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Updated: June 13, 2004


Throughout the ages kings, nations, potentates and the powerful and rich have used the power of force of their armies to invade, conquer and control; to eliminate, destroy enemies or force their will upon them, be they individuals or nations; and to change the course of history by bestowing power upon others or eliminating those that don't agree with them. The greatest armies and their leaders have become infamous and immortal as a result of the great victories they achieved; their bravery, perseverance, determination, cunning, tactics, sacrifices and fortitude have written the stories of their battles and their names on the sand of time. History is kind and forgiving to the victor, but forgetful and blind to those defeated, for it is the victor who is seen as right and just and who will write history to suit their own cause.

The Roman army of the 1st centuries BCE and AD was at its peak as an offensive weapon. The key to Rome's military might was the legion, comprised entirely of Roman citizens, although these were not necessarily from Italy itself. The basic tactical unit of the legion was the century that, despite its name, was only 80 men strong. It was commanded by a centurion (equivalent to a captain in modern armies), assisted by a lieutenant (optio) and a guard sergeant (tesserarius). Battlefield signals were transmitted to each century by a trumpeter (cornicen), with a rallying point provided by the standard bearer (signifer). Six centuries comprised a cohort, commanded by the senior centurion, and ten cohorts made up a legion. The centurions of the first cohort were known as the primi ordines. These were men of higher rank, the first centurion of the legion (primus pilus) being equal to a full colonel. The legate, or general commanding the legion, relied heavily on the experience of his senior centurions, most of whom had come up from the ranks. Six tribunes, who seem to have functioned as staff officers, also assisted him. From the reign of Augustus onwards one tribune was senior to the others. This young man was the son of a senator, who was expected to gain some military experience prior to joining the senate himself, and acted as the legate's executive officer. The other tribunes were of the "knightly" class (equites) and continued in their staff roles, although they would have had several years' experience commanding auxiliary cohorts. A new office was that of camp prefect (praefectus castrorum). The camp prefect was usually a former primus pilus with a wealth of combat experience. This would have enabled him to keep a fatherly eye on the senior tribune, who was not a professional soldier and would doubtless be more than a little "wet behind the ears". Roman soldiers in the Xenaverse wear a form of segmented body armor that did not appear until the reign of Tiberius (14-37 AD) and was made of iron, not leather as usually represented. The legionaries of Caesar and Augustus wore chain mail. Bronze helmets of a simple mass-produced type were worn by most of Caesar's troops. This was soon replaced by an improved version showing clear Celtic influence. The first iron helmets of the "Imperial-Gallic" type appeared around 15 BCE. Crests were usually worn at this time and were typically brush or plume types, with centurions marked out by their transverse crests. The large curved shield (scutum) was also probably Celtic in origin. It was made of plywood faced with hide, and had a spindle-shaped wooden boss to cover the handgrip. A metal reinforcing plate over the boss allowed it to be used as a punching weapon. In Caesar's day the scutum was more or less oval, about 1.2 m long and 0.75 m wide. The top and bottom curves were removed in about 10 BCE, reducing the length by some 20 cm. The straight-sided form seen in the series did not appear until the 1st century AD. Unlike soldiers in earlier armies, the legionary was a professionally trained swordsman. His primary weapon was the gladius, a short sword with a blade length of 50-56 cm. A dagger was also usually carried. The swords in most episodes appear to be of the 1st century AD "Pompeii" type, with parallel sides and a short point. In later episodes however, notably Amphipolis Under Siege and Livia, the correct early pattern gladius is used. This had a long point and broad "shoulders" to the blade. Although many Roman soldiers in XWP carry spears, these were not used by legionaries of this period. The standard missile weapon of the legions was the pilum, a heavy javelin with a small head on a long iron shank.

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Legendary in the annals of history are the Spartan Warriors of Ancient Greece. Fearless defenders of liberty, they followed a strict military way of life. The ancient Spartan warriors were arguably the most feared and respected warriors of all time. Even now, the word Spartan remains a synonym for harsh conditions, discipline, and great hardship bravely endured. All Spartan warriors had the symbol 'L' on their shields this emblem stands for Laconia, the area in southern Greece where in the 10th century BC the Spartans had settled after defeating the local populace and founded the city state of Sparta. Between c740~720 BC, the Spartans defeated the neighbouring state of Messenia, this action made Sparta one of the largest Greek states providing it with enough fertile land to be self-sufficient in food. The ruling class, the Spartiates, gave themselves wholly to war. During the Archaich period, the city of Sparta set up a system dedicated to producing warriors. At birth a boy was inspected by the elders, and if he appeared too weakly for future military service, he was taken into the mountains and abandoned. If he was fit, he was taken from his mother at the age of seven to begin rigorous military training. He became a soldier at 20, a citizen at 30, and continued as a soldier until 60. Every male Spartan had to become a full-time soldier and spent his life training and fighting. Thus his entire life was spent under rigorous discipline. Spartans lived in very hard and uncomfortable conditions, without any luxuries. They distrusted any form of change and had as little contact with the outside world as possible. By the Classical period, Sparta had become the strongest military power in Greece, and its soldiers were famous for their bravery. In this regard, Sparta was successful in her aim in producing strong military leadership. In 480 B.C. three hundred of them under King Leonidas stood alone at the end against the enormous Persian army under the tyrannical King Xerxes who was sweeping southward into Greece. The 300 Spartans fought to the death against these impossible odds in the narrow mountain pass at Thermopylae (Gates of Hell or fire ). The Persians took shocking casualties. Their narrow lines of wicker shields and short javelins were no match for the highly disciplined Spartan long spears who slaughtered wave after wave. It was only after a betrayal and the 700 Greek allies left to warn Greece that they were finally overcome. The state of Sparta itself had about 25,000 citizens and 500,000 slaves! Athens was subdued, and Persia was in civil war. The Spartans led a mercinary force of the famous 10,000 into Asia. Sparta itself then began to campaign against Persia in Asia Minor under Ageislaius. However, Sparta's former allies from the Pelleponesean War betrayed her, namely Thebes and the Persians. The Persian Emperor wanted to cause more trouble in Greece, so he sent bribes to the other states in Greece to rise up against the Spartan hedgemony. Thebes founded an alliance against Sparta and the growing Theban alliance captured the Spartan town of Heraclea and slaughtered the Spartans living there. The Spartans quickly stopped campaigning in Asia Minor against Persia to face this new growing threat in Greece. In 394 BC a united force of Athenians, Thebans, Argives faced a much smaller Spartan army at Nemea. The Spartans crushed the united force of Greeks (Boeotian Alliance), but the Boeotian Allies were not near finished. In the year 371 BC another united Greek army met the Spartan army on the plains of Leuktra. This was provoked because the Spartans sacked the city of Thebes without provocation, and the Athenians and Thebans decided to seek revenge. The Theban commander, Epaminondas was an excellent General and had invented a new style of phalanx that the hoplites could fight in. It assured that more men could fight at once against the Spartans, who used the older system. The two forces clashed and the battle began, with the Spartans eeming to have the advantage in numbers as well as training and equipment. But the Spartan soldiers were too proud, and when the Spartan general called for an organized temporary retreat (Which if sucessful would have won the battle in most likeliness) the Spartan soldeirs refused to retreat, thinking it as being dishonorable. The Thebans took advantage of this, as some Spartans retreated and some didn't. The forces were routed and broken, and the Thebans won. The "Spartan Empire", as it was called, came to an end here. Sparta still existed under it's own governance, but it never again would regain it's former power.

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The Trojan War, in Greek legend, famous war waged by the Greeks against the city of Troy. The Trojan Horse is part of the myth of the Trojan War. The war took place in the beginning of 12th century B.C. and is generally thought to have lasted from 1193 - to 1184 B.C. The tradition is believed to reflect a real war between the Greeks of the late Mycenaean period and the inhabitants of the Troad, or Troas, in Anatolia, part of present-day Turkey. Modern archaeological excavations have shown that Troy was destroyed by fire sometime between 1230 BC and 1180 BC, and that the war may have resulted from the desire either to plunder the wealthy city or to put an end to Troy's commercial control of the Dardanelles. Legendary accounts of the war traced its origin to a golden apple, inscribed “for the fairest” and thrown by Eris, goddess of discord, among the heavenly guests at the wedding of Peleus, the ruler of Myrmidons, and Thetis, one of the Nereids. The award of the apple to Aphrodite, goddess of love, by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy, secured for Paris the favor of the goddess and the love of the beautiful Helen of Troy, wife of Menelaus, the king of Sparta. Helen went with Paris to Troy, and an expedition to avenge the injury to Menelaus was placed under the command of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. Agamemnon's force included many famous Greek heroes, the most noted of whom were Achilles, Patroclus, the two Ajaxes, Teucer, Nestor, Odysseus, and Diomedes. After the Trojans refused to restore Helen to Menelaus, the Greek warriors assembled at the Bay of Aulis and proceeded to Troy in 1000 ships. The siege lasted ten years, the first nine of which were uneventful. In the tenth year, Achilles withdrew from battle because of his anger with Agamemnon; Achilles' action furnished Homer with the theme of the Iliad. To avenge the death of his friend Patroclus, Achilles returned to battle and killed Hector, the principal Trojan warrior. The Greek siege of Troy had lasted for ten years. The Greeks devised a new ruse - a giant hollow wooden horse. It was built by Epeius and filled with Greek warriors led by Odysseus. The rest of the Greek army appeared to leave whilst actually hiding behind Tenedos and the Trojans accepted the horse as a peace offering. A Greek spy, Sinon, convinced the Trojans the horse was a gift despite the warnings of Laocoon and Cassandra. Helen and Deiphobus even investigated the horse. The Trojans celebrated hugely and when the Greeks emerged from the horse the city was in a drunken stupor. The Greek warriors opened the city gates to allow the rest of the army access and the city was ruthlessly pillaged - all the men were killed and all the women taken into slavery. They started fires all over the city. The Trojans awoke to find their city burning. When they tried to flee, they were massacred by Greek soldiers. King Priam and almost all of the other Trojan chiefs were killed. Only Aeneas - the son of Aphrodite and a Trojan royal named Anchises - escaped.Subsequently the Greeks sacked and burned the city. Only a few Trojans escaped, the most famous being Aeneas, who led the other survivors to what is present-day Italy. Achilles fought many battles during the 10-year siege of Troy. When the Mycenaean king Agamemnon seized the captive maiden Briseis from him, Achilles withdrew the Myrmidons from battle and sulked in his tent. The Trojans, emboldened by his absence, attacked the Greeks and drove them into headlong retreat. Then Patroclus, Achilles' friend and companion, begged Achilles to lend him his armor and let him lead the Myrmidons into battle. Achilles consented. When Patroclus was killed by the Trojan prince Hector, the grief-stricken Achilles returned to battle, slew Hector, and dragged his body in triumph behind his chariot. He later permitted Priam, king of Troy, to ransom Hector's body. Achilles fought his last battle with Memnon, king of the Ethiopians. After killing the king, Achilles led the Greeks to the walls of Troy.

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Until the modern era, no military force could compete with that of the Mongols in terms of effectiveness and certainly mobility. Through the use of a well disciplined and trained army, that focused on mobility and careful planning, the Mongols carved out the largest contiguous empire in history. Often their armies fought on several fronts at once, a difficult enough task in modern history and practically unheard of during the medieval period. All males between the ages of 15 to around 60 who were capable of bearing arms were eligible for military service. The rigors of daily living in the harsh climate of Mongolia prepared the nomads well in terms of endurance and fortitude. Trained from youth to be expert horsemen and archers, the nomads of Mongolia were well prepared to be warriors. By the thirteenth century, nomad horse archer armies already possessed a long history of success. Yet, the one which Chinggis Khan created perfected this form. He added the essential element that separated the Mongols from their peers: discipline. This enabled him to overcome the assortment of tribal confederations and alliances, which he faced before becoming the ruler of all Mongolia. While other armies would disintegrate in order to loot the dead and baggage of an enemy in flight, Chinggis Khan ordered his armies to wait until victory was complete. Those who disobeyed this command would be struck down. This disciplined soldier was then given a high rate of mobility. Each trooper had a string of three to five horses. This allowed him to exchange mounts when one tired. If one was slain, the Mongol trooper had replacements. In sedentary armies, this simply was not possible. Horses were simply too expensive to maintain to allow each cavalryman to have more than one, especially the large horses necessary to carry an armored warrior. The organization of the Mongol army was also an old tradition of the steppe: the decimal system. The army was built upon a squad of ten (arban). Ten of these would then compose a company of a hundred (jaghun ). The next unit was a regiment of a thousand (mingghan). Most of the commanders listed in the contemporary sources were leaders of a mingghan. The equivalent of the modem division was a unit consisting of ten thousand (tumen). The organization was simple, but sensible. The Mongols had a set method of invasion which varied only slightly from campaign to campaign. First the Mongol army would invade in several columns. Often it was three pronged attack, consisting of an army of the center and then two flanking forces. Flanking forces in some cases went into neighboring territories before rendezvousing with the army of the center. All of these columns were covered by a screen of scouts who constantly relayed information back to their mother column. Mongol Empire was the biggest land empire in history. Its territory extended from the Yellow Sea in eastern Asia to the borders of eastern Europe. At various times it included China, Korea, Mongolia, Persia (now Iran), Turkestan, and Armenia. It also included parts of Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, and Russia. The Mongols, who eventually became known as the Tatars, were the most savage conquerors of history. But this vast empire helped increase contacts between peoples of different cultures. Migrations fostered these contacts and promoted trade. Roads were built to connect Russia and Persia with eastern Asia. Many Europeans came to China, and Chinese went to Russia and other parts of Europe. Printing and other Chinese inventions such as paper, gunpowder, and the compass may have been introduced to the West during Mongol times. The vast Mongol empire was divided among four dynasties: the Ilkhanids in the Iranian world, the Golden Horde in southern Russia, the Chaghatay in central Asia, and the Yuan in China and Mongolia Mongol horses were small, but their riders were lightly clad and they moved with greater speed. These were hardy men who grew up on horses and hunting, making them better warriors than those who grew up in agricultural societies and cities. Their main weapon was the bow and arrow. And the Mongols of the early 1200s were highly disciplined, superbly coordinated and brilliant in tactics. The Mongols were illiterate, religiously shamanistic and sparsely populated, perhaps no more than around 700,000 in number, living in good-sized felt tents. They were herdsmen around an area called Karakorum. They had been moving across great distances on the grassy plains -- steppe lands -- north and east of China, frequently fighting wars over turf. Before 1200 they had been fragmented, with various tribes fighting one another -- their divisions encouraged by neighbors such as the Ruzhen (Jin) of northern Manchuria, who wished to see the Mongols remain weak. In the late 1100s and early 1200s a Mongol military leader named Temujin (Temüjin) was creating a confederation of tribes, Mongol and non-Mongol but which would be called Mongol. He was a good manager, collecting under him people of talent. And, when necessary, he warred. In 1202 his forces fought and defeated the Tatars to his immediate east.

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The Knights Templar were a monastic military order formed at the end of the First Crusade with the mandate of protecting Christian pilgrims on route to the Holy Land. Never before had a group of secular knights banded together and taken the monastic vows. In this sense they were the first of the Warrior Monks. The Templars fought along side King Richard I (Richard The Lion Hearted) and other Crusaders in the battles for the Holy Lands. From humble beginnings of poverty when the order relied on alms from the traveling pilgrims, the Order would go on to have the backing of the Holy See and the collective European monarchies. In 1146 the Knights Templar came to adopt the famous splayed red cross, the cross pattee, which device they wore proudly emblazoned on their mantles. (Note: Amando de Ossorio modified this into an Egyptian Cross, know as the ankh or ansate, for his film). They wore this for the first time during the second Crusade, where they accompanied King Louis the VII of France. At this period of time they were the most disciplined fighting force in the world, and the French king himself wrote that it was the presence of the Templars that prevented the Second Crusade from degenerating into a total debacle.Over the course of the next hundred years the King Templar became a real power in international diplomacy; they were constantly engaged in high level discussions with nobles and monarchs throughout the Holy Land and most of the Western world. As well as being involved in all levels of Christendom they forged close links with the Muslim world, commanding respect from Saracen leaders in excess of that accorded any other European. Within two centuries they had become powerful enough to defy all but the Papal throne. Feared as warriors, respected for their charity and sought out for their wealth, there is no doubt that the Templar knights were the key players of the monastic fighting Orders. Due to their vast wealth and surplus of materials the Templars essentially invented banking, as we know it. The church forbade the lending of money for interest, which they called usury. The Templars, being the clever sort they were, changed the manner in which loans were paid and were able to skirt the issue and finance even kings. They were destroyed, perhaps because of this wealth or fear of their seemingly limitless powers. In either case, the Order met with a rather untimely demise at the hands of the Pope and the King of France in 1307 and by 1314, "The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon" ceased to exist, at least officially. Although originally a small group of nine knights, they quickly gained fame largely due to the backing of Bernard of Clairvaux and his "In Praise of the New Knighthood". Bernard at that time was often called the Second Pope and was the chief spokesman of Christendom. He is also the one responsible for helping to draw up the Order's rules of conduct. In European political circles, they became very powerful and influential. This was because they were immune from any authority save that of the Papal Throne. (Pope Innocent II exempted the Templars from all authority except the Pope.) After the crusades were over, the knights returned to their Chapters throughout Europe and became known as moneylenders to the monarchs. In the process many historians believe they invented the Banking System. The secret meetings and rituals of the knights would eventually cause their downfall. The King of France, Philip the Fair used these rituals and meetings to his advantage to destroy the knights. The real reason for his crushing the Templars was that he felt threatened by their power and immunity. In 1307, Philip, who desperately needed funds, to support his war against England's Edward I made his move against the Knights Templar. On October 13th, 1307, King Philip had all the Templars arrested on the grounds of heresy, since this was the only charge that would allow the seizing of their money and assets. The Templars were tortured and as a result, ridiculous confessions were given. Philip was successful in ridding the Templars of their power and wealth and urged all fellow Christian leaders to do the same thing. On March 19th, 1314 the last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, Jacques de Molay was burned at the stake. De Molay is said to have cursed King Philip and Pope Clement, as he burned, asking both men to join him within a year. Whether he actually uttered the curse or if it is simply an apocryphal tale; what remains as fact is that Clement died only one month later and Philip IV seven months after that.

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During the 1500 B.C., Nubia was composed of three large kingdoms called Mukuria, Alwa and Nobade. These were very advanced civilizations and states with large armies of expert footsoldiers, archers, seige equipment, horsemen and elephant-riding soldiers. The three Nubian kingdoms were very wealth and powerful, however, they were under the constant infiltration of their lands by Bedouins with their livestock, Semitc slave raiders who burned African towns and villages and took the inhabitants north of the Red Sea to be enslaved. Nubia is the homeland of Africa's civilization with a history which can be traced from 3100 B.C. Around 5,100 years ago, a rich and powerful nation called the kingdom of Kush (also referred to as the ancient Nubia) was a center of culture and military might in Africa. By 1550 B.C. kings at Kerma in the "Upper Nubia" ( now Sudan) were ruling all Nubia from first Cataract in "Aswan" to the fifth cataract in the "Old Dongula". Egypt dominated parts of Nubia from about 1950 to 1000 B.C. Forts, trading posts and Egyptianstyle temples were built in Kush, and the Nubian elite adopted the worship of Egyptian gods and even the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system. The gold, ebony and ivory of Nubia contributed to the material wealth of Egypt, and many of the famed treasures of the Egyptian kings were made of products from Nubia. By 800 B.C., Egypt had fragmented into rival states. In 747 B.C., the city of Thebes in southern Egypt was threatened by northerners, and the Egyptians called upon the Nubian king for protection. The Kushite king, Piye, marched north from his capitalat Napata,rescued. The besand reunified Egypt. For the next 100 years, Kushite kings ruled both Nubia and Egypt. This era was brought to a close by the invasion of Assyrian armies in 663 B.C., and the Nubian king fled south to his capital at Napata. By 200 B.C., the capital had shifted yet farther south to Meroe, where the kings continued to be buried in pyramid tombs and to build temples to Nubian and Egyptian gods in a hybrid Egyptian Roman-African style. Roman historians record the skirmishes and treaties which marked the relation ship of Roman Egypt and Nubia. By A.D. 250 the culture of Nubia changed radically, perhaps due to the immigration of new peoples into the Nile Valley.Ancient Nubia had a wealth of natural resources such as gold, ivory, copper, frankincense and ebony but they also produced and traded a variety of goods such as pottery. Elusive A Group Latest findings. Their bowmen warriors (Exhibit 1) were known and feared by those who saw them in battles. Nubia was known to the Egyptians as "Ta Sety," the "Land of the Bow," because of the fame of these Nubian archers. Nubia was famous throughout ancient history as a land of expert and feared archers. Pictures from as early as 3200 BCE show Nubians carrying bows. The Egyptians even used a bow as the hieroglyphic spelling for the name "Nubia." Throughout history, pictures and drawings of Nubian gods, kings, and warriors show them holding bows. XX Ancient Nubia's lands are now part of modern Egypt and Sudan. Its geographic position meant that much of ancient Nubia's development is connected to that of ancient Egypt. In fact, Egypt ruled much of Nubia between 2000 B.C. and 1000 B.C., but when Egypt collapsed into civil war, Nubian kings ruled Egypt from around 800 B.C. to 700 B.C. The Nubians are believed to be the first human race on earth, and most of their customs and traditions were adopted by the ancient Egyptians. To the Greeks, they were known as Ethiopians and Nubia as the land of Punts, i.e. the land of gods. Nubians are the people of northern Sudan and southern Egypt. With a history and traditions which can be traced to the dawn of civilization, the Nubian first settled along the banks of the Nile from Aswan. Along this great river they developed one of the oldest and greatest civilizations in Africa. Until they lost their last kingdom (Christian Nubia) only 5 centuries back the Nubians remained as the main rivals to the other great African civilization of Egypt. Kushite kings ruled both Nubia and Egypt. This era was brought to a close by the invasion of Assyrian armies in 663 B.C., and the Nubian king fled south to his capital at Napata. In the 7th century, Nubia was converted to Christianity. The skill of Nubian archers forestalled the conversion of Nubia to Islam A.D.1500.

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Tales of a mythical race of women known as the Amazons have tantalized scholars for centuries. These women described by ancient Greek authors such as Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus of Sicily are portrayed as female warriors dominating their society, including men. These warrior women feature in several Greek legends. Hercules won the girdle of the Amazon queen, Hippolyta, as his Ninth Labor. In retaliation for this humiliation, the Amazons joined forces with the Scythians to attack Athens. King Theseus of Athens, giving the Greeks their first victory over a foreign invader, eventually drove their combined army from Greece. The epic poem, "The Amazonia", tells how another queen, Penthesilea, led her Amazons to the aid of Troy during its war against the Greeks. Penthesilea later died at the hands of Achilles, the last Amazon queen of any note until Thalestris, whom Alexander the Great reputedly encountered in 330 BCE. Although originally portrayed in Greek armor, Amazons are later represented as "barbarians" in Persian or Scythian dress - a long sleeved tunic and trousers or, more rarely, a calf-length skirt. Headgear is either the "Phrygian cap", with its distinctive forward drooping peak, or the Persian tiara. This was a soft covering, which could be drawn across the lower half of the face to keep out dust. Amazons are portrayed as fighting both on foot and from horseback. Many of them, even those involved in hand-to-hand combat, carry bows. Spears are prominent, especially among mounted Amazons, but their characteristic weapon is the labrys, a battle-axe with the blade balanced by a long spike. Shields, rarely carried in later representations, are either circular or crescent-shaped. Who were these mysterious women, and how did they acquire their name? There was a long-held belief that is now no longer considered accurate in academic circles that the word Amazon meant "without breast", referring to their alleged practice of cutting off the right breast in order to facilitate drawing a bow. Any female archers among you will know that this is unnecessary, which would doubtless come as a relief to Gabrielle! A more plausible explanation is that the name derives from an Armenian word meaning, "moon women", probably linking them to worship of a goddess equivalent to Artemis in the Greek pantheon. The legendary Amazons, unlike Queen Melosa's tribe in Hooves and Harlots, were not native to Greece. Hippocrates, writing in the 5th century BCE, identified them with the Sarmatians. An Indo-European people, the Sarmatian's territory stretched from the Ukraine to Kazakhstan, beyond the Caspian Sea.

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The early Scythians were descendants of tribes of the Srubnaya culture who, between the middle of the 2nd millenium B.C. and the end of the 7th century B.C., moved in several waves from the Volga-Ural steppes into the north Black Sea area and assimilated the local Cimmerians. In history, the Scythians was first recorded in the 7th century B.C. as Assyria's ally against the Cimmerians, who had lost their homeland to the Scythians and moved south. Historically these were a race of steppe nomads, a branch of which (the Parthians) would eventually inherit the Persian Empire and become a perennial thorn in Rome's side. Scythians fought as mercenaries for both the Greeks and Persians, having already taught the latter a costly lesson. In about 512 BCE the Persians, under Darius the Great, had crossed the Bosporus and invaded Europe. They bridged the Danube and advanced into the Russian steppes. The Scythians, along with their Sarmatian allies, adopted a scorched earth policy as they retreated before the invaders. The Persians were subjected to hit-and-run attacks, which sapped the army's morale. The Scythian and Sarmatian horse archers would advance at a canter, breaking into a gallop at about 90 m and firing their powerful bows as they charged. At about 45 meters they wheeled to the right and galloped along the Persian front, still pouring arrows into the enemy ranks. If counterattacked they simply rode away, firing behind them as they retreated. This maneuver, practiced by all steppe nomads, later became known as the "Parthian shot". Eventually the dispirited Persians turned and marched home again. The 4th century BCE saw a major shift in the balance of power. Coming under pressure from the powerful tribes of central Asia, the Sarmatians were forced to move west into Scythian lands. Their cataphracti gave them an advantage against the Scythians, who lacked large numbers of heavy cavalry. By the 1st century BCE the Sarmatians dominated the steppes northeast of the Black Sea. Only in the Parthian Empire were the Scythians still a force to be reckoned with. The Scythians had no temples, or altars or religious images, and evidently no priests. It is known that the northern nomads including the Scythians practiced Shamanism in their religion: they used shamans to deal with the world of spirits and gave advice to the kings and chiefs. Being superstitious people, they believed in witchcraft, magic and the power of amulets. The most highly honoured of the Scythian shamans came from certain specific families. They are effeminate males called 'enarees' - meant 'men-women' or 'halfmen'. They spoke with high-pitched voices and wore women's clothes. The Scythians spoke an Indo-European language, believed to have been related to Iranian languages .

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The Persians, who fought a number of wars against the Greek city-states before their final conquest by Alexander the Great in the latter half of the 4th century BCE. They recruited troops from many nations within their vast empire and the spy Dorian was probably an Ionian Greek from the coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). These Greeks had rebelled against their Persian overlords, but there may well have been collaborators among them. The Persian army relied heavily on its archers. In an early scene Pheidippides tells Xena "The sky was so thick with arrows, you couldn't see the sun", and it is gratifying to see the Persian troops represented with a high proportion of archers. The main weakness of the Persian infantry lay in their lack of armor. When drawn up in regiments the front row, armed with spears, carried large shields (spara) to protect the ranks of archers behind. However, if the spara wall could be penetrated the archers were vulnerable, as few men wore cuirasses. This is what happened at Marathon, as the Athenians and Plataeans advanced some 1,500 meters at the double to deny the Persians an easy target. The archers had less time to aim and fire and, although the elite Persian regiments succeeded in pushing back the Athenian center, their wings collapsed and the army was routed. This problem of defense was eventually addressed by introducing a shield called the taka, similar to the Thracian pelta but considerably larger. Most archers carried these, although the spara wall still formed a defensive line in front of the regiment. The Persians had a strong cavalry arm, and in later years their cuirassiers (armored cavalry) proved particularly effective. At the time of Marathon (490 BCE), however, Persian cavalry did not generally use shields. Some were archers, while others carried javelins. The Persians seem to have been adept at using their cavalry in combination with infantry to harry and isolate enemy units before destroying them. During the invasion of their empire by Alexander, they also fielded considerable numbers of chariots with scythe blades fitted to the wheels. These were of little tactical use, being easily dealt with by a combination of archers and peltasts.

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The ancient Celts were a group of culturally similar peoples who once occupied most of central and western Europe north of the G reco-Roman world. Perhaps the most common cultural characteristic of the ancient Celts was the Celtic languages, a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The earliest established origins of Celts dates from c.1000-800 BC in Eastern Europe, though research and excavations in very recent years indicate that cultures in Siberia and Northern Mongolia may well be directly linked to the Celts. Both of these cultures date back as far as the second millennium BC. The prowess of the Celts as master horsemen with the capabilities of travelling very long distances give these links further credibility. With their unique expertise in horsemanship the Celts were masters of the chariot - the latter being a very early Celtic invention that provided them with the reputation for being formidable opponents in warfare. These are the fearsome fighters, who sacked Rome itself in 390 BCE. The first great leader featured is Boadicea (more properly Boudicca, who rebelled against Roman rule in 60-61 AD). If Boadicea was not like this, she should have been! Her heavily embossed bronze cuirass can be dated to the late Bronze Age/early Iron Age phase of Celtic development. Several centuries out of date, it is nevertheless clearly valuable and probably a family heirloom. Her earrings appear to be miniature replicas of the long Celtic shield, which may have served as a prototype for the Roman scutum. Boadicea's followers look passably Celtic, with some tartans in evidence, but their clothing is rather drab. The Celts were noted for their use of bright colors and bold patterns, particularly stripes and checkerboard weaves. The kilts worn in this episode were a much later invention. Celtic men, like those in most "barbarian" nations, wore trousers. Drooping moustaches were common, and warriors sometimes washed their hair with lime before combing it back in fierce looking spikes. The Celtic love of display also manifested itself in the wearing of armlets and torcs (neck rings). These could be of gold, electrum, silver or bronze, and were often of exquisite workmanship. Although the Celts were skilled horsemen, they fought primarily as infantry, with nobles and their retainers providing the cavalry. The British chariots came as a surprise to the Romans, as they were no longer used in Gaul. Boadicea's chariot is far larger than that used by the Britons. This was very light, with a cab about 1 meter square and wheels some 90 cm in diameter. Caesar was deeply impressed by the skill of the British charioteers, recording their ability to maneuver at high speed, even on slopes. The charioteer would often steer his vehicle whilst standing on the yoke pole between the horses, while the warrior behind him hurled javelins at the enemy before dismounting for hand-to-hand combat. Celtic weaponsmiths were arguably the best in the ancient world. Chain mail was probably a Celtic invention, and their superb iron helmets were quickly adopted by the Roman legions. These helmets with their characteristic "eyebrow" decoration were worn by a fair number of warriors, although body armor was restricted mainly to the nobility and their most trusted followers. Many Celtic warriors relied solely on the large shield and their own agility for protection. Spears and a variety of missile weapons were used but the main weapon was the sword, about 90 cm long and employed solely as a slashing weapon by the Gauls. The Britons, however, used a sword with a sharp point for both cutting and thrusting. Some warriors were skilful enough to knock aside hurled Roman javelins with their sword blades. The Celts were fierce headhunters, often stopping to decapitate their fallen enemies in the midst of battle. Another peculiarity was that of sometimes fighting naked except for helmet and shield. The reason for this is unknown - it may have had some ritual significance, as with the headhunting, or it may simply have been sheer bravado. Women seem to have played a largely supporting role in Celtic warfare, preparing the camp and provisions of their warriors. There are records of battles, however, where Celtic women attacked both their own fleeing menfolk and the pursuing Romans before killing their children and themselves. The Romans did not take long to adapt to Celtic battle tactics, which consisted primarily of a screaming headlong charge, but the eventual downfall of the Gauls was their disunity. Caesar was able to exploit this by playing one tribe off against another. "Divide and conquer" was his strategy. Too late the Gauls united under the Arvernian nobleman Vercingetorix, called Vercinix. After suffering a serious reverse at Gergovia in 53 BCE, Caesar was able to bottle up Vercingetorix and his forces in the hilltop fortress of Alesia the following year. Despite being besieged in turn by a huge Gallic relief army, Caesar was able to force the garrison to surrender, and Gaul fell at last to Rome. Vercingetorix spent six long years in chains before being ritually strangled. The same tribal disunities were played upon in the Roman invasion of Britannia in 43 AD, although in this case the Celts were never entirely subjugated.

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Barbarian The term "Barbarian" is Greek in origin. The Greeks originally levied it at the peoples of Northern Europe because to them, the harsh "barking" sound of their speech sounded to them like "Bar-bar-bar." Since these strangers from the north did not understand classic Greek, the Greeks believed them to be "illiterate." The term also came to mean "stranger" or "wanderer," since most of the Barbarians with which they came in contact were nomadic (the Goths, for example). To the people of ancient Greece and Rome, a Barbarian was anyone who was not of their extraction or culture. Because most of these "strangers" regularly practiced raids upon these civilizations, the term Barbarian gradually evolved into a perjorative term: a person who was sub-human, uncivilized, and regularly practiced the most vile and inhuman acts imaginable. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. The first series of Europe invasions begun on the 5th century when tribes of germanic origin launched invasions to the Roman Empire lands. But this attack wasn't spontaneous but due to the pressure of the Huns that where moving from central Asia to Europe, taking the lands of the germanic tribes. Finally the Huns invaded the Roman Empire, but where defeated in the battle of Campos Catalaunicos with the aid of the Visigoths. Rome in the next years suffered the attack of many barbarian tribes, but it wasn't prepared like in the past to resist. In the 5th century Rome was in the middle of an economic, social and political crisis. A Barbarian warrior in battle is a fearsome enough sight. They cover their bodies with strange markings and the fire in their eyes can be seen from across a battlefield. Early in his training a warrior must learn how to tap the primal energies around him and utter a howl in battle-a bellow so fierce that it will send even the battalions of the Burning Hells running in fear. When a warrior is injured while out in the field, he must find ways to effectively heal wounds. By picking among the glands and entrails of the recently dead, a Barbarian warrior can sometimes scavenge enough ingredients to make a powerful healing elixir. Some Barbarians are skillful and fortunate enough to find ingredients for a potion that restores not only their health but their spirit as well. Summoning the ancient powers known to his people, a Barbarian warrior can call on his spirit animal and lash out at his enemies with a cry that halts them in their tracks-a powerful anguish rising to burn the depths of their being. It is this skill that gives rise to the legends of Barbarians being able to sap the life from a creature with a single word. Barbarian warriors of the Shadow Wolf Tribe are masters of the axe. Through the axe, they sought to match the swiping claws and the biting teeth of the wolves with which they lived and fought beside. In ancient times, there came a people from the Near East, migrating their way across the continents of Asia and Europe. Known in later generations as the Indo-Aryan people, some of them settled in the regions of the Caucasus mountains and of Persia (present-day Iran); others in the fertile crescent of Mesopotamia, Philistia, and Sumeria; yet others in what is now known as the Balkan states of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Romania, and others pouring further into the lands of Northern Europe into what is now present-day Germany, Scandinavia, France, Spain, and Britain. They were a tall, fierce, fair- haired and fair-skinned people, in contrast to their swarthy counterparts from whence they had travelled. Quickly displacing or assimilating the indigenous people of the regions they entered, they never truly settled anywhere, ever-moving as their needs and resources changed. Eventually they did settle and create homes and lifestyles for themselves, yet their culture was never elaborate. Those who they came in contact with considered them uncivilized, and yet were fascinated by their strength, stamina, force of will, charisma, and versatility. They were respected by those they befriended, and feared by those who opposed them. Even within their own society, they fought amongst themselves, seeking supremacy of power and controllership of the lands they acquired. In Northern Europe they became known as the Teutons, Norse, Goths, and Celts, and within those tribes arose many sub-tribes. Settling deep in the regions of Northern Europe, they were forgotten by the various civilizations to the South and East such as Greece, Assyria, Persia, and Egypt. It was not until the end of the Bronze age and the onset of the Iron Age that the cultures would re-emerge, clashing with those civilizations fronting the Mediterranean Sea; Greece, and Rome.

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Ch'in [Qín] Dynasty 255-207 BC. Legend has it that in 206BC the first Emperor of Unified China, Ch'in Shi Huangdi, decreed that after his death his body would be clothed in jade and cast adrift in a lake of Mercury. The lake, within a pyramid, was to be protected by an everlasting army. The political situation reflects the power struggles of the 3rd century BCE, which resulted in the final victory of Ch'in over the other Chinese states and united the country for the first time in five hundred years. Construction of the Great Wall, however, did not begin until the Ch'in Dynasty was already in power. Its original purpose was to defend the northern border of Ch'in against the Hsiung-nu nomad confederation, of which Borias seems to have been a leader. Ironically, the high mortality rate amongst the conscripted laborers who built the Great Wall (it is estimated that one man died for every meter constructed) was a primary cause of the rebellion that overthrew the Ch'in Dynasty. Chinese armor was often of leather, but by the time of the Empire metal protection was widespread, particularly amongst elite guard units. This comprised small square plates of bronze or iron, riveted or laced together, the latter method being used where flexibility was needed. Some troops, notably infantry skirmishers and light cavalry, remained completely unarmored. Helmets, of bronze or sometimes leather, seem to have been less common than body armor. This was in contrast to western armies, where a helmet was usually the first piece of armor acquired. Shields were often carried by infantry and dismounted cavalry. These were generally rectangular, and made of wood or leather. Weapons were still often made of bronze, as iron-smelting technology remained very primitive until the 2nd century BCE. Ch'in bronze casters were capable of producing blades at least as good as the brittle cast iron of the time, and these could be coated with a chromium alloy to improve their sharpness. The province of Han was known for the excellence of its arms and equipment, including weapons of low- grade steel. Swords had become increasingly popular over the centuries, with blades up to 110 cm in length. Other typical hand-to-hand weapons were spears and halberds, the latter being a development of the earlier "dagger axe". This was originally a one-handed weapon similar to that carried by Yakut, consisting of a large dagger blade lashed or socket-mounted to a fairly short haft. This was gradually lengthened to allow two- handed use, and a spear point and hook were added to the original blade, turning it into a versatile cut-and-thrust weapon. Bows were usually of the recurved composite type, which had greater range and penetration than any simple wooden bow. This system of construction evolved on the Asian steppes to offset the shortage of wood. It used horn and sinew glued to a relatively thin wooden core. The elastic sinew was fixed to the "back" of the bow, and the horn, which resisted compression, was fixed to the "belly". The whole assembly was then waterproofed with a wrapping of birch bark and often lacquered, producing a powerful weapon that could easily be used from horseback. All the steppe nomads (including the Scythians and Sarmatians) used bows of this type, which soon found their way to the Middle East. The crossbow appeared in China in the 6th century BCE, and although originally used for defending towns and forts, it was being employed in pitched battles by 340 BCE. Its main advantages were ease of use and its penetration at short range. The main disadvantage was its slow rate of fire. Gunpowder appeared much later. The chemical formulae for its manufacture appear to have been discovered in the 9th century AD. Chinese armies were comprised largely of infantry, although cavalry appeared in increasing numbers from 307 BCE. The Ch'in were among the leading exponents of cavalry warfare and were particularly unpopular due to their employment of savage Hu tribesmen. Cavalry were often armed with bows, but could also be equipped for hand-to-hand fighting with swords, spears, or even halberds. The increase in cavalry brought about a corresponding decrease in the use of chariots. These were pulled by a team of four horses, and carried a crew of two in addition to the driver - an archer to his left and another warrior to his right, typically armed with a spear or halberd. Chariots had low cabs and large wheels, some 1.5 m in diameter, with up to twenty-six spokes. Although used mainly for their shock value, some chariots were specialized command vehicles, with a "crow's nest" from which a general could observe the battle unimpeded by the clouds of dust thrown up by the opposing armies. Chinese soldiers were well disciplined and generally well led. A professional officer corps had replaced the old nobility, and they controlled their troops on the battlefield by means of an elaborate system of flags, drums, and bells. Thanks to their intensive drill, the troops could maneuver at once in response to the signals, and they were trained to deploy in emergencies without specific orders. Drums and gongs were also used to encourage an army's own soldiers and terrify the enemy, an early example of psychological warfare. Tactics were sophisticated, employing attacks against the enemy's flanks and rear, as well as frontal assaults. Considerable use was made of deception, such as elite units masquerading as regular troops until the time came to strike the decisive blow. Other ploys included carts dragging branches to raise dust, giving the impression of a much larger force from a distance. Charioteers also employed this tactic to create a "smokescreen" in battle, allowing the troops behind it to re-deploy and outflank the enemy.

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