Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Look at Ancient Greek Weapons

Many history buffs have found themselves interested in ancient Greek weapons. Indeed, when it comes to history, ancient Greek weapons are uniquely fascinating.

The Hellenistic Age began with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and lasted until the true establishment of the Roman Empire upon the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC. The method of warfare in ancient Greece, and the world, consisted of arrows, spears, swords, axes and shields. Because of its ease of casting and superiority in strength, bronze was preferred in the making of weapons. Most ancient Greek weapons were fashioned from bronze.

The Hellenistic world was dominated by three great monarchies established by former Generals of Alexander. The Ptolomies ruled Egypt, the Seleucids ruled Syria, and Macedonia was ruled by Antigonus and his descendents. The Antigonid dynasty was constantly at war. It fought with other Greek states, the other Hellinstic kings, and later with Rome. These arrowheads are dated to this period of great strife and were possibly used in the attack or defense of one of these many battles including the eventual and inevitable clash with Rome which occurred without warning in 200 BC. Philip's army of only 25,000 men was attacked by Roman forces with great reserves of manpower. By skillful maneuvering with a quality army Philip kept his enemies apart until 197 BC. He eventually left an army of 40,000 men to his son Perseus in 179 BC which was eventually attacked by the Romans in 168 BC. This time Rome prevailed with 20,000 Macedonians fighting to the last at close quarters. Throughout this period, until conquered by Rome, ancient Greek weapons were predominate.

Though little is known as to the true purpose, these arrowheads contain a highly visible monogram near the base. They remain highly valuable and valued by people the world over interested in ancient Greek weapons. (As an aside, there are several great books on the subject of ancient Greek weapons available through any major bookseller in the brick and mortar world and online.)