Although the Empire of Alexander the Great broke up after his death, the kingdoms created by his successors proved to be more enduring. Macedonia, the Seleucid Empire in Syria and Ptolemaic Egypt were the superpowers of the eastern Mediterranean world from soon after the death of Alexander until the Romans swept them away.
This was a period dominated by 'gigantism'. Improvements in city defences were matched by massive siege engines, while at sea the triremes that had dominated earlier became the smallest warships, replaced by 'fours' and 'fives', with massive 'nines' and 'tens' present in many fleets, and peaking with '20s', '30s' and even one '40', with a crew of over 7,000!
Many of the Hellenistic armies were equally massive, with contingents from all around the area, but as these articles make clear this didn’t make them ineffective forces. At the heart of most of these armies was a phalanx of experienced, heavily armed soldiers, whose appearance even intimidated the Romans who eventually defeated them.
As is normally the case two articles cover topics outside the main theme. The first looks at the use of improvised or low-tech weapons in ancient warfare, including simple stone throwers! The second examines the evidence for the presence of women in Roman forts, often believed to be an almost entirely male environment. This is another interesting collection of articles, covering a fascinating period that is often overlooked.
The Source: The Amphipolis regulation
Bright Colours and Uniformity: Hellenistic military costume
At the Edge of Hellenism: Armies of the Greeks in Bactria and India
Climax of the Syrian Wars: The battle of Raphia, 217 BC
Macedon's Last Hurrah: The Third Macedonian War and Pydna
Fighting on All Sides: Thracian mercenaries on the Hellenistic ear
Sticks and Stones: 'Low Tech' and improvised weapons
The Debate: Women in Roman Forts
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