• Cougar


  • Lions


  • Snowalker


  • Howling


  • Sunbathing


Κυριακή 30 Ιουνίου 2013

Association “KORYVANTES” Lecture, in the International Experimental Archaeology Conference of the EXARC Organization on 12 April 2013 , Lejre - Denmark

The Association of Historical Studies “KORYVANTES” gave a worthy representation of Greek Experimental Archaeology in the International Experimental Archaeology Conference of the EXARC Organization on12th of April 2013, that was held in Denmark, in the conference centre of the Lejre Archaeological Park, outside Copenhagen in during 12th and 13th of April 2013. The Lejre Archaeological Park is one of the most important international Living history and Scientific study places that bring to life moments of ancient Danish history though reconstructed Iron Age and Viking Era settlements.

Photo of the Participants, in front of the Conference Centre of the Lejre Archaeological Park.
The international Organization EXARC represents most of the well known open air Archaeological Museums and Experimental Archaeology Parks of the Globe and it’s under the Auspice of ICOM. EXARC by promoting the cooperation of organizations and academic institutions, and also through conferences and publications, enhances the level of modern Experimental Archaeology. With members from more than 25 countries, offers a powerful support network through which archaeologists and archaeology lovers participate in an exchange of knowledge, experiences and best practices.
In the context of these EXARC activities is the organization of a conference on the subject of the "History Experimental Archaeology" , that it was a reference point for the year 2013 for the audience and the experts in this field. Every conference participant presented in an extensive way the historical linage of Experimental Archaeology applications in his country, through specific examples and reports, analyzing the trends that prevailed and the opportunities presenting themselves for the future.
Our Association’s lecture was titled «Τhe developmental steps of Experimental Archaeology in Greece, through key historical replicative experiments and reconstructions», and included all the known reports of Experimental Archaeology that have taken place in Greece from the 19th century till now.
The 40 minute lecture was opened by Mr. Nikos Kleisiaris, introducing to the delegates the first applications of Living History that took place in our country from the 19th century, with the re establishment of the Olympic Games till the middle of 1920s with the Delphic games by Angelos Sikelianos. Then followed an introduction in the first steps of Experimental Archaeology with a detailed description of the Ioannis Sakkas experiments in the 1970s with the reconstructed Mirrors of Archimedes. This was followed by presenting the “Keryneia II”, a fully reconstructed commercial vessel of the Hellenistic Era. The lecture continued with many other reconstructions such as “Papyrela”, a Neolithic Era ship and the reconstructed mechanisms of Heron and Antikythera.
Mr. Spyros Bakas initially analyzed two well known experiments of Naval Experimental Archaeology that had been successful in our Country-the case of “Argo” a reconstructed ship of the 14th century BC and the trireme “Olympias”, the reconstructed Classical Period ship. Emphasis was given in the Technical details of these two important experiments, pointing out the high technical standards and the demands of the scientific groups that undertook the reconstruction.
Mr. Bakas speech also presented an extensive report of the Experimental Archaeology approach of the Association “KORYVANTES” from 2008 till today. The reconstruction of linothorax from our Association was extensively presented as the first structured experiment of war technology reconstruction in our country the last years. The interest was focused on the presentations and the experiments that supported the reconstructed armors of our Association like the one inspired from the Medinet Habu monument and the reconstructed “Dendra Armor”.
Finally the activities of our Association in the application of Experimental Archaeology on the battle tactics and the research on the way of fighting of the Hoplite Phalanx as well as the precious conclusions that have been drawn from this study.

Mr Spyros Bakas during his lecture describing the Experimental Reconstruction of the Late Bronze Age "Medinet Habu" Armour , made by Association KORYVANTES".
The conferences was graces with the presence of a large number of Academics like professor Martin Bell from Reading University (England), Ian Dennis from University of Cardiff (Wales), researcher Martin Applet from Denmark National museum, professor Viire Pajuste from University of Tartu (Estonia), as well as distinguished personalities from the International field of Experimental Archaeology like the EXAR representative Jeroen Flamman.
Its worth noting that following the Conference there will be a printed EXARC paper for which our Association will have the honor to sent its work. The presence and active participation of our Association in presentations of this level not only increases our recognition but confirms also its position as an active and dynamic carrier of research and civilization
We warmly thank the executives of the EXARC Mr. Roeland Paardercooper and Mrs Jodi Reeves Flores for their kind invitation and welcome of our mission
We also warmly thank the Lejre Museum director Mr. Lars Holten for the kind accommodation.

We do thank Mrs Christy Emilio Ioannidou for her valuable contribution and help on the presentation of the naval experimental archaeology projects. 
Sagnlandet Lejre (ie. Land of Legends Lejre) is an open-air park with reconstructions of ancient living environments, like the Iron Age village, the Stone Age camp, the Viking market, the 19th century-farm cottages in the 43 hectares of Sagnlandet land
Mr Spyros Bakas , the directors of the  EXARC Conference Dr Roeland Paadercooper και Dr Jodi Reeves, the  Director of the Lejre Museum Dr Lars Holten ,and Mr Nikos Kleisiaris
Professor Martin Bell of the University of Reading (England) and Mr Dragos Gheorgiou of the National University of Arts (Romania) on the right.
With Dr Jeroen Flamman, one of the Directors of  ΕΧΑR  Organization ( European association for the advancement of archaeology by experiment http://www.exar.org)  , in the Nautical Museum of Roskilde.
With the Director of Lejre Museum Dr Lars Holten inspecting a reconstruction of a Stone Age pottery.
A momment of the Conference
Reconstructed ship from the Viking Culture Era  in the Nautical Museum of Roskilde near the Archaeological Park of Lejre. The total 4 reconstructes ships of the era which are exhibited in the museum, gave archaeologists valuable information on the research of the Viking's marine technology.
Reconstructed  Bronze Age Armours made for Experimental Archaeology Projects ,by the Association of Historical Studies KORYVANTES, presented in the EXARC International Academic Conference

Παρασκευή 28 Ιουνίου 2013

Διάλεξη του Συλλόγου Ιστορικών Μελετών ΚΟΡΥΒΑΝΤΕΣ στο Διεθνές Συνέδριο Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας του Οργανισμού EXARC, 12 Aπριλίου 2013, Lejre - Δανία

Ο Σύλλογος Ιστορικών Μελέτών ΚΟΡΥΒΑΝΤΕΣ εκπροσώπησε επάξια την χώρα μας στο Διεθνές Συνέδριο Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας του Οργανισμού EXARC , το οποίο διεξήχθε στην Δανία, στο Συνεδριακό χώρο του Αρχαιολογικού Πάρκου του Λέϊρε , ἐξω από την Κοπεγχάγη το διήμερο 12-13 Απριλίου 2013. Το αρχαιολογικό πάρκο του Λέϊρε αποτελεί έναν από τους σημαίνοντες χώρους Ζωντανής Ιστορίας και επιστημονικής μελέτης διεθνώς, ζωντανεύοντας στιγμές της αρχαίας  και μεσαιωνικής Δανικής ιστορίας με την παρουσίαση ανακατασκευασμένων οικισμών της Εποχής του Σιδήρου και των Βίκινγκς.

Αναμνηστική Φωτογραφία των Συνέδρων, στο Αρχαιολογικό Πάρκο του Λέϊρε
Ο Διεθνής Οργανισμός EXARC αντιπροσωπεύει τα περισσότερα και πιό γνωστά υπαίθρια αρχαιολογικά μουσεία και αρχαιολογικά πάρκα Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας του κόσμου και τελεί υπό την αιγίδα του ICOM (Διεθνές Συμβούλιο Μουσείων). Ο EXARC μέσω της προώθησης της συνεργασίας οργανισμών και ακαδημαϊκών φορέων, αλλα και μέσω συνεδρίων και εκδόσεων, αναδεικνύει το επίπεδο της επιστημονικής έρευνας και της δημόσιας παρουσίασης της σύγχρονης Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας. Με μέλη σε περισσότερες από 25 χώρες, προσφέρει ένα ισχυρό υποστηρικτικό δίκτυο μέσω του οποίου αρχαιολόγοι αλλά και άνθρωποι που αγαπούνε την αρχαιολογία συμμετέχουν σε μια ανταλλαγή γνώσεων, εμπειριών και βέλτιστων πρακτικών.

Στα πλαίσια των δράσεων αυτών του EXARC έγκειται και η διοργάνωση του συνεδρίου με θέμα την ιστορία της Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας «History of Experimental Archaeology» , το οποίο αποτέλεσε σημείο αναφοράς για το 2013 για το κοινό και τους ειδικούς στον κλάδο. Καθε Σύνεδρος παρουσίασε με διεξοδικό τρόπο την ιστορική γραμμή των εφαρμογών Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας της χώρας του, μέσα από συγκεκριμένα παραδείγματα και αναφορές, αναλύοντας τις τάσεις που επικράτησαν και τις ευκαιρίες που παρουσιάζονται για το μέλλον.

Η διάλεξη του Συλλόγου μας έφερε τον τίτλο «Τhe developmental steps of Experimental Archaeology in Greece, through key historical replicative experiments and reconstructions», συμπεριλαμβάνοντας ολες τις γνωστές αναφορές Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας που έχουν πραγματοποιηθεί στην Ελλάδα απο τον 19ο αιώνα μέχρι σήμερα.

Την διάρκειας 40’ διάλεξη του Συλλόγου μας, το Σαββάτου 13 Απριλίου 2013, άνοιξε ο Κος Νίκος Κλεισιάρης, εισάγωντας τους συνέδρους στις πρώτες πρώϊμες εφαρμογές Ζωντανής Ιστορίας που πραγματοποιήθηκαν στην χώρα μας ήδη από τον 19ο αιωνα με την διοργάνωση των πρώτων Ολυμπιακών Αγώνων και ως τα μέσα του 20ου και τους Δελφικούς Αγώνες του Άγγελου Σικελιανού. Ακολούθησε η εισαγωγή στα πρώτα παραδείγματα Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας με μια αναλυτική περιγραφή των πειραμάτων του Ιωάννη Σακκά την δεκαετία του 1970 με τα ανακασκευασμένα «Κατοπτρα του Αρχιμήδη». Ακολούθησε η ανακατασκευασμένη την ίδια περίοδο «Κερύνεια ΙΙ» , ενα πλήρως απεκατεστημένο εμπορικό πλοίο της Ελληνιστκής Περιόδου. Η διάλεξη συνεχίστηκε με την εκτενή αναφορά σε πλείστα άλλα πειράματα όπως αυτό της «Παπυρέλας», ενος πλεούμενου της Πρώϊμης Νεολιθικης Εποχής, τους ανακατασκευασμένους μηχανισμούς του Ήρωνα του Αλεξανδρέα και του Μηχανισμού των Αντικυθήρων,

Ο Κος Σπύρος Μπάκας αρχικά ανέλυσε δυο πολύ γνωστά παραδείγματα Ναυτικής Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας που έχουν εφαρμοστεί με επιτυχία στην χώρα μας – την περίπτωση της πεντηκοντόρου «Αργώ» ενός ανακατασκευασμένου πλοίου του 14ου αιώνα π.Χ καθώς και την περίπτωση της Τριήρους «Ολυμπιάς», του ανακατασκευασμένου πλοίου της Κλασσικής περιόδου. Η έμφαση δόθηκε στις τεχνικές λεπτομέρειες των δύο αυτών σημαίνοντων πειραμάτων, ενδεικτικών των υψηλών τεχνικών προδιαγραφών και απαιτήσεων των επιστημόνικών ομάδων ανακατασκευής. 

Η ομιλία του κατέληξε σε μια εκτένη αναφορά στις προσεγγίσεις πειραματικής αρχαιολογίας του Συλλόγου Ιστορικών Μελετών ΚΟΡΥΒΑΝΤΕΣ από το 2008 εώς σήμερα. Παρουσιἀστηκε διεξοδικώς η κατασκευή λινοθωράκων από το Συλλογό μας ως το πρώτο συγκροτημένο πείραμα ανατασκευασμένης πολεμικής τεχνολογίας στην χώρα μας τα τελευταία χρόνια. Το ενδιαφέρον επικεντρώθηκε στις παρουσιάσεις και τα πειράματα που συνόδευσαν σημαντικές ανακατασκευασμένες πανοπλίες του Συλλόγου μας όπως αυτή η οποία είναι εμπνευσμένη από το μνημείο «Μedinet Ηabu» καθώς και η πρόσφατη ανακατασκευασμένη «Πανοπλία των Δεντρών» . 

Τέλος , παρουσιάστηκαν με αναλυτικό τρόπο οι ενέργειες του Συλλόγου μας στην εφαρμογή της Πειραματικης Αρχαιολογίας πάνω στις τακτικές μάχης και στην έρευνα του τρόπου πολέμου της Οπλιτικής Φάλαγγας καθώς και τα πολύτιμα συμπεράσματα που έχουν βγεί απο αυτήν την πολύχρονη μελέτη.

O κος Σπύρος Μπάκας περιγράφοντας την ανακατασκευασμένη απο τον Σύλλογο μας πανοπλία της υστερης εποχής του Χαλκού εμπνευσμένη από το μνημείο «Μedinet Ηabu»
Το Συνέδριο τίμησαν με τις συμμετοχές τους πληθώρα ακαδημαϊκών . Ο καθηγητής Martin Bell απο το πανεπιστήμιο του Reading της Αγγλίας, ο Ian Dennis του πανεπιστημίου του Cardiff, o ερευνητής Martin Appelt του Εθνικού Μουσείου της Δανίας, η καθηγήτρια Viire Pajuste του Πανεπιστημίου του Tartu της Εσθονίας,  καθώς και διακεκριμένες προσωπικότητες του χώρου της Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας διεθνώς όπως ο Jeroen Flamman, εκπρόσωπος του οργανισμού ΕΧΑR.

Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι ακολούθως του Συνεδρίου επίκειται σχετική έντυπη έκδοση του οργανισμού EXARC, για την οποία ο Σύλλογός μας θα έχει την τιμή να αποστείλει την εργασία του. Η παρουσία και ενεργή συμμετοχή του Συλλόγου σε τέτοιου επιπέδου παρουσιάσεις όχι απλά αυξάνει την αναγνωρισιμότητα του αλλά επιβεβαιώνει την θέση του ως δυναμικά ενεργού φορέα έρευνας και πολιτισμού στην Ελλάδα και την Ευρώπη.

Ευχαριστούμε τους επικεφαλείς του EXARC Κο Roeland Paardercooper Κα Jodi Reeves Flores για την ευγενή πρόσκληση και υποδοχή της αποστολής μας.

Ευχαριστούμε τον διευθυντή του Μουσείου του Lejre Κο Lars Holten για την υποδοχή και ευγενή φιλοξενία.

Ευχαριστούμε τέλος την φίλη του Συλλλόγου μας Κα Κρίστυ Εμίλιο Ιωαννίδου , για την πολύτιμη βοήθεια και συνεισφορά της στην σύνταξη της παρουσίασης των Προσεγγίσεων της Ναυτικής Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας. 

Το αρχαιολογικό πάρκο του Λέϊρε εκτασεως 43 εκταριων περιλαμβάνει ανακατασκευές οικισμων απο την εποχη του Σιδηρου μεχρι τον Πολιτισμό τον Βίκινγκ.

O Κος Σπύρος Μπάκας, οι διοργανωτές του Συνεδρίου και μέλη του Διοικητικού Συμβουλίου του Οργανισμού EXARC (exarc.net) Dr Roeland Paadercooper και Dr Jodi Reeves, o Διευθυντης του Μουσεϊου του Lejre Dr Lars Holten , και ο Κος Νίκος Κλεισιάρης

Ο Professor Martin Bell απο το πανεπιστήμιο του Reading της Αγγλίας και ο Professor Dragos Gheorgiou απο την Ρουμανία στα δεξια.

Με τον Dr Jeroen Flamman, επικεφαλής του Πανευρωπαϊκού Οργανισμού για την προωθηση της Πειραματικης Αρχαιολογίας ΕΧΑR (http://www.exar.org)  , στο ναυτικό μουσείο του Roskilde.

Με τον Διευθυντή του Μουσείου του Lejre Dr Lars Holten στο εργαστήριο ανακατασκευής αντιγράφων πήλινων αγγείων της νεολιθικής εποχής.

Στιγμιότυπο απο το Συνέδριο.

Ανακατασκευασμένο πλοίο της εποχής του Πολιτισμού των Βίκινγκς στο  ναυτικό Μουσείο του  Roskilde πλησίον του Αρχαιολογικού Πάρκου του Lejre. Tα  συνολικά 4 ανακατασκευασμένα πλοία της εποχής τα οποια εκτίθενται στο μουσείο , έδωσαν στους Αρχαιολόγους πολύτιμα στοιχεία στην έρευνα της ναυτικής τεχνολογίας των Βίκινγκς.

Ανακατασκευές Οπλισμού της Εποχής του Χαλκού και  Προσεγγίσεις Πειραματικής Αρχαιολογίας  απο τον Συλλογο Ιστορικών Μελετών ΚΟΡΥΒΑΝΤΕΣ, που παρουσιάστηκαν στο Διεθνές Ακαδημαϊκο Συνέδριο του Οργανισμού EXARC.

Παρασκευή 21 Ιουνίου 2013

The "Horse's smile" and the training of the Warrior

"Rememberyou will fight as you train!" 

   General William F. DePuy, 1st Commander of U.S. Army's Training and Doctrine    
   Command (TRADOC)

These words of General DePuy are the basic axiom when training professional Military Units. They have been instilled in every one of their fighters, thus demonstrating that these Military Units take very seriously the physical /psychological preparation of their members before their involvement in action.

Every Warrior is obliged to maintain his fighting abilities to the highest (possible) standard through realistic training, so that when he will face the enemy he will (hopefully) survive and perform his duty.

Every Commander of a Military Unit (that respects itself) must promote and reward the realistic training and behaviors that relate to it. Non-realistic training or behaviors that that negate it are dangerous and must be immediately dealt-with by the Instructors. Commanders and Instructors that allow behaviors that obstruct or negate realistic training are also dangerous and must be immediately removed.

“KORYVANTES” is NOT a military unit, nor a Martial Arts School. We do not claim to be creators of Warriors as this is the duty of State Armies and not the job of every fetishist who likes “play soldier”.  “KORYVANTES” is a Living History Association that studies, promotes, and has presented - in the highest possible historical accuracy and success - in two Archaeological Festivals (Poland 2011, France 2012) and multiple Academic events, the Greek Hoplite Warfare (Archaic and Classical period).

The historically accurate reconstruction of a battle scene in an Archaeological Festival is not War. He, who claims that events like modern kurultai are real battles, targets people of low intelligence. And to cut a long story short, we simply mention that if a modern kurultai was a war zone everyone there would move under cover…

If someone wants to live the excitement of war he might like to visit Syria or visit war torn Africa. Everything else is a Cultural/Archaeological Festival or a sports contest. The Modern Warrior is the one who knows to operate a laser targeting system to guide a laser bomb to its target and not a person wearing an ancient type cuirass and holding a shield.

Even if it’s not a War zone, an Archaeological Festival is a very complex environment in which we must operate with ABSOLUTE safety, not only for our members but for the spectators also. During a demonstration, complex drills are performed by a group or groups of armed men, with limited field of view and even more limited hearing due to enclose helmets usage. Even more bowshots, close combat weapons usage and the emotional burden tale their toll. Usually demonstrations are held close to the spectators (with children among them) and sometimes with no protective barriers. Our enemies are inaccuracy, bad taste and accidents from negligence.

This environment becomes even more complex as the demonstration team is usually composed from individuals with different profiles, experiences and levels of knowledge. In example in the same team may co-exist Martial Arts Instructors, Police / Military Personnel, also persons whose work does not allow them continual and professional level martial training. It’s definitely not a homogeneous team.

We have decided that persons who participate in our demonstrations must have at least done some form of National Service even as conscript soldiers. Our member's experience from their Service is then used by our Association as a building block, so more level of knowledge and skill can be added. In order to train our members in the context of our Association’s activities we have adopted the basic axiom of General DePuy, so to achieve the maximum historical accuracy in re-enacting ancient warfare and of course to avoid accidents.

That practically means that training includes simulation of the demonstration with gradual increasing intensity. In the last stages of the training weapon practice is also included. During training sessions, behaviors that obstruct or negate realistic training are strictly prohibited.

Individuals who carry and use weapons, without proper discipline are immediately banned from the Association. Trainees must have completed their National Service (in Greece is compulsory). Deserters have no place in the Association. People who are not psychologically ready to spent a time with limited freedoms (at least as they are perceived in the modern society) are totally unfit for every activity that demands the subjugation of individual will for the benefit of a team effort.

In conclusion the success of the Association comes from the fact that we treat our public demonstrations with the seriousness required for a military operation.

The training of the Warrior /Fighter

The most important parameter of the proverb "Remember, you will fight as you train!" is that realistic training is more than just simulating the operational environment. Realistic training must also simulate the psychology of the Warrior/Fighter during the operation. Its relatively easy to simulate the environment but extremely difficult to bring the trainee in a psychological condition as close as this of combat stress.

How do the above relate to the title of this article? They relate with the tendency of some trainees to smile during a training session. They also relate with the dangerous attitude of some “instructors” to reward these attitudes instead of dealing with it.

What is the “horse’s smile”?

It’s a derogatory phrase used in the sectors of Sales and Business Administration in order to describe the image of professional Salesmen and Executives who always appear with a big smile and their “white teeth” in common view.

It’s the smile we all know from commercials and it’s an important marketing tool. It works subconsciously with the consumer as (its believed) it transmits dynamism, faith, intention, health, appetite for work and promise for success. It brings to the consumer the message of: “I am the one you can trust… my product will cover all your needs... consider the job already done…” It persuades the buyer to buy toothpaste, diapers, soap, home, people, hopes…

The “horse’s smile” is almost mark of identity for the above-mentioned professions. Probably comes from the dark past where the slaves showed their teeth to their masters to demonstrate all the above: dynamism, faith, intention, health, appetite for work and promise to carry out their assigned duties.

Its worth noting that you will rarely (to never…) you will see this smile in recruiting posters or members of Professional Armies. This smile does not exist in the face of a military man in a war zone. This smile does not fit with a Martial Artist who will enter the ring. This smile has no place in a self-defense encounter or a battlefield. It’s not the characteristic of the light horseman scout.

Put it simply: If you go to battle with your (all white?) teeth in common view the less that will happen to you is not to have teeth after the battle… if you are so lucky and that is you only loss that is!

Of course you will find this smile in the faces of soldiers in propaganda posters or photos in the context of Psy-Ops ordered by the General Staff.

The warrior’s happy training…

So what the reason that Instructors and Martial Arts Trainees appear with the “horse’s smile”? Why some Instructors accept to show off their trainees by presenting them like… toothpaste salesmen?
  • Did the hoplites in the phalanx have this smile? Is it an accident that Ancient Art depicts smiling hoplites only in non-combat situations?
  • Did the aetoms of Delphoi and Parthenon depict smiling horsemen? The dying warrior from the Aphaia temple certainly does not smile.
  • Did the Mongol raiders of Tzengiz Chan smile? Contemporary art does not depict them as such.
  • Is there any military manual through the centuries that describes smiling as necessary element of military training? The works of Aeneias Tacticus and Onasander certainly do not mention it.

The final answer of these we leave it to the discretion of the reader…hoping not to hear that some people are training to repeat the heroism of Cynageiros in the Battle of Marathon -  the hero lost his head to a Persian axe and dead heroes are very poor substitute of living defenders!

As “KORYVANTES”, when we discover in our training sessions “happy trainees” we immediately remove them from the training ground and also relieve the Instructors from their duties.

Its widely known that some Martial Arts and reenactment Organizations consider “training with a smile” and advertise their happy trainee fighters (sic)

On seeing this phenomenon we “KORYVANTES” realize that these Instructors consider their “Martial Art” toothpaste, diaper or generally something to be sold – in the way set by TV commercials. They might want to persuade the viewer to buy their “product”. They consider their trainees as potential consumers of their “Martial Art” they aspire to. In no way they comprehend Military Training or have at least study a Military Manual.

Now if these “Instructors” consider themselves better than Onasander or Xenophon because with their contact with some magical art of Occult teachers (or steppe Shamans) what can we say…

To the “happy trainees” and future aspiring fighters of these schools we have only to advise that they will be very lucky if they only looser their teeth in their first encounter with a properly trained adversary.

To the high masters of ancient Martial Arts and leaders of happy-parade reenactors, we recommend http://www.barbie.com/ to be included in the chapter “Happy Training and Smiling Guide” of their training programs or monastery codes.

In the end we conclude (till evidence show otherwise) that the “horse’s smile” is not a Military Virtue or element of Military Training.

If of course a training manual that scientifically proves the opposite appears, we will gladly modify accordingly. (There is a chance that everything might be different according to the Greek Philosopher Aristotle)

Living History Association KORYVANTES.

P.S. We remind that:
  1. South African Special Forces Instructors stress to the trainees that: “the leopard shows its teeth only when attacking to kill the smiling chimpanzee”
  2. Drill Instructors worldwide deal with “smart ass” recruits with the phrase: “wipe that smile off your face or else I’ll do it!”


The Living history Association “KORYVANTES” is the carrier of the timeless (15th cent BC to 15th cent AD) tradition of Armored Greeks. It’s a tradition that is not related only with War as the heavy equipment was used by Traders, Diplomats, Priests and Leaders throughout centuries. The tradition of armor bearing Greeks is basic element of Hellenic Civilization, as the Tradition does not stop with the end of heavy armor usage during the 17th century, but has come to our days through the atavistic memory of the Greek Nation. As an example we mention the depiction of Alexander the Great from Theophilos and the religious images in the churches depicting Military Saints.

Κυριακή 9 Ιουνίου 2013

Anaxagoras from Pontic Olbia .The first long-distance archery achievement recorded in history.

Evidence of composite bows usage in Greece  already exsists from the early Mycenean period (1) as an evolutionary need to adapt to the way war was requiring a bow with greater durability, power, accuracy and range from that of the simple wooden bow ( self bow) (2).

The inscription dated at the end of the 4th century BC from the city of Olbia (otherwise know as Borysthenis) gives us very interesting facts about the use of the composite bow in the ancient Greek world, revisiting much of what we know about the greatest features of this weapon


Greek Archer from the classical period, with pelta, Thracian endromides, and Composite Scythian Bow taking a stationary shot.Note the  pulling of the arrow from breast height, as depicted in contemporary pottery. Photo by Andreas Smaragdis. Recoconstruction: Association "KORYVANTES" 
This inscription is perhaps the first formal record of a long range archery contest in history. The inscription was found on the site of the ancient Greek colony of Olvia Pontika, in today's Ukraine, and describes the victorious shot of Anaxagoras’ son of Dimagoreos, who shot his arrow at a distance of 282 orgyiae. This distance according to attic measuring is identified as roughly 500 meters (4). Although the unit of measurement of an orgyia had slight variations in other parts of the Ancient Greek world, we believe that the Attic orgyia was used as the unit of measurement, because Olbia was an Ionic Colony with close relations to Athens and Miletus (5) (6) .

The Scythian cultural,and especially martial influences (7) in the Greek colony was great. Evidence of this is the fact that in this city appears a rare phenomenon where the coins were minted in the form of arrowheads (8)Maybe it is a unique case in the ancient Greek world, except for Crete, where a strong culture of archery was so well developed. Moreover, shortly before the event was recorded in the inscription, the famous battle of Thates River (Kuban) took place during which the Scythian bow supporting the heavy infantry managed to keep King  Satyrus in power (9) .

Photo: Greek Archer from the classical period while attempting a long distance shot. Note the "Mediterranean method" of puling of the chord, performed with three fingers as depicted in various ancient Greek vases. Photo by Andreas Smaragdis. Reconstruction: Association "KORYVANTES" 
Anaxagoras could be either a Greek colonist with at least one of his parents being of Greek origin or (most unlikely) he was a Hellenized Scythian. In each case, and precisely because of the effect in the area of the dominant Scythian martial methods, the bow used in this rare shot was probably the Scythian bow. We can thus rule out other potential types of bows such as the Persian or "Greek style bow " (10) (as it is generally known in international literature as the simple wooden bow). This holds true particularly for the latter, due to the inherent handicap of being made solely from wood, without the use of other materials (11) .

This  breaks the many stereotypes prominent today because of the range of the bows existing at that time. We are surprised to find evidence that negates all that we could imagine about the maximum ballistic abilities of the ancient bows. The 500m range demonstrates that the ancient Scythian composite bow was capable of unusually long distance shots. Let us suppose that a very “powerful” bow, (80 –100 lb) with a calibrated strong shaft arrow, light arrow point, small short-cropped 3-inch feathers, but with a high trajectory angle could easily cover long distances. It is then obvious that the power of the missile after such a long flight and added to the resistance of the air, could not be such as to make a lethal shot on the intended target. This is in accordance with Procopius who describes the battle of Kallinicum in 531 AD, and wrote that  the Persian arrow could not harm the Romans (Byzantines) as they had over-passed their effective range (12).

Photo: Coin with the shape of an arrow from Pontic Olbia. 7-th -5th Century BC. source: http://www.museum.com.ua/
In each case the above mentioned inscription can be viewed as a "propaganda"  attempt to to exploit the fact. The public registration of such an achievement may also had to do with underlining the superiority of the Infantry archer against the Scythian or Sarmatian horsebackarcher. The residents of Olvia could now rely on the distant range of archers like Anaxagoras, who could neutralize the enemy on horseback long before the barbarians managed to harm them. This pattern of conflict between infantry and horseback archers reminds us intensely of the local superiority of the Athenian archers at the battle of Plataea during which their long distance shots touched 350 meters repulsed the Persian Cavalry of Masistios (13)

Photo: the Hungarian Champion of flight shooting Monus Jozsef while taking aim during a Traditional Archery contest in Mongolia in 2012, in which he shot at 653 metres making a local record.
Respective recordings of long-distance archery competitions (flight shooting ) appear later by other people. The so-called "column of Genghis Han" which is currently in the Hermitaz Museum, records the event where the Mongol Prince Yisungka, won the long distance contest in 1224 AD by shooting an arrow at almost 600 meters. In Ottoman times in Istanbul there was an  area named Ok Meydani, where long-distance archery competitions took place and marble monuments were erected to commemorate the winners and record their results. Such marble monuments testify  to famous shots such as those of a certain Iskender Toz Koparan in the year 1281 at 797 metres and Sultan Selim III at 889 metres (14). Finally, modern experimental approaches of comparable shots, and also modern archery competitions with traditional composite bows confirm that such long-distances were technically possible for Anaxagoras during his time.


(1) G. Steinhauer,War in ancient Greece, Papadimas Publications, 2000, p38
2) Miller, McEwen,Bergman, Experimental App!roaches to Ancient Near Eastern Archer!y, World Archaeology, Vol 18, no2, Weaponry and Warfare,1986, pp180-182.
(3) Luigi Moretti, Inscrizioni agonistiche greche (Rome 1953) 82-84, no 32
(4) Wallace McLeod,The Range of the Ancient Bow.Phoenix,Vol.19, No1 (1965),p 6
(5), Henry A. Johnston,  The Earliest Colonisers of the Euxine Sea.: II. The Hellenisation of the Euxine, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 2, No.7 (Sep., 1913), pp 247-282
(6) M.Rostoftzeff , Iranians and Greeks in South Russia, Oxford University Press 1922, pp165-174
(7) G. F. H., Greek Coins of the Black Sea District, The British Museum Quarterly, Vol. 4, No. 3 (Dec., 1929), p 74
 (8) Odessa Museum of Numismatics, http://www.museum.com.ua/expo/premonet_en.html, as seen on May 26 2013
(9) E.V Cernenko,Angus McBride,M V Gorelic, The Scythians 700-300 BC, Men At Arms Series, Osprey Publishing , 1983, p31
(10) Beth Cohen, From Bowman to Clubman : Heracles and Olympia.The Art Bulletin, Vol 76,No4, p 700
(11) 701H.Balfour. On the Structure and Affinities of the Composite Bow. The Journal of anthropological institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol 19.p 227
(12) T.L.G. Procopius Historia, De Belis, 1.18.33
(13) T.L.G ,Herodotus 9.22-23

(14) Wallace McLeod,The Range of the Ancient Bow.Phoenix,Vol.19, No1 (1965), pp 8-9  

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