his disapproval of his contemporary age.
Dr. Jon Coulson – St Andrews
‘Commemorating Conflict Landscapes in the Early 21st Century’.
Alessandro Brambilla, PhD student, Università degli studi di Roma, Tor Vergata
“ὁπλῖται δὲ πλείους ἢ μύριοι”. Mobilization potential and proportional distribution of federal commitments in Boeotia and Thessaly.
Despite the opinion widespread among scholars which identifies in the huge recruitment potential one of the main advantages of the federal union in ancient Greece, a detailed analysis of the sources may provide a picture of the facts not entirely consistent with this view. Starting from the analysis of the entities which are better known to moderns, the koinon of the Boeotians and the koinon of the Thessalians, it is possible to demonstrate that the mobilization potential of a Greek federal state was undoubtedly good, but not outstanding if compared with that of certain poleis. This circumstance seems to be surprising when compared with the demographic potential that these realities were actually able to express, certainly greater than the one of a single city. The reason for this discrepancy could lie in the principle of proportional distribution of the federal commitments between individual members which inspired the constitutions of these states and which was implemented through the creation of a districts system. Although this principle, at least in theory, seems conceived as an element aimed to guarantee representation in the decision-making bodies of smaller members, which could share the burdens without suffering excessive detriment in their chances of self-defence, on the other hand it would appear to constitute a restriction for the complete deployment of the military potential of these states.
Elizabeth Pearson, PhD Student, University of Manchester
In Capitolio?: The Location of the Republican Dilectus
In the sixth book of his Histories, Polybius gives a description of the Roman dilectus (military levy) during the Mid-Republic (6.19-26). He states that the levy is held in Rome on the Capitol with the entire eligible male citizen body present. This narrative has been dismissed by modern scholars such as Frank Walbank and Peter Brunt as both implausible and anachronistic, not only for the 160s-150s BC when Polybius was writing but even for the point in his narrative at which it occurs, after the Battle of Cannae in 216. Instead, Polybius is considered to have been mistaken or to be reflecting a much more ancient practice no longer followed. A decentralised levy process is considered more plausible.
It is the contention of this paper that such dismissal of Polybius’ account is unwarranted, Using topographical and demographic methods it will be demonstrated that it is possible that the dilectus could have been held solely on the Capitol in both the late third and mid second century. The physical space on the Capitol will be examined, along with the portion of the population to be considered as the ‘eligible male citizen body’, to reach the conclusion that this body of men could have gathered on the Capitol with enough space to effectively carry out the levy. Finally, in the light of this acceptance of Polybius’ account, mentions of the levy by Livy will be briefly re-examined in order to demonstrate that not only was it possible for the dilectus to be held on the Capitol, but also that the literary evidence points to just such an interpretation.

Liam Gale, PhD Student, Edinburgh University
Mercenaries or Allies? A re-evaluation of the military role played by the Galatians during the Hellenistic period.
In the eyes of the Greeks and Romans, the Gauls who settled in central Anatolia were, above all else, warriors. This perception dominates in the primary sources and has understandably created a military-first approach to how we view the Galatians. The military relationship between the Greeks and the Galatians provides a window through which we can better explore and understand their place in the Hellenistic world. Modern scholarship has traditionally viewed the Galatians as mercenaries, and thus, as apolitical players in the political landscape of the Hellenistic world. This is however both highly misleading and unfaithful to the primary sources. I will ague that the Galatians had far more political and military agency than they have previously been credited. Assuming the Galatians primarily played the role of mercenaries detracts from scholars’ ability to view them as a dynamic and political force and instead, assigns to them the place of an inconsequential power. Rather than presenting the Galatians as mercenaries, the primary sources may instead portray them as allies when fighting alongside the Hellenistic kings. Furthermore if we accept that the Galatians were primarily allies, then they must have wielded far more political power in Asia Minor than has previously been believed and had the diplomatic ability and will to navigate the complexities of Hellenistic diplomacy. This paper will also investigate how and why this view arose, and the effect it has had on modern scholarship.

Tristan Herzogenrath-Amelung , PhD Student, University of Edinburgh
Naval Hoplites: The Social Status of Athenian epibatai
This paper will explore the social background of Classical Athenian epibatai, dedicated naval infantry who served on triremes. It will be argued that the common view, viz. that epibatai were usually recruited from Athens’ lowest property class, the thetes, and had a commensurate social standing, needs to be adjusted, as it rests almost entirely on two sentences in Thucydides (6.43 and 8.24), and ignores other evidence that in fact suggests that epibatai were drawn not from the thetes, but from the upper three tiers of Athenian society: the zeugitai, hippeis, and pentakosiomedimnoi; incidentally this is the same recruitment pool as that of regular hoplites for land operations, which fits well with our sources using the words “epibatai” and “hoplites” interchangeably. To illustrate this, we will begin with a brief outline of naval warfare in general, highlighting the continued importance of naval infantry, and then look at several passages that confirm the prestige associated with service as an epibates. A short concluding section will then relate our findings to the wider debates about hoplite warfare, especially regarding a hoplite’s ability to fight as a soloist.
Day 2 Abstracts

Please note this list of abstracts is subject to alteration, small changes may need to be made due to unforeseen circumstances.
Drwm
Alex Imrie, final year PhD student, University of Edinburgh
‘He suddenly became Alexander’: Caracalla, Alexander the Great and the historicity of the ‘Macedonian Phalanx’.
The practice of evoking the memory of Alexander the Great became a powerful tool of kingship almost immediately after the monarch’s death in 323 BC. From the diadochoi onwards, rulers sought to associate themselves with Alexander or even to assume his identity.

The potency of Alexander’s legacy was no less significant during the Roman imperial period, with emperors from Nero to Julian seeking to forge parallels between themselves and the king. Caracalla is renowned as one of the most obsessive exponents of this image. Cassius Dio, Herodian and the author of the Historia Augusta accuse the emperor of a variety of increasingly peculiar attempts to depict himself as a new Alexander, from dressing like his idol to claiming that his body had become a conduit for the king’s soul, so that Alexander might live once again through him.
Of the many accusations directed at Caracalla regarding his obsession with Alexander, his levying of a phalangite formation inspired by the king’s army remains one of the most intriguing. Whilst it is tempting to dismiss the account of this regiment as hyperbole or fiction on the part of our authors, little thought has been given to the potentially tactical impetus behind its creation.
This paper will discuss details of Caracalla’s ‘Alexander-mania’ before examining the phalanx within the broader context of the emperor’s sole reign and preparations for the Parthian war. It will argue that the ‘Macedonian Phalanx’ might, in fact, be symptomatic of an evolution in the Roman military that had been underway since before the Antonine period. Rather than an exercise in vanity, we might instead view this initiative as an attempt by Caracalla to gain a tactical advantage over his eastern enemies prior to his eventual invasion.
Carlo Lualdi , Independent Researcher
280 BC, war in Lucania: reconstruction, reassigns and new associations.
Commonly known as “The battle of Heraclea” the first confrontation between the Roman Republican military forces and a Hellenistic army took place in southern Italy in the first half of the 3rd century BC during the expedition of Pyrrhus, king of Epirus . Such fight offers an interesting research field about warfare tactics and the evolution of the war machines employed at that time. Even so this subject has often been analyzed briefly and superficially, through a continuous overuse of consolidated data.
The primary sources about this struggle are very limited and thus our view of the event is partial and fragmentary.
Starting with the analysis of the many scattered references about the battle and nearby events, it appears that some episodes that had been previously assigned to other episodes of the war between Rome and Pyrrhus, can be linked to this specific struggle and thus provide new contributions to a complete view of it.
Furthermore, broadening the scope of the investigation and including other witnesses and material evidence could lead to a more complete comprehension of the episode. In this sense the comparative studies in iconography can tackle more effectively the informative lack of the literary sources.
Therefore we will try to complement the existing literature by assuming a multidisciplinary approach. Our line of research develops between literary sources and archaeological evidence with further contributions from the contemporary coinage.
By proposing a new approach we will integrate the teachings from a wider spectrum of disciplines in order to correctly update the status quaestionis about Hellenistic and Roman warfare in the 3rd century BC.
Simone Agrimonti, PhD Student – University of Genoa
The right wing as the “centre of gravity” of the hoplite phalanx
In his work On war, Carl von Clausewitz elaborates the concept of schwerpunkt. This term has usually been translated, with some approximation, with “centre of gravity”. Its precise meaning is still debated: the American military doctrine defines it as “the source of power that provides moral or physical strength, freedom of action, or will to act”. I will show that this definition is only partial, since the concept developed by Clausewitz is more complex and refined. After providing a more complete definition of this notion, I will propose to apply it to the hoplite warfare of the fifth and fourth century B.C.
The analysis of the military dynamics within the Greek world and of the functioning of the hoplite phalanx will thus be carried out in the light of the concept of schwerpunkt, trying to understand which might be considered the schwerpunkt of hoplite armies. In order to achieve this goal, I will take into consideration battles involving hoplite phalanxes, and (re-)examine how they were fought, trying to identify the “centre of gravity” of each army. Among these, I will particularly focus on some great battles, such as Mantinea (418), Nemea, Leuctra, and Mantinea (362). Throughout a careful examination of ancient sources, with particular attention to the works of Thucydides and Xenophon, and a comparison between the different battles, I will suggest that the soldiers deployed on the right wing constituted the real schwerpunkt of the classical hoplite phalanx.
Although the crucial importance of the right wing does not represent a new acquisition per se, my approach to this issue, through the use of a modern military concept, should help to define more precisely the role of this element within hoplite fighting, leading us to a better comprehension of the military dynamics of Greek phalanx.
Andrzej Dudziński, Jagiellonian University, Cracow
Manoeuvre, surprise and patience – Dionysius I as a military leader
Dionysius I rose to power in one of the most interesting moments of the history of classical Greece. It was also the eve of the great changes in the Greek warfare. In Sicily the main stimulus to these changes was the conflict with Carthage, which re-entered the political landscape of the island with two devastating campaigns in 409 and 406-405 BC, facilitating establishment of Dionysius’ tyranny. In my paper I will try to highlight the most important and characteristic aspects the tyrant’s tactics.
I shall begin with an analysis of the battle of Gela in 405 BC, which was by far Dionysius’ most daring tactical experiment. I would like to present the tyrant’s plan of the battle as a reasonable, though hazardous, response to Carthaginian tactics in the previous engagements. Next, I will analyze the two elements that I believe were characteristic of Dionysius’ way of war – the use of a surprise and his determination to ensure victory with minimal losses. First, I will demonstrate that he not only was eager to seize any opportunity to attack unsuspecting enemy, but that he very often deliberately tried to attack in a surprising way, to catch him unprepared. Secondly, I will analyze how situations Dionysius handled the situations in which he found himself in an advantageous position.
Although the main aim of my paper is to pinpoint the characteristic features of Dionysius’ tactics, there are also some general conclusions concerning his leadership abilities that can be drawn from this analysis. These conclusions will hopefully allow us to better understand Dionysius – innovative and imaginative leader, indubitably one of the most fascinating figures of his times.
Edwin Pace, Independent Researcher
When did the Roman army leave Britain?
Observers are sceptical about Gildas’ story of a voluntary Roman withdrawal from Britain, following a successful ‘vengeance’ against barbarian invaders. The account seems to contradict well-documented events surrounding Rome’s fall in 410, when the army in Britain was in open revolt, and a vast swathe of imperial territory between Italy and Britain was lost. Gildas also appears to contradict Zosimas’ testimony about a successful British revolt against Rome.
Strangely, evidence from the next (much less well-documented) decade seems to support Gildas. The Notitia Dignitatum lists Roman army units in Britain during the life of Valentinian III (419-55). Both Vegetius’ naval doctrine and the logic of the Saxon Shore mandated Roman control of key maritime chokepoints, and thus both sides of the Channel. This was indispensible to Gaul’s coastal defence once Constantius reasserted Roman control in 418.
Early medieval sources also testify to a Roman return well after 410. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports a voluntary Roman withdrawal in 418X421, while Aethelweard’s Chronicle places the end of Roman rule in about 425.
These apparent contradictions can be explained as reports of two different events. Britain did indeed gain independence in 406-11, but subsequently hosted a temporary Roman re-occupation in 418, to guard both sides of the Channel against barbarian maritime incursions. Moreover, an impending confrontation with the eastern empire in 421, and Castinus’ catastrophic defeat in Spain in 422 , would have been more than sufficient to bring about the Roman withdrawal that Gildas describes.
The talk will review the hypotheses of various scholars on this issue, and consider whether observers may be doing the equivalent of confusing Iraq’s independence from Britain in 1932 with the British Army’s withdrawal from Basra in 2011.

L H McGuire Independent Researcher
News and advice: elite women’s communications during military and political conflict in the Roman Republic

The 41 different letter types recognised by the ancients covered almost every possible eventuality (Libanios De forma epistolari 5-45). For elite men letters were essential as a means of getting news while abroad in military or government posts. For instance, Cicero demanded updates of what was happening back in the capital while he governed Cilicia. And he provided the same service for friends like Trebatius when the latter was stationed in Britain serving under Julius Caesar. Women might also have taken this role. 19-year-old Octavian relied on letters from his mother for news concerning political developments in Rome during his struggle with Mark Antony to gain sole control of the city and her provinces (Nicolaus of Damascus, Life of Augustus). Direct evidence of such involvement is hard to come by. Letters written by women, largely from Egypt and the Vindolanda tablets, are rich in detail but too scanty and spread over time to give a complete picture.
This paper proposes instead to examine evidence for elite women’s letter writing in the late Republic. The four surviving collections of Cicero’s correspondence remain one of our best sources both for information about women’s lives and the civil conflicts between Caesar and Pompey. What can it tell us about women’s role as communicators, both in terms of physically handling letters and in supplying news to men fighting in the field? What sense is there of women being considered a particularly trustworthy source of information when so much misinformation was being circulated and fake letters written? A study of references to Terentia (Cicero’s wife), Tullia (his daughter) and Servilia (Marcus Junius Brutus’ mother) suggest that elite women were expected to play an active part as communicators in times of military and political crisis and that that role was valued.
Council Chamber
Lloyd Hopkins
Deduction without honesta missio: the coloniae of Vespasian and the status and roles of Roman soldiers.

The status of Roman soldiers and especially veterans during the Early and High Imperial periods is usually assumed to be a high one (e.g. Speidel, M.A. ‘‘Soldaten und Zivilisten im römischen Reich’, in Speidel, Heer und Herrschaft im römischen Reich der hohen Kaiserzeit, Stuttgart, (2009), 473-4). Legionary veterans received cash bounties at discharge, while peregrine auxiliaries gained Roman citizenship and rights of marriage. However, John Mann (Legionary Recruitment and Veteran Settlement during the Principate, London, (1983), e.g. 18-19) argued that the social and economic opportunities available to veterans may have been limited, while we must not forget that even discharged men could be recalled to fight. In this context, I shall consider the veteran colonial deductions of servicemen from the classes Misenensis and Ravennas by Vespasian in AD 71. The sources for these deductions, a series of military diplomata, specify that the colonies were to be founded at Paestum in Italy, and more vaguely in Pannonia. A careful examination of these documents reveals that none of the servicemen were explicitly mentioned as having received honesta missio, honourable discharge. Although Forni (‘I diplomi militari dei classiari delle flotte pretorie (inclusi quelli dei classiari-legionari’, in Forni, Esercito e marina di Roma antica, Stuttgart, (1992), 427) suggested that we can simply assume this came with the settlement, I shall argue that the servicemen may have been placed in a state of perpetual service in exchange for land received. Thus the servicemen were bound to the Emperor in a way not entirely dissimilar to a slave to a master. The nature of this service may simply have been readiness to serve in the classes in future, but, concentrating on Paestum, I shall also argue that their settlement and service may have been connected with hopes of populating and improving marginal land in the area. These elements of perpetual service and work on the land should contribute to a reconsideration of both the status and roles of the Roman Imperial soldier.

Korneel Van Lommel, Independent Researcher
Heroes and outcasts: The position of disfigured and impaired soldiers in Roman civil society
By means of war Rome was able to become, in a few centuries, a world empire that would hold out for many more. The Roman army and its organization played an important part in this achievement. Behind the façade of glory and victory, however, lay a less pleasant aspect. The many battles caused a high number of dead and damaged soldiers. This paper will focus on this last group of physically impaired soldiers and their perception in Roman antiquity from the early Republic until the 4th century A.D. The overall objective is to study the position of the physically challenged soldiers in Roman society.
Did they meet appreciation for the sacrifices they made in military service and how did it become evident? Were they welcomed as heroes or did they live on the margin of society? In addition, the self-perception of the impaired veterans will be discussed. Earlier studies have explored the topos in Roman writings of soldiers proudly displaying scars. This paper will also focus on those who deliberately lead a secluded life.
A military career provided many soldiers with chances of upward social mobility. After their dismissal, veterans could make promotion in politics, be it on a municipal level. Did this opportunity also hold for impaired veterans? Were there legal restrictions to practice a profession or a religious function? This paper aims to explore a few aspects of the impaired Roman soldiers’ lives in civil society.
Dr. Paul Johstono, Duke University
The Amazing Macedonians: Casualties, Attrition, and Reinforcements in the Army of Alexander the Great
The exploits of the Alexander III of Macedon and his army are well-known: with an army that generally numbered thirty to forty thousand men at any one time Alexander invaded and conquered the Persian Empire and much besides. In the process he won several set-piece battles against larger armies, conducted numerous successful sieges, and campaigned as far as India before returning with his victorious army to Babylon. According to ancient sources and most modern treatments of the subject as well, a little more than 25,000 Macedonians served in Alexander’s army over the full course of the campaign, most of them since 334 BC. The rest of his force comprised thousands of Greeks, Balkan barbarians, and some Anatolian soldiers. When Alexander died in 323 BC, the ancient sources and most modern treatments of the subject reckon that approximately 22,000 thousand of them were not only still alive but still bearing arms. More than half of those had recently been discharged from duty, and were returning under arms to Macedonia, commanded by the venerable Craterus. The other half remained with the army near Babylon. Alexander’s unparalleled feat in force retention–keeping his men on campaign for a decade, traveling about 35,000 kilometers round-trip through mainly hostile, always foreign territory, and losing only about 10% of them–has received too-little attention. This study examines the record of reinforcement, the data regarding casualties, and comparable models for army attrition. It then offers several new suggestions and models analyzing and resolving the peculiar, astounding durability of the Macedonian soldier.
Prof. Nicholas Victor Sekunda.
Archers Shooting from Behind Shield-Bearers.
The first depiction of an archer shooting from behind a large shield held by a second person was found in Mari during excavations conducted by André Parrot. The authenticity of this object is open to doubt, but in neo-Assyrian art it is easy to find warriors operating in pairs: one armed with a shield and the other armed with a bow, the archer shooting from under the protection of the shield held by the other warrior. These pairs can be operating on foot, in the context of a siege or not, or on horseback, or riding in a chariot.
Only rarely do scenes occur in which one can say that a whole linear tactical system is being depicted, rather than archer/shield-bearer pairs operating in isolated pairs. In the famous ‘lion-hunt’ reliefs from the North Palace which Ashurbanipal built at Nineveh (645-640 BC) two lines of soldiers are shown; a line of archers drawn up behind a line of shield-bearers. This was obviously a reflection of tactics which were practiced on the battlefield. This infantry fighting system was adopted by other armies of the ancient Near East, including the Achaemenid army. Shield walls from behind which archers shoot are mentioned in Herodotus’ descriptions of the battle of Plataea (9.61) and Mykale (9.99,102).
This infantry fighting system also spread to the Aegean world. A Cypriot terracotta shows a pair of warriors fighting in this way. Archers shooting from behind the cover afforded by shield-bearers are mentioned in the Iliad (e.g. 8.266-272) and lines formed of alternating figures of archers and shield-bearers are shown on Late Geometric pots. The fighting system enjoyed a brief revival in its popularity in Athens under the Peisistratid
Dr. Marek Vercik
“Fas est ab hoste doceri” or How the Greek Arms and Armoury were changed by the Barbarians?
Contacts between different regions and civilizations as well as the interaction of their cultures have become one of the most discussed topics also in current Classical research. This discussion does not so much concern the results of this process, but rather its nature. However, one subject of the study has been persisting in this development – Classical Warfare. According to the assumption of the old‐fashioned, “colonial” approach the Greeks military dominates their neighbour and furthermore resists foreign influence (as Snodgrass 1999). Using the extensive material dimension of the Greek Warfare, I attempt to re‐examine this approach out of the perspective of material connections (as defined by Knapp – van Dommelen 2010). By analysing the origin of the Hoplite Arms and Armour, which was an essential component of Greek identity, the diversity within its development and the importance of the foreign influence, in this case from Balkan Peninsula, will be shown. In chronological terms, the paper focuses on archaic and classic periods. This approach makes it possible to examine the topic diachronic and in comparison to the development in other neighbouring cultures, before the eminent changes symbolising the Hellenistic period – the “internationalization” of Warfare – occurred. During that time, the eastern Mediterranean and especially the Aegean itself were frequented by Greeks, Thracians, Persians and other local peoples, all of whom became entangled in ever‐shifting regional and intra‐regional movements. Both of this make it possible to interrogate how conflicts, peaceful contacts or commodities convey the experience of Mediterranean people, and how these experiences were interpreted by the Greeks, thus improving their own Armoury and Warfare in order to survive.
Dr. Lothar.Willms, Heidelberg.University
Make ready, present arms: Practical and aesthetical implications in the description of weapons in Mycenaean tablets and Archaic Greek poetry
In a seminal study (1933) Walter Arend showed that in the famous Homeric scenes of armament the weapons are mentioned in the order in which they are put to use. My paper explores this pattern of textual organization in four instances of weapon catalogues (two on chariot warfare and two on infantry), ranging from the Mycenaean Age to archaic lyric. By examining the references to the weapons’ glistening, I demonstrate the growing role of aesthetics, often interwoven with the practical aspects: The glistening creates a fascination that motivates to put the weapons to use or it arouses a dramatic expectation that they are about to be used. First off, Arend’s pattern of text organization can be detected in a series of about 140 Mycenaean tablets (e.g. KN Sc 230) found in Knossos: With a few exceptions, we read from left to right the name of a person, followed by the pictograms for a cuirass, a chariot, and a horse. In the Iliad, the practical dynamics of this order is spelled out: Having put on his armour, cuirass and his glistening shield and having taken his weapons, Achilles steps on his chariot and drives on his two horses to run into battle (19.364-424). In Odyssey 19.1-46, Odysseus and Telemachus bring the weapons (helmets, shields, and spears) from the hall where they have been hanging exposed to smoke for a long time while Athena sheds light with a bright lamp to the storeroom, and then put them to use by killing the suitors. In a poem by Alcaeus (LP 357 = V 140), the aesthetic tendency prevails but the rather dynamic and aesthetical description of the glistening weapons, also stored in a house, is followed by two final verses which describe their being put to use. The growing role of glistening might be due to the different genres (administrative text, epics, lyrics) and topics (war, nostos) in which our pattern occurs.

Wawrzyniec Miscicki, Ph.D student, University of Krakow
Hoplites at Roundway Down. Development of armor in Archaic Greece.
One of the most interesting arguments presented by the so-called orthodoxy regardless development of the phalanx in the Archaic Greece is that the hoplite’s equipment was simply best suited for usage within this formation. The scholars argue that full panoply of the warrior was too heavy and cumbersome for fighting outside the phalanx. Even if this argument is counter by the fact that Greeks did use their equipment outside this context (as a marines, or in ritual dancing), orthodoxy insist that even if the panoply could be used in other way, the fighting in phalanx was still the best way to use it. “Why would Greeks invent this equipment and only find out best usage for it after some two hundred years?” does sound like a valid point. However it is only a hypothesis that needs to be verified by the sources.
This “equipment hypothesis” is formed jointly by the two notions: first, that the panoply was best suited for phalanx warfare, and second, that the core of the panoply remained virtually unchanged roughly throughout both Archaic and Classical Periods. Although both of these notions seems accurate at first, the analysis of sources produce more complex picture. The aim of my presentation would be to test this hypothesis against the cluster of Archaic sources, iconographic, archaeological and written. If the orthodox view could not be confirmed then what were the causes of the development of armor in Greece? I shall argue that the situation of an ancient hoplite could be similar to that of the 17th century cuirassier regarding the usage and eventually dropping of the protective equipment. The Battle of Roundway Down which often serves as a perfect example of twilight of heavy cuirass would be used as an analogy to present the complexity of this issue.
Joshua R. Hall, PhD Student, Cardiff University
Stop cutting me, don’t you know you’re supposed to use your spear!
Most modern commentators on archaic Greek warfare will emphasize the role of the spear in combat. Throughout the changes in warfare perceived from the 9th century BC onwards, the sword has been viewed as continually marginalized by the use of the long thrusting spear. Much of the modern discussion of this point revolves around older understandings of the mechanics of archaic warfare and the supposed unsuitability of the sword therein. The swords of archaic Greece, therefore, have received far less attention than they have been due. This paper is a glimpse into the world of the archaic sword, through a combination of iconographical, archaeological and literary evidence.
This paper examines the sword from the end of the Dark Ages to the Classical Period. As a status symbol of the Dark Ages and the Homeric world, the sword indicated rank and possibly gender, but was it a mainstay on the battlefield? How did this construction of the sword in early Greece influence the use and status of the sword in the Hoplite age? I will argue that the sword occupied a much more important place in both society and on the battlefield during the hoplite age, in particular, than we currently give it credit for.
Please note this list of abstracts is subject to alteration, small changes may need to be made due to unforeseen circumstances.
Day 3 Abstracts

Council Chamber

Drwm

Robert McKinnon, PhD Student, Aberystwyth University
Modelling ancient wars/making ancient wargames: Questions of realism.
This paper is interested in the envelopment of ‘modelling’ with game and war and more specifically here game and ancient warfare, simulating the dynamics of historical human conflict. This paper looks at the modelling practices that go into ‘rules design’ for table-top ancient miniatures warfare, examining the modelling of conflict dynamics (engineered through a mathematical model of reality). The paper begins by firstly exploring what wargaming and wargame design means for its hobbyist practioners exploring the enthusiasms and passions. Questions of abstraction are particularly interesting here where wargame designers will seek to come up with a dynamic that is both ‘realistic’ and which enables ‘playability’. However, tensions occur within the community and in modelling projects themselves over questions of balance. The paper moves on to discuss debates from modellers over questions of ‘realism’. Our knowledge of ancient warfare is often patchy so how do modellers and games negotiate this fact?
Xavier Rubio-Campillo, Barcelona Supercomputing Center • Pau Valdés-Matías, Universitat de Barcelona • Eduard Ble, Universitat de Barcelona
The role of centurion in the Roman legion: a computer simulation of battle tactics
Abstract Understanding the role of Centurions on battle tactics is paramount for the understanding of Roman warfare. Historical sources show how the impact of this figure in the success or defeat of the Roman line of battle is highly disproportioned compared to the low number of Centurions present in any formation, both in its cohesion as a whole and it’s attacking capabilities to break enemy lines. Several authors have pointed out explanations about why these few individuals were capable of dictating the combat dynamics of the Roman line, while suffering a disproportionate rate of casualties compared to the rest of the soldiers, probably due to their superior aggressiveness. The task of understanding the validity of the different hypotheses is not an easy task, as it is difficult to replicate battle tactics using existing information, even with the integration of archaeological evidence. This paper suggests a different approach to the problem, based on computer simulations as virtual laboratories. The development of an agent-based model has allowed to explore the emergence of formation dynamics from the aggregation of individual behaviors. The results suggest that the resilience of formations to combat increase exponentially if there exist a small percentage of homogeneously distributed warriors with higher psychological resistance. Additionally we prove that major aggressiveness is not needed to explain why Centurions had higher rate casualties. The final discussion shows how ABM can be used to compare research hypotheses on battle tactics, identifying key variables that explain the relation between individual and collective behavior.

Total War’ Discussion
Presenters: discussions between, developers and academics to assess the use of Total War in the classroom environment. A PC with the game loaded will be in the Council Chanber for this session so all aspects of the game can be observed and discussed.
Dr Josho Brouwers
Phalanx and fallacies: ways forward in the study of ancient Greek warfare
A key topic of debate in the study of ancient Greek warfare concerns the emergence and development of the hoplite (a type of heavy infantryman), the nature of hoplite battle, and whether or not the introduction of the hoplite also wrought changes in the socio-political realm. Opinion is sharply divided among scholars, who are grouped into either an ‘orthodox’ (traditional) or ‘heretical’ (gradualist) camp. According to the orthodoxy, the emergence of the hoplite is associated early on with the use of phalanx (i.e. massed formation) tactics and indicative of social change in the form of a rise of ‘middling’ farmers. The gradualist camp generally do not believe that the introduction of hoplite equipment went hand-in-hand with either tactical or socio-political changes, at least not until a (much) later stage.
The publication last year of Men of Bronze: Hoplite Warfare in Ancient Greece (based on a conference), edited by Donald Kagan and V.G. Viggiano, makes clear that opinions are still as sharply divided as ever. There is a central problem that has, to the best of my knowledge, not been touched upon that goes to the core of the debate and might actually help in getting us out of the present impasse. In order to move beyond the current sticking points in the debate, we need to be more conscious of our biases, our theoretical frameworks and methods, and come up with a more holistic and scientifically sound approach to the field as a whole. In this paper, I intend to point out common mistakes and problems in how scholars approach the topic, and suggest solutions and ways to push forward the current debate.
Owen Rees is a freelance historian and author
PTSD in Ancient Greece: Where the ‘Universal’ may lie
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?

Dr Jonathan Eaton, Newcastle College
Images of Command: Affirming imperial loyalty through combat behaviour
This paper will articulate a new approach to understanding the dynamics of power on the battlefields of imperial Rome. The role of the emperor as commander-in-chief and commilito (or ‘fellow soldier’) has been illuminated by the work of a number of scholars. Yet the behaviour of soldiers towards their emperor during and immediately after combat, as depicted in textual and iconographic sources, deserves further attention. The imperial presence within the theatre of combat added an extra dimension to the motivations of soldiers, through providing opportunities for conspicuous displays of valour in the hope of reward or promotion.
Evidence for an extreme form of combat behaviour by Roman troops, in the form of the display of severed heads, is visually depicted on a number of imperial monuments including the Columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. Frequently such behaviour has been attributed to so-called ‘barbaric’ practices exhibited by auxiliary troops, perhaps linked to an alleged Celtic cult of the head. This viewpoint owes much to a topos prevalent in Latin literature which distinguished the ‘civilised’ behaviour of Romans from those of their enemies. An analysis of literary, numismatic and iconographic sources demonstrates that the taking and display of severed heads was not an uncommon Roman practice in warfare and political strife. This paper argues that the use of such scenes in imperial propaganda was consciously designed to demonstrate the loyalty of the troops to their emperor through reinventing an established prehistoric practice to suit the contemporary political climate.
Alex Koutsoukis, PhD Student, Aberystwyth University
To surrender, or not to surrender, that is the question: power inequalities and respect of the “other” in Ancient Greece.
Effective surrendering and successful victories need to be grounded on respect. Even in the cruel times of Ancient Greece respecting the “other” paid dividends. Whenever that was not upheld the outcome was prone to be a massacre or an unstable peace or the defending city-state could change alliances. Neither the will to freedom nor pure rational calculations in dire straits fully explain the decision of city states to surrender in the face of superior power by the attacker. By showing respect towards the defeated country, the strong could discern what and what not to find important and that could make its judgement call effective. Efficiency is not a synonym for cynicism or realpolitik. If the aggressor took into consideration what the defender and its society wanted when imposing surrendering, then that may have prevented hubris by recognising the humanity of the “other” and made the prudential decision be ethical too. This matters because surrendering is related tacitly or explicitly to social dynamics. Cruelty and disrespect towards a society’s demands during war, in surrendering or afterwards could often lead to unexpected stubborn resistance or an unexpected change of sides or unexpected social revolts. A round understanding of surrendering cannot ignore its social dimension. It is part and parcel of the military outcome and makes it endure or be precarious. It is one thing to reduce your war aims and another one to be willing to make peace, and to admit defeat and swallow your pride. It is in this space between the reduction of minimal war aims and the willingness to admit defeat and make peace that we can find what else makes surrendering more or less possible and stable. It is in this limited but vital respect that it is worth discovering what is missing between reduced war aims and willingness to make peace and for this paper this “gap” can be reduced by focusing on the notion of respect.

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