Greek Soldiers On Campagin

The Crowd
In Athens we often suppose that a hoplite would be attended by a slave or free relative. They could be called paides or "boys", huperetai or "servants", or skeuophoroi, the "baggage-carriers". A Spartan could be followed by up to seven helots, but they were probably far less of them in the Athenian army than we may expect, and even less in a mercenary force. Soldiers would pack and carry their own equipment, lead the baggage animals, gather and prepare food and fire wood, and carry the injured. Athenian cavalryman according to Xenophon would have the services of a groom, who did not ride in the ranks or fight. The cavalryman would instruct the groom in stable management, grooming, leading and bridling the horse.

But Xenophon mentions ochlos, literally the "crowd or thong", skeuphora the "pack animals" and the andrapoda or man-footed creatures meaning the captives. Ochlos has a political meaning, but Xenophon uses it to describe the sick and other non-combatants not in formation and ready to fight. The skeuophora are soldiers who take care of the baggage animals, and can fight when called upon. The andrapodon or captives were destined for sale and could act as baggage carriers. Most slaves would belong to officers and the gentlemen of the cavalry. Xenophon while serving as a gentleman hoplite took several horses and slaves with him, including a hupaspistes or shield bearer. The aspis is generally thought of as a very heavy shield of around 10 kg, but accurate reproductions can half this weight.

A well-off soldier may come under pressure to share their slaves with his mess mates, and the slave may even run off with items of property. The slave would need food and constant supervision. A suskenia may pool their money to purchase a slave to help with labour, and collectively keep an eye on the individual to ensure they did not escape. If the opportunity presented itself, or the campaign was going badly, it seems likely that slaves would take the chance to escape.

But the decision would be in part based upon the reception they perceived they would get from the local population. Amongst these "spear-won" slaves would be paides, young male companions chosen and kept by paiderastai on the basis of individual desire, epithumesas. The young boys, often non-Greeks would have had to accept the attentions of their erastai. In time they may become valued members of a suskenoi, and even provided with weapons. But they were also a source of dispute and Xenophon suggests that fights over such boys were common.

In a typical Greek militia army of the Classical period there would have been little room for women. Greek women stayed at home in the safe confines of domesticity. But around the time of Alexander, or even in the Anabasis, women start to become an integral part of the army. Women were taken as slaves, and at some point may have become companions and shared in their men's daily suskenic chores. Active and willing companions, hetairai, would form strong relations with their men and language barriers would have soon broken down. Xenophon has Socrates state that even women can learn courage. They could certainly learn and perform armed dances such as the Pyrrhic, but Greek attitudes make it very unlikely that they ever actually fought.

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