Greek Soldiers On Campagin



Formal Units
The lochos was the basic formal structure by which a hoplites life was regulated within the army, often based on tribes of real or mythical kin groups. He marched within it and fought in it. A soldier must have felt a sense of loyalty to it and received his group identity from it. A lochos-mate was called a lochites, with whom our soldier felt a shared sense of honour. Perhaps it had signs and symbols to re-enforce the group identity, maybe even its own trumpet calls on the salphix. The Macedonian army had trumpet signals for the attack, the withdrawal, the call to arms, strike camp, march, ground arms and the alarm. A signal would first be given by the king's trumpeter, and at a lower level unit trumpeters may have prefixed the signal with their own unit signal. Within the lochos Xenophon recommended files lead by files leaders, suggesting they were not normal practice outside of the Spartan army.

But cavalry, peltasts and light troops were organised into taxeis of varying sizes, based on ethnicity as well as troop type. The officers within ataxis were called taxiarchoi. In Athens as in other city-states the cavalry had a tribal organisation. Each of the ten Athenian tribes were organised into a tribe or phyle of horse, each with a nominal strength of one hundred horsemen, lead by a phylarchos elected annually by the tribe. The ten units were commanded by two officers, hipparchoi, elected annually by the whole citizen body, who each commanded a wing of five phylai.

Each recruit would have to appear at muster with his mount and equipment for inspection by a board of elected magistrates responsible for the cavalry arm. Later Macedonian practice built the cavalry around a squadron or ile of 200 men, commanded by an ilarch and divided into four 49 man units under a tetrarch. The ilarch had a trumpeter to relay signals and a hyperetes to help administer the unit. A number of ilai could be brigaded into a hipparchy under a hipparch. Recruiting officers, xenologoi, could be sent to try and enrol mercenaries from specific areas, although troops could be hired from allied states.

Cavalrymen may have what Diodoros calls amphippoi or two horse men, bringing two horses to war perhaps a spare charger or one for a groom. But they may have even brought more if possible to ensure a fresh mount when needed. Their horses were unshod, with no stirrups and saddles or even a curb bit. At 10.3 to 14.1 hands averaging just over 13 hands, they could be very expensive to buy. Nearly 700 lead tablets from the Athenian cavalry records dating to the mid 4th to mid 3rd centuries give the cavalryman's name, colour of horse, description of brand and replacement value of the horse.

Colours are given most frequently as red or chestnut, black, reddish brown, white, dapple gray and spotted. Dapple gray occurs only twice and one colour begins with white but the second portion is missing, perhaps a piebald.

Twenty five brands are given, the ox head, bucephalus from Thessaly probably near Pharsalus, the centaur brand with Larissa, the axe from Pherae, the caduces from Macedonia, the letters koppa for Corinth and san from Sicyon. Replacement values ranged from 1,200 to 200 drachmas, with 500 an average. Xenophon rode a splendid animal costing over 1,000 drachmas when he joined the Persian expedition.

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