By William Oliver Stevens; Allan F Westcott
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Extra resources for A history of sea power
This type of bow was very difficult to string and required the use both of legs and arms. Scythian arrows were short with small tips, unlike the heavy arrowheads of the Cretans, but in his capacious bow case (gorytos) he carried both his bow and a great many diminutive arrows. 64) human skin, from enemy limbs, was favoured for covering the bow case because of its whiteness. When firing, the Scythians employed the Mediterranean loose that is used by western archers today. In this they contrasted with the normal Greek practice, which was to pinch the arrow between thumb and forefinger, a weak grip that meant that Greeks, apart from our Cretan specialists, were unable to draw the powerful composite bows of the Scythians.
Thucydides implies that this was a tendency over which strategoi had little or no control. 1). The melee itself was a toe-to-toe affair, the front two ranks of opposing phalanxes attempting to stab their spears into the exposed parts of the enemy, that is, the throat or groin, which lacked protection. Meanwhile, the ranks behind would push. As can be imagined, once a hoplite was down, injured or not, he was unlikely ever to get up again. This short but vicious melee was resolved once one side had practically collapsed.
14) commonly refer to the push and shove (8thismos) of a hoplite melee. In hoplite warfare, therefore, the phalanx was the tactic. When one polis engaged another, the crucial battle would usually be fought on flatland with mutually visible fronts that were not more than a kilometre or so long and often only a few hundred metres apart. Normally, after a final blood sacrifice The double-gripped, concave aspis, seen here on the Nereid monument (London, British Museum, 859), was singular. Phalanxes were calibrated by the depth of their cumulative shields - 'eight-shields deep', 'twelve-shields deep' - not by counting spears.