Ή περίοδος από το 1821 έως το 1945 είναι η πιο σημαντική στην Νεώτερη Ιστορία του Ελληνικού Έθνους και η προσφορά του Πολεμικού Ναυτικού υπήρξε καθοριστική. Η χρονική περίοδος είναι μεγάλη και υπάρχει εκτεταμένη βιβλιογραφία όχι μόνο για την κάθε χρονική περίοδο ξεχωριστά αλλά και για την ιδιαίτερη δράση σκαφών και διακεκριμένων προσωπικοτήτων. Ο υποπλοίαρχος Παναγιώτης Γέροντας στο έργο του, που τιτλοφορείται «Μεθ’ ορμής ακαθέκτου.» -μια φράση από σήμα του Ναυάρχου Κουντουριώτη-παρουσιάζει μια επίτομη εξιστόρηση της δράσης του Πολεμικού μας Ναυτικού την συγκεκριμένη περίοδο. Σε έναν όμορφο και καλαίσθητο τόμο ο μέσος αναγνώστης θα βρει την ναυτική ιστορία της περιόδου 1821 – 1945 δοσμένη σε απλή και κατανοητή γλωσσά. Η αφήγηση είναι πλαισιωμένη από συναφείς εικόνες και σχεδιαγράμματα ναυμαχιών που με τη χρήση διχρωμίας γίνονται πολύ εύκολα κατανοητά και από όποιον δεν έχει ιδιαίτερη πείρα σε ναυτικά θέματα. Επεξηγηματικές υποσημειώσεις βοηθούν επίσης την κατανόηση χωρίς να παρεμποδίζουν τη ροή της αφήγησης. Πλην της πιο εντυπωσιακής για τον μέσο αναγνώστη παράθεσης των πολεμικών γεγονότων, ο συγγραφέας εξηγεί συνοπτικά τις πολιτικές και οικονομικές συνθήκες που συνέβαλαν σε πρόοδο ή επιβράδυνση των ναυτικών θεμάτων. Το βιβλίο επίσης αποτελεί μια καλή βάση για κάθε μελετητή της ναυτικής μας ιστορίας καθώς έχει εκτεταμένη βιβλιογραφία και οδηγούς σχετικά με πρωτότυπες πηγές. Η Υπηρεσία Ιστορίας Ναυτικού έχει κάθε λόγο να είναι υπερήφανη για τη έκδοση του εν λόγω βιβλίου.
Reconstructing Byzantine military gear of 7th century AD is a matter of conventions and educated guesses as the archaeological finds of period items (especially military gear) are rare. The era is considered part of the Second Phase of the Migration Period. That is the time that the later Germanic tribes and early Slavs overran large tracts of Roman territory.The Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Army seems to have drawn heavily from military fashions that originated in the Eurasian steppes. Most migration era helmets surviving in museums appear to be constructed from several parts and is accepted by the scholars to be typical of the armies at that time.
A good deal of the visual Byzantine Army headgear reconstructions of the 7th century AD, are based on these museum items. But there are a number of reconstructions based on exhibits of the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art that are speculative and some times have been dismissed as artistic license. A collection of silver objects showing images from the life of the biblical hero David depict soldier in fancy headgear.Dr. David Nicolle has suggested that the troopers depicted there wear the typical helmets of the period but carry over them very fancy cloth caps typical of the populations living in the Caucasus regions.
But a much later exhibit in the same museum can put this theory to the test. A Spanish 16th century straw hat looks surprisingly similar to the headgear depicted in the silver plates of Byzantine origin.
While there is a notable 9 centuries time space between the two exhibits, there is nothing to suggest that the Byzantine artisans were not capable of producing similar straw caps if asked to. What is there to suggest that the 7th century silver smith simple copied the off duty headgear of officers or elite troops of his time?
More questions can be raised though. In the Metropolitan Museum’s arms collections exists also a 16th century steel helmet made by the Italian smith Filippo Nergoli that is again remarkably similar to the helmets shown in the above mentioned Byzantine silverware. The helmet is also in the same time space as the above mentioned straw hat but there are known examples of roman helmets made form a single piece of metal.
While the rank and file of the 7th century Byzantine troops would posses the more affordable and more easily made “spangen helm” it is not unusual for officers and patrician rank commanders to be able to afford helmets of better quality and decoration. Once again the possibility that the silver smith depicts real contemporary helmets is not unlikely. For example on the plate depicting the duel between David and Goliath, the Philistine champion and the depicted warriors may represent Jewish and Philistine royalty that the artist modeled upon contemporary aristocratic warriors.
David Nicolle Romano-Byzantine Armies 4th–9th Centuries Osprey Publishing 1992
I feel deeply honored that the «Naftiki Hellas» (Naval Greece) magazine include in his millennial issue my article about the Shield devices of the Thespians. My English speaking friends can read the translation here:
Ancient ceramic art from Ancient Athens gives a good indication of the usage of Greek letters as emblems for shield devices and some times it yields really unusual information although open to subjective interpretations and theories as the evidence are like some bits of along lost puzzle.And some times real gems can be found in artifacts not exhibited in museums.
There exists a truly exceptional calyx-shaped red figure crater in Athens. It is the product of an ancient Attic workshop and is dated to the end of the 4th century BC. The style of the drawings upon its surface helps us to classify it as “Kerch style” pottery. It is registered in the archaeological collection of the Bank of Greece with code ΤτΕ.ΑΡΧ/79. It depicts a Dionysian scene but of note is a shield at the bottom of the image
Upon this shield is depicted an unusual letter that did not pass in the modern Greek alphabet. We know it from inscriptions of Arcadia and it is a consonant with phonetic value «FS» or «PS». The first thought is that this is a shield with the monogram of the Arcadian city of Psophis. But the coins of this city bore the initials of the city, «XO» (where the X is pronounced “PS” in the Arcadian dialect), along with depictions of fish and stags. According to Pausanias, the hero Zakynthos was descended from Arcadian Psophis. This hero founded the settlement of the island of Zakynthos (modern Zante). The people of the island stayed loyal allies to the Athenians until the end of the Peloponnesian War. In addition, the citadel of Zakynthos was called Psophis. So it is very likely the image on the crater to represent a shield with the emblem of the Zakynthian elite hoplites that probably had their barracks at the citadel, as was the custom in Antiquity.
It’s a widely held concept, coming probably from the popular history books that there was a tradition for the Spartan Homioi to shave their mustaches at least once a year.
This is based on a bronze statuette from a Laconian workshop that was found in Dodona and depicts a warrior wearing an “illyric” helmet. He is having a beard but not a mustache. But another statuette of the same period and origin depict a warrior with a mustache. Why the difference?
While Plutarch’s Life of Agis and Cleomenes is more widely known, a little less known version, translated by John & William Langhorne in 1770, is describing the two kings separately. In section 9.3 it says: “Hence it was that the Ephors (as Aristotle tells us), when they entered upon their office, caused proclamation to be made, that the people should shave the upper lip, and be obedient to the laws, that they might not be under the necessity of having recourse to severity. As for the shaving of the upper lip, in my opinion, all the design of that injunction is, to teach the youth obedience in the smallest matters.”
All these created the General concept that the Archaic and Classical Era Spartans did not have mustaches because the law forbade it. It is possible though that his is an oversimplified generalization.
The prototype Greek text in Plutarch’s work uses the word “keiresthe” (“th” as in Thursday) which is the infinitive of the verb “Keiromai” which means to shorten or limit something by clipping it. The verb to cut in Greek is also “kopto”.
If we check the original text in Aristotle fragment 539 we se the phrase: “mi trephein mystaka” which means in Greek not to overgrow a mustache.
One is to wander because Greek art rarely if ever shows men with overgrown moustaches. Or at least so most people think because impressive mustaches appear in Greek fashions from the Bronze Age.
It can be argued here that Ancient Greek Art depicts what was idealized or fashionable and that not every body appeared in the limited number of forms that we see in our modern era museums or books. There are examples of really impressive mustaches in ancient Greek Statues though, that they are usually worn with a beard.
In ancient Greek language the verb to shave is “xyro” and it can be found in any Ancient Greek language wordbook both ancient and modern.
If the Ephors of Ancient Sparta ordered the shaving of the mustache why at least one of the ancient sources does not use the verb “xyro”. As MacDowell wrote in his work Spartan Law “…the power of the Ephors was tyrannical. They did not enforce written laws, imposed penalties on any contact which they considered wrong.” There was no law on mustaches. “The Ephors simply ordered it on their own authority” according to MacDowell. As shown above the Ephors were NOT ordering mustaches to be shaved but rather to be clipped and for no other reason than because they could do so.
Well, imagine a common soldier elected to the office and then being able to go to his former superior officer, who might have mistreated him once, and ordered him to clip his mustache. Or imagine some Homios who expected to be subjected to the penalty and shaving his mustache beforehand and thus cheating an Ephor of his chance to impose his authority. What ever the case the mustacheless Spartans cannot be taken as a fact.
Spartan Law – D.M.MacDowell, Scottish Academic Press, Edinburgh 1986 pp 110,111
Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon
Plutarch. Lives, Volume X: Agis and Cleomenes. Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus. Philopoemen and Flamininus. Translated by Bernadotte Perrin. Loeb Classical Library 102. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921.
Ευχαριστώ την Υπηρεσία Ιστορίας του Πολεμικού Ναυτικού για την τιμή που μου έκανε να φιλοξεvήσει το άρθρο μου για το Ναυτικό του Ξέρξη στο τεύχος 596, τόμος 176 του επίσημου οργάνου του Πολεμικού μας Ναυτικού ¨Ναυτική Επιθεώρηση».
I thank the Hellenic Navy Historical Service for bestowing me the honor to publish my article «Xerxes Navy» in the issue 596, vol 176 of the official Navy’s journal «Naftiki Epitheorisi» (Naval Review)