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Taras' Allies

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 6 months ago

Later Hoplite Greek (II/5) - Taras' allies



1. Archidamos in 343 BC

2. Alexander the Molossian in 334-330 BC

3. Kleonymos in 303-302 BC


Author: Duncan Head


Synopsis: Additions are suggested for the various homeland Greek

expeditions made to assist the Italiote city of Taras. They are

presented here as three separate proposals, the first of which also

plugs some gaps as to who can use Spartan and other troops.


There is a case for breaking up this list into several smaller lists,

in which case these proposals might belong in an Italiote Greek list.


Proposal 1 - Add:


Only Tarantine Italiotes in 343 BC:

Spartan allies: List - Later Hoplite Greek.


Amendments to list notes:


"Only an army with a Phokian C-in-C can include artillery or a

Spartan ally general, and it cannot include Thebans or Thracians. An

army without a Phokian C-in-C and containing Spartan elements must

have a Spartan C-in-C."


"Only an army with a Phokian C-in-C can include artillery; only a

Phokian C-in-C in the Sacred War of 355-346 BC, or a Tarantine C-in-C

in 343, can have a Spartan ally general, who must command all Spartan

elements present but may also command mercenaries and (in the

Tarantine case) Italiotes. An army without a Phokian or Tarantine C-

in-C, or of a different date, and containing Spartan elements must

have a Spartan C-in-C. Only a Spartan C-in-C can have a Spartan sub-

general. An army with a Siciliot, Italiot or Phokian C-in-C may not

include Thebans or Thracians."


Add to list notes:

"Taras in Italy hired a succession of homeland Greek commanders to

help against the native Italians: King Archidamos of Sparta in 343,

Alexander the Molossian, king of Epeiros, in 334-0 and the royal

pretender Kleonymos of Sparta in 303-2. Archidamos commanded both

Spartans and mercenaries, so is classed as a Spartan ally; as well as

commanding all Spartans he must command at least half the archers

(depict them as Cretans) used."



Diodoros describes how Archidamos sailed to Italy to help Taras

against the Lucanians. On the way he intervened in a local war in

Crete; since this is not on the direct route to Italy, he probably

went there to hire Cretan mercenaries. His force certainly did have

mercenaries, since the surviving mercenaries were shot down with

javelins by the Lucanians after Archidamos' death in battle; but

otherwise, nothing is known of its size or composition.


On the pattern of the Phokians' Spartan ally, it is probably not

necessary to include a specific line for the Spartan allied

contingent, but it does help clarity.


Dating for the Phokians' Spartan allies is added here since it seems

inconsistent to restrict the Spartans for Taras to one year and allow

them for Phokis at any date. Although Spartan troops are only

explicitly mentioned (in Diodoros book 16) under 352 and 346 (in the

latter case under the same King Archidamos who later sailed to

Taras), Sparta is indicated as an ally on other occasions, notably in

355 when Archidamos originally agreed to give secret help to Phokis,

so they have been allowed for the entire period of the Sacred War.


The current wording, while limiting who can have a Spartan ally

general, seems to allow a Phokian C-in-C (and, if this proposal is

adopted, a Tarantine C-in-C in 343) to have a Spartan sub-general (or

even two). This would be cheese of the worst sort , and anyone trying

it under the current list should be publicly pelted with fetid feta;

but it seems worth plugging the loophole.



Diodoros 16.62-63

Paul Cartledge and Antony Spawforth, "Hellenistic and Roman Sparta",



Proposal 2 - Add:


Only Tarantine or Thourian Italiotes in 334-330 BC:


Convert C-in-c to Alexander of Epeiros - as Epeirot cavalry,

Reg Cv (O) or Reg Kn (F) 1

Epeirot sub-general - as Epeirot cavalry, Reg Cv (O) or Reg Kn (F),

or as Epeirot infantry, Reg Pk (O) 0-1

Epeirot cavalry - all Reg Cv (O) or all Reg Kn (F) 1-2

Epeirot infantry - all Irr Ax (O), all Reg Ax (O) or all

Reg Pk (O) 12-32

Lucanian exiles - Reg Cv (O), Reg Ax (O) or Reg Ax (S) 0-1

Apulian Peuketioi allies: List - List - Campanian, Apulian, Lucanian,

or Bruttian (II/8)


Add to list notes:

"Alexander - who was a relative and ally of Philip and Alexander of

Macedon - took complete enough control of Taras and the rest of the

Italiote League to be classed as C-in-c (he still counts as an

Italiote C-in-c for availability of terrain and troops); but he

subsequently fell out with Taras and based himself and his remaining

Italiote allies on the rival city of Thourioi. It is not known

whether had already introduced the pike-phalanx later used by

Pyrrhos, or was using traditional Epeirot tribal irregulars, or

something in between. He enlisted 200 Lucanian deserters, one of whom

treacherously killed him. Epeirot and Lucanian troops may not be

under a non-Epeirot general. If Alexander of Epeiros is used, the

minimum required number of hoplites is reduced to 24."



As far as I know, we have no evidence on the size of the army that

Alexander took to Italy. The figures suggested allow for 8,000

Epeirot infantry and 1,000 cavalry (taking both generals as cavalry)

which seems plausible when compared to the army Pyrrhos later took to

Italy from a larger Epeiros (or indeed to the native Macedonian

forces Alexander the Great took to Asia). The expedition probably

also included mercenaries and light troops, who can of course be

taken from troops allowed in the main list.


(Pyrrhos took a maximum of 15,000 Epeirot infantry (not counting the

5,000 Macedonians, the advance force of 3,000 mercenaries, or the

archers and slingers) to Italy. Some of these 15,000 may in fact have

been further allies or mercenaries, such as the Aitolians; there were

also Ambrakiots, included in his kingdom but not Alexander's; and

finally it seems that Alexander's power in Epeiros itself, outside

Molossia, was not as great as Pyrrhos'. Similarly of Pyrrhos' 3,000

cavalry probably no more than 2,000 were actual Epeirots.)


Reduction in the hoplite minimum (by 12 elements, 48AP) is to

balance the fact that this army has to take a minimum of 58AP of

Epeirots (calculation includes the additional cost of a Reg Cv (O) C-

in-c over an Irr Sp (O) C-in-c).


We know nothing of Epeirot cavalry tactics or equipment beyond what

can be deduced from Livy's account of his last battle. Surrounded by

the Lucanians, Alexander broke through their lines leading some

picked men (cum dilectis), and cut down the Lucanian general in close

combat. He was then crossing a flooded river when he was attacked

from behind by the Lucanian exiles serving in his own army. He drew

his sword and urged on his horse but was hit by a javelin. The charge

that breaks through the enemy, hand-to-hand combat with an enemy

general, and even the emphasis on the sword as a weapon (cf.

Plutarch, "Alexander" 32), are more reminiscent of Macedonian-style

Kn tactics than Cv. However this is far from conclusive, as it

represents a desperate attack to break out of encirclement, and might

not reflect tactics in a more typical battle.


Similarly we do not know how the Epeirot infantry were equipped. In

429 BC, Thucydides (2.81) describes them as warlike but undisciplined

tribesmen. Nothing is known after that until the time of Pyrrhos, by

which time they are armed in the Macedonian style. It is a likely

guess that Alexander was responsible for equipping and training them

in this style, but I can find no direct evidence for it.


Livy mentions the 200 Lucanian exiles in Alexander's service. Justin

describes him making peace and alliance - pacem et amicitiam - with

the Apuli after an initial war, and a treaty of alliance - foedus

amicitiamque - with the Poediculi (Peuketioi in Greek), who are an

Iapygian tribe of Apulia.



Livy 8.24

Justin 12.2 - http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/justin/12.html

NGL Hammond, "A History of Greece to 323 BC" (OUP, 3rd ed 1986)

pp .580-1

GN Cross, "Epirus" (Cambridge UP 1932)


Proposal 3 - Add:


Only Tarantine Italiotes in 303-302 BC:

Apulian Messapii allies: List - Campanian, Apulian, Lucanian, or

Bruttian (II/8)


Add to list notes:

"Kleonymos had few or no Spartan troops, only mercenaries, so class

him as a mercenary C-in-C but still count him as an Italiote C-in-C

for availability of terrain and troops. He was allied with the

Messapii of Apulia: a mercenary C-in-C must be used if Messapian

allies are used."



Diodoros describes how Kleonymos (who had tried to dispossess his

nephew from one of the Spartan thrones, and would later enlist with

Pyrrhos of Epeiros) hired 5,000 mercenaries at Tainaron in Lakonia,

sailed to Italy, and hired an equal number of mercenaries there. He

enlisted 20,000 Tarantine citizen infantry and 2,000 cavalry - which

suggests that he had authority over the Tarantine citizen army, and

should thus be classed as the C-in-C - and allied with the other

Italiote Greeks, and the native Messapii of Apulia. While he had the

encouragement of the Spartan government, no Spartan troops are




Diodoros 20.104

Paul Cartledge and Antony Spawforth, "Hellenistic and Roman Sparta",


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