Special Sub-Topic: Ancient Warfare
|Name the basic unit of a Macedonian phalanx.|
Speira. Many states used the phalanx, most famously Greece and Macedonia. Other than the first five ranks a phalanx's spears were held upright. This aided in disrupting missiles aimed at the phalanx.
|The Bactrian (that is, two-humped) camel was used primarily for warfare.|
False. Although used on occasion by the Achaemenid Persians, Bactrian camels were primarily used as transport animals. The Arabian (single humped) camel or dromedary, although originally a food animal, was by the 12th century being used in warfare.
|How many rows of oars did a Roman "trereme" have?|
3. These galleys powered through the sea propelled by three oarsmen seated at three banks of oars.
|What was the name Hannibal's elephant?|
Surus. Until the 4th century BC elephants were mainly used in India. Alexander the Great and his generals spread their use after fighting against them. Elephants also proved effective in siege warfare.
|Name the Roman throwing spear.|
Pilum. This has been called the deadliest throwing spear ever. It could penetrate armour and even pin shields together. After impact the spear's weight bent the iron shank making it impossible to remove it easily.
|How many centuries were there in the First Cohort of a 1st century AD Roman legion?|
5. A Roman legion had ten cohorts. The first cohort having five centuries of about 160 men each. Six centuries with about 80 men each comprised the remaining cohorts. A Legion also had about 120 attached cavalry.
|What name was given to the Roman legion's shield formation used mainly against fortified positions?|
Testudo. In a testudo the front rank were behind the shields of the second rank. Those at the sides held their shields outwards, while the middle held theirs over their heads. Each rank further back followed the roof and sides by locking their shields into the pattern.
|What does "kataphraktoi" mean?|
Covered over. The cataphracts wore armour as did their horses. Their main weapon was a lance. They relied on the shock of their charge and could charge archers or formed infantry.
|What was a "corvus" (in warfare)?|
Boarding platform. The Romans realized that they could not compete with the Carthaginian fleet and so resolved to make naval warfare more like land warfare. The "corvus" (which literally means "crow") was mounted at the bow. A spike at the bottom would fix the opposing vessel allowing the men to board.
|Where was the final naval encounter during Pompey's campaign against the pirates?|
Coracesium. Pompey raised 500 ships, 120,000 infantry and 5000 cavalry for this campaign. He also divided the Mediterranean and Black Sea into thirteen commands. He deliberately left Cilicia unguarded. He then forced the pirates back finally launching an all out assault on Cilicia.
|Where did the Hoplite take his name from?|
His shield. An essential piece of kit, the "hoplon" or "argive" shield gave its name to the troops who carried it. It was a shallow bowl, originally of wood edged with bronze. It was later caovered completely in bronze and was 31-39in across.
|Where did a Peltast get his name from?|
His shield. Peltasts were light infantry. Originally the name was given to Thrace's hill tribesmen. His shield (called "pelta", which means pelts or skins) was crescent shaped and was covered with goatskin or sheepskin.
|Which unusual items of warfare did Caesar find in Britain?|
Chariots. Chariots were gradually phased out in favour of cavalry, being used to transport infantry instead of for combat. The Celts continued to use chariots in combat until the 3rd Century BC. When confronting then in 55 and 54 BC Caeasar found them very difficult to combat.
|The Assyrians ruled their empire by terror alone.|
False. Terror was one of the two key factors used by the Assyrians. The other was superior siege abilities. Their enemies could not hide within their cities. Their use of terror had the effect of keeping the empire in an almost constant state of rebellion.
|Was the "sambusa" a siege engine?|
Yes. The "sambusa" (which literally "harp") was a covered siege ladder, developed in the late 4th century BC. Troops entered at the front and operators then placed stones at the rear. This counterweight could then be used to raise it to the required height.
|Who was the first to organise a siege train?|
Dionysius I (Tyrant of Syracuse). Dionysios I formed the world's first siege train after refortifying Syracuse. These steps were taken as part of his campaign to drive the Carthaginians from Syracuse. Some of his siege engines were used as the basis for later Greek and Roman artillery.
|Which Ancient Wonder was made from the profits of selling a siege engine?|
The Colossus of Rhodes. During Demetrios' attack on Rhodes 305-304BC he had constructed the "helepolis" (literally "city taker"). It towered 141ft with a base of 4,628 square feet, covered with iron plates. After his defeat the Rhodians sold the siege engines including the helepolis for scrap.
|How many Jews survived the storming of Masada?|
2 women, 5 children. The position of Masada upon a plateau 1,499ft high made it seem impregnable. After trying to strave out the garrison the Romans finally stormed the position. The surviving defenders chose suicide rather than capture.
|Who commanded an Augustan legion?|
Legate. A legate was a senator appointed directly by the Emperor. Six tribunes were below him. The senior tribune was a senatorial candidate.
|Which Egyptian mercenaries later guarded the Valley of the Kings?|
The Medjay. Originally recruited as skirmishers, the Medjay were Nubian tribesmen. They carried simple wooden bows and were held in high regard throughout the New Kingdom.
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