Agrianes

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Paeonia, tribes and environs Map of the Paeonian Tribes (English).svg
Paeonia, tribes and environs

The Agrianes (Ancient Greek: Ἀγρίανες, Agrianes or Ἀγρίαι Agriai) or Agrianians, were a tribe whose country was centered at Upper Strymon, in present-day central Western Bulgaria as well as southeasternmost Serbia, at the time situated north of the Dentheletae. Per Strabo the source of the river Strymon was within Agrianes' territory. In the times of Philip II, the territory of the Agrianes was administered by Pella. They were crack javelin throwers and an elite unit of Alexander the Great's light infantry, who fought under the command of General Attalus.

Contents

Etymology and tribal belonging

Their name in Ancient Greek was Ἀγρίανες. [1] The ethnonym is of Indo-European origin, from *agro- "field" (cf. Lat. ager, Grc. ἀγρός agros, Eng. acre). [2] Irwin L. Merker considers it purely Hellenic, and lists certain Greek cognates such as the ethnonym of the Doric tribe Agraioi in Aetolia and the month Agrianos, [3] [4] which is found throughout the Dorian and Aeolian worlds. [5] An early name of the Rhodopes was Achrida, which may also be a cognate.

Pausanias described that Paeon, the eponymous ancestor of the Paionians (of whom Agrianes were members), was a brother of Epeius and Aetolus, the eponymous ancestors of the Epeians of Elis and the Aetolians respectively. [6] According to Irwin L. Merker, this genealogy shows that the Ancient Greeks considered the Paionians to be of Hellenic stock. Their place-name has several cognates in Greece such as Παιονίδαι (Paeonidai), a deme of the tribe Leontis in Attica. A place in the Argolid also has the same name. [3]

Herodotus described them as a tribe of Paeonia, [7] together with the Odomanti and Doberes in the vicinity of Pangaeum. The only writer who describes the Agrianes as Thracians is Theopompus. [8]

Geography

Their country was centered at Upper Strymon, in present-day westernmost Bulgaria, and also held areas of southeasternmost Serbia, [9] at the time situated north of the Dentheletae. In the times of Philip II, the territory of the Agrianes was administered by Pella. [10] According to some Bulgarian researchers they inhabited an ethnocultural region known today as "Graovo", whose name probably derives from that of the Agrianes. [11] [12] Its location is in the central and eastern areas of modern-day Pernik Province. [13]

Military

Agrianian peltast. Agrianian3.jpg
Agrianian peltast.

The peltasts raised from the Agrianes were the elite light infantry of the Macedonian army. They were often used to cover the right flank of the army in battle, being posted to the right of the Companion cavalry, a position of considerable honour. They were almost invariably part of any force on detached duty, especially missions requiring speed of movement. [14]

Peltasts were armed with a number of javelins and a sword, carried a light shield but wore no armour, though they sometimes had helmets; they were adept at skirmishing and were often used to guard the flanks of more heavily equipped infantry. They usually adopted an open order when facing enemy heavy infantry. They could throw their javelins at will at the enemy and, unencumbered by armour or heavy shields, easily evade any counter-charges made by heavily equipped hoplites. They were, however, quite vulnerable to shock-capable cavalry and often operated to particular advantage on broken ground where cavalry was useless and heavy infantry found it difficult to maintain formation. [15] [16]

History

They are first mentioned regarding Megabazus' campaign in 511 BC. [2] In 429 BC they were subject to the Odrysian kingdom [17] and later, as early as 352 BC, they became allies of Philip of Macedonia. [18]

They fought under king Langarus with the Macedonians against the Triballians in 335 BC [19] [ better source needed ] and succeeded in protecting the lands of Alexander and were thus rewarded with the right to govern themselves, a move that led to a long-lasting and most reliable alliance. At the Battle of Gaugamela (331 BC), during Alexander the Great's conquest of Persia, their contingent of peltasts numbered 1,000 men. During the time of the Seleucid Empire, a crack unit of Antiochus' Agrianes was brigaded together with Persians at Raphia. Contingents from the Agrianes and the Penestae, numbering 800 and 2,000 men respectively, were a part of the garrison of Cassandreia at the time of the Third Macedonian War. [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

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References

  1. "Agrianes: Greece (Paeonia)". Trismegistos. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  2. 1 2 Shea, John (1997-01-01). Macedonia and Greece: The Struggle to Define a New Balkan Nation. p. 52. ISBN   9780786402281.
  3. 1 2 Merker, Irwin L. (1965). "THE ANCIENT KINGDOM OF PAIONIA". Institute for Balkan Studies (Greece) . 6 (1): 36–37.
  4. Strauch, Daniel (31 December 2020). "Agraii". BRILL .
  5. Cuche, Vincent (2017), "Dorian festivals", The Encyclopedia of Ancient History, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, pp. 1–2, doi:10.1002/9781444338386.wbeah30116, ISBN   978-1-4443-3838-6 , retrieved 2021-01-02, ...an Agrianos month is found throughout the Dorian and Aeolian worlds. (Burkert 1983: 168–79).
  6. Pausanias, 5.1.5; Smith "Paeon" 3.
  7. Wheeler, James Talboys (1854). The Geography of Herodotus ...: Illustrated from Modern Researches and Discoveries. p. 130.
  8. The Cambridge Ancient History: pt. 1. The prehistory of the Balkans; and the Middle East and the Aegean world, tenth to eighth centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press, 1991. University of Minnesota/ The only writer who describes the Agrianes (under the form Agrii) as Thracians, is Theopom- pus (f 257(a)), but his evidence, isolated as it is, carries less weight.
  9. Yenne, Bill (2010-04-13). Alexander the Great: Lessons from History's Undefeated General. ISBN   9780230106406. The Agrianians were a Thracian people from the area that is now southern Serbia
  10. Hammond, Nicholas Geoffrey Lemprière (1988). A History of Macedonia: 336-167 B.C. p. 39. ISBN   9780198148159.
  11. Александър Фол, (1983) Историческа география на тракийските племена до III в. пр.н.е., Изд-во на Българската академия на науките, стр. 23.
  12. Петър Делев, (2014) История на племената в Югозападна Тракия през I хил. пр. Хр. УИ „Св.-Климент-Охридски“, София, стр. 148, ISBN   9540736919.
  13. Vintilă-Ghiţulescu, Constanţa, ed. (2011). From Traditional Attire to Modern Dress: Modes of Identification, Modes of Recognition in the Balkans (XVIth-XXth Centuries). Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. xv. ISBN   9781443832632 . Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  14. Ashley, p. 45-46.
  15. Connolly, pp. 48-49.
  16. Sidnell, pp. 57-59
  17. Herodotus; Macan, Reginald Walter (1908). Herodotus, the Seventh, Eighth, & Ninth Books: Pt. I. Introduction. Book VII. (text and commentaries).
  18. Chatzopoulos, Miltiadēs V; Loukopoulou, Louïza D (1980). Philip of Macedon. ISBN   9780892413300.
  19. Darko Gavrovski, “TETOVO ANTIQUITIES - Polog valley from Prehistory to 7th century AD, with special emphasis on the Tetovo region”, Tetovo, 2009. English summary on: "Index". Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
  20. Livy (2007-11-08). Rome's Mediterranean Empire: Books 41-45 and the Periochae. ISBN   9780192833402.

Bibliography