Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Peoples of the empire: The Carians

Geographical definition
Caria (Luwian Karuwa, O.P. Karkâ) lay in southwestern Anatolia, overlapping with southern Ionia and bordering Lydia in the north and Lycia in the south.  It was a hilly country with many fortified hilltops but few large cities and little arable land.  It is the homeland of Herodotus, who was a Graeco-Carian descended from Doric colonists.  Being on the frontier of the Greek world, Caria is one of the better-documented Achaemenid provinces.

Caria was an ancient state, noted by the Hittites as a member of the Assuwa league c. 1250 BC (traditional chronology), and said to have sided with the Trojans in the Iliad, which may corroborate the identification of Troy with fellow Assuwan state Taruisa.  During the early Iron Age, the coast was colonized by Ionic and Doric Greeks, who occupied such cities as Cnidus and Halicarnassus (hometown of Herodotus, whose father, Lyxos or Lyxes, appears to have a native Carian name).  Herodotus claims that the Ionians, for whom Gregory Crane believes the historian had some disdain, colonized Miletus by killing Carian men and forcibly marrying Carian women, for which their wives refused to sit at the table with their new husbands or call them by name.  Due to the poverty of the country, many Carians in the Iron Age went overseas to serve as mercenaries in lands such as Judea and Egypt, in which capacity they were still fighting when Cambyses invaded Egypt in the 520s.

The Lydian king Alyattes subjugated Caria in the early 6th century.  Herodotus says that after Cyrus the Great conquered Lydia, his general Harpagus had to re-conquer the Lydians' dependents, including the Carians and Greeks of western Anatolia.  Halicarnassus became the Persian administrative capital.

Caria does not appear in the Behistun inscription, but does appear in Darius' inscriptions at Persepolis (where they bring a bull in tribute) and Naqš-e Rostam.  Jona Lendering believes that the country may have retained a degree of autonomy.  The Carians joined in the Ionian Revolt of 499, and, although suffering defeats at the battles of the Marsyas and Labraunda of 497, ambushed and destroyed the Persian army led by Darius' son-in-law Daurises in 497 or 496.  This battle led to a stalemate of a year or two in the region before the disintegration of the Ionian forces at the Battle of Lade in 494 led to the collapse of the wider revolt, and most of Caria capitulated to the empire that year.

Herodotus says that Caria sent seventy ships to the second Persian invasion of Greece.  Five of these, originating from Halicarnassus, Cos, Nisyros and Calydna, were commanded by the famous Queen Artemisia, who (against the majority of his officers' opinions) advised Xerxes against attacking at Salamis and being drawn into the Allied Greeks' trap.  Although he apparently regarded her opinion as sound, he chose not to follow it, and she took part in the battle nonetheless.  According to Herodotus, during the chaos at Salamis when many Persian ships were retreating, Artemisia managed to convince the Allied Greeks that she had defected by ramming and sinking an imperial ship commanded by King Damasitheos of Calynda (not to be confused with the aforementioned Calydna) who may have been a political rival of hers.  It is said that Xerxes, watching from a hillside, was similarly confused and believed that Artemisia was attacking the enemy, causing him to utter than his men had become women and his women men.

Afterward she counseled Xerxes to leave Greece; this time her advice was followed, and she conveyed several of the king's sons to Ephesus in Ionia.

The Delian League conquered parts of Caria in 469-466, but these lands reverted to Persia in 412 in the midst of the Peloponnesian War.  In the meantime, Herodotus published his Histories there c. 440.

In the early 4th century, a native Carian satrapal dynasty was founded by Hecatomnus of Mylasa (391-377).  The next of the so-called Hecatomnids was his son Mausolus, who fought against Ariobarzanes and other rebels during the Satraps' Revolt in 365 but defected to the rebels soon after.  While the revolt was defeated, Artaxerxes III reinstalled Mausolus as satrap, and the region became a nearly de facto independent state.  When Mausolus died in 353, a magnificent above-ground tomb was built for him, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum.

Mausolus was first succeeded by his sister Artemisia, who fought off an invasion by nearby Rhodes but died in 351.  Artemisia was succeeded by her brother Idrieus.  At the behest of Artaxerxes, Idrieus raised Greek mercenaries to put down a rebellion in Cyprus amidst the widespread revolts of the early 340s.  He died of disease in 344, and was succeeded by his sister Ada.  Ada's younger brother Pixodarus seized the throne from her in 340, but she retained the inland fortress of Alinda.  Pixodarus died in approximately 334 and was succeeded by his son-in-law Orontobates, a Persian.

In this momentous year, Alexander III of Macedon invaded Asia Minor and defeated an assemblage of satrapal armies at the Battle of the Granicus.  Ada still held Alinda, and allied herself with Alexander, giving him a foothold on the road to Persia.  However, Orontobates and Memnon of Rhodes (who had commanded the imperial Greek mercenaries at Granicus) held Halicarnassus for a time, driving Alexander's forces back with catapults.  When the Macedonians breached the city's walls, Memnon retreated and set the city on fire as he left.  The city's citadel held out for a while longer before surrendering.

(An interesting historical footnote is that Orontobates' wife may have been Ada II, the daughter of Pixodares whose hand was earlier sought by Alexander.  Although Orontobates held some towns elsewhere in Caria until 333, he was unable to stop Alexander passing through Caria.  An officer by the same name, who may well have been the same man, was present at the Battle of Gaugamela in 331.  We do not know his ultimate fate.  Memnon went on to campaign against Alexander's footholds in the Aegean, but died of illness in 333.)
Alexander reinstated Ada as satrap, and she legally adopted him so that rule of the land would pass to him on her death.

After Alexander's death, Caria changed hands rapidly between the Diadochi, finally winding up with the Seleucids by the middle of the third century BC.  The Romans would conquer it in the 2nd century, dividing up Caria between Rhodes and the province of Asia.  In the meantime, I have been unable to learn what became of the native Carian people, but it seems reasonable to think that they became hellenized over the centuries.

The Carians were polytheists whose religion was apparently found compatible with that of the Greeks.  Their supreme god was Mylasa ("Carian Zeus"), a war god whose temple was located in the city of the same name.  Aside from the Carians themselves, only Lydians and Mysians (whom the Carians considered kindred peoples) were admitted to this temple.

Caria may be the homeland of the goddess Hecate, patroness of paths and crossroads, whom the Greeks regarded as fearful deity of witchcraft.  The fact that Hecate's parentage and place in the Greek pantheon is especially inconsistent is cited as evidence that she was of foreign origin.  The Greeks sometimes explained that she was a Titan who sided with the Olympians during the Titanomachy and thus was not banished to the underworld.  In another story, she was a priestess who insulted Artemis and was induced to commit suicide.

In any case, she had a major shrine in Lagina, east of Mylasa.  Herodotus identified Hecate with Athena, though she was elsewhere regarded as a separate figure.  A priestess of Hecate/Athena held office in Pedasa near Halicarnnasus, and would spontaneously grow a beard when the city was in imminent danger.  Well, that's what they say.

A shrine to the mortal Endymion, shepherd-astronomer and beloved of Selene, existed at Mount Latmus near Miletus, where it was said that Zeus had put him into an eternal sleep.

Carian was a Luwic language (related to Luwian), being a branch of the IE Anatolian subfamily.  It was written in a variety of scripts adapted from the Phoenicians.  As of the Achaemenid period, Carians would have spoken a mix of their native language, Doric Greek on the coasts and Ionic Greek in the north.

Carian clothing is a bit ambiguous.  At Persepolis, the Carian delegation (right, second row from bottom) are depicted with smooth legs that tend to indicate fitted trousers, long-sleeved tunics, simple headbands, and cloaks or shawls wrapped around the body.  They wear low shoes, but the image I've examined is a bit too low-contrast to describe their type   The Carian at Naqš-e Rostam wears a tunic with short, wide sleeves and a square, hanging cloak which is perhaps a Greek-style chlamys, and has clearly-muscled, bare legs.  I cannot make out whether he wears a headband or shoes.  A Doric-style peplos would probably be an acceptable choice at least for Graeco-Carian women.

Herodotus states that the Carians invented shields with handles; previously all peoples carried shields on telamons (neck straps).  I don't put much stock in this statement, but it may be that the Carians invented the porpax-antelabe system in which the forearm is placed through a porpax (armband) in the middle of the shield and the hand holds a grip just behind the shield's rim (antelabe, "before-lip").  At Persepolis, the Carian carries a round shield in such a manner which looks pretty much like a Greek Argive shield.

Herodotus also claims that the Greeks also copied the Carian practice of putting symbols on their shields and crests on their helmets (if the latter is in any sense true, it must have happened long before our period - Greeks had worn crested helmets since the Bronze Age), and that the Carians' equipment was like that of the Greeks except for their drepana kai egcheirida, which A.D. Godley translates as "scimitars and daggers"; from my research drepana normally means "sickles."  At Naqš-e Rostam the Carian carries a long sword with wide branched pommel and a circular chape with a bar above it, possibly similar to Greek ones, apparently on a shoulder belt.  The Persepolitan relief has a short spear, which is little taller than himself (probably no more than six feet/183cm) with a leaf-shaped head.

There are a few good sources for Greek-style equipment.  Manning Imperial has probably the best all-around reputation for quality and variety, selling fully- and semi-finished aspides and aspis cores, as well as helmets, thorakes and spearheads.  Deepeeka makes some deeceent items as well, although scrutiny should be paid to each given item.  Heck, just check out Matt Amt's page for more.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Peoples of the empire: The Cappadocians

Cappadocia (O.P. Katpatuka) lay between the Halys and northern Euphrates in central Anatolia.  The region still goes by this name (Kapadokya in Turkish) for tourism purposes.

According to Herodotus, the Cappadocians are the people who were classically known to the Greeks as Syrians.  This would seem to be the result of an excessively wide application of the name Syria, which is probably a Greek garbling of Assyria (which ruled the lands to the south of Cappadocia).

The land where Cappadocia later existed was the center of the great Hittite empire in the Bronze Age, but by the start of the Achaemenid period the Medes had already been ceded the land by the Lydian empire, when the Halys became the border between the Medes and Lydians.  (As usual, it should be noted that we do not know how "imperial" the Medes actually were:  The Cappadocians' subjection may have been only nominal.)

Cyrus the Great conquered Cappadocia in 547 BC, and Darius the Great placed them in the third tax district and imposed a yearly tax of 360 talents.  At the Persepolis Apadana, the Cappadocians bear tribute consisting of a horse, coats and trousers.  Ctesias refers to the first satrap of Cappadocia as Ariaramnes, a name shared by Darius' great-grandfather.

According to Herodotus, the Cappadocians in Xerxes' invasion of Greece served as infantry under Gobryas (Gaubaruva), Xerxes' half-brother by Darius (not to be confused with the Gobryas who helped place Darius on the throne).  He does not mention them among the cavalry despite their historical connections with horse-rearing.

From the Anabasis of Xenophon, it is believed that by the time of Artaxerxes II southwestern Cappadocia was part of a satrapy called Greater Phrygia.  In his reign, Cappadocia was administratively divided into Cappadocia and Paphlagonia.

According to the 1st-century BC Roman historian Cornelius Nepos, a Cappadocian satrap in the early 4th century, Datames, played a major part in imperial politics and war.  Nepos describes Datames as a Carian, son of Camissares, satrap of Cilicia.  Datames took part in the 385 invasion of Cadusia in northern Iran, where Camissares died.  Afterward he put down several revolts, and King Artaxerxes II appointed him to lead the reconquest of Egypt, but court intrigue led to Datames relinquishing this appointment; it was taken up by Pharnabazus of Phrygia and failed in 373.  Datames then joined the Revolt of the Satraps, and repeatedly defeated the royal armies sent against him.  Cappadocia was in revolt from from 372-362, when Mithridates, son of fellow rebellious satrap Ariobarzanes of Phrygia, defected to the king, assassinated Datames and extradited his father to Artaxerxes.

Cappadocia was captured by Alexander the Great early in his invasion of the Persian empire.  The last Achaemenid satrap, Mithrobuzanes, died during the Battle of the Granicus in 334.  (However, Diodorus has an Ariamnes as satrap during this time; possibly they were satraps of different parts of Cappadocia).  Alexander appointed a native Cappadocian, Abistamenes or (according to Arrian) Sabictas.  However, his rule appears to have been tenuous; he ceases to appear in history after the Battle of Issus.  Cappadocians fought as cavalry on the Achaemenid side at the Battle of Gaugamela in 332, under the command of Mazaeus, governor of Babylon.

After Alexander's death in 323, Macedonian general Perdiccas acted as regent for his young sons.  In this role he gave the rule of Cappadocia and Paphlagonia to Eumenes, a high-ranking Greek general.  Eumenes contended with Ariarathes I, a son of the aforementioned Ariamnes, who had seized power in 330.  Perdiccas captured and killed Ariarathes, but was himself to fall in the Wars of the Diadochi, and Ariarathes' nephew Ariarathes II took central and northern Cappadocia to create a new kingdom with its seat at the already ancient city Mazaca (later Caesarea, Kayseri in Turkish).

Cappadocia was initially a tributary of the Seleucids and became independent in the 3rd century.  Hellenistic influence was strong; the kings were of mixed Greek and Persian descent and used Ariarathes as a regnal name.  During Roman expansion in the early 2nd century, Cappadocia first sided with the Seleucids, then with the Romans.  Meddling by Mithridates VI of the nearby kingdom of Pontus led to the collapse of the Cappadocian dynasty in 96 BC.  A new dynasty was founded by native noble Ariobarzanes I, but was highly unstable due to both competition from neighboring countries and its own shifting alliances with the Roman Triumvirates.  In 41 BC, Marc Antony deposed Ariobarzanes' grandson Ariarathes IX and appointed as king Archelaus, the high priest of the Cappadocian city of Comana.

As a client of the Romans, Archelaus was compelled to go to Rome at the behest of Tiberius in AD 17, where he was accused of plotting rebellion.  He died there, ostensibly of illness (Tacitus considers it possible that he committed suicide).  Thereafter, Cappadocia became a Roman province, which it would remain under the Eastern Romans (Byzantines), Seljuks and Ottomans.

Try as I might, I have yet to find anything at all regarding the Cappadocian language(s) during the Achaemenid period.  A reasonable guess, however, might be a development of Hittite or Luwian, Indo-European languages of the Anatolian branch.

The language of Cappadocia in later centuries was a dialect of Greek, which is preserved today by those who were sent to Greece in the 1920s during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

Likewise I can learn little about this.  Archelaus' home city, Comana, was sacred to the moon goddess Ma.

Clothing and arms
In Persian art, the Cappadocians' clothing and hairstyles are much the same as the Medes, Persians and Armenians, including the tunics, footed trousers, shoes strapped around the ankle, and narrow, knotted sashes.  They wear tiaras with the peaks laying to one side (which, as I have previously discussed, probably indicates a fine woven fabric - felt simply doesn't lie down like that) and the earflaps tied up at the back of the head, like a modern ushanka.  Examples may be seen here (second photo up, center) and here.

The most notable difference is that rather than overcoats like the Medes, Cappadocians wear short-ish square cloaks, closed by bow-shaped fibulae at the shoulder.  (In some images these fibulae appear to be ribbed and may resemble examples found at Deve Hüyük.)

Herodotus describes Cappadocian equipment as "like the Paphlagonians," which in turn consisted of "woven helmets...  small shields and short spears, and also javelins and daggers..."  At Naqš-e Rostam the Cappadocian has an akinakes.  On balance - considering, for example, the similar costumes - it seems plausible that Cappadocian arms were also similar to the Iranians'; they may, for example, have used crescent shields and daggers of the akinakes type, if not necessarily the particular Achaemenid style.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Deve Hüyük: An Achaemenid graveyard

Shortly before World War I, Charles Woolley and T.E. Lawrence excavated a site in northern Syria:  a graveyard for members of a Persian imperial garrison near the then-Assyrian city of Carchemish.  The site yielded many goods that would have been used in war and day-to-day life by Iranian troops in the 6th-4th centuries BC.  A gallery of finds may be viewed at the British Museum website.  Sadly, the majority of items are unillustrated, but I'd like to highlight a few that may be useful for your living history projects:

A spearhead, in case you needed a reminder just how small these things could be, especially in comparison to modern repros.

A javelin head, looking surprisingly unlike a spearhead.

An akinakes.  To this I would also add examples from Osprey's The Persian Army, also from Deve Hüyük.  Note on all examples the plain iron hilts with guards and grips forged as one piece, and also the short, broad fuller on the longer Osprey example.

A fibula (cloak pin) which should be good for your Cappadocian impression.  (Incidentally, Cappadocians are next week's Peoples of the Empire entry.)

A hand mirror.  Well, everyone needs one sooner or later.

A bronze plate cover for the top end of a gorytos.

The various bronze bowls are also worth checking out, and if you're doing a cavalry impression, you'll want a snaffle bit of appropriate shape.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Peoples of the empire: The Bactrians

Ancient Bactria (O.P. Bâkhtriš, Bactrian Baktra) is approximately equivalent to modern Balkh province in the middle of northern Afghanistan, which is bordered on the north by the Amu Darya.  But in ancient times the name was extended as far south as the Hindu Kush.  Thus, within the historical region, mountains, fertile plains and deserts could all be found in a fairly small area.

Much of Greater Iranian history is linked with Bactria.  Some archaeologists believe the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex (c. 2300-1700 BC) is the material culture of early proto-Indo-Iranians.  The prophet Zoroaster is widely believed to have lived here c. 1000 BC, and the city of Baktra is named in the later Vendidad among the Sixteen Lands of Ahura Mazda as "crowned with banners" (or "the town with the high-lifted banners").  Popular legend identified Zoroaster's great ally in the Avestas, Vištāspa (later Gushtasp or variants), as a Kayanid king of Bactria.

In the Achaemenid period, at some point special importance was attached to the satrapy (which was the 12th and also incorporated neighboring Margiana), as its satrap became the crown prince of the empire.  According to Iranica, the nobles of Bactria retained their power under the Achaemenid government.  Bactria was a wealthy land due to both trade and agriculture, and was taxed 360 silver talents yearly.

The land enters written history with the Behistun inscription, at which point it is already a satrapy (whether Cyrus or one of his sons conquered it, or it was already tributary to the Medes, is unknown).  According to Darius, Margiana revolted under the native leader Frâda.  At Darius' behest, Dâdarši, satrap of Bactria - not to be confused with the Armenian general of the same name - invaded Margiana and defeated the revolt in battle on December 28, 521.

Bactrians took part in Xerxes' invasion of Greece as both infantry and cavalry; they were marshalled with the Scythians under the command of Xerxes' brother, also called Vištāspa (Hystaspes in Greek) after their paternal grandfather, the father of Darius the Great.  The Bactrian contingents notably fought at the Battle of Plataea, where, according to Herodotus, Mardonius placed them between the Medes and Indians, opposing the Greeks of Epidaurus, Troezen, Lepreum, Tiryns, Mycenae and Phlius (IX.31).

A century and a half later, they would also fight at the Battle of Gaugamela under their satrap, Bessus.  When Darius III fled to Bactria the following year, Bessus and the other satraps executed a coup d'etat, possibly planning to hand the Great King over to Alexander to protect themselves and their offices.  Alexander sent a force to attack the conspirators in July of 330, inducing them to hastily murder Darius and flee (Lendering regards this as a calculated move on Alexander's part to unite the Persians behind him in his war against the king's deposers).

According to Arrian of Nicomedia (c. AD 86-160) the fatal blows were struck by Nabarzanes, a palace officer, and Barsaentes, satrap of Arachosia and Drangiana.  Regardless, Bessus, who was a relative of Darius and ruled one of the most important satrapies, now proclaimed himself King Artaxerxes V.  However, Alexander invaded Bactria in the spring of 329 and pursued Bessus across the desert to Sogdia, where Bessus' courtiers Spitamenes and Datames surrendered him to Alexander's general Ptolemy (the future diadochus of Egypt).  Biographers differ on what grisly manner of death Alexander bestowed on Bessus as punishment for usurpation, but all agree it was really freakin' grisly.

Bactria revolted against Greek rule several times in the 320s.  For a while it remained in the hands of the Seleucids, but around 250 (the date is hard to establish) the satrap Diodotus declared independence and founded the Hellenistic kingdom of Bactria.  During this period, Bactria expanded both east and west, acting as a trade link between the Mediterranean and China in the development of the Silk Road.  It was also a destination for Buddhist emissaries from India from the time of Aśoka the Great.  In the latter 2nd century BC the Greek dynasts were pushed out by migrating Yuezhi, who would later found the Kushan empire.  In the ensuing centuries, the land would be conquered again and again, leading to the disappearance of distinctly Bactrian culture.  Today the majority of people in Balkh are Tajiks, Persian-speakers of Central Asia, but the region is home to many different Iranic and Turkic peoples, and Arabs who descend from settlers of the early caliphates.

As the reputed home of Zoroaster, Bactria was a center of Iranian religion in ancient times.  The capital also housed a shrine to Anahita.  For more on the state of Iranian religion, see my previous entry.  The Rabatak inscription of the Kushan king Kanishka names many gods worshipped there, but this inscription dates to about four centuries after the Achaemenid period and it would be risky to put much stock into it as a source on Classical Bactrian religion.

Bactrian was an Eastern Iranian language.  In the Greek-alphabet inscriptions of the Kushan kingdom it is called the "the Aria (Aryan) language."  It is not, however, attested during the Achaemenid period, when it was probably significantly different (compare the significant changes between Old and Middle Persian).

Avestan was once known as "Old Bactrian" on the notion that it was ancestral to the historical Bactrian language; this is not considered to be the case today, although they are both in the Eastern Iranian sub-branch.

Clothing and arms
Interestingly I have found a sticking point when reviewing relief images:  Livius.org's image of "A Bactrian" is the same Persepolis relief that Nirupars labels as "Arachosier," while Livius' image of "An Arachosian" seems to be dressed very similarly (though only the head and shoulder are shown) except that the end of his headband isn't tucked in.  Meanwhile at Naqš-e Rostam the Bactrian dresses in a fashion that is almost Median (closed tunic, close-fitting trousers and ankle boots) but with a headband instead of a domed cap.  Lastly, Herodotus has gone on record describing the Bactrians as wearing "headgear very similar to the Median," which is mighty confusing, as none of these figures do.  If you want to portray a clearly Bactrian figure, my advice is to go with the headband.

Herodotus describes the Bactrians carrying short spears and "reed bows" (toxa de kalamina), which are an intriguing topic about which I can find very little information.  He states that their cavalry were armed the same as their infantry.  Lastly, the one at Naqš-i Rostam wears an akinakes, portrayed in Medo-Persian fashion.

P.S.  Sorry to say I don't expect to be able to post next week, as I have a test coming up on Monday.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Addendum to "The Babylonians"

Going over Herodotus for next week's entry, I notice I missed an important line when writing up yesterday's entry on the Babylonians, to wit:

With [the Assyrians] were the Chaldeans.
- The Histories,   VII.63

This indicates that, yes, there WERE Babylonians in the 480 invasion.  He doesn't elaborate on their costume or weapons, although he may do so elsewhere and I should continue checking.

Possible arrowheads for your Neo-Assyrian impression

While I'm still investigating whether Assyrians served as archers in the Persian military, archaeological findings from the early Iron Age are sufficient to give us an idea of what their arrowheads should look like.  The Israel Antiquities Authority has a catalogue of findings, mostly from Lachish (they continue on page 11) that indicate Mesopotamian arrowheads from this period were iron, tanged, leaf-shaped (or occasionally kite) and considerably larger than the Persian-Scythian bronze types.

Some were elongated and proportionally narrow.  Others, such as this fairly well-preserved example, were shorter.  This one and ones like it find a surprisingly close match in Mediaeval arrowheads made, I think, by Deepeeka.  By the Sword, Inc. carries models AH-3522.14 and AH-3422.24.  I've e-mailed the distributor and learned that the blades are about two inches/51mm long, which is an acceptable size.  They're not cheap but, all things considered, they should work very well.