Battlefield trophies of ancient Greece: Symbols of victory by by Gai, Joe, M.A., California State University, 2006

By by Gai, Joe, M.A., California State University, 2006

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The particulars of naval fighting must not be neglected if one is properly to discuss battle during the classical period in an attempt to examine victory. For the present moment, an explanation of the paradigms ofhoplite battles on land will be sufficient for these purposes. One assertion of this work is that naval warfare follows the paradigms of phalanx warfare quite closely, and so if the reader understands the fundamentals of land battle, naval battles and their parameters and practices will be familiar.

The armies fought, one side gained possession of the battlefield, the defeated had to then sue for the right to retrieve their slain comrades; by doing this they would admit defeat, thereby giving the other army the right to claim victory and set up a trophy. There does not seem to be much room for religion in that process, but indeed it appears that there is. The available material suggests that the trophy acquires its religious meanings in the following ways: 1) the location of the trophy was often a way ofhonoring a protecting deity, 2) the trophy was held inviolate by all Greeks, and 3) the trophy retains traces of a form of tree worship.

Battle is decisive when the enemy acknowledges his defeat and the victorious publicize their victory with a trophy. In this battle, even though the Corinthians had pushed back the The ban attack, the battle was not entirely finished until the Thebans were forced to ask for their dead. Also, if the Corinthians felt they had achieved victory after the engagement, why then did they still need to drag the Theban bodies back to their walls? One obvious answer is that the Corinthians knew that even though they felt they were victors for having routed the Thebans, the battle was not concluded and the victory was not solidified until the Thebans admitted their own defeat by asking for their dead.

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