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made use of the half-pike; and afterwards, when the fronts of the two armies came close together, engaged the enemy body to body with their swords or scimitars.
The second line consisted of such men as were lightly armed, whose manner of fighting was to fling their javelins over the heads of the first. These javelins were made of a heavy wood, were pointed with iron, and were flung with great violence. The design of them was to put the enemy into disorder, before they came to close fight.
The third line consisted of archers, whose bows being bent with the utmost force, carried their arrows over the beads of the two preceding lines, and extremely annoyed the enemy. These archers were sometimes mixed with slingers, who slung great stones with a terrible force, but, in after-time, the Rhodians, instead of stones, made use of leaden bullets, which the slings carried a great dea] farther.
A fourth line, formed of men armed in the same manner as those of the first, form d the rear of the main body. This line was intended for the support of the others, and to keep them to their duty, in case they gave way. It served likewise for a rear guard, and a body of reserve to repulse the enemy, if they should happen to penetrate so far.
They had besides moving towers, carried upon huge wagons, drawn by sixteen oxen each, in which were twenty men, whose business was to discharge stones and javelins. These were placed in the rear of the whole army behind the body of reserve, and served to support their troops, when they were driven back by the enemy, and to favour their rallying when in disorder.
They made great use too of their chariots armed with scythes, as we have already observed. These they generally placed in the front of the battle, and some of them they occasionally stationed on the flanks of the army, when they had any reason to fear their being surrounded.
This is nearly the extent to which the ancients carried their knowledge in the military art, with respect to their battles and engagements. But we do not find they had any skill in choosing advantageous posts, in seasonably possessing themselves of a favourable spot, of bringing the war into a close country; of making use of defiles and narrow passes, either to molest the army in their march, or to cover themselves from their attacks; or laying in artful ambuscades; of protracting a campaign to a great length by wise delays; of not suffering a superior enemy to force them to a decisive action, and of reducing him to the necessity of preying upon him. self through the want of forage and provisions. Neither do we see, that they had much regard to the defending of their right and left with rivers, marshes, or mountains; and by that means of making the front of a smaller army equal to that of another much more numerous; and of putting it out of the enemy's power to surround or take them in flank
Yet in Cyrus's first campaign against the Armenians, and afterwards against the Babylonians, there seem to have been sme beginnings, some essays, as it were, of this art: but they were not improved, or carried to any degree of perfection in those days. Time, reflection, and experience, made the great commanders in after ages-acquainted with these precautions and subtleties of war: and we have already_shown, in the wars of the Carthaginians, what use Hannibal, Fabius, Scipio, and other generals of both nations, made of them.
VI. Their Manner of Attacking and Defending strong Pluces.
The ancients both devised and executed all that co'ild be expected from the nature of the arms known in their days, as also from the force and variety of engines then in use, either for attacking or defending fortified places.
1. Their Way of Attacking Places. The first method of attacking a place was by blockade. They invested the town with a wall built quite round it, and in which, at proper distances, were made redoubts and places of arms; or else they thought it sufficient to surround it completely by a deep trench, which they strongly fenced with pallisadoes, to hinder the besieged from making a sally, as well as to prevent succours or provisions from being brought in. In this manner they waited till famine did what they could not effect by force or art. From hence proceeded the length of the sieges related in ancient history; as that of Troy, which lasted ten years;* that of Azotus by Psammeticus, which lasted twenty-nine; that of Nineveh, where we have seen that Sardanapalus defended himself for the
And Cyrus might have lain a long time before Babylon, where they had laid in a stock of provisions for twenty years, if he had not used a different method for taking it.
As they found blockades extremely tedious from their duration, they invented the method of scaling, which was done by raising a great number of ladders against the walls, by means whereof a great many files of soldiers might climb up together, and force their
To render this method of scaling impracticable, or at least ineffectual, they made the walls of their city extremely high, and the towers. wherewith they were flanked, still considerably higher, that the ladders of the besiegers might not be able to reach the top of them. This obliged them to find out some other way of getting to the top of the ramparts; and this was by building moving towers of wood, still higher than the walls, and by approaching them with those wooden towers. On the top of these towers, which formed a kind
* Homer makes no mention of the battering ram, or any warlike engine.
of platform, was placed a competent number of soldiers, who, with darts, and arrows, and the assistance of their balistæ and catapultæ, scoured the ramparts, and cleared them of the defenders; and then from a lower stage of the tower, they let down a kind of drawbridge, which rested upon the wall, and gave the soldiers admittance.
A third method, which extremely shortened the length of their sieges, was that of the battering-ram, hy which they made breaches in the walls, and opened themselves a passage into the places be. sieged. This battering-ram was a vast beam of timber, with a strong head of iron or brass at the end of it; which was pushed with the utmost force against the walls. Of these there were several kinds.
They had still a fourth method of attacking places, which was, that of sapping and undermining; and this was done two different ways; that is, either by carrying on a subterranean path quite under the walls, into the heart of the city, and so opening themselves a passage into it; or else, after they had sapped the foundation of the wall, and put supporters under it, by filling the space with all sorts of combustible matter, and then setting that matter on fire, in order to burn down the supporters, calcine the materials of the wall, and throw down part of it.
2. Their Manner of Defending Places. With respect to the fortifying and defending of towns, the an cients made use of all the fundamental principles and essential rules now practised in the art of fortification. They had the method of overflowing the country round about, to hinder the enemy's approaching the town; they made deep and sloping ditches, and fenced them round with pallisadoes, to make the enemy's ascent or descent the more difficult; they made their ramparts very thick, and fenced them with stone or brick work, that the battering-ram should not be able to demolish them; and very high, that the scaling of them should be equally impracticable; they had their projecting towers, from whence our modern bastions derive their origin, for the flanking of the curtains; they invented with much ingenuity different machines for the shooting of arrows, throwing of darts and lances, and hurling of great stones with vast force and violence; they had their parapets and battlements in the walls for the soldiers' security, and their covered galleries, which went quite round the walls, and served as casements; their intrenchments behind the breaches and necks of the towers; they made their sallies too, in order to destroy the works of the besiegers, and to set their engines on fire as also their countermines to render useless the mines of the enemy; and lastly, they built citadels, as places of retreat in cases of extremity, to serve as the last resource to a garrison upon the point of being forced, and to make the taking of the town of no effect, or at least to obtain a more advantageous capitulation. All these methods of defending places against those that besieged them, were known in the art of fortification as it was practised among the ancients; and they are the very same as are now in use among the moderns, allowing for such alteration as the difference of arms has occasioned.
I thought it necessary to enter into this detail, in order to give the reader an idea of the ancient manner of defending fortified towns; as also to remove a prejudice which prevails among many of the moderns, who imagine, that because new names are now given to the same things, the things themselves are therefore differ ent in nature and principle. Since the invention of gunpowder, cannon indeed have been substituted in the place of the batteringram; and musket-shot in the room of balistæ, catapultæ, scorpions, javelins, slings, and arrows. But does it therefore follow, that any of the fundamental rules of fortification are changed? By no
The ancients made as much of the solidity of bodies, and the mechanic powers of motion, as art and ingenuity would admit.
VII. The Condition of the Persian forces after Cyrus's time. I have already observed, more than once, that we must not judge of the merit and courage of the Persian troops at all times, by what we see of them in Cyrus's reign. I shall conclude this article of war with a judicious reflection made by Monsieur Bossuet, bishop of Meaux, on that subject. He observes that, after the death of that prince, the Persians, generally speaking, were ignorant of the great advantages that result from severity, discipline, skill in drawing up an army, order in marching and encamping; and, in short, that happiness of conduct, which puts those great bodies in motion without disorder or confusion. Full of vain ostentation of their power and greatness, and relying more upon strength than prudence, upon the number rather than the choice of their troops, they thought they had done all that was necessary, when they had drawn together immense numbers of people, who fought indeed with resolution enough, but without order, and who found themselves encumbered with the vast multitudes of useless persons, who formed the retinue of the king and his chief officers. For to such a height was their luxury grown, that they would needs have the same magnificence, and enjoy the same pleasures and de. lights in the army, as in the king's court; so that in their wars the kings marched accompanied with their wives, their concubines, and all their eunuchs. Their silver and gold plate, and all their rich furniture, were carried after them in prodigious quantities; and, in short, all the equipage and utensils so voluptuous a life requires. An army composed in this manner, and already clogged with the excessive number of troops, was overburthened with the additional load of vast multitudes of such as did not fight. In this confusion, the troops could not act in concert; their orders never reached
them in time; and in action every thing went on at random, as it were, without the possibility of any commander's being able to remedy this disorder. Add to this, the necessity they were under of finishing an expedition quickly, and of passing into an enemy's country with great rapidity; because such a vast body of people greedy not only of the necessaries of life, but of such things also as were requisite for luxury and pleasure, consumed every thing that could be met with in a very short time; nor indeed is it easy to comprehend from whence they could procure subsistence.
However, with all this vast train, the Persians astonished the nations that were not better acquainted with military affairs than theniselves; and many of those that were more expert, were yet overcome by them, being either weakened by their own dissensions, or overpowered by the numbers of the enemy. And by this means Egypt, proud as she was of her antiquity, her wise institutions, and the conquests of Sesostris, became subject to the Persians. Nor was it difficult for them to conquer the lesser Asia, and even such Greek colonies as the luxury of Asia had corrupted. But when they came to engage with Greece itself, they found what they had never met with before, regular and well-disciplined troops, skil. ful and experienced commanders, soldiers accustomed to temperance, whose bodies were inured to toil and labour, and rendered both robust and active, by wrestling and other exercises practised in that country. The Grecian armies indeed were but small; but they wer: like strong, vigorous bodies, that seem to be all nerves and sinews, and full of spirits in every part; at the same time they were so well commanded, and so prompt in obeying the orders of their generals, that one would have thought all the soldiers had been actuated by one soul; so perfect a harmony was there in all their motions.
Arts and sciences,
I do not pretend to give an account of the Eastern poetry, of which we know little more than what we find in the books of the Old Testament. Those precious fragments are sufficient to let us know the origin of poesy; its true design ; the use that was made of it by those inspired writers, namely, to celebrate the perfections and sing the wonderful works of God, as also the dignity and sublimity of style which ought to accompany it, adapted to the majesty of the subjects on which it treats. The discourses of Job's friends, who lived in the East, as he himself did, and who were distinguished among the Gentiles as much by their learning as their birth, may likewise give us some notion of the eloquence that prevailed in those early ages.
What the Egyptian priests said of the Greeks in general and of VOL II