This was at the Battle of Raphia (on the Sinai peninsula) in 217 BCE between Ptolemy IV and Antiochus III. Unfortunately, impressive though they must have seemed on the battlefield, the cost of acquiring, training, and transporting these creatures, along with their wild unpredictability in the heat of battle, meant that they were used only briefly and not particularly effectively in Mediterranean warfare. Related Content More at ivory. Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. The two elephant corps clashed directly and the smaller-sized African elephants gave way, even if Ptolemy won the battle overall. Cite This Work See more ideas about war elephant, ancient warfare, ancient war. Indeed, such was the demand that at Latium and Constantinople permanent herds were kept and the insatiable desire for wild elephants practically wiped out the forest elephant of North Africa. Thank you! In the search for ever more impressive and lethal weapons to shock the enemy and bring total victory the armies of ancient Greece, Carthage, and even sometimes Rome turned to the elephant. Browse other questions tagged ancient-greece persia war-elephants greco-persian-wars or ask your own question. 6:34.). There is a curious instance when two elephant corps met where each side was composed of different types. The latter minted coinage that expressed the symbolic connection between elephants and Alexander’s military victories. These were used in the First and Second Punic Wars against Rome in the mid and late 3rd century BCE, notably in the Battle at the river Tagus in Spain in 220 BCE and at the Battle of Trebia in northern Italy in 218 BCE. Web. Ever since the Stone Age, when elephants were represented by ancient petroglyphs and cave art, they have been portrayed in various forms of art, including pictures, sculptures, music, film, and even architecture. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. License. Regardless of what animal the biblical Behemoth might reflect, it remains interesting that later, according to Pliny, the Romans would call elephants “bulls” after first encountering them during the campaign against Pyrrhus. This beast lies by the papyrus, reed and sedge, it strikes the river to pour water in its mouth and does not fear the flood. The portraiture is best-known from early Hellenistic coinage but also appears on engraved gems. Next, the venerable Aristotle likewise discussed elephants in the same context as the martichora and believed that they could live for up to 300 years and “can be taught to kneel in the presence of the king.” (History of Animals 2.1, 8.9 and 9.46.). Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation is a non-profit organization. After Gaugamela, 15 elephants were captured from the Persian camp, along with the baggage, chariots and camels. Bibliography In 275 BCE, in a battle known as the ‘Elephant Victory’, Antigonus Gonatas, although outnumbered, used 16 elephants to terrify an army of Gauls into retreat. All three attributes symbolize Alexander’s divine sonship and the attributes portray him as the heroic descendant of the slayer of demons, underlying the associations between the mythic figures of Dionysus and Heracles (both sons of Zeus), Shiva (an emanation of Indra) and Krishna (an avatar of Vishnu), as well as Horus (the reincarnation of Osiris). Of particular importance is the combination of the elephant scalp with a ram’s horn over his temple and the aegis (a sacred goat’s fleece) thrown over his shoulder. Upon their return to Persia (c. 325 BCE), some 200 elephants are mentioned which had arrived via Arachosia and Carmania. Indra, however, is the son of Dyaus Pitrā (“Sky Father”), which parallels Zeus Pater and Jupiter. ". In the 6th and 5th centuries BCE, the elephants carried rugs on their backs, called hatthatthara in the Buddhist Pali works. The king commemorated his victory by sacrificing four of his enemy’s elephants. 8.23.5.) When Hannibal (247 - c. 182 BCE) moved against Rome, he crossed the Pyrenees from Spain with 37 elephants among his vast forces. Aug., Ael. War elephants are elephants that have been trained and are guided by humans during times of war. When Pyrrhus of Epirus (319-272 BCE) requested support for his upcoming Italian campaign, Ptolemy II could afford to provide him with 50 elephants, among other forces. On an early 16th-century Flemish tapestry (now in New York) the personification of Fame stands in a chariot drawn by two white elephants as they trample death and fate. However, it was the elephant itself that was the principal weapon, employed as a sort of mobile wrecking ball. τος ) [7] The Indian Dragon was a breed of giant serpent which could fight and strangle the elephants of India. Pits and spikes were prepared to entrap them and, if they could get close enough, men were charged with hamstringing the beasts or hacking at their trunks. After a few centuries when elephants were out of vogue, the Sasanians in Persia revived the use of war elephants, fielding the Indian species from the 3rd century CE onwards, albeit, largely for logistics and during sieges. Cavalry horses, especially, are frightened even of their smell. Elephants were historically deployed on the battlefield to strike terror into enemy troops inexperienced with their sight. Submitted by Branko van Oppen, published on 20 May 2019 under the following license: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Elephants in the Bible. Suggested Reading. Larger elephants were outfitted with tower-like devices protecting occupants from ground-level attack and providing an excellent battlefield vantage point. More historically, Juba of Numidia (approx. Incidentally, Indra, like Zeus and even Alexander the Great, wields the thunderbolt. That’s assuming the … See more ideas about war elephant, elephant, ancient warfare. Ceraunus famously died on the back of an elephant against the Galatians entering the Greek peninsula from across the Balkans (279 BCE). Books Ancient History Encyclopedia. After his initial corps died in the winter of 218/217 BCE Hannibal acquired fresh replacements and used elephants again at the siege of Capua in 211 BCE. If the elephant were wounded then all hell might break lose as, unpredictable at the best of times, wounded elephants could literally go mad and cause tremendous damage to both sides. This latter eventuality was, in part, avoided by the stationing of a small team of infantry to protect the elephant’s legs. Ancient History Encyclopedia. The third attribute, the aegis belonged to Zeus, who presented it to Athena, who in turn is commonly depicted wearing the fleece. Tarentum, a Greek city in southern Italy recruited him to combat a growing and belligerent neighbour to the north, Rome. Our latest articles delivered to your inbox, once a week: Our mission is to engage people with cultural heritage and to improve history education worldwide. Even the smell of elephants could drive unprepared horses into a stampede. Triumph of Fameby Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). Ivory is mentioned several times in the 0. During the ensuing fight, the enemy’s elephants trampled foot soldiers indiscriminately in the confusion when attacked from the flank by the Macedonian cavalry. For instance, Indra, the Lord of Heaven, rides a white elephant, which symbolizes his victory over the dragon Vritra, his adversary. "An Egyptian Interpretation of Alexander’s Elephant Headdress. Please help us create teaching materials on Mesopotamia (including several complete lessons with worksheets, activities, answers, essay questions, and more), which will be free to download for teachers all over the world. The Indian species was used for this purpose. The shape of the elephants’ trunks resembles the trumpet Fame sounds. This meant that military commanders went out of their way to supplement their armies with elephants. Elephants were the tanks of the ancient battlefield. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. 24 Dec 2020. Most war elephants deployed in the Hellenistic period derived from India. C.A. Still, Caesar was able to defeat Metellus Scipio at the Battle of Thapsus in Tunisia (46 BCE) and he captured over 60 elephants after his African victory and displayed 40 in a Roman triumph. "Elephants in Greek & Roman Warfare." However, one look at the vast amount of ancient Greek-themed movies and literature today, people will quickly come to the conclusion that the world is still fascinated with Greek mythology though they might not always be able to say why. 2.3.) Pyrrhus (/ ˈ p ɪr ə s /; Ancient Greek: Πύρρος, Pyrrhos; 319/318–272 BC) was a Greek king and statesman of the Hellenistic period. Ancient History Encyclopedia Limited is a non-profit company registered in the United Kingdom. Are there peacocks and elephants in Ancient Greece (4000 BC)? Farther along the campaign, another 125-150 elephants were obtained in the Indus Valley as a gift of a local prince and through hunting. Understood as an emblem of military might, in antiquity and well beyond, I have argued that the elephant was a mythic monster. (1-Macc. Incidentally, Eleazar Maccabaeus was crushed by a Seleucid elephant, after piercing it with his spear at the Battle of Beth Zechariah in 162 BCE. The frightful emanation of Shiva Bhairava and the mother goddess Varahi are depicted seated on an elephant; he clad in elephant’s skin and tiger’s hide, with a drum, corpse, trident, bowl, stick, and deer in his six hands; she with a plough, sacred tree, elephant goad, and noose. He controlled the direction the elephant took by applying pressure behinds the animal’s ears with his toes. However, the animals often turn on their own ranks trampling indiscriminately whoever comes in their way. They were also used to combat any elephants in the opposition’s ranks. In the 270’s BCE, for example, Ptolemy II trained African elephants for use in his army and even appointed a high official to be responsible for them, the elephantarchos. The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. Although the Carthaginians suffered heavy losses while crossing the Alps, an unspecified number of elephants did enter the Po Valley and then crushingly defeated the Roman consular armies at the Trebia River. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri. Ancient authors recognized Heracles in an unspecified Hindu deity and the identification remains unsettled among modern scholars. Oppen, Branko V. "Elephants in Hellenistic History & Art." It was the first time that the inhabitants of the Italian peninsula had ever seen elephants. They were deployed on the battlefield to strike terror into the enemy, however, since fear was considered divinely inspired, elephants can be interpreted as religious symbols even in warfare. (Job 40:15-24.) Alexander & Porusby The Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright). Please support Ancient History Encyclopedia Foundation. According to Patrick Winn, a correspondent for The World, war elephants may be divided into two types: those which participate in battles and those used for logistical purposes. Elephants were initially used for agricultural purposes. In ancient Carthage, elephants were sometimes given copious quantities of wine to drink - elephants enjoy alcohol - and then their legs were prodded with red-hot irons. Roman Mosaic Showing the Transport of an Elephant, Detail of Roman Sarcophagus with an Elephant, Detail of a 6th Century CE Elephant Mosaic. Due to the Roman focus on infantry and its discipline, war elephants were rarely used. The trunk appears to curl as if in prayer in a manner resembling an upright cobra (uraeus). The Asian elephant became known in Europe following the conquests of Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE and contact with the Mauryan Empire of India. One should wonder, therefore, why generals would be interested in recruiting these pachyderm monsters in warfare at all when there is little strategic advantage in deploying them against each other. Pyrrhus of Epirus was the first commander to employ elephants in Europe when he used 20 Asian ones in his campaigns in Italy and Sicily from 280 to 275 BCE. Showing page 1. T. and once in the N. T. The animal itself is named only in the Apocrypha, always as an engine of war. Cleopatra Selene II, Boscorealeby Hervé Lewandowski (Copyright), Let us briefly return to the Hellenistic period and quickly make our way back eastwards. The founder of the Mauryan kingdom, Chandragupta established his power shortly after Alexander’s death (r. c. 322/1-299/8 BCE). His son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, who was passed over for the succession, imitated his father’s coinage when he claimed the succession over Lysimachus’ kingship. There are, furthermore, evident religious connections and influences between elephants and Hindu deities. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. If this happened the rider used a metal spike and hammer to pierce the elephant’s brain and kill it immediately. Upcoming Events 2020 Community Moderator Election. Before the fighting, Ptolemy’s elephants are said to have raised trunks in prayer to the rising sun. Romans first encountered elephants in battle in 280 BCE, when Pyrrhus, king of the Greek region of Epirus, invaded Italy with an army of 25,000 men and 20 war elephants. Retrieved from https://www.ancient.eu/article/876/. Detail of Roman Sarcophagus with an Elephantby Carole Raddato (CC BY-SA). However, in the Rigveda, the king of Gods and chief Vedic deity Indra is depicted as riding either Airavata, a mythological elephant, or on the horse Uchchaihshravas as his mounts. on Pinterest. In later times, the use of elephants was restricted to peace-time activities such as spectacles in the Roman arenas and circuses for public entertainment or as an impressive addition to public processions. According to Plutarch, 475 elephants took part in the Battle of Ipsus in 301 BCE during the Successor Wars. 18 Dec 2020. Books Phoenician terracotta lamp in the form of an elephant's head. In the ancient world, moreover, the elephant was also utilized as a machine of war. Cartwright, Mark. Added to this was the cost of maintaining them and training both the wild elephant and its rider to form some sort of battle order on the field of combat. by The Trustees of the British Museum (Copyright), Elephant Symbolism on the Coins of Ptolemy I, The three attributes were associated with three supreme deities of three different cultures: the aegis with Zeus; the ram’s horns with, by Metropolitan Museum of Art (Copyright). Firstly, both soldiers and cavalry horses were trained to get used to the sight, smell, and sounds of elephants. From Alexander to Hannibal During the eastern campaign of Alexander the Great (356-323 BCE), Greek and Macedonian soldiers first encountered elephants in Assyria, at the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BCE), where they were, however, apparently not deployed. Found 3 sentences matching phrase "elephant".Found in 0 ms. After his coronation in Memphis, the priest at Siwah confirmed that Alexander was recognized as the son of god. 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