Animals in ancient Greek warfare : a study of the elephant, camel, and dog
My dissertation asserts that the study of animals is integral to the thorough understanding of the ancient military landscape, and three animals in particular warrant particular attention: the elephant, camel, and dog. I place these animals into the broader context of ancient warfare through the use of human-animal studies, zoological research, archaeological studies, and careful historical analysis, proving their impact in the Greco Macedonian military. I contend that the war elephant's tactical significance is overstated by modern scholarship and requires a re-evaluation, concluding that due to a combination of physiological and behavioral reasons, elephants were not compatible with Greek military practices. They were, however, compatible with Diadoch politics, and were used by generations of Seleucids and Ptolemies as an emblem of legitimacy, martial strength, and royalty. I consider the military value of the camel within the Greek realm, arguing that it has been largely ignored and requires analysis from a fresh perspective. I use recent zoological studies to argue against scholarship that dismisses the camel's abilities to tolerate extreme environments, and I assess the its value within the army of Alexander the Great through a series of specific case studies. Subsequently, I investigate the use of dogs in the ancient military sphere through a study of literary and archaeological sources. I show how dogs participated both directly in battle (Ionia) and in a more auxiliary fashion as guards, hunters, and companions. Finally, I present a survey of scientific archaeological, and historical studies of the ancient warhorse, considering its status within the scholarly community as a goal and model for future studies of other animals that functioned in the ancient military sphere.
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