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Τρίτη 24 Απριλίου 2012

Association Of Historical Studies"KORYVANTES" on "Amphictyonia" Organization.

Athens, April 24 , 2012
Dear Board of the ‘‘Amphictyonia’’ Organization

KORYVANTES Association works for years promoting the study of Ancient Hellenic Warfare history thus firstly, we would like to express our positive positioning towards your general appreciation for Ancient Hellenic history.

It is on this firm basis of sharing an appreciation of Ancient History that we develop the following thoughts on matters around the formation of  “Amphictyonia” Organization.

We actually stumbled on your site, to be precise: we first saw something about an “Amphictyonia.org’’ in the following recent forum message:

This was followed by various random posts in the social media network “Facebook”. We also received some polite suggestions to join from our contacts within the international world of living history.
Perplexed, by the way we came to be aware of its existence, we entered in the details as per the “Amphictyonia.org” web page, and we were instantly struck by the following included in the “Membership section”, Article Two (2):
All groups who attended the first Marathon event in September 2011 ... are considered ‘founding members’ as of their acceptance of this constitution’’

To which we are obliged to state the following:

  • We attended the “Marathon 2011” event without any sort of formal/informal information before or after the event that it would be used as a basis for the creation of an ‘‘Amphictyonia’’ or any other related Organization.

  • We were not asked to contribute or even brainstorm in the development of the “Amphictyonia’’ and the formation of its Constitution / Membership / Governance sections

  • We did not receive any official invitation to join ‘‘Amphictyonia’’

  • We never authorized any of our members to participate in the forming of ‘‘Amphictyonia’’ or any other related organization.

Given the way this incident unfolded we are also obliged to underline the following:

  • We, members of  KORYVANTES Association, are embarrassed by the fact that after all these years of exemplary work raising the standards of international reconstruction/re-enactment of Ancient Hellenic Warfare, we are currently being “used” as potential members of an Organization on which we are not aware who controls, finances, and administers.

  • We, members of KORYVANTES Association, consider that the practice of an Organization publishing the potential of KORYVANTES Association membership, without any prior discussion and formal invitation is against KORYVANTES Association’s culture. We do feel that this is out of culture of any association that claims to have a basic level of civic sense.

  • We, members of KORYVANTES Association, are embarrassed by the hegemonic attitude of the ‘‘Amphictyonia’’ Organization declaration that dictates rules, terms and conditions to KORYVANTES Association without formal notice.

  • We, members of KORYVANTES Association, are embarrassed by the use of KORYVANTES Association’s participation to the Marathon event of September 2011 for third party benefit without any prior notice.

Having clarified the above, we want to believe that this situation is the result of ill-advice, following non-professional public relationship management practices. The idea of an “Amphictyonia” Organization by itself is something that in a proper context may work to promote Ancient history and as such we would consider participating.

Thus prior to our reply we did proceed on a preliminary study holding a discussion of Board Members of the KORYVANTES Association on the terms as shown in the Constitution, Membership and League Governance sections of the “Amphictyonia.org’’ web site.

Following our preliminary study we identified several unclear areas of administrative nature on which we officially request your reply:

  1. What is the legal status of “Amphictyonia” Organization? Is there a legal entity? If not, is it planed to form one? If yes, what type (e.g. government or non-government organization)?

  1. In which official authority and under what law is it or will be registered?

  1. In case of any short of dispute, which court applies?

  1. How is the Organization financed?

  1. Who Administer the Finances, and under which Accounting practice?

  1. Is there any precisely defined set of requirements for membership? The terms “hoplite association/club” and “member” vary enormously across the international hoplite association scene.

  1. Are “Amphictyonia’s” stated rules enforced universally on all occasions or are they presented as a lax set of guidelines to be applied depending on management’s opinions?

While the (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) areas are of administrative nature and need considerable time and effort to be resolved, the areas (6) (7) quite stroke us, particularly since as an Association we apply a strict policy on membership issues.

‘‘Amphictyonia” Organization Membership declaration states that a participant Group must have at least 8 members, however, after a brief look in the Member Group list we found groups on which there is a serious doubt that they ever presented or can present the required number of members.

Even if the explanation-excuse to this is the infamous “all participating groups…Marathon 2011 event…etc.’’, we did found such a self-contradictory deployment and confusion of an organization’s basic rules to be yet another embarrassment on top of the aforementioned.
The above points require resolution even prior to presenting them in the opening of a public dialogue that must precede the formation of such an Organization.
Beyond that basic fact, we have the obligation to communicate the KORYVANTES Association’s position towards participation in an organization of the type of ‘‘Amphictyonia”.
For us the foremost point is to conclude whether the objectives of KORYVANTES Association and those of ‘‘Amphictyonia’’ Organization may converge and if so, what are the key issues to be addressed. Please, bear in mind that contrary to the “Twitter-style” communication styles that some try to enforce, for KORYVANTES Association the following consists actually a brief (and non-exhaustive) comparative approach.
We try to open the Public Dialogue in this way since there was simply no such dialogue performed before by anyone prior to the appearance of “Amphictyonia.org”.
In the next sections follows a detailed description of 10 issues that we consider of outmost importance. Each issue is followed by a Question on which we officially request your reply.

KORYVANTES Association focuses in the scientific reconstruction of Ancient equipment, Ancient Athletics and in the study of Ancient battle. We focus more in academic research and study and less in generalist reenactment activities. We started 5 years ago with very humble COTS (commercial-of-the-self) equipment and evolved through time to hand-made, exclusive, museum-quality reconstructions. You may enter to our site where you may refer to a long list of related articles presenting the activities of our Association.

Using this exclusive equipment, we research and reconstruct the evolution of Hellenic military technology and battle tactics from Mycenaean down to Hellenistic Era with aim to expand our timeline remaining strictly on the aforementioned scope.

Question1: What is the precise field scope of “Amphictyonia” Organization? To our understanding apart the narrow framework of 600-300B.c. there is little else to define a scope.

We publish our findings in Press, Internet and Academic Journals. To be able to perform in that level and deliver quality, KORYVANTES Association concentrates on its aforementioned scope that is the better understanding of ancient Hellenic Warfare.

Question2: What is the perimeter of “Amphictyonia” Organization? Where is the limit of inclusion of generalist material e.g. culture, civilian material, civic and religious life. Where is the limit of inclusion of other cultures – currently there is a seemingly open door to any non-related culture such as Chinese, Japanese, Mongol, Bantu-African or Native American), which automatically bring all the package (civilian life etc.)

As an association we are very precise with what we are doing. It is natural that we are left puzzled by the contrast of the unnaturally strict timeline with the loose attitude towards all the rest of concerns.
We consider this Issue as extremely serious given the context of ‘’Amphictyonia” Organization. It is not part of our Association’s culture, and not part of our personal culture ingrained by our civilization, to patronize others in that way.
We do promote a neutral-egalitarian viewing of the totality of the Ancient Word and this not only because “it is fair” but because it is the correct way to study successfully and in-depth the ancient cultures.
Question3: In case of the above looseness serves an ‘’all-inclusiveness/all-togetherness’’ why the Organization enforces on all other cultures a civilization-wise patronizing title and does not employ a more neutral title such as “Federation of Associations of Ancient Warfare of XX-XX BCE period”?

On the “League Governance” section there is talk about a “Hegemon”(!!!). The Hellenic language recorded this word in association with memories of calamity, disaster, and the horrors of ego-centric Tyranny across centuries. Darius was a Hegemon, NOT Miltiades.

Once the “Amphictyonia” name was chosen, we cannot see how the term “Prytanis”, was not used to describe the leader’s position as was the case with these ancient institutions, and instead the choise of “Hegemon” was preferred. Is this “creative” innovation resulting out of a linguistic gaffe or is it the result of an intention to form the organization on such as basis?

Question4: Why any “founding member” should bow to terms that have the air of being dictated and why historical accuracy must be modified to suit each ones likes and dislikes?

KORYVANTES Association is aware that Hellenic Warfare and its evolution cannot be understood by time restrictions to “popular eras” or by an all-inclusive approach of trying to be occupied with all aspects of Ancient life. Such practices lead to lesser understanding and this in turn mathematically results to lesser quality in terms of constructed material.
The above is at the core and there is good reason to insist on it. In the field of Ancient Hellenic Warfare we have plenty of examples to show how the restricted perspective in terms of time framework in combination with a loose inclusion of all other (un)related material led to a dry collage of practices of a handful of ancient Hellenic cities that were a minority of the ancient Greek World. We have plenty of examples to show how all that led to a flawed overall understanding even if speaking of the particular short-framed period and context that “Amphictyonia” Organization chose to “concentrate”.
Question5: Does “Amphictyonia” Organization plan to enforce strict quality controls on the reconstructed equipment? If yes, are these controls and processes publically available?

KORYVANTES Association commitment to historical accuracy remains uncompromised on all levels. “Amphictyonia.org”, article six (6) of the membership section provides the possibility of appearance of women Hoplites. While historically the case of women warriors (mostly psiloi) occurred occasionally there is no circumstantial evidence, let alone proof, that women ever served as Hoplites.
The above point is a mere example of how far an Association is going on the issue of authenticity. How authentic our Association’s members would be in reconstructing Xerxes elite Aethiopian Marines? We only reconstruct and display things that we have evidence and ability to perform. We do not limit historical accuracy only to clothes and accessories!

Question6: Does “Amphictyonia” Organization plan to enforce historical accuracy? If yes, are these controls and processes publically available? Will Academic standards be included? If not, will there be at minimum, a defined scale between high and lesser quality?

In the Mission page of the ‘’Amphictyonia.org’’, is mentioned:
to accurately represent and teach history through recreating the lives of average and extraordinary people who lived between 600 BCE and 300 BCE, while maintaining the highest standards of inclusiveness, multi-culturalism, safety and honour. The purpose of the League itself is to provide member groups with a safe, authentic, and exciting range of events and activities

In our understanding, Hoplites of the 600Bc – 300 Bc era, had nothing to do with inclusiveness, multiculturalism and excitement. Ancient warfare was anything but a fairy-tale.

Hoplites were Citizens tied with family bonds, they were a social structure representing the means of City/States to defend their territories, to expand them if possible, to secure resources and keep commercial supply routes open. Their solely task was to keep and their societies and families alive.

Question 7A: Can you please provide some documentation to support the “inclusiveness, multiculturalism and excitement nature of the 600 Bc to 300 Bc Hoplites?

Question 7B: If haphazardly claiming that this is not possibly recreated in modern era (a non-argument as this is precisely what we are doing!), then can you provide us an explanation of how an “exiting all-happy ‘’Amphictyonia’’ Organization will convey, even remotely, the realities of ancient warfare and how the message it will be passing will be educational for the general public?

Streching the limits of logic, even if one set aside the motley crew “rough-reenactment” style enforcing unhistorical perceptions, we are still left wondering of the choice of name for this Organisation this time from another perspective, especially following that choice of “Hegemon” title which indeed seems to project the basis of “Amphictyonia” Organization.
Amphictyonias were religious institutions supporting Alliances of Greek City/States and no matter political connotations (like in all religious Organizations) they remained religious.

Naming your Organization as “Amphictyonia” is the direct equivalent of naming a Middle-Age respective Organization as “Patriarchate” or “Papacy”. We find that no such Organisation has the right to make use of titles and definitions of religious institutions.

We find the repeated choice of names and titles following a haphazard unintended / deliberate misuse of Hellenic language and Ancient Hellenic religious institutions and titles both inexplicable and offending.

Question8: What are the connotations behind the choice of name of “Amphictyonia’’ Organization? Does this arise from an intention to involve religious connotations or by sheer ignorance of what these basic ancient religious institutions were all about?

If the above general loose atmosphere and treatment of issues conveyed by “Amphictyonia” Organization will have inevitably an impact on the quality output, let alone reducing reenactment to a mere expression of postmodern self-indulgent infantilism, the following are far less amusing, there are far more serious and have enormous repercussions in the world of reconstruction-reenactment and not only.

KORYVANTES Association rules and constitution strictly prohibit us to participate to events that promote political or religious activity. Some of the aims expressed in the section “Our Mission” oppose our rules and constitution.

While KORYVANTES Association congratulates all healthy involvement of any state or private initiative in the correct, scientifically accurate and respectful re-construction/re-enactment of Ancient Hellenic Warfare, Technology and Culture, it is strictly forbidden to follow any national/international state/private-endorsed project detected to utilizing Ancient Hellenic History in a perverted way for the promotion of unrelated modern affairs.

This is an extremely serious issue that plagues the reenactment scene worldwide and we do notice a particularly worrying laxity among Associations and their members worldwide for which an association such as “Amphictyonia” has to have a clear position.

Absence of a position actively and universally enforced, automatically implies high risks of all natures, foremost legal and ethical, not only for member associations as participating groups but actually for each of their members as individuals.

Question9: What is the position of “Amphictyonia’’ Organization? Is it aim of “Amphictyonia” Organization to use reenactment for promoting various agendas (political activities such as promotion of state, institutional, private propagandas, think-currents, multiculturalism, etc.)?

KORYVANTES Association Hoplites are NOT re-enactor Hoplites. For us the word Hoplite means “Citizen Soldier”, not just an academic/philosophical term, but the reality of our lives. We do not re-enact citizens soldiers because we Are Citizen Soldiers. The history upon which some people plan to make a spectacle by stretching historical accuracy to “fit all” is our heritage and is not “living history” but a 3000 year old tradition in our Geography.
KORYVANTES Association members are all real Hoplites, who have attended their National Military Service, registered in the ranks of their state’s army, capable and trained to bear and use weapons. All have served in first-rank units of their state’s army and some have extensive experience in war zones.

As long as it is difficult to develop “safety certificates” for Hoplite training and as long as Hoplite activities will remain inherently dangerous, we strongly believe that the only way to ensure safety is to have trained men who hold the values of discipline, respect and pride to high ground and who enter in no state of over-excitement and playful-mode. The primary talk of “requiring insurances” points rather to shedding of responsibilities rather than to any a proactive approach towards total safety.

Question10: Is it the aim of Amphictyonia” Organization to enforce rules that prohibit people non-capable (in terms of discipline, patience, physical endurance let alone basic technical skills) to re-enact Hoplites and use weapons? If not, how will ’‘Amphictyonia’’  Organization ensure the safety of participants and spectators?

KORYVANTES Association members view the above list of points as anything but exhaustive and that this had to be the very starting point prior to initiation of any formal talks on the creation of an Organization of the type “Amphictyonia” Organization aims to be.

Till you provide sound replies to our questions presented inhere, we are kindly asking you to modify Article two (2), Membership section, Amphictyonia.org web page… as soon as possible

All groups who attended the first Marathon event in September 2011, ... are considered ‘founding members’ as of their acceptance of this constitution…”

Groups who attended the first Marathon event in September 2011, and who are willing to join, ... are considered ‘founding members’ as of their acceptance of this constitution…”

The above change aims at representing clearly the reality and avoids implication of any short of unaware Parties present in the Marathon 2011 event.

We inform you that we consider this conversation public and we will post it online as we feel there is nothing confidential or secretive in this exchange of ideas.

With honor

Spyridon Bakas, President
Aliades Antonis, Vice President
Stefanos Skarmitzos, Authenticity Officer

KORYVANTES Association

Status and Issues : Association of Historical Studies "KORYVANTES" , on Amphictyonia.org ...

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